Archive for the ‘France’ Category

French wine in a can?

French wine in a can?

 

Making its debut at the prestigious Vinexpo beginning Sunday in Bordeaux: French wine in a can!

Will Winestar’s single-serving cans create a riot in the hallowed halls of the international wine and spirits fair?  Maybe not.

The Paris-based company isn’t dealing in the generic swill those adorable single-serving bottles typically hold. Their wines are all A.O.C. (Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée). Each 187-milliliter can (one-fourth the size of a typical 750-milliliter bottle) lists the wine estate, the appellation and the grape varietals as well as the vintage. Working with the European office of Ball Packaging, Winestar founder Cédric Segal developed a can with a coating inside “to make total isolation between the wine and the can.”

The first series hails from Château de L’Ille from the Corbières appellation in the Languedoc region of southern France. The white is a blend of the local Rolle (Vermentino) grape, vintage 2011. The rosé is Syrah and Grenache, vintage 2012. And the red is a blend of Syrah, Mourvèdre and Grenache from the 2011 vintage. The cans sell for about $3.30 to $4.

Segal says he got the idea when he was traveling in Asia and saw that Australia was selling quality wine there in cans. Why couldn’t that work just as well with French wines?

He realizes that the French have a very strong tradition with the bottle and doesn’t expect the can to be adopted immediately in France. “Most export markets, though, have already accepted the screw cap and synthetic cork, so it’s not such a big leap,” Segal said.

 

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Two bottles of Champagne seized by the Nazis during World War II then ‘liberated’ by an RAF serviceman are to go under the hammer this month.

According to Hansons Auctioneers, both bottles – Château de Mareuilsay Montebello 1937 and Monopole Red Top by Heidsieck from an unknown date – are unopened and in good condition.

Each bear a red stamp in German and French that reads: “Sales in the free market are prohibited”, and “Reserved for German army not for resale or purchase.”

They were discovered by a British member of the RAF who was serving in France following D-Day in 1944.
Detail from the Heidsieck Monopole label
He left the bottles to his daughter, who sold them to the unnamed vendor a decade ago.

While Hitler was teetotal, chief of the Luftwaffe, Hermann Goering, filled vast cellars with stolen bottles of Champagne following the invasion of France.
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The drinks business has compiled a list of the current top 10 Champagne brands by global volume sales.

While there are few dramatic changes to this year’s rankings – the slide by Piper Heidsieck was widely forecasted as a result of the brand’s recent repositioning – what does stand out is the decline in sales seen by so many of these major players in the Champagne category.

For many consumers, especially in more traditional markets, Champagne stands firm as the ultimate celebratory drink. However, this slide in sales appears to be the result of two aligning forces: ongoing economic difficulties in some of the category’s biggest markets and the growing competition Champagne faces from an increasingly ambitious sparkling wine market.

Read on to find out which brands are dominating today’s Champagne market.

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The origin of French wine.

The origin of French wine.

A new study finds evidence that ancient Gauls began wine production in 425 B.C. in the Languedoc

Dom Pérignon, Pétrus, Domaine de la Romanée-Conti—the roots of these iconic wines and all of French wine culture may lie in a simple stone press, according to new scientific research. Uncovered in the Mediterranean town of Lattes, just south of Montpelier, the roughly 2,400-year-old artifact was originally identified by archaeologists as an olive-oil press. But a new round of chemical and archaeological analysis now identifies the press as the earliest evidence of wine production in France.

The analysis, headed by Patrick McGovern, the scientific director of the Biomolecular Archaeology Laboratory at the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, and reported in the current issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, uses an array of evidence to not only hypothesize when the French started making wine, but who originally taught them how to do it.

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Bruno Boidron – Editions Féret

Bruno Boidron – Editions Féret

 

Editions Féret, founded 200 years ago, foreshadowed the 1855 classification and set the standard for wine guides

On a sunny morning in September 1897, Edouard Féret sat on a horse, watching the harvest in Bordeaux’s Médoc region. Women and children cut the grape clusters, carefully discarding rotten fruit before depositing the ripe grapes in a basket, a work for which, Féret noted, they were paid half the daily wage of 1.50 francs that the men earned. As he visited each property, he took out a well-worn book, thickened by the addition of alternating blank pages, and carefully documented changes that had occurred since 1893, when the book had been published. It was the sixth edition of Bordeaux et Ses Environs et Ses Vins, Classé par Ordre de Merite, or Bordeaux and Its Region and Its Wines, Ranked in Order of Merit, and Féret was taking notes for the upcoming seventh edition.

Time has shortened the title to Bordeaux et Ses Vins, but Bordeaux wine aficionados know it simply as Le Féret. It may be the most influential book on wine ever published—it certainly has been the most influential in Bordeaux, where the original 1850 edition provided the blueprint for the 1855 classification of Médoc and Sauternes châteaus still in use today. The 18 editions of the book have also provided unparalleled historic snapshots of Bordeaux and its wine industry.

What started as a slim 84-page travel guide for 19th century gentlemen burgeoned into a 2,296-page bible for Bordeaux merchants, brokers, history buffs and wine geeks. It is the oldest book in France updated continuously by the same editor and publisher. Editions Féret celebrates its 200th anniversary in 2013, and the publishing house is celebrating by preparing the Bordeaux guide’s 19th edition, which will be released in French, English and Mandarin and in e-book format.

