Languedoc's Terrasses du Larzac gets appellation status
Vincent Goumard, of Mas Cal Demoura. Image: David Furer
Formerly referred to as 'Coteaux du Languedoc Terrasses du Larzac', the new AOC spreads across 2,000 hectares of 60 wine producers and five cooperatives located west and north of Montpellier.
It covers 32 communes at an elevation of between 80 and 200 metres above sea level.
The approval from France’s national appellation body, INAO, is a further sign of Languedoc’s ascent as a quality wine region following a long history of producing bulk wine.
AOC Terrasses du Larzac is only for red wines comprised of a minimum of three varieties from Grenache, Mourvedre, Carignan, Syrah and Cinsault.
The first four of those varieties must represent at least 75% of a qualifying vineyard, and yields must not exceed 45hl/ha.
‘The reputation of our terroir among professionals and amateurs, and moreover the significant coverage by the press, proved that there was deeper historical basis here for top-quality wines,’ said Mas Cal Demoura's Vincent Goumard, who is also president of the area’s producers’ union.
He thanked other recognised producers in the appellation, such as Mas Jullien, Montcalmes and La Peira, for their help in securing AOC status.
It is now hoped that Languedoc's La Clape will follow in Terrasses du Larzac’s footsteps. Christophe Bousquet, proprietor of Chateau Pech Redon and president of La Clape's growers' union, told he hopes for a positive decision this year.
Jefford on Monday: My Babe Appeal
California's Ridge Vineyards has embraced full disclosure of wine ingredients on its labels since the 2011 vintage
Every columnist has a favourite bone or two in the corner of their kennel. They gnaw on it from time to time, hope that the awesome sight of their canines and the copious slaver produced will be enough to change the world. It isn’t, of course, so you nose the bone back into the corner of the kennel, ready to get it out again when nothing much is happening.
My oldest bone (last chewed in April 2008, in Decanter magazine) is the scandal of wine labeling. What scandal? The fact that no wine producer is required to list any of the 250 or more potential additives which can find their way into wine, sulphur aside. This is palpably unfair, since food manufacturers are generally required to list additives, even if such listings appear in coded form.
European consumers, for example, are familiar with ‘E numbers’ on food packaging: E621 for monosodium glutamate, for example, or E175 for, um, gold (perfectly harmless to eat, if idiotic). This system, Europhobe obsessives should note, has nothing to do with ‘meddling Brussels’, but is no more than the Codex Alimentarius numbering system, created by the body of this name originally established in the early 1960s by the World Health Organisation and the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations. Europe has sensibly borrowed this wonderful catalogue (even though not all of the additives listed in it are permitted in Europe). The nub of my campaign is that its use should become universal, for wine as well as for food. It is space-economic on labels, and yet any number can quickly be referenced on the web so that you know what you might be ingesting.
My own least-favourite wine additive is any form of acid (such as E334, tartaric acid, or E330, citric acid). Such additions are nearly always misjudged by the palates of those making the additions, and (most importantly for wine, though irrelevant in almost every other context) they are the major way in which winemakers erase or deface the sense of terroir in their own wines, rendering them anodyne, “balanced” and industrial.
If you add acid to a tin of tomatoes, you have to fess up. If you add acid to wine, you don’t. I want to know if a wine has had acid added to it, so that I know I am tasting a corrected industrial wine rather than a vin de terroir. It’s more serious than tomatoes!
By contrast, I wouldn’t want to buy any wine which didn’t have E220 added to it. (That’s sulphur dioxide.) I’m not making an argument for natural wine; I’m making an argument for informed choice.
Note, by the way, that you can always list the additive by name rather than by number. If you use an impure but ‘natural’ form of it -- lemon juice rather than citric acid, say -- then of course you simply list that form as an ingredient.
The Babe (her description, not mine) is a North Carolina blogger called Vani Hari whose Food Babe site has legions of followers, thus its campaigns – for transparency in food labeling, among other things – tend to gain enough traction to be effective. The Babe recently sank her prominent, pristine and extraordinarily white teeth into the fleshy protuberances of some of America’s biggest brewers, including AB InBev, brewer of the feebly flavoured Budweiser/Bud and Bud Light.
American labeling legislation for beer is lax, so consumers there are unaware that beer might contain corn syrup or isinglass. Apparently, AB InBev told Ms Hari that, following her campaign, it would list all ingredients on its appropriately bland and obfuscating website (though perhaps not yet – despite a lot of time searching, I have been unable to locate the promised list). Global newspapers fell over themselves to report this, in a way that I suspect they wouldn’t had her website been called Food Geek, Food Anorak or Food Hag.
Anyway, encouraged by the Babe’s apparent success, I wrote to her with a little detail, suggesting she have a go at the wine world for a future campaign. “Hey Andrew,” came the reply. “Thanks for reaching out to us. My name is Lindsey and I work with the Food Babe team. Thank you for sharing so much of your knowledge on the subject with us. Wine is definitely on Vani's radar. Hope your day is going well, Lindsey.” So we’ll see.
The wine lobby is a powerful one in Europe, and it will fight hard to avoid increased transparency about wine additives. So, too, will every wine multi-national and wine promotional association worldwide. I’m sure I have many wine-trade friends in the UK who will shake their heads at this and rather not see obligatory Codex Alimentarius numbers on the back labels of wines – though they should remember that the best in most cases do not contain additives beyond yeast, sulphur and fining agents.
But if you are against the idea -- I’m sorry: you’re wrong. One day it will come and, like smoking bans and hybrid vehicles, we’ll wonder what took us all so long. (Meanwhile, I’ll nudge my bone back into the kennel for another year or two.)
Read more at http://www.decanter.com/news/blogs/expert/587271/jefford-on-monday-my-babe-appeal?utm_source=Eloqua&utm_medium=email&utm_content=news+alert+link+14072014&utm_campaign=Newsletter-14072014#CBoPotu5A5LHJfIr.99
Jefford on Monday: Talking it over
Image credit: Danielle Hendrickx - Collection CIVC
I ended my last trip to Champagne secretly impressed with the sophistication with which those who make these wines come to think about their creations, and the articulacy with which they express those thoughts. Other regions should take note.
Let me give you a few examples. Jean-Baptiste Lécaillon, the chef de cave for Louis Roederer, describes his house’s Champagnes as having “a spring bouquet, not an autumn bouquet.” Gloss? “We don’t like oxidation at Roederer; we want everything pristine. No reduction, no oxidation: as if it came from the vineyard.” I happen to love richly appley, autumnal bouquets – but the distinction is beautifully put, and I knew exactly what he meant.
Charles Philipponnat uses the gothic arch as his aesthetic ideal, and with Reims cathedral nearby (gothic perfection, surely) and with Champagne’s acidity lending its wine a soaring, vaulting quality, it’s not hard to see why the analogy is both fertile and apt. The orchestral metaphor is a Krug standby, with Grande Cuvée a kind of Mahler’s Second Symphony among Champagnes; the two Krug single vineyard wines are, of course, soloists. Audrey Campos at Delamotte and Salon defined dosage as “the possibility to balance the natural acidity of the wine, but not to change its personality”, which I liked a lot; indeed Henri Krug used to say of dosage that “if it wasn’t there, you might feel that something was missing”: another cunning formulation.
The master rhetoricians of Champagne, though, just have to be the Dom Pérignon team: their discourse is so polished that I suspect that Richard Geoffroy must herd them all off for an annual linguistic boot-camp.
“There is no ‘truth for quality’ in Champagne; there is no ‘one way’,” pronounced oenologist Vincent Chaperon, in full flow prior to a DP tasting in the spacious quiet of the Abbey of Hautvillers. And he’s right. “Acidity is a way to reach freshness, but it is not the only way.” Indeed!
