Wine is an alcoholic drink made from fermented grapes. Yeast consumes the sugar in the grapes and converts it to ethanol, carbon dioxide, heat. Different varieties of grapes and strains of yeasts produce different styles of wine; these variations result from the complex interactions between the biochemical development of the grape, the reactions involved in fermentation, the terroir, the production process. Many countries enact legal appellations intended to define qualities of wine; these restrict the geographical origin and permitted varieties of grapes, as well as other aspects of wine production. Wines not made from grapes include rice wine and fruit wines such as plum, pomegranate and elderberry. Wine has been produced for thousands of years; the earliest known traces of wine are from Georgia and Sicily although there is evidence of a similar alcoholic drink being consumed earlier in China. The earliest known winery is the 6,100-year-old Areni-1 winery in Armenia. Wine reached the Balkans by 4500 BC and was consumed and celebrated in ancient Greece and Rome.
Throughout history, wine has been consumed for its intoxicating effects. Wine has long played an important role in religion. Red wine was associated with blood by the ancient Egyptians and was used by both the Greek cult of Dionysus and the Romans in their Bacchanalia; the earliest archaeological and archaeobotanical evidence for grape wine and viniculture, dating to 6000–5800 BC was found on the territory of modern Georgia. Both archaeological and genetic evidence suggest that the earliest production of wine elsewhere was later having taken place in the Southern Caucasus, or the West Asian region between Eastern Turkey, northern Iran; the earliest evidence of a grape-based fermented drink was found in China, Georgia from 6000 BC, Iran from 5000 BC, Sicily from 4000 BC. The earliest evidence of a wine production facility is the Areni-1 winery in Armenia and is at least 6100 years old. A 2003 report by archaeologists indicates a possibility that grapes were mixed with rice to produce mixed fermented drinks in China in the early years of the seventh millennium BC.
Pottery jars from the Neolithic site of Jiahu, contained traces of tartaric acid and other organic compounds found in wine. However, other fruits indigenous to the region, such as hawthorn, cannot be ruled out. If these drinks, which seem to be the precursors of rice wine, included grapes rather than other fruits, they would have been any of the several dozen indigenous wild species in China, rather than Vitis vinifera, introduced there 6000 years later; the spread of wine culture westwards was most due to the Phoenicians who spread outward from a base of city-states along the Mediterranean coast of what are today Syria, Lebanon and Palestine. The wines of Byblos were exported to Egypt during the Old Kingdom and throughout the Mediterranean. Evidence includes two Phoenician shipwrecks from 750 BC discovered by Robert Ballard, whose cargo of wine was still intact; as the first great traders in wine, the Phoenicians seem to have protected it from oxidation with a layer of olive oil, followed by a seal of pinewood and resin, similar to retsina.
Although the nuragic Sardinians consumed wine before the arrival of the Phoenicians The earliest remains of Apadana Palace in Persepolis dating back to 515 BC include carvings depicting soldiers from Achaemenid Empire subject nations bringing gifts to the Achaemenid king, among them Armenians bringing their famous wine. Literary references to wine are abundant in Homer and others. In ancient Egypt, six of 36 wine amphoras were found in the tomb of King Tutankhamun bearing the name "Kha'y", a royal chief vintner. Five of these amphoras were designated as originating from the king's personal estate, with the sixth from the estate of the royal house of Aten. Traces of wine have been found in central Asian Xinjiang in modern-day China, dating from the second and first millennia BC; the first known mention of grape-based wines in India is from the late 4th-century BC writings of Chanakya, the chief minister of Emperor Chandragupta Maurya. In his writings, Chanakya condemns the use of alcohol while chronicling the emperor and his court's frequent indulgence of a style of wine known as madhu.
