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BKWine TV: [E] Tasting Jacquesson champagne

>> Thursday, December 27, 2007

Tasting Jacquesson champagne with Jean-Hervé Chiquet, co-owner and co-wine maker. On the 731 (2003) vintage. On dosage. On rosé champagne and skin contact. On bubbles and wine tasting glasses. By BKWine. video:
BKWine's YouTube Channel

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Book Review: The World Atlas of Wine

The World Atlas of Wine
Hugh Johnson, Jancis Robinson
6th edition
Mitchell Beazley

If you should have only one wine book then this is it. First published in 1971 and since long a classic (we have all editions except the first). The 6th edition has been expanded with 48 pages and 20 new maps. The texts have been reviewed and re-written and many of the illustrations are new. Quite a lot has happened in the wine world since the last edition and all is reflected in the changes in the book. In it you also find the best wine maps there are – indispensable if you want to travel in wine regions. The first part of the book has some general chapters on history, vinification, easy to pass quickly but well worth a serious read. The remainder of the book covers virtually all of the world’s wine region with interesting texts, beautiful pictures and the maps of course. A book both to leaf through and to read in meticulous detail – to be inspired and to be informed. (And with some new photos from BKWine!)

-- Buy the book
-- Read more reviews

© Copyright BKWine


BKWine TV: [E] JM Brocard winery in Chablis

>> Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Visiting Jean Marc Brocard winery and vineyards in Prehy, Chablis (Burgundy / Bourgogne, France). Tasting the wine and talking to the Canadian winemaker Patrick Piuze. View over the Grand Cru hill. By BKWine video:
BKWine's YouTube Channel

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Saint-Chinian – hidden gem in Languedoc

cb11-564-6438Saint Chinian is one of the appellations in the Languedoc, located a bit inland with a landscape dotted with remote villages, harsh hilltops and dedicated vignerons. St Chinian in short:

-- 20 villages north-west of Bézier
-- received its AOC in 1982 and covers 3300 ha, 510 growers, 135,000 hl, 2/3 produced by the cooperative
-- Belgium is the biggest export market followed by Denmark (!)
-- 89% red, 10% white, 1% rosé (AOC for red since 2004)
-- the soil is very varied with both schist, limestone and clay elements, but often not very fertile
-- maximum yield is 50 hl/ha but in reality it is often lower -- climate is sunny, dry and windy
-- grapes: primarily Syrah, Grenache and Mourvedre (min 60%) but also Carignan, Lladoner Pelut and Cinsault
-- sometimes macération carbonique is used instead of regular vinification
-- the wine style varies with soil, grapes and vinification but is often quite powerful with intense fruit and aromas, often with the typical “garrigue” (wild herbs) style

© Copyright BKWine


BKWine TV: Jacquesson Champagne - making

>> Friday, December 21, 2007

Visiting the Jacquesson champagne house. Jean-Herve Chiquet, co-owner and co-wine maker talks about making the wine, the yields, wine presses and more. Dizy, Champagne, France. By video:
BKWine's YouTube Channel

© Copyright BKWine


Wine festival VieVinum in Austria is a big wine show in Austria showcasing mainly Austrian wines. In 2008 it will take place on May 31 to June 2 in Vienna. More info

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Andre Clouet Champagne

>> Thursday, December 20, 2007

Visit to the Andre Clouet vineyards in Champagne with an interview with the winemaker Jean-Francois Clouet, Bouzy, Champagne, France. On the winery history and philosophy. By video:
BKWine's YouTube Channel

© Copyright BKWine


The Sampler still sells exclusive wines by the glass in small portions

A while back we wrote about the odd rule in the UK that prohibits selling wine by the glass in small measures. Some wine merchants and wine bars had started to offer very exclusive wines in “tasting sample” sizes that were not the regulation size wine glass but, we were told, had had to stop that since servings were not according to the rules. One of the wine merchants we mentioned was The Sampler and they have now corrected us on this. They still serve wines by-the-glass in small portions to allow customers to taste very expensive wines at reasonable prices – so perhaps a worth trying if you want to discover some interesting wines. But we don’t know how it works: are they ignoring the rules or have the rules changed? If you go there perhaps you can ask them and then tell us…

