oenofacts

Jerez is a Denominación de Origen in southwestern Spain. It has a Mediterranean climate with wet, mild winters and dry, hot summers. Sherry - an Anglicized word for ‘Jerez’ - is the most famous fortified wine from this region, made mostly from the Palomino grape. Pedro Ximénez (PX) accounts for about 10% of the Sherry made. After fermentation, a mixture called 'mitad y mitad’ is added, which is a mix of high proof alcohol and old wine. This mixture varies from house to house. There are two major types of Sherry made: Fino and Oloroso. 

Sherry has been a popular wine in England since the Tudor era.

Hautes-Côtes de Beaune is a subregion of the Burgundy wine region in France. It has a temperate, slightly continental climate. It contains only one appellation d'origine contrôlée, Bourgogne Hautes-Côtes de Beaune, that covers the entire subregion. This AOC is permitted for use for red and rosé wines that are primarily made from Pinot Noir grapes as well as white wines that are mainly made from Chardonnay grapes.

Jardin de la France (now known as du Val de Loire) is a Vin de Pays that covers what the Loire Valley of France. It has a continental climate that is heavily influenced by the Loire River and Atlantic ocean. The white grapes permitted for use under this designation include Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc, Grolleau Gris, Melon and Sauvignon Blanc. Red wines are allowed to use Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Gamay, Malbec and Pinot Noir. There are some great values in this region!

Gascony is a wine growing region in the southwest of France. It has a mild climate with warm summers and short winters. It is here that Ugni Blanc, Folle Blanche and Colombard grapes are used to produce Armagnac. It is also the home of the Madiran Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée. These wines are required to be made up of 40-60% of the Tannat grape and are usually supplemented by Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Fer.

The dry white wines of the southern area of this region are known as Pacherenc du Vic-Bilh. The primary grape varieties of Courbu and Petit Manseng must together make up between 60-80% of the wine. Blending grapes Arrufiac, Gros Manseng and Sauvignon Blanc are permited, with Sauvignon Blanc being limited to 10%.

Dão is a Denominação de Origem Controlada that is one of the oldest wine growing regions in Portugal. It has a temperate climate with rainfall in the winter months and warm, dry summers leading up to harvest. Dão is home to several indigenous varieties of grapes but the majority of the wine produced is reds made from Touriga Nacional. Most white wines from this region are produced with the Encruzado grape.

Have you tried any wines from the Dão region?

Eden Valley is a southern Australia wine region that is part of the Barossa Range. It was named when surveyors found the word “Eden” carved into a tree. It has a cool climate that allows for long, slow ripening. It is known for producing high quality Riesling and Shiraz. Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon are also grown here. Its first vineyard was planted in 1847 by Joseph Gilbert.

Hessische Bergstraße is located in the region of Hesse and the smallest of Germany’s thirteen wine regions. The climate is generally mild and sunny, providing a perfect environment for viticulture. The predominant white wine here is Riesling and the major red variety is Pinot Noir, locally known as Spätburgunder. A large portion of the wine produced in this region is grown by members of the Bergstrasser Winzer cooperative, based in the city of Heppenheim.

Carneros is an American Viticultural Area that is approximately 90 square miles in size. It includes parts of both Napa and Sonoma Valley. Carneros is unique in that it was the first AVA in California that was defined by climate rather than political borders. Its cooler and moderate climate has made this region popular for cool climate grapes like Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Many of the grapes grown there are used to produce sparkling wines.

More info: Caneros Wine Alliance

Irancy is an Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée located in the Yonne Department of the Burgundy region in France. It has a continental climate with very cold winters and warm summers. It is geographically removed from the rest of Burgundy, making its wines an affordable alternative. The wines of this AOC are made primarily from Pinot Noir  but blending with Cesar grapes is permitted up to 10%. A small amount of rosé is also produced. It includes the communes of Cravant, Irancy, and Vincelottes. The latter two also produce white wines under the title of Saint-Bris.

Kremstal is a Districtus Austriae Controllatus in the region of Lower Austria that takes its name from the historic town of Krems. It has a continental climate characterized by hot, dry summers and cold winters. Wines with this DAC designation are made with Grüner Veltliner and Riesling grapes. Kremstal’s Grüner Veltliners are known for their fresh, rich, fruity and spicy characters, whereas its Rieslings are minerally with stone-fruit aromas. A small amount of red wine is also produced here.

