Just over the river from Sauternes lies the lesser known sweet-wine region of Saint Croix du Mont. The wines here benefit from the same climatic conditions of misty autumnal mornings that promote the development of the beneficial Botrytis fungus that helps make great sweet wines. The soils are different, being composed mainly of clay and chalk, which is liberally seamed with ancient oyster shells. This gives the wines a lighter character.
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The Gadais 96 acres, south of Nantes, is just a short drive inland from the Atlantic at Pornic. Hardly surprising, therefore, that Muscadet is so light and refreshing, with all the cool maritime climate to maintain the grapes natural acidity. The Domaine is run by Christophe, following his father, Michels, retirement. Although Muscadet has struggled in the face of increased competition from inexpensive whites from the New World, its peculiar charms are starting to be rediscovered by those who enjoy a modest amount of alcohol, combined with natural acidity and white flowers and apples. Made from the Mélon de Bourgogne, or Muscadet grape, this is the only thing to drink when eating oysters although lesser bottles are very good when cooking moules marinières.
Only the ripest grapes are harvested and each plot requires several pickings. Alcoholic fermentation starts slowly, with the temperature never exceeding 15°C. When the desired residual sugar level is reached, a fortification is carried out by the addition of alcohol, stopping fermentation. Golden yellow in colour and a powerful, rich and elegant nose of candied fruits and flowers. A well-balanced palate with a great length and good, steady aromatic persistence. Not too excessively sweet.
A delicious white wine from Sicily, originating from some of the best vineyards in the Trapani area. Fedele Bianco is an easy-to-drink blend of Catarratto, with a small portion of Inzolia & Grecanico. The three grape varieties are harvested in late September by hand and picked at optimum maturity. The varieties are each fermented separately, then blended together. The wine is then kept on its fine lees until the end of December, prior to bottling. The ageing on the lees gives the wine additional complexity and character. Catarratto contributes structure, viscosity and tropical fruit aromas to the blend, while the other two grape varieties lend this wine its refreshing acidity and citrus fruit flavours. Fedele Bianco is an enjoyable, refreshing, and everyday drinking white wine that offers aromas and flavours of citrus and tropical fruit. Perfect on its own as an apèritif, or serve with fresh antipasti or seafood.
English wine is no longer the joke it used to be and following close behind the world acclaim for the quality of our sparkling wines the still wines are now begining to gather praise. Situated on the banks of the River Dart near Totnes in South Devon, the Sharpham Estate consists of 500 acres of mixed farmland owned by the Sharpham Trust. The house, designed in 1770 by Sir Robert Taylor, stands on a hill overlooking the vineyards, fields and the winding River Dart. The house is also home of the Sharpham Trust, an educational charity that promotes well-being and sustainable living. This off-dry wine has a light, fresh character achieved by carefully blending the different grape varieties and partially ageing in American oak. Lovely fruit aromas with supple delicate flavours and a just off-dry style, result in a wine ideal for drinking alone or with food. This wine makes for ideal early drinking.
Translated, De Morgenzon means simply the morning sun and was so named because it is the first part of the Stellenboschkloof Valley to see the sun due to its high altitude and aspect. The vineyards cover the top southern and eastern slopes of Ribbokkop, overlooking the pinnacle of Kanonkop from where a cannon was fired to alert the farms in the region that a ship had put into Table Bay. The estate's owners (Wendy & Hylton Applebaum) are focused on producing top quality wines but are somewhat experimental in their approach. The vineyards are nurtured on a constant diet of classical music. Just taste that glissando !
Sociedade Agrícola Boas Quintas is a personal project of the oenologist Nuno Cancela de Abreu, launched in 1991 with the objective of producing estate-bottled wines from the re-awakening ancient wine region of the Dão. The philosophy underlining the project is to produce wines of high quality but of essentially Portuguese character, using the traditional native grape varieties of the region, like Encruzado, Cerceal Branco and Malvasia Fina.
Galicia, in north-western Spain enjoys a climate that is blessed with sunny days, liberally interspersed with regular downpours, and cool nights. These are perfect conditions for the local Albariño grape to thrive and produce a truly delicious and unique dry white wine. Think of the perkiness of Sauvignon Blanc with the delicacy of fine Riesling and you come close to the fresh, peachy flavours and lingering citrus edge of Albariño. Seafood is a given on the rocky Galician coast and this splendid example is a perfect match over here too, whether you're having Cromer crab or fish and chips.
It appears that the Greco grape variety is probably the ancestor vine to nearly all of Italys white varieties, including Verdicchio, which in turn is related to Trebbiano. Whereas Trebbiano is ubiquitous across Italy (and in France where it is also known as Ugni Blanc), Verdicchio is indigenous to the Marche region of central Italy. In the Castelli di Jesi DOC, they are permitted to add a maximum of 15% Trebbiano to the Verdicchio, and this produces a wine which is fresh and crisp. Founded in 1928, and it is the third generation Luca, Annalisa and Alessandro - who run the winery today. Enjoy as an aperitif or with anti pasti.
Following the purchase of the Château de la Saule and its parcels of vines at the beginning of the nineteenth century, the domaine has remained within the same family. Owned and run by the latest in the line, Alain Roy, the domaine is situated at the foot of Montagnys slopes - the romantic Château de la Saule, at the entrance to the village of Montagny-lès-Buxy, in the Côte Chalonnaise. Alain attaches great importance to the age of the vine and techniques favouring the use of products that respect the environment. The domaine, of almost 17 hectares, is run with this in mind.
The estate is made up of 18 "appellation" hectares (44 acres), sixteen of which are under cultivation. The majority of the plots are grouped around the château itself, in the small administrative municipalities of Sauternes, Bommes, and Preignac. Surrounded by the most renowned Sauternes vineyards, this is an ideal location and combines the best conditions to produce a great Sauternes.