The best of Europe's wine history
OLD WORLD WINERIES:
THE CLASSIC WINE HERITAGE
Old World wines come from the "classic wine making regions" in Europe which can generally date their origins of wine production back to the Roman Empire and beyond.
FAST FACTS ABOUT SPAIN
The largest acreage devoted to grape growing in the world.
Experienced great revolution in wine-making and viticulture techniques during the '90s.
According to Robert Parker's predictions about the future of wines in 2004, "Spain will be the star."
SOME MAJOR WINE-PRODUCING REGIONS
Ribera del Duero
WINE AGEING PERIOD STATED ON THE LABELS
WORLD'S ADMIRED WINE BRAND, SPAIN
The TORRES name has been affiliated with wine since 1870. Family pride and integrity have enabled TORRES to blend centuries-old traditions with the latest innovations to produce outstanding wines known the world over.
Headed by Mr. Miguel A. Torres, TORRES has been a global force in wine with vineyards in Spain, Chile and California, and a presence in over 140 markets.
In 2002, world authority wine magazine DECANTER named Mr. Miguel A. Torres “Decanter Man of the Year”. In 2006, the world authority wine magazine Wine Enthusiast awarded TORRES as “The Well-known European Winery”.
According to the annual report published by the British independent consultant Intangible Business, “The Power 100: The world's powerful spirits & wine brands 2009”, Torres is the strong European wines brand.
In 2014, Torres took the first position in "World's Admired Wine Brand" ranking by Drinks International.
The fascinating life of Jean Leon permeats the wine
that carries his name, a wine with a unique character.
Jean Leon owned "La Scala", the most luxurious and
legendary restaurant in Hollywood in the 1950s and
60s. In order to better cater to influential celebrities of the USA, he established his own winery in his country- château style - in the Penedès region of Spain.
He revolutionized the wine growing industry by introducing little known French varieties at that time in Spain. Jean Leon wines quickly became a symbol of success and celebration at innumerable parties, eventually making its way to presidential dinner at the White House.
RIBERA DEL DUERO, SPAIN
Considered as the First Growth of Spain, Vega-Sicilia was founded in 1864. It captures the essence of exceptional soil and high-quality varieties that have made it the flagship of the Ribera del Duero region. Only a chosen few enjoy a name that endures over time and becomes a phenomenon with legendary associations. Vega-Sicilia has managed it, not as a winery that produces wines, but as a synonym
for prestige (mystery, inaccessibility or it could be called a legend).
All Vega-Sicilia wines are rare and limited with an
anonymous waiting list of privileged "subscribers" never exceeding 4,000. As with nearly all great wines, over time Vega-Sicilia has received tributes from well-known figures who publicly proclaim their adoration for the Ribera del Duero label. Such was the case of the famous statesman and gourmand Sir Winston Churchill, who regularly received his corresponding ratio of bottles.
As a result of the wine-making expansion initiated by the Alvarez family, Alión demonstrated that the most emblematic bodega, the label with greatest prestige n the Ribera del Duero region could make twenty first-century wines in accordance with the dictates of
international style. With the first vintage on the market in 1991, it won a place on the list of the Top 100 of Wine Spectator.
RIAS, BAIXAS / BIERZO, SPAIN
Bodegas Martín Códax is located in the historical town of Cambados, in the heart of the Rias Baixas wine region, cradle of Albariño wine. Established in 1985, Martín Códax is today's Rias Baixas most international winery, controlling near 450 Ha of high quality Albariño growing plots and with presence in more than 40 countries.
Wines made from the Albariño variety are becoming
one of the most sought-after white wines from Spain.
With an enigmatic origin - some people believe is
actually Riesling transplanted into Spain - Albariño
wines are famous for its zesty, mineral and unctuous
feeling. A real distinctive wine!
The village of BiNiAGUAL on the island of Mallorca
has been renowned for its wine-growing for centuries,
dating back to as early as the 13th century. The
BiNiAGUAL finca and bodega are the foundations for
a family-run operation that has been cultivating vine
on traditional vine-growing soil since 1999, and also
producing wine since 2002.