He went on to talk about ‘the colour of fruitiness’ and in particular the choice of ‘white fruits rather than yellow fruits’ for DP, and how this translates into slightly earlier picking than for their peers. Like Lécaillon, the Pérignonistes are implacably opposed to oxygen: “From the time of fermentation to the time of release, we are fighting against oxidation. Oxygen is everywhere, working with time.” Pinot and Chardonnay, Chaperon said, grasping another succinct master metaphor, are the ‘ying and yang’ of Champagne: “we are working to achieve a perfect balance between the two.”
I did, though, get rather lost when it came to the ‘pillars of the vision’, which seemed overly Gnostic, even for a Pérignoniste; and the theory of ‘the three plenitudes’ (the idea that DP happens to be perfect as first released, then at middle age and then later as a senior, the latter two as per the pattern of Oenothèque releases) seemed commercially expedient.
The DP theory of ‘the three types of maturity’, by contrast, was so interesting that it merits a little expansion. According to Chaperon, the customary measurement of maturity as a function of sugar and acidity is simply one way of measuring these things. A second way is to look for phenolic maturity or flavour maturity. This, too, is a commonplace distinction, but it will make a huge amount of sense to anyone who has ever wondered why Champagne furnishes such superior raw materials for sparkling wine. If you pick grapes to make sparkling wine base at a typical Champagne level of potential alcohol (9.5%, say) in a warmer climate, you will harvest unripe fruit with raw, hard, inarticulate flavours. The ‘Champagne difference’ is that Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier harvested at 9.5% in this region have been through a full ripening cycle and have ripe and resonant flavours, even though they are critically low in sugar; they are phenolically adult, not adolescent.
What, though, is the third type of maturity?
According to Chaperon, it is aromatic maturity. “Very few people actually taste grapes in Champagne; they tend to rely on technical parameters. We’re trying to change that, to get back to the tasting of grapes. When you taste grapes, you go through a whole spectrum of aromas from unripe to jam. We tend to pick when we find citrus or white peach aromas. In 2003 it was apricot. In 1996, by contrast, it was noble vegetal.”
I like this idea. Every zone, I’ve come to believe, has its own maturity cycle, with its own idiosyncrasies and its own relationship with the key grape varieties used in that area; an over-reliance on the ‘technical parameters’ of sugar and acidity is misguided, since it implies a universality in grape maturation which might not (as far as fine-wine making is concerned) actually exist. There are, in other words, as many different Chardonnay or Cabernet ripening cycles as there are appropriate places to grow those varieties, and an emphasis on this ‘third type’ of maturity – in other words, the physical grape’s aromatic spectrum in the vineyard -- could be a key tool in understanding this.
It also, though, made me think that as Champagne should modify its dossier for Unesco World Heritage status. At present, the candidature is for ‘hills, houses and cellars of Champagne’ -- and I’m glad that ‘houses’ are included, since that implies the fascinating notion of house style: a different sort of communal human creation to an appellation. But why not drop the cellars (which most regions have, even if Champagne tops them all in terms of kilometres) and replace it with ‘homilies’? No one, after all, can quite match the Champenois for that.
A HANDFUL OF LOCAL VIGNERONS WINES TO TASTE FOLLOWED AT 12.30 BY A SUMPTIOUS MEDITERRANEAN BUFFET LUNCH ACCOMPANIED BY SOME EQUALLY SUMPTIOUS LIVE MUSIC. 25 EUROS PER PERSON
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09.15 Welcome. 09.30 Course Commences
Wine definition and history
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Still, Sparkling, Fortified. Red, Rose, White. Sweet and Dry
Introduction to wine tasting
The Languedoc Region
Irish reel under 'savage' tax increase
Thursday 6 December 2012
by Richard Woodard
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Wine merchants and restaurants in Ireland have been left reeling by the government's shock decision to put a €1 tax increase on a bottle of wine from midnight on Thursday.
'A further burden': tax increases
The news, part of Irish Finance Minister Michael Noonan’s 2013 Budget announcement, sparked a rush of panic buying in the country’s wine shops on Wednesday night, with some stores reported as doing one week’s trading in an afternoon.
Describing the 40% tax increase as ‘savage’, the Restaurants Association of Ireland said the hike in excise duty would bring a lot of restaurants ‘to their knees’.
‘Most restaurants are simply struggling to survive, especially those outside the major cities,’ said Adrian Cummins, association chief executive.
Meanwhile, DIGI (the Drinks Industry Group of Ireland) voiced ‘extreme disappointment’ at the news, claiming that any revenue raised by the tax increase would be offset by market declines, job losses and a potential return to cross-border shopping.
DIGI chairman Kieran Tobin pointed out that total employment in the drinks industry had been nearly halved by the recession to 60,000, with pubs and bars suffering a 35% sales decline.
‘In this context, the excise increases announced today simply further the burden on pubs, bars, restaurants, hotels and independent off-licences, and put more jobs, businesses and livelihoods at risk,’ he said.
However, alcohol excise tax on beer, cider and spirits was increased by only 10 cents in the Budget.
Three years ago, the Irish government reduced excise duty by 20% in the 2010 Budget, described at the time by DIGI as a ‘crucial first step’ in building consumer confidence and cutting cross-border shopping.
YOUR COUNTRY NEEDS YOU !!!
French wine consumption at 30-year low
- Monday 3 December 2012
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Fewer people drink wine with dinner...
A detailed demographic report on wine consumption – issued last week at the Vinitech wine and spirits trade show in Bordeaux – indicates a continued downward trend in wine consumption in France.
In 2010, the average amount of wine consumed per person in France came to 46.6 litres per year, down from 104 litres in 1975, according to France AgriMer, which promotes agricultural and marine products in conjunction with the Ministry of Agriculture.
Based on a survey of 4,004 French people aged 15 and over, the study found that while there are more ‘occasional drinkers’, the number of ‘regular drinkers’ has fallen dramatically.
In 2010, 45% of respondents said they drink wine once or twice per week, compared to 30% in 1980.
But the percentage of those who say they drink wine ‘almost every day’ fell from 51% in 1980 to 17% in 2010.
The French also drink more non-alcoholic beverages than ever before. Fifteen percent said they drink non-alcoholic beverages with their dinner, up from 5% in 1980.
Over the same time period, 24% said they drink wine with dinner – less than half the percentage 32 years ago.
The survey goes up to 2010 but it was only released publicly this year because time was needed to verify figures, said Laurence Gibert-Mesnil, press relations for France AgriMer.
One possible explanation put forwared for the increase in occasional wine consumption is that people are seeking quality over quantity, and higher prices for quality wines limits the amount of wine consumed.
‘We cannot really verify that supposition, but in terms of wines with meals, we note that a significant number of occasional drinkers seem prepared to spend more for a single bottle of wine,’ Gibert-Mesnil told Decanter.com.
She added that many interviewees thought it was ‘difficult’ to choose a bottle of wine, ‘so we could infer that choosing a more expensive bottle of wine for special occasions is a way to reflect quality.’
ARE THE INMATES RUNNING THE ASYLUM?
EU wine regions lobby against vineyard extension
- Monday 5 November 2012
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EFOW: against any liberalisation of planting rights
The European Commission envisions a liberalisation of planting rights starting in January 2016.
A meeting on 7 November organised by the Association of European Wine Regions (AREV) will gather elected officials representing more than 50 European wine regions to say ‘no’ to the Commission reform plan, according to a press release.
Growers are now close to the required majority that would block the Commission’s reform. To date, 15 out of 27 EU countries – including France, Spain, Italy, Germany and Portugal – have registered their disagreement and formally asked the European Commission to reconsider.
To obtain a qualified majority, 255 votes in the European Parliament are also required in addition to a majority of EU countries, but the growers’ lobby is short by 40 votes.
