The nation that perfected wine making has also endeavored to cultivate a wine for every taste. Bordeaux, Burgundy, champagne, Beaujolais and Chablis are but a few of the French locales that have given their names to respected wines.

Products from these or any other of the many growing areas all have special characteristics and labeling. Appellation Controlee or A.C. on the label guarantees the method of production and that the origin listed is the area growth and fermentation. It does not, however, guarantee quality. Vineyards in secondary regions are now permitted to label their products Vins Delimites de Qualite Superieure (V.D.Q.S.). They are not cultivated in areas with overall quality of the Appellation class, but they are often good values.

The Classification of champagnes follows a reasoning all its own. Demi-sec and Doux mean semi-dry and sweet, respectively. However, both types are sweet. Sec means dry but is actually a fairly sweet champagne. The confusion continues with champagnes labeled “Extra Dry”. They are, in reality, a medium dry wine. Those customers who order dry champagne should be served from bottle labeled “Brut”.

The world’s larges producer and one of the largest consumers of wines takes great pride in products which represent eighteen growing regions. To enhance the reputation of wines, and to ensure their quality, the Italian government has created three categories of quality designation.

Denominazione di Origine Semplice (D.O.S.) are simple wines from approved regions. Denominazione di Origine Controllata (D.O.C.) are wines controlled by laws drafted by a local consortium and approved by the Italian government. The third category, Denominazione di Origine Controllata Garantita (D.O.C.G.) indicates the wine is of an exceptional quality.

Riserva means a wine has been aged at least one year longer than regular wine of its type. Riserva Speciale has been aged two years longer.

Germany’s northern climate yields a surprising number of versatile wines. Production of German wines fall into three categories: table wines, quality wine, (QbA), and specially graded quality wines (QmP).

- Tafelwein (Table wine) – light pleasant wines consumed mainly in Germany; produced from approved grape varieties from five designate regions.

- Qualitaetswein – from defined regions (QbA). An official government taste panel analyzes and test all QbA wines before giving them a control number (A.P.#). This insures that wines conform to special requirements.

- Qualitaetswein mit Praedikat (QmP) wines are divided into six tongue twisting categories that are worth noting. Kabinett are light and dry. Spaetlese are late harvested grapes in mature condition. Special attention is given to the Auslese, or noble grapes which are selectively picked from overripe bunches. Beerenaulslese are overripe grapes that are quite sweet. Exceptional quality wines made from shriveled grapes go by the formidable name of Trockenbeerenauslese. Rare wines made from grapes crushed while frozen are called eiswein.

United States
Wine making started in California in the early part of the 19th century. Today California leads the world in producing consistently good table wines. The Napa and Sonoma valley regions both yield high to very high quality wines of classical varieties. Other regions are now contributing to the state’s still-growing reputation. Noteworthy grape varieties are the popular Cabernet Sauvignons, Gamay Beaujolais, Zifandel, Chardonnay and Riesling.

New York state produce wines from native American grapes rather than from the European vines used in California . Recenly, hybrids, a crossing of the native grapes with European vines, have been introduced to the main wine growing regions around the Finger Lakes and the Hudson Valley. Catawba Pink, made from one of the first American wine grapes has been a long time favorite.


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