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BKWine Pick - Domaine Viret, Rhone

>> Tuesday, August 29, 2006

am15-310-1031Domaine Viret
Côtes du Rhône-Villages

Philippe Viret and his father Alain has been practicing something called “cosmoculture” since the early 1990s – a form of organic and bio-dynamic method of cultivation where they fetch inspiration from both Maya and Inca cultures and also ancient Egypt. The wine cellar has been constructed as a pyramid and the interior has well deservedly been described as a “wine cathedral” by Philippe. The different cuvées have names like La Cuvée Solstice, Renaissance, Emergence, La Coudée d’Or or Energie. All are very well made, often with a lot of elegance and spiciness, with good fruit and structure. Can be found at Lafayette Gourmet in Paris and in many other shops. (And many new pictures on the domaine in our photo galleries.)

Click here for address and more recommendations.


August wine

I hope you have had (or still have) a nice vacation. So far, we have not had much time for holidays ourselves but been busy with several projects.

The most exotic one is, no doubt, our wine trip a few weeks ago to Albania, Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Montenegro. Yes, that’s right, we visited the four Balkan countries to visit vineyards and wine producers. There is a lot of new development and changes happening there now. You will read more about our trip in future issues of the Brief and also in other publications on wine, gastronomy, and travel. And perhaps we should put a trip to Albania and the Balkans on our wine tour program. What do you think?

We have also spent quite some time in the Languedoc. There are plenty of exciting things happening there now. You could read about one of the producers we visited in the last Brief and you will see more here soon.

If your vacation is nearing it’s end it is perhaps time to think about how to brighten up the autumn, for instance with a visit to wine country. Take a look at our travel program. What about the trip to Portugal? Some really exciting things happening there too.

But first it is my turn to go on vacation – two short weeks in Sweden. I will see you again soon!



Link Tips

>> Monday, August 28, 2006

Some wine sites that you might enjoy visiting:

  • About Max Schubert, the creator of the legendary Grange Hermitage (now called only Grange) from Penfold: The
  • The University of Missouri uses biotechnology to create grapes that are resistant against diseases USA Today
  • For and against plastic corks
  • An American’s view of the fight between the giants, “The Paris Tasting” (or “The Judgement of Paris”) where California won again, 30 years later: Appellation America


Book Review - The Wines of the Northern Rhône

Book Reviews The Wines of the Northern Rhône
John Livingstone-Learmonth
University of California Press

I bought my first book about the Rhône valley wines sometimes in the early 1980s. It was the second edition of a book written by John Livingstone-Learmonth. So JLL is certainly no novice to the Rhône Valley, nor to writing about wine. As a matter of fact, there are probably few people who know more about Rhône vines than him. And that is well illustrated by his new book about the wines of the northern Rhône. It’s a brick of 703 pages. But if you are interested in Rhône wines this book is a must. JLL explains the history of the Rhône wines (that he knows since long) and speculates about the future. It is obviously not something that you read from cover to cover but more of a reference book. The bulk of the book is taken up by profiles of the vignerons (and the appellations), including tasting notes, and you will find all the details you can ever think of wanting to know. There are also some excellent, but simple maps of the vineyards. The only thing that perhaps is missing is a bit more photographs to give the reader more of a feeling of how the region and vineyards look – but that would have made the book even thicker! (Instead you can go to our photo galleries and take a look.) Now we are only waiting for the next volume on the southern Rhône…

Read some extracts from the book here:

Buy the book here.

Interested to know more about Rhone wines? Go an a wine tour with BKWine! More info here!


The Swedish wine market: The biggest Swedish importers

This is the top-ten list of wine suppliers (importers) to the monopoly Systembolaget (May 2006):

  1. V&S Group 18,9 % (=2 273 990 litre) (Just as Systembolaget, V&S is owned by the Swedish government)
  2. Fondberg & Co AB 10,6 %
  3. Philipson & Söderberg 5,4 %
  4. Oenoforos AB 5,3 %
  5. Bibendum 4,0 %
  6. Arvid Nordquist Vin och Sprithandel 3,6 %
  7. Enosvezia AB 3,5 %
  8. Stellan Kramer AB 3,2 %
  9. Premium Wines Nordic 3,1 %
  10. Giertz Vinimport AB 3,1 % (=368 429 litre)
  11. Others 39,2 %
Total 12 022 294 litre


South Africa Day in Stockholm on October 13

Wines of South Africa (WOSA) organises a South African wine day in Stockholm in the restaurant Operaterassen (part of Operakällaren). More info will (we hope) be published on


Rhône festival in Denmark on September 16

040513-109-CRW_0984_JFRFor the third consecutive year Dansk Vincenter near Copenhagen organises the great Danish Rhône Festival. On Saturday September 16 a large number of wines will be presented from the 2003, 2004 and 2005 vintages. More than 30 exhibitors (including wine producers) are expected. Entry fee 210 kronor, including a light lunch. More info


Spanish researchers discover why wine is good for your cholesterol level

Grapes (and thence grape juice and also wine) contains large quantities of polyphenols. Polyphenols is a group of substances that are “anti-oxidants” and that has been shown to have beneficial effects against some cancer and heart diseases, e.g. cholesterol related ones. It has, however, not been quite clear why polyphenols have this positive effect. A Spanish research team, under the management of Alberto Dávalos at the University of Alcala, has identified what could be the mechanism behind the good effects of wine and grapes. Read more


Two new Vin de Pays launched: VdP des Alpilles and VdP des Côtes de Meuse

040305-2-k474-0010Viniflhor, a French administration with responsibility for certain wine categories, has proposed two new Vin de Pays: Vin de Pays des Alpilles, after a mountain range in the southern Rhône valley, and Vin de Pays des Côtes de Meuse, by the river Meuse in northern France. You can find more information on Vin de Pays here. (The text is in Swedish but you have a list of the VdP and links to other info sources.)


Australian wines – on the other hand – reaches rock bottom prices

An interesting comparison with Australian wines: Australian Wine Grape Growers’ Association predicts continued falling prices. Spot prices for wine in Australia is expected to fall to $100-$150 per tonne (so you get quite a few Australian bottles for the top Bordeaux price of 300€ per bottle…). This is said to be below the production cost for the grapes, estimated at $200 to $800 per tonne. Read more The Advertiser

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