‘We need to convince a large country like Poland to vote with us,’ said Daniela Ida Zandona of the European Federation of Origin Wines (EFOW), which is taking part in the meetings next week.
Groups representing vineyard growers say that the Commission reform will lead to ‘catastrophic results’ for the historical and cultural nature of Europe’s vineyards.
EFOW cited Alsace wines as an example. ‘This
small 15,600 ha vineyard has 5,000 producers and employs 20,000 people.
These hillside vines form a quintessential part of one of the world’s
most beautiful wine landscapes. Around 7m people visit Alsace every
year, 85% of whom come to explore the wine routes,’ it says.
The European Commission’s reform would encourage vine planting to shift ‘from the hillside to the plains’ and ‘reduce the number of wine growers to around 100 or so,’ it continued. Finally, according to EFOW, ‘the tourism industry will wither away, the environment will deteriorate, and biodiversity would suffer.’
Zandona stressed that next week’s gathering is an effort to raise awareness in the EU Parliament.
Another key meeting takes place on 14 December when the so-called High Level Group, established under Dacian Cioloș, European Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, gathers in Brussels.Made up of representatives from each of the 27 EU member states, two EU Parliament observers and representatives from growers’ associations and wine industry groups, this group will offer influential opinions on the future of the reform plan.
Here is the list of wines that were shown at the tasting on Saturday 20th October:
Domaine Jordy Expression 2011 6.60
Domaine Saint Hilaire Grenache 2011 6.95
Domaine de la Clapiere jardin de jules 2011 4.50
Domaine Savary de Beauregard « Petit Savary » 3,90E
Domaine Savary de Beauregard « Bastide Rouge » 2010 - 4,60E
Domaine la Grangette, « Rouge Franc » 2010 €5.50
Domaine Conquettes Guillaume 2010 7.70
Domaine Saint Hilaire Advocate Cab Merlot 2009 10.55
Domaine Saint Hilaire Silk Trilogy Syrah 14.95
Domaine la Croix Gratiot rouge Cerise 2011 6.50
Ch. Les Peyregrandes Tradition rouge 6.80
Domaine de Perdiguier cuvee Pinot 2009 8.00
Ch. De Gourgazaud cuvee Mathilde 6.00
Domaine de Perdiguier cuvee Domaine 2009 6.50
Domaine Oliier Taillefer Les Collines rouge
Domaine Savary de Beauregard « Syrah » 2010 5,80E
Domaine Savary de Beauregard « Cabernet-S « 2009 5,80E
Domaine de Pouzac, « Merlot » 2011 €3.50
Domaine de Pouzac « Cabernet Sauvignon » 2011, €3.50
Domaine de Pouzac, « Mariage » 2011, €4.00
Domaine Moulin de Gimié, « Le Bec Rouge » 2011, €5.50
Domaine de la Clapiere Gate Fer 2009 9.00
Domaine Saint Hilaire Advocate Syrah 2006 10.55
Domaine de Perdiguier cuvee en Auges 2003 13.00
Domaine Ollier Taillefer Grand Reserve rouge
Domaine la Grangette La Part des Anges rouge 2008 9.10
Ch. De Gourgazaud Reserve 8.30
Domaine des Cadables Chemin a L, Envers 2010 8.00
Ch. Des Peyregrandes Prestige rouge 2009 8.80
Domaine Ollier Taillefer Castel Fossibus rouge
Domaine la Croix Gratiot Les Zazous 2010 10.50
Domaine Savary de Beauregard « Cuvée Petite Cour « 2009 6,80E
Domaine Savary de Beauregard « Sofia « 2002 15,00E
Domaine Savary de Beauregard -Magnum -« 13 Lunes « 2007 12,00E
Domaine la Grangette, « La Part des Anges » 2008 €9
Domaine de Pouzac, « Merlot » 2011 €3.50
Domaine de Pouzac « Cabernet Sauvignon » 2011, €3.50
Domaine de Pouzac, « Mariage » 2011, €4.00
Domaine de Pouzac, « Grand Jacquey » 2009, €6.00
Domaine Moulin Gimié, « Les Fossiles » 2009, €13
Simon Callow fronts Classic FM wine and music series
- Wednesday 17 October 2012
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Callow: 'the greatest joys of civilisation'
In Tasting Notes, which goes out on Sunday nights on commercial classical music radio station Classic FM, Callow ‘will set himself the challenge of pairing the perfect piece of classical music to accompany a delicious glass of wine,’ according the station.
The 11-part series is based on research published by the British Psychological Society that proves that flavour can be enhanced by music, Classic FM says.
In each two-hour show Callow will take listeners on a ‘musical wine tour’ matching the wines of a region to classical music.
The first show featured a Bourgogne Blanc, Esprit des Parettes, and the Grande Réserve de Gassac Rouge from Mas de Daumas Gassac in the Languedoc.
The Burgundy was matched to pieces by composers including Delibes, Mozard, Debussy and Antoine Busnois, while the Languedoc wine accompanied music from Bizet, Chabrier and Saint-Säens, among other composers.
Four Weddings and a Funeral star Callow said, ‘I'm delighted to have this opportunity of talking to Classic FM's many listeners about two of the greatest joys of civilisation, classical music and wine, both of which are right at the centre of my life.’
Tasting Notes goes out every Sunday from 3pm on Classic FM, available on 100-102 FM, digital and online at classicfm.com.
A VERY INTERESTING VENTURE FROM ONE OF THE REGIONS BEST WINE MAKERS
Domaine Sainte Rose to make wine in Kent
- Thursday 11 October 2012
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The Simpsons at Sainte Rose: 'a great time to be investing in English wine'
Ruth and Charles Simpson, who bought DomaineSainte Rose in 2002, have now bought farmland in Kent which is currently being used for an arable crop rotation, but which was found in a survey by Stephen Skelton MW to be well suited for viticulture.
Ruth Simpson told Decanter.com they will not plant vines until 2014. '[We will] explore our options in terms of clones and rootstock, and...assemble the right team.’ Current plans are to plant the traditional Champagne varieties of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier to focus on mainly sparkling wines, but Simpson is making no final decisions yet. ‘As more and more people produce quality sparkling wines in England, we must be certain we are creating a point of difference.’
‘Now is a great time to be investing in English wine,’ Simpson continued. ‘There is an established network of viticultural and winemaking expertise, which is essential to supporting new ventures, and the impressive accolades and sheer quality out there proves that English wine is now a serious and credible proposition.’
There are no plans to sell their Languedoc winery, and will split their time between the two – based most likely in Kent for the initial stages of planting and launching the business.
Domaine Sainte Rose will launch a sparkling wine, a 100% Chardonnay Blanc de Blancs, in July 2013.
The first vintage of the Kent estate is likely to be released in 2018, with the first crop coming in for the 2016 harvest, followed by 18 months ageing on the lees.
Domaine Sainte Rose won Silver and Bronze at the Decanter World Wine Awards this year, for its Le Marin Blanc Marsanne-Roussane, and for Le Pinacle Syrah.
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OH THAT SOME OF OUR GRAPE GROWERS WOULD SHOW SIMILAR RESPECT FOR THE ENVIRONMENT!!!
Rathfinny Estate to be 'greenest in the world'
Monday 1 October 2012
by Richard Woodard
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Building work has begun at a winery on England's South Downs which aims to set a 'new global standard' for sustainable wine production.
'High-tech and environmentally friendly': Rathfinny
The winery at Rathfinny Estate in East Sussex will be the largest and most environmentally friendly in England, according to owner Mark Driver, who gave up a career as a hedge fund manager in the City to pursue the project.
The first 20 hectares of vines – Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier for sparkling wine and Riesling for still wine – were planted in March this year at the 240ha estate near Alfriston.
