Champagne

Appellations

Champagne is the world's original and most famous region for the production of sparkling wine. A range of styles are produced from the Non-Vintage, through Rose, Vintage and more recently a host of prestige, Vintage luxury cuvees. The three permitted grape varieties are Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier.
Eau de Vie is French for "water of life" and refers to a wide variety of fruit-based distilled beverages. The production process is similar to that of most other spirits; the ingredients are harvested, crushed and fermented, and the resulting must is distilled in order to separate impurities from the alcohol. Grape-based Eaux de Vie are normally labelled as brandies (but these have an amber colour due to the ageing process). Liquids such as Eau-de-Vie de Marc de Bourgogne, Eau-de-Vie de Vin de Bourgogne and Marc d'Alsace have not been aged in barrel are therefore colorless.
English wine is revelling in unprecedented growth. As its reputation improves both domestically and abroad, more vineyards are being planted and existing ones grow older, offering the happy combination of scale and quality. Although situated at a perilously high latitude, the effects of global warming appear to be, at least in part, benefiting the English in their attempt to produce wine. While wine has been produced here for a long time, often using Germanic and other cool climate grape varieties, the industry really seems to have found its stride in the production of sparkling wine from the traditional Champagne varieties. Furthermore, the best sites in the south of England are grown on south-facing slopes with chalky soils, not unlike their French counterparts in Champagne, a mere stone throw across the channel.
Arguably Americas most important wine growing region, home to the likes of Dominus, Heitz, Cain Cellars and Opus One. Bordeaux varietals are key in this 40 mile long North-South valley that stretches from the San Fransico Bay up towards Calistoga and the sheer variety of different climats and vineyard sites is as bewildering as the sheer variety of styles of wine produced. At their best these can be some of the most opulent examples of Cabernet Sauvignon in the world - truly great wines with dinstinctly long cellaring potentials, but more youthful approachability than their european counterparts.