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Top Bordeaux – over the top?

>> Monday, May 15, 2006

This period of the year is traditionally full of news about the “primeur” tastings of the latest vintage in Bordeaux. You will find links to some of the most interesting commentaries in the Brief. I did not have the opportunity to go the tastings in Bordeaux myself this year unfortunately.

A lot of the commentaries on the 2005 vintage indicate that it is a very exceptional vintage. But many also fear that prices will shoot up (from an already high level), and some complain about “profiteering” winemakers: “they really shouldn’t raise the prices so much” and so on. I say: let them raise the prices as much as they want! If they price is too high for you (or me) – don’t buy! Apparently there are people willing to pay the high prices that are demanded. If you think the price goes up too much – buy some other wines. There are many, many wines made in France (and other countries) today of excellent or outstanding quality but that do not have the famous name and label of the top Bordeaux wines and that you can buy at very reasonable prices. Buy those wines instead of overpriced Bordeaux. (There are also many “lesser” Bordeaux wines that are not expensive at all and very good.)

No reason to complain today when there are so much good wines around. By the way, the same can be said for many other highly acclaimed wines from other regions: Burgundy, California, Spain, Italy,… Don’t complain about the prices. Buy something else instead, that is less costly and just as good! Read the BKWine Brief and we will tell you what our recommendations are.


This month's must-have wine gadget: Inventor of rapid “cooling funnel” wins Electrolux prize

>> Thursday, May 04, 2006

CoolBoy is a sort of electric cooling funnel invented by Ian Thompson, a university student in Britain. Thompson was tired of having his and his friends’ drinks service tepid – you pour the drink (or the wine) through the CoolBoy “funnel” and it is instantly chilled to the appropriate serving temperature. The CoolBoy recently won a prize in an inventor competition sponsored by Electrolux. News @ Northumbria


Mumm launches prestige champagne: Mumm Grand Cru

>> Tuesday, May 02, 2006

The image “” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.Mumm recently launched a prestige champagne called, simply, Mumm Grand Cru. They only made 2300 hl (30,000 bottles) of the first “edition”. It is not a vintage champagne: it was bottled in June 2002, with a majority of wine from 2001, and disgorged in July 2005. 58% Pinot Noir and 42% Chardonnay.

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Instant Champagne knowledge

a0615-213-1386Champagne covers about 33,000 hectares (e.g. the equivalent of a third of Bordeaux). The main sub-districts are: Montagne de Reims, Vallée de la Marne and Côte des Blancs. The soil is primarily chalk. There are seven permitted grape varieties but only three are significant: Pinot Noir (12,254 ha), Pinot Meunier (10,877 ha) and Chardonnay (8,952 ha). The other grape varieties are: Arbane, Petit Meslier, Pinot Gris and Pinot Blanc. The sweetness classification:
- brut nature/non-dosé: <3g sugar per litre
- extra brut: 0-6 g/l
- brut: < 15 g/l
- extra dry: 12-20 g/l (not really dry any longer)
- sec: 17-35 g/l (quite sweet)
- demi-sec: 33-50 g/l
- doux: >55 g/l sugar


Constellation (finally) buys Vincor – giant’s acquisition in wine

Constellation Brands (NYSE: STZ), one of the world’s largest wine producers (if not the biggest), buys Vincor (TSX: VN), a Canadian company that also belongs to the top wine producers and distributors in the world. The acquisition has been in the making since a few months back. The deal is valued at US$ 1.31 billion.


Wine Evolution 2006

Every year since 1999, the two last days in January there is a conference in Paris called Wine Evolution, organised by Skalli & Rein, a marketing consultancy firm specialised in the wine industry. At Wine Evolution different players in the wine industry have an occasion to meet – producers, buyers, distributors, journalists … - and invited speakers talk about sales strategies and new trends. This year we learned how best to sell wines in, for example, China, Japan, Germany (2 of 3 bottles are sold for less than 2 euro!), USA, and even Sweden. One of the seminars concerned different closures: Carlos de Jesus from Amorim, the world’s largest producer of natural cork, debated with Stefano Alderuccio from Supreme Corq one of the leading producers of synthetic cork. See


Wine Boom & Bust?

While large parts of the wine marking world (France, Australia, California,...) seem to have great problems with over production collector wines apparently do not have the same issues. According to Liv-ex 100 (a kind of financial index for collector wines) times look good. See picture. A dramatic price increase over the last six months. (But perhaps a conclusion is that when everyone have discovered a good investment it is already too late.)

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