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It’s official: AOC Languedoc is born

>> Thursday, May 31, 2007

In a text published on April 30 AOC Languedoc has been officially announced. Technically, it is not a new appellation but a modification of the existing AOC Coteaux du Languedoc. To create a new AC takes many years and the growers were more impatient than that. So instead they opted to change the existing AC Coteaux du Languedoc so that it a) changes name, and b) includes both the Languedoc and the Roussillon. The intention is that it will make it easier for consumers. Laudable of course. The AOC Languedoc may be used from the 2006 harvest. The old one can still be used during a transition period of five years.


New-old conflict over Margaux appellation

>> Wednesday, May 30, 2007 it was the Cru Bourgeois classification that was annulled. Then it was St Emilion. Is Margaux next? Philippe Raoux, owner of Ch d’Arsac, has recently won a new step in a long running court battle against the INAO over the borders of the Margaux appellation. He bases his argument on geological studies that he claims shows should broaden the appellation. (Do we need to add that it would then include d’Arsac?...) INAO, meanwhile, has defined its own new (proposed) borders of Margaux. It would include some new land but would exclude some of the existing properties. We can easily imagine how the owners of that land will react… Perhaps it is time to let the consumers decide what wine is good and what is not good, rather than giving that task to bureaucrats? More in


Champagne Thiénot buys into Dourthe

>> Tuesday, May 29, 2007 Champagne house Thiénot (Thiénot, Canard-Duchène, Joseph Perrier, Marie Stuart, Malard) has bought a stake in the Bordeaux négociant CVBG Dourthe Kressmann. Dourthe is a major négociant in Bordeaux and also owns (or manages) several estates: Château Belgrave, Ch La Garde, Ch Pey La Tour. It is said that the intention from Dourthe is to assure the long term capitalisation of the company. The turn-over of the combined group is expected to reach 275 million euro in 2007 and it will manage some 725 hectares of vines in Bordeaux, Champagne and the Languedoc.,


New American AVA: Outer Coastal Plain, NJ

>> Monday, May 28, 2007 latest addition to the list of AVAs (American Viticultural Areas) is Outer Coastal Plain in New Jersey. The region covers almost half of the state: 2.25 million acres (0,9 million hectares) – all are not planted with wine though. There are 20 wine producers growing a variety of grapes, e.g. Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Viognier, Chardonnay, Riesling, and Sauvignon Blanc.


What will happen with Tocai Friuliano?

>> Saturday, May 26, 2007

Since April 1 it is no longer permitted to use the name Tocai (in Italy) or Tokay (d’Alsace, in France) following an EU agreement that reserves that name for wines from Hungary. The Italian government has, however, decided that Tocai Friuliano can be used for at least one more year, contrary to the EU ruling. This is the result of an Italian court ruling that decided that ‘Friuliano’ will not be permitted as the new name for the grape. In Veneto, on the other hand, they have already started to use another name for Tocai: Tai… (It may be worth noting that Tokay d’Alsace and Tocai Friuliano are entirely different grape varieties: Tokay d’Alsace is Pinot Gris (or Ruländer in German) and Tocai Friuliano is Sauvignonasse. In addition, Tocai (now Tai) in Veneto is a third, unrelated grape.)


Record year for Spanish wine exports

>> Thursday, May 24, 2007

2006 was a record year for wine exports from Spain: they reached 1.64 bn euro which is up 3.9% from previous year. Looking further back, over ten years, since 1995, the Spanish exports have doubled.


Californian grape acreage increases

>> Wednesday, May 23, 2007 acreage for grapes in California grew in 2006 to 350,000 hectares (860,000 acres). That is about the same size as Bordeaux (100’) and Languedoc (250’) together. But only 60% of that is used for producing wine: 213,000 hectares (527,000 acres), up 1% from previous year – so roughly, California wine land is about twice the size of Bordeaux. Most widely planted grapes were Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay.


South Africa feels the pinch of the world wide wine glut

>> Tuesday, May 22, 2007 Africa is arguably one of the most successful “new” wine countries in recent times, coming from virtually nowhere to now commanding a substantial market share, at least on some markets. But now even South Africa is starting to feel the pain of the word wide wine surplus. Exports are down for the first time in 12 years. Prices are also down (13%) and wineries come up for sale. Read more:


Prices rise on Australian wine?

>> Monday, May 21, 2007

There’s been exceptionally dry weather in Australia, and coupled with spring frosts this has reduced this year’s harvest. Now, trade sources estimate that the reduces volumes will lead to price increases for the consumer of between $2 and $8 per bottle. This might be a relief for the Australian wine industry that has suffered from over-production, sometimes to the extent that grapes have been left hanging on the vine or tanks have been emptied from unsold wine to make room for the new vintage.


EU spends 415 M euro on wine support – 159 M euro goes to Spain

>> Friday, May 18, 2007 EU has a relatively substantial budget to support and develop the wine sector. Primarily it is targeted at decreasing the surplus of cheap, low quality wine, e.g. by grubbing up vines, by changing grape varieties, and in other ways improve wine production. For the budget year ’06-’07 some 425 million euro will be spent on this program. 159 of those millions will go to Spain which is the country with the biggest land surface planted for wine production: 1.2 million hectares. This is one of the things that you can learn from the recently published “Spain Food and Drink Report Q1 2007” from Research and Markets.


Laroche increases turnover with 17%

>> Thursday, May 17, 2007 Laroche Group, led by Michel Laroche, increased sales for the year ended on March 31 from 26.1 M euro to 30.7 M euro, an increase with 17%. Laroche is best known for it’s Chablis wines but are today also making wines across the globe – in the Languedoc, in South Africa and in Chile.


