Featured

Brazil

Brazil is the largest and most populous country in South America. The first vineyards were planted by Portuguese immigrants in 1532, and in 1626 Jesuit priests introduced Spanish grape varieties that failed to yield satisfactory quality due to the hot and humid climate. Much late, in the 18th century Portuguese immigrants from Azores brought varieties from Madeira and those also failed to thrive. Humidity and disease resistant American hybrids, e.g Isabella, thrived, but yielded mediocre quality wines at best.
In 1870 Italian immigrants established extensive vineyards in Sierra Gaucha in southern Brazil abutting the Uruguay border. Moet et Chandon from France started producing sparkling wines in 1970’s, and ever since many wineries switched at least some of their output to this style.
Today, more than any other style, sprinkling wine production dominates the industry. Some of the best are made using traditional varieties e.g chardonnay, pinot noir, pinot meunier, but some very attractive sparkling wines are made from glera, Italian riesling, trebbiano and viognier, and blends thereof. Even some cabernet sauvignon and merlot are used.
Approximately 50 per cent of sparkling wines are made by the Champagne method. The biggest producers focus on brut wines, containing 8 – 15 grams of residual sugar per liter.
Brazil is spread over a vast territory and has varied climatic conditions. Rio Grande de Sul was the first region, and expanded to Planalto Catarinense just north of Porto Allegre, Campos de Cuna da Serra, Serra Gaucha, Serra do Sudeste, Campanha, and Vale dos Vinhedos, all of which are located in southern Brazil at 29 degree south latitude.
Brazil has three certified geographic regions for wine – Vale dos Vinhedos DO ( Designation of origin), Pinto bandeira ( Indication of origin), and Altos Montes (IP = Indication of provenance) Certifications stipulate grape varieties, yields per hectare, chaptalisation, and yeast species allowed.
The preferred varieties for wine production are : cabernet sauvignon, merlot, tannat, pinot noir, tempranillo, touriga nacional for reds, and chardonnay, sauvignon blanc, pinot gris, viognier, gewurztraminer for whites. Experiemental varieties are also planted.
The soils vary between sandy mixed with granite, and limestone, clay with pebble stones, and alluvial. New vineyards are planted on high altitudes up to 1400 meters above sea level.
These regions are in the Plan Alto Catarinense abutting the border with Uruguay.
Generally, the most successful wines of Brazil are sparkling , which comply with legal regulations.
Sweetness levels of Brazilian sparkling wines are defined as follows: Nature 0 – 3 grams of residual sugar Extra brut 3 – 8 grams of residual sugar Brut 8-15 grams Sec 15 – 20 grams Demi-sec 20 – 60 grams Doce/Doux 60 +
The following sparkling wine producers are considered to be the best:
Cave Geisse
Enos Vinhos de Boutique Vallontano
Arte de Vinha
Guatambu
Vinha Buna
Domino do Brazil

Advertisements

PAIRING FOOD AND WINE FOR DUMMIES

PAIRING FOOD AND WINE FOR DUMMIES
John Szabo
John Wiley and Sons Ltd., Toronto
382 pages, U S $ 22.99, Canadian $ 27.99, £ 16.99

There are hundreds of book about matching wine and food. Why then has a master sommelier decided to write another one?
The answer is relatively simple. Most of the literature is either too complicated for the average consumer, or too inconsequential repeating worn clichés.
The author has a profound knowledge of wine, regions of production, and, loves food. It is here that the reader gains most insight into the “mysteries” of matching wine and food.
He is well travelled, and possesses an in-depth knowledge of how winemakers approach their wines every vintage, knows enough about wine lists and pricing to guide you to wines that present good value while shopping, or in a restaurant.
He goes even further and tells you how to select a restaurant in an unfamiliar city.
The book has six parts, starting with Appreciating the Marriage of Food and Wine, continuing with Nuts and Bolts, Sorting out the World of Wine, Uncovering the Best Wine Bets with World Cuisine and Cheese, and Party Time.
The explanation provided in the first chapter lay the foundation and logic behind the concept of matching food and wine, and the second chapter deals with all important factors of texture, aromas, and others that play important roles in “successful matches”.
There is one chapter that explains the effects of barrel aging, which will help anyone understand why it is important and what actually happens in the process.
A novel approach to matching food and wine is the design of “pairing trees” where a style of wine in the centre becomes the focal point and branches that contain foods best suited for it, i.e full bodied soft wood aged wines – rich textured foods, yakitori, Jager schnitzel, chicken in chanterelle cream sauce etc.
In chapter 19 there are a few spelling errors of a few dishes, but they are minor.
Overall, this is a well conceived, well researched and written book thoughtfully laid out to help a wine “novice”, but also seasoned drinkers cum gourmets as to how to proceed in their endeavours of matching the right food with the right wine.
Highly recommended.

