À Votre Santé

vineyard
À Votre Santé

Many years ago, I had the marvelous opportunity to study international wines at the World Trade Center in New York City. My focus was primarily on the French Classification of Bordeaux Wines  stemming from the 1855 Exposition Universelle de Paris (Exposition Universelle des produits de l'Agriculture, de l'Industrie et des Beaux-Arts de Paris 1855). The results of my studies led me down a fabulously interesting path to knowledge and travel I had not expected.

On my quest to learn more, I stumbled upon a history publicized little in the 21st century. My journey carried me to South America, a continent that boasts some of the planet’s best vineyards. What I discovered was fascinating.

When the Spanish first settled South America, they planted grapes in newly established vineyards. Some of the grape-producing regions like Argentina and Uruguay proved perfect for grape cultivation. Winemakers attempted the planting of European vines and grape varieties, since the climate was as favorable as that of Spain and France. Unfortunately, a yellow sap-sucking parasite known as the phylloxera decimated the vineyards.

The sole exception occurred in Chile. Chilean vineyards have never been subjected to the insect pests, since the country is protected by the Atacama Desert in the north, Antarctica in the south, the Pacific to the west, and most of all, the Andes Mountains along the entire eastern boundary.

Envious viticulturists will remark that Chile’s geographical borders allowed for the planting of original French rootstock, without the necessity to graft onto vines that are phylloxera resistant. Thus, today, although Chile still exports most of its wine to France (for table wine, allowing the French to sell us the $200 bottles), we can enjoy the product of original French grape varieties, from original vines, at relatively inexpensive prices.

À Votre Santé.
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Comments

  1. Very interesting. You have had such a life, haven't you?
    Prices can be so arbitrary, can't they?
    I love the idea of fine wines, but I just haven't been able to really like any of it, taste-wise.
    Oh well, maybe some day. I'll keep trying...

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  2. Hi JJ .. very interesting .. a fascinating read about Chile and its wines .. that phylloxera mite is particularly virulent ..

    I'd love to try a $200 wine .. I wonder whether I'd like it .. or if I've got too used to my basic vino a table here.

    Thanks - I enjoyed this .. Hilary

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  3. 'Yellow Rose' Jasmine: I have enjoyed every minute of it! Yes, wine prices are arbitrary and often way out of line. One also must consider the year. Buying a great vintage in a bad year could be disastrous.

    Hilary: Well, I did not pay $200.00. I bought futures. I paid between $10.00 and $17.00 for great wines in a future year, not knowing if the wine would be good or bad. Both times I did that, I scored. They happened to be great years. Thus, I got to taste great wines, terribly expensive, that I bought inexpensively.

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  4. Fascinating! I didn't know that about Chile.

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  5. Miriam: I also found it fascinating.

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  6. JJ, I have been at the Hilton all day, at the Guild's annual winter show, taking in the money and talking to people. I am afraid I have used up all my decent brain cells commenting on your last post. I'm sure this post is fascinating and worthwhile, but you will have to wait a couple of days until I am no longer stupid, and can give it the attention it deserves. Thank you for your patience.

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  7. Judie: I would never describe you in that manner. As for blogging, I am remiss, not you. I have been very busy this year and have not given my online friends nearly the attention they deserve. They are all terrific, especially you!

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  8. Very interesting JJ. I have never been to Chile, but I have tasted a couple of wines. But in my country we have a lot of fine wines as well, as it is the case in the USA (California wines are excellent!).

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  9. FanaticoUm: Portuguese wines are among the oldest and most respected in the world. They are also some of my favorites. They are very high quality - real sipping wine!

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