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French Wine - Wines of Burgundy
Wines labeled Mâcon-Villages or Mâcon followed by a village name are a cut above those labeled simply Mâcon or Mâcon- Supérieur. Since they come from the southern reaches of the region, more sunshine means riper and richer wines.
A couple of leading Israeli wine producers include Domaine du Castel and the Golan Heights Winery. The former produces wines under the name Castel-Grand Vin, and the latter makes wines under the Yarden, Gamla, and Golan labels. Quality Israeli wines are a new phenomenon. Domaine du Castel's first crush took place in 1992, and the Golan Heights Winery launched its first wines in 1984.
Spanish Wine - Sherry
Oloroso Sherries are dark brown, rich wines that have not been affected by a layer of flor yeast. As a result, they don't show that yeasty, bread-like character of Fino Sherry. Olorosos are fortified to 18 percent alcohol and they gain concentration as they age in cask.Traditional Oloroso Sherries are bone dry but today many producers sweeten them.
New Zealand Wine
Marlborough makes a unique style of Sauvignon Blanc that is very ripe, very crisp, and tastes like gooseberries. Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc took the world by storm in the 1980s and planted New Zealand squarely on the proverbial winemaking map.
Canadian Icewines are highly regarded all over the world—particularly in Asia. The Icewine harvest starts when temperatures dip below about 14° Fahrenheit. Growers handpick and deliver frozen grapes to the winery for pressing. Since they're frozen, the water in the juice remains with the grape pulp in the form of ice crystals, and highly concentrated juice is expressed. This almost thick nectar results in a lusciously sweet wine.
Wines of Northeast Italy
Northeast Italy makes Valpolicella, Soave, Amarone, Prosecco, and the varietally labeled wines from the usual international grapes—Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Merlot, Sauvignon Blanc, and so forth.
The super-premium wine called Altaïr, with its blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Carmenère, and Merlot, is a shimmering and intense wine of cassis, black currant, cedar, espresso beans, fleshy plum, and tobacco. The slightly less expensive Sideral wine from the same producer is a wild-eyed yet suave animal of fruit, smoke, and spice made with a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah, and Sangiovese. Both are amazing wines that have only been around since 2002.
French Wine - Wines of Rhône
Hermitage makes robust and majestic red wine that ages well. It is made from 100 percent Syrah, and has serious aging potential. One of the best producers of Hermitage is Domaine Jean-Louis Chave. Curiously, but not surprisingly, red wines of Hermitage had such status in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries that its wines commanded prices similar to those of Bordeaux-classed growths.
French Wine - Wines of Champagne
Lower priced Champagne can be found but many are dire. How do you save money on Champagne without compromising taste? Look for the letters "RM" on a label, which stands for "récoltant-manipulant," which is basically French for grower-maker. These Champagnes are made by small family-owned outfits that grow their own grapes and stake their businesses and reputations on making very good quality wines. They tend to be lower priced because they don't have the same caché as the bigger houses.
Trade Secrets - Wine Myths
Myth: Gewürztraminer and Asian foods are a perfect match. Truth: This aromatic, full-bodied wine would overpower any of the mild cornerstones of Asian cuisine such as dim sum, tempura, or sashimi. Plus, Gewürztraminer is notoriously lacking in acidity, which is the cleansing agent in wine needed to refresh the palate for many of the other staples of Asian cuisine—fried tempura, oily duck, or fatty tuna belly known as toro fish.
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