Posts Tagged ‘de’

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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on the rise ...

On the rise …

 

It used to be the drink reserved for a hot summer’s day but now consumers are increasingly turning to Rose wine throughout the year with sales up 10 per cent in the last 13 years.

Rose now accounts for a record one in eight bottles of wine bought in supermarkets and off-licences, up from one in 40 in the year 2000.

Sales of rose wine in shops are currently worth £646 million in Britain, nearly £1.8 million a day, according to figures from market analysts Nielsen.

While growth in rose wine buying has slowed in recent years – attributed to poor summer weather – experts believe it is becoming a drink that is enjoyed all year round.

It is especially popular among women drinkers on a night out or sharing a bottle at home with friends.

Some winemakers have specifically targeted women drinkers by making less strong varieties with a typical alcohol by volume level of nine or 10 per cent, compared with other wines which can be up to 14 per cent in some cases.
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The wine trade’s recent rhapsody in pink has resulted in a rosé marketing binge which can confuse as well as entice.

Not so long ago, rosé was just a swimming pool wine: slippy and thirst-quenching, a frivolous herald of summer weather. Then it became popular. We all started to drink pink, even the French, who don’t just knock back getting on for twice as much rosé as they do white wine, but also more rosé than they make: over a third of the pink wine produced on the planet is consumed in France.

 
Now rosé is also chic. And as always along with chic comes prestige, high prices – and Brangelina, whose 6,000-bottle release of the first vintage of rosé from their Château Miraval bolt-hole in Provence (€105/£88 for a six-bottle case) sold out within five hours when it went online earlier this month.

 
Oh la la. Does rosé just have delusions of grandeur or is it actually grand? You can now buy the still stuff in (increasingly expensive thanks to the cost of the glass) yacht-christening sizes: magnums, jeroboams, clanking great nine-bottle-big methuselahs. Pink champagne, which once had all the class of a hen-night stretch limousine, is now super-smart – and super-expensive.

 
And then there’s the performance of flogging rosé “en primeur” à la Brangelina, often before the wine has even been bottled, for all the world as if this pale-pink mayfly of a wine were a fancy first growth or limited-production burgundy – which seems presumptuous beyond belief.

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More than 700 French wine producers are now supporting the Vin de France promotional classification scheme, which came to operation in 2010.

Vin de France, which is run by trade body Anivin de France, allows producers to promote their wines using the grape variety or varieties on the label and not just the region or appellation.

It was introduced following the relaxing of the labelling regulations by the European Union in 2009 and means wines can be marketed in a similar way to New World wines.

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Vin de Constance.

Vin de Constance.

 

A mention of Klein Constantia’s Vin de Constance in E L James’ novel 50 Shades Darker has sparked unprecedented interest in the South African sweet wine.

The 2004 vintage makes an appearance in the second book of the 50 Shades erotictrilogy at a masked ball attended by the novel’s protagonists, Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele.

Vin de Constance 2004 is enjoyed with the third course at the charity event, paired with sugared-crusted walnut chiffon candied figs, sabayon sauce and maple ice cream.
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Champagne supplier, Pressoirs de France.

Champagne supplier, Pressoirs de France.

 

After weeks of speculation that it was in financial difficulties, the Pressoirs de France group – supplier of cheap Champagne to major UK supermarkets – has gone into receivership having failed to find a new financial backer.

 

In a statement to the French press on Wednesday, owner Nicolas Dubois said the company was ‘without sufficient capital to fund its cash needs’.

Dubois, who started his brokering business in 1999, quickly become a large operator predominantly selling cheap Champagne to hypermarkets and supermarkets inside and outside France.
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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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