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8:16 AM

Writing about Red Wine was indeed a spontaneous decision on my part. I solemnly hope that this was a wise decision that I had made.

A Red Wine Artilce for Your Viewing


Fitou wine is well-established, particularly in the UK - most people know the name, can pronounce it easily, and may even have tried a bottle or two. But ask them where Fitou is and the chances are they'll look at you blankly. So here's your chance to shine at your next dinner party: serve a few bottles of full-bodied, feisty red Fitou and regale your guests with a little background.

First and foremost, a couple of facts. Fitou is the oldest appellation in the Languedoc-Roussillon region (and not a lot people know that). It is divided into two zones that border Corbi?res, with the smaller zone lying around the coastal town of Fitou itself, and the larger zone's vineyards dominating the land between Villeneuve-les-Corbi?res and Tuchan. Although the communes here can produce golden-hued Rivesaltes vins doux naturels, most of the wines are reds, made mainly from the Carignan grape variety blended with Grenache, Mourv?dre and Syrah. Good Fitou vintages tend to be herb-flavoured with a wild, spicy character; think simple, medium- to full-bodied, rustic reds.

Next up, the place itself. Fitou is small but lively winemaking village in the south of France, in the Aude d?partement of the Languedoc region. It's about 10 minutes drive from the beaches of the Mediterranean, an hour and a half from ski resorts in the Pyrenees, and you can even do a day trip to Spain from Fitou. A number of expats (mainly British, Dutch and Germans) have chosen to make their homes here; Fitou appeals to families with young children as it's quiet enough to feel very safe while providing all the necessary services and amenities to make life comfortable year-round, including a primary school, bar, several restaurants, a boulangerie, a supermarket, launderette, a snack bar - and of course, lots of wine (which can be bought direct from the producers). It's a popular village with foreign visitors as it is still largely unspoilt, but it's hardly an expat enclave, and everyone is well integrated; it's a very small, friendly community.

Properties range from small village houses (maison de village) through to modern villas and apartments in the Domaine de Capitelles, a new development situated up on the hills surrounding the village. Cheaper properties tend to change hands quickly, especially if they have an outside area, as gardens are hard to come by. The Fitou area is considered to be a good place to look for older property to renovate; lower-priced village houses invariably need modernization or at least decoration, and by renovating an older property it is possible to create a home that is exactly to your tastes while saving money.

Fans of modern building styles will need to look elsewhere. Occasionally, recently-built villas come onto the market but they are far and few between, and there are very few plots of building land left; you'd need to look a little further afield to be able to build your own home from scratch. House prices in and around Fitou have boomed since the Millennium, but have now become relatively stable. As an example, in the nearby village of Paziols, a two-bedroom village house renovated in a modern style is currently on the market for ?104,500, while a pretty, three-bed village house with original features (wooden beams, open fireplaces and a period staircase) and plenty of charm is selling for ?129,600. For more details of these and other properties, visit

About the Author

Louise has lived in France, in the city of Montpellier in the Languedoc-Roussillon for the past 5 years.

Louise writes for a number of French life magazines and was asked to write a number of articles on life and experiences in France by French real estate agents Vibo Immobilier (, based in the wine village of Fitou.

A synopsis on Red Wine.


Fitou wine is well-established, particularly in the UK - most people know the name, can pronounce it easily, and may even have tried a bottle or two. ...

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Red Wine Products we recommend

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Price: 89.99 USD

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4:59 AM

Of all the articles that I have written, I consider this article of Wine Aficionado to be my best article. Hope you feel the same too.

Today's Wine Aficionado Article

Wine Storage Options for Serious Wine Collectors

Wine asset management, as serious wine collecting and storage has come to be known, is available in a variety of configurations depending on what a wine lover's needs are. Storage options include vault-like facilities where a customer's wine has a room all to itself, facilities that catalog and store wines all together in a cave or warehouse, decorative custom racks and cellars for the home and even wine storage lockers at local restaurants.