© Copyright BKWine


BKWine TV: Louis Roederer Champagne

>> Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Visiting the Louis Roederer champagne house in Reims, Champagne, France. Visiting the winery, tasting Cristal champagne (famous from Tsar Alexander's crystal bottle order), on the Japanese market... By video:
BKWine's YouTube Channel

© Copyright BKWine


How big carbon footprint from wine? Colman, better known perhaps under his blogger pseudonym Dr Vino, has made a study of what greenhouse gases your wine consumption generates. Being in the US, the basic question he asked was “Is it better (=lesser emissions) to drink a wine from Bordeaux or one from California”. The Bordeaux wine will need longer transport but the transport will be for the longer part of the journey on boat, whereas the Californian wine will be trucked. The result was that it is “better” (causing less emissions) to drink Bordeaux on the East Coast and up until a line going north-south through Ohio and Texas. West of that “green line” it is better to drink Californian wine. this is of course just one aspect of being environmentally friendly. there are many other aspects to look at to get the full picture, for example the production methods, soil treatment and fertilization, irrigation, and much more. Perhaps in a future 2.0 edition of the Dr Vino report? More info and the green line map on

© Copyright BKWine


Fine Wine Magazine

A new issue of the free e-zine Fine Wine Magazine is now available. You can read about Provence, Krug champagne, four exciting Languedoc producers and two from Alsace and much more. Some of it written by BKWine of course. Download it here.

© Copyright BKWine


BKWine TV: Champagne houses in reims

>> Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Some famous champagne houses (Louis Roederer, Mumm, Krug...) in Reims, France. Beautiful building, famous champagnes. By videos:
Our Youtube channel:


Christmas gift? USBWine – download wines over broadband latest innovation in wine e-commerce is called USBWine. It’s a small USB-key-like device that you plug into your computer. You then visit one of the participating wine web sites and you can directly download the wines through your USB tap. Several different Bordeaux and Burgundy wines are initially on offer. Too good to be true? See for yourself on their demo video.


Mature wine from China – 2400 years old! recently found a bronze vessel that contained a liquid believed to be ancient wine. The find was made in the Shaanxi province, according to China Daily, and dates from the Warring Dynasty, 475 BC to 221 BC.


Chablis turns to famous French fashion photographer for publicity campaign has recruited the famous French fashion photographer and ex-model Bettina Rheims to create images for a promotional campaign on Chablis. It is mostly lightly clad females and old vines mixed up, all in contorted poses in front of the lens. If they had added an ad text on the pictures the campaign would no doubt have been banned in many countries with ad standards for wine publicity. But it’s an art exhibition, isn’t it, so this is different. Good taste? Judge for yourself on their site. The theme is “Chablis, French chic”. It also includes a promotional video that you can watch on the site. Chic? A matter of taste. Silly, for sure.


BKWine TV: Andreas Larsson, world champion sommelier

>> Monday, December 17, 2007 video interview with the world champion sommelier Andreas Larsson. On the championship, on Coute de Bourg (Bordeaux), and on what you do next, after winning the world championship title. At the three star restaurant and hotel Meurice in Paris.

The interview is in Swedish, Andreas' native language...



A brief history of Champagne yields – Or “victim of your own success”

030902-2-k838-0029In Chronique (souvent) Bordelaise you can read about the evolution of harvest yields in Champagne. When the appellation was created in 1935 the maximum yield was defined as 7500 kg/hectare. (In Champagne they count in kg/ha instead of the measure hectolitres/ha used in most other districts. 7500 kg/ha corresponds to approx 50 hl/ha.) By 1998 they maximum yield had reached 8500 kg/ha (ca 57 hl/ha). Today the allowed harvest volume is (after the increase earlier this year) 15,500 kg/ha (ca 103 hl/ha). A curious contrast to most other regions that make efforts to restrict yields to increase quality.


Australian wine shortage long ago Australia had a huge wine lake, unsold wine stock and falling prices. Now there is a worry that there will soon be a serious shortage of Australian grapes and wines due to sever draught and irrigation restrictions due to water shortages. How tables turn. -


The annulled St Emilion classification revisited – Now you see it. Now you don’t.