“It’s really the reference for courtiers when they start in the business, and I’ve bought every edition,” said Xavier Coumau, president of the courtiers’ syndicate. “Of course today we have the Internet, but Le Féret remains very useful. It has information about the château, the owners, technical information about the vineyard and wine, how they sell their wine. And it’s really interesting to see how the vineyard surface area changes over time.”

Edouard Féret published 200 books in his 40-year career, but Bordeaux and Its Wines would define his work. He had a passion for wine, a zest for detail, and a skill for dogged, accurate reporting. The 1898 edition captured Bordeaux at the cusp of modernity, and each successive edition is considered required reading
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London’s wine merchants were delighted on Thursday morning to get a preview of Dom Perignon 2004 – as one said, ‘Finally, something we can sell’ after the lacklustre Bordeaux en primeur campaign.

 
Indeed, Gareth Birchley of Bordeaux Index told Decanter.com they sold 3000 six-bottle cases within the first few hours of the morning – a repeat of their instant sell-out of the Dom Perignon Rosé 2002, which was released in January.
‘We’ve sold three times our original allocation. That’s £1m worth since nine o’clock this morning.’

Buyers were ‘predominantly from the UK,’ Birchley said. ‘It’s by far our biggest market for prestige Champagne.’ He added that they were expecting such a demand.

Vincent Chaperon, Dom Perignon’s chief oenologist and second in command to chef de cave Richard Geoffroy, was in London this morning for a ‘soft launch’ of the 2004 vintage to wine merchants.
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Moet & Chandon, a French champagne house and co-owner of the luxury goods company Moët-Hennessy Louis Vuitton (LVMH), has rolled out the 2004 vintage of Dom Perignon.
The first vintage of Dom Perignon was produced in 1921 and since then the company has released 40 Dom Perignon till 2004.

The 2004 wine possesses aromas of almond and cocoa on the nose and white fruit with hints of dried flowers, toasted notes and round finish, reported Harpers.

 

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A new art gallery will open at Chateau Mouton Rothschild this summer to permanently house the travelling exhibition Mouton Rothschild: Paintings for the Labels.

 
The new display space, separate to Mouton’s Museum of Art in Wine, forms part of major renovations at the Pauillac First Growth, due for completion in June 2013.

This will be the first time that all original artworks commissioned for the labels, first by Baron Philippe and now Baroness Philippine de Rothschild, will be on display at the estate.

The first label Baron Philippe commissioned was in 1924, from poster designer Jean Carlu, to celebrate the chateau’s move to estate-bottling.

He then returned to more traditional labels until 1945, when he celebrated the end of the war and his return to his property with the famous V for Victory label by Philippe Jullian.

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White from white.

 

Much as we admire the op art of Bridget Riley, the films of Francois Truffaut and the frocks of Mary Quant, sometimes we grow tired of black and white. Two decidedly colorful champagne styles have overstated their case for decades. Champagne labelled blanc de blancs literally means ‘’white from whites” which is to indicate the wine is a white colour made from white grapes. Actually the wines should be dubbed jaune de verts because they are pale yellow and made from green hued grapes. By law in Champagne, blanc de blancs can only be produced from chardonnay and most other sparkling wine producers around the world follow this tradition as well.

Blanc de blancs is the new kid in Champagne, having been around only about 85 years of Champagne’s three century history. The first blanc de blancs was produced in 1920 by Eugèn-Aimé Salon, the founder of the highly collectible house of Salon. Two decades later, Taittinger launched its beloved blanc de blancs, Comtes de Champagne, and the rest is history. Blanc de blancs is now produced by most of the famed Champagne houses including Billecart-Salmon, Deutz, Charles Heidsieck, Jacquesson, G.H. Mumm, Bruno Paillard, Philipponat, Pol Roger, Louis Roederer and Ruinart amongst others on the Hong Kong market. Salon and Krug (Krug Clos du Mesnil) produce full-bodied blanc de blancs, but otherwise expect blanc de blancs to be light, dry and elegant. Its ethereal character and graceful finesse makes blanc de blancs a superb aperitif and ideal partner with seafood and fish. But don’t drink these wines when young as they’ll take the enamel off your teeth. Blanc de blancs requires at least 2 fashion cycles to mature, developing admirable character and complexity about 8-10 years from their vintage date.

 

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Wealthy Chinese now buying so much more than just ...

Wealthy Chinese now buying so much more than just …

 

Christie’s is capitalising on the thirst for wealthy Chinese consumers to buy wineries by opening the world’s first estate agency for would-be vineyard buyers.

Vineyards by Christie’s International Real Estate, billed as the “first global advisory for buyers of vineyard estates”, is to open in Hong Kong.

Run by both wine experts and luxury property specialists, the agency will offer a consultancy service for clients looking to acquire vineyards around the world.

According to David Elswood, Christie’s international director of wine in Europe and Asia, the idea for the agency came after continued demand from clients at the auction house’s wine auctions in Hong Kong for advice on buying vineyard properties overseas.

“We are uniquely positioned to offer this highly specialised vineyard advisory acquisition service and we look forward to this exciting venture,” he said.

In addition to advice on which wineries are on sale around the world, Christie’s will also provide clients with custom travel arrangements and translation services.

“Wineries in sought after locations are often small and discrete, and without guidance, buyers never even know they are on the market.
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