The ancient Romans planted vineyards near garrison towns so wine could be produced locally rather than shipped over long distances. Some of these areas are now world-renowned for wine production; the Romans discovered that burning sulfur candles inside empty wine vessels kept them fresh and free from a vinegar smell. In medieval Europe, the Roman Catholic Church supported wine because the clergy required it for the Mass. Monks in France made wine for years. An old English recipe that survived in various forms until the 19th century calls for refining white wine from bastard—bad or tainted bastardo wine; the English word "wine" comes from the Proto-Germanic *winam, an early borrowing from the Latin vinum, "wine" or " vine", itself derived from the Proto-Indo-European stem *win-o-. The earliest attested terms referring to wine are the Mycenaean Greek me-tu-wo ne-wo, meaning "in" or " of the new wine", wo-no-wa-ti-si, meaning "wine garden", written in Linear B inscriptions. Linear B includes, inter alia, an ideogram for wine
South West France (wine region)
South West France, or in French Sud-Ouest, is a wine region in France covering several wine-producing areas situated inland from, south of, the wine region of Bordeaux. These areas, which have a total of 16,000 hectares of vineyards, consist of several discontinuous wine "islands" throughout the Aquitaine region, more or less to the west of the Midi-Pyrénées region. Thus, South West France covers both the upstream areas around the rivers Dordogne and Garonne and their tributaries, as well as the wine-producing areas of Gascony including Béarn, the Northern Basque Country. However, only areas closer to the Atlantic than to the Mediterranean are included in the region, with the city of Toulouse being situated halfway between the South West wine region and the Languedoc-Roussillon wine region on the Mediterranean; the brandy-producing region Armagnac is situated within Gascony and the wine region of South West France, some of its grapes are used to make Vin de Pays under the designation Vin de Pays de Côtes de Gascogne or mixed with Armagnac to produce the mistelle Floc de Gascogne.
South West France is a rather heterogeneous region in terms of its wines. It is rare to see wines being sold as Vins du Sud-Ouest. Rather, the smaller areas and individual appellations market their wines under their own umbrella, in contrast with common practice in e.g. the Bordeaux region. The areas closest to Bordeaux produce wines in a style similar to those of Bordeaux, from the same grape varieties. Further south, wines are still rather similar to those of Bordeaux, but several grape varieties not used in Bordeaux are common, such as Tannat. In the areas closest to the Pyrenees, wines are made from local varieties, such as Gros Manseng and Petit Manseng; the south-west region was first cultivated by the Romans and had a flourishing wine trade long before the Bordeaux area was planted. As the port city of Bordeaux became established, wines from the "High Country" would descend via the tributaries of the Dordogne and Garonne to be sent to markets along the Atlantic coast; the climate of the inland region was warmer and more favorable than in Bordeaux, allowing the grapes to be harvested earlier and the wines to be of a stronger alcohol level.
Many Bordeaux wine merchants saw the wines of the "High Country" as a threat to their economic interest and during the 13th & 14th century a set of codes, known as the police des vins, were established which regulated the use of the port of Bordeaux for wine trading. The police des vins stated that no wine could be traded out of Bordeaux until the majority of Bordelais wine had been sold; this had a devastating effect on the wine industry of the High Country with barrels of wines being stranded at Bordeaux warehouses for several weeks or months before they could be sold at much lower prices due to that year's market being saturated with wine. In many years another vintage would take place before the "High Country" wines were sold. South West France includes the following Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée and Vin Délimité de Qualité Supérieure designations. Bergerac AOC Côtes de Duras AOC Côtes de Montravel AOC Haut-Montravel AOC Monbazillac AOC Montravel AOC Pécharmant AOC Rosette AOC Saussignac AOC Brulhois AOC Buzet AOC Cahors AOC Côtes de Duras AOC Côtes du Marmandais AOC Fronton AOC Gaillac AOC Marcillac AOC Coteaux du Quercy VDQS Côtes de Millau VDQS Saint-Sardos VDQS Vins de Lavilledieu VDQS Vins d'Entraygues et du Fel VDQS Vins d'Estaing VDQS Madiran AOC Pacherenc du Vic-Bilh AOC Pacherenc du Vic-Bilh Sec AOC Saint-Mont VDQS Tursan VDQS Béarn AOC Jurançon AOC Irouléguy AOC The following grape varieties are found in at least one sub-region or appellation of South West France.
