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Link: Resveratrol... its good for you

>> Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Resveratrol is a substance that can be found in wine and that is believed to be good for your health. Now there is a site dedicated to resveratrol:


Vranken buys Listel

030902-5-k842-0027According to our information (and as a confirmation of previous rumours) Vranken has bought Listel (owned mainly by Val d’Orbieu and the bank Credit Agricole). However, it is not the champagne house Vranken that buys (which, by the way is now called Vranken-Pommery) but the founder of the company, Paul Vranken, who buys Listel personally.


Wine auctions and wine information from Sotheby’s

Take a look in the calendar at the bottom of the Brief. There you have the upcoming wine auctions at Sotheby’s in London and New York. The auction house also offers you other information on the site, such as a report on 2004 Bordeaux, articles about Yquem, Petrus and Ornellaia.


Famous Burgundy house Remoissenet sold to American

The famous Burgundy house Remoissenet was recently sold to an American investor called Edward Millstein for around 10 million euro. Millstein bought Remoissenet in collaboration with Louis Jadot who had a 20% stake.


Swedish wine Blaxta wins pize at Challange International du Vin

Blaxta Vineyard just south of Stockholm was given a silver medal for its Vidal Ice Wine 2003 at Challange International du Vin at Vinexpo ( recently. They are currently looking for an importer in France to try and sell this unusual wine here. Contact Göran Amnegård at Blaxta if you are interested!


Selling wine on the internet is not easy

Every once in a while you see an new internet shop that tries and sell wine. That it is not very easy to do that profitably is well illustrated by the story of American wine site that we noted in the Brief a while back has just started a collaboration with Read more about it on


Discount on the new wine magazine Fine Expressions

In the last Brief we mentioned that Fine Expressions, a magazine on wine and rinks, has been launched in the UK. You can get a discounted subscription on Tom Cannavan's Wine Pages. (Tom also happens to be wine editor of the magazine.)


French Minister of Agriculture calls for changes

At the opening of Vinexpo the French minister of agriculture said ‘The French offer does not always win over new consumers, who sometimes prefer products that are easier to buy and consume, not to mention easier to appreciate.’ He also promised 7 million euro to support exports. Read more on e.g. Wine International


Louis Roederer gives prizes to wine writers

030903-4-k834-0026 Louis Roederer International Wine Writers’ Awards 2005 have been given in four different categories:

* Wine Writer of the Year 2005: John Stimpfig, articles in the FT ‘How to Spend It’
* International Wine Book of the Year 2005: John W. Haeger, North American Pinot Noir, published by University of California Press
* International Champagne Writer of the Year 2005: Richard Juhlin, 4000 Champagnes, published by Flammarion
* Regional Wine Writer of the Year 2005: Liz Sagues, for her articles from Ham & High


Also Australia has its wine crisis

In a survey by Deloitte almost half of the wineries were found to have made losses in 2004. As in France, the government has stepped in with financial support. Read more in


New AOC: Beaume de Venise

INAO has approved Beaume de Venise as a new AOC. The wine was previously part of Côtes du Rhône Villages. Permitted grape varieties are Grenache (minimum 50%) and Syrah (min 25%), with the rest being made up of other varieties permitted in Côtes du Rhône. Maximum yield is 38 hl/ha (”rendement de base”) and harvest must be manual. Beaume de Venise thus joins the group of “cru appellations” in Rhône (Chateauneuf du Pape, Gigondas, Lirac, Tavel, Vacqueyras, Château Grillet, Condrieu, Cornas, Côte-Rôtie, Crozes Hermitage, Hermitage, Saint-Joseph, Saint-Peray).


Tattinger up for sale?

031222-1-c454-0003Rumours (and press reports) are saying that the Taittinger champagne house is being put up for sale. It is owned by the Taittinger family that also owns numerous other luxury firms, e.g. Baccarat Crystal and several luxury hotels. The value of the champagne house is estimated to 500 million euro. Read more on e.g. Decanter or


Champagne Lanson for sale

030903-3-k841-0030 44% of Lanson is owned by the bank Caisse d’Epargne. They have said that they are interested in selling their stake in the champagne house. Caisse d’Epargne bought it only last July from the Mora family (who still owns the remaining 56%) for 38 million euro. Read more on e.g. Decanter


Michelin launches new wine guide

Michelin, famous for its red guides on gastronomy and green tourist guides, has launched a new green guide called “The Wine Regions of France”. It is a practical, pocket size guide (provided you have big pockets) if you plan to go on vacation in the French wine regions. It covers essentially all regions and contains information on restaurants and hotels as well as practical info on producers, walks in the vineyards, routes to choose as well as other wine information. Buy it from our book review page


