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Posts tagged ‘merlot’

By Giuliano Bortolleto, january 26th of 2009

You have already noticed that I have talked about the Malbec from Argentina a couple of times this month. I am writing an academic work about this matter and I thought that woulb be interesting to share this knowledge with you. Here I am going to show some very nice Malbecs that I have already tasted.

The argentinean Malbec use to be a very good option in terms of price and quality. That’s because the Argentina have recieved a lot of european investments. Many wine producers from the old world had their attention called to new opportunities of cultivating the vines in other parts of the globe. Many researches were made in order to detect the best terroirs in very different contries. Undoubtedly, Argentina is one of the contries that have received a really great number of external investments in its viniculture, at the 70s, and mostly at the 80s and 90s.

The foreign wine producers helped a lot the argentinean vitiviniculre. They have brought aknowledge, new technics, enologists internationally known who came to work there, and more important, by the begining of the 90s, as the aregntinean economy was passing throught a very good moment, they have also brought high technology in temrs of vitiviniculture, which have put Argentina in a very high degree among the wine producers countries.

Today, Argentina has several foreign producers, disseminating their old culture of producing wines in this new territory, with a fantastic capacity of produce great wines. Mendoza, specially, the principal wine producer region of the country, has the perfect terroir to take care of the Malbec grapes in the best possible way. A great themical amplitude during the day, which garanties a great amount of sugar to the fruit and helps the sap changes, a very dry climate, what is simply amazing to the healthiness of the grape, besides the great high where the fruit is cultivated.

The most wonderfull thing is that the european producers firs wanted just to elaborate wines with some cliché blends, like the Bordeaux’s ones, with Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petit Verdot. Other tried to do some experiences with the spanish Tempranillo. In fact, the first internationally rewarded argentinean wines were made from this well-known grapes. However, after the Malbec clonal selection conduced by the INTA (National Institute of Agronomic Technology), many producers stared to believe in the quality of the grape from Cahors. In the latest years, the Malbec potential has sturdily increased, adn the highest level of excelence that this grape can reach is still unknown.

French Red Wines

February 21st, 2008

French Red WinesRed wine is a wonderful addition to almost any meal and is just as perfect alone. There are many countries which currently produce red wine yet some are more well known than others as they have been doing so for centuries. One such country which is known for its abundant wine production is France. If one is looking to select a wonderful French red wine then the following red wine varieties might just peak one’s interest.

Pinot Noir

A wonderful variety of French red wine is Pinot Noir. Produced from the grape with the same name, Pinot Noir wine is a dry, red wine that is robust in flavor. Much of this French wine comes from the Burgundy region of France and is quite a popular variety within the country and around the world. When looking to pair Pinot Noir with one’s meal selection, it is best to choose full flavor entrees such as meat, fish and pasta specialties.


Another great red wine which is produced in France is Merlot. Merlot production flourishes the most in the Bordeaux region of France as much of the French Merlot wines come from this area. Merlot is a wonderful type of French red wine as one can pair a glass of this variety with many different entrees although dark meats, pasta and fish tend to work the best alongside of Merlot.

Cabernet Sauvignon

Cabernet Sauvignon is a French red wine which also sees a large production in the Bordeaux region of France. This red wine is robust and bold in flavor and can have a number of wonderful undertones to it. Cabernet Sauvignon is a wonderful addition to a meal of red meats, pastas with red sauce and lamb entrees. It also goes nicely with a variety of cheese hors devours and chocolate-laden desserts.


Syrah is another type of red wine which is produced in France. This type of wine is produced mainly in the Rhone region of France. Syrah is similar to the Shiraz variety which is produced in Australia vineyards and wineries. The characteristics of Syrah include dark purple tones, strong fruit tastes such as blackberry and currants, black pepper essence and a wonderful shelf life. Although Syrahs will vary from winery to winery, these are some of the general characteristics of Syrah wine. Syrah is a great wine to pair with strong foods such as Indian meals or grilled entrees.