AOC Coteaux du Languedoc Pézenas defined

>> Wednesday, May 16, 2007 new official publication has defined the requirements for adding Pézenas to the AOC Coteaux du Languedoc. The wine must come from the communes Adissan, Aspiran, Caux, Fontès, Fouzilhon, Gabian, Lieuran-Cabrières, Montesquieu, Neffiès, Nizas, Paulhan, Péret, Pézenas, Roujan, and Vailhan, all in the department l’Herault. Permitted grape varieties are Grenache Noir, Mourvèdre, Syrah, Carignan, and Cinsault. The denomination may be used from the 2006 harvest.


Bernard Magrez makes wine in Japan

>> Tuesday, May 15, 2007 Magrez is one of the most successful wine “industrialists” in recent times. He has amassed a wine empire including some 35 wine estates. He has recently established a joint venture with Yuji Aruga of Katsunuma Winery. The wine that they will make together will be sold on the international market (outside of Japan) through the Magrez distribution organisation.


BKWine Pick: Weingut Manderschied, Pfalz

>> Monday, May 14, 2007

Weingut Manderschied, Pfalz

Young Martin Manderscheid owns 15 hectares in Pfalz (Palatinate) in Germany. He took over the property from his father three years ago. 60% of the production is white wines, the rest is red and rosé. We’ve had the opportunity to taste three of Martin’s wines and were duly impressed. Grauburgunder 2005 Spätlese Trocken is a very good, aromatic wine, quite full-bodied with a nice fresh acidity. A completely dry wine with only 2.3 gram of residual sugar (4.6 euro from the property). The red Dornfelder Trocken 2004 has lots of red fruits and berries and is quaffable – quite a dark colour with a touch of spiciness (3.9 euro). This seems to be a property with a bright future. Prices are very reasonable. If you drive through Germany this summer Weingut Manderscheid is certainly worth a stop.

Click here for address and more recommendations.

Read about more recommended producers on the site: Favourite Producers


Wine Tours

>> Sunday, May 13, 2007

Wine Tours

  • 26-30 September: Côte d'Or, the heart of Burgundy
040923-142-4285Over the course of a long weekend we will take a close look at the heart of Burgundy: la Côte d’Or de Bourgogne, the Golden Slope of Burgundy. Our visits will give you expert insight into the important aspects of Burgundy wines: soil, geology, viticulture, and vinification. More info!
  • 17-21 October: Portugal – Alentejo
Portugal have been making great strides in improving wine quality over the last decade and the Alentejo region is one of the most dynamic (albeit one of the least known). There are many ambitious wine makers in the region, both traditional Portuguese "houses" and modern ventures. And this is also where you find the vast Portuguese cork oak forests and the delicious Pata Negra ham. More info!

Finnish Wine Tours - Viinimatkoja Ranskan viinialueille!

Tours on the schedule (in Finnish):


Special offer: Portugal

>> Saturday, May 12, 2007

Portugal has developed into a very exciting wine country. That’s why we do one more wine tour to Portugal this year. Just in time for that trip a new book on wine and food from Portugal will hit the shelves. It’s The Wine & Food Lover's Guide to Portugal written by Charles Metcalfe (ex-editor and co-founder of Wine International) and his wife Kathryn who have written it. In co-operation with Charles we are happy to be able to offer to the readers of the BKWine Brief to buy the book at a preferential price directly from Metcalfe. Let us know if you are interested and you will get the book delivered as soon as it is off the presses (Sep/Oct). And we hope that you’ll come on the Portugal tour too! (But the book offer is open to anyone who’s interested – you don’t have to come on the tour.)

But don't forget the Burgundy trip that also is scheduled for this autumn. It promises to be very interesting!


Link Tip

>> Monday, May 07, 2007

Marquis de Griñon – a technology savvy wine producer:


Book Review: How to build and start your own wine cellar

>> Wednesday, May 02, 2007

How to build and start your own wine cellar
By Chris Miley
Redwine Publications,, An ebook (pdf) on wine cellars. It actually includes some general wine and wine history sections but most of it about how to build a wine cellar. It’s not quite a DIY manual of how to build it. Rather it is a collection of tips and recommendations on things you should think of and things that are important for a wine cellar. For example, there’s a chapter on cooling units and how to choose a good one. A short but useful ebook if you want some inspiration for building your cellar.

Don’t forget that we have a whole section on the site with reviews and recommendations of good wine and food books. Pages full of inspiration for the wine and food lover: the book shelf.


Book Review: Rare Malts, Facts, Figures and Taste

>> Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Rare Malts, Facts, Figures and Taste
By Ulf Buxrud
Quiller Publishing

Initially, I was a bit hesitant. Is it more of a promotional book? – All whiskeys come from the same company, Diageo and their “Rare Malts Selection”. Then I said to myself, if you can write a book about, say, Château Margaux, why not about an outstanding whiskey producer? So, shedding my hesitation, the book is a fascinating read: a long list of whisky distilleries are described and their whiskies tasted and commented. Some of the distilleries no longer exist so to book is also in sorts an historical account. All written by Ulf Buxrud who is an exceptional whisky enthusiast. The illustrations are perhaps not always up to par, and I’d h remove some of the pictures of bottles and bottle boxes and have space for some more illustrations of the places and environments, but I might be nitpicking. To read and to savour for the dedicated whisky lover.

Buy the book: |

Don’t forget that we have a whole section on the site with reviews and recommendations of good wine and food books. Pages full of inspiration for the wine and food lover: the book shelf.

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