Australian consultant Richard Smart advices Danes to make more sparkling wine

BKWine recently met the well known Australian wine making consultant Richard Smart at a quick visit he made to Denmark. He was invited by the Danish Wine Growers’ Association. Some 30 (!) members and other visitors (including a few Swedes!) participated in the seminar that was organised by Dansk VinCenter (

Richard currently consults in 24 different countries and Peru is on its way to become his 25th country. He has (by design or by coincidence) become somewhat of an expert on cool climate vineyards. since two years he even works with a vineyard in Tasmania (Tamar Ridge) where he successfully makes a Pinot Noir. That Denmark indeed is a cool climate area was proven by this June day that boasted just barely 10 degrees Celsius and plenty of rain. “This is not cool climate”, he said “it is freezing. The coldest I have experienced for wine growing”. We had to assure him that this was not the normal weather in June. But it didn’t prevent Richard to keep a somewhat sceptical attitude during the presentation. According to Richard, the climate is the most important factor when growing wine. After that comes the grape variety and then the wine producer. And what about the soil? “Terrois is just nonsense”, he replies. –“The importance of soil has been very much exaggerated. It’s chemical composition is not very important but its structure and physical properties are, since they influence drainage.”

Richard’s advice to the Danish wine growers (or to other cold climate wine growers):

* Make more sparkling wine since they require low alcohol and high acidity. And don’t be afraid to make red sparkling.
* Denmark is a flat country near the sea. You need to protect the vines from the wind by constructing wind breakers
* Try many different grape varieties. There are many varieties today that can be recommended for cool climates.
* Grow the vines under plastic cover. It can raise the temperature with 5 degrees.
* Prune the vines very low in winter and cover them with soil to protect them from the worst winter frosts.

But maybe the cool climate is soon past in Denmark. Richards see two main threats against wine growing today: One is the decrease in consumption and the other is global warming.

Read more about Richard Smart on


New Scandinavian Wine Fair on 11 February 2006

BKWine organises a new Scandinavian Wine Fair in Paris on February 11 in collaboration with Le Cercle Suédois. The date has just been set so we you will get more details later, but book the date in your agenda already! Last time (in 2004) there were some 30 exhibitors from all Scandinavian countries except Iceland (mainly making wine, and cognac, in warmer climates)! This is how it was.



Recommended Producer: Chateau Thieuley

Chateau Thieuley has long been a favourite of ours among the not-so-expensive Bordeaux wines – both the red and the white wines. The chateau is close to La Sauve Majeure, in the centre of Entre-deux-Mers. Francis Courcelle, an expert in making excellent white wines, brought this domain from obscurity to well earned fame. Now it is primarily run by his daughters Sylvie and Marie. In France you can buy them at e.g. Monoprix.

More recommendations



Recommended Producer: Chateau de Haux

Flemming and Peter Jørgensen bought Chateau de Haux in 1985. The vineyard was in poor shape and the chateau itself was in ruins. They were in for plenty of work to put things in order. And now both the red and the white wines are among the best in the district. To finance the development they founded a company where wine enthusiasts can buy shares and get a return in wine and also get the opportunity to stay at the chateau.
More recommendations: Recommeded Wine Producers



A wine site worth having a look at

>> Sunday, July 03, 2005

Jennifer Rosen – an American wine writer (called Chotzi...?). Many articles on her site: (be aware: the site doesn’t work properly if you use the web browser Mozilla Firefox)


RVF revises the 1855 classification of Bordeaux

La Revue du Vin de France likes making classifications. We have talked about their suggested classification of Graves here before. Now they have taken on the ultimate in classifications: the 1855 classification of Bordeaux (Médoc, in practice) that celebrates its 150th anniversary this year (definitely past its best-before date). As always, RVF has interesting opinions. For example, these are the chateaux they think should be elevated to classed today (and was not included in 1855):

  • Château Sociando-Mallet,
  • Bel Air Marquis d’Aligre,
  • Haut-Marbuzet,
  • de Pez, Gloria,
  • Les Ormes de Pez,
  • Phélan Ségur,
  • Poujeaux,
  • Chasse-Spleen,
  • Meyney,
  • Potensac,
  • Siran, and
  • Tour du Haut Moulin.

These are the “upgraded” chateaux (the number of notches in parenthesis):
  • Léoville-las-Cases (1),
  • Lynch-Bages (3),
  • Palmer (1),
  • Branaire-Ducru (1),
  • Grand-Puy-Lacoste (2),
  • Pontet-Canet (2),
  • Clerc-Milon (1), and
  • du Tertre (1).

And those that the RVF thinks should no longer be a classed growth:
  • Camensac,
  • Croizet-Bages,
  • Desmirail,
  • Grand Puy Ducasse,
  • Lynch Moussas, and
  • Pedesclaux.
Interesting reading. Buy the magazine!