Abouriou Arrouya noir Arrufiac Baco blanc Bouchalès Cabernet Franc Cabernet Sauvignon Clairette blanche Colombard Courbu Duras Fer Folle blanche Gros Manseng Jurançon Len de l'El Malbec Merlot Muscadelle Négrette Petit Manseng Portugias bleu Raffiat de Moncade Sauvignon blanc Sémillon Tannat Ugni blanc French wine Official website of the South West France wine organisation CIVSO, which covers the Garonne and Gascony subregions Wine Tours In South West France, covering local grape varieties and regions such as Brulhois and Armagnac South West France wines
Corsica wine is wine made on the Mediterranean island of Corsica. Located 90 km west of Italy, 170 km southeast of France and 11 km north of the island of Sardinia, the island is a territorial collectivity of France, but many of the region's winemaking traditions and its grape varieties are Italian in origin; the region's viticultural history can be traced to the island's settlement by Phoceans traders in 570 BC in what is now the commune of Aléria. In the 18th century, the island came under the control of France. Following the independence of Algeria from French rule, many Algerian Pieds-Noirs immigrated to Corsica and began planting vineyards. Between 1960 and 1976 the vineyard area in Corsica increased fourfold. In 1968, Patrimonio was established as Corsica's first Appellation d'origine contrôlée. Today, Corsica has nine AOC regions including the island-wide designation Vin de Corse AOC; the majority of the wine exported from Corsica falls under the Vin de pays designation Vin de Pays de l'Île de Beauté.
The three leading grape varieties of the region are Nielluccio, known as the spice wine of France and Vermentino. The island of Corsica was settled by Phoceans traders shortly after their founding of Massalia on the southeastern coast of France; the Phoceans were active wine growers, cultivating indigenous vines and cuttings brought from abroad. During the late 7th and early 8th century AD, the island came under Islamic rule. Wine production was limited due to the Islamic prohibition of alcohol. In the early Middle Ages, Corsica first came under the rule of the city of Pisa in the Tuscany region in the 13th century under that of the Republic of Genoa. During this time some ampelographers believe that a clone of the Sangiovese grape was introduced to the island which became Nielluccio. Over the next 500 years, the Genoese established strict laws governing the harvest and winemaking practices of the island, they banned all exports of Corsican wines to any port outside of Genoa. The most sought-after wines from Corsica were described as being made in the "Greek style" from the Cap Corse region.
In 1769, a year after the Genoese ceded control of the island to the French, the English writer James Boswell praised the diversity and quality of Corsican wines, comparing them favorably to the wines of Malaga and Frontignan. That same year, the future French emperor Napoleon Bonaparte was born in the Corsican city of Ajaccio to a wine-producing family. Under Napoleon's rule, Corsica was allowed to export wine and tobacco duty-free across the French Empire. In the 19th century, the Corsican government launched several efforts to improve the nation's economy by promoting Corsica's wine industry; these efforts included the widespread planting of the indigenous Sciacarello grape and the construction of a large cellar near the city of Vizzavona, located on the highest point on the railroad line that linked the east coast city of Bastia with the capital city of Ajaccio. The phylloxera epidemic of the late 19th century dealt a crippling blow to the Corsican wine industry, was followed by a period of mass depopulation as Corsicans emigrated to other countries.
The Algerian war of Independence ushered in a new period of growth as French pieds-noirs immigrated to Corsica and began new plantings. During this time, the number of vineyards increased fourfold; the overall quality of Corsican wine was poor due to the emphasis on quantity over quality, with Corsica becoming a prominent contributor to Europe's wine lake problem. In the 1980s, the European Union began issuing subsidies to encourage the uprooting of vines and to renew focus on limited yields and quality wine production. By 2003, these programs had contributed to a reduction of over 17,300 acres in the number of vineyard plantings in Corsica, as well as the introduction of modern winemaking techniques and equipment such as temperature-controlled fermentation tanks; the island of Corsica is the most mountainous island in the Mediterranean. The climate is drier than in mainland France. During the peak growing month of July, the mean average temperature is 74 °F (23.3 °C. The average annual rainfall for most Corsica's wine growing regions is 29 inches and 2.6 inches during the harvest month of September.
Little rain falls during months of August and September allowing for a dry, rot-free harvest for most vintages. Corsica averages around 2,750 hours of sunshine a year, with the nearby sea absorbing most of the heat during the day and radiating it back to the island at night; this creates a more consistent temperature and reduces the diurnal temperature variation. Throughout the mountainous terrain there are several mesoclimates created by the differing degrees of altitude and maritime influences. There are several different soil types found in the wine growing regions of Corsica. In the northern region consisting of the Cap Corse peninsula the soil is schist. Just south of the Cap Corse is the limestone-rich clay soil of the Patrimonio region. Along the west coast, the soil contains a high concentration of granite; the vineyards planted on the east coast of the island between the cities of Solenzara and Bastia are planted on marly sand. Corsica has nine AOC regions and an island-wide vin de pays designation Vin de Pays de l'Île de Beauté that accounts for two thirds of the island's entire wine production.