When deciding on how to store your wine, consider the following:

How long will your wine need to be stored?

There are many reasons to store wine, and the longer you plan to store it, the more important environmental conditions are. Some wine lovers store wine with a long-term investment in mind while others, such as wineries, may just be looking for a temporary space while their own storage facilities are full.

The type of wine you are storing also plays a part in length of storage time since many wines change and become more complex over time. Modestly priced wines generally improve more in the short-term, while finer wines that have come from quality fruit, harvested at the peak of ripeness and sugar levels, and are processed appropriately, will develop more complex flavors, intense aromas and deeper colors over many years assuming they are stored under the proper conditions.

How important is consistent temperature, humidity and lighting?

At a lower temperature wine develops more slowly, which allows it to reach and maintain its peak drink ability. If wine becomes too warm, certain aspects may mature and decline before others have been optimized. A temperature-controlled facility is a must for collectors who will be storing their wine over a long period of time. The industry standard for wine cellaring is 55-57 degrees.

Humidity levels are important as well. High humidity will cause mold and mildew, which can damage a wine's label and foil. But too little humidity can cause corks to dry out, shrink, break the seal and ultimately spoil the wine. Humidity of between 60-70% is optimal and is the industry standard for cellar storage.

How important is security, privacy and accessibility?

If you are storing valuable wine and want to rest easy, you may want to choose a facility that has individual lockers, state-of-the-art alarm systems at the facility, and on each individual locker, on-site surveillance cameras and even a 24-hour, on-site security guard or residing resident manager. Also, a fire sprinkler system in the building would be reassuring.

Secure wine storage facilities located in earthquake country should also include sturdy shelving that is bolted securely to floors and walls and specifically designed to protect the wine in the event of an earthquake. If a facility also has a back-up generator system, you will have extra assurance that even during a power outage; your wine will be maintained at the proper temperature.

Other Storage Options

For wine collectors who want to keep their collection close to home, the sky's the limit when it comes to personal storage containers, racks, cooling systems and cellars. If cost is no object and sufficient space is available, there are companies that specialize in building home wine cellars. Of course, this is the most expensive option and should only be considered if one is certain they will not be moving anytime soon. If properly designed and constructed, the home wine cellar can be a source of great enjoyment, but like many home improvements, the cost of construction is unlikely to be recovered if the home needs to be sold and may limit its appeal to future buyers who are not wine collectors.

There are many home refrigeration units on the market for storage of wine, but most of these are of rather limited capacity and unlikely to meet the needs of a serious collector. However, these units can be a good part of a storage solution - allowing a small sampling of the collection to be kept at the home while the bulk of the wine is stored off-site in a secure facility.

A final option is the installation of built-in or free standing wine rack in a room of the home. The problem here is that the wine will not be stored at optimum conditions since most people do not want to maintain their home at 55 degrees. Thus, for valuable wines, this should only be a short term solution for wine ready to be consumed in the near future.

For collectors of valuable wines with long term potential, the best solution is probably a combination of off-site storage in a secure facility with ideal temperature and humidity conditions, with some small amount of temperature-controlled storage in the home for those wines which are ready to be enjoyed at the peak of perfection.

By having a proper wine storage facility at your disposal, it is possible to buy cases of wine when they are first released and store them until they reach their peak. This can save significant cost compared to buying such wines aged to perfection (if they can even be found), and some collectors can sell the wines they have aged under perfect conditions and make a profit to fund further acquisitions of fine wines. Enjoy!

About the Author

James Ledwith is a real estate developer specializing in self storage. His interest in collecting fine wines led him to develop a secure, climate controlled wine storage facility called Marin Wine Vaults in San Rafael, CA which is close the Napa and Sonoma wine country. He can be reached at

A Short Wine Aficionado Summary

Wine Cellar Refrigeration

If you are looking for good wine cellar refrigeration, here are some guidelines to consider.

Some wine cellar refrigerators offer cabinets equipped ...

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Price: 94.99 USD

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