Mind your Latitude: 46° North

We’ve looked at wine through the lens of grapes, places, soils, barrels, bottles, and stems…and for the next few weeks we’re taking a look at latitude. Today, we present: 46 degrees North!

Alto Adige: Alto Adige is a landlocked, mountainous region of northern Italy located along the border between Italy and Austria. Alto Adige has a large German-speaking population, many of whom are apt to refer to their home province as Südtirol (while English speakers may prefer “South Tyrol”). The Alto Adige DOC is approved for a long list of wines including white wines (bianco/weiss), red wines (rosso), rosés (sometimes known as kretzer), sparkling wines, and late harvest/passito wines. The list of approved grape varieties is also long, and includes typically “Italian” grapes such as Pinot Bianco, Pinot Grigio, and Schiava as well as those more aligned with Germany such as Riesling, Gewürztraminer, Silvaner, and Kerner.

Jura, France: The Jura is a department in eastern France located along the Swiss Border. The area is home to some of France’s most unique wines, produced under a range of AOCs including Arbois, Macvin du Jura, Crémant du Jura, and Château-Chalon. The grapes grown in the region include Pinot Noir and Chardonnay as well as the more idiosyncratic Poulsard, Trousseau, and Savagnin (also known as Naturé). Vin Jaune (loosely translated to “yellow wine”), a specialty of the Jura, is produced using a Savagnin-based, unfortified white wine that is deliberately oxidized, aged under a veil (voile) provided by a film-forming yeast (similar to the flor yeast of Jerez) and barrel-aged for anywhere from the minimum of six years to several decades.

Neuchâtel AOC: The area surrounding Switzerland’s Neuchâtel AOC (located in the northwest of the country about 25 miles/40 km west of the city of Bern) is often called the three lakes—after Lake Neuchâtel, Lake Murten, and Lake Bienne. Neuchâtel is one of Switzerland’s French-speaking cantons and plenty of wine is produced here. The AOC is approved for white wines based on Chasselas, Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc, Müller Thurgau, and Gewürztraminer as well as reds and rosés using Pinot Noir. Oeil-de-Perdrix—a Pinot Noir rosé—is a specialty of the area, along with sparkling wines and “non filtré” (unfiltered) wines. The Neuchâtel AOC has three sub-regions: La Béroche, The Coast, and the aptly named Entre-deux-Lacs located between Lake Bienne and Lake Neuchâtel.

Maribor, Slovenia: Maribor—the second-largest city in Slovenia—is located within the boundaries of the Podravje PGI wine-producing region. Podravje is Slovenia’s largest wine region in terms of geographical size, and the second (out of three PGIs) in production. The Podravje PGI stretches from the country’s northern border (next to Austria) to its southern border (with inland Croatia)—about 70 miles/112 km) away. While the area is approved for the production of a wide range of wines,  white wines are dominant and include Diseci Traminer (Gewürztraminer), Renski Rizling (Riesling),  Zeleni Silvanec (Silvaner), Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, and Modri Pinot (Pinot Noir).

Meursault: Meursault—a large village AOC in the Burgundy’s Cote de Beaune—is known for its rich (buttery, nutty, honey-scented) Chardonnay-based white wines—although a tiny bit of its production (5%) is red. Despite the fact that Meursault does not contain any grand cru sites, it enjoys a fine reputation based on its 19 premiers crus—particularly those grown on south- and southeast-facing limestone-rich slopes at the southern end of the commune. If you’d like to experience a highly-regarded Meursault premier cru, look for Perrières, Genevrières, or Charmes.

Odessa, Ukraine: Odessa, the third most populous city of Ukraine, is located on the northwestern shore of the Black Sea and is part of the Odessa Oblast (which translates to Odessa Province—a term used for both the administrative region ([province] and a wine region). Wine has been produced here for centuries, and a modern wine industry is evolving with most Ukrainian wines consumed in and around Eastern Europe. International grapes such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Riesling, and Merlot have a presence here, as do more typical eastern European varieties such as Saperavi, Rkatsiteli, and Fetească. As the country shares a border with both Poland and Russia, it should come as no surprise that Ukraine also has an impressive vodka industry.

St. Pierre: St. Pierre, an island located off the coast of Newfoundland (Canada) is part of the French Overseas Collectivity of Saint Pierre and Miquelon. That’s right…this small group of islands located 2,700 miles/4,350 km from Paris is a vestige of the colony of New France (1543-1763),nd its inhabitants are French citizens. The area is small (about 93 square miles) and there are only about 6,000 inhabitants. While St. Pierre does not have a wine-producing industry to speak of, it does have its share of boulangeries et patisseries as well as an important place in the history of adult beverages: during American Prohibition, Al Capone’s henchmen used the tiny island of St. Pierre as a way station for the transportation of Canadian whisky to the United States.

Snipes Mountain AVA: Washington State’s Snipes Mountain AVA is a tiny region—the second smallest AVA in the state with just over 700 acres (284 ha) planted to vine—and most grapes grown in the region are used in wines that bear the “Yakima Valley AVA” or “Columbia Valley AVA” label. However, there are some exceptions, such as DeLille Cellars’ “Harrison Hill” red blend made using 100% Snipes Mountain fruit. Harrison Hill is a small (5-acre/2 ha) but impressive vineyard that contains some of the oldest Cabernet Sauvignon wines in all of Washington State. In addition to its long-lived Cabernet Sauvignon, the Snipes Mountain AVA grows Merlot, Chardonnay. Riesling, Syrah, and Grenache (among others).

Warren, Ontario: Warren is located about 215 miles/345 km north of Toronto—which places it just about that far north of the VQA wine-producing areas of Ontario. However, Warren has a winery all its own—Boreal Winery—which bills itself as Canada’s “coldest-climate winery.” Boreal Winery (full name: Boreal Berry Farm and Winery) is also the largest certified organic boreal and arctic berry orchard in North America, and the only winery in the world to produce wine from haskap berries (a “superfood” also known as blue honeysuckle berries). In addition to fruit wines, Boreal Winery produces traditional ciders and ice ciders, including Manitoulin Maple Apple Traditional Ice Cider, cherry cider, and a limited edition Mara des Bois Strawberry Ice Cider. Note: the term boreal means “of the north or northern regions” or “relating to the climate zone just south of the Arctic.”

References/for more information:

The Bubbly Professor is “Miss Jane” Nickles of Austin, Texas… missjane@prodigy.net

Click here for more information on our “Mind your Latitude” series

About bubblyprof
Wine Writer and Educator...a 20-year journey from Bristol Hotels to Le Cordon Bleu Schools and the Society of Wine Educators

One Response to Mind your Latitude: 46° North

  1. Tony Wall says:

    I live in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada and work in wine retail. I’m looking forward to your sections which will, I hope, include both BC and Nova Scotia. North of the 49th parallel!

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