The £10m project aims to release its first Sussex Origin Sparkling wines in 2016, and some still wines in 2014, with sparkling production targeted to reach 1m bottles a year within a decade.
Rathfinny’s winery will employ sustainable design techniques and low carbon technologies, including the use of photo-voltaic cells to generate solar energy, a roof planted with wild flowers to aid heat insulation and shading on two sides to reduce the need for air conditioning.
Ground water will be sourced from the estate’s own bore hole, while waste water will be treated and released back onto the surrounding land.
Local materials are being used in building the gravity-fed winery, and Rathfinny is working with Natural England and the National Trust to create ‘wildlife corridors’ to improve biodiversity.
‘Every aspect of the construction of the winery has been designed to produce the highest-quality sparkling wine,’ said Driver.
‘We have taken an uncompromising approach to ensure that it will be one of the most high-tech and environmentally friendly wineries in the world.’
Rupert Seldon, partner and project manager at construction company Buro Four, described Rathfinny as a ‘unique project’ and said it aimed ‘to set a new global standard for sustainable wine production’.
PEOPLE STILL WILL NOT LEARN!!!! THERE IS IN THE UK A PLETHORA OF FLY BY NIGHT OPERATORS SELLING NO MORE THAN PIECES OF PAPER. DO NOT BE TEMPTED!
Wine investment firm disappears
- Tuesday 28 August 2012
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Global: website shut down
Global Wine Investments, which was set up in April 2011, recently closed its website and cut its phone lines.
The company’s registered and trading address, 70 St Mary Axe in the City of London, was an accommodation address only – no business was done from there.
Blogs such as investdrinks.org have received several complaints from customers of Global, some of whom ordered wine worth many thousands of pounds but have received nothing.
One investor said: ‘I purchased four cases of Lafite Rothschild 2008, for £8,500 per case. I made the payment on 30th April 2012. They have twice offered me a refund, once spent a week telling me it was in the post, but nothing has materialized.’
Global’s two main directors were Michael Wilson and James Hamilton. The former was also a director of Omera Limited, which was dissolved in October 2011; some customers of Global were told that Omera was funding Global Wine Investments Ltd.
A spokesperson for major bonded warehouse London City Bond confirmed that Global Wine Investments Ltd did have an account with them: ‘We have frozen this account. However, it has minimal stock in it.’
It is too early to know what the total deficiency is.
SWEET AND SOUR GRAPES....................HO HO!
Chinese investors snap up Burgundy vineyard
The chateau producing Napoleon's favourite red wine, one of Burgundy's most prized vineyards, has been sold to a Chinese gambling tycoon, sparking dire warnings from local growers of a "foreign invasion" of mainly Asian investors.
The unnamed casino magnate from Macao outbid local vintners to pay eight million euros for Chateau de Gevrey-Chambertin - a 12th Century listed building along with its two-hectare vineyard and pinot noir grapes.
It is the first Burgundy chateau to fall into the hands of the Chinese, who have already bought 20 Bordeaux chateaux and are fanning out to other regions as they seek to cater for rocketing domestic demand for Frenchwine and art de vivre.
But local winegrowers are furious at seeing the chateau sold to Asian outsiders from under their noses, particularly as they had put in an offer of five million euros – well above the estimated value of the property of around three million euros. They want nothing less than state intervention to keep their wine heritage in French hands.
"I think France is selling its soul and that our politicians must react," fumed Jean-Michel Guillon, the president of the Gevrey-Chambertin winemakers syndicate, who mounted the failed local bid.
"We are starting to say to ourselves that our heritage is going out the window because it is not the only [foreign] purchase we've seen in the area. I'm afraid that within years, Burgundy will no longer belong to the Burgundians," he warned.
Gevrey-Chambertin is a village in the Côte de Nuits region of Burgundy home to some of the world's most prestigious and expensive red wines derived exclusively from pinot noir.
Its intensity of colour and rich, deep flavors have earned it the title the "King of Wines", which, according to the poet Gaston Roupnel expresses "all that great Burgundy can be".
The vineyards sold with the chateau only produce around 10-12,000 bottles out of a total of more than two million for the whole appellation.
But for Mr Guillon, the sale is highly symbolic and amounts to plunder.
"I have nothing against the investor…but if we turned the tables, what would the Chinese say if French investors bought up 10 or 50 metres of the Great Wall of China?"
Jacques Dorey, a municipal councillor in Gevrey-Chambertin played down the sale, saying: "There is every chance that the chateau will be well looked after. The vines will be tended to by a local vigneron so it will change nothing in terms of wine production."
Locals were already put out when a Chinese businessman entered a partnership with a local grower to buy two hectares of prized Vosne-Romanée vines in February. At least two other top chateaux are said to be quietly seeking buyers, insiders said, while another Burgundy landmark, le chateau de la Rochepot, is also up for grabs.
Kyriakos Kynigopoulos, a wine consultant and owner of Burgundia Oenology, said: "The Burgundians are very close to their wines and very attached to their land, however small the plot. They even frowned on a domain in Vosne-Romanée being sold to buyers from Bordeaux.
"They have made a lot of money since the 1990s and every time a piece of land comes up, five of them fight for it and it is bought within the day.
"Now all the talk is of the arrival of the Chinese, taking their land forever."
The Chinese first started buying chateaux in Bordeaux in 2008, with some turned into luxury hotels for high-end Chinese clientele. China is now the biggest importer of Bordeaux wines with consumption up by 110 percent in 2011 alone, and it is even building a Saint-Emilion-inspired wine theme park in the northern Dalian resort, due to open this year.
TWO SUPERB EVENTS IN AUGUST AT TWO OF OUR GREAT WINE DOMAINES: 9TH AT DOMAINE SAVARY DE BEAUREGARD ON THE MEZE ROAD OUT OF MONTAGNAC, A DELIGHTFUL SUMMER MUSIC EVENING. 19.30 EXHIBITION OF PORTRAITS OF LANGUEDOCS VINEYARDS FOLLOWED AT 21.00 BY A CONCERT " LES DUPONTS" TRADITIONAL FRENCH SONGS AND A BIT OF ROCK! BRING YOUR OWN PICNIC SUPPER, WINE OF THE DOMAINE ON SALE. TICKETS 10 EUROS , RESERVATIONS 0467240012. THROUGHOUT AUGUST AT DOMAINE LA CROIX-BELLE IN PUISSALICON AN EXHIBITION OF THE PAINTINGS OF SIMON FLETCHER " 30 YEARS IN SAINT GERVAIS DE MARE
AS USUAL A GOOD BALANCED VIEW ON "OAK" FROM ANDREW JEFFORD
- by Andrew Jefford
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Jefford on Monday: Tree Time
Racking at La Mission Haut Brion
Not necessarily. Successful oaking, most of us would agree, is when oak fills out, supports and amplifies a wine to seamless and impalpable effect. Since oak (and especially new oak) carries an overt and easily recognizable sensorial print, pointing your finger – or your tongue – at any perceived excess is a straightforward matter. Indeed, together with spotting tca in a ‘corked’ wine, it might even be the easiest comment of all to make about a wine. Tastes vary in this respect, though; my over-oaked wine may taste just right to you (or vice versa).
Working out that a wine is ‘under-oaked’, by contrast, is no easy
matter. If I feel dissatisfied with such a wine, I will probably
complain about something else altogether. An aggressive flavour profile,
perhaps; the stinkiness of reduction; or an overall lack of harmony and
equilibrium. It’s an impressive feat to imagine such a wine with
another eight months in oak, or with 70 per cent rather than 20 per cent
new oak, or with ten months in second-use oak rather than in concrete
tanks. Extra time in oak, remember, may actually lessen rather than
intensify the perceived ‘oakiness’ of a wine. The degree of toasting of
the staves is another variable with huge sensorial significance; and the
number of rackings is a third important decision.
