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Carménère - the almost extinct Bordeaux grape rediscovered in Chile

Chile is the wine country that can brag about rediscovering the Bordeaux grape Carménère. I visited wineries there in January and got a very warm welcome and a cool story. After the phylloxera bug killed off a lot of the vineyards in Europe in the late 19th century the Carménère grape was not replanted in Bordeaux since it was already hard to get to flower and ripen in the cool and humid Atlantic climate. It was thought to be mostly extinct when it was rediscovered in 1994 in Chile. The warm and dry climate in the middle of Chile has proven ideal for this grape and beautiful wines are produced now that the varietal is allowed to ripen to its potential. Read on for more on this story and some winery reviews.

Written by Katarina at West Wines

Viognier - the queen of golden aromas

Peach, pineapple, pear, flowery yet dry, golden yellow and with a big smooth texture that fills your mouth – that is my way of describing Viognier. The grape is thought to have originated in the northern Rhone valley and it is found in many Rhone wines, both red and white but its big fame and the most exquisite wines made from Viognier are from the appellation Condrieu. It can only contain 100% Viognier and it is a small area of steep hillside vineyards to the east of the river Rhone. That is my style icon for our Viognier.

Written by Katarina

Sangiovese and Super Tuscan Wines

I am very fascinated by the wine you get from blending Cabernet Sauvignon and Sangiovese. These are two very different grapes with very different flavor profiles and instead of clashing they accentuate each other in a beautiful way. Sangiovese has a lighter fruitier strawberry nose which floats above the heavier blackberry and dark cherry of the Cabernet Sauvignon. The depth in the Cabernet with earthiness, cedar and laurel spices are not drowning out the Sangiovese which holds its own with its lighter vanilla spiciness. It reminds me of a duet between a soprano and a bass singer, you can hear each one distinctly since they sing at different frequencies.

Written by Katarina at West Wines

Creating a blend in the Bordeaux style

When making a blend the winemaker is like a chef, mixing the ingredients to create a balanced wine where all the flavors come together. There are a number of factors to play with: how you grow the grapes, how you ferment and age the different grape varietals, how you blend them, and of course the weather, which plays with us more than the other way around. To create a Bordeaux style wine you have five grapes to choose from. I like to start with Cabernet Sauvignon as my base ingredient.

Written by Katarina

What's in the shape of a bottle

Wine bottles can have many shapes and colors. Sine we tend to use traditional shapes for specific wines the consumer can often tell just from the shape of the bottle what it is. But who decided this to begin with and why?

Written by Katarina at West Wines