The primary goal of the wines is uncompromising
quality and the most careful handling of the grapes
right down to the bottling of the finished wine, every
aspect of the wine production must satisfy the highest quality demands. With the wines, BiNiAGUAL aims to create an unforgettable experience for every wine lover, to get your pulse racing and your senses reacting like a spectacular firework show. For the work in the vineyards, there is a highly-motivated team who has all been there right from the start, sharing the BiNiAGUAL vision.
Established in 1998 in the heart of La Mancha, Finca Sandoval is the private project by Mr. Victor de la Serna, renowned Spanish journalist and writer specialized in food and wine. The winery processes capacity of 80,000 liters and a park of 200 barrels of Allier, Vosges and some American oak, also produces small quantities of native grape varieties from old hawthorns in the area, some in the higher areas (1,050 meters) of the D.O.
The harvest is done manually and in boxes of 12 -15 kilos from grapes in different plots, before collecting and being vinified separately, identified by four different types of soil. The wines are made in the traditional manner, following many of the guidelines of the Rhône Valley, particularly by fermentation in small tanks (most of 5000 liters), open and frequent manual bazuqueo. Fermentation takes place entirely maloléctica barrel. The wines are unfiltered. The technology used (vertical press spindle) is very basic and, simultaneously, traditional. The aging and bottle is heated.
MARQUÉS DE MURRIETA
The origin of Marqués de Murrieta wines is the origin of the Rioja wines. At the middle of the nineteenth century, Luciano de Murrieta introduced the winemaking and ageing techniques learnt in Bordeaux. The myth of Marqués de Murrieta’s wines started in 1852. During the past 25 years, Vicente Dalmau Cebrián-Sagarriga, Count of Creixell, has completely updated the historic winery, and has developed an important international outlook , which has led the group to be named the Best Winery of the World.
Marqués de Murrieta’s perfect “sister-winery” is Pazo de Barrantes. This impressive “Pazo” (Galician manor)
has belonged to the Count of Creixell’s family since 1511, rising up out of the vineyards with the unique personality bestowed by its long history, which has placed its two Galician labels among the best Albariños of the world.
The elegance, excellence and delicacy of JOSELITO
ham reflect the devotion to detail, commitment to quality and accumulated experience of a family whose tradition in the business ever since 19th century in Spain. We monitor the production cycle from beginning to end, our hams are salted and cured in the time-honoured traditional way, using only sea salt as ingredient.
Each ham is aged for at least 3 full years in our cellars,
there, in the silent darkness and naturally constant
temperature, it slowly acquires the characteristics that
will make it uniquely and inimitably delicious.
SANT ANIOL DE FINESTRES, SPAIN
Sant Aniol is a third generation family business. Offices and production plant are located right next to the water spring.
Located in a small village called Sant Aniol de Finestres.
Filtered for thousands of years through
volcanic rocks of Garrotxa’s Natural Park. It
provides a water free of contaminants, rich
in minerals and with a high level of purity.
The volcanic energy of the land allows the
water to absorb more minerals than other
FAST FACTS ABOUT FRANCE
Many of the classic French grape varieties are now widely established in many other regions in the world, for instance, Cabernet Sauvignon is planted worldwide. Some major wine-producing regions: Alsace, Bordeaux, Burgundy, Champagne, Loire Valley, Languedoc - Roussillon, Rhône Valley.
Instead of grape varieties, the labels usually indicate the origin and the quality classification system with AOC (Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée) as the highest level for the commercial range.
The Bordeaux Region is the best internationally acknowledged wine producing region in France, which accounts for 1/4 of all AOC (Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée) in France. The region is divided into Left & Right Banks by Garonne and Dordogne rivers. The Left Bank mainly produces Cabernet whilst Merlot is the dominant at the Right Bank. According to French law, red wines in Bordeaux Region are typically blended by Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc; whites are
usually Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon and Muscadelle. In Bordeaux, Château is the main form of branding for premium wines. Grand Cru Classé is one of the classifications for Château wines of the finest quality in 1855.
