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By Giuliano Bortolleto

Undoubtedly, Malbec is the emblematic grape of Argentina. Since the end of the nineteen century, when the first Malbec vines came to the south american country, until the 70 decade of the last century, Malbec vineyards has just grown so rapidly along the country in the same way that the internal demand deeply rised as well (by this time the national consumption reached the unbelieveble number of almost 95 liters per person by year). However, the wine production in Argentina was mostly based on table wines.

As I have already explained on the Red Wines Blog, the argentinean producers, together with the national organisms of vitiviniculture control (notedly the INV and the INTA) has drastically changed its way of producing wines, which incredibly improved the vitiviniculture in there (see th post A Summary of the Malbec History in Argentina). So, by the end of the 90s, the argentinean vitiviniculture started to strongly believe in the potential of the french grape from Cahors and many producers were begining to see the amazing results that they were getting with the combination of the Mendoza’s terroir (the dry climate, the irrigation water from the Andes thawing, the thermical wideness), with the Malbec.

Malbec has became the national grape in Argentina and these wines represent their country in the world wine with full-bodied an great personality, plus the latest years elegancy aquired.

It is important to say about the this red grape capacity of producing many styles of wines. There are some wineries doing sparkling wines, with both varietals or blends of Malbec; there are exemples of fortified wines made with this grape, there are Malbec varietals to be drunk young, other to be kept for a couple of years and there are always good results when it is tried to give the wine a touch of oak resting. But for now, let’s talk about the young Malbecs produced in Mendoza.

The most simple Malbec wines produced in Argentina usually are a little rustic and usually are a bit “savage” in the mouth. That’s because qe are talking about a wine with too much tannins. But, as usually even these young and simple wines get som oak time before got the market, with one or two years resting in the bottle, they got just some simple pasta with red sauce or some condimented red meat. This is one of the favorite styles for the argentinean people. They are very used to drink this kind of wine.

But, be carefull. when it comes to the oak presence in the wine you should pay attention to what you are buying. It is not true that all the young wines receive too much oak into their composition, although there are a lot of bad wines being produced just based on the oak stage, which tunrs the wine into a real oak mess! Normally, the chances of making a mistake buying a bad wine decrease radically when you choose a good and respectfull producer. Actually this is not a rule just for buying argentinean wines, but in every country in the world, even in France or Italy.

So, now, I am going to show a few good examples of simple Malbec wines from Mendoza an tell somethings about the producers so you can now them better. For now, I will just talk about wines with cost less than 15 dollars.

Finca Flichman - Malbec Roble 2007 Price: about US$ 7,90

This is a centenary winery, located in the east of Mendoza. Its wines are very well produced. Their simple wines express the good aromas of red fruits, such as raspberry and cherries. It has spent three months inside the oak barrel, which helps to smooth the wine little. Although it is a rustic wine, it conserves very nice fruit flavours, besides those ones that were brought by the oak contact. Despite it is a little dry in the end, it is one of the best choices in terms of price and quality’s relation.

Trapiche - Varietales Malbec 2007 Price: about US$ 8,30

The Trapiche winery is a very big one also, and has a very long history in the argentinean vitiviniculture. As many wineries in Argentina, used to produce only comun wines, with no quality to attend the national big demand. Now they have very nice facilities and high technology to produce very good wines. This varietal wine, is full-bodied and rustic. Lots of oak notes, like chocolate and some tobaco. Dry end. But very nice price and quality too.

Norton - Malbec Lujan de Cuyo DOC 2007

Price: about US$ 10,50

That’s one of the biggest in Argentina and, despite the others which exports a lot, there is a bottle of a Norton wine in almost every restaurant of the country. This a very nice exmple of an oaky Malbec wine. The presence of the oak can be feeled as soon as you put the wine into the glass. But there is a good fruit also and som pepper notes. It can get better if you wait for some two or three years to open the bottle.