>> Friday, December 14, 2007

050527-204-0442Saint Emilion reviewed its classification in 2006, according to the principle of a revision every 10 years. Shortly after a court order annulled the classification judging that the process to arrive at the new classification had not been fair. Four chateaux that had been declassified complained that the panel making the classification was partial (including some of the owners of classified properties), to which the court (“Tribunal Administratif”) agreed. The matter then went to another court (“Conseil d’Etat”) that has now said that the classification should not be annulled considering its importance for St Emilion and that the region should not be left without any classification at all… are waiting for the next episode in this thrilling court battle. -


New Zealand wine refused due to high copper levels

>> Tuesday, December 11, 2007 A German wine importer has refused delivery of a shipment of wine from New Zealand, from the Te Karianga winery. The wine contained 3.6 ppm (parts per million) of copper whereas the limit within the EU is 1 ppm. 4000 cases were returned to the producer. The returned wine will, it is said, instead be sold in New Zealand. Wine is not routinely checked for copper in New Zealand. According to the CEO of Te Kairanga, Ian Frame says to NZ Herald that he is not worried, since the wine were not going to be sold under the Te Karianga name. The Chief Executive of New Zealand Wines (a producer organisation), Philip Gregan, is not worried either: since Germany is a "stickler for technical points […] They are just very pedantic about rules and regulations […] If there's an issue that comes out of a customer in Germany, it never surprises me." (Copper is sometimes added to wine to remove unwanted smells caused by the use of sulphur in wine production.)


BKWine Pick: Domaine la Monardière, Vacqueyras, Rhone

>> Monday, December 10, 2007

Domaine la Monardière, Vacqueyras, Rhone

am13-304-0402The owner, Christian Vache, is an enthusiastic vigneron passionate about making the best wines from his terroir and from his vineyards. The property covers 20 hectares and has been extensively replanted and renovated since Christian and his wife took over this family domaine in 1987. Excellent quality wines with a lot of typicity from Vacqueyras. here for address and more recommendations.


Just out: BKWine Brief nr 53, December 2007

>> Friday, December 07, 2007

Thank you.

The end of the year is approaching so I wanted to take the occasion to say a big thank you! you – to all readers and visitor on the site! We now have 16,000 subscribers to the BKWine Brief and more than 30,000 “unique” visitors per month on the site. And thank you for letting other know about the newsletter and the site so even more read it!

Thank you – to all participants on our tours. This year we’ve done almost 25 wine tours, taking some 400 people around the wine regions – today probably one of the leading organisers of wine and gastronomy travel. Today we do tours in several different languages: English, Swedish, Finnish and others on request. We have travellers coming from a bit all over the world, even if the majority still come from Scandinavia. We have both scheduled tours on our “public” program as well as a lot of custom made tours. And the best of all, I think, is that many of the customers we have become “addicted” and come back on new tours!

Thank you – to all of the people I work and collaborate with and who make it possible to develop the business: Kay, Martin, Asa, Peter, Astrid, Esther, Graham, Hasse, Tommy, Helen, David, Gabriela, Marianne,… and no doubt some that I have forgotten to include on the list. Some of you contribute by being in charge of tour management on some trips, others contribute with marketing or contents or other things. And thank you too to Per, my husband, the other “half” of BKWine.

I hope that you are all as happy with 2007 as I am and look forward to next year!

Projects 2008

And next year will be exciting. There are lots of project on the table. First of all I will be making even more wine tours, both scheduled and custom tours – let me know if you are interested!

And here are some other projects in the pipeline:

-- More tours in English – we want to do even more English language wine and gastronomy tours. To be honest, it is a market that it takes quite some effort to get into but I believe we have a high quality product that could find many customers – in the UK, in the US or from any other country where people speak English. Perhaps you know someone who would be interested?

-- New website – Well, this is a long term project perhaps… I know that the site is very “old” (designed more than 5 years ago!) and not very user-friendly. We want to change that and make it easier to use, easier to find information, easier to manage, make it possible for you to contribute,… But it’s a big project and we’re not yet sure how to go about it. Perhaps you do?

