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bordeaux blanc, coteaux du giennois, loire valley, quincy, sauvignon blanc -

I have to confess that Sauvignon Blanc is a grape variety I've often been snobbily dismissive of as the aromas can be too obvious and often not that pleasant (after all, cat's pee doesn't sound like a positive adjective...). But recently I've had to rethink, after tasting several dangerously drinkable yet sophisticated wines made from Sauvignon Blanc. So, why the prejudice and why the rethink? prejudice: New Zealand  Sauvignon Blanc most likely originates from the Loire Valley in France, where it's famous in appellations such as Sancerre and Pouilly-Fumé for a lean style noted for gunflint aromas. But it's New...

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oregon, Ribera del Duero, rosé, washington -

The beginning of the week here in Petaluma, California saw temperatures in the low 30s (that's centigrade, US friends). It's the beginning of May and that heat takes some getting used to. As the heat builds up during the day, a glass of rosé becomes extremely appealing. some rosé history Rosé is, to put it as simply as possible, a pink wine, made mostly from black grapes but with minimal skin contact or extremely gentle pressing to reduce the color of the wine. Various versions of rosé have been made for centuries: the British term for Bordeaux is Claret, which...

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Tony Wilson was a Mancunian journalist, TV presenter, and entrepreneur who, in the late 1970s, founded Factory Records which nurtured seminal bands such as Joy Division, New Order, and The Happy Mondays. The epicentre of the Manchester scene in the 1980s was the Haçienda nightclub, another brainchild of Tony Wilson’s.  One of his favorite though lesser known artists in the Factory line-up was Vini Reilly, a shy, inward-looking, but visionary guitarist. He was uncomfortable performing under his own name, so Tony Wilson, ever the provocateur, gave him a band name, The Durutti Column, named after an anarcho-syndicalist general in the...

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austria, blaufränkisch, burgenland, finger lakes, germany, lemberger, new york, württemberg -

Blaufränkisch is one of Austria's most important black grapes. Its historic reputation can be seen in its name: Fränkisch is a traditional term for a high-quality grape, in contrast to inferior varieties which were called Heunisch. It produces spicy, meaty wines not dissimilar to Syrah, though not as tannic, and is more suited to a cooler climate. Its origins lie somewhere between the modern Austrian and Hungarian borders. In Hungary, it's called Kékfrankos (a literal translation of Blaufränkisch) where the wines are particularly bloody. There are around 1,800ha planted in Germany, where the grape is called Lemberger, named after the southern...

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el dorado, sardinia, vermentino -

The great Portuguese author Fernando Pessoa wrote under many pseudonyms, which he termed heteronyms. The names he used were all different expressions of his personality, his writing, and his artistic ambition. To write under one name would limit him; to write under several expanded his potential greatly. Likewise, many historic, important grape varieties don’t just have one name: each name helps us understand the identity and history of the variety and the culture in which it has developed. In Spain, the most planted black variety is Tempranillo. Its importance is underscored by its many different names in the country: Ull...

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