The Patrimonio region on the north coast was the first to receive AOC designation when it was established in 1968. On the west coast is a large region centered around the island's capital city of Ajaccio which includes some of Corsica's highest elevated vineyard land; the generic Vin de Corse AOC covers the entire island and includes the smaller sub-regions of Vin de Corse-C
Sauternes is a French sweet wine from the Sauternais region of the Graves section in Bordeaux. Sauternes is made from Sémillon, Sauvignon blanc, Muscadelle grapes that have been affected by Botrytis cinerea known as noble rot; this causes the grapes to become raisined, resulting in concentrated and distinctively flavored wines. Due to its climate, Sauternes is one of the few wine regions where infection with noble rot is a frequent occurrence. So, production is a hit-or-miss proposition, with varying harvests from vintage to vintage. Wines from Sauternes the Premier Cru Supérieur estate Château d'Yquem, can be expensive, due to the high cost of production. Barsac lies within Sauternes, is entitled to use either name. Somewhat similar but less expensive and less-distinguished wines are produced in the neighboring regions of Monbazillac, Cérons and Cadillac. In the United States, there is a semi-generic label for sweet white dessert wines known as sauterne without the "s" at the end and uncapitalized.
As in most of France, viticulture is believed to have been introduced into Aquitania by the Romans. The earliest evidence of sweet wine production, dates only to the 17th century. While the English had been the region's primary export market since the Middle Ages, their tastes ran to drier wines, starting with clairet in medieval times and shifting to red claret, it was the Dutch traders of the 17th century. For years they were active in the trade of German wines but production in Germany began to wane in the 17th century as the popularity of beer increased; the Dutch saw an opportunity for a new production source in Bordeaux and began investing in the planting of white grape varieties. They introduced to the region German white wine making techniques, such as halting fermentation with the use of sulphur in order to maintain residual sugar levels. One of these techniques involved taking a candle with its wick dipped in the sulphur and burned in the barrel that the wine will be fermenting in; this would leave a presence of sulphur in the barrel that the wine would interact with as it was fermenting.
Being an anti-microbial agent, sulphur stuns the yeast that stimulates fermentation bringing it to a halt with high levels of sugars still in the wine. The Dutch began to identify areas that could produce grapes well suited for white wine production and soon homed in on the area of Sauternes; the wine produced from this area was known as vins liquoreux but it is not clear if the Dutch were using nobly rotted grapes at this point. Wine expert Hugh Johnson has suggested that the unappealing thought of drinking wine made from fungus-infested grapes may have caused Sauternes producers to keep the use of Botrytis a secret. There are records from the 17th century that by October, Sémillon grapes were known to be infected by rot and vineyard workers had to separate rotted and clean berries but they are incomplete in regards to whether the rotted grapes were used in winemaking. By the 18th century, the practice of using nobly rotted grapes in Tokaji and Germany was well known, it seems that at this point the "unspoken secret" was more accepted and the reputation of Sauternes rose to rival those of the German and Hungarian dessert wines.
By the end of the 18th century, the region's reputation for Sauternes was internationally known: Thomas Jefferson was an avid connoisseur. Jefferson recorded that after tasting a sample of Château d'Yquem while President, George Washington placed an order for 30 dozen bottles. Like most of the Bordeaux wine region, the Sauternes region has a maritime climate which brings the viticultural hazards of autumn frost and rains that can ruin an entire vintage; the Sauternes region is located 40 km southeast of the city of Bordeaux along the Garonne river and its tributary, the Ciron. The source of the Ciron is a spring. In the autumn, when the climate is warm and dry, the different temperatures from the two rivers meet to produce mist that descends upon the vineyards from evening to late morning; this condition promotes the development of the Botrytis cinerea fungus. By mid day, the warm sun will help dissipate the mist and dry the grapes to keep them from developing less favorable rot; the Sauternes wine region comprises five communes— Barsac, Bommes and Preignac.
