Appassimento and ripasso are two euphonious terms that are now firmly established in the wine lover’s lexicon. They refer to methods - one ancient and one modern – for concentrating and augmenting a wine’s flavour. While the words are Italian, coined in the Veneto region, the concept of appassimento was first practiced by the Greeks and then by the Romans who would leave grape bunches to hang on the vine to allow them to desiccate, thereby concentrating their sugars.
Wine lovers, I have found, are unrepentant collectors, not only of bottles of wine but all the paraphernalia that does along with wine - labels, corkscrews, corks and even those little metal discs under the cage of champagne bottle stoppers. And, of course, wine books.
Cognac is still something of a mystery to most people. Yes it is brandy, distilled wine, and like Port and Champagne it is also a region, specifically in the Western part of France located north of Bordeaux, and a three-hour train ride south from Paris. Brandy is made in many places across the globe, but anything labeled Cognac must be made in Cognac. As the old saying goes, all Cognac is brandy, but not all brandy is Cognac.
As seen in our previous article, South Africa has a rich and varied winemaking history. This diversity and richness also shows in the wines, as examples from Stellenbosch, Franschhoek, Swartland, Elgin and Constantia confirm. These are the result of committed, dynamic, quality-conscious winemakers and owners who all share the will to make unique wines, with a sense of place expressing the best South Africa has to offer.
Argentina has a long wine making history, longer than many other producing countries in the New World. In the course of this long history, technology, people, the political, economic and social environment have played a major role in shaping what is now the current state of the Argentine wine industry. When favorable conditions are fulfilled, the mindset within the industry evolves, new markets are opened and international recognition arrives.