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2008 - Port Wine

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Wine Labels Decoded

Even for the avid wine drinker, deciding on a bottle of wine can be a daunting task with so many varieties of wine on the market today. Wine labels don?t help either with the various terms in foreign languages and the small print. Sometimes reading a wine label makes you feel like you need a secret decoder ring, but rest assured that this is not to confuse you the customer, but rather to help you. The information on the label is there to tell you about the wine and also the winery and conditions of production. Once you have an idea of what to look for on a wine label, deciphering it shouldn?t require much effort.

The Brand Name: This is the name of the company that has produced the wine. Most often this is the name of the winery or bottler if the winery has several different brands.

Vintage: Most wines will carry the vintage somewhere on the bottle, although this is not a mandatory requirement and will not be on all bottles. A vintage is the year that the grapes used were harvested. Most wine producing countries have laws that require at least 85 percent of the grapes used to be harvested in the specified year of vintage although in the United States this figure can be as high as 95 percent.

Appellation of Origin: This is the geographical area where the grapes were grown, for example ?California? or more a more specific vineyard. Most countries have strict laws regarding an appellation classification, which is why like the vintage; at least 85 percent of the grapes used must be from their specified region.

Wine Type: This specifies the grapes used to make the wine. Again this can be as broad as ?Red Table Wine? or as specific as Merlot or Chardonnay. Most wine producing countries allow the use of some non-varietal grapes in the blend. In Europe and Australia, at least 85 percent of the wine?s content must be from the named varietals, while in some parts of the United States this figure is much lower at about 75 percent.

Producer and Bottler: What this part of the bottle signifies varies greatly depending on where the bottle of wine originates from. If grapes are harvested and bottled at the winery it is considered to be ?estate bottled? and the label will state this using Mise en bouteille(s) au Chateau (French), Gutsabf?llung/Erzeugerabf?llung (German) or simply Estate Bottled.

According to Napa Valley Vintners online ( it is even more specific for American bottled wines and the terminology even more specifically determines how the wine was bottled: ??Produced and bottled by? certifies that the bottler fermented 75% or more of the wine. Used in combination with other information on the label, such as a vineyard, this term provides the consumer with significant information about the origin of the wine and who is responsible for its production. ?Cellared and bottled by? indicates that the bottler has aged the wine or subjected it to cellar treatment before bottling. ?Made and bottled by? indicates that the bottler fermented at least 75% of the wine (10% before July 28, 1994). ?Bottled by? indicates that the winery bottled the wine, which may have been grown, crushed, fermented, finished, and aged by someone else.?

Other Required Information: This depends on what country the wine is from. For example, wines sold in the United States are required to have (at least on the back label) alcohol content, contents size, and consumer warnings from the Surgeon General as well as a sulphite warning while in Germany wine are required to have an Amptliche Pr?fungs Nummer which is a number received while in testing. The famous wine regions of Bordeaux, Burgundy and Alsace in France will carry the term Cru somewhere on the label to indicate that the wine is from a town or producer of high quality.

While this still might be very overwhelming, when looked at from a point of view of the winemaker, a wine label really is there to help you as the consumer, not hinder your decision making. Everything on a wine label is there to inform you of where the wine came from and how it was produced, and while it might take you a lifetime to be able to completely understand every single term that is put on a wine bottle, being able to understand the basics will be advantageous. It is important to remember that rules will vary from country to country as to what is required to be on a wine bottle or specific terms used. What might be required in France might not be required in Chile.

