C. Classico Superiore



At the top of the Italian wine pyramid are the DOCG (Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita) wines. DOCG wines must meet Italy’s most stringent standards. Despite the word garantita, the quality is not being guaranteed exactly, although all wines do undergo analysis and testing by a government-approved panel. Yields are generally low. Barrel aging is usually long. Grape varieties are legally specified by percentage. The first DOCGs were named in 1980 (Brunello di Montalcino DOCG, Barolo DOCG, Franciacorta DOCG, and others). As of 2023, there are 76 DOCGs across Italy. They are usually (but not always) Italy’s most expensive wines. While most Italian wine producers have stayed with the DOC/DOCG system, some have adopted the EU classifications instead. The highest level in the EU system is PDO, Protected Designation of Origin, which is written in Italian as DOP, Denominazione di Origine Protetta. So a DOCG would be equal to a European Union PDO; which is written in Italian as DOP.  Clear as mud, right?


"Fourchaume" Chablis Premier Cru 2020

(Chablis, FR) $85

La Chablisienne’s Chablis “Fourchaume” made me remember the exquisite elegance that Chardonnay can possess, for Chablis is the manifestation of Chardonnay’s original beauty and limestone purity.  And this Fourchaume is a perfect example. The wine is so vivid, bright, and intense that drinking it is like drinking minerals held together by sunlight. Almost crunchy and yet aerially light, it’s a wine of remarkable texture, lift, and length. To say that it vibrates with aliveness isn’t quite enough. This Fourchaume is on a frequency of deliciousness all its own. Founded 100 years ago, La Chablisienne is a cooperative of 270 winegrowing families in Chablis.  Do not miss this extraordinary wine.

97 points KM

Available at Vins Rare

The WineSpeed Blog

Answer: False.

Only five states (Alabama, Arkansas, Idaho, New Hampshire, and West Virginia) have NO exceptions to the minimum drinking age of 21 years. All other states have at least some allowable exceptions including drinking alcohol at home with one’s parents; drinking for religious or medical reasons; or drinking in an educational setting, such as a wine tasting class in a hospitality school. Minimum legal drinking age (MLDA) laws vary from state to state. In Mississippi, for example, military personnel over the age of 18 may legally drink alcohol on military bases where alcohol consumption is allowed.  Many states specify that a minor cannot be prosecuted for drinking alcohol when calling 9-1-1 for emergency medical assistance.

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The process that occurs each spring (May in the Northern Hemisphere) when grapevine shoots lengthen, bud and blossom into tiny white flowers. Flowering is critical, for only those flowers that become pollinated and “set” on the cluster become individual grape berries. As crucial as it is, set is an extremely fragile phenomenon. Even under favorable climatic conditions, up to 85 percent of a vine’s flowers never set at all and are destined to die as “shatter.”

The Incredible Crayères

In the 4th century, in order to have enough stone to construct Reims (the main town in the Champagne region), the Romans dug three hundred immensely deep quarries in the region’s famous chalky rock. These vertical chalk pits, called crayères, are used today by the houses to age Champagne. They are construction miracles that seem to defy physics, and descending into their eerily quiet, cold, dark, humid chambers is an otherworldly experience that no wine lover should miss. Because the best chalk was often well underground, many crayères go down as far as 120 feet (37 meters). They are shaped like pyramids, so the deepest parts of the crayères are also the widest and the tops of the pits are narrow. This shape limited air exposure in the quarry and kept the chalk moist and soft, thus easier to cut into large construction blocks. During World War I, when Reims was extensively bombed, about 20,000 people lived in the dark crayères where no sunlight penetrates for years. During this time, some of the crayères under Veuve Clicquot and Ruinart were makeshift hospitals, and under Pommery were a school.


Amount (in millions of US$) that the iconic—now shuttered—New York wine store Sherry-Lehman owes the State of New York in back taxes, according to The New York Times. Founded in 1934, the company specialized in the world’s most expensive wines, including high-end Bordeaux and Burgundy. It failed to deliver more than $1 million worth of wine to customers who paid in advance, in addition to owing money to distributors and defaulting on loans.


Number of acres (in millions) of grapevines on planet earth in 2022 (including those for wine, table grapes, and raisins). According to the International Organization for Vines and Wine (OIV), 93 countries grow grapes. The top six—Spain, France, China, Italy, Turkey, and the USA— (in respective order) account for 56% of the world’s vineyard acreage.


Number of copies (in millions) of the Japanese manga series “The Drops of God” in circulation since its debut in 2004. Tasting a 1985 Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Echézeaux inspired brother-and-sister authors Yuko and Shin Kibayashi (pen-name Tadashi Agi) to create the 44-volume series about wine. Apple TV+ is streaming an adaptation of the manga.

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