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Of all the white wine grape varietals, surely the one which has spread the furthest and is most widely appreciated is the Chardonnay. This green skinned grape is now grown all over the Old and New Worlds, from New Zealand to the Americas, from England to Chile, and is one of the first varietals people think of when considering white wine grapes. Perhaps this is because of its huge popularity which reached a peak in the 1990s, thanks to new technologies combining with traditional methods to bring the very best features out of the Chardonnay grape, and allow its unique qualities to shine through. Most fine Chardonnay wines use a process known as malolactic fermentation, wherein the malic acids in the grape juice are converted to lactic acids, allowing a creamier, buttery nature to come forward in the wine. No grape varietal is better suited to this process than Chardonnay, which manages to balance these silky, creamy notes with fresh white fruit flavors beautifully.
Year in, year out, France enjoys its prestigious reputation as the producer of the finest wines in the world. With a wine making history which spans several thousand years and owes its expertise to the Romans, it comes as little surprise that this most highly esteemed of the Old World wine countries continues to impress and enchant both novices and experts to this day. Despite the rise in quality of wines from neighboring European countries, not to mention the New World, the French wine industry continues to boom, with up to eight billion bottles being produced in recent years. However, France prides itself on always putting quality before quantity, and the wide range in fine produce is a testament to the dedication and knowledge of the wineries across the country. Indeed, from rich and complex reds to light and aromatic white wines, French wines are as varied and interesting as they are enjoyable to drink, making this country a firm favorite for wine lovers across the globe.
The Isle of Jura is widely regarded as one of Scotland’s last true wildernesses - a wild and rugged place, found in the Southern Hebrides and home to just two hundred inhabitants and several thousand deer. It has one pub, one road, and despite being only sixty kilometers from the major metropolitan center of Glasgow on the mainland, it takes some time to get there. Which may help to explain why Jura whisky is so special - it really is a whisky which has evolved by itself, in isolation from the hustle and bustle of the world, and is widely regarded as one of Scotland’s finest single malts.
Jura whisky almost became something purely of the past. There was a historic distillery on the island since 1810, but due to a lack of interest in quality single malts in the late 19th century and early 20th century - thanks to the rise in lower quality, blended grain whiskies which were taking over the mainland - it fell into ruin. In 1963, the island’s only distillery was re-opened, and with the support of the island’s community, it began working again and aimed to create unique and characterful whiskies which would reflect the independent spirit of this tiny, wind-battered land.