Mind your Latitude: 48° 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: 48 degrees North!

Bellingham, Washington: Bellingham, Washington—a university town located about 30 miles/48 km south of the Canadian Border—is part of the Puget Sound AVA and home to at least ten wineries. Many of the wineries in the Puget Sound AVA purchase their grapes from vineyards located in Eastern Washington, but the area does have at least 104 vineyard acres of vinifera grapes. One of the leading grapes is “Mad Angie”—otherwise known as Madeleine Angevine—an early-ripening white grape that produces fruity, floral-scented wines that do well in a range of styles from dry to sweet. Other leading grapes grown in the Puget Sound AVA include Siegerrebe, Müller-Thurgau, Pinot Gris, and Pinot Noir.

Gander, Newfoundland: Gander is tiny, far-flung town but a famous one. The town’s airport, Gander International, was once-upon-a-time a mandatory refueling stop for all aircraft flying over the Atlantic Ocean. Gander seems like a good place to enjoy a drink, and the island does have a few orchards, vineyards, and wineries—such as the SapWorld Winery that makes fruit wines as well as “Spring Wine” produced from fermented birch sap. But Newfoundland is especially well-known for Screech—locally-bottled Caribbean rum sold by the Newfoundland Labrador Liquor Corporation. The term Screech apparently refers to the scream you might let out after downing a quick shot.

Normandy: Normandy’s greatest claim to fame is no doubt the legendary World War II invasion of Normandy; however the area is also renowned for its apples. The apples (and pears) of Normandy are made into a range of beverages, including cider, aperitifs, and brandy. Ciders produced in the main apple-growing region of Normandy may carry the Pays d’Auge Cider AOC designation. Such ciders are made in a range of styles—from dry to sweet, and from still to sparkling (often packaged in a “champagne-style” bottle and cork). Calvados AOC is the legendary apple brandy of the region (that sometimes includes pears), and Pommeau AOC is an aperitif produced using two parts unfermented apple juice and one part one-year-old Calvados.

Strasbourg: Strasbourg, the capital and largest city of the Grand Est region of France, sits just a few miles away from some of most storied vineyards of the Alsace AOC. As you sip coffee in your half-timbered hotel in Strasbourg, you are just a few kilometers away from the Bruderthal Grande Cru vineyard in the village of Molsheim, and the Steinklotz Grand Cru vineyard in the village of Marlenheim. At either spot (or any in between), you can find a world-class glass of Riesling. If you’d rather try something a bit…older…Strasbourg’s Hôpital Civil has a wine barrel in its basement marked 1472. It is believed to contain 450 liters of the oldest barrel-stored wine in the world.

Wachau: The Wachau wine district, located in Austria’s Danube River Valley, specializes in Riesling and Grüner Veltliner. The prime vineyards are planted along the river on steeply inclined slopes lined with dazzlingly terraced vines. Wachau is well-known for its local Vinea Wachau Nobilis Districtus organization which classifies the wines of the area according to abv: light-bodied wines up to 11.5% are “Steinfeder,” wines of mid-concentration are known as “Federspiel,” while the heavier wines are designated as “Smaragd.” These three categories are named after a field grass, a falconry call, and emerald-green lizard.

Baden: Baden, one of the southernmost wine-producing regions in Germany, is located just to the east of Alsace; and the majority of the vineyards omprising a long, narrow strip of land tucked between the Rhine River and the Black Forest.  The rain shadow of the Vosges Mountains provides the area with copious sunshine, and helps to make this one of the warmest of Germany’s wine regions. As such, it makes sense that leading grape variety here is Spätburgunder (Pinot Noir), which accounts for almost 40% of the plantings. Other leading grapes of Baden include Müller-Thurgau, Grauburgunder (Pinot Gris), Weissburgunder (Pinot Blanc), Riesling, and Gutedel (Chasselas).

Victoria, BC: Victoria is a beautiful city located in the corner of Vancouver Island—itself located just about 100 miles northwest of (and across the Strait of Juan de Fuca from) Seattle, Washington. Vancouver Island is an official geographical indication and part of British Columbia’s Vintners Quality Alliance (BC VQA).  The Vancouver Island Mountain Range, which runs nearly the entire length of the island, provides a rain shadow for much of the eastern side of the island—where most of the vineyards are found. This is a cool-climate growing region, however, the lower rainfall and long frost-free season allows for a long growing season, and a range of grape varieties are successful here. There are close to 40 licensed wineries on Vancouver Island, and almost 400 acres/162 ha planted to vine. The leading grapes of Vancouver Island include Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, Riesling, Gamay, Chardonnay, Siegerrebe and Maréchal Foch (a red hybrid).

Vienna: Vienna is an amazing city for many reasons (Sachertorte, Christkindlmarkt, Hundertwasserhaus…) including the fact that it is the only European capital city to contain a PDO wine-producing region—the Wiener Gemischter Satz DAC. The designation is approved for blended white wines containing a minimum of three (and maximum of 15) different grape varieties. These wines are meant to be fruit-forward and refreshing, and are often enjoyed at the city’s many Heurigen (fun, raucous, and often seasonal wine taverns).

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

4 Responses to Mind your Latitude: 48° North

  1. Virginia Nickles says:

    A mouth watering article, well researched and written.

  2. mary ann Mcdevitt says:

    Hi Jane, I passed my exam! I took it last Friday evening and got an 84. If it is okay with you, could I still join in on the remaining of my modules, 2 to 5?

    Thank you for the wonderful book. There is so much to learn there. I will continue to study and learn from it.

    Mary Ann McDevitt

    Get Outlook for iOS


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