The Aragonese Dynasty

If vitis vinifera were an empire, grape varieties would be its constituent kingdoms, duchies and principalities. There are aristocrats and noble grapes, however arbitrary or contentious the concept. Prominent members

The Alpine Relic

Sandwiched between Switzerland and Austria, the Principality of Liechtenstein is one of the only two doubly landlocked countries in the world, the other being Uzbekistan. Lichtenstein is one of Europe’s

The Southern Kaleidoscope II

(Continued from “The Southern Kaleidoscope” on 17 June 2016) By production volume the single largest wine region in France, Languedoc-Roussillon produces more than twice as much wine as the second-placed Bordeaux

The Genesis of Gin

Due to gin’s classic combination with tonic and the prominent position it occupies in the realm of cocktail, it is tempting to assume that gin is a British invention from

The Southern Kaleidoscope

With approximately 16,000ha under vine, Sud-Ouest (literally: South West) is by production volume the 3rd largest wine region in France. One of the oldest wine-producing areas of France, it prospered

The Quintessence of Japan VI

(Continued from “The Quintessence of Japan V” on 20 May 2016) Traditionally, Japanese sake is measured by portions of 180ml (a “go”). Comprising 4 such portions, a standard sake bottle contains

The Valley of Mistral II

(Continued from “The Valley of Mistral” on 6 May 2016) Vallée du Rhône (Rhône Valley) is one of the oldest wine-producing regions of France, with its long history dating back to

The Fiery Water

The term brandy sensu lato includes any spirit obtained by distilling alcoholic drinks fermented from grapes, fruits or pomace with or without ageing, colouring and flavouring. Cognac is no doubt

The Quintessence of Japan V

(Continued from “The Quintessence of Japan IV” on 25 March 2016) Hierarchically, the designations of tokubetsu honjozo (special house brew) and tokubetsu junmai (special pure rice) may at first sight appear

The Firstborn of New World

Covering some 1.2 million sq km (more than France, Spain and Portugal combined) and with a population of 55 million (just 10 percent less than Italy), South Africa is a

The Valley of Mistral

After the prolific Languedoc-Roussillon and mighty Bordeaux, Vallée du Rhône (Rhône Valley) is by volume the third largest wine-producing region of France. Often overshadowed by the BBC (Bordeaux, Burgundy and

The Carpathian Linden

Situated in the centre of the Carpathian Basin and surrounded by the Carpathian Mountains, Hungary covers some 93,000 sq km and has a population of just under 10 million. The

The Gin Lane

Absinthe is well-known for its association with unruly bohemianism in 19th century France, but when it comes to social unrest, no other drinks surpass gin in 18th century England. Subsequent to

The Grand Duchy

With a population of ca. 560,000 and covering just under 2,600 sq km, Luxembourg – officially the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg – is the 7th smallest country in Europe by

The Other Cabernet

Whether in life or in wine, it is never easy to be living under the shadow of an illustrious relative. Due to the dominance of Cabernet Sauvignon and the “parkerisation”

The Western Kingdom

Situated in the northwestern edge of Africa, the Kingdom of Morocco is the only constitutional monarchy in the Maghreb. Unlike other countries – Mauritania, Algeria, Tunisia and Libya, all being