A delicate balance

The graph on the previous page shows the development of champagne exports since the Second World War. For the Champcnois and their accountants, its a beautiful sight — but what it also clearly reveals is that international wine sales are linked to world economic factors: 30 years of post-war growth; the first and second oil crises in 1973-74 and 1980-82 and substantial problems (particularly in Read More →

Wine

This book of 288 pages covers everything there is to know about wine in an easy-to-use, handy format. It is made up of short texts, never longer than one or two pages. Each text comes with a photo. It is meant for both the beginner who just bought his first bottle and the connoisseur looking for in-depth information. The first texts are about the most Read More →

South Africa

South Africa has real potential for success in the coming five to ten years. Having one (traditional) foot in the Old World, and one in the New, South African styles, whether white or red, always show a fruity core cloaked in a suit of restraint and elegant, European structure. Today, not one modern South African winemaker hasn’t travelled around the world to see how people Read More →

Terroir

There is no scientific evidence that points a direct link between soil and a wine’s aromas. They are defined by grape varieties, and only develop during alcoholic fermentation. Does that mean terroir is in the fermentation? And how about the following? The New World has adopted the Old World concept of terroir and turned it into a lucrative business. If you make a single vineyard wine, Read More →

Chardonnay

Chardonnay has always been under attack, especially in Europe, for reasons familiar to many wine lovers. But the traditional image no longer holds true. While white Burgundy faces an identity crisis, Australian Chardonnay is finding its way back on stage with lean, mineral Chablis-like wines from lesser-known cool climates like Orange and Tumbarumba. These wines are slowly earning a reputation in Europe, mainly due to Read More →

The Next Big Thing

To talk about “the world of wine” is very difficult, because it does not exist. There are so many brands, wine styles, kinds of producers, quality levels, distribution networks and, last but not least, consumers that you simply cannot talk about “the next big thing”. However, a number of developments do appear to be linked to worldwide trends, and we have highlighted these in articles Read More →

Bordeaux

Bordeaux doesn’t need a lot of attention and explanation, and nor does it care about it; throughout history Bordeaux has displayed outstanding survival skills and has always taken well care of its own business. Bordeaux often displays short-term views of society’s socio-economic, cultural, political and other developments, so in many ways it exemplifies the mercantile spirit. There’s nothing wrong with that. The articles in this Read More →

Every Wine is a Blend!

The blending of wine is without doubt the last big secret of winemaking and maybe even the very antipode of everything romantic about wine. Nevertheless, every wine is a blend, even if this only involves the blending of different barrels or tanks of wine made from the same grape variety and from the same vineyard. Blending involves all wine styles from all over the world. Read More →

Ripeness, style, nature and history

There is no single definition for the right degree of ripeness. Ripeness per se does nor exist, but is a function of the winemakers intentions about food functionality, fruit-forwardness, flavour density, structural integrity and longevity. The Loire appellations have become known for Chenin Blanc picked in three styles. The crisp, fresh, floral wines of Vouvray are gathered in early maturity before the mown hay/summer meadow Read More →

Ripeness

Ripeness is a controversial concept. These days, it evokes hang time and over-alcoholic red wines. But there’s a lot more going on. This issue reveals the factors at play when trying to define the best time to pick the grapes and the resulting wine styles. Do we want a heavy or a lightweight wine? Red-winemaking has always focussed on concentration. Bordeaux is the textbook example. Read More →

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