CRAFT BEER PHENOMENON IS SWEEPING NORTH AMERICA

Beer is the preferred alcoholic beverage of North Americans.

The oldest North American brewery that is still operating was founded in 1786 in Montreal  by John Molson, a British entrepreneur.

Up to the WWII, beer tasted like a properly brewed beverage, but during the war brew masters started interfering with traditional recipes, incorporating corn, and other cereals that have no place being in the brew. These changes occurred gradually, and beer drinkers accepted them as brewers claimed that they had no other choice due to shortages. After the war, life started to become “normal” but big brewery organizations decided to continue tinkering  with recipes.

The young generation, unfamiliar with the true taste of beer, and under the influence of continued advertising, accepted diluted beer flavours as standard. Over time big brewers managed to change the taste of the majority.

Main stream North American beer in 1970’s tasted watery, was pale in colour, and contained several additives and preservatives that changed the true taste of the malt, hops, and water.

Appropriate water for brewing represents and important ingredient. After all more than 90 per cent of beer is water. Luckily, starting mid 1970’s young, better educated people started travelling to Europe and tasted properly brewed beers. Upon return they started looking for such brews, and switched to imported Dutch, German, Belgian, Czech, and Japanese beers. Soon home brewers, and entrepreneurs saw an opportunity and started small craft breweries to cater to the then small “true beer “ drinkers.

Ever since craft brewing in Ontario and elsewhere in the country burgeoned to an industry and now has been able to wring market share from big brewers. All craft brewers emphasis above all else, flavour and quality. Presently there are close to 250 craft breweries in Ontario, approximately 39 in British Columbia, 80 in Alberta, and close to 200 in Quebec. The numbers are increasing daily.

Toronto is a hotbed of craft brewers, and some brew exceptional beers. Generally, they are available at the brewery or in very large L C B O stores. Beer Stores carry very few of them, and charge more, due to the fact that the tree big brewery organizations of the county own it. If a small brewery wants to sell to the Beer Store, it must pay an inordinate amount for the privilege for each store listing.

Here are a few craft beers you can buy at the L C B O ‘s all brand stores and at the brewery.  Buying craft beer at the brewery is highly recommended for freshness. Imperial IPA, Luis Cifer Brew Works

Kapow IPA, Rainhard Brewery

Sokol Pilsner Muddy York, Brewery, Toronto

Storm Glass IPA, Muddy York Brewery, Toronto

Brewery Karma Citra, Great Lakes Brewing

Three Minute To Midnight, Bellwoods Brewery, Toronto

The cost of beer, exclusive of overhead expenses (rent, Heat, Light, and Power, delivery and some taxes for a 355 ml., can lager in 2018, in Ontario – ingredients .18, labour .20, Provincial beer tax .14, HST . 12, environment fee .09, Federal excise .03, cleaning supplies .02, packaging, wrapping and label work .60 (appears too high). Note: wrapping, packaging, and label artwork depend on whether the brewery does everything in house, or contracts all or part of this cost.

2018 CHILEAN ANNUAL TASTING _ TORONTO

Nestled between the Pacific Ocean, and the Andes, Chile’s valleys are fertile grounds for talented winemakers to explore.

Chile is the world’s longest and narrowest country  and defined by its transversal valleys, some of which are book ended by the cooling breezes of the Pacific, and cooler temperatures on higher location vineyards ramping up to the Andes.

Winemakers enjoy the opportunity to choose the most favourable terroirs of the 14 major valleys. Aconcagua is one of the northern valleys, the center part of which has the driest and hottest of the country.

Vineyards are planted from 50 to 1000 meters in altitude to exploit temperature differences. Cabernet sauvignon, carmenere, pinot noir, syrah, and sauvignon blanc flourish in this valley’s various parts.

