The Danubian Spirit

The German-speaking area of Europe – from east to west Austria, Germany, Switzerland and Alsace – are revered for their noble Riesling; less well-known is their fine Schnaps, the majority

The Kosher Libation

Situated along the east coast of the Mediterranean or the western edge of Asia, Israel is surrounded clockwise by Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and Egypt. This narrow strip of land used

The Prussian Red

The 10th largest (by volume) wine-producing country worldwide, Germany has a total of 13 wine regions, five of which – Saale-­Unstrut, Ahr, Sachsen, Mittelrhein and Hessische Bergstraße – are miniscule,

The Buyer’s Caveat

It may sound ludicrous or “let them eat cake” to say that Bordeaux wine is generally inexpensive and that it is for everyday drinking, given how much attention is paid

The Norman Orchard

If the world of brandy is a clan, grape brandy in its various forms would be the patriarch, having for long occupied centre stage and overshadowing its poor cousin pomace

The Quintessence of Japan VII

(Continued from “The Quintessence of Japan VI” on 9 June 2016) Juxtaposed with wine, the vast majority of which is fined and filtered, sake has an unusually wide array of pre-bottling

The Hanseatic Claret

Stretching from the Baltic Sea in the east to the North Sea in the west, the Hanseatic League – alternatively Deutsche Hansa or simply Hansa – was the dominant mercantile

The Siamese Adventure

Situated in the western half of the Indochinese Peninsula, the Kingdom of Thailand covers some 510,000 sqkm, slightly larger than Spain, and has a population of about 68 million, slightly

The Danish Connection

For years, Cortes de Cima has been hailed as the poster boy of enterprise and innovation of Alentejo, possibly the most dynamic and progressive wine-producing region of Portugal. With hindsight,

The Andean Stripe

Stretching 4,300km from north to south but merely 160km – or 350km at the widest point – from east to west, Chile has to be one of the instantly recognisable

The Little Unsung Hero

For as long as there has been wine, there has been pomace. Grape pomace refers to the skins, pulp, seeds and stems etc. after pressing the fruits. The (re-)using of

The Guardian of Autochthones

Each and every wine-producing country in the Old World would have its proud list of autochthonous – i.e. indigenous – varieties, some of which are so time-honoured and distinctive that

The Southern Kaleidoscope III

(Continued from “The Southern Kaleidoscope II” on 1 July 2016) The wine classification systems of Burgundy and Germany are notoriously complicated, but perhaps necessarily so, considering their hierarchical structure as well

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