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Terroir Australis: Why Some Areas Grow Better Wine Than Others

by Darby Higgs

Terroir is a word that gets bandied about a lot lately. You need to know what it means if you want to know if the speaker or writer knows what she or he is talking about. Terroir is a French word which does not translate directly into English. It is derived from “terra” the Latin word for earth that gives us English words such as terrain and territory. But terroir is a word that has much deeper meanings than just earth. The best definition I can find is that it refers to the totality of the environmental factors which influence viticulture at a particular site. The obvious factors are soil and climate, but it is worthwhile digging a little deeper; topography and hydrology are also important. The French have developed the idea of terroir in tandem with their Appellation Control...

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British Columbia Wine; The Tip Of The Iceberg

by Ron Kapon

Canada has been making wine since the 1800’s and today there are over 400 wineries throughout our northern neighbor. Many of you are familiar with the ice wines from the Ontario region just over the border from Niagara Falls, but I was surprised at the blank stares when I mentioned I was going to British Columbia to write a wine story. The region is small with most of the wineries classified as “boutique”. Several American & Australian wineries produce more wine than the entire BC region. The areas I visited are at the northernmost tip of wine making and vine growing (Germany is in the same latitude) where the vines struggle to grow ripe fruit with a shorter growing season. I never saw tour buses or lines of people at the tasting rooms and at most I met the owner or winemaker pou...

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Adam Strums The Indian Wine Chord

by Subhash Arora

If one believes in the prophesy of Adam Strum about the future of Indian wine it will strike a sweet sounding chord in the ears of the producers. As the publisher of Wine Enthusiast, the second highest circulated wine magazine in the world and owner of the largest wine media empire, with annual sales ringing up more than 80 million greenbacks and with the business experience of over 26 years, Adam can nose a winner when he sees one. And India is set to ride high in his crystal ball. Adam was on a personal visit to India for the first time with his two wine-loving daughters Erica, Jacky and his Eve Sybil with whom he co-founded the business of online marketing wine accessories, from wine cellars to corkscrews, in 1979. He sensed a great demand for wine education.‘ The USA then was wher...

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Integrity

by Gabrio Tosti

Integrity: the quality or state of being of sound moral principle; uprightness, honesty and sincerity. The integrity of a wine starts from the vineyard, the winemaker and her reputation. But what if one doesn't know the estate owners, how does the integrity show from the wine itself? What does integrity in wine mean? By tasting a wine just once, it's difficult to discern whether a wine has integrity or whether it is a manipulated product. Most of the time you’ll feel the effects of a manipulated wine the next day as a hangover. The palate can sometimes be deceived (in the short run, anyway). Think about food: a fast food treat might not taste bad, but it's not sincere. Over millions of years, the human palate has evolved a keen ability to determine good food from bad, but t...

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Rating Or Not Rating That's The Dilemma

by Gabrio Tosti

First of all, what does a wine score mean? It's clearly impossible to summarize in a simple laboratory number something as complex, subtle, and organic as the emotional experience of consuming wine. Also, a numerical score wrongly suggests a level of precision that doesn't exist, and a single scale can't ever accommodate a range of styles. If anything, it has meaning to the judge or, as is often the case with magazine ratings, the team that assigned the score. Every wine critic has his own palate and all industry magazines have their editorial policies. I have nothing against wine critics they serve important functions, not the least of which is to hold producers with excellent reputations to the highest standards. It's the wine score that I take issue with. Many wine critics have grea...

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Airén - The Grape From La Mancha

by Steve De Long

Statistically, Airén is the most outrageous wine grape the world has ever known. Many wine guides and sites still refer to it as the most widely grown wine grape in the world, although it has been recently surpassed by Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot (surprise, surprise!) Still, it’s the most widely grown white wine grape but this owes more to the reduction in Airén acreage than to the international ascendancy of Cab Sauv and Merlot.* Amazingly enough, Airén isn’t grown anywhere else but Spain and in Spain isn’t really grown outside of the arid plains of La Mancha. To be sure, most people haven’t heard of this bigger than life eccentric as they have La Mancha’s other bigger than life eccentric, Cervantes’s Don Quixote. The most widely grow grape varieties are determined b...

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Carolina On My Mind: The Great Grapes Wine Festival

by Eve White

The smell of food wafting in the air, the sound of upbeat rhythms from the white-canopied bandstand, and the taste of North Carolina wine await on the lush green expanse known as Symphony Park. Welcome to The Great Grapes Wine, Arts & Food Festival in Charlotte, North Carolina, an all day consumer tasting where North Carolina wines are showcased against a backdrop of cooking demos, food booths, crafts and the laid-back music of jazz and blues. The white tents dot the park-like setting and although the ground is soggy from a few days of heavy rain, it does not dampen the spirits of wine lovers making their way across the manicured lawn, to buy local artwork, grab a bite to eat and sample the fruit of the vine. Eager tasters line up in front of the tents of nineteen participating North C...

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The Wine Whisperers

by Jennifer Rosen

Buffalo Commercial Advertiser, 1869: “Noted horse-tamer Professor D. Magner was introduced to a horse belonging to the Omnibus Company - a most vicious brute, with the habit of biting and striking with his forefeet, this large and powerful bay once killed a man by biting and trampling him and recently bit the hand almost off a person. In about twenty minutes Mr. Magner reduced this brute to perfect subjection - the former furious beast being as docile as a kitten.” This sort of news item was more common when horses were crucial to our economy, but the “horse whisperer” is still around. Having spent years training horses and training people to train them, I can vouch for the existence of these types. They often make a living teaching their “system,” but the truth is, the se...

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Second Coming For Malbec

by Jennifer Rosen

When I was 12, I did something all embarrassed preteens dream about and few outside the witness protection program ever get a chance at: I reinvented myself. Fed up with my shoddy grades, my mother uprooted me from a uniformed girls’ academy, where status was a coefficient of your dodge-ball velocity and midterm math grades, and sent me to a kind of new wave experiment in learning where you went around in bare feet and called your teacher Bob. Unless his name was Sally. Best thing that ever happened to me. Along with the terrifying and enchanting presence of boys, came the beauty of starting with a clean slate. No longer the non-joiner who slept through math and found diagramming sentences a complete waste of time, once transplanted, I became a popular, vivacious biology whiz, adm...

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In And Out

by Jennifer Rosen

When my sister and I were 9 and 10, we started a club called Bush-Hide. It had no mission statement, but the initiation rites rocked. They ranged from undignified (rolling in leaves and screaming) for grownups, to daring (you show me yours…) for boys. Clubs, even pointless ones, remind us of our atavistic need to belong or die. There’s nothing worse than being out. Just ask the shunned cannibal, declared by his tribe persona au gratin. You’re either on the bus or off the bus, said Ken Kesey. I prefer a unicycle, but I’m still curious about what goes on inside. I’ve always wondered about those ancient and royal organizations; for instance the mystery of the Mason (not to mention the mystery of the mason jar: how the hell do you get that lid off?) So I accepted with great plea...

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