Posts Tagged ‘Italian’

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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French wine industry rooted in Italy!

French wine industry has Italian roots!

The earliest evidence of wine in France suggests that it came from Italy, and that it was mixed with basil, thyme and other herbs, according to new research.

This early wine may have been used as medicine, and likely was imbibed by the wealthy and powerful before eventually becoming a popular beverage enjoyed by the masses, researchers said.

The artefacts found at the French port site of Lattara, near the southern city of Montpellier, suggest that winemaking took root in France as early as 500 BC, as a result of libations and traditions introduced by the ancient Etruscans in what is now Italy.

The analysis in the US journal the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences is based on ancient wine containers and a limestone press brought by seafaring Etruscan travellers.

“France’s rise to world prominence in the wine culture has been well documented,” said lead author Patrick McGovern, director of the bimolecular archaeology laboratory at the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology.

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Meet Natalie Oliveros as a vintner.

Meet Natalie Oliveros as a vintner.

Plus, chef Emeril Lagasse honored for taking charity up a notch, Paris’ Elysée undertakes wine austerity, Napa’s philanthropic 1 percenters, and more

“When they showed up, I just thought they were hard-up for celebrities,” joked Robert Kamen at the April book launch of Celebrity Vineyards at the Bowery Hotel in New York. Kamen protested to Unfiltered that, as a screenwriter—albeit the screenwriter of the Karate Kid series, Taps and A Walk in the Clouds—he just sits in a darkened room writing stuff all day (celebrities: They’re just like Unfiltered!), and pardoned himself to sign a copy of the book “for a minute while I be a celebrity.” But Kamen was a vintner before his fame, purchasing 280 acres on the slopes of the Mayacamas Mountains in Sonoma with the money from his first screenplay, in the late 1970s. “What can I do with all the money I make as a screenwriter? I bury it in the ground.”

While Kamen’s story goes back further than that of most of the celebrities in the book, all were selected, according to author Nick Wise, because they were “serious about some parts, whether picking the vineyards or the final blends.” Other famous vintners profiled in Celebrity Vineyards: Francis Ford Coppola, chef Charlie Palmer, Dan Aykroyd, Antonio Banderas, Fess Parker, race car drivers Mario Andretti and Randy Lewis, coach Dick Vermeil and Natalie Oliveros, perhaps better known to Unfiltered readers as adult-film phenom Savanna Samson. “They have to bring out the whole ‘Savanna Samson’ thing, but I do make the wine,” Oliveros said. “I was there every month in 2012.” Oliveros is co-owner of Brunello estate La Fiorita with Roberto Cipressi; the 2006 riserva earned a classic 95 points on the Wine Spectator 100-point scale. Wise, who has worked as a wine merchant and entertainment writer, mused that winemaking is an attractive second profession to “a lot of technical people, a lot of golfers and race car drivers. That translates into the technicality that goes into wine—what pH, what tannin level.” As for Kamen, his approach began with slightly less precision: As he tells it, his “dope dealer” in the ’70s dreamed of planting an organic vineyard on North Coast slopes, but no one would bite at the time. Kamen took a chance and was among the first to go organic in the state. His original viticulturist is still on staff.

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Red wine is good for you!

A natural ingredient found in red wine, resveratrol, can help fight off diseases associated with age, a new study shows.
Resveratrol, found in the skin of grapes, has long been touted for its anti-ageing properties.
Researchers are studying this natural compound to help them design better anti-aging drugs.
They think it works by increasing the activity of sirtuins, a family of proteins found throughout the body, which are believed to combat diseases related to getting older, like type 2 diabetes, cancer or Alzheimer’s. Specifically, resveratrol increases the activity of SIRT1, which acts to make our mitochondria — the cell part that turns food into energy in our cells — more efficient, the study says.
The direct link between resveratrol and the SIRT1 protein has been made before, both by the lead author of this latest paper, Harvard genetics professor David Sinclair, and others.
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Ouch!

 

Unlike most other wine categories, Champagne sales were not sufficiently buoyed by surging demand from Asia and North America to compensate for declining shipments to Europe in 2012. A large share of consignments are Europe-bound and because of this, the economic crisis hit the region with a full frontal attack.

