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Brazil has a sizeable wine industry and it is the third largest producer of wine in South America, behind Argentina and Chile with a substantial area devoted to viticulture, even though much is table grape rather than wine grapes.<br><br> Brazilian wine’s reputation is not yet recognized and in an effort to increase it, all parties are working together to improve it and year on year, the quality is improving. Brazil’s most appreciated wines are its sparkling wines, mainly made with Pinot Noir and Chardonnay and following the classic, traditional method. Other sparkling are made following the Martinotti method. <br><br> Brazil's wine industry has been relatively slow to develop, the country's huge size and tropical climate made it difficult to establish a national wine industry. Brazil is located on the equator and its enormous size and topographic variations mean that climate varies widely across the country.<br><br> Rio Grande do Sul is the center of Brazilian wine production and the vast majority of wine comes from the southernmost regions, Campanha and particularly Serra Gaucha, home to Brazil's sparkling wine capital, Bento Gonçalves. An interesting fact worth mentioning is that the São Francisco Valley in Pernambuco, is known for being able to produce two crops of grapes each year.<br><br> Even though Brazil production of quality wines worth exporting only started in the 1970, its history of viticulture, goes back many centuries. Grape vines first arrived in Brazil in the 16th Century introduced by Portuguese colonists. The 1970 progress was due to the arrival of international wine companies from Europe that brought know-how and technology, together with grapes such as Chardonnay and Semillon for whites, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot for reds that were growing in popularity. LEARN MORE
Dry Creek Valley is a small American Viticultural Area (AVA) located just north-west of Healdsburg in the Sonoma County wine growing region of California. It takes its name from the river Dry Creek which is a tributary to the Russian River. <br><br>The Dry Creek AVA is famous for its Zinfandel amongst the red wines and the Sauvignon Blanc for the whites. The grape-growing history of the area goes back 140 years when Italian settlers moved into the valley following the California Gold Rush. In 1919, prohibition had almost devastated the majority of the vineyards and it wasn't until the 1970s that the revival of the wine industry started, in 1983, the official AVA status of Dry Creek was created.<br><br> The climate of Dry Creek Valley is warm with cooling influence by the Pacific Ocean to the west and San Francisco Bay to the south. The famous fog created by this microclimate is vital for the good diurnal temperature variation, which slows the ripening process and ensures the development of balanced acidity as the grapes ripen. <br><br>The soil types of the AVA are quite diverse with considerable differences between the hillsides and the valley plain. The predominant soil on the hillsides is gravel with rocks that are rich in iron with good drainage, which is perfect for the Zinfandel vines, whilst in the plain is alluvial soils, which has a good drainage and fertility. <br><br> The most planted grape in the Dry Creek Valley is the Zinfandel which shows typical aromas of ripe raspberries, blackberries and a touch of warm baking spices and has become a benchmark in California. The other significant grapes in the area are Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Merlot and Chardonnay. LEARN MORE
Russian River Valley is one of the most important American Viticultural Area AVA that takes its name from the Russian River that pass through the Sonoma County wine-growing region of California. It is one of the coolest areas in California and well-known for Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. The Russian River is the second-largest river within the nine-county Greater San Francisco Bay Area. <br><br>The viticultural history of the area dates back to the 19th century when immigrants from France and Spain settled in the region and began planting vines. And by the dawn of the 20th century, nearly 200 wineries were operating and selling their grapes to bulk wine producers. It was not until the 1970s that vineyards in the Russian River region would begin to focus on quality wine production and using their grapes for local bottling. The region became AVA in 1983 and began to develop a reputation for the quality of its Chardonnay and Pinot Noir wine production, still and sparkling .<br><br> The climate of the Russian River AVA is characterized by cool morning fog that comes in from the ocean through the Petaluma Gap and vanishes during the day influencing the diurnal temperature variation in a cooling way, which is very important for preserving the freshness in the wines. The central and western parts of the AVA are the coolest and tend to be most extensively planted with Pinot noir and Chardonnay, as the warmest northeastern corner, near the city of Windsor is mostly planted with Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. <br><br>The soils of the Russian River were shaped by collisions between the North American and Pacific tectonic plates and eruptions by volcanic vents that deposited volcanic ash over layers of eroded bedrock. That has created sandstone of loam known as ""Goldridge soil"", which is the most respected in the whole area perfectly suited for Pinot Noir and Chardonnay vines. There is another very typical soil type near the town of Sebastopol based on clay, which is also very good for Pinot Noir grapes.<br><br> Some of the world's best Pinot Noirs are produced in the area, with characteristics of vibrant transparent colour, lively acidity, cherry and berry fruit flavours and delicate aromas that would often include earthy mushroom notes. Pinot Noir planted here accounts for more than 15% of the California's total and 10% of all grapes in the Sonoma County wine region. The other grape varieties planted in the area are Chardonnay, Zinfandel, Sauvignon Blanc, Syrah, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Gewürztraminer and Pinot Gris. LEARN MORE
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Viorica is a rare light-skinned white grape variety indigenous to the Stefan Voda wine-growing region of Moldova. Viorica is a hybrid grape made by crossing the two red grape varieties Seibel and Aleatico, and paradoxically the result is a white grape. It is a symbol of the Moldovian white wines mainly used in the production of local sparkling and table wines since 1969. Viorica is traditionally vinified off-dry or semi-sweet, giving birth to truly unique and distinguished wines. The grape variety has a strong personality with floral, citrus, and spicy aromas, sometimes also has a touch of honey. It is unfortunately planted only in Moldova, and it is consumed within the country. LEARN MORE
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Karasi wine is a traditional wine made according to ancient fermentation and maturation technic called "Karas", Armenian for amphorae. The amphorae vessels differ in terms of shape, volume, and type of clay. <br><br>The Karasi is dug into the soil up to their neck, and are used for both fermentation and further ageing. They might be buried into the ground completely or partially, depending on the result the winemaker wants to achieve. Nowadays the Karasi are almost forgotten, but some producer, which are keeping the Armenian traditions and combining them with the modern technics, are still using clay pots. Usually, the Karasi is left at between 17—22 °C, which helps the wine turn out more stable and acquire its amazing and characteristic aroma. <br><br>The specialists in the old wine making process believe that the wine may lose its complexity in a Karas, which is why vinification requires extra attention and care. For a red wine to be produced in Karasi only the best grapes are picked, preferably from old vines. The stalks are removed and fermented with the skins. They are left at least several weeks to ferment in the Karasi at low temperature. After that the wine is transferred for malolactic fermentation in Caucasian oak barrels, forming a truly unique style. The most popular grape varieties used for the making of Karasi wines are the red Areni and the white Voskèat, and it is produced in all major Armenian wine-growing regions including Vayots Dzor, Ararat and Armavir. <br><br>Karasi wines are gaining popularity all over the world thanks to the big investments made by the Armenian wine industry.
