LOTS OF CHEERING BUT DOES THIS COMPLICATE LANGUEDOC EVEN MORE?

Languedoc's Terrasses du Larzac gets appellation status

  • Tuesday 15 July 2014 
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French officials have approved Terrasses du Larzac in Languedoc-Roussillon as a standalone appellation, offering more evidence of the region's improving reputation.

Vincent Goumard, Mas Cal Demoura

Vincent Goumard, of Mas Cal DemouraImage: 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 GrenacheMourvedreCarignanSyrah 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 Decanter.com he hopes for a positive decision this year.


Read more at http://www.decanter.com/news/wine-news/587282/languedoc-s-terrasses-du-larzac-gets-appellation-status?utm_source=Eloqua&utm_medium=email&utm_content=news+alert+link+16072014&utm_campaign=Newsletter-

16072014&elq=0ddecc4315c240178c20c0912b84677b&elqCampaignId=4348#Dzt04c3HuH2GUavj.99EVERYONE WHO DRINKS WINE SHOULD  INSIST ON THIS!!!!!

Jefford on Monday: My Babe Appeal

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I wrote to The Babe. The Babe wrote back. (OK, not The Babe herself, but a co-worker called Lindsey, who is very probably a Babe in her own right.) And now we might be in business.

Ridge 2011 Geyserville wine ingredients label

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

Much of the language used to describe and to sell Champagne is, to put it politely, wildly inflated, and it’s easy to develop an allergic reaction to Champagne guff. Yet even a boiler-plated old hack like me can come to admire the theoretical edifice which those involved in creating and selling expensive Champagne brands manage to create around them.

Champagne

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.


AND THEY WONDER WHY MARKETING "LANGUEDOC WINES" IS SO DIFFICULT

Hiérarchisation : qui seront les prochains grands terroirs du Languedoc ?

Hiérarchisation : qui seront les prochains grands terroirs du Languedoc ?Le Languedoc comptait 10 appellations en 1982, il en compte 50 aujourd'hui. Pourquoi une telle progression ? Ces appellations n'ont pas fleuri parce que chaque commune du Languedoc a voulu son appellation, cette floraison d'AOC/AOP correspond à une réelle progression de la qualité de la production en Languedoc sur les trente dernières années.

Sur le socle de son appellation régionale (AOC Languedoc), le Languedoc s'est doté d'appellations correspondant à autant de zones climatiques et géologiques identifiées (AOC Carbardès, AOC Clairette du Languedoc, AOC Corbières, AOC Faugères, AOC Fitou, AOC Malepère, AOC Muscats (de Frontignan, Saint-Jean de Minervois...), AOC Saint-Chinian...) .

Au sein de ces appellations (dont certaines demeurent très vastes et variées), les efforts des producteurs et leur connaissance de leur terroir ont permis d'isoler des terroirs spécifiques depuis reconnus comme des appellations :

  • Minervois la Livinière a ouvert le bal en 1999, située au nord du Minervois sur les contreforts de la Montagne Noire, dotée d'un climat plus frais et plus venteux que le sud du Minervois qui permet des maturations plus lentes des raisins et donc des arômes différents et des structures plus denses qui justifient cette distinction géographique et qualitative.

  • 2005 a vu la reconnaissance de Corbières-Boutenac (où les vieilles vignes de Carignan sont reines), de Saint-Chinian-Berlou et de Saint-Chinian-Roquebrun, qui correspondent à deux villages au nord de l'appellation Saint-Chinian, qui font presque déjà partie du massif des Cévennes.

Dans la continuité de sa stratégie de hierarchisation des vins des appellations du Languedoc, l'Interprofession (CIVL) entend poursuivre ce mouvement.

Quels seront les prochains terroirs reconnus au sein des appellations du Languedoc ?

Le CIVL a confié à Matthew Stubbs MW la tâche de présenter quatre cas à l'étude.

trente dernières années.

Sur le socle de son appellation régionale (AOC Languedoc), le Languedoc s'est doté d'appellations correspondant à autant de zones climatiques et géologiques identifiées (AOC Carbardès, AOC Clairette du Languedoc, AOC Corbières, AOC Faugères, AOC Fitou, AOC Malepère, AOC Muscats (de Frontignan, Saint-Jean de Minervois...), AOC Saint-Chinian...) .

Au sein de ces appellations (dont certaines demeurent très vastes et variées), les efforts des producteurs et leur connaissance de leur terroir ont permis d'isoler des terroirs spécifiques depuis reconnus comme des appellations :

  • Minervois la Livinière a ouvert le bal en 1999, située au nord du Minervois sur les contreforts de la Montagne Noire, dotée d'un climat plus frais et plus venteux que le sud du Minervois qui permet des maturations plus lentes des raisins et donc des arômes différents et des structures plus denses qui justifient cette distinction géographique et qualitative.

