Tuesday, 28 February 2017

Sunday, 26 February 2017

Pinot Noir - Grapes and Wines from Australia

Mostly, Pinot Noir wines are light to medium bodied and exhibit aromas of red and black cherry and show characters of wet leaves and cabbage in cool climate and cherry, strawberry, raspberry and mushroom characters in medium climate.

Pinot noir has its origin in Burgundy region of France in Côte-d'Or.

The grapes form tight clusters shaped like a pine cone and so is its name Pinot Noir, in French meaning pine cone like.

Also Known as Spätburgunder, Blauburgunder and Rulandské modré.

Pinot Noir is terroir-expressive meaning grapes produces characters which are different from region to region.

Found in tight clusters which result in few viticulture hazards like rot.

Its thin skin is prone to attack from fungus and powdery mildew.

The grape is sensitive to frost and the wind and during winemaking, it is sensitive to yeast strains.

Area & Wine Regions
There are about 290,000 acres of Pinot Noir vines around the world. At the top place is France having approx. 75,760 acres and next to it is the United States with approx. 73,600 acres of the area under vines.

Besides Burgundy region of France, major places where it is popular and grown are California’s Central Coast, Oregon’s Willamette Valley, South Africa’s Walker Bay, New Zealand’s Marlborough and Martinborough wine regions and Australia’s Yarra Valley and Tasmania wine regions.

Wine Regions in Australia
Pinot Noir vines can be found various regions in Australia some of which are-
·         Mornington Peninsula, Yarra Valley and Beechworth in Victoria
·         South Australia’s Adelaide Hills
·         Great Southern Wine Region of Western Australia

Food Pairing

Goes well with most kinds of food and is also enjoyed solo.


In 2004 and starting off 2005, there was a spike in the wine’s demand in U.S.A, New Zealand, Australia and Asia during which it became a highly talked about wine after the release of the movie ‘Sideways’ in which the protagonist is shown to have a fondness towards Pinot Noir wines.

Notable Wines

Some of the notable wines of this grape variety are Nuits-Saint-Georges and Gevrey-Chambertin

Wednesday, 22 February 2017

Chardonnay - Grapes and Wines from Australia

Chardonnay is a white grape variety with green skin. It is grown in wide-ranging regions in the world from England in one hemisphere to New Zealand on the other. Grape is considered neutral with its major influences in flavors comes from the oak and terroir. Next, to Airén, it is grown over 160,000 hectares worldwide and is the second most grown grape variety.

 As a vigorous vine, it tends to block the sunlight and may even hinder the nutrient intake of its grape clusters with its densely-spread leaf cover. Being an early-budding vine, it may get damaged by springtime frost.

Variation in Flavors with respect to Climate
In cool locations, such as Chablis of California, wines tend to be light bodied and little acidic having tree fruit flavors. In relatively warmer locations, such as Adelaide Hills in Australia and Marlborough and Gisborne regions of New Zealand flavors differ and are more citrus. In Central Coast of California which is even warmer, tropical fruit flavors such as mango and banana are prevalent in wines.

Food Pairing
Chardonnay wines go well with roast chicken and white meat like turkey.

Confusion with Pinot Blanc
One can get confused between Pinot blanc and Chardonnay as vines are very similar but looking closely at the leaves of Chardonnay during ripening, they have a more golden-green color as compared to Pinot blanc.

History in Australia
Chardonnay cultivation began in 1832 by James Busby but the real growth happened in the 1950s. Today, major vine cultivation can be seen in New South Wales, South Australia, and Victoria. The first commercially successful Chardonnay was produced by Murray Tyrrell in 1971. With the Chardonnay boom of the 1980s and 1990s,

Australia wine makers tweaked their Chardonnay, enhancing its richness during the fermentation process. During this period the grape cultivation increased multifold and became the most widely planted white grape variety in Australia and overall third highest just behind Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon.

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Viognier Grapes- Origin, Climate, and Regions

Viognier is white grape variety. Origin of Viognier is unclear but researchers point it to Dalmatia (now Croatia) and that Romans brought with them to the Rhône.

A warmer climate with the long growing season is most suitable for the grapes but these can also be grown in cooler areas. Grapes of this variety requires long, warm season to ripen fully. Grapes should not be exposed to a hot climate for a long time otherwise, wine’s aromatic notes would be suppressed and it would turn out to contain high levels of sugar.

The picking of the fruit should be neither too early nor too late. If picked early, its taste and aromas would not properly develop and if delayed wine would turn out to be oily and lacking adequate aromas.

One drawback of planting Viognier is its yield is low which makes it a little costlier affair.

Viognier is grown in regions of New Zealand, North and South America, Cape Winelands in South Africa and Australia.

Viognier and Chardonnay
Viognier like Chardonnay can produce wines high in alcohol and not overly tannic. Unlike Chardonnay, it contains notes of pears and peach.

In Australia, Yalumba winery used the grape to produce varietal white wines and creating shiraz blends.

Most cases the wines are developed to be consumed young but those coming from old vines or the late-harvest vines can age well especially those from Australia and California.

Food Pairing

These Viognier wines do pair well with spicy Thai cuisine.