Amarone della Valpolicella is a DOCG red wine made from dried (passite) grapes. It is made from grapes grown in the Valpolicella area, between the Lake Garda and the city of Verona, in Veneto and it is the region's most prestigious red wines. Though Amarone wines from the Classico zone are often considered to be the best expression of the wine, there are many top producers operating outside the area. <br> The Amarone was the result of local winemakers looking for a way to increase the body, complexity and alcohol content of their native grapes, from Corvina to Corvinone (now identified as a distinct variety), from Rondinella to the Molinara. In order to concentrate the natural sugars and aromatics in the local grapes, winemakers began drying their grapes to remove the water from the berries .<br><br> The whole list of grapes allowed in the production of the Amarone della Valpolicella are listed in the “disciplinare”, the wine regulations that tell winemakers the characteristics the wine should have and because of the long list of grapes allowed, it is rare to find wines made with exactly the same grapes and percentages. Even within the same winery, percentages and grapes can changes between vintages therefore Amarone della Valpolicella wines can be very different between each other.<br><br> The technique, also widely used to produce “passiti”, sweet wines, including the Recioto della Valpolicella made with the same grapes, has proved very successful. The name Amarone della Valpolicella comes from the Italian word amaro ("bitter"), completed by the “one” suffix which denotes bigger size or volume. <br><br> The grapes are picked in whole bunches and kept to dry in rooms anywhere between three weeks to three months depending on the vintage and the winemaker’s philosophy. When the drying process (called appassimento in Italian) is complete, the grapes are gently pressed and the must is fermented to dry. The grapes' high sugar content produces strong wine of 15 or 16 percent alcohol by volume. The wine is then aged in barrels (each wine maker has a preference for the type of barrels ) for at least two years before being released. In the best vintages, Amarone della Valpolicella Riserva can be bottled and it has to be aged for a minimum of 4 years. Amarone della Valpolicella can be produced anywhere within the Valpolicella zone, but those from the Classico and Valpantena areas may be labeled as such. <br><br> A good Amarone is a an expensive wine due to its very intense labour wine making process, from hand picking the grapes to the ageing in barrels to the additional time in the bottle before the wine is released to the public. The Amarone wine making process produces a byproduct. The dried grape skins rather than being discarded or used to make grappa, are used to add depth and complexity to the Valpolicella. The wine and grape skins go through a second fermentation together creating the Valpolicella Ripasso.
The Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc is one of the success stories of a grape variety planted outside of its native country. The Sauvignon grape comes from the Loire Valley of France, where its best expressions are produced around the iconic villages of Sancerre and Pouilly-Fumé. The first plantings of the varietal in New Zealand are dating back to the 1970s when a couple of New Zealand winemakers rescued Sauvignon Blanc cuttings from the University of California. <br><br>Already by the middle 1980s the typical Marlborough New Zealand style made a name for itself and has since gone on to become known as the most distinctively Sauvignon Blanc style in the world. Since then, it has been a roller coaster for the grape which accounts for more than 60% of the country’s planted vines, and 77% of its white grape plantings. It has become a worldwide wine sensation with its unique style with zingy acidity and heady aromas of grapefruit, pineapple and lime zest, freshly mowed grass and bell pepper, an extremely memorable wine. <br><br>Now New Zealand and Marlborough have become the world capital of the Sauvignon Blanc.
Sforzato della Valtellina (locally known as Sfursat di Valtellina) is a DOCG appellation for powerful red wine, made with Nebbiolo grape grown in the Valtellina area in the northern part of Lombardy. Sforzato della Valtellina is made from partially dried grapes, similar to the Amarone della Valpolicella, very little known and with a production relatively small compared to the more famous Amarone.<br> Sforzato della Valtellina is full bodied wine, high in alcohol and with a lively acidity. It has a complex nose aromas of sweet spices (licorice, cloves and cinnamon), and mature black fruit. The notes of tar and roses gives away the main ingredient, Nebbiolo, that locally is called Chiavennasca.<br> The term Sforzato (or Sfursat) is derived from the traditional method of (s)forzatura delle uve, "forcing of the grapes", drying the grapes to obtain higher alcohol and greater sugar concentration.<br> Only the best grapes are selected for the Sforzato, damaged berries are removed as the drying process will only concentrate their difects. The whole bunches are laid out on straw mats or small baskets in well-ventilated rooms and are left for three or four months, depending on the vintage, each berry losing about 50 percent of its weight. This is mostly due to water evaporation, which concentrates the grapes' natural sugars. After fermentation, the wine spends two years in barrel and bottle. <br> The result is a powerful complex, rich, full-bodied red that can be cellared for several years.
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