‘Oak’, in fact, is about much more than ‘oakiness’. What the Riojans call ‘noble oxidation’ is at least as important as any kind of flavour enhancement, and there is no other container which can readily duplicate the oxidative effects of barrels and three-monthly rackings. (Wood is porous, and barrels are a kind of three-dimensional jigsaw puzzle.) The nourishing, fattening relationship between wines -- even red wines -- and their maternal lees, too, has never been considered more important than it is today, and small oak barrels permit a much higher contact ratio with lees than alternative containers. If we say wines are ‘over-oaked’, of course, we are normally referring to the flavour print rather than any oxidative fatigue, or some misconception of lees contact.
All of that said, there is no doubt that new oak is less widely used in the fine wine world today than a decade ago. Peter Sisseck’s journey with Pingus from ‘200% new oak’ for some parcels to no new oak at all on the 2008 vintage (reported here) is headline-grabbing, but in every region I have traveled to in the last twelve months, I’ve heard the same story.
“Like everyone,” Jean-Guillaume Prats at Cos d’Estournel told me this spring, “we’ve reduced our percentage of new wood” – down to between 60 and 80 per cent, in Cos’s case, with seven months on lees. Malolactic fermentation in barrique is no longer the dogma of the day – Cos has reverted to doing it in its conical stainless steel tanks. I barely saw a new cask during my winter visit to Chablis, while any overt oakiness is almost a badge of shame for the avant-garde in Australia’s Victoria (though less so in South Australia). Visits to Châteauneuf and to Bandol were telling, in that both regions flirted with small oak and new oak in the face of tradition a decade ago, but both have backed briskly away since. Much the same was true as I toured Piedmont. The makers of botte and foudres, by contrast, have full order-books, and the 600-litre demi-muids are a much commoner sight in cellars than they were a decade ago.
Honestly, I’m thrilled. Subtlety, savouriness and a widening of the general allusive range are all benefits of reduced new-oak or reduced high-toast usage, and the crushing totalitarianism of new oak as it stomped all over Grenache-based wines in Châteauneuf, Mourvèdre in Bandol, Nebbiolo in Piedmont or Chardonnay in Chablis is now rare.
That doesn’t mean, of course, that wood has no role; we just need to conceive that role differently. ‘Noble oxidation’ may in fact be the most important contribution any container can make to a developing, ripening wine. Wooden vessels – older, bigger, quieter – remain irreplaceable.
IT IS TO BE HOPED THAT THIS REDUCTION IN THE USE OF NEW OAK BY SISSECK WILL BE FOLLOWED HERE IN FRANCE!!!
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Pingus to cut down on new oak, says Peter Sisseck
- Thursday 26 July 2012
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Pingus in Ribera del Duero is one of the most celebrated, and expensive, micro-cuvees of Spain, with prices on the most sought-after vintages reaching first-growth levels: the 2004 Pingus is over £8000 a case.
Peter Sisseck founded the winery in 1995, and quickly reduced yields - harvests never go above 12 ha/hl - and started the practice of putting the wine into fresh new barrels after malolactic fermentation and coining the expression ‘200% new oak’.
Now he has reduced his annual barrel purchase from about 250 per year to 100 per year, and is likely to buy even less than that in future years, he told Decanter.com.
Sisseck started scaling down oak ageing in 2006, when he used 50% new and 50% used (mostly second-fill) barrels.
The 2008 vintage of Pingus was the first time the wine was aged in 100% old barrels, apart from the three months of malolactic fermentation.
‘We are trying to avoid too much wood contact,’ he said, stressing that this was ‘nothing to do with the recession and the cost of barrels’- indeed, he is now using one of the most expensive barrels on the market, the T5 from Taransaud, the standard 225litre version of which costs up to €1200, twice the price of a normal barrel.
The T5, which is made from planks that are aged for five years, twice as long as normal, is still economical, Sisseck reckons, as you can use it for much longer than a normal barrel.
Sisseck’s reputation for intensive use of oak came from his handling of a particular plot, he said, which always showed reductive characters in barrel.
‘This was due to its slightly underripe tannins, which absorbed oxygen. I found that if I put it in new oak after malolactic, it didn’t reduce so heavily, hence the 200% new oak label.’
As the vineyards get better, and are better managed, there is less and less need to use oak, he said. He considers over-use of oak ‘lazy winemaking - it should all happen in the vineyard.’
He also said that with the introduction of Psi – a project working with growers to preserve old vines in Ribera del Duero – in 2006 meant he now had wine to put into the barrels that he otherwise would have sold as it is too costly to store empty barrels, which easily attract bacteria.
‘The 2010 Flor de Pingus [the sister wine of Pingus] has just been bottled, and the empty barrels, which were new in 2009, will be used for 2011 Psi, and after that for Pingus 2010, which will be bottled in September 2012. The barrels will then be sold.’
ONE OF THE OTHER KEY FACTORS IN THE HUGE INCREASES IN PRICE OF WINE IN THE UK IS THE COMMON SUPERMARKET PRACTICE OF APPLYING PERCENTAGE MARGINS RATHER THAN CASH MARGINS. SO IF A PRODUCT BECAUSE OF VAT AND DUTY RISES FROM SAY £5 TO £5.80 THEY WILL STILL WANT 30% SO THEIR CASH MARGIN GOES FROM £1.50 TO £1.74!
Jefford on Monday: Mind Games
When times are hard, as they undoubtedly are, you’d expect a flight towards cheap wine. Cheap (sub-£5) wine is still on the shelves, and cheap wine still accounts for 68 per cent by volume of what was sold in the UK in the year to April 2012. But compare those figures with the equivalent set for a year earlier, and what is happening is eye-popping.
In the year to April 2011, the equivalent figure was 75 per cent at under £5. Since then, wine under £3 has lost 63 per cent of its volume, and wine under £4 has lost 19 per cent of its volume. The £4 to £5 category is flat, while £5 to £6 wine has surged by 32 per cent, £6 to £7 wine has grown by 15 per cent, £7 to £8 wine has also surged by 30 per cent, £8 to £9 has moved forward 15 per cent, £9 to £10 has raced forward 22 per cent, and wine at over £10 has made a third surge, to 32 per cent. All of this within an overall decline of the wine market by two per cent within the same twelve-month period.
To some extent, the flight from under £3 towards £5 or perhaps £6 is predictable: even Britain’s most battle-hardened, chisel-nosed supermarket buyers can’t source wine which costs almost nothing and can still be drunk with pleasure. The conditions of overproduction which prevailed a year or two ago, moreover, are rapidly ebbing (when I was in Australia’s Riverina in May, Gallo had reputedly just been through on a $A13 million Chardonnay shopping spree).
The astonishing growth in the higher-priced categories, by contrast, makes no sense at all outside prosperous years, and in the recessionary swamps through which we are all wading is an enigma. Economically speaking, that is. It only begins to make sense when you bring psychology into the frame.
A price point is a landmark in our mental landscapes. No matter how rich or poor we are, no matter where we live, we all cherish them. They are emotionally felt as much as intellectually perceived, by which I mean that we tend to overlook absolute value as we hierarchize and personalize our relationships with price points. The cost of flour or bread or nails or copy paper is irrelevant to most of us, yet we feel a sense of outrage if the price of a regularly used item suddenly rises by 30p or 50p, and we may even boycott a retailer or switch brands as a result. We barely notice, by contrast, if the price of a visit to the hairdresser or a football match rises by five times that amount. The potential loss is five times greater, but the emotional investment in the purchase is so different that we swiftly silence our internal accountant.
