Hi lovelies!  As some of you may know, I have been down and out with pneumonia this past week.  Thank you to my beautiful husband and daughter for taking great care of me.  Being pretty darn sick has kind of put a damper on my wine tasting abilities.

So – I thought I would take a break from the beautiful stuff and let my antibiotics do their job and instead pass along some pretty cool facts that I have come to know in my wine studies so far…

  1. I was surprised to learn that for such a seemingly large powerhouse of a New World wine country, New Zealand only has the equivalent to 1/3 of the vineyard area as the Bordeaux region itself.
  2. The white Spanish grape, Airén, is the worlds most widely planted grape variety.  I was sure it was Chardonnay (and pretty soon I think it will be) but no – this little number is used to make Brandy de Jerez.  It is a grape that can completely tolerate the crazy high temperatures of the La Mancha region where it grows.
  3. Soave wine form the white Garganega grape is Italy’s most produced white wine variety.  I would have thought it would have been Pinot Grigio.  Nope.
  4. The Piemonte region of Italy, located on the borders of France and Switzerland, has the largest area under vine in all Italy for DOCG and DOC wines ( premium and high-end appellations ).  My guess would have been Tuscany which is home to 6 DOCG’s where Piemonte is home to at least 10. (Piemonte is also home to one of my fav’s – Barolo made from the Nebbiolo grape.)
  5. Where do we ‘taste’ the components and flavours of wine? Well, we taste bitter at the back of the tongue, sour at the sides of the tongue, salt mid-forward on the tongue and sweetness is tasted on the tip of the tongue.  We feel tannin on our gums and it is what give you that mouth drying sensation.  better tongue diagram
  6. Looking to get into shape? Sign on to work at a vineyard in the Northern Rhone region of France where workers lug pails of gravel up VERY steep slopes (60° incline) at the end of the season.  Ouch. f0215082d
  7. My favourite wine word so far – Trockenbeerenauslese – which is the highest level of sweet wine Germany produces are among the worlds most expensive wines.  Cool, I mean, sweet!
  8. A little pest named Phylloxera almost decimated the European vineyards in the mid 19th century.  The American vines that evolved with the pest were able to stop it by clogging its’ mouth with a sticky sap. Now, rootstocks are often from the American vines and they graft the European vines onto it so it is protected.   Science is very cool.

I won’t inundate you this week with too much.  I find it all fascinating and am thrilled to have discovered my passion that I get to study, taste and explore hopefully for the rest of my life!

I will be back next Wednesday with a review and an overview of organic wines.  Thank you for your comments and suggestions!  Keep them coming!