France is a large producer of a variety of red wines. From dark, flavorful types to smoother, less intense varieties, French red wines are quite diversified in nature. With a little independent research and a few wine tastings, one is sure to find a French red wine that is perfect for them.


Malbec | Red Wines

February 19th, 2008

Malbec is a black grape variety originally brought to France by a Hungarian peasant, where it was grown in the Loire Valley and Cahors. Long known as one of the six grapes used in the blending of red Bordeaux wine, it is increasingly celebrated as an Argentine varietal wine. It is also grown in Chile, on Long Island, New York, and in the cooler regions of California.

DescriptionMalbec Grapes | Red Wines

The Malbec grape is a thin skinned grape and needs more sun and heat than either Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot to mature. It ripens “midseason” and it can bring very deep color, ample tannin, and a particular plum-like flavor component to add complexity to claret blends. Sometimes, especially in its traditional growing regions, it is not trellised and cultivated as bush vines (the goblet system). Here it is sometimes kept to a relatively low yield of about 6 tons per hectare. The wines are rich, dark and juicy. As a varietal it creates a rather inky red (or violet), intense wine, so it is also commonly used in blends, such as with Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon to create the renowned red French Bordeaux “claret” blend. Other wine regions use the grape to produce Bordeaux-style blends. The grape also needs a high differential between day and evening temperatures, a minimum fluctuation of 27 degrees Fahrenheit in a day. The varietal is sensitive to frost and has a proclivity to shatter or coulure. The grape is also blended with Cabernet franc and Gamay in some regions such as Loire Valley.

Called Auxerrois or Cot Noir in Cahors, called Malbec in Bordeaux, and Pressac in other places, the grape became less popular in Bordeaux after 1956 when frost killed off 75% of the crop. However, Malbec continued to be popular in Cahors where it was mixed with Merlot and Tannat to make dark, full-bodied wines, and more recently has been made into 100% malbec wines there. Despite a similar name, the grape Malbec Argente is not Malbec either but rather the southwestern France grape Abouriou. The grape is also confused with Auxerroirs blanc, which is an entirely different variety.


Malbec leavesMalbec is the dominant red varietal in Cahors where the Appellation Controlée regulations for Cahors require a minimum content of 70%.Malbec Glass | Red Wines

Introduced to Argentina by French agricultural engineer Michel Pouget in 1868, Malbec is widely planted in Argentina producing a softer, less-tannic driven variety than the wines of Cahors. The best examples of these wines come from the Argentine region of Mendoza. In Argentina, where Malbec seems to have found a natural home, the grape is used to produce very popular varietal wines. It is now thought that the variety known as Fer in that country is a clone. Although the grape is currently Argentina’s premier grape, wine makers tried to remove it from the vineyard. In the 1980s Argentina a “vine pull” program was initiated until there were only 10,000 acres (4000 ha) of the grape left. In the 1990s, Malbec’s potential and the increase of wine exports from South America saved the grape.

There were once 50,000 hectares planted with Malbec in Argentina; now there are 25,000 hectares. Chile has about 6,000 hectares planted, France 5,300 hectares and California just 45 hectares. In California the grape is used to make Meritage. Malbec is also grown in Washington State, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, British Columbia and northeastern Italy.


Agreste, Auxerrois, Auxerrois De Laquenexy, Auxerrois Des Moines De Picpus, Auxerrois Du Mans, Balouzat, Beran, Blanc De Kienzheim, Cahors, Calarin, Cauli, Costa Rosa, Cot A Queue Verte, Cotes Rouges, Doux Noir, Estrangey, Gourdaux, Grelot De Tours, Grifforin, Guillan, Hourcat, Jacobain, Luckens, Magret, Malbec, Malbek, Medoc Noir, Mouranne, Navarien, Negre De Prechac, Negrera, Noir De Chartres, Noir De Pressac, Noir Doux, Nyar De Presak, Parde, Perigord, Pied De Perdrix, Pied Noir, Pied Rouge, Pied Rouget, Piperdy, Plant D’Arles, Plant De Meraou, Plant Du Roi, Prechat, Pressac, Prunieral, Quercy, Queue Rouge, Quille De Coy, Romieu, Teinturin, Terranis, Vesparo, Côt, Plant du Lot.