The fiscal changes of the last three years have washed a wave through all of wine’s British price-point landmarks, and my guess is that UK consumers now feel lost and disorientated. They are re-establishing new landmarks. For many, I’d guess, £8.99 or £9.99 is the new £4.99, and maybe £14.99 is the new £7.99 or £8.99. That’s where the Chablis or the Basket-Pressed Shiraz they felt happy with has either gone, or is heading. At the same time, some consumers are in reality less wealthy than they were, and all consumers feel less wealthy than they did. These are, moreover, big leaps in cost. The result is that consumers are opting to drink a little less wine overall.
Wine, though, is a strongly emotional purchase, since it alters our perception of the world and, if sagely used, brings us a sense of well-being, of closeness and of solace. You need that in a double-dip recession, under ever-darkening financial skies. Abandon it we won’t.
BETON MAKING A COMEBACK AGAINST STEEL!!
Oenologie : Le nouveau look des cuves en béton
La cuve béton devient tendance. Ce matériau, qui avait été détrôné par l’inox, bénéficie d’un regain d’intérêt dans les caves. Son inertie thermique et les échanges gazeux qu’il permet quand il n’est pas revêtu expliquent ce retour en grâce. La créativité dont font preuve les fabricants dans le design des cuves ajoute à ce nouvel attrait. Nomblot a initié le mouvement avec ses cuves ovoïdes, en forme d’amphore ou tronconiques. La société DV Tec Vinicole lance une série de nouveaux modèles, qui allient forme innovante et technologie.
L’objectif du bureau d’étude de cette société gardoise est d’innover dans le design des cuves tout en apportant des réponses aux exigences de l’œnologie moderne. C’est ainsi que sont nés les tous nouveaux modèles : Tentation, la cuve flacon d’une contenance de 600 l (l’équivalent d’un demi-muid) est une synthèse entre l’œuf et la barrique. Elle est plus spécialement destinée à la vinification et à l’élevage des vins blancs. Sa forme ovoïde a été étudiée pour amplifier le mouvement de convexion naturelle lors des bâtonnages, facilitant la mise en suspension des lies. L’effet du bâtonnage est ainsi renforcé. Cette forme optimise également l’échange « vin et lies fines » en raison de la surface sur le fond de la cuve, plus importante que dans des formes classiques. Réalisée en béton monobloc sans ferraillage, cette cuve est équipée d’un système de thermorégulation avec des serpentins intégrés, d’une porte inox placée au niveau du tirage au clair et d’une trappe inox au centre.
Autre nouveauté, dérivée de la cuve pyramidale, la cuve Isis plus spécifiquement dédiée à la vinification et à l’élevage des vins rouges. Cette cuve dont la géométrie respecte la règle du nombre d’or, appliquée par les Egyptiens pour la construction des pyramides, a été réalisée à la demande du Domaine Gauby dans le Roussillon. D’une capacité de 6 hl, elle présente les mêmes avantages que la cuve pyramidale : meilleur échange jus/marc pendant la vinification, remontage, pigeage et délestage facilités du fait de la base plus large. Elle est également équipée d’un système de themorégulation par serpentins intégrés, trappe, porte... Son design très épuré en fait un élément d’accroche et d’image pour les domaines qui ouvrent leur cave au public.
Enfin DV Tec vinicole prépare le lancement d’un tout nouveau modèle, la cuve Tulipe, de forme tronconique cylindrique. Une déclinaison du modèle Elégance, conçue pour le Château Cheval blanc en partenariat avec le cabinet de design Christian de Portzampac. Ce nouveau modèle en forme de tulipe avec une jupe, sera doté de tous les équipements présents sur les autres modèles. Les premières cuves Tulipe vont être testées dès ces vendanges, mais ce nouveau modèle, au design très avant-gardiste, sera présenté officiellement sur le prochain salon Vinitech en décembre Bordeaux. Basée à Tavel dans le Gard, DV Tec vinicole est spécialisée dans l’ingéniérie et l’installation de caves vinicoles et oléicoles. Elle a également une activité de bureau d’étude pour la conception de nouvelles formes de cuves en béton. Les cuves ainsi conçues sont fabriquées par Nico Velo, spécialiste italien de la cuve en béton, dont DV Tec Vinicole est le distributeur exclusif sur la France.
- by Andrew Jefford
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Jefford on Monday: The Tipping Point
That warmth was upmost in my mind as I blind-tasted, over a couple of days recently, almost ninety of Languedoc’s finest red wines. I’ll outline some of the star performers below, but two key elements emerged from this tasting, as they have from almost every similar tasting I have done over the last year or so.
The first is that money spent on small oak barrels, and on the time idled away by Languedoc red wines inside them, is often wasted. Grenache, Syrah, Mourvèdre, Carignan: the register or timbre of these varieties is a different one to Cabernet, Merlot, Pinot and Tempranillo from cooler zones (and cool-climate Syrah, too). The flavours of oak are often discordant here, obscuring the diagnostic but fugitive wildness which can send your pulse racing in Languedoc’s finest wines. Those wines need a little time, but that time is almost always best spent in larger and older wooden vessels, in concrete, or in bottle. No Languedoc wine I have ever tasted needs a lot of maturation time. Few, indeed, finish a decade in credit.
And then there’s the heat, the ripeness, the flamboyance. Much, here, depends on terroir and yield, but the tipping point between ripe and over-ripe seems to be one which is quickly passed under the generous Languedoc sun. I applaud producers here for their willingness to make wines of natural articulation, wines imbued with a sense of place, but it does call for fine aesthestic judgement if the results aren’t to topple over into galumphing caricature (or bretty bathos). Drinkers may find expensive Languedoc wines outclassed by cheaper ones. Given the enormous aesthetic width evident here, nothing can beat a pre-purchase taste – so accept any Languedoc tasting invitations which come your way with alacrity.
Some of the leaders? Sébastien Fillon at Clos du Serres in Terrasses du Larzac is doing a wonderful job with his fifteen scattered parcels of vineyard: I tasted his range at Vinisud in February, but coming across the 2009 La Blaca cuvée in the blind tasting context recently, with its floral refinement and perfect balance between flesh, extract and freshness, confirmed the rare combination of great skill and great terroir. Among other top values for less highly priced cuvées is the 2010 Carline from Ch de Cazeneuve in Pic St Loup (complex, vivacious, even truffley); the 2009 Chant des Cigales from Ch la Liquière in St Chinian (fragrant citrus and herbs); and the 2010 Bergerie from Ch des Karantes in La Clape (the extravagant ripeness of this coastal massif managed with enticingly spicy poise).
Among the top cuvées, wines which repay the extra outlay include the fragrant 2009 Grande Cuvée from Domaine de l’Hortus in Pic St Loup (like springtime in Tunis: all jasmine and orange blossom); the dense, beautifully crafted 2009 Clos de la Simonette from Mas Champart in St Chinian; and an old friend in its 2010 guise, the Cuvée No 3 from one of France’s greatest and remotest co-operatives, that of Embres et Castelmaure in far-flung Corbières (another wine which captures the heady fragrance of Languedoc hill country with poise and precision). The attractively priced 2010 Ste Hélène cuvée from Mas Belles Eaux near Pézenas is surely the best ever from this domain: Languedoc at its most drinkable and refined, and balm after some of the region’s more chaotic excesses. A wine which has aged well (though needs no further keeping) is the 2007 Grande Cuvée from Prieuré de St Jean de Bébian, also near Pézenas: multi-layered and structured, pure fruited, yet with those lingering notes of thyme and cade still softly apparent.