  • 2005 a vu la reconnaissance de Corbières-Boutenac (où les vieilles vignes de Carignan sont reines), de Saint-Chinian-Berlou et de Saint-Chinian-Roquebrun, qui correspondent à deux villages au nord de l'appellation Saint-Chinian, qui font presque déjà partie du massif des Cévennes.

Dans la continuité de sa stratégie de hierarchisation des vins des appellations du Languedoc, l'Interprofession (CIVL) entend poursuivre ce mouvement.

Quels seront les prochains terroirs reconnus au sein des appellations du

.


TWO MAJOR INTERNATIONAL WINE FAIRS HAVE TAKEN PLACE IN MONTPELLIER IN THE EARLY PART OF THIS YEAR, THE "BIO" FAIR IN JANUARY AND THE ENORMOUS "VINISUD" IN FEBRUARY. MANY OF OUR DOMAINES WERE PRESENT HOPING TO ATTRACT BUYERS FROM ALL OVER THE WORLD. COMPETITION IS FIERCE WITH AROUND 3,500 WINES TO TRY AT THE BIO FAIR AND AROUND 10,000 AT VINISUD. DOMINIC AND I TRIED OUR BEST BUT COULDN,T MANAGE THEM ALL!

   WINE CLUB EVENTS ARE COMING UP SHORTLY, AN OPPORTUNITY TO TASTE A NEW RANGE OF WINES, OUR SPRING LUNCHES AND A VISIT TO A DOMAINE ON A VOLCANO!  DETAILS CAN BE FOUND ON OUR EVENTS PAGE



25TH AUGUST  ANNUAL SUMMER LUNCH AND TASTINGS---11.00 TILL **** DOMAINE DE CLAPIERS MONTAGNAC

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


A DATE FOR YOUR DIARIES
12TH MARCH 2013---- BOOK NOW TO SECURE YOUR PLACE

AN INVITATION TO FIND OUT A LITTLE MORE ABOUT WINE !     

Don,t want qualifications but would like to know a bit more about wine—Languedoc Wine School has the perfect answer. A one day course  “ An Introduction to Wine” , a day of interest, enjoyment and opportunity.

    An insight into the different styles of wine, different colours, different grapes, the vineyard, the wine making processes and of course that mystical art, wine tasting!

   We promise the day will be interesting, informative, fun and rewarding. A real opportunity to get the answers to those questions many of you would like to ask.

  THE DATE:   12th MARCH   09.30 to 16.00

  THE VENUE:  DOMAINE DE LA CLAPIERE  MONTAGNAC

  THE COST :  60 euros to include all course materials, wine tastings and lunch with wine . Go on, make wine more fullfilling!

COURSE OUTLINE

09.15  Welcome.  09.30 Course Commences

  Wine definition and history

Global Production and Consumption

Wine types and production processes;

Still, Sparkling, Fortified.   Red, Rose, White.    Sweet and Dry

Introduction to wine tasting

 Tastings

Lunch

Winery visit

The Languedoc Region



 
  OUCH!!!!!!!!! 


Decanter
News
Wine News

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.
irish drinks

'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

The French are drinking less wine on a regular basis than ever before, a new survey has found.

Food and wine

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

Wine grower associations from 15 EU member states will gather in Brussels this week to lobby against a European Commission reform that would increase vineyard plantings.

EFOW logo

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:

LIGHT BODIED

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

 

MEDIUM BODIED

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

 

 

 FULL BODIED

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




A NICE WAY TO SPEND A COUPLE OF HOURS AFTER SUNDAY LUNCH!!

Simon Callow fronts Classic FM wine and music series

British actor Simon Callow is fronting a new radio series pairing music to wine.

Simon Callow

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

The English owners of Domaine Sainte Rose in Languedoc-Roussillon are to return to their British roots with the purchase of 90 acres of land near Canterbury and the Kent coast.

Sainte Rose

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.



13th October at Domaine de Cadablès, Gabian, is the launch of Les Vins de l'Espoir, a charitable Association, which aims to raise funds making and commercialising wine. Here is the detail:

Les Vins de l’Espoir
Non-profit Association
According to French Law of 1901
Invitation to Participate

Founding Meeting
October 13, 2012, 19 h
at Domaine Cadablès, 34 320 Gabian
Anne Collignon and Gregers Larnaes

Purpose
The purpose of “Les Vins de l’Espoir” is to generate funds that will allow the Association to
support humanitarian organizations that are active in the areas of children and young people.
“Les Vins de l’Espoir” will be set up and run as a non-profit Association according to the French
law of 1901.
The volunteers of “Les Vins de L’Espoir” will generate the funds by contributing time and
energy to the work related to vineyards - from pruning over harvesting to marketing and selling.
At the same time, the volunteers will gain a new, different insight and appreciation of the wine
domains and the wine makers.
Domaine de Cadablès
We are very happy to introduce Christine and Bernard Isarn, the proprietors of Domaine de
Cadablès.
Christine and Bernard support the purpose of “Les Vins de l’Espoir” and have agreed to work
with the volunteers to achieve the goals of the organization.

