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Is wine bad for your teeth?

>> Sunday, December 31, 2006 and no, judging from my own experience and from my dentist. If I taste a lot of wines (especially whites) I certainly have the impression that it gets to my teeth. Brushing the teeth (or eating something sweet) after tasting a few hundreds wines is not nice thing. It can feel horrible. It’s the acid of course. I have also heard people strongly recommend that you do not brush your teeth after a serious wine tasting because the teeth defences (the enamel) has been weakened so you risk damaging the teeth. On the other hand my dentist says that it is an excellent way to keep your teeth clean. For a more in depth view you can read the two articles on Wines and Vines
Article 1
Article 2


INAO changes shape

From the beginning of next year the INAO (Institut National des Appellations Contrôlées), the French control body for appellations, will change shape and responsibilities. To start with they change name to ”Institut National de l’Origine et de la Qualité”. However, the keep the short for INAO! Perhaps the most important change is that it’s responsibility will be enlarged to include, in addition to the AOC, a number of other “labels”: IGP (« Indication Géographique de Provenance »), « le label rouge » (LR), « la spécialité traditionnelle garantie » (STG) and « l’agriculture biologique » (AB).


New Zealand will get official wine districts

>> Friday, December 29, 2006 New Zealand official control body for wine production, New Zealand Winegrowers, will start defining the boundaries for the countries wine regions. This follows a new law, the Geographical Indications (Wine & Spirits) Act, that requires that so be done. We hope that the discussions will not be too endless. RadioNZ


Harvest report from Portugal

2006 was very warm and dry in Portugal. The total harvest is expected to be 6.9 million hectolitres, which is down 4% compared to last year. The volumes were particularly low in Bairrada, Extremadura and Ribatejo, whereas in Alentejo the harvest was up 20% compared to last year. Overall a good quality but with some difficulties due to the hot weather. According to

Keep your eyes open for BKWine's tour to Portugal next year!

►► Go to Portugal with BKWine! More info.


New DAC in Austria: Traisental

Austria has approved a new quality wine area, DAC, which stands for Districtus Austria Controllatus: Traisental. On 770 hectares they grow primarily Gruner Veltliner (63%), plus some Riesling and other grapes. Previously Weinviertel and Mittelburgenlad have been approved as DAC.


Vote for us!

>> Thursday, December 28, 2006't forget to vote for this blog on the blog list of LocalWineEvents. Please!


The Burgundy company Boisset invests in Canada

040923-144-4402The well known Bourgogne négociant Boisset has joined forces with Canada's biggest wine company, Vincor, to invest in a new venture. It will be the biggest investment ever by a European wine producer in Niagara, under the name Le Clos Jordanne. They have plans to build a new winery designed by the world famous (and already winery drawing) architect Frank Ghery. At the moment they make wine from bought grapes in rented facilities. They make both red and white called Le Grand Clos made from Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. We have, unfortunately, not tasted it.


Languedoc and Roussillon join together in common appellation

The initiative has now been approved by the INAO: Languedoc (to the north) and Roussillon (to the south) will join together in a common appellation under the name AOC Languedoc. We’ll be back with more details later.


New AVA: Tracy Hills

American officials have approved a new AVA (American Viticultural Area): Tracy Hills. Tracy hills covers 39,200 acres (some 20,000 hectares) close to the city of Tracy in California.


The new Spanish appellation Vinedos de Espana in trouble

>> Saturday, December 23, 2006 August 2 a new appellation was approved by Spanish authorities, called Viñedos de España. Consejo Regulador de Navarra has filed a complaint in the EU against the name (why this has been done by Navarra is unclear). According to EU regulations an appellation must refer to a geographic entity that is smaller than the member country, so the appellation cannot refer to the whole country. According to reports, the Spanish have referred to VDP du Jardin de la France as a precedence (which seems a bit silly since that refers to a sub region of the Loire Valley, in the same way as Ile de France refers to the region around Paris). To be continued. Read more


