Friday, 24th November 2017
COVER FEATURE | Food & Drink Article
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Grape or Wine Harvest?

Grape or Wine Harvest?

This is a time of year that some of us look forward to. It is when holidaymakers start freeing some parking spaces and children give us a bit of a breather as they go back to school.

A more mature type of tourist and golfers mark the start of a new season, but the most important line of event at this time of year is the grape harvest which, depending on location and climate, is celebrated from between mid August to October, not just all over Spain, but in every country with a strong producing wine industry.

For instance, California makes quite a big thing of it and you can book a whole string of California Grape Harvest holidays. Last year the Frascati’s (Rome) harvest festival celebrations could be seen from a satellite in space. I wonder if it’s possible to stay sober for the day?

One of the most celebrated harvests on the Costa del Sol takes place, usually at the end of August, in Manilva known for its production of Alexandria Muscat grape which is used to produce a very sweet wine. Of course the harvest determines the quality of the wine produced that year, hence the expression “that was a good year!” but most of all the celebration is to underline the particular type of grapes grown in specific localities.

Location is particularly important because a cool breeze off the sea, rocky soil with certain minerals, scattered rainfall, and sunshine, all affect the quality of the wine that the grapes produce. These conditions are truly unique to each locality resulting in some rather individual wines that cannot be replicated elsewhere.


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Some parts of the world go a step further by controlling a certain standard of quality before a label can show a location’s name. For example, in Europe, wine regions employ a regulatory system designed to ensure the highest quality products for consumers. These are called “appellations”, and each one has its own rules – in other words, the standards may differ from Champagne to Port to Sherry, but the result is that consumers are guaranteed a certain level of quality. 

With so many varieties of wines, grapes and locations, choosing a wine may be a daunting task, but there are a few steps you can take to make the job easier: 

  1. First identify where the wine comes from to ensure that it may match your taste. For instance, if you like Sauvignon Blanc, there is a difference between the one from Bordeaux and another from South Africa.
  2. Next, check the brand. There might be a brand that you prefer but you might like to explore the same wine from its other grape variety.
  3. How do you plan serving the wine? Coming up with the right food and wine paring can be a challenge. Some wines that are excellent on their own may be overwhelmed by a flavoursome dish, just like a bold wine can overpower the subtle taste of a delicate dish. Some wines are best enjoyed without food. It is not right to say that one particular wine, because of its colour, must be paired with meat or fish. What is important is that you like it and that it ble ds with the food you are having. Many people think that Port, Sherry and Champagne are wines that come before or after a meal. Nothing could be further from the truth.

So look out for the next nearest harvest celebration and if you enjoy the wine, add it to your list of preferred wines  and move on to the next Vendimia fiesta, after all the tasting is free.   



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