RHÔNE VALLEY, FRANCE
The name Chapoutier has been present in the Rhône
Valley since 1808. In 1879, the distant ancestor Polydor Chapoutier was the first to begin to buy vines, thus moving from the status of estate wine - grower to that of a viticulturist, wine producer and businessman. The pioneering spirit already well-planted in the family continues to exist several generations later.
Love for vines and wine and the awareness of the
need to respect earth and terroir additionally led the
Maison M.Chapoutier to adopt a biodynamic cultivation method. This demanding method of cultivation has an unflinching desire: to ensure that soils are living and as expressive as possible.
Founded in 1880 by Joseph Drouhin, the winery has
always been led by the Drouhin family, whose resolve
has been to pass down this heritage and skill from
generation to generation. At the heart of Beaune, with
its XVth century house and its cellars placed on the
register of Historical Monuments, Joseph Drouhin is a
unique site in Burgundy.
For more than a century, grapes from vineyards have
been meticulously selected owing to the perfect
exposition, unique character and reputation.
Established In 1734 by Jacques Fourneaux, Taittinger
is one of the few remaining Champagne houses to be
managed by people who bear its name. Champagne
Taittinger's respect for family traditions ensures that
top quality is a constant priority which is reflected in its reputation.
In 2006, Pierre-Emmanuel Taittinger presided over the
destinies of Champagne Taittinger, remaining faithful to family and champagne-making tradition.
FAMILLIE J-M CAZES
It is in the Médoc that the Cazes family's roots lie: Chateau Lynch-Bages (Pauillac) and Chateau Ormes de Pez (Saint Estephe) were the first estates acquired by Jean-Charles Cazes in the late 1930s. Today the Cazes family group encompasses a collection of reputed wine estates such as Chateau Chateau Lynch-Bages and Chateau Ormes de Pez, but also, Chateau Haut-Batailley (Pauillac), and in Southern France, Domaine de L'Ostal (Minervois) and Domaine des Sénéchaux (Chateauneuf du Pape).
The ambition of the Cazes family is to create exceptional wines that respect the terroir, the character of the local grape varieties and soils they are made from.
Born in 1754, Chevalier Michel Lynch devoted his life to improving the wines on his Lynch-Bages estate. The wine that bears his name has passed through the hands of a renowned winemaking team. Brought out in all three colors, Michel Lynch is a true reflection of the wealth of its terroir – one of the most prestigious in the world.
FAST FACTS ABOUT ITALY
Italy has a lot of regulated wine regions, large number of permitted grape varieties, and a wide range of wines with different styles and quality levels produced. According to Robert Parker's predictions about the future of wines in 2004, "Southern Italy will ascend."
SOME MAJOR WINE-PRODUCING REGIONS
VDT, IGT, DOC, DOCG
Eight centuries ago, according to Pier Crescenzi's
chronicle, vines were already being grown at the town
of Gambellara. And on those same green hills of the
Veneto region, the ZONIN family has been producing
wines for seven generations. It is here that the roots
of this company lie: a company that now consists of
11 wine estates with more than 1,800 hectares (3,705
acres) of vineyards located in Italy's most favorable
Piedmont, nestled between the Alps and Mediterranean Sea, offers rugged terrain and a difficult climate. These attributes make it a perfect environment for making compelling wines. Fourth generation proprietor Pio Boffa,the great grandson of Pio Cesare, has led his family's charge into modern winemaking with an approach of minimal intervention, creating wines of supple flavor expression.
Year after year, the wines of Pio Cesare have gained international recognition as some of the world's best wines.
Wine Spectator rated Pio Cesare as "One of the Top 10 wineries for year 2002".
Created in 1985 by Salvatore and Vinzia di Gaetano who believe they are blessed by one of the most suitable territories in the world for winegrowing consequently allowing them to make great wines with indigenous and international varieties. Firriato has been awarded "Winery of the Year" both in 2005 and 2006 by Il Mio Vino.
