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Posts Tagged ‘harshal shah wine’

Tasmania – a southern state of Australia and the only one that is not attached to the mainland. Recently, the state has demarcated 7 key wine-making sub-regions. From north to south these are North-West region (around the town of Devonport); Tamar Valley (around Launceston); North East region (around the Pipers Brook area); East Coast (around Bicheno); Coal River Valley (around Richmond); Derwent Valley (around Hobart) and the Huon/Channel Valley (around Cygnet).

The regions are spread equally north and south of the 42nd parallel (42 degrees south of the equator – see map below). Considering somewhere like Bordeaux is around the 45th parallel, by inverting the map, we see that Tasmania is a much cooler grape-growing region than many parts of France. The varieties that do well here are aromatic white varietals like Pinot Gris, Riesling and Gewurtztraminer but Chardonnay and and especially Pinot Noir lend themselves perfectly to the region.

Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and even Shiraz grow exceptionally well is some of the warmer sites such as Tamar River and Coal River.

Top producers include Stefano Lubiana (sparkling), Domaine A (dark, rich reds); Jansz (by Yalumba for well-priced, well-made sparkling wines) and Josef Chromy (sweet wines and whites). Constellation/Hardys also have a good operation in Tasmania, producing the Bay of Fires sparkling wines and sourcing the best fruit for Arras, their expensive, premium sparkling wine which retails in Australia for about US$110/bottle.

Wine Regions of Tasmania

Wine Regions of Tasmania

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Tokaji (toh-kye): a Hungarian sweet white wine produced in the Tokaj, a region in the north east of the country. Wines produced in 2 villages in Slovakia are also allowed to use the name Tokaj, since, pre-World War I, they belonged to Hungary. Tokaji is usually made with Furmint and Hárslevelű grapes and sometimes is blended with Muscat Blanc a Petits Grains (called Sárgamuskotály in Hungary) for added perfume. Officially, 3 other varietals are allowed in the production of sweet Tokaji: Zéta (previously called Oremus), Kövérszőlő and Kabar.

The grapes are picked very late, usually when they have been affected by Botrytis. The grapes are called Aszú. This term simply means that the grapes are dried or raisined when harvested. Aszú can sort of be likened to the ‘Auslese’ in German.

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Rivesaltes (reev-salt): a village in southern France, north of Perpignan and a name that applies to 2 styles of wines produced there. Both wines are sweet, fortified wines (a category known as Vins Doux Naturels – VDN). Muscat de Rivesaltes AOC, accounts for about 70% of France’s Muscat production and is the only sweet, fortified Muscat wine that can be produced with the grape Muscat of Alexandria. Muscat Blanc a Petits Grains, another Muscat clone is also used. The wine is fortified through the ‘mutage’ process (see below, 02/07/2009).

Muscat Blanc a Petits Grains

Muscat Blanc a Petits Grains

Muscat of Alexandria

Muscat of Alexandria

Note how the grapes on the left have a tighter, more compact bunch.

Muscat de Rivesaltes is a wine that should be drunk as young as possible and as cool as possible, either as an aperitif, or with fruity or creamy desserts, according to Jancis Robinson. Generic Rivesaltes (the VDN) can be made from a variety of grapes, red and white, and in a variety of methods. It can have a flavour profile that covers raisins, coffee, chocolate and nuts and can be a decent pairing to chocolate dishes.

Generic Rivesaltes AOC

Generic Rivesaltes AOC

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Recioto (reh-chee-yo-to): a style of wine produced in the Veneto region in northern Italy. Recioto wines are almost always sweet wines and are produced by selecting either the ripest grapes or the ripest grape bunches, harvesting them late and allowing them to dry on racks in special drying rooms (see image below). What inevitably happens is the grapes become raisined, resulting in very concentrated flavours in the wine.

Recioto della Valpolicella is a DOC sweet red wine made from Corvina, Rondinella and other local grape varieties. This is the most prevalent Recioto style of wine. Less common is the sweet Recioto di Soave DOCG, made from dried, white, Garganega grapes. These wines can be somewhat expensive. Botrytis is encouraged for the sweet white wines and not always welcomed in the production of the sweet red wines as it results in a somewhat oxidised character which can be unpleasant.

Corvina grapes drying on racks in the Veneto region

Corvina grapes drying on racks in the Veneto region

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Vendange Tardive (von-donje tar-deev) literally meaning ‘late harvest,’ this refers to wines made from grapes that were left on the vines longer than those that were harvest normally. It can only be used for wines from Alsace. What happens in this case is that the grapes shrivel and look like small raisins. They may or may not be affected by the noble rot Botrytis but the resulting wine is always concentrated and very rich. It is usually sweet but can also sometimes be practically dry.

Grapes beginning to shrivel when left late on a vine.

Grapes beginning to shrivel when left late on a vine.

This style of wine (indicated by a V.T. on the label) is similar to other wine from Alsace in that it is usually full-bodied, elegant and rich. It is often a perfect match to rich meat dishes like duck and pork and goes very well with foie gras if it is a sweet style.

Hugel et Fils, Trimbach and Zind Humbrecht are 3 VERY renowned producers from Alsace who make excellent V.T. styles, usually sweet. Pinot Gris and Gewurtztraminer V.T. wines are intriguing and wonderfully aromatic. V.T. Rieslings are often pricey and incredibly age-worthy.

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Botrytis: a fungal disease that can affect grape vines, particularly in warm, moist, humid conditions. The bad form of the disease is also known as ‘grey rot’ because it turns the grape bunch a dull grey colour. The benevolent form of the disease is known as ‘noble rot’ because even though the fungus attacks ripe white grapes, it does not impart a bad flavour to them. In fact, by making holes in the grape berries, water from the grapes is able to evaporate, leaving only concentrated, sweet grape juice, from which extremely sweet (or dry, robust) wine can be produced.

Wines produced from botrytis-affected grapes tend to have a rich, marmalade/orange-peel nose with confected citrus and honeyed aromas. Dry wines can sometimes be produced from botrytised grapes. Sauternes is an example of a style of wines produced from botrytised grapes.

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Muscat de Beaumes-de-Venise (mooska-duh-bome-duh-venees): a sweet, often fortified wine made from the Muscat (pronounced ‘mooska’ in France) grape in the Rhone Valley. (In fact, the specific grape used is Muscat Blanc à Petits Grains

Beaumes-de-Venise is the name of a little village in Vaucluse in southern France and this style of wine is made by the addition of alcohol to fermenting grape must to stop the fermentation while there is still some natural grape sugar left in the juice. This process is known at ‘mutage’ (moo-tahj) The result is a wine that is sweet and slightly fuller structured because of the addition of alcohol. It is a fortified wine, having between 15% and 20% alcohol.

Paul Jaboulet, a top producer and negociant makes one that is available in India. Other good producers include Domaine de Durban.

Paul Jaboulet Aîné's Muscat de Beaumes-de-Venise, called 'Le Chant des Griolles'

Paul Jaboulet Aîné's Muscat de Beaumes-de-Venise, called 'Le Chant des Griolles'

This fact also appears as a daily post on my Facebook Group – WineFOTD. Click here to join.

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