Canadian ice wine already harvested

Thanks to unusually cold weather at the end of November, the ice wine has already been harvested in parts of Canada. On November 26 the temperature fell to -17 degrees centigrade in Okanaga (British Columbia). Ice wine is probably Canada’s best know contribution to the wine world. Ice wine is a very sweet wine made by harvesting frozen grapes. The grapes are pressed before they can melt and the resulting must is extremely concentrated and sweet. Apparently you need ten times as much grapes to make a bottle of ice wine as you do for regular wine. (Read our book review on the Canadian Wine Atlas below). Read more: Times Colonist and


Up – and down – for Bulgarian wine

>> Friday, December 22, 2006 Bulgaria ti looks bright for the wine industry though, according to official sources at the National Wine and Vine Chamber. Exports over the first 8 months reached 48 million litres and the end of the year is expected to produce even stronger export sales. This follows on an increase by 25% in 2005. On the traditional export markets sales fell dramatically though (France -44%, Great Britain -81%). The new demand comes primarily from Russia, the Czech Republic and from Asia. According to


Times are not good in Bordeaux

040916-131-3171Sure, there is a small group of Bordeaux producers that fetch stratospheric prices for their wines – the top estates, some of which raised their prices recently with a few hundred percent year-on-year… But for many other Claret producers the reality is less cheerful. A recent study by the Chambre d’Agriculture de Gironde, based on a sample of 105 producers in Entre-deux-Mers, shows this: average turnover has decreased 27% in 8 years; operating income is on average one seventh of what it was then; 36% of the estates made a loss in 2004/2005; only a quarter of the producers can pay themselves a salary that exceeds the French SMIC (minimum salary); sold volume has decreased by 38%. And yet there is much good wine made there!


Effervescents du Monde 2006 – the world’s best sparkling wines

>> Thursday, December 21, 2006”Effervescents du Monde” is a wine competition for sparkling wines from all over the world. A jury gives medals to the best wines. This year the Great Gold Medal went to – no one. The “standard” Gold Medal was given to 24 wines from all over the world. Full info on the medal winners here:


Prices rocket for white Burgundy at the Hospices de Beaune auction

040422-1-CRW_0192_RJThe traditional Hospice de Beaune auction is sometimes seen as an indicator of where prices for Bourgogne wines are heading. That bodes ill for wine lovers this year. The prices for white Burgundy was on average up 63% compared to last year, whereas the reds only saw a slight increase. It is the just finished 2006 vintage that is sold in barrel at the auction. The most expensive barrel was the Beaune Premier Cru Cuvée Dames Hospitalières, under the hammer for 200.000 euro (for 228 litre). Even if it is primarily a charity auction it is often taken as an indicator for commercial prices. Another factor though might be that the auction is now run by Christie’s (the London-based auction house) who is putting a lot more energy into marketing the event than what was done previously., and Reuters


EU court rules against free trade in wine

>> Wednesday, December 20, 2006 European Court of Justice ruled against free movement of goods in a case brought by a Dutch wine buyer. He had bought wine in France (with low wine taxes) and had them transported by lorry to Holland. The Dutch authorities had slammed Dutch (higher) taxes on the wine. The EU court ruled that the unfortunate Dutch consumer indeed had to pay the Dutch taxes. So, unless you transport the wine yourself you will most likely have to pay the taxes in the country of destination. (Doesn’t it work in a different way for e.g. cars?) Importers, trade and governments seemed to be relieved in the UK and in Sweden where consumers were looking forward to buying cheaper wines from abroad.


Canadians rushes after wine and food stamps is not a new government food support program. Or in sort it is. The Canadian Post Office has launched a set of stamps illustrating Canadian wine and cheese. Five million copies were printed and three quarters of the edition has already sold out in three months. According to the Canadian Post an edition usually lasts a year. The stamps were designed by Derwyn Goodall based on photography by Robert Wigington. and Canada Post


Vote for this blog!

>> Tuesday, December 19, 2006 for us on the Top 100 Wine Blogs list on! It would be fun to move up a bit in the ranking on the Top 100 list at LWE so please put your vote for us. Just click the Vote Button here. It will take you to a voting page on LWE where you can also see the full list of wine and food blogs.