The Marco Felluga family has been fashioning some
of the Collio region's most enchanting wines for four
generations, and now with more than a hundred years of experience this estate is undeniably Collio's brightest star. Currently, it has expanded to a yearly production of about 600,000 bottles.
CASTELLO DI ALBOLA
Steeped in history, Castello di Albola can trace its
ownership back to the 12th century and has passed
through the hands of some of Tuscany's most
important and influential noble families, such as the
Acciaioli, the Samminiati, the Pazzi and the Ginori
Conti princes. Committed to beauty and excellence,
Castello di Albola is an exceptional source for wines
that are elegant rather than coarse or blowsy.
Our goal is to maintain this style and level of quality
so our wines reflect the authenticity of its historic cellars, where one can find fine wines that have been ageing for decades and yet still have a taste of almost
unreal freshness. Castello di Albola captures the essence of the Sangiovese variety with its often subtle and austere tones, capable of delighting all those who care to unlock its fascinating secrets.
MASSERIA ALTEMURA ESTATE
Located in the breathtakingly beautiful Salento Peninsula, an area with a long history but which is now looking determinedly forward towards the future, the Masseria Altemura Estate’s mission is to offer a new perspective on the wines from the Southern Italian Region of Puglia.
The history of the estate began in the 4th century B.C.. Today the past has been brought back to life, thanks to the Zonin’s project of restoring the property to its original splendour whilst adding modern amenities.
Geographically the Estate lies in the centre of Puglia, between the Ionian and the Adriatic Seas which lap the shores of the region. A unique maritime climate and abundant sunlight provide Masseria Altemura with very favourable conditions for grape growing. In addition, this innovative and swiftly evolving domaine benefits from the sea breezes and the nutrient-rich deep red soil that characterizes much of the Region of Puglia.
Here Baroque influences blend perfectly with Oriental elegance. The estate’s main ally is the sun, which rises everyday to bless the vineyards and makes Masseria Altemura mirror the true spirit of Puglia today.
ALTO ADIGE, ITALY
Grand and dignified, St. Michael-Eppan Winery has been enthroned in the center of South Tyrol's most important wine-growing community for over a century. In 1907, the 340 winemaking families that form the backbone of the winery joined forces to create St. Michael-Eppan Winery. Their great passion is the wine with which they have been associated for generations. Offering knowledge, tradition and passion, each individual contributes to the fact that the winery is blessed with outstanding grapes, which are processed in the cellars with meticulous attention to detail and a great deal of skill.
Today, the winery has 355 hectares of vineyard and 2.5 million bottles production every year, it has become worldwide renowned. In the year of 2000, it was awarded as the best Italian winery by I Vini d'Italia, the Gambero Rosso and Slow Food wine guide. Meanwhile, Mr. Hans Terzer, Master winemaker, famous oenologist and forerunner of South Tyrolean white wines, was named as one of the best 10 Master winemakers in the world.
CASTIGLION DE BOSCO
MONTALCINO, TUSCANY ITALY
The position of the vineyards at Castiglion del Bosco is particularly favorable: perfect exposition, good ventilation, low humidity and natural isolation due to the woodland that encircles the estate, the ideal barrier against vineyard parasites and affording protection for other vineyards in the Montalcino area.
With its natural drainage, the rocky soil is perfect for making complex wines of fine elegance.
Capanna is the estate’s quintessential vineyard, a single parcel that winds along the hill ridge like an enormous, submissive green river. Just gazing at it is an emotional experience, so it is no surprise that Massimo Ferragamo was even more determined to purchase the estate when he set his eyes on this jewel: “It was 2003 when I was first captivated by this place, by its incredible isolation and spellbinding woods. The idea came to me straightaway to make it into an oasis of pure timeless quality.”
