Division by geography

Discussion in 'Pairing Food and Wine' started by rachel, Jan 31, 2002.

  1. rachel

    rachel

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    One of the things that I have noticed about this forum is the way in which wine is divided by grape variety rather than geographical region. Being rather an ignoramus on the subject, I would like to ask those of you trained, do you not find that wine can just as easily divide itself, interms of taste, geographically rather than varietarilly? (yes i just made the last word up!)
    For example: I spent my formative adult years in Spain, where they only sell Spanish wine. World widewine is available either in international stores in very small quantities or among the very top quality wines which were well outwith my reach economicaly. So I drank Spanish wine (not a very great sacrifice , i have to say)
    Having now lived in Scotland for 18 months and with friends who are passionate about Australian wine I found myself differentiating the taste of wines more on the basis of geography. A Spanish Merlot, to my untrained palate (I have never studied or often read about this - just drank), has more in common with a Cabernet Sauvignon of a similar price range and area of Spain than a much cheaper/more expensive merlot from Australia. I also find that I can taste the difference between an Italian red and a Spanish red. Many of my Italian friends in Spain complained that Spanish red was so thick as to be like soup, while Spaniards complained that Italian red was like water. I notice myself when I drink, what to my mind, is an outstanding red wine, it is always Spanish or Portuguese - even if i am unaware as to the nationality of the wine beforehand. This is, i am convinced, due to my formative 'drinking years' in Spain rather than any objective reasoning.
    Can anyone else enlighten me on the subject?
     
  2. cape chef

    cape chef

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    Rachel, it is a little late here now, But I will look to help you with this question soon
    cc
     
  3. cape chef

    cape chef

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    Dear Rachel, i just want to be sure I understand your question before I post what i think will help you.
    Are you asking if five different variaties of wine are made in the provance will there carry a comman thread of flavor?
    I mean..will Cabernet, Merlot,a Rioja and a syrah that all are made in the penedess have the same or similar flavor because of the soil, climate,ETC.
    If this is kind of in line let me know. If not maybe detail your question a little more.
    cc
     
  4. rachel

    rachel

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    yes that is what I'm asking. Do you, in your experience feel, that the provenance of a wine can have an even bigger influence on the taste than the variety of grape?
     
  5. cape chef

    cape chef

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    Ok, Take for example Bordeaux. In Pauillac three of the five first growth are produced. Mouton, Latour and lafite. The primary grape in these wines is Cabernet sauvignon, These wines are then blended with cabernet Franc, Merlot and merlot. sometimes petit verdot and malbac are added (Btw..These five grapes are the only grapes aloud to produce Bordeaux). Now...These three Chateaus all use 100% new oak every single year. They have similar %s of the same grapes in ther blend, and yet they are all three so different from one another...Moving on and into Graves you have Ch Haut Brion, another first growth with it's primary grape being Cabernet. I have used words like tobacco, earth, barnyard to describe Haut Brion...But also incredible balance of friut and tannins ECT. Then off to Margaux, Margaux is the perfume and the flower of Bordeaux. Again, Cabernet is the central grape used with merlot to soften. Five wines, all with very similar make up, but because of it's provedence, they are totally unique to eachother. The blending of the Grapes slightly changes from vinetage to vinetage dependent on certian factors.
    If you go to Pomoral, Merlot is the grape of choice, if you venture in to Saint Emillion Cabernet Franc dominate Ausane and cheval blanc. Grapes, soil, sun. rain, barrels, and other things definatly determain a wines pedegree...But Provendence, is it's history
    cc
     
  6. rachel

    rachel

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    Thank you so much CC
     
  7. pete

    pete Moderator Staff Member

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    To accurately describe a wine I think that both varietal and geography play an important roll. But, I also think that geography is a much more difficult subject to grasp, as there are so many more geographic areas than grape varieties. Sure a Pinot Noir from Bugundy tastes quite different from an American Pinot, but they share some things in common. Same with a Cab from France, Austrailia and the US. They will all be significantly different but there will also be some underlying similarties. For the average person, I think that it is much more important to understand variety than geography. It will give you a reference point at which to start understanding wines, then you can start to learn how the geography of an area affects it.