-- More custom made travel – We want to develop the activity with specially designed tours, exactly according to your requirement. This can be for a private wine club, a company get-together, an incentive event, customer conferences, specifically educational tours and events (e.g. for wine professionals and restaurateurs and also for “amateurs”) and much more. Let me know if you are interested.

-- BKWine TV?! Everyone has to try video these days so we’ve started recording interviews with wine personalities and visits to vineyards. We already have ten hours of recordings so the big question is when we’ll get the time to edit it and put it online. But we will publish more wine video clips over next year (we already have a YouTube channel). Perhaps we can find a video “stagiaire” to help…

-- More wine writing – We just did our first book and it is itching to make a second. We have several new ideas! But we also want to publish more articles in magazines. We already contribute to several Scandinavian wine, food and lifestyle magazines and to some English language publications, but we’d love to do more. So, calling all editors out there – we’ll be happy to work with you!

-- More photography – we have a substantial backlog with wine pictures waiting to be processed. We visit some 200 wineries each year so we produce quite a few thousand pictures. Per says he wants a photo assistant as Christmas gift. I’m not so sure…

-- and much more.

And then we’ll take a day vacation over Christmas perhaps.

Christmas Gifts

Talking about Christmas – here are some suggestions for Christmas gifts: The best gift of all is of course a wine tour to someone you like (or to yourself). We can make you a specially designed gift card and let us know if you will be celebrating something special when you arrive (wedding, birthday….). We’ll organise something special on site.

Take a look at our Truffles, Foie Gras and Wine tour in February and our “Three Classics” to Champagne, Chablis and Burgundy in June!

Another gift idea is one of the wine books we write about in the book review section in this Brief: Portugal, Tokaj, or even the whole world. Or take a look on our book page on the site for more reviews.

Or you could get the USBWine computer accessory that lets you download a selection of wine to a USB device.

Happy reading with this month’s BKWine Brief.


PS: Read more in the full BKWine Brief newsletter


Sweet white wines from Bordeaux – not just Sauternes

>> Monday, December 03, 2007

040331-1-k3-0016“Vins d’Or de Bordeaux” (Golden Wines from Bordeaux) is a theme under which Bordeaux wants to publicise the sweet wines from the region, and perhaps in particular some of the lesser known appellations. Sweet whites are produced on 4068 hectares, which represents only 2% of the total area of Bordeaux. The appellations included in Vins d’Or are: - Bordeaux Supérieur
- Côtes de Bordeaux Saint-Macaire
- Graves Supérieur
- Premières Côtes de Bordeaux
- Sainte-Foy Bordeaux
- Cadillac
- Cérons
- Loupiac
- Sainte-Croix-du-Mont, and of course
- Barsac and
- Sauternes

... all well worth tasting.


Bordeaux builds new wine research centre

>> Sunday, December 02, 2007’Institut des Sciences de la Vigne et du Vin (ISVV) is the French name for the new research centre that is being constructed in the Bordeaux area. It will bring together research activities that has previously been spread out in several different locations. They will have 200 researchers and technicians – possibly the biggest wine research centre in the world. The scientific focus for the centre will be on three themes: oenology, physiology and polyphenols & health, but it will also have a broader vocation including collaborations in the area of social sciences, economics and marketing.


Argentina’s exports

>> Saturday, December 01, 2007

ah25-247-4740The major markets for Argentinean wines:
1. USA
2. UK
3. Brazil
4. Canada
5. Holland
6. Denmark
11. Finland
12. Sweden


Port wine as getting worryingly close and it is perhaps time to bring out one of those old bottles of port you have in the cellar and crack it open to the stilton cheese or the walnuts. The port district exports 80 million bottles every year. These are the biggest markets:

1. France (2.9 million 9-litre cases)
2. Holland (1.6)
3. Belgium (1.3)
4. Great Britain (1.1)
5. USA (0.5)
6. Germany (0.3)
7. Canada (0.24)
8. Spain (0.15)
9. Denmark (0.15)
10. Brazil (0.1)

(Source IVDP)


Namibia – the next wine country?