While all five communes are permitted to use the name Sauternes, the Barsac region is permitted to label their wines under the Barsac appellation. The Barsac region is located on the west bank of the Ciron river where the tributary meets the Garonne; the area sits on an alluvial plain with limy soils. In general, Barsac wine is distinguished from other Sauternes in being drier with a lighter body. In years when the noble rot does not develop, Sauternes producers will make dry white wines under the generic Bordeaux AOC. To qualify for the Sauternes label, the wines must have a minimum 13% alcohol level and pass a tasting exam where the wines need to taste noticeably sweet. There is no regulation on the exact amount of residual sugar. Sauternes are characterized by the balance of sweetness with the zest of acidity; some common flavor notes include apricots, peaches but with a nutty note, a typical characteristic of noble semillon itself. The finish can resonate on the palate for several minutes. Sauternes are some of longest-lived wines, with premium examples from exceptional vintages properly kept having the pote
Jura wine is French wine produced in the Jura département. Located between Burgundy and Switzerland, this cool climate wine region produces wines with some similarity to Burgundy and Swiss wine. Jura wines are distinctive and unusual wines, the most famous being vin jaune, made by a similar process to Sherry, developing under a flor-like strain of yeast; this is made from the local Savagnin grape variety. Other grape varieties include Poulsard and Chardonnay. Other wine styles found in Jura includes a vin de paille made from Chardonnay and Savagnin, a sparkling Crémant du Jura made from unripe Chardonnay grapes, a vin de liqueur known as Macvin du Jura made by adding marc to halt fermentation; the French chemist Louis Pasteur was born and raised in the Jura region and owned a vineyard near Arbois, still producing wine today under the management of Jura's largest wine firms: Henri-Maire. The climate of Jura is continental with many similarities to Burgundy but can be more aggressively cold in the winter time.
Ripeness levels of the grapes is always a concern for winemakers of the area and harvest times are delayed as long as possible to try to achieve the highest sugar levels possible. To help lessen the threat of autumn frost, grapevines are trained to the Guyot system; the majority of the region's vineyards are found at altitudes between 820-1,310 ft between the plains of the Bresse region and the Jura Mountains. The towns of Lons-le-Saunier and Arbois are the principal cities in the wine region; the vineyard soils tend to be composed of clay in the lower flat lands with more limestone based soils in the higher elevation. Deposits of marl are scattered throughout the region with some of the area's most regarded vineyards being found on those sites. Many vineyard slopes are quite steep. Arbois is an Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée for wines made in the Jura wine region of France, around the town of Arbois, it was the first controlled appellation to be attributed in France, in 1936. Red and rosé wines can be produced from Poulsard and Pinot noir grapes, white wines from Chardonnay and Savagnin.
Château-Chalon AOC is an Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée for wines made around the village of Château-Chalon. Only white wines from the Savagnin grape made in the vin jaune style can be made using this appellation. However, the Château-Chalon wines are not explicitly labeled as vin jaune; the wine is known for its longevity, ability to age for several decades. Crémant du Jura is an Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée for sparkling wines. White and rosé wines can be produced from Poulsard and Pinot noir red grapes and Chardonnay, Pinot gris and Savagnin white grapes. Côtes du Jura is an Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée producing red and rosé wines from Poulsard and Pinot noir grapes, white wines from Chardonnay and Savagnin. L'Étoile is an Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée producing wines from Chardonnay and Poulsard grapes; the wine is produced on 4 communes: L'Étoile, Quintigny, Saint-Didier. Macvin du Jura is an Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée producing late harvest vin du Jura fortified with marc du Jura.
On 14 November 1991 it received its AOC designation. It is the latest Jurassian AOC. Macvin has been in production since the fourteenth century, it is made from five permitted grape varieties, can be red or rosé when produced from the Poulsard and Pinot noir, or white when produced from Chardonnay or Savagnin. The grapes are harvested late in season; the grape must is aged in oak barrels for twelve months without prior fermentation in tanks. Marc du Jura, pomace-based eau-de-vie, is added at a ratio of one litre for every two of must. Fermentation stops, leaving behind a sweet dessert wine; the main grapes of the region are Chardonnay, Poulsard, Pinot noir and Trousseau. Chardonnay and Pinot noir clippings were brought to the region from Burgundy during the Middle Ages and were used limitedly among the 40 other grape varieties that were prevalent in Jura for most of its winemaking history. Towards the end of the 20th century both grapes began to increase in popularity the Chardonnay vine which now accounts for nearly 45% of all Jura plantings and is valued for its good sugar levels and early ripening.