The tasting finished with a flight of wines whose prices march boldly into Bordeaux and Burgundy territory: €55 for La Grange des Pères 2007, €64 for La Pèira 2009, €82 for the 2007 Porte du Ciel from La Négly and €83 for the 2008 Clos des Truffiers, also from La Négly. It was, in taste as well as in price, a battle of the sauropods, but on my scoresheet as well as for those I was tasting with, the winner was a new arrival: the 2009 Matissat from La Pèira (€40 from the cellar; Berry Bros, by the way, will be stocking both the 2007 and 2009 vintages later this year). It was pure Mourvèdre, but I don’t think Bandol-lovers would have recognized it, so pristine were its black fruits, and so elegantly had the garrigue allusions been incorporated. Yes, it had tiptoed right up to the tipping point, looked over -- and stepped back: delicious.
RIP OFF BRITAIN 1/4 bottle of wine £4.80!!
Olympic wines will be Fairtrade
- Thursday 21 June 2012
- Comments (2)
In an Olympic first, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) tasked buyers at UK wine merchant Bibendum with securing almost 650,000 litres of 2012 vintage wine for a range to be sold at all Games venues this summer.
The three chosen wines, packaged in 75cl and 18.75cl recyclable PET bottles, represent a coup for Fairtrade, as well as for South Africa and up-and-coming Brazil.
Of the various categories of Fairtrade products in the UK, wine is one of the fastest-growing, with sales up by 12% in volume last year, to 6.5m litres.
South Africa's largest certified Fairtrade wine estate, Stellenrust, has supplied a Chenin Blanc and a rosé made from Pinotage, Shiraz and Merlot.
James Bennett, account manager at the Fairtrade Foundation told Decanter.com, ‘It shows that Fairtrade wine has come a very long way in terms of quality and in terms of people wanting it.’
Meanwhile, Brazil's Miolo-owned Seival Estate is supplying a Shiraz and Tempranillo blend, containing a small amount of Gamay Nouveau. While not Fairtrade, its selection is a nod to the next Olympics, Rio 2016, and to Brazil's emergence on the world wine scene.
Around 9m tickets have been sold for Olympic and Paralympic events, at which an 18.75cl bottle of Olympic wine will cost £4.80, Decanter.com understands.
Bibendum is already the official wine supplier to London 2012 hospitality events.
The merchant declined to comment on the bespoke Olympic wines, citing contractual obligations to the IOC.
24th June: Here is a list of the wines which many of you tasted at our whites & rosés tasting on the 15th June in Montagnac. Everybody really seems to have enjoyed the format (just tables of bottles for you to taste without any pressure to purchase) and we will be repeating the operation in Autumn for red wines. Many thanks for all of your positive feedback about this event.
Wine List For Tasting Event, June 15th 2012
Domaine La Grangette (Castelnau de Guers)
Blanc : « L’Enfant Terrible » Picpoul de Pinet 2011
Rosé : « La Saignée de Rose » Piquepoul Noire 2011
Les Vignerons de Montblanc (Montblanc)
Blanc : Chardonnay 2011
Rosé : Syrah 2011
Abbaye Sylva Plana (Laurens)
Blanc : Faugères Blanc 2011
Rosé : Faugères Rosé 2011
Domaine Deshenrys (Alignan du Vent)
Blanc : Sauvignon & Chardonnay 2011
Rosé : Syrah & Grenache 2011
Domaine de Pouzac (Servian)
Blanc : Vermentino 2011
Rosé, « Festivités » 2011
Domaine Ollier-Taillefer (Fos)
Blanc, « Allegro » 2011
Rosé : « Les Collines »
Domaine de la Clapière (Montagnac)
Blanc : « Figuerette » 2011
Rosé : « Jalade » 2011
Domaine de Cadablès (Gabian)
Blanc : Terret 2011
Rosé : Cinsault & Grenache 2011
Domaine des Conquêtes (Aniane)
Rosé : Rosé 2011
Domaine St Ferreol (Nizas)
Blanc : Viognier 2007
Domaine la Croix Gratiot (Montagnac)
Blanc : « Désir Blanc » 2011
Blanc : « Les Zazous » 2010
Blanc : Picpoul de Pinet 2011
Rosé : « Roséphine » 2011
Rosé : « Zazous » 2011
Verena Wyss (Gabian)
Blanc : Viognier 2011
Rosé : « Rose des Roses » 2011
Domaine des Trinités (Roquessels)
Blanc : Viognier 2011
Rosé : Faugères Rosé 2011
THE NAME GAME GETS SILLIER AND SILLIER!!!
Languedoc : IGP et AOC se disputent le nom Béziers
IGP Coteaux de Béziers ou AOP Terrasses de Béziers ? Il semblerait que dans cet épineux dossier qui oppose les deux dénominations, la première ait pris une longueur d’avance. Une soirée de lancement a été organisée la semaine dernière à Béziers pour présenter les premières bouteilles de l’IGP Coteaux de Béziers, toute nouvelle dénomination, validée par l’INAO comme mention complémentaire de l’IGP Côtes du Libron.
L’affaire remonte à l’an dernier, lorsque les IGP de l’Hérault planchent sur le cahier des charges qu’ils doivent déposer avant le 30 juin 2011 à l’INAO. L’IGP Coteaux du Libron, situé dans la périphérie est de Béziers, souhaite profiter de ce nouveau cahier des charges pour changer de nom et prendre le nom de Coteaux de Béziers, une dénomination plus explicite pour situer l’aire de production. De leur côté, les producteurs d’AOC de cette même région ont le projet depuis 10 ans de faire reconnaître en appellation communale « Terrasses de Béziers », une partie de l’aire actuellement en AOC Languedoc. Un dossier de reconnaissance de ce terroir a été déposé fin 2010 à l’INAO, mais les procédures sont longues pour les AOC.
A ce jour, Terrasses de Béziers n’apparaît pas dans le cahier des charges de l’AOC Languedoc. Le dossier IGP est, lui, déposé en avril 2011. Trop tard pour un changement de nom, indique l’INAO. Mais « Coteaux de Béziers » est acceptée comme mention complémentaire de l’IGP Coteaux du Libron et peut donc être utilisée pour les vins du millésime 2011. « C’est une querelle qui n’a pas lieu d’être, témoigne un directeur de cave de la région. Nous sommes tous à la fois producteurs d’IGP et d’AOP. La procédure IGP est beaucoup plus rapide et nous permet dès aujourd’hui d’utiliser le nom très porteur de Béziers. Pourquoi s’en priver et attendre la reconnaissance de l’AOC Terrasses de Béziers qui va prendre des années ? »
Pourtant les défenseurs de l’AOC Terrasses de Béziers ne désarment pas. « Depuis plusieurs années nous communiquons sur cette dénomination. Terrasses de Béziers apparaît dans notre documentation commerciale. L’appellation est identifiée sur les cartes du CIVL et apparaît dans ses documents promotionnels», plaide Anne-Laure Gauch du Domaine du Nouveau-Monde. L’affaire a été à nouveau évoquée début juin lors du dernier comité régional de l’INAO. « Nous allons à nouveau solliciter les instances nationales de l’INAO pour savoir comment gérer ce dossier. C’est une question transversale qui doit être traitée par le groupe de convergence IGP-AOC pour savoir comment traiter la réservation des noms d’indications géographiques », indique Jean-Benoit Cavalier, président de l’ODG Coteaux du Languedoc.
After a very quiet 2010 the market for vineyards became very active again in 2011 with both the number of transactions and price per hectare rising.
Here in Languedoc Roussillon the area of vines sold was around 30% of the national total with prices higher by more than inflation. Of course within averages there are differences. IGP (old Vin de Pays) vineyards in Herault and the Gard saw very strong demand with prices now achieving the same levels, 12000 euros per hectare, as AOP ( old AOC). Demand for AOP vineyards was noticeably weak in Corbieres and strong in Banyuls.