Emilia-Romagna is a fertile wine growing region in northern Italy. Viticulture here dates back as far as the seventh century B.C. The climate is mostly coastal but varies due the the regions large size. It encompasses twenty two Denominazione di Origine Controllata and two Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita. Production is split between reds and whites. The dominant grape varieties include Malvasia, Lambrusco, Trebbiano, Barbera, Bonarda and Sangiovese. Chardonnay, Pinot Blanco and Cabernet Sauvignon are also grown here.

Ladoix is an Appellation d’origine contrôlée located in the Côte de Beaune region of Burgundy. It has a temperate climate and contains eleven Premier Cru vineyards and three Grand Cru. This AOC designation may be used for red wines primarily made from Pinot Noir and white wines made from Chardonnay. Its major producers include Domaine Chevalier, Domaine Edmond Cornu, and Verget.

Langhe is a hilly area in the Piedmont region of Italy. It is home to such famous Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita (DOCG) as Barolo, Barbaresco, Asti and Dolcetto di Dogliani Superiore. For wines that are not part of the DOCG there is the Denominazione di Origine Controllata. This DOC applies to whites, reds and rosé that are either still or lightly sparking, also known as frizzante. Traditional varieties here include the white grapes Arneis and Favorita as well as the reds Nebbiolo, Dolcetto and Freisa.

Douro is a Denominação de Origem Controlada located in the Trás-os-Montes e Alto Douro region of Portugal. It has a continental climate with hot, dry summers and cold winters that is sheltered by the Marão and Montemuro mountains. The primary red grapes grown here include Bastardo, Mourisco Tinto, Tinta Amarela, Tinta Barroca, Tinta Cao, Tinta Roriz, Touriga Francesa and Touriga Nacional. The main white grape varieties include Donzelinho Branco, Gouveio, Malvasia Fina, Rabigato and Viosinho.

The Douro is best known for Port wines, which is the oldest wine appellation in the world (awarded in 1756). Port production dates back to the 1600s, when French imports were not allowed in Britain. To ensure the wine would arrive in England without spoiling, merchants would add brandy to stabilize it. While Ports are among the best known from this region, dry white and reds are gaining favor with critics and consumers around the world. 

Hermitage is an Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée in the northern Rhône region of France. It has a continental climate characterized by hot summers and very cold winters. This region mainly produces red wines from the Syrah grape. It is usually used on its own though some blending is allowed. A small amount of white wines are also made here with Roussane and Marsanne grapes. 

Cassis is an Appellation d'origine contrôlée that was created in 1936. It is part of the French wine region of Provence and is situated between the cities of Marseilles and Bandol. The vines there enjoy sheltered and warm growing conditions. Cassis produces primarily white wines that are know to be full-bodied, with low acidity and herbal aromas. The principal grapes are Clairette, Marsanne, Bourboulenc, Pascal, Sauvignon Blanc, Terret Blanc and Ugni Blanc.

Ghemme is a red wine Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita in the Piedmont region of Italy. It has a continental climate with extreme variations between summer and winter temperatures. The wines here must be comprised of at least 75% Nebbiolo grape but they may also be blended with Bonarda di Gattinara and Vespolina. Ghemme wine is aged for at least three years, 20 months of which is spent in oak casks and 9 months in the bottle. They are known for having prominent tannins and a high level of acidity.

Abruzzo is a mountainous region on the east coast of Italy whose winemaking tradition may go back as far as the sixth century B.C. There are two DOC (a European wine quality) wines from Abruzzo, Montepulciano d'Abruzzo and Trebbiano d’Abruzzo. Montepulciano d'Abruzzo is an intense ruby red colour with a bouquet of red fruit, flowers and spices. It is dry, soft and its sometimes tannic taste make this wine unique. Trebbiano d'Abruzzo is a white wine that is straw yellow in colour and is renowned for its pleasant bouquet of flowers and fruit and its dry and balanced taste. 

More info: Consortium for the Protection of Abruzzo’s Wines 

Baden is Germany’s longest wine region and third largest growing area. The Pinot family (Blanc, Gris, and Noir) is responsible for about half of the wine grapes grown here. Many of the vinyards are lower in altitude than those in Alsace, making the wine higher in alcoholic strength than most other German wines.

Hondarrabi Zuri is a Spanish white wine grape variety that us native to the Basque Country. It features compact bunches with small golden colored berries. Wine produced from this grape is pale yellow with aromas of citrus, ripe fruit, herbs and flowers. It is the main variety used to make Txakoli, a slightly sparkling dry white wine that is known for its high acidity and low alcohol content.