>> Friday, November 30, 2007 Britsh born business man has planted a vineyard in Namibia, just on the border to the desert. Allan Walkden-Davis so far only makes 3500 bottles, made from Shiraz and Merlot. Five sources contributes to make the vineyard fertile although it is virtually in the desert. Namib Red 2004 is described as "absolutely stunning, amazing wine, with nice dark berries, slight acidity, plums, and just a little bit of that peppery Italian leather" by the South African wine consultant Micael Oliver. Stunning, yes we can believe that.


Antinori launches Napa wine and expands with Stag’s Leap Antinori, head of the famous Tuscan Antinori wine family has presented the first vintage of his new wine from Napa Valley. The winery is called Antica Napa Valley and the wines are a 2004 Cabernet Sauvignon and a 2006 Chardonnay. The wine is made in collaboration with St Michelle Wine Estates who is also a partner in Antinori’s acquisition of the legendary Sag’s Leap Wine Cellars


Swedish Hill pioneers new hybrids?

>> Thursday, November 29, 2007, Corot Noir, Valvin Muscat are perhaps not the best known grape varieties with wine lovers. They are all “hybrids”, i.e. crossings that are not the pure European Vitis Vinifera. Such hybrids can be much more resistant to diseases and to cold weather but have a reputation to produce wines that are not necessarily very tasty. Perhaps this is going to change. In the Finger Lakes district (cold and not too suited to Vinifera) in northern New York Cornell University is carrying out research to improve the hybrid varieties and they have come up with some interesting results. Swedish Hill Vineyards is one of the local wineries that are trying out many hybrid varieties with (we are told) good result.


Australia top-seller in Sweden ranking of the most popular wine countries at the Swedish monopoly retail chain Systembolaget (September 2007) is as follows. Australia has grown with 25% mainly due to a few successful launches of bag-in-box and tetra wines. (Percentages indicate market share)

1. Australia 17.3%
2. South Africa 16.1%
3. Italy 15.5%
4. Spain 14.6%
5. France 9.2%
6. Chile 7.2%
7. USA 5.7%
8. Germany 4.7%
9. Hungary 3.1%
10. Argentina 2.2%



>> Tuesday, November 20, 2007 Some parts of Brazil are certainly tropical but it is a big country. In the colder south, near the border to Uruguay, the climate is well suited to wine growing. We visited the vineyards in this area this last summer (winter, that is, on location) and were much impressed by the quality. Much of the wine produced is sparkling, either with a second fermentation in the bottle or in tank. Second fermentation in tank is called the ‘charmat method’ and was introduced in Brazil in the 1950s by the Frenchman Georges Aubert. Some charmat wines are even made with an extended aging in tank (on the lees) which gives added complexity and toastiness. One example is the Domaine Chandon (yes, the name is familiar!), who has specialised in charmat wines. Moscatel Espumante is an important product and it is often made with grapes coming from Vale do São Fransisco, with tropical climate almost at the equator. They even get two harvests per year here! The Italian Moscato Bianco is the main grape but they also grow Shiraz. Moscatel Espumante is made in the same way as the Italian wines from Asti. The wine style was introduced by Martini Rossi in the 70s. The wines work well as a slightly sweet aperitif, low in alcohol with flowery and tutti-frutti aromas. Perhaps a future low-alcohol fad?

The bulk of Brazilian wine production is very simple wines made from American varieties and only sold locally. Wine that we need not spend many words on. But some ambitious producers make wines from Vinifera varieties and have replanting programs under way. One example is the Pizzato brothers (on brother is getting some international experience at Herdade Espoao in Alentejo in Portugal). They have specialised in Merlot. Pizzato is a small producer in Brazilian terms, having no more than 26 hectares. The family emigrated from Veneto in Italy in the 1880s and ended up in the Vale dos Vinhedos on the border to Uruguay. The Italian root in the Vale do Vinhedos is very obvious: you can eat superb pasta, many people speak Italian, there are even many signs in Italian. Some of the larger producers that are starting to become know internationally are Miolo, Salton and Casa Valduga.

Read more about Brazilian wines on


Spain’s first ice wine! is made by picking the grapes in the winter, when temperatures are below minus seven. It’s not exactly something that one connects with Spain (not least with ‘global warming’). Bodega Vidal Soblechero de la Seca in Valladolid, DO Rueda, is nevertheless the first Spanish winery to make an ice wine!