Elsewhere in France no great surprises: Strong demand in Alsace, Champagne, the Cote D,Or part of Burgundy, Northern Rhone, Provence and parts of Bordeaux. Weak demand in Central Loire, Beaujolais, southern Rhone and parts of Bordeaux.
Overall prices per hectare rose by 4% reflecting the view that investors, in these difficult economic times, are putting money into vines rather than stocks and shares!
THE EVENT NOT TO BE MISSED!! 15TH JUNE WHITES AND ROSES
WHERE; DOMAINE SAVARY DE BEAUREGARD MONTAGNAC
WHEN; 10.00 UNTIL 13.00
WHAT; A UNIQUE OPPORTUNITY TO TASTE AROUND 100 OF THE NEWLY BOTTLED 2012 WHITES AND ROSES FROM SOME OF THE REGIONS FINEST AND BEST VALUE VIGNERONS
ENTRY: 5 EUROS TO INCLUDE PERSONAL TASTING GLASS, FREE DEGUSTATION OF ALL THE WINES AND A VOUCHER TO ENTITLE YOU TO A SPECIAL 6 BOTTLES FOR THE PRICE OF 5 ON ALL OF THE WINES FEATURED IF YOU GO TO THE DOMAINES ON THE 15TH OR 16TH JUNE
THIS REALLY IS AN OPPORTUNITY NORMALLY RESERVED FOR THE WINE PROFESSIONALS ONLY.COME ALONG AND CHOOSE YOUR FAVOURITES FOR THE SUMMER
FOR FURTHER DETAILS GO TO EVENTS AND JUNE
FINAL APPROVAL GRANTED FOR ORGANIC/ BIOLOGIQUE WINES
EU wines may now be labelled 'organic'
- Monday 28 May 2012
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The new organic wine logo
The new terms can be used instead of the former, more opaque wording: ‘Wine issued from organic grapes’.
The European-wide change to the labeling laws will come into effect from 1 August.
Gwenaelle le Guillon, director of Syndicat des Vignerons Bio d’Aquitaine told Decanter.com organic wines would now have the right to carry an identifying logo, as any other organic product does.
As the organic industry is worth €17.3bn across the EU, this offers a significant opportunity. ‘We have been pushing for this change for over a decade,’ said le Guillon, ‘and will now be able to more easily communicate directly with consumers.’The change is due to a new quality charter issued by the EU which deals not just with practices in the vineyard, but also in the cellar. Up to now there have been no EU rules or definition of 'Organic wine': only grapes could be certified organic.
The new organic wine-making rules introduce a technical definition of organic wine. These rules include 30-50% less added sulphur than conventional winemaking, no use of additives such as sorbic acid, and a full traceability processes.
A total of 3,945 vineyards in France are organic, a number that has doubled in three years and now represents 6% of France’s total vineyards.
The market itself is worth €359m in France, a growth of 11% since 2010, and 90% over the past six years.
Ninety-two percent of hypermarkets and supermarkets across the country sell organic wine, offering on average 12 different labels.
DECANTER WORLD WINE AWARDS 2012 ANNOUNCED
CONGRATULATIONS TO DOMAINES D,ARJOLLE, BEGUDE, CAM[PLAZENS,CLAPIERE, CROIX BELLE, DOURBIE, GUILHEM, JORDY AND POUZAC ON THEIR SUCCESS. I WOULD POINT OUT THAT THE HIGH COST OF PARTICIPATION DETERS MANY OF OUR MEMBERS FROM ENTERING.
RESULTS CAN BE FOUND ON THE FOLLOWING LINK:
Decanter.com Daily News Alert
Decanter World Wine Awards 2012 results unveiled
The 2012 Decanter World Wine Awards results were officially announced this morning at The London International Wine Fair.
results now available
AN INTERESTING INSIGHT INTO THE WINE SCRIBBLERS WORLD!!
Jefford on Monday: Princes, Princesses and Paupers
set me thinking again about a topic wine writers often discuss amongst themselves: financial survival. A few wine-writers are indeed millionaires; the vast majority are emphatically not. It is a profession of princes, princesses and paupers.
The circumstances surrounding Jay Miller’s resignation from Team Parker; the Institute of Masters of Wine’s investigation into Pancho Campo MW, the organiser of last year’s ‘Wine Future’ event in Hong Kong, and his subsequent resignation; and more recently the revelation that James Suckling was paid $24,000 by Quebec’s wine monopoly for “videos” (and not tasting notes) has continued to keep the spotlight on the means by which those at the top of the pile enrich themselves.
In the interests of transparency, and to allay Mr Noble’s suspicions, let me declare my total pre-tax earnings from all sources for the last year: £38,090.13 in the UK (to October 31st, when my accounting year ends), and €22,401.41 in France (to December 31st). I pay tax in both countries.
Compared to most of the world’s population, of course, this makes me immensely wealthy, and I do indeed feel very fortunate at not having died of dysentery in infancy, not having to live in a shanty town, and not having to beg in order to feed my children. Compared to most of my friends and contemporaries in other fields, by contrast, I am a fiscal failure and an involuntary workaholic. Some of them have retired several times already. You, dear readers, may have to put up with me for many years to come.
Numerous wine-writing colleagues earn less than I do, and in most cases wine writing is either a second job or a hobby pastime, or is a second-string income in a two-income family. I have always thought that those organising wine-writing competitions should warn potential entrants not to think about taking it up professionally unless they have a private income, intend to remain austerely single, or have taken the precaution of marrying a banker, a doctor or a lawyer first. Bread-winners beware.
I don’t, by the way, hold any of this against my various employers: they pay market rates, and pay promptly, and I am grateful for their patronage. If anyone is to blame, it’s probably me. To be financially successful as a wine writer, you need to create business opportunities, platforms and synergies; you need to be an effective self-marketer; and you need a finely honed streak of entrepreneurship. I’d scrape by with a D- in each category.
The reasons for all this are not hard to unearth. Wine-writing seems to be an agreeable activity, and wine (and winemakers) certainly make an inspiring subject. The wine-writing offer, consequently, greatly outweighs the wine-writing demand, which deflates remuneration rates. Yet the potential audience remains a limited one, thanks to wine’s innate complexity. Sports writing, food writing and recipe writing will always command a much bigger audience, and generate a much bigger revenue pool.
What are the implications? It means, first, that most wine blogs are doomed: sooner or later the writer will need to earn a living, or will burn out of an expensive and time-consuming hobby which can never blossom into a career. The wine world may well find it loses its most original new writers, and keeps only its geeks and its self-promoters.
It means that most wine-writers are ill-qualified to write about fine wines, which are the wines most worth writing about. Tasting them occasionally isn’t really enough; you need to own them, cellar them, drink them and watch them evolve. Without plenty of disposable income, you can’t buy these wines and you won’t have anywhere to store them.
Above all, it means that objectivity and ethical conduct in wine writing are, in any strict sense, illusory. Any wine-writer who is not already wealthy at the beginning of his or her career will need a commercial platform of one sort or another. Consultancies, courses, events, promotions and tastings are the usual means of supplementing a meagre writing income. These will bring you closer to some producers and some retailers than others. You are unlikely to savage the hand that strokes you.
Unless you are already wealthy, too, you will be unable to fund much or any of the extensive travel which constitutes wine-writing research. You will be reliant on some organisation or individual offering to fund this for you. Travel funders, in effect, dictate a sizeable percentage of what gets written about in the wine world. Only writers with colossal wealth can circumvent this, and not all chose to do so.
It is still possible, I should stress, to produce worthwhile work under these circumstances; inspiration and insight have nothing to do with money. Personally, I am in favour of transparency, opposed to the hypocrisy involved in witch-hunting and finger-pointing, and grind my teeth when the princes of the wine-writing world chose to lecture its paupers on ethics. And now, let’s get back to what matters: wine itself.