Domaine de Cadablès - http://domaine-de-cadables.over-blog.fr - is a niche vineyard in a
stunning location – close to Pézenas - on a south facing volcanic hillside overlooking the plains
towards the sea. The hill holds a large underground lake, which has been utilized since Roman
times and the geology has provided for a “terroir” that is ideal for producing quality wine.
Christine and Bernard produce from traditional wines planted in the 60’es, and they employ
environmentally friendly and manual techniques in their everyday work. Hence, the yield is low
but the results are remarkable: rich, fruity wines with an authentic character.
In many ways – including their enthusiasm to work with “Les Vins de l’Espoir” – Christine and
Bernard have adopted a non-mainstream strategy; that is why they have named one of their
wines “Chemin à l’envers”. Yet, do not get confused: their approach most certainly represents
modern and forward way of thinking when it comes to wine making in Languedoc. This is why
we predict that their wine has the potential to reach the level of cult within a few years.
Activities
The volunteers will assist in the work on the vineyard during the main activities:
• Pruning of the wines
• Land cultivation
• Harvest
• Winemaking
• Bottling and labeling
The volunteers will undertake the marketing and selling of part of the harvest under a special
“Les Vins de l’Espoir” label – to be designed. It is proposed that each participating volunteer will
commit to acquire 200 bottles of wine according to a price schedule that will be finally decided
by the board members.
In addition to these activities, it is anticipated that one or two “educational events” will be
arranged every year on the subject of wine. These events would include speeches by outside
experts, site visits and similar.

Preliminary Numbers
We have made a preliminary agreement with Christine and Bernard that will allow us to
purchase own-label bottles of their wine at a reduced price compared to the normal market
selling price. The present thoughts are that we would ask the volunteers to acquire the wine at
a price which would allow a contribution to “Les Vins de l’Espoir” of € 3 to 4 pr. bottle.
Assuming that we would be 10 volunteers - each with a commitment to acquire 200 bottles -
this set-up would generate some € 7.000.
Founding Meeting
We will meet at Domaine de Cadablès with Christine and Bernard Isarn. Tapas and wine will be
served from 19h.
Christine and Bernard will present the winery, its history and the wines as well as the other
activities that take place at the vineyard during the year.
A presentation will be made of the ideas behind “Les Vins de L’Espoir” as the basis for an
exchange of ideas for the activities that we should undertake going forward.
Finally, the Founding General Assembly will be held among the attendees whom elect to
become members of Les Vins de l’Espoir. The format of this part of the meeting will comply
with the rules that will subsequently allow us to submit an application and obtain the approval
of the Association by the Préfecture.
The main agenda points will be
1. Approval of bylaws – proposal will be distributed ahead of the meeting
2. Election of the board members
3. Election of outside accountant.
Each participant in the meeting will receive a box with 6 bottles of wine (white, rose and reds)
from Domaine de Cadablès.

Please confirm that you would like to participate in the Founding Meeting by sending a cheque
of €40 (covering the costs of the wine) with your name, address, email address and telephone
number to:
Mme Anne Collignon
Jardin aux Fontaines, Apartment A1
140 Rue du Pioch de Boutonnet
34090 Montpellier
The cheques will be remitted to Christine and Bernard.
Anne Collignon and Gregers Larnaes
Telephone: 0618382351
Email: gregers@larnaes.com

THE EVENT OF THE YEAR IS NEARLY UPON US !!!!! ON THE 20TH  OCTOBER FROM 14.00 TO 17.00 THE DEGUSTATION LIBRE OF RED WINES AT DOMAINE SAVARY DE BEAUREGARD BETWEEN MONTAGNAC AND MEZE

    COME ALONG AND TASTE DOZENS OF RED WINES FROM SOME OF THE BEST INDEPENDENT DOMAINES IN LANGUEDOC. THE WINES WILL BE  GROUPED BY STYLE, SO LIGHT, MEDIUM AND FULL BODIED ENABLING YOU TO TRY THOSE WHICH ARE TO YOUR PREFERENCE. THE DOMAINES WILL NOT BE PRESENT TO SELL YOU ANY WINES BUT YOU WILL RECEIVE A SPECIAL VOUCHER ENTITLING YOU TO THE FANTASTIC OFFER OF 6 BOTTLES FOR THE PRICE OF 5 BOTTLES IF YOU GO ALONG TO THE DOMAINES OF YOUR CHOICE IN THE FOLLOWING WEEK.
    THIS SORT OF EVENT IS NORMALLY THE PRESERVE OF THE PROFESSIONALS ONLY, SO THIS REALLY IS AN OPPORTUNITY NOT TO MISS. ENTRY IS ONLY 5 EUROS AND TO RESERVE YOUR PLACE SIMPLY E MAIL  info@languedoc-select.com





OH THAT SOME OF OUR GRAPE GROWERS WOULD SHOW SIMILAR RESPECT FOR THE ENVIRONMENT!!!