Catena Wines - Alamos Malbec 2007

Price: about US$ 8,30

Now we are talking about one of the best wineries in Mendoza certainly. Mr Nicolás Catena, the company owner, made a great job by selecting the clons of the Malbec grape, in order to obtain the best that the fruit could give and the results were the best you can imagine. Lots of high notes on specialized magazines, like Wine Spectator, were given to the special wines made with Malbec. This one, as I said before, it is not one of this special wines. But it is made by the same winery that is wordly known by the excelence on producing the best Malbec wines from Argentina, so I think you can figure out that this varietal one is not just a comun and simple wine, although is made just for daily consumption. The Alamos Malbec it’s much more complex than the others. A lot of red fruits appear on the bouquet, raspberry, strawberry. Some mint and red pepper can also be noticed. It has a good sweetness, not nauseating, that combined with the tannic potency, creates a great body to the wine. Very easy to drink. And it can be better if you wait one hour with the bottle opened to get the wine a little softer.

Terrazas de los Andes - Linea Verietal Malbec 2007

Price: about US$ 8,30

That’s also a very special winery. It is owned by the french multinational company LVMH. The Moët & Chandon winery came to the country in the 50s and discovered the great climate and soil that Mendoza had. Now their producton is made in order to export the majority. There are really high technology and a really good enologists of staff. This wine is from their varietal line, but when you drink it you might think you are drinking like a “Reserva” wine. Very well structured, complex, very strong fruit aroma and you can barely feel the oak flavours. It is much more soft and mature than the others. It’s really ready to drink.

By Giuliano Bortolleto

On my last post I said that would write a few words about the tasting of some Zinfandel red wines from California. So, lets go. I am going to talk about three Zinfandel wines from three different producers, so we can check the differences out.

Wente Vineyards - Zinfandel 2005 This is a great producer, located next to the city of San Francisco, on the Livemore Valley, north of the California State. At the Valley there is a warm climate, with high temperature during the day and low temperature during the night, thanks to the marine breeze that comes from the Pacifico. This is one of the best places to plant Zinfandel in Califronia. The result is a fresh wine, not very tannic. A lots of mulberry and raspberry notes. The oak also brings some chocolate notes.

Seghesio - Alexander Valley Home Ranch Zinfandel 2007, Red Wines

Seghesio - Alexander Valley Home Ranch Zinfandel 2007: That’s one of the most important producers of the California’s State. This wine was awarded with unbelieveble 93 on the Wine Spectator Magazine, and it was chosen as the 10th best wine of 2008. The Seghesio is a centenarian family that has been making their wines in northern Sonoma County and farms with more than 400 acres of Zinfandel vines in Dry Creek and Alexander valleys. This very special wine bring some strong notes of black fruits such as plum and mulberry. With some time resting at the glass it will widely open the wine bouquet and some very nice dry fruit aroma will emerge. The oak presence is noted, but it is never over the fruit flavours. Very complex wine, with good acidity.

J. Lohr - Painter Bridge Zinfandel 2005 This wine is a litte bit different from the other two. There are only 8 acres of Zinfandel vineyards at the Paso Robles Vineyards, in San Luis Obispo County. That’s also a hot region, which brings a grat amount of sugar to the fruit. The wine transmits this sweetness, as well as great red and black fruit flavours. The Syrah brings some spice and also black tea notes to the aroma. Velvety texture in the mouth.

By Giuliano Bortolleto

Zinfandel grape | Red Wines

The Zinfandel is presently the Californian wines face around the world. When you think about California, you will certainly remember the name of the red grape Zinfandel. This grape was discovered in Californian soil by the mid-nineteen century, and from that time it is beign planted in that. The origin of the name “Zinfandel” is uncertain. What is quite right is that the Zinfandel grape is genetically equivalent to the italian red variety named Primitivo, and also to a Croatian grape, named Crljenak Kaštelanski.

