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BERNARD PERRIN :Bernard Perrin, owner of the Domaine de Milhomme, has been the organizer of Opimian's shipments from southern Burgundy for several years. During that time he has become an integral member of the Society's team in France and was called on by Kenneth Christie to help with the selection and sourcing of the Society's wines from a new group of independent growers in the Rhône Valley. From his studies at the Ecole de Viticulteur, Bernard has many friends who own superb domaines in this area and he will oversee the preparation of the cases and coordinate the shipments to Canada.
REGION: The two distinctly different zones, north and south, produce 90 per cent red wines complemented by some whites and rosés. The Northern Zone extends from Vienne south to Valence. Its most famous wines are those of Hermitage. The Southern Zone covers the valley regions around the cities of Orange and Avignon. The best-known wines are those of Châteauneuf-du-Pape. The climate is temperate in the northern region, Mediterranean in the south. An unusual feature that affects both is the mistral, a strong, dry wind that blows down the valley from the north towards the sea. The soil in the north is typically of granite and schist on steep hillsides promoting drainage. In the south the soil is varied between rock, sand and chalk with large smooth stones extending to a great depth a particular feature in Châteauneuf-du-Pape and surrounding areas. In the north the grape variety is mainly Syrah for long lived reds; Roussanne, Marsanne and the unusual Viognier for whites. The predominant grape variety in the south is Grenache for reds, though many varieties are used for both reds and whites.
CAVE VINICOLE DE HUNAWIHR : Vinicole de Hunawihr, 12 kms northwest of Colmar, is a co-op of 130 members based in the heart of the Grands Crus area of Alsace. The soil is clayey limestone marl with gravels giving a superb individuality to the wines. The co-op produces wines of all the Alsace grape-varieties; Sylvaner, Pinot Blanc, Riesling, Tokay Pinot Gris, Muscat, Gewürztraminer and Pinot Noir. Alsace Grand Cru means an exceptional site, good exposure to the sun, special micro climate and a long history of producing distinctive wines. Only the four so-called "noble grapes" of Alsace - Riesling, Tokay Pinot Gris, Muscat, Gewürztraminer - can quality for the Grand Cru label. The Crémants d'Alsace are sparkling wines produced in the traditional way as in Champagne.
WINE REGION: Tucked away behind the Vosges Mountains this sliver of a region separates France from Germany at the Rhine. The climate is sheltered by the mountains with limited rainfall and extra hours of sunshine available to the vineyards positioned on steep slopes. The soils are varied mixtures of limestone, clay, gravel and granite. The wines are labelled by their seven grape varieties; Sylvaner, Pinot Blanc, Tokay (Pinot Gris), Riesling, Muscat, Gewürztraminer and the red Pinot Noir; or as Edelzwicker when the wine is a blend.