Pinot noir is used to make a varietal style of wine or as a blend to deepen the color of the pale Poulsard grape. By itself, Poulsard makes a rosé in the Arbois-Pupillin region, characterized by an orange corail tint; the Poulsard grape is one of the primary grapes for the vin de paille. The Trousseau grape performs best in the gravelly vineyards near Arbois that can give the grape the additional heat it needs to ripen into a deep colored, intensely flavored wine; the white Savagnin grape has some similarities with the related Traminer and Gewürztraminer. While the grape is permitted in all styles of white Jura wine throughout the region it is found in vin jaune where it proposes a nutty, full bodied wine that can age for an extended period of time. Savagnin, itself, is the only permitted variety for vin jaune. Jura's most famous and distinguishable wine is the sherry-like vin jaune; the wine is produced by picking the Savagnin as ripe as possible, in some cases becoming a sort of late harvest wine, after fermentation storing it in Burgundian aging barrels for over 6 years.
The barrels are filled up to the top and allowed to evaporate, reducing the volume in the barrel and a creating an air pocket at
Alsace Grand Cru AOC
Alsace Grand Cru is an Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée for wines made in specific parcels of the Alsace wine region of France. The Grand Cru AOC was recognized in 1975 by the INAO with subsequent expansion in 1983, 1992 and 2007; the wines come from selected sites in the Alsace AOC region, located at altitudes between 200 m and 300 m. To qualify for Grand Cru status, the wine must first meet the AOC Alsace-rules and other strict requirements. Thus, the yield of the vineyards has to be 55 hectoliter per hectare or less, the wine has to come from a single named vineyard of Grand Cru status, the name of the vineyard must be listed on the label; as of 2011, 51 lieux-dits are listed as Grand Cru, the latest addition being Kaefferkopf of Ammerschwihr in January 2007. In Alsace, the concept of cru came early. In 613, the king-to-be Dagobert gave vines on the Steinklotz to the abbey of Haslach. In Rouffach in 762, Archbishop of Strasbourg, founded the abbey of Ettenheim and made his income up of the vines of the Vorbourg.
In Bennwihr in 777, the missi dominici passing through Alsace exposed in their report to Charlemagne the quality of Beno Villare wines which vines showed off on the Marckrain. In Sigolsheim, a charter of 783 notified that the Sigoltesberg vineyard was the common property of the nearby lords and monasteries. In Kintzheim in the 9th century, the Benedictine abbots of Ebersmunster owned vines on the Praelatenberg; this lieu-dit is attested since 823. In Dahlenheim and Scharrachbergheim, a charter pointed for the first time to the vineyard of the Engelberg in 884. In Wintzenheim in the 9th century, a gift from the abbey of Murbach cited the Hengst for the first time; the lords of Hohlandsbourg and the bailiff of Kayserberg shared its feodal rignts until the French Revolution. Between 1000 and Renaissance, each other Alsacian lieux-dits has been owned or a fief of the nobility or the clergy; the wealth or the alsacian cartularies and charter-binders would only be erudites treat if it hadn't formed the historical basis of the delimitation of the Alsace grands crus lieux-dits.
The status of Alsace wine region is a case apart within the French wine regions. After 1919's Treaty of Versailles and Alsace's return into France, German law remained force in this Reichsland as local law, introduced as soon as 1919 and legalized in 1924; this situation held up the recognition of Alsace wines. After the ordonnance of 1945 defining the designation of origin of Alsacian wines came in 1962 the decree relating to the use of such designations: the appellation d'origine contrôlée Alsace was born. Neither the ordonnance nor the decree contained a word about geographical designations or an allusion to crus; the situation began to evolve with a decree in 1975 which created the designation "alsace grand cru". Its first article makes clear. A decree in 1983 designated 25 lieux-dits to join the grands crus d'Alsace. In 1985, the INAO accepted a new folder to increase the alsace grands crus list; the same year, a decree added 25 new names. Meanwhile, these texts have been modified. In 1984 were vendange tardive and sélection de grains nobles introduced.