However, it does not mean that they are just the same grape with different names depending on the country. There are some clonal differences between Zinfandel from California and Primitivo from Italy, and, according to studies, the Zinfandel has not originated on italian soil. It is more likely that the grape came from europe and has its origins linked to croatian varieties.

Zinfandel is now responsable for 10 percent of the planted areas in California, and is the third leading winegrape variety in California, with nearly 52,000 acres planted, according to the 2007 California Grape Acreage Report.

But talking about the taste and flavours of a Zinfandel wine, it will depends on the ripeness of the grapes from which it is planted. The wines from cooler areas bring some aromas of strawberry, raspberry and cherry. The ones from waremer regions tastes blackberry, anise and pepper notes.

On my next post I will talk about a the tasting notes of some very special Zinfandel wines from California.

Malbec Grape
By Giuliano Bortolleto, january 22nd of 2009

The viticulture was brought to the argentinean soil, as weel as many other countries colonized by the Spain, by the oficials of the Catholic Church in order to use the wine on the Christian celebrations. The priest Juan Cidrón came from Santiago Del Estero, Chile, was the one who has planted the first grapevine by the year 1554. Since then, the viticulture in Argentina growed rapdly, due to the great number of european imigrants who arrived in the country, bringing whit them the culture of to produce and drink wines.

Achaval Ferrer Malbec 2005

However, only in the nineteen century that the Malbec grape “officialy” came to Argentina, when the french agronomist Miguel Aimé Pouget came from Chile to work in the Mendoza province, bringing whith him some seeds of Malbec grape. “Officialy” because it is now known that, by the number of malbec vines that were found along the country in the twenty century, ti is not possible to admit that the first Malbec vine was bought by Pouget. Certainly there was a lot of Mabec vines in other areas of the country.

During the middle of the last century the wine internal consumption reached the impressive number of more than 90 liters of wine wine in a year per person. The Malbec was already known by the majority of the wine consumers in Argentina, in spite of the low quality of wines that were produced by the 60 and 70 decades. Only in the 80s, with the extinction of one third of the vineyards in Argentina, conduced by the INV (National Institute of Vitiviniculture) in order to finish with the poor quality vineyards the quality started to be aimed by a great amount of producers.

Than, in the 90s, the INTA (National Institute of Agrarian Technology) started a clonal selection of the Malbec grapes so that the best species of that grape would be cultivated in the argentinean soil. And the results of these initiatives were tremendously good. Many high-quality wine producers started to believe in the great potencial of Malbec to produce fine wines.

Nowadays the Malbec is so respected in Argentina that it have became the National grape of the country, being the grapes most planted in all the national soil, and its wines take the name of the south american country all over the globe. It’s is very rare now to find some wine reviewer that do not recognize the great quality of the Malbec wines made in Argentina.

Although Malbec is not an autochthon grape, it is rare to find in the New World of wine, in which you can find a so strong identification between the grape and the national culture. The Malbec has paired so perfectly with the argentinean typical food (red meat and barbecue), and is so nationaly appreciated that is dificult even to imagine that this grape came from another country apart from Argentina.

This is a video that shows the production of a regular Beaujolais wine. The who speaks shows somethings, which are very important in order to understand how can you call a real Beaujolais wine. He talks about the legislation, about the quantity of Gamay planted in Beaujolais. But, one thing really important that he says is that the real Beaujolais wine is very different from the so caled Beaujolais Nouveau, made to be drunk very young, and which is very fruity. Check it out.

By Giuliano Bortolleto, january 22th of 2009.

Gamay Grape

In the south of Burgundy we will find the last district of this fantastic frenh region: the Beaujolais. This region has a different soil from the rest of burgundy. Actualy, Beaujolais is almost a different region from Burgundy. This region, which is located about 35 miles north to the city of Mâcon, has granite-laden hills, that’s why no other location in France has been able to elaborate Gamay-based wines as Beaujolais. Yes. Apart from the soil, the big difference between Beaujolais and the rest of Burgundy is the grape that is cultivated. The Gamay is the principal grape of the location, with more than 98% of all vines planted.