W. & J. Graham's was founded in Oporto, Portugal
in 1820 and is owned by the Symington family,
producers of Port since the 19th century. In 2007,
WINE ENTHUSIAST Magazine selected the Symington
family as "The Best European Winery". The company's
supreme reputation is the direct result of the personal commitment and dedication that only a family business can bring to the finest of Port wines. Today six members of the fourth generation of the Symington family work in the company, personally managing all aspects of winemaking from vineyards to the final bottling.
SYMINGTON FAMILY ESTATES
Established in 1652, ancestors from the Symington
Family Estates have played an important role in the
history of the Port trade. In 2007, WINE ENTHUSIAST
Magazine selected the Symington family as "The Best
Altano is made from fruit selected from the best
vineyards in the Douro Valley. wines made from
Symington grapes carry the highest classification, letter'A'. The grapes are received, hand selected and vinified at the main Symington winery at Quinta do Sol, with Altano Reserva being drawn from the primary selection.
The family is particularly proud of the fact after a few
years time the Altano Reserva has established itself as
one of the best red wines made in the Douro Valley. The Symington Crest placed at the top of the label reflects the family's belief in this wine.
FAST FACTS ABOUT GERMANY
The 1971 German wine law defines four overall quality categories: Deutscher Tafelwein, or 'German table wine', Deutscher Landwein, or 'German country wine', QbA (Qualitätswein bestimmter, Anbaugebiete, or quality wine from a specific region), Prädikatswein (former QmP - Qualitätswein mit Prädikat, the top level of the classifi cation system including most high-quality German wines).
Primary regions are Rheingau and Mosel, located along the river Rhine and its tributaries. The wines have historically been predominantly white, and Riesling is the benchmark variety and covers the most area in the German vineyard.
Eiswein (ice wine) wines are made grapes that freeze naturally on the vine and reach a sweetness of Beerenauslese level. The grapes are harvested and pressed in the frozen state.
Kabinett wines are made from fully ripened grapes of the main harvest, and usually in a light style.
Trockenbeerenauslese wines ("dry berries selection") are extremely sweet, concentrated and quite expensive. The grapes reach an even more raisin-like state than those used for Beerenauslese.
EGON MÜLLER SCHARZHOF
Based on the Mosel wine region in Germany, Egon
Müller Scharzhof produces the most sought after
Rieslings in the world. "The quality of a wine is 100%
made in the vineyard. In the cellar it is not possible to
arrive even at 101% but it is no small achievement to
be able to bring the full potential of the grapes into the bottle." This favorite saying of the late Egon Müller III is still as true as it ever was. They believe in the quality and the potential of vineyards to produce the finest grapes and do everything to enhance this potential.
FAST FACTS ABOUT HUNGARY
Hungarian wine has a history dating back to at least Roman times. Outside of Hungary, the best-known wines are the white dessert wine Tokaji and the red wine Bull's Blood of Eger.
The Romans planted vines extensively over two thousand years ago, and Hungary's Tokaj region invented the use of botrytis mold to produce dessert wine a century before France.
The earliest known vineyard classification system was implemented in Hungary and Hungarians even influenced California's wine industry in 1861 as immigrant.
Hungary's most famous wine region lies in the foothills of the Zemplén Mountains in the north - the traditional area crosses into the southeast corner of modern Slovakia.
The area is notable for its long warm autumns and mists that come in from the River Bodrog, creating perfect conditions for "noble rot". This can contribute towards creating the botrytis ('aszú') grapes for which the region is famous.
These are individually picked as late as mid-November into buckets ('puttonyos') and crushed to a paste. Varying amounts of this aszú paste are then added to non-aszú must or a blended wine.
The main wine regions of Hungary
As a legendary estate, Vega-Sicilia set its sights on
another legendary name, a vineyard known as Oremus, which had produced the first Aszú wine in 1650. Vega-Sicilia purchased the estate after the break up of the Hungarian state monopoly in 1993. A state-of-the-art winery, rediscovered by Vega-Sicilia´s meticulous work, with a single and noble aim: producing the best wines following the last centuries' traditions.
Later, other renowned companies entered Tokay
territory making the effort of Vega-Sicilia worthwhile.