Posts Tagged ‘the’

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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Yesterday we revealed the world’s most fattening drinks, and today we look at the other end of the scale and reveal the world’s least calorific alcoholic drinks.

A low calorie message is now being seen as a further way to attract drinkers, beyond just cheap price and promotional offers.

Many winemakers, including E&J Gallo, McWilliams and Banrock Station have all recently released low calorie, low alcohol wines.

Banrock Station’s brand manager, Neil Morolia told db, “Say 5.5% abv to a consumer and most of them will not really understand. Say 60 calories per glass to them and all of a sudden you are talking their language.”

These drinks are in stark contrast to the world’s most fattening drinks, some of which carry more calories than a Big Mac, although they do have much less fat.

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From a Long Island iced tea to a white Russian we reveal which drinks have the highest number of calories.
A recent study claimed that the beer belly is a myth adding “there is no scientific evidence to support the assertion that beer causes weight gain”.

The UK’s public health minister, Anna Soubry, recently revealed that the government is considering displaying the amount of calories contained in bottles of beer, wine and spirits. Californian wine giant Gallo has chosen to reveal the number of calories on its new lower alcohol wines and a number of other new low and lower alcohol wine launches, such as Skinnygirl wine from US reality TV star Bethenny Frankel, have flagged up their low calorie credentials in their marketing material.

While carbohydrates are present in beer, which are bad according to the Adkins diet, there is no fat or cholesterol in the product. So which drinks should you avoid if you are counting the calories?

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Champagne and the use of oak.

Champagne and the use of oak.

 

While there is no consensus on the use of oak in Champagne production, Michael Edwards considers when it can have a beneficial effect
NOT SO long ago, a sure-fire way of generating a heated argument between winemakers in Champagne (as in Chablis) was to talk about the virtues and pitfalls of making their best, purest wine in oak. There’s one fine grower in a grand cru village, a charming and highly educated man, who grows apoplectic at the thought of his precious Champagne being sullied by a single wooden stave. Certainly since the late 1960s, stainless steel has become the overwhelmingly preferred medium of fermentation in Champagne – because in tank, control of the grape’s journey into wine is complete and it’s easier to use. By the early 1990s, only a few perfectionists led by Krug, Bollinger and Selosse stayed true to their barrels and casks.
Fruits of the forest

How things change. Twenty years on, it’s reckoned that about 100 Champagne producers use oak in one form or other: to ferment the wine, partially or fully, to age the reserve wines or, easily forgotten, when making the wine for the dosage – a crucial skill.

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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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Ripe for the picking.

Ripe for the picking.

 

Australian wineries are proving popular with Chinese buyers keen to ensure their supply of wine.

 
WINE PRODUCERS in every corner of the globe have set their sights on China’s vast and increasingly wine-friendly population, but nowhere more so than in Australia.

Australian wineries see themselves as particularly well placed to service the growing Chinese interest in wine; partly because Australia is an English-speaking country that’s geographically within easy reach of the Asian continent, and partly because their softer, rounder styles of wine seem to be suited to the Chinese palate.

However, it’s been well publicised that Australian wineries have been through some challenging times in recent years. With tough market conditions, excess production and falling grape prices, numerous small businesses have been hitting the wall. In many ways, it’s an investor’s dream.

Some Australian wineries have launched an attack, opening export offices and even cellar doors in major Chinese cities. However in recent months the tide has been turning, and the Chinese have been travelling to Australia to ensure their supply of wine in the best possible way: buying wineries.

At any given time, it’s difficult to pinpoint the precise number of Australian wineries that are in negotiations to sell to a Chinese buyer.

In some cases it’s simply that some level of financial backing has been taken on board, but rumours of takeover bids and potential new ownership swirl around companies large and small in every wine region in the country. Many of the buyers approaching Australia already control routes to market in their homeland.

 

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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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As the wine director at Jaynes Gastropub, I am constantly trying to edge people away from the common toward the lesser-known grape varieties and wines. Like pinot noir? Then try nebbiolo. Like Syrah? Then consider a blend from Provence. When it comes to the diners seeking “big” wines, such as cabernet, merlot or malbec, I have one secret weapon and that is Rioja.

Rioja can be either red, white or rosé. The red is made from what I consider to be Spain’s greatest grape, tempranillo, blended with smaller amounts of garnacha, graciano and mazuelo. Tempranillo is a variety that shares some characteristics with nebbiolo and pinot noir: thin-skinned, light in hue yet very bold with the ability to yield highly complex and utterly delicious wines. Rioja is also somewhat reminiscent of French Bordeaux, with strong oak integration, albeit American white oak instead of French wood. In the end, this wine is utterly Spanish and well worth seeking out. Here are a few recommendations:

A 2008 C.V.N.E. Vina Real Crianza is an excellent entry-level Rioja and very approachable when young. The vanilla characteristics of the American oak blends beautifully with the red cherry and berry fruits. This particular wine comes from the Rioja Alavesa region. The Vina Real Reserva is a very modestly priced wine, generally around $16 retail, from a fifth-generation producer. (Available at Bine and Vine on Adams Avenue.)

My all-time favorite Rioja producer is R. Lopez De Heredia from the city of Haro in La Rioja Alta. It makes some of the most traditional wines in the region with 135-year-old cellars filled with cobwebs, spiders and dust, the antithesis of the spit-shined and pressure-washed modern winery. Lopez, as it is affectionately called by American wine geeks, holds back vintages before release longer than just about any other producer and creates some of the most interesting wines in the world, including a 13-year-old new release rosé. The winery’s current-release Crianza is the 2005 Vina Cubillo Crianza, available by the bottle at one of the best wine restaurants in San Diego — Costa Brava in Pacific Beach. Owner Javier Gonzalez and I share a mutual love for this winery.

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