What are Cool Climate wines?
Where elegance meets character…
What do sparkling Champagne, tingling Riesling and terroir-infused Pinot Noir have in common?
Like as not, they are all produced in cooler climate winemaking regions of the world. Where the climate conspires to produce wines of finesse and elegance, often a touch lighter in alcohol, but where the vinegrower and winemaker is literally on a knife edge: will the summer ripen his or her grapes sufficiently? And will the winter frosts leave lasting damage to the vines?
These trials and tribulations produce wines which teeter on the cusp of ripeness, where acidity provides a refreshing backbone and an ability to evolve and grow more complex, and where minerality has a chance to shine through and not be overshadowed by ripe fruit. The conditions also provide the perfect ingredients from which to make superlative sparkling wines.
But what is ‘cool’ or ‘cold’ climate?
These days, rather than a purely technical definition relating to the number of days in the growing season above a certain temperature, cool and cold climate are often defined more loosely as where the weather both limits grape ripening AND offers the threat of serious damage to the vine in the winter. What this means is that the vine grower and winemaker have to be even more savvy to produce the wonderfully elegant wines that are increasingly popular with consumers the world over.
To quote Mark Chien from his Grape Varieties for Cold Climates article in Wines & Vines, “The cooler the climate, the more important vineyard planning, design, viticulture management and winemaking are in making a high-quality wine [compared to more] warm, arid wine regions. The vigneron just has to be better, smarter, more patient, creative [and] flexible.”
The 9th International Cool Climate Wine Symposium will bring together the foremost vine growers and winemakers of these beautiful wines. While they discuss the issues of the day, consumers have an opportunity to share in some of the world’s finest wines, and to match them with local dishes created in some of the Brighton’s best pubs and restaurants.