Maipo Valley in central Chile is one of the best known wine regions with the largest plantings going back to the first half of the 16th century. The coastal mountains shield the valley from cool winds from the Pacific . Cabernet sauvignon, carmenere, syrah, merlot thrive in this hot region. Chardonnay and sauvignon blanc benefit from the cool breezes of the Andes mountains to the east. The wines are medium-weight, moderately alcoholic, well balanced, flavourful, and suitable for a variety of foods from sandwiches, appetizers, pastas, pizzas, , and meat dishes.

Cachapoal is a sub-region of the Rapel Valley and its fruit is often blended with that from the Colchagua to create outstanding red blends of cabernet sauvignon, merlot, syrah, and other experimental red grapes.  Chardonnay is planted o high altitude vineyards. Limari, is one of the most northerly valleys, well 300 kilometers north of Santiago, the commercial capital of the country.

Limari’s limestone soils yield fine sauvignon blanc, chardonnay, and pinot noir fruit that winemakers convert to light, medium-eight wines. Syrah, carmenere, merlot are also gaining ground in some parts of Limari.

Curico Valley has a well earned reputation fro value, quality, and consistency ever since Miguel Torres from Spain, decided to plant vineyards. Curico’s wines are succulent, fruity, medium-bodied and suitable for meat dishes, as well other specialties lamb and veal stews .

Leyda Valley is the cool climate valley of Chile nurturing pinot noir, chardonnay and sauvignon blanc. The Humbold Current plays an important role in Leyd’a climate. This sub-region of San Antonio Valley started to attract the attention of winemakers only 30 years ago, and is now growing in leaps and bounds. Maule is the largest wine producing region of Chile and provides tracts of suitable land for vineyards. The advantage here is hot days, followed by cool evenings and nights. Here, cabernet sauvignon, carmenere, carignan grow well and winemakers blend powerful, deeply flavored, fruity red wines that can complement hard cheeses beef specialties, beef empanadas, pastas, pizzas, and many more dishes.

The following wineries are reclaimable, and consistently produce good value wines Santa Carolina, Errazuriz, Vina Maipo, Vina Mont Gras, Miguel Torres, Maycas de Limari, Tabali, Talud, Montes, and Arboleda. The Bio Bio Valley is the southernmost valley and now produces fine sparkling wines well worth exploring.

Recommended wines

White wines

Las Mulas Chardonnay, Miguel Torres

88/100 $ 14.95  for orders contact vbernard@pdandurand.com

Marea Chardonnay, 2017, Luis Felipe Edwards 88+/100 $ 19.99 905 943 7272

Novas Sauvignon Blanc, 2017, Emiliana (organic) 88+/100 $ 15.95 acuschieri@pmcanada.com

Cool Coast Sauvignon Gris, 2016 88+/100 416 368 5108

Chardonnay, 2016, Arboleda 88/100 $ 19.95 Available occasionally at Vintages

Sauvignon Blanc, 2017, Arboleda

88/100 Available occasionally at Vintages

Tama Sauvignon Blanc, 2017, Anakena

88/100 $ 19.99  daniel.duchich@sgws.com

Sparkling Rose wine

Sparkling Rose, Cono Sur

88/100 905 238 0716 ext. 335

Red wines

Vertice ( blend of carmenere/syrah), 2015, Ventisquero

88/100 $ 34.95

Enclave Cabernet Sauvignon, 2013, Ventisquero

89/100 $ 74.95 Mitch 647 236 7467

Caballo Loco Grand Cru Maipo (Cabernet Sauvignon/Cabernet Franc) 2013, Valdivieso 89+/100 $ 52.99

Caballo Loco Grand Cru Limari (Syrah), Valdivieso

91+/100 $ 52.99

Jennifer 415 551 6898

Acrux, (Blend of Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Franc, Syrah, Malbec, Carmenere, and Petit Verdot), 2014, Sutil

89+/100 $ 39.99 416 346 9930

Casa Real Cabernet Sauvignon, 2013, Santa Rita

91+/100 $ 59.95 Andrew 289 998 0254

Amplus Cabernet Sauvignon, 2016, Santa Ema 88+/100 $ 21.95 casandra.miller@roust.com

Herencia (Carmenere), 2010, Santa Carolina

90+/100 $ 69.95 905 238 3222 ext.313

Alpha M (Blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, and Petit Verdot), 2014, Montes Wines

90+/100 416 598 0033 ext. 231

Licanten Cabernet Sauvignon, 2014, La Ronciere

89+/100 joy@wineloversagency.com

Don Maximiniano, 2915, Errazuriz

90+/100 $ 84.00 514 932 2626 ext 243

Syrah Pequenas Producciones, 2017 90+/100 647 794 6687 ext 103

Ona Coastal Blend (Syrah, Malbec, Petite Syrah), 2017 Anakena

88+/100

Coyam, 2015, Emiliana (Organic)

88/100 $ 29.95

Special note for GTA readers. The L C B O store on 5100 Erin Mills Parkway in Mississauga offers three Chilean wines that taste great and cost as little as $ 9.00. All are available in the store and online.

