A Bordeaux wine is any wine produced in the Bordeaux region of France, centred on the city of Bordeaux and covering the whole area of the Gironde department, with a total vineyard area of over 120,000 hectares, making it the largest wine growing area in France. Average vintages produce over 700 million bottles of Bordeaux wine, ranging from large quantities of everyday table wine, to some of the most expensive and prestigious wines in the world. 89% of wine produced in Bordeaux is red (called “claret” in Britain), There are 54 appellations of Bordeaux wine.
Burgundy wine (French: Bourgogne or vin de Bourgogne) is wine made in the Burgundy region in eastern France, in the valleys and slopes west of the Saône River, a tributary of the Rhône. The most famous wines produced here (those commonly referred to as “Burgundies”h, are dry red wines made from Pinot noir grapes. Beaujolais are formally part of the Burgundy wine region, but wines from those subregions are usually referred to by their own names rather than as “Burgundy wines”.
Burgundy has a higher number of appellations d’origine contrôlée (AOCs) than any other French region, and is often seen as the most terroir-conscious of the French wine regions. The various Burgundy AOCs are classified from carefully delineated Grand Cru vineyards down to more nonspecific regional appellations. The practice of delineating vineyards by their terroir in Burgundy goes back to medieval times, when various monasteries played a key role in developing the Burgundy wine industry.
Barolo is a red Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita (DOCG) wine produced in the northern Italian region of Piedmont. It is made from the Nebbiolo grape and is often described as one of Italy’s greatest wines. The zone of production extends into the communes of Barolo, Castiglione Falletto, Serralunga d’Alba and parts of the communes of Cherasco, Diano d’Alba, Grinzane Cavour, La Morra, Monforte d’Alba, Novello, Roddi, Verduno, all in the province of Cuneo, south-west of Alba. Only vineyards planted in primarily calcareous-clay soils in the hills with suitable slopes and orientations are considered suitable for Barolo production. Barolo is often described as having the aromas of tar and roses, and the wines are noted for their ability to age and usually take on a rust red tinge as they mature. When subjected to ageing of at least five years before release, the wine can be labeled a Riserva.
Barbaresco is an Italian wine made with the Nebbiolo grape. Barbaresco is produced in the Piedmont region in an area of the Langhe immediately to the east of Alba and specifically in the communes of Barbaresco, Treiso and Neive plus that area of the frazione San Rocco Senodelvio which was once part of the commune of Barbaresco and now belongs to the comune of Alba. It was granted Denominazione di origine controllata (DOC) status in 1966 and Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita status in 1980. The wine is often compared with Barolo-another Nebbiolo based wine from the Piedmont area. Though the wines do share many similarities, there are some distinct differences between them.
Pinot noir is a black wine grape variety of the species Vitis vinifera. The name may also refer to wines created predominantly from Pinot noir grapes. The name is derived from the French words for “pine” and “black” alluding to the grape variety’s tightly clustered dark purple pine-cone shaped bunches of fruit. Pinot noir grapes are grown around the world, mostly in the cooler regions, but the grape is chiefly associated with the Burgundy region of France. It is widely considered to produce some of the finest wines in the world, but is a difficult variety to cultivate and transform into wine.
Syrah or Shiraz is a dark-skinned grape grown throughout the world and used primarily to produce red wine. Syrah is used as a varietal and is also blended. Following several years of strong planting, Syrah was estimated in 2004 to be the world’s 7th most grown grape at 142,600 hectares (352,000 acres).
DNA profiling in 1999 found Syrah to be the offspring of two obscure grapes from southeastern France, Dureza and Mondeuse blanche. Syrah should not be confused with Petite Sirah, a synonym for Durif, a cross of Syrah with Peloursin dating from 1880.
The Rhône wine region in Southern France is situated in the Rhône river valley and produces numerous wines under various Appellation d’origine contrôlée (AOC) designations. The region’s major appellation in production volume is Côtes du Rhône AOC.
The Rhône is generally divided into two sub-regions with distinct vinicultural traditions, the Northern Rhône (referred to in French as Rhône septentrional) and the Southern Rhône (in French Rhône méridional). The northern sub-region produces red wines from the Syrah grape, sometimes blended with white wine grapes, and white wines from Marsanne, Roussane and Viognier grapes. The southern sub-region produces an array of red, white and rosé wines, often blends of several grapes such as in Châteauneuf-du-Pape.
While acreage of Malbec is declining in France, in Argentina the grape is surging and has become a “national variety” of a sort that is uniquely identified with Argentine wine. The grape was first introduced to the region in the mid 19th century when provincial governor Domingo Faustino Sarmiento instructed the French agronomist Miguel Pouget to bring grapevine cuttings from France to Argentina. Of the vines that Pouget brought were the very first Malbec vines to be planted in the country. During the economic turmoil of the 20th century, some plantings of Malbec were pulled out to make way for the jug wine producing varieties of Criolla Grande and Cereza. But the grape was rediscovered in the late 20th century as the Argentine wine industry shifted its focus to premium wine production for export. As the Argentine wine industry discovered the unique quality of wine that could be made from the grape, Malbec arose to greater prominence and is today the most widely planted red grape variety in the country. As of 2003 there were over 50,000 acres (20,000 hectares) of Malbec in Argentina.
The grape clusters of Argentine Malbec are different from its French relatives, having smaller berries in tighter, smaller clusters. This suggests that the cuttings brought over by Pouget and later French immigrants were a unique clone that may have gone extinct in France due to frost and the phylloxera epidemic. Argentine Malbec wine is characterised by its deep colour and intense fruity flavours with a velvety texture. While it doesn’t have the tannic structure of a French Malbec, being more plush in texture, Argentine Malbecs have shown ageing potential similar to their French counterparts. The Mendoza region is the leading producer of Malbec in Argentina with plantings found throughout the country in places such as La Rioja, Salta, San Juan, Catamarca and Buenos Aires.
Rioja is a wine region, with Denominación de Origen Calificada (D.O.C. Qualified designation of origin) named after La Rioja, in Spain. Rioja is made from grapes grown not only in the Autonomous Community of La Rioja, but also in parts of Navarre and the Basque province of Álava. Rioja is further subdivided into three zones: Rioja Alta, Rioja Baja and Rioja Alavesa. Many wines have traditionally blended fruit from all three regions though there is a slow growth in single-zone wines.
Ribera del Duero is a Spanish Denominación de Origen (DO) located in the country’s northern plateau and is one of eleven ‘quality wine’ regions within the autonomous community of Castile and León. It is also one of several recognised wine-producing regions to be found along the course of the Duero river.
The region is characterised by a largely flat, rocky terrain and is centred on the town of Aranda de Duero, although the most famous vineyards surround Peñafiel and Roa de Duero to the west, where the regional regulatory council or Consejo Regulador for the denominación is based.
Well, there you have it. Enjoy your roast dinner and hopefully one of my wine recommendations.