Archive for the ‘Bordeaux’ Category

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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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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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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Château Smith Haut Lafitte in Bordeaux is to turn its carbon emissions into toothpaste.

Speaking to the drinks business at an en primuer tasting of the estate’s wines last week, co-owner Daniel Cathiard revealed details of the unusual plan.

“Our aim is to be as green as possible, so we’re going to capture the carbon emitted during the fermentation process and turn it into bicarbonate of soda to be used in toothpaste,” he said.

“We don’t want to waste anything here, so why not make the most of our carbon? We produce a lot of C02 at the winery and we want to be like a forest and capture it,” he added.

Cathiard told db that he would turn the carbon from a gas into sodium bicarbonate and sell it on to pharmaceutical companies for use in toothpaste.

He plans to make his first batch of bicarbonate of soda this year.

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What do you think, shall we buy?

What do you think, shall we buy?

 

As prices stabilise and Robert Parker prepares to re-evaluate 2010, Jon Barr, director of EF Wines, has declared “Bordeaux appears to be back”.
Speaking to the drinks business, Barr said that Lafite sales were strong again in Hong Kong, although he added that, “this may just be for the Chinese new year.”

Nonetheless, he continued: “It’s stabilised and people are getting interested again. Prices haven’t gone down, Liv-ex is showing some rises, I think it will be a good year”.

His comments come after a year when Bordeaux was subject to severe price drops as the market took a dip and as buyers branched out into other areas, notably Burgundy, Champagne and the Super Tuscans.
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Stellenbosch, South Africa.

Stellenbosch, South Africa.

 

 

Tradition snubbed. New picks from U.S.-based wine mag dominated by offbeat wine regions around the world

Bordeaux’s not on the list, and that’s one reason it’s interesting.

New York-based Wine Enthusiast Magazine has released its picks for best wine travel destinations for 2013.

The selections are notable for including offbeat wine regions around the world, from a castle in Puglia, Italy, to a university town in South Africa.

Other picks include: Danube, Austria; Vale dos Vinhedos, Brazil; Monterey County, California; North and South Forks of Long Island New York; and Willamette Valley, Oregon.

For each destination, the magazine recommends… read on

Wines being aged in a cellar.

Wines being aged in a cellar.

 

Wines have changed and so have our palates

My greatest wine dream—and I’ll bet it’s yours, too—was a wine cellar. Not just the actual cool-temperature space, but one that was filled. I dreamed of a cellar so full that I could easily forget about whole cases of wine for years at a time, the better to let them age to a fantasized perfection.

That dream came true. It took me years—decades, really—to achieve. And it cost me a disproportionate amount of my limited and precious discretionary income, especially when I was only just starting out as a writer. I was motivated, obsessed even, by a vision of what might be called futuristic beauty. How soaringly beautiful it would be in 15 or 20 years!

I wasn’t wrong—then. But I wouldn’t be right for today. What’s changed? Surely me, of course. I’ve had decades of wine drinking to discover that my fantasized wine beauty only rarely became a reality. But I had to find that out for myself. And I’m glad I did.

But it isn’t all personal, either. In recent years it’s become obvious that an ever greater number of wines that once absolutely required extended aging no longer do.

Simply put, most of today’s fine wines—not all, mind you—will reach a point of diminishing returns on aging after as few as five years of additional cellaring after release. Stretch that to a full 10 years of additional aging and I daresay you will have embraced fully 99 percent of all the world’s wines, never mind how renowned or expensive.

I can hear you already. What about this famous red Bordeaux? Or that fabled red Burgundy? What about grand cru Chablis? Or a great Brunello di Montalcino? Or Barolo?
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Blue-Focus-Marketing-2013-Social-Media-Predictions-Cheryl-Burgess_rd

 

 

Happy New Year! Now the festivities are over and the crystal glasses are back in the cupboard, it’s time to take out the crystal ball. Here are 10 of the most significant wine trends to watch for in 2013:

 

1. Bull market for consumption:

It may not be a bull market for much in the United States these days, but it’s a bull market for wine consumption. The year just finished may well mark the 19th consecutive 12-month period of growth in per capita consumption, resulting in the U.S. becoming the largest wine market in the world (though it remains a mere middleweight in per capita terms). Wine is hot; wine is the new black.

While Baby Boomers may reach for familiar selections, the youngest wine consumers – the Millennials – show a strong interest in wines and a curiosity to try them from many different regions or grapes.

2. The winter of wine critics:

These same Millennials are different from their elders in how they get wine recommendations – they rely on friends (both online and offline) and store clerks more than they value the opinions of the critics who have guided consumers over the past three decades. America today boasts one of the most knowledgeable wine-buying populations in the world, leading to the profusion of blogs and tweets and status updates about wine. While point-spewing critics may have helped create this knowledge base, increasingly savvy consumers are looking elsewhere for recommendations.

3. The threat of craft beer:

The rise of craft beer in America is a tremendously exciting story. While the makers of macro brews keep buying one another and consolidating in a time of flat suds, the micro brewers are experiencing 16-percent growth. Younger buyers are attracted to the beers that actually have flavor profiles, rather than ones that simply slake a summer thirst or wash down wings.

With cicerones (beer sommeliers) popping up at restaurants, and with beer’s perceived relative value-for-money status, it’s no surprise that the San Francisco-based news website SF Weekly recently wrote: “Craft beer is overtaking wine as San Francisco’s beverage of choice.” Craft beer and a less-than-robust economy pose the biggest threat to the bull market in American wine consumption.

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Bordeaux 1998

Château d’Yquem

 

Rain ruined harvest for top property; neighbors argue that buyers should not dismiss vintage
Pierre Lurton, managing director of Château d’Yquem, said that the legendary 250-acre Bordeaux estate will not produce a 2012 Sauternes due to insufficient quality. “We tried everything possible, but nature didn’t give us a choice,” Lurton told Wine Spectator.

Horribly wet weather during harvest this year left Yquem with grapes for just 800 cases of sweet wine rather than the usual 8,000 to 10,000 (worth roughly $33 million in sales), so the financial dice had already been thrown, said Lurton. And what remained lacked the Premier Grand Cru Supérieur estate’s hallmark concentration and complexity, he added.

“Why release it? To show we’re present in a vintage? Economically and for the image of Yquem, it would not have been the best demonstration,” said Lurton. Normally the wine might have gone into a second wine, but Yquem doesn’t make one. Instead it will likely be declassified and sold off in bulk. The estate did produce 10,000 bottles of its dry white wine, “Y,” picked prior to the rains, but the sweet wine simply failed to pass muster. “We were not convinced of the quality. It’s rare but it happens.”

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5021wine4

 

Asian drinkers keep Bordeaux out of the red.

 

Bordeaux wine sales continue to rise, stimulated by a thirsty export market that is in contrast to falling French consumption of the region’s wines.

Bordeaux recorded a 2 percent increase in volume sales and a 10 percent growth in value in the year ending July 2012, according to figures released by the regional trade association, the CIVB, on Monday.

The region has defied the economic downturn, shipping 5.5m hectoliters of wine worth 4.3 billion euros ($5.6bn) in the last year.

While “the current and future economic situation remains difficult, the figures for 2012 can be considered satisfactory,” said Georges Haushalter, president of the CIVB.

The upward curve is largely thanks to massive sales growth in the Far East. “One bottle in four is exported to China and Hong Kong,” said Haushalter. “It is an extraordinary development. We have multiplied export volumes [to this market] 100 times in the space of 10 years,”

The Asian market has also evolved during this period, explained… read on

 

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