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.
Apart from being the most southerly wine region in Australia, Tasmania has among the coolest growing subregions with the potential to make distinctly different wines than in the rest of the country.
Most well known for cool-climate varietals like Pinot Noir and Chardonnay (thus sparkling too), Sauvignon Blanc smaller plantings of Riesling, Cabernet and Pinot Gris (more commonly Pinot labelled Pinot Grigio)
Historically, Tasmania can lay claim to being the founder of both the Victorian and South Australian wine industries as William Henty sailed from Launceston to Portland (in Victoria) in 1834 and planted grape cuttings there. Though not conclusively proven, it's believed that John Hack planted vines in South Australia in 1837, closely followed in 1838 by John Reynell.
Warmer vintages (possibly attributable to global warming) has had positive effects on region's industry, allowing grapes in recent vintages to achieve full phenolic ripeness, making for vibrant wines that have been widely accepted as world class.
It's almost international Pinot Noir day! A grape that is very fussy and fickle to grow yet produces some of the most expensive and collected wines in the world. We'll do a side by side comparison of 3 different Pinot ... Learn More
It's back by popular demand! The ultimate debate in wine, Old World V New World. Two Master of Wines' going head to head on arguably the most controversial subject in wine, we have Alistair Cooper MW in the ... Learn More