Israel starts a promotion campaign to increase wine exports

One million dollars per year is the budget to double the wine exports in five years. Today Israel exports wine for a total value of 13.7 million dollars, half of which goes to the United States.


Rosé wine make progress

The consumption of rosé wines should progress by 8.5% between 2004 and 2009 according to a report published by Europmonitor. Statistics have already shown that in France the sales of rosé is good and several international wine producers have launched new rosé brands. So if you want to catch the trend this year – bring out the rosé for the barbeque.
More pictures here.


Foster finalises take-over of Southcorp

The wine world has grown smaller again. Fosters has now finalised the deal worth AUS$ 3.17bn taking over Southcorp. Both were already Australian drinks giants. The deal means e.g. that Foster will now control famous wine “brands” such as Penfolds, Lindemans, and Rosemount.


Prize winning wines from organic growers

Signature BIO is a wine competition for organic wines (biologique). This year the first prize went to, Medaille d’Or Mention Spéciale:

  • Domaine de la Grande Pallière (M. Guibergia) AOC Côtes de Provence Rosé 2004
11 « regular » Gold Medals went to:
  • Mme CAVARD Domaine des Beynes VDP des Bouches du Rhône Chardonnay Blanc 2004
  • M. DE WULF Domaine du Jas d’Esclans AOC Côtes de Provence Cuvée du Loup Cru Classé Rosé 2004
  • M. DE WULF Domaine du Jas d’Esclans AOC Côtes de Provence Cuvée du Loup Cru Classé Blanc 2004
  • M. MERCIER Domaine Joliette VDP des Côtes Catalanes Blanc 2003
  • Mme PEYRAUD Château Romanin AOC Les Baux de Provence Rouge 2001
  • Mme PEYRAUD Château Romanin VDP des Bouches du Rhône Jean Le Troubadour Rouge 2004
  • M. PUJOL Domaine La Rourède AOC Rivesaltes Ambré Blanc 2002
  • M. PUJOL Domaine La Rourède AOC Muscat de Rivesaltes Blanc 2004
  • MM. RAMBIER & TOURNANT Vignobles Montfreux de Fages AOC Ctx du Languedoc Cuvée des Pères Rge 2001
  • M. REROLLE Domaine Terres Blanches AOC Coteaux d’Aix en Provence Blanc 2004
  • Maison Henri Valentine Château des Auzines AOC Corbières Hautes Terres Rouge 2003
You can find the full list of winning wines here:


New English drinks magazine: Fine Expressions

One more new English drinks magazine has just been borne. It’s about wine but also about spirits and fine beers, with a distinct “lifestyle” flavour, judging from the first issue. More info here:


Bernard Magrez buys Château Latrezotte

Bernard magrez, one of the most active names in Bordeaux, continues buying wine chateaux. He has just acquired Chateau Latrezotte in Barsac (Sauternes) with an 8 hectare vineyard primarily planted with semillon.


Store your wine in Paris

We’ve found one more place to store your wines in Paris, in case you do not have wine cellar space of your own: Cave Lovin’ on 40, rue Saint Honoré. There’s just one catch: you should buy your wines in their wine shop. More info:
More pictures of Paris here


Corbières-Boutenac – New Appellation

Another decision by the INAO on May 28: Wine with the AOC Corbières-Boutenac can be produced in the Aude ‘departement’ (Languedoc) in Boutenac and other communes around it. Permitted grape varieties are Carignan (30-50%), Grenache Noir, Syrah (max 30%), and Mourvedre. Two or more different varieties must be used. Carignan Noir must always be used. Manual harvest is compulsory.

Travel to Languedoc


Bordeaux Frist Growths release 2004 prices

Mouton-Rothschild, Margaux and Haut-Brion have announced the prices for the 2004 primeurs. The price (the same for all three) is 80 euro, down 33% from last year but still substantially higher than the 60 euro asked for the 2002s. (One wonders how they all three almost always land on the same price…?) This confirms (once more) the downward trend. Some chateau have even lowered the prices much more, with up to almost 50%. When we were in Bordeaux two weeks ago the impression was that even at these prices many producers have difficulties selling anything at all.