Riesling, 2009, Dona Isadora

89+/100  $ 9.00

El Toqui Cabernet Sauvignon Special Reserve, 2015  89+/100 $ 9.00

Private Reserve Merlot, 2013, Golan  90/100 $ 10.30

BEFORE YOU TRAVEL READ THIS

Today, unprecedented numbers of people travel, and more than 50 per cent are retired individuals. Older people require more planning than young and carefree individuals.

Governments of many developing countries discovered a new revenue source by requiring visas and refining visa-types  ( i.e single entry and exit, double entry, long term are just a few of them).  China and Russia require visa for many western tourists claiming security reasons. The reality is revenue generation for their treasuries. Even countries that don’t require visas insist that your passport, validity is at least six months farther than your entry date. Some entry fees are disguised as security cheek compensation ( in Chile it is US $ 100.00 for American citizens, and $ 50.00 for Canadians). This also depends on negotiated terms between countries.

Regardless, of all the above, anyone planning to travel should check the political stability of the country before making a decision. Then consider a medical check up (physical and dental), travel insurance, ask your doctor to prescribe antibiotics, inquire about immunization vaccines, extra quantities of medications you depend on (in case of emergencies and delays), a list of hospitals owned and managed by religious orders in the country, the addresses of your home country’s embassy or consulates, keep copies of your medical records and bills.

It may prudent to assemble a kit of small scissors, safety pins, water bottle, water purification tablets, sunscreen, insect repellent (if applicable), medication for pain and diarrhea, antacids, antihistamines, contact lens cleaners and secure containers , adhesive bandages, and adhesive tape.

Even if you prefer group travel your travel organization is not responsible for all the above, although some may tell you to prepare for eventualities. Cruise ship companies offer services in their on-bard clinics, may assist with emergency hospitalization and transportation at your expense.  Traveling in developed countries is easier and faster, then in developing destinations where infrastructure may be rudimentary at best, and lamentable at worst. Think well before booking accommodation.

You can go through a travel web site, or decide to book through airbandb but you should think well before you book. The address may be difficult to find, the advertisement may be misleading, and it may be far away from the town center.

If you book a hotel room and specify early arrival in say Rome, you may arrive and find out that there is room reserved for you, or the clerk may indicate they have never received your booking, despite your confirmation receipt. Such things happen and will continue to happen.

In some countries taxi drivers, tourist guides, and all types of people may try to take advantage of your ignorance of  local customs, culture, and tourist-behavior. In some countries any tourist is  automatically regarded as rich, and vulnerable – a target to rip off. Beware of taxi drivers, hotel front desk clerks, shopkeepers, servers in restaurants, and even “friendly locals” who may approach you to exchange money or help you find a clean and less expensive accommodation, or restaurant.

In short caveat emptor has never been more true than now in many tourist destinations, even in some countries local governments look the other way when restaurants charge outrageous prices for simple meals as happened recently to four Japanese tourists in Venice.

BEIJING – WHERE MODERN ARCHITECTURE MEETS ANTIQUITIES

Even thought the airport of Beijing is at least 35 kms. from downtown, you feel the polluted air thick with humidity and soupy smog from thousands of poorly maintained cars.

Arriving by train creates a worse impression. The grandiose train station is organized chaos.

Beijing’s international airport is modern and shining with new equipment but surly customs officers; who seem to regard their duties more as a nuisance than meaningful work.

Riding from the airport to the city takes longer than it should as drivers must stop to allow goats, sheep and even cattle to cross the highway.  Traffic is always dense, difficult, occasionally dangerous, cyclists and pedestrians make driving even more difficult as no one seems to observe traffic rules.