Alsace grands crus are produced in north-eastern France, in the region Alsace, on the territory of 47 communes, from Marlenheim at northern end, westward from Strasbourg, to Thann at southern end, westward from Mulhouse. Alsace plain occupies the south part of the Upper Rhine Plain, which formed from a collapse during the Oligocene and is followed since the Miocene by the river Rhine; the vineyard stays on the lower slopes of the Vosges Mountains, on the fault zone of the graben, covered by alluvial fans of the many rivers and creeks flowing from the nearby heights. This explains the variety of the subsurface materials and their succession forming a true mosaic: limestones, shales, gneiss or sandstones; the upper part of the slopes of the subvosgian hills consists of old rocks: plutons and metamorphic rocks like granite, gneiss or slate. Vine-planted parcels climb up to 478 m height; the lower part of the slopes consists of layers of limestones or marls covered by loess where the slope is rather smooth.
Endly, the plain consists of a thick layer of alluvium deposited by the Rhine. This zone is more fertile than the two previous with an important aquifer close to the surface: the Upper Rhine aquifer; such differences between a place and another allow each Grand Cru to benefit from a particular terroir more differentiated by the climate. On the western side, the Vosges Mountains shield the Alsacian vineyards from rain. Dominating western winds loose their moisture on the eastern side of the Vosges and arrive as foehn winds into the Alsace plain; the precipitation mean in Alsace is the least of all French vineyards and Colmar one of the dryest towns of France. The climate is more temperated than expected at this latitude: the annual mean temperature is about 1.5 °C higher. The climate is semi-continental and dry with hot springs and dry summers, long autumns and cold winters; each of the Grands Crus benefits from a microclimate different from place to place. As of 2011, all wines are white and can be produced from the noble Alsace varieties: Riesling, Pinot gris and Gewürztraminer grapes.
In 2006 Zotzenberg became the first Grand Cru vineyard that could conta
Beaumes de Venise AOC
Beaumes de Venise is an appellation of wines from the eastern central region of the southern half of the Rhône Valley. It produces wines of two distinctly different types: 1. A sweet fortified wine of the type vin doux naturel, under the designation Muscat de Beaumes de Venise.2. A red Côtes du Rhône Villages from the classification of named villages, which typifies the quality wines of the Côtes du Rhône region; the vines are grown on the slopes around the foot of the Dentelles de Montmirail, a vertical comb of rock jutting out of the plain between the Rhône river and the Luberon-Ventoux mountains. Beaumes is famed for its natural fortified wine made from the Muscat grape, records of its use go back two millennia. More it is the producer of a high quality red wine. In 1943 the natural Sweet Beaumes de Venise Muscat was accorded its appellation d'origine contrôlée, to be followed in 1956 by an AOC for its Côtes du Rhône; the red and rosé wines were elevated to the appellation of Côtes du Rhône Villages AOC in 1978, in 2005 the greatest honor of all was bestowed on the region when Beaumes de Venise rouge and the sweet fortified wine Muscat de Beaumes de Venise became a cru - the highest order of the wines in the Rhône Valley.
Today, over 100 producers including fifteen domaines and a cooperative winery combine their efforts to maintain the highest standards and the centuries-old reputation of the town and its wines. Nearly two thousand years ago, Pliny the Elder wrote in his Natural History: "The Muscat grape has been grown for a long time in Beaumes and its wine is remarkable". In 1248, St. Louis took supplies of it with him on his 7th Crusade, during the early 14th century, at the time of the reign of Pope Clement V, production was increased by 70 hectares to cater for the demand from the Popes' Palace in Avignon. A unique feature of the way the grapes ripen is the way in which the warmth of the sun reflects and radiates down over the vines from the huge vertical limestone slabs of the Dentelles de Montmirail - the'Lace of Montmirail'. Just under 500 hectares are under cultivation; the average yield is 28 hectolitres per hectare. The wine is produced from a single variety, the small berried Muscat, known as the Muscat de Frontignan, must contain a minimum alcohol level of 15%.
Mutage is carried out during the fermentation by the addition of 95° proof spirit. The vineyard is surrounded by the communes of Beaumes de Venise, Suzette, La Roque-Alric, all in the department of Vaucluse, is situated on the southeastern flank of the Dentelles de Montmirail at an altitude of 100 to 600 metres. About 100 growers/producers are concerned with the average annual production of around 18,000 hectolitres for an average yield of 33 hectolitres per hectare and the grapes are manually harvested. Varieties that are blended to produce the red AOC are Grenache noir min. 50%, Syrah 25%, Mourvèdre and other varieties permitted by the appellation to a maximum of 20% with 5% of white grapes. The minimum degree of alcohol is fixed at 12.5%