The Gamay produces light to medium-bodied wine, that is made to be tasted slightly fresh and young. This wine has a light purple color, pleasantly fruity flavors, such cherry, bananas, berries, and peaches and high acidity and low tannins. It can be paired with a lot of french cheeses, such as Reblochon, Pont L’Eveque and Camembert, with duck and goose meat, and other typical food from its region.

Beaujolais Village AC

The Appellation of Beaujolais is divised in three categories: There are the Beaujolais AC wines, which are produced in the southern part of the location. There, the wines red wines must contain 9% of alcohol level. These are the most simple Beaujolais Wines. Than we have the Beaujolais Supérieur AC, that are produced in the same region, but whith 10% of alcohol. The vineyards at this location must have lower yields per acre, what point to a higher quality of the this kind of Beaujolais wine. There are the Beaujolais-Villages Appellation Controlé wines, which correspond to a group of thirty-nine villages with superior vineyards. Finally, we have the highest-quality level of a Beaujolais Appellation. There are only ten villages that can take the name CRU in their wines, plus the name of the Village. They are e Brouilly, Chénas, Chiroubles, Côte de Brouilly, Fleurie, Juliénas, Morgon, Moulin-à-Vent, Réginé, and Saint-Amour.

There are a few other french regions that also produce some gamay wines. In Côte Chalonnaise, there is a famous a blend of Pinot Noir and not more than two-thirds of Gamay, which is known as the “Bourgogne Passe-Tout-Grain”. There are some other gamay wines in Loire and Touraine. Outside the french lines there are not so much gamay wines. Nevertheless, there are a few good examples of this grape wines in New Zealand and California.

The regions of wine production in the Island of CorsigaLes Vins D’appelation D’origine Controlee – (A.O.C.)

The Soils of Production
Ajaccio, Calvi, Cap Corse, Muscat du Cap Corse, Figari, Patrimonio, Porto Vecchio, Sartene.
Aromas in harmony and voyage into the heart of the island.

AOC of Ajaccio

The slopes of Ajaccio cover a wide area stretching from the Balagne to Sartène. This region is
home to an important number of winemakers who vinify their own grapes in their own cellars.
Here are to be found some of the most long-established and highly reputed domains in
Corsica, as well as small vineyards which are a real archive of wine-making history. The
Sciaccarellu grape is the pride of the Ajaccio vineyards, as it lends its character - a colour
clear but full and bright as a flame, and an exceptional distinction - to reds and rosés alike.
Surface: 242 ha, Production of Red: 5.087 hl, of Rosé: 2.556 hl, of White: 4.852 hl,
Return: 42,07 hl/ha

AOC of Corse Calvi

The Balagne is a region which is one of the gentlest of the island, with its well-ordered fields
and its superb villages perched between sea and mountain peaks. The wines of the Balagne
were known to Seneca, and today their full-bodied, aromatic reds, their fresh, sunny rosés
and their subtlest of whites, enjoy great success.
Surface: 276 ha, Production of Red: 4.157hl, of Rosé: 3.373 hl, of White: 971 hl
Return: 30,18 hl/ha

AOC of Corse Coteaux du Cap

In this region everything, from the potent soil to the hardy and industrious people, recalls the
fact that this land boasts a prosperous past in which the vine played a prime role. Today the
vineyards are limited to small areas. They produce red wines which age well, and, especially,
white wines of rare elegance and pronounced floral bouquet which have long been keenly
sought after.
Surface: 34,49 ha, Production of Red: 146 hl, of Rosé: 316 hl, of White: 507 hl,
Return: 32,81 hl/ha