The city, home to millions of cyclists with no regard for pedestrians and vehicular traffic, is flat as a pancake and looks as though city planners never gave a second thought to accommodate both. In short, traffic in Beijing flows by the grace of god! These days, ordinary Chinese seem to have money to spend on consumer goods, and are obsessed with cars. Even though only 20 per cent  of Beijing’s population own a car, in the city of 17 million the air quality is bad at the best of times. Part of the reason for such poor quality air results from poor quality gasoline, and intolerably high emission standards Tienanmen Square framed by the Forbidden City (the seat of emperors and ultimately their governments) as well as the Soviet architecture-inspired People’s Congress is totally out of proportion; they were designed to impress the masses!

The walled Forbidden City is a tourist attraction complete with soft-drink stands and guides everywhere. It is a must-see monument and requires at least a good part of a day.  Just outside you can visit old, dilapidated buildings of old Beijing, which will soon disappear if they have not already. (In Beijing entire city blocks may be demolished from one day to the next without notice, legal procedure and compensation!)

Government-controlled and paid guides try to direct you elsewhere, but you should insist to tour such neighbourhoods. They tell the real story. China is not a society of law and order. Any level of government seems to be able to do what it considers to be right. Corruption is rampant and absolutely nothing seems to help curb it.

After the Forbidden City tour, the obligatory destination is the Summer Palace located on an artificial lake only a few kilometres from downtown. It has rich history and glorious past, but access paths are so clogged with thousands of strollers that visiting this interesting place is a challenge. Close by are many restaurants, food stands and itinerant instant photographers from the previous century, still working with wooden box-cameras invented by Daguerre, himself. Locals prefer the street food of stalls, and western tourists are “ guided “ to restaurants that charge three times, if not more, as much for the same food.  Service in China, except in western-chain-managed establishments, seems to be an alien concept. You are expected to order food quickly, get it within minutes (means the food was precooked and kept hot) with the tacit understanding that you must eat fast, pay and leave, since line-ups outside the doors are always long.  Practically all servers do their jobs with contempt. On the other hand, tipping is, at least officially, frowned upon.

September and October are the best months to visit, followed by May.  Every tourist to Beijing should visit Badaling, the renovated section of the Great Wall, some 30 kilometres from downtown. Take a taxi, or better yet have the hotel concierge arrange it for you. The Great Wall is such a massive construction that even astronauts as far as 400 kilometres above the earth can see it. Chinese Emperors used slave labour to accomplish the task using the crudest equipment imaginable.  Badaling itself offers many restaurants and innumerable souvenir stands full of kitschy stuff! After climbing the

“ Wall “, visit at least a few of the tombs of Emperors. You can learn more about Chinese history during that short visit than in one semester’s history course.  The visit to Badaling can be accomplished in a long afternoon, but a full day will allow you to enjoy the sight better.  Beijing taxi drivers lack even the most rudimentary knowledge of the city. Before you hail a taxi, have the address written. Better yet, drawn on a piece of paper, and written in Chinese. Make sure to get into a red 1.60 renminbi taxi, or have the concierge arrange it for you. Others will cheat you in a number of ways.

Eating from food stalls in Beijing may be adventurous, but is not for westerners with delicate stomachs. The food is tasty, but greasy and generally difficult to digest.

For souvenirs consider silk products, paintings, old Chinese pottery, embroidery, and lacquered furniture. Shopkeepers ship (at your expense) anywhere in the world. Be aware that you may end up receiving a different souvenir to the one for which you paid.  Chinese Travel Service (C. T. S.), a euphemism, is the official organization for incoming tourists and arranges all itineraries. You should be aware that all guides are indoctrinated according to government dogma, and will tell you convincingly, stories that lack any semblance of truth. Group travelling in China requires two guides – one for the duration of the trip, the other for each city. Be sure of the fact that you pay for the services and therefore are entitled to expect at least a courteous answer to your questions.  Tourists receive specially designed paper currency when exchanging convertible funds. Chinese renminbi lacks roman numerals; the official currency is inconvertible. Several airlines fly to Beijing.

Accommodations can be arranged through the Internet. There are several western-managed modern hotels, that provide all the amenities but charge exorbitant prices.

AUSTRALIAN WINE REGIONS DISCOVERED – A WORLD OF DIFFERENCE

Australia is a continent and a country with six unique states and two territories.  The inhabitants of this immense country are passionate about food and lately  also about wine, focused on developing and exporting a range of foods and wines  to world. Its rich pastures, temperate oceans, vast amounts of unspoiled land, clean  air and pure water sources, limited disease and natural pests, combined with  a commitment to stringent quality controls has contributed to the country’s  renown global reputation.  In Australia, an industry association controls quality.

