Well, perhaps not right at the beginning, as wine production dates back to around 7000BCE and the farthest flung corners of South Eastern Europe (the area that is now Georgia & Armenia). Probably a bit too dry a subject matter for those of us simply wanting to know a bit more about this tipple that helps us make it through the the week…
Let’s back up the truck a little, however and start this journey by looking at some of the grape varieties we all know and love. There are six noble grapes, plus an arguable seventh (Syrah), which we’ll include, given how important a grape it is for the Aussies.
Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Noir, Syrah (Shiraz)
Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling
All have their roots in France and are generally agreed to be the grape varieties that are most recognisable for the outstanding wines they can produce, particularly when grown in accordance to their ideal terroir. Terroir is the system on which the original French (and subsequent global) wine laws and appellations are based and therefore a concept we’ll refer back to from time to time. For now let’s just say that terroir is the specific set of geographical, geological and climatic conditions that perfectly suit and bring out the best in each grape variety.
The next few blogs will cover each of the noble grape varieties in turn and once we’ve learned a little about them, we can then talk about how to taste them and appraise them so you can amaze your friends and confound your enemies with your newly found expertise!
First up next week is the ever-devisive Chardonnay. Love it or hate it, like My Kitchen Rules and Gangnam Style, you can’t ignore it and the quicker you figure out how to pick one you’re likely to enjoy, the safer you’ll be!
Until then, is it an oaked or unoaked Chardy for you??