France, Adelaide Hills
Two concepts pivotal to the higher end French wines, in particular, are the idea of 'terroir' and the Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée (AOC) system. Terroir refers to the way the geography, geology and climate find their way into the glass, telling a story of the origin of the wine. The AOC was set up in 1935 and has the primary goal of protecting the authenticity of the wines and the livelihoods of the producers. Appellation rules strictly define which varieties of grapes and winemaking practices are approved for classification in each of France's several hundred geographically defined appellations, which can cover entire regions, individual villages or in some cases, like in Burgundy even specific vineyards.
Classic wine regions in France include Champagne (home of Champagne), Burgundy (Pinot Noir and Chardonnay), Bordeaux (Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Malbec, Petit Verdot), Alsace (Aromatic varietals), Loire Valley (Chenin Blanc, Crémant) and the Rhône Valley (Syrah, Grenache Mourvedre)
The Bordeaux classification of 1855 is still in use, as is the Sauternes and Barsac Classification of the same year. Wines from certain regions can be bought En Primeur, which is when the wine is sold prior to it being bottled.
Famous for their Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Riesling and Pinot Noir, the viticulture of this region was re-established in 1979 but grapes were planted locally as early as 1839. During the last three decades, Adelaide Hills has emerged as one of Australia’s most exciting cool climate wine region, being known to produce elegant, distinct, sophisticated wines. Located in the Mount Lofty Ranges and only a 30-minute drive from Adelaide, this region is home not only to over 90 wine labels and 48 cellar doors, but also to multiple forests, beef and dairy farms, apple and pear orchards.
Known to be one of the largest geographical wine regions in Australia, the Adelaide Hills are made up of two registered sub-regions: Lenswood and Piccadilly Valley. These narrow band of hills stretch across to be approximately 70 km long and 30 km wide and border Barossa and Eden Valleys to the North and McLaren Vale to the South.
The climate of this region is considerably cooler compared to other wine regions in the summer, due to the altitudes of the vineyards being 400-700 meters high. The cooler drier climate produces grapes with ideal fruit composition, creating the perfect balance of flavour and acidity.
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