The rules allow  winemakers to acidify, dilute wine, if high in alcohol, and make other  adjustments if and when warranted within limits. The idea is to make the wine as  enjoyable to drink as one can make it. Growers irrigate, and control  amounts according to expected results.

With a vibrant wine industry comprising over 2000 wineries across 61  wine regions, Australia contributes largely to the world production  of wine and exports significant quantities to over 100 countries.  The industry has grown from a domestic supplier to an international force.  Originally, much of the wine was distilled and/or made in fortified style,  but this changed after wineries discovered that markets for both were  saturated and growth occurred only in table wine.  Australian wine exports are now a force to be reckoned with.

The winemakers improve  constantly and strive to produce better and better wines with each passing year.

VICTORIA The Victoria region is extremely varied, encompassing steep and  spectacular mountain hillsides, as well as more open, rolling slopes.   The deep soils, spring rain and long hours of summer sunshine in Central  Victoria are ideal for growing shiraz and cabernet sauvignon that possess a  rare combination of elegance and power with an exceptional capacity to age.   Victoria is also home to the cool climate Yarra Valley, lauded for elegant pinot noir with expressive musk and violet characteristics. Tucked into the south-eastern corner of the Australian mainland, the warm  climate regions of Murray Darling and Swan Hill are located along the Murray  River in the  north west of the state. Further east, Rutherglen has carved  a reputation for unique fortified wines such as  Muscat  that boasts the sweetest  fruit flavours concentrated through long dry autumns. Victoria’s other regions are generally cooler than those of the states to the  north and west.  The Yarra Valley, just half an hour’s drive from Melbourne  produces excellent chardonnay and pinot noir wines.

South Australia Straddling the centre of the continent, South Australia is the wine industry’s powerhouse, producing most of the nation’s wine and boasting some of the  oldest vines in the country.  South Australia produces nearly one billion bottles of wine per year,  representing approximately 50 percent of the total volume of the country.  Ten of  the largest wineries  are located here.  It is recognized as the world leader in viti- and viniculture research and is home  to more than 500 wineries out of a total 2000 in Australia.  Sub-regions of South Australia Limestone Coast  and Coonawara,      Like all great wine regions of the world, climate along the Limestone Coast is  cool and marginal.  It is South Australia’s southernmost wine region where  vines enjoy a long cool ripening period that builds intensity of flavours  slowly with balanced acidity.   The Coonawarra, located within the Limestone Coast, is home to the famous terra  rossa soil – some of the most expensive viticultural land in Australia.   This rich, free-draining soil structure produces low yielding, intensely flavoured grapes, with a unique depth of flavour and aging potential. McLaren Vale, Langhorne Creek McLaren Vale is one of the most richly varied wine regions in Australia,  producing intensely flavoured, fleshy, mid-palate wines with a silken texture.   It is home to some of the oldest shiraz vines on earth; several over one  hundred years old.   Langhorne Creek’s fertile soils are predominantly deep,  alluvial sandy loams that make it a remarkably good area for soft, fruity,  medium bodied red wines with superb depth of varietal fruit concentration. Barossa Valley   Of all the wine regions in Australia, the Barossa Valley is probably the best known internationally.  It is the center of the Australian wine industry, home to the oldest and most famous wineries.  Classic aromas from Barossa wines include dark chocolate, tarriness and hints of licorice, with the palate typically displaying buoyant, forward fruit, spice, and sweet plums. The rich concentration of flavours is often the result of hot weather in February and March that places stress on the vines at the end of the ripening cycle. Eden Valley, Clare valley, Adelaide Hills   Australia has several cool climate regions, rapidly growing in importance for super premium table and sparkling wines.   Eden Valley is renowned for riesling with steely, flinty characters.   Clare Valley’s long ripening period and slate riddled soils yield fruit with zesty varietal flavours and good acid levels.   In the Adelaide Hills, high elevation ensures summer temperatures are slightly cooler than neighbouring regions, limiting fruit set and resulting in low yielding, expressive fruit, with balanced acid levels.