More pictures here


Armagnac modifies its AOC

No big changes, but the decision by the INAO on May 28 means that the following AOC are defined "Armagnac", "Bas Armagnac", "Armagnac-Ténarèze", "Haut Armagnac" and now also ”Blanche Armagnac”. Permitted grape varieties for Armagnac are baco blanc, blanc dame, colombard, folle blanche, graisse, jurançon blanc, mauzac, mauzac rosé, meslier Saint-François, and ugni blanc. More:


Facts on Entre-deux-Mers

Appellation Contrôlée (AC) Entre-deux-Mers makes exclusively white wine, between the rivers Garonne and Dordogne in Bordeaux. 194 producers share 1592 hectares. 41% is exported. Belgium, Germany and the UK are the biggest markets. To improve quality they are introducing stricter tastings to grant AOC and are intending to launch a ”top 20” of EdM wines. We look forward to seeing it. More info:

More pictures here


Alsace will allow Grand Cru wines without grape varietal designation

Contrary to the rest of France, Alsace wines are generally sold with the grape variety indicated on the label, and on Grand Cru wines it is even compulsory. INAO has now decided that it will allow Grand Cru wines to be sold without the grape variety indicated on the label. From the information we have seen it is not clear if the decision also means that INAO will allow Grand Cru wines to be made from a blend of grape varieties. Jean-Michel Deiss has long argued that the focus on grape varieties in Alsace kills the concept of terroir, especially in the Grand Cru vineyards. Many other producers, though, think that this brake with tradition will confuse consumers.

Read more on Wine International


More news about the reclassification of Graves

As we have mentioned previously, the process has been started to revise the classification in Graves. We recently had the occasion to talk to the presidents of the “syndicates” (growers’ associations) of Graves and of Pessac-Léognan.

Dominique Haverlan, president of the Syndicat de Graves (and owner of Vieux Chateau Gaubert, one of the better Grave wines) says that he thinks it is good that the classification will now be revised. It is a sign of dynamism, he thinks. Laurent Cogombles, president of the Pessac-Léognan syndicat and owner together with his wife of Chateau Bouscaut is a bit more hesitant, and more so to classifications in general. – “On what do you base a classification?” he asks “Well, on the price”, he continues “and to find the expensive wines the consumer hardly needs a classification”. With much reason, on can think, since it is difficult to imagine any other more “impartial” way of doing a classification. And Xavier Perromat, owner of Chateau du Mayne in Graves, and General Secretary of the Graves syndicat, thinks that in a period of crisis, such as now, there might be more important things do, like promoting the region for example. Not a bad idea that either maybe. So, different views. Maybe we will see the result in 3 to 5 years. (Note: All chateaux that were classified in the “old” 1953 classification is in the Pessac-Léognan AC.)


Graves Facts

Graves, just south of the city of Bordeaux, has three appellations: AC Graves, AC Graves Supérieures and AC Pessac-Léognan. Pessac-Léognan was part of AC Graves until 1987 when it became a separate AC. The surface of the G and GS appellation (excluding P-L) is 3800 hectares (2004), of which a little more than two thirds are red and one third produces white wines. Less and less white wine is (unfortunately!) made. Graves and Pessac-Léognan make both red wine and dry white wine. Graves Supérieures only makes semi-sweet and sweet white, most of which is exported to Holland(!). The grape varieties are: Red wines: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, and Cot (Malbec). White wines: Sauvignon Blanc, Sémillon and Muscadelle. More info:
More photos and info here


Rcommended Restaurant: Ma Cuisine, Beaune, Bourgogne

Just off Place Carnot this small restaurant hides in a passage way. Very cosy and unpretentious, the food is not complicated but very well done (and easy on your budget). It is quite popular so come early or book a table. They also have a wine shop.
More restaurant recommendations here.


REstaurant Recommendation: Le Gourmandin, Beaune, Bourgogne

Just a stone’s throw from Beaune’s biggest tourist site, the magnificent Hotel Dieu, you find Le Gourmandin on the main square, Place Carnot. Classic French food with regional specialities. Quite elegant and ambitious, without being expensive.
More restaurant recommendations here.


Recommended Restaurant: Rouge Tomate, Paris 1

After the renovation the Place du Marché Saint Honoré has become full of restaurants. At this one, as you can guess, they use tomatoes in virtually everything, and they do it very well. Excellent cooking and quite low prices. The wine list is also good with the ”speciality” being that all wines are varietal wines (made from only one grape variety), mostly from outside of France!
More recommendations here!


Recommended Producer: Domaine Alain Coche-Bizouard, Meursault, Fabien Coche

Fabien Coche has in total 10 hectares that includes patches in several appellations, e.g. Meursault and Pommard. He started working with his father in 1991 and makes the wine himself since 1998. Wonderful, smooth, full-bodied white wines (and reds).
See more pictures here
More wine maker recommendations here.


Recommended Producer: Domaine du Clos Saint Louis, Fixin, Philippe Bernard

Excellent red Burgundy wines and not too expensive. The property is run by the very sympathetic couple Philippe and Martine Bernard. It covers 12 hectares split among the appellations Cote de Nuits Villages, Marsannay, Fixin, Fixin 1er Cru and Gevrey-Chambertin. In addition, Martine makes excellent cheese petits-choux and if you’re lucky you might get to taste with their wines (or you can make them yourself – read the recipe here).
See more images here
More wine maker recommendations here.

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