“Z” is for Zinfandel

Zinfandel or ‘Zin’ to its friends is a grape which is seen very much as an American variety.  The French have Chardonnay, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon (and many many more!) with Zinfandel proudly wearing the stars and stripes of America. But the hard truth of the matter is the grape isn’t American at all! DNA has proven that Zinfandel is in fact the same variety as Italy’s Primitivo and the rare ancient variety Crljenak Kastelanski (from Croatia). A quick history…

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“Y” is for Yeast

Everyone knows that to make wine you need to ferment the grapes, and given you can’t get an alcoholic fermentation without the presence of yeast, it is fair to say then that while ‘yeast’ may not sound an appealing topic it is a hugely relevant one when it comes to winemaking! As without yeast there would be no alcohol! What is yeast? Yeast is a naturally occurring single-celled microorganism that is part of the fungus family.  The pre-eminent fermentation…

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“X” is for Xinomavro

First things first, I expect most readers are wondering how on earth you pronounce it? It is actually quite easy...phonetically it is pronounced as “See-no-mav-ro”. Second main point: Xinomavro is a grape not a wine. About the grape – Synonymous with Greece, in particular the northerly Naoussa region, this black grape is widely considered the finest of the Greek varieties. Literally translated as ‘sour black’ – not a hugely appealing translation on the face of it I admit! ....and…

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“W” is for whole-bunch fermentation

Sounds weird right?  Truth be told, “W” proved more problematic than I thought it would when doing this A-Z, but then I though about a term I hear quite a lot when referring to a wine making process and one that you sometimes see mentioned on labels so I thought I would do a very quick (and hopefully not too geeky) explanation. What is whole-bunch fermentation?  (aka whole-cluster) As the name alludes, it is a process which involves fermenting…

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“V” is for vegan and vegetarian wines

The rise of veganism globally (you only need to see how many vegan restaurants are on the High Street these days) has invariably led to much wider interest in what constitute vegan and vegetarian ‘friendly’ products.  While it is obvious meat or fish aren’t suitable, it’s a much greyer area with other products...take wine for example. When I was working for a wine merchant, one of the most popular questions fielded was from customers asking which of our wines…

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