AOC of Corse Figari

The most southerly vineyards of France, and also the oldest, as the first vines appeared here in
the 6th century BC. On a particularly arid, ancient granite plateau, buffeted by the winds,
grow traditional Corsican grape varieties, such as Carcajolu Neru. These varieties produce
distinctive, well-structured red, rosé and white wines of great subtlety.
Surface: 130 ha, Production of Red: 2.833 hl, of Rosé: 1.495 hl, of White: 605 hl,
Return: 36,55 hl/ha
2007 11

AOC of Muscat du Cap Corse

This wine is subtle and full of sunshine, a worthy rival to the greatest of muscats. However the
degree of pleasure found in this wine is an indication of the effort which goes into producing
it. As the old Tuscan saying goes: ‘A glass of Corsican wine, and I could climb Stromboli’. The
Muscat of Cap Corse is a very special wine. Yields are so low that that each grape fills to the
brim with sunshine. Only a handful of producers pursue, indefatigably, the secret process of
making this unique wine. Track down this wine, and merit it, as it will lead you into the
pantheon of great wines.
Surface: 98 ha, Production: 2.813 hl, Return: 28,7 hl/ha

AOC of Patrimonio

This small, fertile and vibrant region, well sheltered from the wind, and exceptionally well
exposed to the west, produces the best known of all the wines of Corsica, under the oldestestablished
Appellation. The vineyards are divided into small properties, whose owners have
the know-how to create wines of nobility. In Patrimonio the Niellucciu grape is king, producing
warm and powerful reds, and sunny, fruity rosés. The Vermentinu grape also has its role here,
in dry white wines with a lovely bouquet and a remarkable aromatic richness.
Surface: 409 ha, Production of Red: 8.407 hl, of Rosé: 5.695 hl, of White: 2.576 hl
Return: 39 hl/ha

AOC of Corse Porto Vecchio

Founded as Porto Syracusanus in 383 BC, present-day Porto Vecchio boasts medieval walls of
rose-coloured porphyry, and a magnificent natural harbour. The town is in the heart of a
vibrant region, within which one finds little creeks along the coast, groves of umbrella pines,
forests of cork oaks and, above all, some splendid vineyards perched on impressive hillsides.
Here the dominant grapes are Niellucciu and Sciaccarellu, an alliance which produces,
along with Grenache grapes, elegant, round reds, and subtle, aromatic rosés. As to the
whites, made from Vermentinu grapes, they are dry and fruity, and make a marvellous
accompaniment to fish and seafood.
Surface: 89,74 ha, Production of Red: 1.403 hl, of Rosé: 1.370 hl, of White: 655 hl,
Return: 38,27 hl/ha

AOC of Corse Sartène

The proud capital of the southwest is an austere and magnificent town which keeps watch,
from its rocky perch, over vineyards where grow the oldest local grape varieties. Sciaccarellu,
Nielluciu, Barbarossa and Vermentinu grapes are all found here, and produce well-rounded,
remarkably velvety wines with lots of personality. The reds are well structured, the rosés have
body, and the whites are full and aromatic. The ancestors of these wines found favour at the
table of Roman emperors.
Surface: 163 ha, Production of Red: 3.665 hl, of Rosé: 1.936 hl, of White: 904 hl,
Return: 43 hl/ha.
2007 12

AOC of Corsica

The cradle of traditional Corsican vine-cultivation is to be found on the slopes of the east
coast and in the valley of the Golo. Tucked under rocky ridges which reach to 1200 metres,
the vineyards are found on the lowest slopes. Here is to be found a range of fertile soils rare in
Corsica, from which are produced wines of very high quality. The Niellucciu grape gives
supple, well-balanced reds, and rosés of spirit and pedigree which often have a clear colour.
As to the whites, which are based on the Vermentinu grape, they are fruity and have a
palate of great finesse.
Surface: 1.456 ha, Production of Red: 22.284 hl, of Rosé: 36.747 hl, of White: 4.852 hl,
Return: 42,07 hl/ha
These predicted numbers from the 2006 Campaign present an approved volume of A.O.C of
about 110 000 hectolitres (all colours mixed).