Calvet sold to Grands Chais de France

Neither of the two names probably sound very familiar to most people. Some might recognise Calvet since it is an old Bordeaux négociant. On the other hand, if you say “JP Chenet” it should ring a bell. Chenet is probably the biggest selling French wine brand on export – you known, the wine in the quirky, tilted bottle. And JP Chenet is the main brand produced by Grand Chais de France. Even if Calvet is steeped in Bordeaux history its recent life has been troubled and it has already changed hands a few times. Now it will become part of the biggest French wine producing group (not counting Champagne), which might give it a bit of stability. The Calvet employees took the opportunity to stage a strike against the deal.


Prince Charles chosen to illustrate the new Mouton label new vintage of Chateau Mouton Rothschild (2004) will have an illustration by Prince Charles of the British royal family. The painting is a watercolour depicting pine trees on the Cap d’Antibes on the French Riviera. The reason for choosing Prince Charles is that 2004 marks the centenary of the “entente cordiale” between England and France.


News from the Guest Writers

>> Monday, December 18, 2006

We have posted a new article on Provence from wine of our guest writers, Virpi Sorvisto. The article is in Finnish (Virpi lives in Finland and also works with BKWine with our Finnish wine tours) and you can read it here: Guest Writer Virpi Sorvisto

We also have the pleasure to welcome a new guest writer on BKWine, David Furer. David is an American living in England since a long time back. David writes for several different media in the UK and internationally. David’s first article on our Guest Writer Page talks about Côtes du Rhône Villages. Read it here: Guest Writer David Furer


Wine in Luxemburg

It is no doubt one of the smaller wine producers in Europe but there certainly is wine in Luxemburg. The Mosel river runs through Luxemburg, close to the border to Germany, and wine is made along the river. It is mainly white wine, but they also make some sparkling wine. Read more about Luxemburg wine and the country’s wine producers (including an article by our new guest writer David Furer) here: Ambassade de Luxembourg


Gothenburg Restaurant: Magnus & Magnus

>> Sunday, December 17, 2006

Magnus & Magnus, Göteborg A cosy restaurant, friendly and competent service and exceptional food – that makes Magnus & Magnus to one of the stars on the Gothenburg restaurant scene. You could for example try some of the innovative tapas as a starter – the tuna is wonderfully lightly grilled (or “seared” is it’s supposed to be said), the St Jaques clam is perfectly cooked. Outside, you have a nice seating area (in season of course – we’re in Sweden) and next door you have “M3” that you can rent for private functions or if you want to organise a wine tasting or even cooking classes. M3 takes up to 27 persons. BKWine tried Magnus & Magnus for a tasting for the BKWine Brief readers in Gothenburg and we were very satisfied.

Click here for address and more recommendations.


More restaurants and wine bars in Stockholm

Eriks Bakficka (Erik’s Back Pocket)
050408-187-8723Erik’s Back Pocket is not exactly next door to Eriks Gondolen so he must have big trousers. The Bakficka is close to the Narvavagen street in fashionable Ostermalm. Classic Swedish food (“husmanskost”) mixed with more unusual cooking (for example delicious gnocci). A decent wine list (but far from outstanding). Very comfortable, classic bistro decoration without unnecessary whistles and bells. And they are open on Sundays!
Click here for address and more recommendations.

Nordic Light Hotel
050408-189-8904This is primarily a wine place, but of course they do have a restaurant. They are 100% focused on American wines – so interesting for their selection in this segment. They also have a wine cellar where you can rent space (provided you’re a company) for your wine collection and get access to their private tasting room.
Click here for address and more recommendations.


BKWine Pick: Domaine Fontavin, Châteauneuf-du-Pape

>> Friday, December 15, 2006

050302-174-7454 Shortly after Hélène Chouvet finished her training as an oenologist, in 1996, she took over the family property Domaine de Fontavin. From her 42 hectares she produces around 80,000 annually, half of which is exported. The main grape is Grenache (70%) with some additions of Syrah, Mourvèdre and Cinsault. Hélène prefers the Grenache that she thinks is well suited to the local climate and the rocky soil in Châteauneuf-du-Pape. The Fontavin wines often have a warmth and spiciness but maintain a good, refreshing acidity. Goes very well with game and other food with much taste.

Click here for address and more recommendations.



