Luxury Las Vegas

November 2016 :: The Gift of Gratitude

Luxury Las Vegas continues to be Las Vegas’ premier metropolitan magazine offering Extraordinary Living for Extraordinary Lives.

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109 NOVEMBER 2016 | LUXURYLV.COM S A V O R | W I N E the century, there has been a revival of ancient grapes. Passionate winemakers and conservationists, who believe in the quality and potential of these varietals, are recovering rare and indigenous wine varietals. By embracing their heritage, the emergence of these grapes is adding character, diversity and excitement to the world of wine. "From our experience, consumers in mature markets like the U.S. are always on the lookout for new tastes and experiences, for products with different origins, be it in terms of wine, coffee or other areas," said Jean-Luc Etievent, co-founder of Wine Mosaic, an organization dedicated to protecting and promoting original grape varietals of the Mediterranean. "They are looking for 'true' products with a certain authenticity. Wines made from original grape varieties correspond to this consumer demand, and thus are well-received by forward- thinking sommeliers and their customers." The near extinction of grapes can be attributed to social, biological and environmental factors. By the 1900s, phylloxera, a parasitic louse of American origin took an unimaginable toll on the world's vineyards, particularly in Europe. Despite desperate attempts to stop the spread of disease, it is estimated that more than two-thirds of the vines were affected and destroyed. More contemporary reasons include the heightened popularity and versatility of well-marketed grape varieties, such as pinot noir, cabernet sauvignon and chardonnay. These celebrated varietals have dominated the market, severely diminishing diversity, both in the vineyard and in our wine glasses. Yet it's also simply a matter of agronomic reasons; some grape varietals are harder to grow than others. "Viognier, for instance, is very sensitive to wind; its branches tend to break. In the very windy region of the north Rhone Valley, it was almost extinct 60 years ago before growers realized that it had outstanding aromatic potential," said Etievent. But, throughout the world, winemakers are reaching back to ancient grapes — in some cases, varietals that had all but disappeared. From Southern France and Chile, to Spain and Italy, winemakers are rediscovering and embracing their heritage, and providing the world with the gift that adventurous wine enthusiasts often seek — the newly discovered favorite. Arneis was a successful native Piedmontese vine for more than 500 years. As the nebbiolo grape gave rise to the famous Barolo and Barbaresco, arneis lurked in the background. At one point, it primarily was planted among the red wine vines because arneis' early-to-ripen characteristics drew bees and birds away from the more important grapes. By the 1970s, a few producers recognized its potential as a stand-alone variety and revived it. Now it's one of Italy's most respected white wines.

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