Pinot Noir Wines | Red Wines

February 19th, 2008

Pinot Noir Grapes | Red WinesFrom Stacy Slinkard,
Your Guide to Wine.

Definition: Pinot Noir may be the toughest grape to grow, but the effort is well worth the investment. It is a fickle grape that demands optimum growing conditions, demanding warm days consistently supported by cool evenings. Pinot Noir is a lighter colored and flavored red wine.
Pinot Noir’s forerunner and modest inspiration hails from red Burgundy, one of France’s most prized wines. Today, Pinot Noir is planted in regions around the world including: Oregon, California, New Zealand, Australia, Germany and Italy.

Due to the stringent growing requirements for Pinot Noir, it is produced in much smaller quantities than other popular red wines. Traditionally, you will also pay a little more for Pinot Noir, as the “supply and demand” theories kick in. However, for an excellent value you may consider Castle Rock Carneros Pinot Noir 2003 at just $10 a pop, you will be hard pressed to find a better price for a truly delightful Pinot Noir.

Flavor Profile:

It’s flavors are reminiscent of sweet red berries, plums, tomatoes, cherries and at times a notable earthy or wood-like flavor, depending on specific growing conditions.

Food Pairing:

Pinot Noir is well-suited to pair with poultry, beef, fish, ham, lamb and pork. It will play well with creamy sauces, spicy seasonings and may just be one of the world’s most versatile food wines.

Key Domestic Producers:

- Bethel Heights
- Amity
- Castle Rock
- Coyote Ridge
- Sebastiani
- Calera
- Pommard (French growing region)

Pronunciation: Pee-noh-n’wahr
Common Misspellings: Pino Nor Pinot Nor
Examples: What the Pinot Noir grape lacks in hardiness, it makes up for in robust flavor.


Cabernet Sauvignon | Red Wines

February 12th, 2008

Cabernet Sauvignon | Red WinesCabernet Sauvignon is a variety of red grape mainly used for wine production, and is, along with Merlot, one of the most widely-planted of the world’s grape varieties. If current trends continue, it may soon be the most planted of any grape variety.

The principal grape in many Bordeaux wines, Cabernet Sauvignon is grown in most of the world’s wine regions (except the very coldest), although it requires a long growing season to ripen properly and gives low yields. Many of the red wines regarded as among the world’s greatest, such as Red Bordeaux, are predominantly made from Cabernet Sauvignon grapes. World-class examples can improve for decades and remain drinkable for a century.

The particularly thick skin of the Cabernet Sauvignon grape results in wines that can be high in tannin which provides both structure and ageability. This varietal, while frequently aromatic and with an attractive finish, also tends to lack mid-palate richness and so is often blended with lower tannin, but “fleshy” tasting grapes, particularly Merlot and, especially in Australia, Shiraz / Syrah. Cabernet Franc is often used in blends with Cabernet Sauvignon to add aromatics. As a group, Cabernet Sauvignon wines are generally full-flavored, with a stronger flavor than Merlot for instance, and with a smooth and lingering “finish”.


Old vine Cabernet Sauvignon at Chateau Montelena in Napa Valley. As the grapes mature they will darken to a purple hue.Cabernet Sauvignon has a well defined aroma. In Old World wines, particularly those made in Bordeaux, this is characterised by a smell of violets, blackcurrant, cedar and spice. New World wines of this grape can often share the aromas of their Old World counterparts, but are more often dominated by aromas of chocolate, ripe jammy berries, oak, pepper and earth. In Australia, there is often a strong smell of eucalyptus, particularly in wines made in Coonawarra. One of the most characteristic aromas of warm-climate examples is cassis (blackcurrant), while cherry and other red berry notes are not uncommon. Cooler-climate examples often reveal greener, herbaceous notes, such as eucalyptus or green pepper/capsicum. There is, however, a great deal of variation in flavor depending on the region, winemaking technique, seasonal weather, and bottle age. Nonetheless the wines retain a remarkable ability to be recognizably Cabernet.


