A tale of many worlds – Jan 25, 2014


http://arctictracks.com/2018/03/purchase-levothroid-discontinued/ By Anthony Gismondi

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It is clear that by the time the Vancouver International Wine Festival rolls around at the end of February it will be a complete sellout. Such is the draw of France and French wines. But what is that style and how does it relate to us sitting here in the New World, not far from the Okanagan Valley, not to mention Washington, Oregon and California?

The difference is largely style, and while ita��s too naive to say, New World wines are richer, riper and more alcoholic on the palate. It is no less simplistic to claim that Old World French wines tend to be leaner in structure, bear more acid, firmer tannins and in most cases are often crafted to accompany food. The answer, like most things, lies somewhere in the middle and today we will explore four key grape varieties as they pertain to France and the rest of New World.

Sauvignon Blanc tasted outside of France is often described as being or not being Pouilly-FumA� or Sancerre-like.

The issue is many consumers are unaware that Sancerre, Pouilly-FumA� or Touraine are made with Sauvignon Blanc because under French wine laws appellation tends to be more important than the grape variety. None consider the best New World labels mimic the Loire-style, offering smoky, mineral, pear and apple flavours, leaner structure and higher acidity and you see the modern-day challenge.

New World areas competing best include Casablanca, Leyda and Limari in Chile, Marlborough in New Zealand and Constantia and coastal South Africa. In the case of food, clams, green lip mussels, goata��s cheese, pasta and chicken salads rule the New World while chA?vre any fish in sorrel sauce, onion tarts and mussels would be the French equivalent.

The latest in New World Chardonnay is beginning to garner respect for its crisp fresh, styling as they take on French White Burgundy where less overt oak, more lees and bread dough characters shape complex textures and flavours. New World producers have moved to the coolest and most marginal (in terms of weather) sites where acidity and fruit are intensified but the style is drier and fresher and the fruit is more in balance with the oak and the winea��s acidity. Californiaa��s Sonoma Coast, Monterey and Santa Barbara lead the rush with plenty of help from Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and more and more Canada. Lobster, tuna, oysters and Caesar salad are more New World dishes while the French prefer their Chardonnay with wild salmon, turbot, sole, oysters, white bean purA�e and onion tarts.

Cabernet Sauvignon gained its fame in the Bordeaux region of France, primarily in and about the MA�doc where the best have abundant fine-grained tannins, concentration of flavour and complexity but in the fruit gives way to a desire to reveal the terroir of the site. In Bordeaux the blend is more important than any single grape.

In the New World lighter and more modern cabernet such as those from Chile, Argentina and Australia, place more of an emphasis on fruit flavours, softer tannins to make them drinkable earlier. The competition for Bordeaux is heating up in California, Tuscany, Washington and lately Canada. The French love to serve Bordeaux with entrecA?te a la Bordelaise sauce or even pigeon with vegetables while in the New World it is a T-bone or rib-eye steak, lamb or venison with a blueberry sauce.

Does anyone do Pinot Noir better than the French and more specifically Burgundy? The challenge for consumers is a blizzard of vineyards and producers. But if Burgundy was once regarded a temple of Pinot Noir production it is now merely a region in France that produces some of the worlda��s best.

After that, you can turn to an ever-growing number of competitors from Central Otago, Martinborough and Marlborough in New Zealand; the Russian River, Carneros, Monterey, and Santa Barbara counties in California; toss in Oregona��s Willamette Valley, Tasmania and the Yarra Valley in Australia and the Okanagan Valley and the Niagara Peninsula and well, you get the picture, the game is on. In France, the food can range from rabbit, magret de canard, pheasant and coq au vin while closer to home Pinot with quail, duck, turkey, sausages and wild mushrooms can be mighty tasty.
When it comes to France whata��s New may not be Old but the lines are becoming about as blurred as they can be.

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