The Origin of Champagne

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Wine has been made in the Champagne region since Roman times, but the sparkling white wine we know today was not developed until centuries later. Here’s how the wine we know and love today—which has become a fixture at holidays and special celebrations—came to be… Dom Pérignon did not invent sparkling Champagne; rather, its “fizzy…

An Introduction to Italian Wine Classifications

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Currently Italy’s wine classification system has four categories. In descending “quality” order they are: DOCG (e.g. Controlled and Guaranteed Origin Denomination), DOC (Controlled Origin Denomination), IGT (Protected Geographic Indication), and vino da tavola (table wine). On August 1, 2009, new EU regulations went into effect that created a three tiered “quality structure” for wines, and…

Chianti

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Chianti, a red wine produced in the heart of Tuscany, Italy, is a wine with a complicated history. Once upon a time “Chianti” signified the white wines of the area. A couple hundred years later it had become red, and winemakers of the area were starting their slow march towards producing the wine we drink…

The Varietals and Sub Regions of Bordeaux

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Bordeaux is perhaps the most famous and prodigious wine region in the world. The five varietals of Bordeaux are Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, and Malbec. For a long time there was a sixth varietal, Carménère, and it is still grown in small amounts in Bordeaux, but the grape has fallen out of favor…

Bordeaux

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All of the wines that Vine Talk tasted during our Bordeaux episode were from the prestigious Médoc region on Bordeaux’s left bank. Médoc produces not only most of the wines from Bordeaux – but also the best and most expensive ones. A wine can only be called Bordeaux if it is made in Bordeaux from…

Rioja

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Riojas have a lot in common with Bordeauxs. Both wines are made from a traditional distinct and time-tested blend of a few different varietals. Any wine classified as a Rioja will be a Tempranillo-based blend that incorporates smaller amounts of Garnacha, Mazuelo, and Graciano grapes. Rioja is especially known for the notes of vanilla and…

Loire Valley Sauvignon Blanc

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When considering Sauvignon Blanc from Sancerre and Pouilly Fumé, it can be hard to find comparisons because these wines stand out relative to Sauvignon Blancs produced in other parts of the world. Many in the wine world consider these wines to be the absolute best expression of the grape because they manage to showcase all…

Modern vs Traditional Wine Making in Burgundy

One of the things that came up during Vine Talk’s tasting of wines from Burgundy was the difference between wines made in a modern style and wines made in a more traditional style. One of the reasons that the wine from Burgundy is so treasured the world over is because it is a wine that…

The Burgundian Wine Business

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As our wine expert Emilie mentioned, the key word for the wine business in Burgundy is “small” – small vineyards, small yields, small production, and small producers. The scale of wine production in Burgundy means that things are done a little differently there when it comes to making wine. Especially in the glorified areas of…