By JACQUELINE CORRIGAN
In the world of wine there are, for me, two category styles: introverts and extroverts.
When I think of Australia and California, abundant sunshine and heat come to mind.
The wines are often known for being big, bold and jammy or having oaky, buttery flavours with a high alcohol content. Like an extrovert, the fragrance literally explodes directly into your nasal passages without even having raised the glass from the table. The scent envelops the room.
When I think of France and parts of Italy, a continental climate of warm breezes and cooler nights tend to prevail.
Wines can often be described as soft, fruity, subtle or citrusy and crisp. In this instance you want to lift the glass to your nose in order to get a whiff of the wine. It releases its layered nuances with each inhalation. Like an introvert, the more you take the time to get to know it, the more it reveals itself.
My business card is a map of the world. I use the card as a way to introduce people to the world of wine.
The best place to start is knowing what area the wine grapes grow!
The equator is 0 degrees point latitude. We know it as a hot, tropical part of the earth and it is the best climate for growing things like bananas, coffee beans and cocoa beans.
One of the very first things you are taught about wine is to see the growing regions from the viewpoint of where they are situated geographically, latitudinally.
Grapes for wine grow best at latitudes within 30 degrees and 50 degrees in both hemispheres.
For New World wines (such as from California and Australia), the challenge for grape growers becomes the hot, almost relentless sunshine. This produces grapes that can grow to be very ripe, plump berries with sugars and flavours that develop befitting the climate.
For Old World wines (such as France and Italy), the challenge can be inconsistent weather with cold snaps, rainfall to cold mistral winds being possible culprits.
Here, you can see the difficulty with these weather conditions to bringing grapes to optimal ripeness.
We also know that grape varieties express themselves differently under different soil conditions.
Terroir is a major factor as is the microclimate within the vineyard, but we’ll explore this another time!
For now we will begin with the latitude imprint visual of our world.
So, are you an introvert or an extrovert?
Here are a few examples for you to investigate:
Old World Wines Introvert
White – France – Loire Valley, Domaine du Pre Baron Sauvignon -Touraine. Vintages #107128. Price is $18.95.
Red – France – Burgundy, Louis Jadot Bourgogne – Pinot Noir. Vintages #162073. Price is $26.95.
New World Wines Extrovert
White – California, Kendall-Jackson Vintner’s Reserve Chardonnay. Vintages #369686. Price is $19.95.
Red – Australia, Jacob’s Creek Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon Limestone Coast. General List #91751. Price is $18.
In my next column, I will look at the magic of fall and its autumnal glory. Here’s to the Spirit of Adventure!
Jacqueline Corrigan is a Certified Sommelier (graduate George Brown College Sommelier Program); a Member of the International Sommelier Guild; and a graduate WSET (Wine & Sprit Education Trust – Britain).