BKWine Pick: Château Vannières, Bandol

bc26-357-5746 This beautiful property is in one of the best know appellations by the Mediterranean: Bandol. They have a young and dynamic winemaker, Jean-Philippe Fourney, who is continuing, and enhancing Vannières’ tradition of making excellent, full-bodied Bandol wines that often need some bottle age. Made from the interesting Mourvèdre grape variety. The property covers a total of 33 hectares of vineyards.

Click here for address and more recommendations.



Link Tip

>> Tuesday, December 05, 2006

A site that you might enjoy visiting:


Book Review - The Bordeaux Atlas and Encyclopaedia of Châteaux

>> Monday, December 04, 2006

The image “” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.The Bordeaux Atlas and Encyclopaedia of Châteaux
Hubrecht Duijker och Michael Broadbent
Foulkes Publishers/Uitgeverij Het Spectrum B.V.

An extensive tome, more like an encyclopaedia than a regular book, and here you will find most (if not all) of the interesting chateaux in Bordeaux. Each sub-district has a very informative introduction and very good maps. A book that the passionate Bordeaux lover should not be without.

Click here for more book reviews on my site. You will also find links to on-line book shops on that page.


Interested in wine pictures?

>> Sunday, December 03, 2006

040923-143-4394Perhaps you work as a picture editor or a wine or travel editor? Or perhaps you just like photos of vineyards and wine regions? Then you should try our new “wine picture inspiration”. Once a week we send you an inspirational email with the latest additions to our Wine Picture Blog. Register for the Weekly Wine Picture Inspiration here.


This month’s must have (?) wine gadget

A palm computer and a subscription is all you need. Then you can register your tasting notes electronically. In addition, cooperating wine merchants (or other tasting organisers) can supply an electronic list of the wines to taste to make the data entry even easier. After that you just tap in your tasting notes with the palm computer stylus (or keyboard?) according to a predefined format. When you get back home you just synchronise it with your home (or office) computer. More info:


Youngest ever Master of Wine

>> Saturday, December 02, 2006

Ken Mackay, a mere 28 years old, is the youngest ever Master of Wine. He recently gained the right to add the exclusive letters MW after his name. His day work (assuming that nights are spent studying) is as buyer for Willoughby’s, a wine company in Manchester. There are 250 MWs today.


”Chirac’s” wine cellar sold for euro 1 million

Paris’ current mayor, Delanoe, perhaps does not drink much wine. In any case he thought the stock was a bit too plentiful at the Mayor’s residence, much of which had been bought by his predecessor, Jacques Chirac, France’s current president. Much of the wine was recently sold at an auction that totalled €970,000. Evidently there was a distinct political aura over the bottles since many sold for far more than market prices. Some examples: 2 bottles 1986 Dom de la Romanée Conti: €10,000, 3 bottles Ch Mouton-Rothschild 1989: €2600, 1 bottle Ch Petrus 1989: €4000. Hmm.


Pichon Lalande sold to Roederer

>> Friday, December 01, 2006

040916-133-3341It has been in the making for quite some time and now it’s done. Chateau Pichon-Lalande (one of the so-called “super seconds” in Pauillac) has been sold to the Rouzaud family. The deal also includes Chateau Bernadotte (previously Le Fournas Bernadotte) and Glenelly in South Africa. Rouzaud will buy the majority shareholding from the current owner, May-Eliane de Lencquesaing. The Rouzaud family owns Champagne Roederer and also Ch de Pez and Ch Haut Beausejour in St Estephe, Champagne Deutz with Maison Delas in the Rhone Valley, Ramos Pinto (port), Domaine Ott (Provence), Roederer Estate and Scharffenberger in California. Read more on and on


Parker employs British wine taster

The wine guru Robert Parker has hired a relatively unknown British wine critic to write for him. Neal Martin has been running an independent wine commentary site called that will now close. An added twist is that there has for a long time been a certain antagonism between Robert Parker and the British wine writing establishment. Perhaps this will lighten things up? Read more details on


INAO on strike

INAO (Institut National des Appellations d’Origine) is the official French control organisation of the AOCs (wine and other things). The staff has gone on strike to underline the importance of a “credible policy to safeguard and promote products with an official seal of quality” and to protest against a proposal that would unite several different “quality control” organisations (e.g. INAO) under one roof. Perhaps a good occasion to entirely revise the system and give the consumer a bit more say?

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