Source:http://www.vinsdecorse.com/pdf/dossier_presse_CIV_Corse_en.pdf

Mourvèdre | Red Wines

June 24th, 2008

Red Grape Mourvèdre
Mourvèdre, with its meaty richness and wonderful longevity, forms the backbone of our Esprit de Beaucastel. The seventeen acres of our vineyard devoted to Mourvèdre represent over a third of the acres currently planted in red Châteauneuf-du-Pape varieties. The intense animal quality of Mourvèdre is often improved by the rich fruit of Grenache and the structure, spice, and power of Syrah.

Early History

Mourvèdre is native to Spain, where it is known as Monastrell and is second only to Grenache (Garnacha) in importance. From the Spanish town of Murviedro, near Valencia, Mourvèdre was brought to Provence in the late Middle Ages where, prior to the phylloxera invasion at the end of the 19th century, it was the dominant varietal.

The phylloxera invasion was particularly devastating to Mourvèdre. Whereas most of the other Rhône varietals were easily matched with compatible rootstocks, Mourvèdre proved difficult to graft with the existing phylloxera-resistant rootstock. Thus, when the vineyards were replanted, most producers in Châteauneuf-du-Pape chose to replant with varieties that were easier to graft, such as Grenache. For decades, Mourvèdre was found almost exclusively in the sandy (and phylloxera-free) soil of Bandol, on the French Mediterranean coast, where it is bottled both as a red wine (blended with Grenache and Cinsault) and as a dry rosé. Compatible rootstocks for Mourvèdre were developed only after World War II. Shortly thereafter, Jacques Perrin of Château de Beaucastel led regeneration efforts in Châteauneuf-du-Pape and made Mourvèdre a primary grape in the red Beaucastel wines. Since the late 1960s, total plantings in Southern France have increased dramatically.

Mourvèdre came to the New World as Mataro (a name taken from a town near Barcelona where the varietal was grown) in the mid to late 1800s. In Australia, it found a home in the Barossa Valley and in California it was first established in Contra Costa County. Until recently, the grape was rarely bottled by itself, and was instead generally used as a component of field blends. The increasing popularity and prestige of Rhône varietals and a return to the French Mourvèdre name has given the varietal a new life. Currently about 400 acres are planted in California.

Mourvèdre at Tablas Creek

Mourvèdre is a late-ripening varietal that flourishes with hot summer temperatures. As such, it is beautifully suited to our southern Rhône-like climate at Tablas Creek, where its lateness in ripening makes it less vulnerable to late spring frosts. In the vineyard, Mourvèdre is a moderately vigorous varietal that does not require a great deal of extra care. The vines tend to grow vertically, making Mourvèdre an ideal candidate for head-pruning (the method traditional to Châteauneuf-du-Pape), although vines can also be successfully trellised. When head-pruned, the weight of the ripening grapes pulls the vines down like the spokes of an umbrella, providing the ripening bunches with ideal sun exposure.

Our Mourvèdre vines (like all of the vines at Tablas Creek) are cuttings from Château de Beaucastel’s French vines. Although Mourvèdre was available in California when we began our project, we felt that the American source material was less intense in both color and flavor than the French clones. The berries from the Beaucastel clones are small and sweet, with thick skins and intense flavors.
Rótulo de vinho rosé de Mourvèdre

Flavors and Aromas

Wines made from Mourvèdre are intensely colored, rich and velvety with aromas of leather, game, and truffles. They tend to be high in alcohol and tannin when young, and are well-suited to aging. The animal, game-like flavors present in young Mourvèdres can be so strong that they are occasionally mistaken for the bacteria Brettanomyces. In a well-made Mourvèdre, these flavors should resolve into aromas of forest floor and leather with aging. Although it is occasionally bottled as a single varietal, the intense animal quality of Mourvèdre is often improved by the warmth and fruit of Grenache and the structure, spice and tannin of Syrah. Mourvèdre-based wines, like our Esprit de Beaucastel, pair well with grilled and roasted meats, root vegetables, mushrooms and dark fowl such as duck: flavors that harmonize with the earthiness of the wine.

