Archive for February, 2010

France is believed to produces some the finest wines to be tasted. Why? Although France is a not a very big country (the whole country of France can fit inside Texas state lines), it is home to some of the biggest names/regions in the wine industry. The French climate and soil seem to be perfect for growing wine. Also Frence soil varies greatly with each region/sub-region so the wine produce will have different wine characteristics depending on what area the grapes were grown in. But the biggest reason why French wines are believed to be among one of the greatest regions to produce wine is the Appellation d’Origine Controllee (AOC ) which translates into “controlled term of origin”. The AOC regulates and classifies the vineyard and the wine the vineyard produces.

French Regions: Champagne, Alsace, Loire Valley, Bordeaux, Burgundy, Cote du Rhone, Languedoc -Roussillon, and Provence

AOC Regulation for Wine: Area of Production, Variety of Grape, Yield per Hectare, Vineyard Practices, Degree of Alcohol, Winemaking Practices, Tasting and Analysis, and Varietal Labeling

There is a lot more info that we could get into on the laws and regulations for French wines but for a normal everyday wine drinker it’s really not that  important and really boring. But what you do need to know is the Basic Quality Designation. There are three major classifications Vins de Table, Vins de Pays, and AOC regulated wine.

Vins de Table– Is table wine, some would say the lowest form of wine made in France. Usually very cheaply priced

Vins de Pays- Means “country wine” and is a step above Vins de Table but not of the quality of a AOC regulated wine. Vins de Pays is generally reasonably price.

Appellation d’Origine Controllee (AOC )- AOC regulated wine are the most important to learn. Since each sub-region has its on way of classifying the wines. I will have to list by sub-regions to make it as simple as possible. This will be done on How to Pick a French Wine (Part 2)


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2009 Donkey and Goat Grenache Rose, McDowell Valley, Ca

  • Color- Light Pink
  • Nose- Sweet Strawberry, Floral
  • Body- Light
  • Taste- Strawberries, Earthy, Mineral

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2007 Les Caves Joseph Bordeaux

  • Color- Lite Straw yellow
  • Nose- Grapefruit, Citrus, Pear, Mint
  • Body- Medium to Light
  • Taste- Citrus, Lime, Pear, Grapefruit

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Vino (Encino, CA)

Vino wine and tapas is one of the best wine bars in the valley. Vino has a very knowledgeable and friendly staff with a wonderful boutique wine list. Flights range from $10 to $20 and they have over 100 bottles on there list.


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Wine Basics

Wine Basics- When researching wine you will often be overwhelmed with information that is not really relevant to a casual wine drinker or to someone who just wants to be able to pick a good wine when your out to dinner. So below is a list of important facts that will get you by when out for a casual glass of wine.

1. Red or White- When choosing a glass of wine you should take a moment and considered what wine would best suit your needs (Are you pairing with food or just having a glass while watching Tv)

2. Varietal (Type of wine)- Now that you know the why its time to figure out what your drinking (This is all subjective to who you are and what you would like to drink. No one can tell you what you like.) But just so we can move on lets just pick  a Tempranillo since it is generally known for its ruby-red in colour, with aromas and flavors of berries, plum, tobacco, vanilla, leather,  herb, ect…

3. Buying a bottle- Ok so we know the Why and the What all that is left is to grab and bottle and go home, but what bottle?….. This is often the time when people just walk away and decide to drink water, but picking a bottle is actually easier than it looks you just have to take a couple of steps.

  • First look for the region that you prefer (Ca, Wa, Or, Ny, Spain, South Africa, France, Italy, Ect…). This is important because each region will have different characteristics (aromas and flavors). Once you have tasted enough wine from many different regions you will figure out what you prefer the best.
  • Second you want to look for a producer that you like (this will be a little difficult at first but the more you try the easier it gets).
  • Last step would be to read the back label. Reading the back label can give you an idea of the wine characteristics. Its is imported to remember that every person is going to taste different flavors wine tasting a wine so don’t count on tasting exactly what on the bottle.   

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2008 Chiusa Grande Tommolo Montepulciano d’Abruzzo

  • Color- Purple red
  • Nose- Dark fruit, Floral, Chemicals(floor cleaner)
  • Body- Medium 
  • Taste- Dry,   Cherries, Low tannins, black berries, Spices

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Cantara Cellars Zinfandel, Lodi

  • Color-Ruby Red
  • Nose- Pepper, Smokey, Oak
  • Body- Medium to Full
  • Taste- Red Berries, Plum, Pepper, Oak, Carmel

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