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

The Quintessence of Japan IV

(Continued from “The Quintessence of Japan III” on 4 March 2016) Although independently conceived, Japanese sake classification and German wine classification bear an uncanny resemblance to each other. Whereas the latter

The Gin Exclave

Situated in northwestern South America, Colombia covers some 1.15 million sq km (roughly as large as France and Spain combined) and has a population of about 48 million (almost as

The Evergreen State

Situated in the northwesternmost of the US, Washington State (officially the State of Washington) covers some 185,000 sq km, roughly half the size of Germany. To differentiate between the state

The Quintessence of Japan III

(Continued from “The Quintessence of Japan II” on 8 January 2016) For all the cultural and technical similarities between sake and wine, the concept of rice polishing in sake brewing has

The Eurasian Paradox

Turkey (officially the Republic of Turkey) is one of the few contiguous transcontinental countries in the world. Situated on the European side, its capital Istanbul used to be Constantinople and

The Golden State VI

(Continued from “The Golden State V” on 29 January 2016) There seems to be two watershed moments, largely concurrent, in the meteoric rise of Californian wine in the secound