Decanter
News
Wine News

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.
Rathfinny

'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

Another UK-based wine investment company has disappeared leaving many of its customers empty handed.

Global Wine Investments

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!

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Chinese investors snap up Burgundy vineyard 

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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.

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Chinese investors snap up Burgundy vineyard as thirst for French wine grows
The 12th-century Chateau de Gevrey-Chambertin and its vineyard has been bought for €8 million by a Chinese casino magnate Photo: Alamy
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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
ere:

Jefford on Monday: Tree Time

Oak, particularly new French oak, is the most expensive container you can choose in which to age your new wines. We've all damned wines for being over-oaked. "This wine needs more oak," by contrast, is a comment I’ve never heard from anyone. The imbalance is striking. Is all that money being wasted?

Racking -- La Mission Haut Brion

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!!!

You are here:

Pingus to cut down on new oak, says Peter Sisseck

Peter Sisseck of Dominio de Pingus, one of Spain's most renowned bodegas, is radically reducing the amount of oak he uses for his wines.

pingus

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

What, exactly, has happened inside the heads of the UK’s wine purchasers? Something, it would seem, rather strange. Four years of financial crisis and an ever-accelerating tax take is having contrarian effects. Either that, or the collective unconscious has decided that the big binge is over, and that it really is time for British wine drinkers to drink less, but better.

Cloudy sky, clouds, dark sky, sky,
The key data is hidden away in the Wine and Spirit Trade Association’s Market Report for the second quarter of 2012. This, remember, was the same quarter during which Britain was confirmed as being in double-dip recession, as the economy shrank for the second quarter in a row. March 2012 saw the duty rate rise to £1.90 on a bottle of wine (defined as being between 5.5% and 15% abv) whereas it stood at £1.57 just three years earlier. During the same period, the standard rate of VAT rose colossally, from 15 per cent to 20 per cent. The effect of these fiscal torpedoes has been to scuttle the comfortable security of the old price points, and especially any sense that a decent bottle of wine could be had for £4.99.

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!!

 
Actualité > Economie > Oenologie > Oenologie : Le nouveau look des cuves en béton
Mercredi 27 juin 2012 - Oenologie

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.



AS EVER, THOUGHT PROVOKING STUFF FROM ANDREW JEFFORD. A COUPLE OF REALLY KEY POINTS HE MAKES. FIRST AND FOREMOST- TAKE EVERY OPPORTUNITY TO TASTE LANGUEDOC WINES. SECOND FOR THE VAST MAJORITY OF LANGUEDOC REDS AFTER 5 YEARS THEY ARE UNLIKELY TO IMPROVE FURTHER.

Jefford on Monday: The Tipping Point

After an unusually grumpy spring, the Languedoc summer is beginning to surge. The bees are harrying the lavender; the nightingales have stopped singing, their marital arrangements concluded; linden trees spill scent over village boules pitches.

Terrasses du Larzac
The engine of warmth is purring; we’re unlikely to see many clouds over the next three months. If it hadn’t been for the lavish rain the region gathered in April and May this year, the vines would be in trouble. As it is, they’re smiling.

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

Fairtrade wine has a golden marketing opportunity after being selected to spearhead the launch of bespoke Olympic wines at London 2012.

Olympic wine

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!!!

Actualité > Economie > Réglementation > Languedoc : IGP et AOC se disputent le nom Béziers
Vendredi 22 juin 2012 - Réglementation

Languedoc : IGP et AOC se disputent le nom Béziers

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.

 




MARKET FOR VINEYARDS IN FRANCE BECOMES BULLISH AGAIN!
   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'

EU-produced organic wines have won the right to use the label ‘Organic Wine’ or ‘Vin Biologique’.

new EU organic logo

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

[Banner]

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.

Full results now available
Search the winners and find comprehensive results from this year's competition...

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Google+
See www.decanter.com/news/ for more news from Decanter.




AN INTERESTING INSIGHT INTO THE WINE SCRIBBLERS WORLD!!

Jefford on Monday: Princes, Princesses and Paupers

When, back on April 9th, Mark Nelson wondered if I was "amongst the well-paid wine elite", I quietly chuckled to myself.

wine and money
The revelation, though, that 75 per cent of American wine bloggers receive no remuneration at all for their work
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.