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Verdelho- Grapes and Wines from Australia

In the 15th Century, Verdelho grape was grown primarily on the island of Madeira and Douro Valley in Portugal. However, the vines were damaged by Phylloxera plague which led to significant reduction of vines.
Verdelho arrived in Australia in the 1820s and was initially used in the production of fortified wines but which later evolved as dry white table wines.
Australian wines are known for flavors of honeysuckle and lime and an appearance of oil on the surface of wine that comes with aging.
In Australia, the grape is popular and grown in regions such as Cowra, Langhorne Creek, Swan Valley, Queensland, and Hunter region, among others. Each region gives its own unique flavors to the wine.
Climate and Flavors
Verdelho grown in cooler climate have herbal and grassy flavors and substantial presence of citrus fruit. On the other hand, Verdelho grown in a warmer climate have higher alcohol content, sweeter and has fruit salad flavors.
From viticulture point of view, the grapes need to be protected from the attack of powdery mildew. The vines can be harmed by cold weather conditions such as frost.
Similar sounding grape varieties
One should not be confused with similar sounding grape varieties such as Verdelho Tinto which is a red grape variety in Madeira, Verdelho Feijão of Portugal, Verduzzo which is an Italian grape variety and Verdejo which is white grape of Spain.
Value for Money
A great value for money compared to expensive Chardonnay. One can enjoy good quality Verdelho wine by shelling out $20 for a bottle.

Verdelho wines are best consumed young. 

Tuesday, 14 February 2017

Grenache - Grapes and Wines from Australia

Grenache growing conditions and regions
Grenache is one of the most widely grown red grape variety in the world.
Ripening of Grenache grape takes time and hot and dry weather conditions like that found in Spain are favorable for its growth.  Some of the places where it is grown are California’s San Joaquin Valley, south of Australia, Sardinia in Italy.

Grenache Color
Grenache is oxidized easily when it meets air and develops a brown color which can be observed around the rim by tilting the glass at an angle.

Grenache Blends
Wine made from this grape is seen being blended with other varieties such as Tempranillo, Syrah, and Carignan among others.

Grenache in Australia
James Busby planted a clone from Perpignan, France in 1832. But it was Dr. Christopher Rawson Penfold who began growing them in South Australia in 1844 which brought with it remarkable results and its plantations was spread across Barossa Valley, McLaren Vale, and Clare Valley. Among the grape varieties, Grenache had the largest share of the area in Australia prior to 1950s. But later, the focus of Australian winemakers shifted to premium wines and with that first Shiraz and then Cabernet Sauvignon began appearing in Australian Vineyards along with Grenache.

But in the 1990s and 2000s, a fresh interest was developed in Grenache with the introduction of GSM – a wine blend of Grenache, Syrah, and Mouvedre.

Grenache Flavors
The most common notes found in Grenache are of berry fruit such as strawberries and raspberries. McLaren Vale Grenache is known for its spicy notes and richness whereas Grenache of Barossa Valley is fruity with intense flavors.

Common Names

It is known by Garnacha and Garnatxa in Spain, Cannonau in Italy and Grenache Noir in some regions. 

Popular Grenaches wines online stores of Australia are Danmurphys, Just Wines, Nakedwines and some others. 

Winy Wits- Wine Quotes- Made for Each Other

winy wits- made for each other

"There is no love better than love for food, and it includes wines as well"

Friday, 10 February 2017

Thursday, 9 February 2017

Movies on the Theme of Wines

Wines are popular around the world. These are grown all over the global wherever there are suitable agro-climatic conditions. Wines have also been the subject of many hollywood movies. Some of these which shall be seen by wine lovers to gain an insight into the actual working of the wines businesses are provided here.

Bottle Shock


Red Obsession
A Good Year
Blood into Wine
American Wine Story
A Walk in the Clouds

Wednesday, 8 February 2017

An Introduction to Merlot Grape and Merlot Wines

Merlot comes from Magdeleine Noire des Charentes and Cabernet Franc family.

Merlot Wines are smooth and contains taste of plums and chocolate and someone tasting red wine for the first time, Merlot is the best choice.

Difference between Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon
Merlot is different from Cabernet Sauvignon in the following ways –
·         Color is lighter and the grape skin thinner.
·         Ripens faster that Cabernet Sauvignon.
·         Sugar Content is higher and Malic acid is lower in Merlot grapes.

Most suitable soil for Merlot is cold soil and ferrous clay. Due to its thin skin, it is vulnerable from insects and fungus.

France has the world’s largest share of Merlot planting which amounts to two-third. Other world regions where it is grown are – Greece, New Zealand, South Africa, Australia, Chile, Argentina, United States, Mexico, Croatia, Montenegro, Canada, Bulgaria, California, Hungary, Switzerland, Slovenia and Romania.
In 2004, There was 115,000 hectares of area under Merlot plantation in France and the most widely grown grape variety.

Merlot comes in 3 styles –
First style being soft, smooth and low in tannins.
Second style is higher in tannins
Third style being tannic, like Cabernet Sauvignon.

Merlot of cold climate
Merlot grown in cold regions such as Italy, France and Chile, normally show higher levels of tannins and earth like flavours of tar and tobacco and are often confused with Cabernet Sauvignon. Wines coming from Pomerol, St. Emilion and Fronsac are few examples.

Merlot of warm climate
Merlot grown in warmer regions such as Australia, California and Argentina, is fruit driven and tannin level is not prominent. To improve the structure of the wines, it is aged in oak barrels for a period of 24 months. California Merlot is one example.

In Australia, Merlot grapes are grown in about 8480 hectares of land area and production is of about 111 thousand tonnes. Check more statistics here

Wednesday, 1 February 2017

Penfolds Wines

Penfolds has a history beginning 1844 which makes it one of the oldest wine companies of Australia. The winery features a range of wines under different labels and offers wines in every varietal. Most of the popular Penfolds wines are offered under the range of Limited Edition, Max's, Koonunga Hill, Cellar Reserve, Special Bins and Fortifieds.