Nordic sommelier champion: Thilde Maarbjerg from Denmark

>> Monday, November 19, 2007 Maarbjerg from the Kong Hans restaurant in Copenhagen won the title in the Nordic Sommelier Championship in Helsinki. It is the third year in a row that Denmark wins the title. This year it was a very feminine team of professionals: second place went to Susanne Berglund-Kranz (Sweden) and third place to Pia Peltoperä (Finland). Congratulations!


54% market share for the Swedish monopoly, the Swedish retail monopoly, announced in its latest newsletter that their market share in Sweden is growing (of course, ‘monopoly’ does not quite mean monopoly). Systembolaget now provides 54% of all alcohol that Swedes consume, up from a low of 48% in 2004. The market share of spirits was 39% (up from 36%). In other words, 61% of all spirit consumed in Sweden does not come from Systembolaget. The market share for wine is 74%. It must be a challenge being tasked with being the tool for moderating Swede’s consumption when half of the consumption come from other sources.


The Swedish monopoly grows sales too Systembolaget increased sales from January to October with 5.1% measured in ‘pure alcohol’. Wine sales grew with 5.4%. Anitra Steen, Chief Executive, commented: “growing household income and a decrease in travellers’ carrying alcohol with them from abroad is probably the cause”. She must feel slightly divided in the interpretation of the results – growing sales and increasing market share normally being a positive thing for a CEO but at the same time being tasked with limiting the consumption of alcohol in Sweden. Oh, the joys of a monopoly with political objectives…


The state vodka company grows its sales Vin & Sprit Group, the state owned company that primarily makes Absolut vodka, announced in its third quarter figures that sales volumes were up 9% to 7 million 9-litre cases, operating profits grew with 23% to 677 million SEK and profit after tax was 423 M SEK (+29%). Positive numbers that may well help the planned sale of the company.


New economic perspective on gastronomy and wine

a0617-221-2102The Association of Wine Economists have joined together with the Society of Quantitative Gastronomy (yes, they both exist!) to publish the Journal of Wine Economics with a new profile. Once every year they will publish a special issue focussed on gastronomy. In the next June issue they will for example have an article on “is breakfast free when it is included in the price?”. The AWE is a scientifically oriented journal that deals with economic issues around wine, wine production and w markets. It is of course not free and you can subscribe (or join) on their site: (Photo: oxymoron. Just like 'congressional ethics', or 'computer science': OxymoronList)


”Le Grand Tasting” in Paris 30 November to 1 December

>> Saturday, November 17, 2007“Le Grand Tasting” (in bizarre Frenglish) is the name of another wine fair in Paris. They present a more modest, but still large, number of more specifically quality oriented producers. But all is of course a matter of taste. This wine fair is organised by two ex-Revue des Vin de France journalists, Michel Bettane and Thierry Dessauve, which is a promising basis for an interesting selection of exhibitors. Why not spend a few days in Paris and go to both events? With some time for Christmas shopping in-between!


Spitting competition (!) at the Paris wine fair on November 22-26

ah26-250-5025We’re not quite sure how it will be judged (length? precision? beauty? originalty?...) but at the annual Salon des Vignerons Indépendants in Paris (a huge event with 1000 exhibitors) they will have a spitting competition whose winner will get the “Grand Prix du Cracheur d’Or”. (The competition is actually a devious way to make visitors understand the importance of spitting when tasting!). The Salon will take place at Porte de Versailles in Paris on November 22-26 and the c is on November 23 at 16.00.


Whisky from Öland

The image “” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.As opposed to many other internationally famous spirits (Calvados, Cognac,...) whisky does not have a regionally protected name. You can make whisky anywhere (e.g. in Japan, or on Ireland). Wannborga Distillery & Vineyard and Ölands Farm Brewery have joined together in a project to make whisky on the Swedish island of Öland in the Baltic sea. There is at this time no whisky to taste, but we have tasted their grappa, “calvados”, and “cognac”. Interested whisky fans are invited to invest in the future production – perhaps we can call it “whisky primeur”– to get preferential access once the product is ready. Wannborga is one of three Swedish vineyards on the island of Öland.

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