Source: http://www.tablascreek.com/mourvedre.html

Counoise | Red Wines

June 23rd, 2008

Red Grape CounoisePerhaps the question we hear most frequently at wine events and in our tasting room is “Counoise? What the heck is Counoise?” Even the Wall Street Journal joked about Counoise’s obscurity in a recent article about blends. Yet the grape is a key component of many Châteauneuf-du-Pape wines, and comprises 10% of the Beaucastel Rouge. Its moderate alcohol and tannins, combined with good fruit and aromatics, balances the characteristic intense spice, strong tannins, and high alcohol of Syrah.

Early History

The precise origin of Counoise (pronounced “Coon-wahz”) is unknown. According to the great Provençal poet Frederic Mistral, it was introduced into Châteauneuf-du-Pape from Spain by a papal officer, who offered it to Pope Urban V when the papacy was based in Avignon in the mid-14th century. Counoise was planted in the vineyards of Châteauneuf-du-Pape, and was given a prominent place in the wines of the celebrated Château la Nerthe estate of Commandant Ducos in the late 19th century. Ducos was a student of the characteristics of various grape varietals, and played a key role in the development of the Châteauneuf-du- Pape region. When the Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée laws regulating (among other things) the permitted grape varietals were passed in the 1930s, the varietals planted by Ducos (including Counoise) comprised 11 of the 13 allowed Châteauneuf-du-Pape varieties. The varietal saw a similar rebirth at Château de Beaucastel when Jacques Perrin increased the planting of Counoise as a complement for Syrah.

Counoise at Tablas Creek

We brought Counoise cuttings from Château de Beaucastel in 1990 and they spent three years in USDA inspection. Once the vines cleared quarantine, we began the process of multiplying and grafting, and we currently have 5 acres planted. The grape is particularly suited to the geography of Tablas Creek, as it produces most reliably in stony hillside soils and reliable sun. It is easy to graft, is moderately vigorous, and ripens fairly late in the cycle. We knew that we wanted to list the individual varietals on the front label of our bottles beginning with the 1999 Reserve Cuvée. Before we could do that, though, we had to get past the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms — the federal agency which, until the reorganization mandated by the Homeland Security Act, oversaw label approval for wine. Since no one else in the States had used Counoise on their label, it fell to us to demonstrate it was a legitimate grape. The process, which included submitting a full dossier of materials (in French and English), took two years. Now Counoise is a fully registered (if not widely recognized!) grape varietal.

Flavors and Aromas

Counoise is a deep purple-red, and has a rich, spicy character, with flavors of anise, strawberries, and blueberries. In our Esprit de Beaucastel, Counoise comprises 5-10% of the blend, and helps open up the more closed varieties of Mourvèdre and Syrah. Its soft tannins and forward fruit rounds out the blend and provides an element of finesse to the final product. At slightly higher percentages (10-20%) in our Cotes de Tablas, its soft fruitiness and pronounced spice give the wine an earlier-drinking friendliness that compliments the fruit and acidity of Grenache and the structure of Syrah

http://www.tablascreek.com/counoise.html


Fetească Neagră | Red WinesFetească Neagră (IPA: [fe.’teas.kə ‘nea.grə]) is an old pre-phylloxeric variety of grape, indigenous to Romania. It is grown in several areas in the Romanian regions of Moldavia and Muntenia.

These grapes produce dry, semi-dry or sweet wines, with an alcohol content of 12-12.5%, a deep red colour with ruby shades, and a black currant flavour, which becomes richer and smoother with aging.

In Hungary, it is called Fekete Leányka and it is grown from a variety originating from Transylvania.

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Feteasc%C4%83_Neagr%C4%83

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