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.
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Albeit the junior wine of First Growth Sauternes, Château Guiraud (neighbouring estate of the mythical Château d'Yquem) this is wine of superb quality; fine and supple with very intense flavours and good structure. Will not disappoint! Petit Guiraud is produced without chaptalisation or cryoextraction, or any other form of enrichment, and meets the same standards as Château Guiraud, which is the only Premier Grand Cru Classé of 1855 to have obtained organic certification for its vineyard and to be strongly committed to a broad and genuine consideration of the environmental issues of wine production.
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.
Several years ago Jacques decided to leave the family domaine in Puligny and set up on his own a few doors down the street. With holdings in many of the best vineyards of the region Jacques has top quality fruit which he ferments in cask and ages his wines for a further six months in barrel before finishing off with a six month 'rest' in stainless steel tank. Fresh, good depth of fruit and notable natural acidity mean a very elegant style of wine.
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.
Made from Cortese, the hero white variety in Piedmont, this wine has ample ripe peach fruit with an elegant balance of acidity.
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.
The great diversity of terroir of the Robertson Valley is a major contributing factor to the quality and character of the wines made here, from the rich soils near the river, to the shale and sandstone on the lower slopes of the Langeberg Mountains to the gravelly soils higher up. The Robertson Valley is around 100 miles from Cape Town, between these foothills to the lower reaches of the Breede River. The area is perfect for grape growing with unlimited sunshine and cooling sea breezes. Forty-three growers, many of them fourth generation, supply the modern winery with grapes from a mighty total of 2000 hectares. This has the tell-tale mouthfeel and viscous texture of Viognier, with honeyed apricot flavours and limes on the palate.
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.
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 !
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.