About the Author:

Ken Finnigan is the CEO of Finest Wine Racks a website specializing in quality decorative wine racks and durable wine storage systems. Also vist the Finest Wine Racks Blog

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Featured Port Wine Items

Merryvale Cabernet Sauvignon

There has been much hype in the press about the 2001 California vintage in regards to the Cabernet crop and they are absolutely correct to be as excited as they are. Predicted by some to be the best vintage on record from Northern California, Merryvale has given us two offerings that fit the bill. The 2001 Merryvale Cabernet sauvignon "Vineyard X" is a huge and powerful wine. Loads of lucious fruit and perfectly integrated tannins and oak along with its 30+ second finish will make it hard for anyone to keep the corks in these bottles. This is a 20 year wine and needs a couple more years of cellaring to help the wine open up! (Subject to Availability) MCVX01 MCVX01

Price: 97.99 USD

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12:48 AM

Wednesday 04/16/08 - Make Wine

Another Great Make Wine Article

Champagne: How the World's Most Glamorous Wine Triumphed over War and Hard Times (Book Review)

Champagne: How the World's Most Glamorous Wine Triumphed over War and Hard Times, by Don & Petie Kladstrup, is one of those lovable books that entertain while informing and educating. Despite all the historical facts one learns from reading this book, the contents are not straight-laced or highbrow, but they contain real-life vineyard stories of human interest, the intricacies in the life of champagne as it evolved into the most glamorous drink, and colorful descriptions of the Champagne region.

The history of the Champagne region is conscientiously noted from the First Crusade and the times of the Huns, to the end of World War II, to our day when the writers walk through the Oise-Aisne American cemetery. In this cemetery, the poet Joyce Kilmer is buried as well as many American soldiers and the writers visit a chapel here, inside which the names of fallen soldiers whose bodies were never recovered are carved in marble. Since this region has become so closely connected to US history, reading this book brought its subject even closer to this American's heart.

Before the First Crusade, Champagne used to be a wool region where wool-trading was the most significant business. With the First Crusade, Champagne region evolved into a hub for trade routes, replacing the quiet countryside that it was earlier. During this time, the church took control of the region, which led to the invention of champagne.

It was the monk Dom Perignon who became the inventor of champagne. Dom Perignon improved wine-making by adding bubbles to the wine through the use of yeast. Those bubbles made Champagne the drink of all history; the oddity was that Dom Perignon, all through his life, tried to find a way to keep the bubbles out of the wine after adding the yeast. Later, Napoleon's conquering armies introduced this new wine to the world.

Among the most interesting parts of the book for me were the fight over champagne as armies ran over the region and drank up its reserves and supplies, the smuggling of champagne into Russia and the United States during the Prohibition, and the Damascus rose that became the symbol of the region with its image etched--without thorns--into buildings' fa?ades and printed on anything printable.

The introduction, This Hallowed Soil, reads like poetry at places, and the style of writing and diction is sincere, simple, and relaxed throughout the book. Following the introduction are nine chapters, an epilogue, author notes, bibliography and acknowledgements.

Black and white reproductions of paintings, drawings and photos of the figures important to champagne's history add a special touch to this 286-page, hardcover book in its middle. The ISBN for the book is 0060737921.

The authors,Don and Petie Kladstrup, are journalists. They have a previous book "Wine and War: The French, the Nazis, and the Battle for France's Greatest Treasure," which was released in 2002. Donald Kladstrup, a foreign correspondent for ABC and CBS television news, is the winner of three Emmys and the Alfred I. DuPont--Columbia University, Robert F. Kennedy Memorial, and Overseas Press Club of America awards for journalism. His wife, Petie Kladstrup, is a freelance writer who writes about France and French life.

Read the book. I loved it.

About the Author

Joy Cagil is an author on http://www.Writing.Com/
which is a site for Writers
Her portfolio can be found at http://www.Writing.Com/authors/joycag.

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Make Wine Items For Viewing

Fragolino 1 Case Special

We'll pay the tax and shipping! We have made a large one time purchase for our clients. Order a case for just $195 including tax and delivery. Save even more with 2 cases delivered for $349. This is only available for a short time while supplies last. The Fragola grape is often known as the Uva Americana, since it was originally brought from the United States to Italy. In Italy it is used to make a quite unique semi-sparkling wine of exceptional fruit. This unusual wine has a pronounced flavor of strawberries,hence its name, Fragolino, which is Italian for strawberry. Enjoy this lovely wine young and nicely chilled. Remarkably refreshing! Stock up today! FRASPEC FRASPEC

Price: 195.00 USD

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