 

According to Champagne marketing board CIVC, sales of Champagne for the first eleven months of 2012 were down 3.8 percent on the previous year. The fall is primarily due to a drop in sales in France – the region’s largest market – where they declined by 5.2 percent to 144.35 million bottles, though also to falling volumes in Europe. Moving annual totals within Europe dropped by 8.3 percent due to markets such as the United Kingdom and Germany. However, Thibaut Le Mailloux, spokesman for the marketing board, said the figures should be put into perspective: “the downturn comes on the back of two years of strong growth that followed the 2008-2009 financial crisis”.

Fortunately, although many of the region’s sales outlets are in Europe, non-EU countries came to the rescue with a rise of 3.5 percent in sales. The Chinese market may well be geared to red wines, the first half of 2012 saw it reach a turning point with China entering the top 10 export destinations for Champagne for the first time ever. Sales surged by almost 100 percent to 947,713 bottles over the half-year. Fellow Asian market Japan also rose significantly (+26 percent) to over 4.5 million bottles.

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Dante Alighieri.

Dante Alighieri.

 

A winemaking descendant of the poet Dante Alighieri is urging the local government of Veneto to tighten planning laws to protect Valpolicella from urban sprawl.

Count Pieralvise Serego Alighieri, the owner of Serego Alighieri, has said that the combination of lax planning regulations and growing population is putting the countryside at risk.

Along with other producers and environmentalists, he has presented the government with an appeal that demands an immediate freeze on the building of all homes, factories and industrial estates in the area around Valpolicella.

 

 

The appeal adds that as the population of the valley outside Verona has doubled in the past 25 years to over 70,000, the beauty of the countryside is at risk.
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Deep discounting over the Christmas period in the UK and France has led to Champagne volume growth in the major multiples but also one bankrupt supplier.

Retailers in Champagne’s two largest markets employed aggressive price cutting tactics to entice shoppers during December, while suppliers of inexpensive supermarket labels struggled to make money as they attempted to absorb the increasing cost of grapes.

The latest figures to be released in the UK show that supermarket chain Asda achieved a 25% increase in Champagne sales over December from an aggressive deal on its exclusive label Pierre Darcys.

Having slashed its price from £23.98 to just below £10 a bottle, the supermarket reported sales of almost 250,000 bottles in a single week in the run up to New Year’s Eve.
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Super Sexy, Drew Barrymore, releases wine label.

Super Sexy, Drew Barrymore, releases wine label.

 

Meet Drew Barrymore, the expanding solo retail brand.


The 37-year-old actress, who has spent her lifetime performing, announced this week that she has undertaken lines of wine and cosmetics.

“I just want to do the things that you actually do in life, which is drink wine and play with makeup,” she told OK! magazine in an interview posted Thursday. “It took years… to make both of these brands.”
Barrymore Wine, which launched itself with a Pinot Grigio, was created to honor her family, she said on the label’s website. In promotional copy highlighted by Buzzfeed, she pokes fun at “Real Housewives of New York” star Ramona Singer, who has also launched a Pinot Grigio: “Move over Ramona Singer, you’re so yesterday’s news… let the “Real” Stars, not reality stars, show you how to drink Pinot Grigio!”

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Women who drink red wine enjoy better sex lives, an Italian university study has suggested

Women who drink red wine enjoy better sex lives, an Italian university study has suggested

Women who drink red wine enjoy better sex lives, a study from the University of Florence in Italy has suggested.

A study among Tuscan women discovered that one or two glasses a day could lead to a more fulfilling life in the bedroom.

Experts from the university questioned 800 women between 18 and 50 Santa Maria Annunziata Hospital about their sexual satisfaction.

Using the Female Sexual Function Index – which is used by doctors to assess women and sexual health – it emerged that drinkers scored higher than teetotallers.
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A good reason to celebrate!

Italy, number one!

Prosecco emerged as the wine favourite among shoppers in the UK at Christmas, with soaring sales of the Italian sparkler reported by Majestic, Waitrose and Tesco.

Tesco said sales of Prosecco in 2012 were likely to be double those in 2011, while Waitrose wine buying manager Ken Mackay reported it as ‘the biggest seller by far’ in a 23% sales surge for sparkling wine over the Christmas period.

Majestic chief executive Steve Lewis told Decanter.com that sales of Prosecco had soared by 55% by value in the last seven weeks of 2012, while Champagne sales were flat and overall sparkling wine sales rose 22%.

Majestic reported overall sales up 5.1% over the same period, with like-for-like sales rising 1.1% – broadly in line with the company’s performance over the rest of the year to date.
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