New South Wales  New South Wales was the first state to be colonized and subsequently was the first to grow grapes. New South Wales, located on the  continent’s east coast, boasts a diverse range of climates from coastal to Alpine. One of Australia’s best known wine regions – the Hunter Valley – is located just a few hours drive north of Sydney, Australia’s largest and most cosmopolitan city.  The Hunter Valley’s geographical features are the alluvial flats of the valleys and the gently undulating hills. The region has hot humid summers, and cool winters. Hunter Valley is unofficially divided into Lower- and Upper Hunter Valley producing different styles of wines.

Mudgee is a small region close to the Hunter Valley with 20 wineries with one producing wines since 1858.

The Riverina depends on irrigation and produces huge quantities of grapes meant mostly for entry level wines.

Western Australia The birth of Western Australia, and specifically Margaret River as a wine region occurred in the early 1970’s. Initially regarded as a producer of elegant cabernet sauvignon, the region has   forged   a reputation for excellent varietal wines. More so than any other Australian region, the  climate is strongly maritime influenced by long, dry summers. Clarity of fruit, superb balance and fine tannins are hallmarks of Margaret River reds.

Tasmania Separated from the mainland by the narrow but storm-tossed waters of Bass Strait the climate of Tasmania most closely resembles that of cooler Europe. Tasmania was discovered by the Dutch captain Abel Tasman stationed  in Indonesia during one of his exploratory sailings in the 17th century.  Tasmania’s climate is controlled by the Southern Ocean, which surrounds the state and shapes the weather. Mild winter and summer temperatures and cooling summer breezes result in slow ripening conditions free from temperature extremes that can damage flavour. Tasmania has never experienced the phylloxera vastatrix scourge thanks to its geographic location, and vigilance of official agencies.  As the Australian wine industry evolves, investment is following in. Consumer preferences toward the finest wine styles that depend on  mild ripening conditions in the vineyard are dictating welcome changes of wine styles. Winemakers are happy and able to oblige.  Tasmania now produces some of Australia’s  best cool climate wines. Here chardonnay, riesling and pinot noir yield extraordinarily flavourful, light, fragrant, refined and elegant wines. Sparkling wines derived from chardonnay and pinot noir are succulent, refined and light resembling more France’s champagnes than continental Australian sparklers.  Sauvignon blanc and pinot gris are also planted and yield fine wines. They are likely to improve in appearance and flavour in time as the vines get older. Tasmania  has an enviable future in the wine world. Australian Sparkling Wines Lively and fresh, sparkling Australian wine comes in all shapes, sizes and hues.  Versions vary from everyday fizz, full of fruit and fun, to top-notch  methode champenoise classics that make any occasion  sparkle.  Unique to Australia, Sparkling Shiraz is perfect for summer drinking  or to accompany light meals.   Its delicious berry fruit,  integrated  tannin and fruit sweetness provide great balance. WESTERN AUSTRALIA

30 Swan District

31 Perth Hills

32 Peel

33 Geographe

34 Margaret River

35 Blackwood Volley

36 Pemberton 37 Monjimup

38 Great Southern

SOUTH AUSTRALIA

1 0 Clare Valley

I I Southern Flinders Ranges

12  Barossa Valley

13 Eden Valley

14   Riverland

30 Adelaide Plains

31 Adelaide Hills

32  McLaren Vale

33  Kangaroo Island

34  Southern Fleurieu

35 Currency Creek

36 Langhorne Creek

37 Padthaway

38 Mount Benson

39 Wrattonbully

40 Coonawarra

QUEENSLAND

26 South Burnett

27 Granite Belt

NEW SOUTH WALES

28 Hastings River

29 Hunter

30 Mudgee

31 Orange

32 Cowro

33 Southern Highlands

34 Shoalhaven Coast

35 Hilltops

36 Riverina

37 Perricooto

38 Canberra District

39 Gundagai

40 Tumbarumba

VICTORIA

41 Murray Darling

42 Swan Hill

43 Rutherglen

44 Beechworth

45 Alpine Valleys

46 King Valley

47 Glenrowan

48 Upper Goulburn

49 Strathbogie Ranges

50 Goulburn Valley

51 Heathcote

52 Bendigo

53 Macedon Ranges

54 Sunbury

55 Pyrenees

56 Grampians

56 Henty

57 Geelong

58 Mornington Peninsula

59 Yarra Valley

60 Gippsland

TASMANIA

61 Tasmania Tasmania