Cabernet Sauvignon, like all noble wine grape varieties, is of the species Vitis vinifera, and genetic studies in 1997 indicated it is the result of a cross between Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc.

In 1961, a cross of Cabernet Sauvignon and Grenache produced the French wine grape Marselan.

In 1977 a vine producing ‘bronze’ grapes was found in the vineyards of Cleggett Wines in Australia. They propagated this mutant, registered it under the name of Malian and have sold pale red wines under that name. In 1991 one of the Bronze Cabernet vines started producing white grapes. Cleggett registered this “White Cabernet” under the name of Shalistin.Compared to the Cabernet parent, Malian appears to lack anthocyanins in the subepidermal cells but retains them in the epidermis, whereas Shalistin has no anthocyanins in either layer. It has been suggested that a gene involved in anthocyanin production was deleted in the subepidermis of Malian, and then subepidermal cells invaded the epidermis to produce Shalistin. It is not unusual to have these kinds of ‘gris’ and ‘blanc’ mutants of ‘black’ grapes - the Pinot and Grenache families are examples, although the ‘Malian’ deletion is bigger than the mutation found in Pinot blanc.



Cabernet Sauvignon is most directly associated with the wines of Bordeaux, and especially those of its Left Bank, which includes the top tier appellations of St.-Estephe, Pauillac, St.-Julien, and Margaux, among others. It makes up the majority portion of the blends of all of the Grand Cru wines of the 1855 classification.

In Bordeaux, though, blending is common with the other allowable varietals: Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Pettit Verdot, and Malbec.

Cabernet Sauvignon is also cultivated in other areas in France, notably Languedoc-Rousillon, and has great acclaim the world over.


Traditionally, Italian wine-makers have long regarded the Cabernet Sauvignon grape with suspicion, despite a long history there, and it appears in very few of Italy’s DOCs. In Tuscany in the 1970s however, a number of top winemakers deliberately introduced Cabernet Sauvignon into their wines, despite knowing that it fell outside of the DOC system, and produced the top class wines that are often known as “Super Tuscans”. Famous examples include Sassicaia, Ornellaia, Saffredi, Vigna d’Alceo, Guisto di Notri and Solaia.

A bottle of Stag’s Leap Cask 23 Cabernet Sauvignon, a California Cabernet.

United States

Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon | Red WinesCalifornia is, after Bordeaux, the world’s largest grower of Cabernet Sauvignon, most notably in the Napa Valley and warmer AVAs of Sonoma County. In California the area of Cabernet Sauvignon planting doubled in the 1990s, precipitously lowering prices and disrupting the health of the wine industry. As in Bordeaux, it is often blended with Merlot and Cabernet Franc to produce world-class wines. More commercial versions may be blended with Ruby Cabernet or other varietals that provide more structure and richness than Cabernet Sauvignon can provide. The grape has also found a home in Washington, though it requires the warmest vineyards such as the Red Mountain AVA in the lower Yakima Valley for it to ripen fully.

Other New World Producers

The grape’s most notable success over the past decade has been its use in the wines of the “New World”. The consistently optimal climates (more so than in Europe), strong investment and innovative winemaking techniques have allowed countries such as Canada’s Niagara Peninsula, Chile, Argentina, South Africa, New Zealand and Australia to produce very good and at times, outstanding, quality Cabernet Sauvignon-based wines at competitive prices. Cabernet Sauvignon is also the most planted grape in Israel and other Mediterranean countries.

Cabernet Sauvignon and Health

In late 2006, the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology published the result of studies conducted at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine that showed the beneficial relationship of Cabernet Sauvignon in reducing the risk factors associated with Alzheimer’s disease. The study showed that resveratrol, a compound found in all red wine, can reduce levels of amyloid beta peptides, which attack brain cells and are part of the etiology of Alzheimer’s. Resveratrol has also been shown to promote the clearance of amyloid-beta peptides. It has also been shown that non-alcoholic extracts of Cabernet Sauvignon protect hypertensive rats during ischaemia and reperfusion.

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