Posts Tagged ‘Bordeaux’

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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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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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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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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Jeff Koons wields paint brush for château’s latest vintage.

Château Mouton Rothschild has revealed its label design for 2010, featuring an interpretation of the birth of Venus by American artist Jeff Koons.

The Pauillac first growth unveils a new label design every vintage with previous artists having included Lucian Freud (2006), Andy Warhol (1975) and Pablo Picasso (1973).

New York-based artist Koons, who is this year’s designer, made his name producing controversial sculptures that have been exhibited at the world’s top galleries, including the Guggenheim in Bilbao and London’s Tate Modern. His works include topiary puppies, giant inflatables and a steel bouquet of multi-colored tulips, which sold for $33.6m at auction in November.

For the Mouton design Koons takes his inspiration from a… read on

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THE FREEMASONS are said to be one of the most secretive societies in the world. They have many mysterious rituals, special symbols and words and at least 12 different handshakes (some of which can be seen on YouTube). Some wine societies are almost as secretive, although their members are less likely to employ a special handshake than they are to break into song.

Two of the most exclusive wine societies, La Confrérie des Chevaliers du Tastevin and the Commanderie de Bordeaux, have special songs that accompany an evening of drinking and are delivered in French (naturellement). The Tastevin tune is a traditional Burgundy chanson, while the Commanderie song, “Toujours Bordeaux,” is a more recent work. Created in 1998 by Eric Vogt, the music-loving maître (or head) of the Boston Commanderie chapter, the song won a prize at a competition in Bordeaux. (The prize was Mr. Vogt’s “weight in Bordeaux,” or 10 cases of wine, although Mr. Vogt maintained that the prize committee erred “on the generous side.”)

The Commanderie ditty is a fairly rousing number and, save for a few references to the region’s major varietals and great châteaux, it might well have been my college drinking song. On the other hand, the group I saw singing “Toujours” at the French ambassador’s residence in Washington a few weeks ago didn’t look like anyone I knew in college. The members, mostly in their 60s, were an accomplished group of women and men with careers in government, law, banking and finance—and possessed an impressive knowledge of French.
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Champagne house wants to focus on three Bordeaux properties, buyer King Power wants to expand

The King of Asian Duty Free, King Power.

The King of Asian Duty Free, King Power.

King Power, a Pan-Asian duty-free powerhouse with interests in the Chinese alcoholic drinks market, has acquired Bordeaux’s Château Bernadotte from Champagne Louis Roederer for an undisclosed sum. La Bernadotte has 100 acres of vineyards in Haut-Medoc, producing about 17,000 cases a year. It joined the Roederer stable when the Champagne house purchased second-growth Château Pichon Longueville Lalande in 2006.

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The Bordeaux government is launching a new initiative to match young winemakers looking to buy their first estate with properties owned by older winemakers approaching retirement.

Delaplane Cellars-8

 

The plans come from the French national land agency, SAFER, together with the Ministry of Agriculture in the Gironde: the idea is to help the estimated 1,000 vineyard owners who are over 55 and do not have a succession plan in place.

Many are forced into working longer, or are obliged to sell their estates to neighbours who then integrate the vines into their own chateaux, thus losing historic names.

Bernard Artigue, president of Ministry of Agriculture, and Francis Massé, president of SAFER Aquitaine, signed an agreement at wine trade fair Vinitech… read on

 

Hélicium glassware.

Hélicium glassware.

A revolutionary wine glass emerges from a year of financial struggle.

The creator of a range of award-winning, innovative wine glasses said to have an extraordinary effect on a wine’s bouquet, has finally found a financial backer – a year after the products were launched

Arnaud Baratte, for 15 years a specialist in tableware based in Palleville in the Tarn, launched a series of four glasses under the brand name Hélicium, selling 50,000 of them in specialized shops and restaurants in 12 months. But he has had financial problems.

“I almost gave up this summer, because of my debts,” says the graduate of Bordeaux’s School of Oenology, who admits to being fascinated by glassware design.

After six years of working for the multinational glass company Arc International (formerly Cristallerie d’Arques), Baratte came up with his own invention for heightening the taste of wine.

Inspired by the mechanics of wind turbines, he developed a glass with three vertical ribs, 1 to 2 millimeters deep, set around the interior of the glass. When the glass is turned, the ribs accelerate the release of the wine’s bouquet, enhancing the taste threefold, says Baratte.

The range comprises two wine glasses, a Champagne flute, and a tumbler for spirits or fruit juices, ranging in price from 18.5 to 22.5 euros ($24–$26).

The innovation, patented in 60 countries in 2009–2010, received the… read on