This blog has moved to a new location.

You can now read it on BKWine Magazine.

Please change your bookmarks and RSS feeds accordingly.

And do subscribe to our free wine newsletter, the BKWine Brief!

All info on our wine and food tours are now on

Record harvest in Argentina

>> Monday, June 25, 2007

ah25-247-4740The harvest volume in Argentina 2007 is expected to increase with 6.5% compared with 2006. It will be the largest volume since 10 years. A contributing factor is that many new plantations in the Mendoza region this year produces wine for the first time.


Napa Valley officially recognised by the EU

050414-191-9147The European Union has recently officially recognised the denominations “Napa” and “Napa Valley” for wine in a way similar to the European appellations of origin for wine. The president of Napa Valley Vintners comments “It is a significant victory in the permanent fight to protect the name Napa around the world”. Not that we believe that there were many producers in Europe who called their wine “Napa”…,,


Water in the vineyard

Is it permitted to irrigate the vineyard? It depends on where and when. Many believe that it is forbidden in e.g. France. However, that is not the case. Even in France it is allowed in some districts and under some conditions (at certain pre-defined periods during the year). Usually not for the better wines though. After the extremely dry 2003 there’s been a lot of discussion about a more liberal attitude towards irrigation in France. In the New World the situation is sometimes the opposite. There are no restrictions on irrigation (as a matter of fact, some wine districts would not exist without it). But there are some arguments raised that perhaps it should be used less. Read more about that debate, primarily on the US west coast, in SFGate.


Austria bets on organic wine

>> Friday, June 22, 2007

Austria aims to become the leading producer of organic wine. There are today 467 organic wineries in the country, representing 4% of the total production. In 2006 the produced volume of organic wine reached 652,000 hectolitres.


New VDP: Vin de Pays du Val de Loire

On May 11 the official text for the new Vin de Pays du Val de Loire was published. It covers the departements Allier, Cher, Indre, Indre-et-Loire, Loir-et-Cher, Loire-Atlantique, Loiret, Maine-et-Loire, Nièvre, Puy-de-Dôme, Sarthe, Vendée, Vienne and parts of Deux-Sèvres. White grapes: sauvignon blanc, sauvignon gris, chardonnay, chenin, grolleau gris, pinot blanc, pinot gris, melon. Red varieties: cabernet franc, cabernet sauvignon, gamay noir, grolleau noir, grolleau gris, pinot noir, merlot, pineau d’aunis. The grape variety (varieties) can be mentioned on the label. The previously used VDP du Jardin de la France is thus abolished. Read the full text.


Sneak release: truffles in February

an18-327-2718It's not officially released yet, but we can give you a sneak preview. On February 13-17 we will organise an exclusive Truffles Hunting, Wine and Gastronomy tour (including foie gras) to the Perigord district in South West France. We'll go "hunting" for truffles with specially trained truffles dogs and we'll end the morning with a magnificent all-truffles lunch... An we'll also visit a number of interesting wine producers in the region of course. You'll soon find more info here:


New guest writing on Lebanon, Israel, Germany…

>> Monday, June 11, 2007, we have the pleasure of welcoming a new guest writer, Per W Stryger, who is both a wine importer ( and an airline captain, as well as a wine writer. On the guest writer page he writes three articles on German wine, on drinking wine, and on combining wine and food.

Read Per’s articles here.

We also have new articles from two of our established guest writers: Ester Laushway writes about an interesting and unusual producer in Provence (certainly an unusual love story!), and David Furer writes two articles on wine from Israel and on wine from Lebanon.

Read Ester's och David's articles here


BKWine Pick: Domaine d'Aupilhac

>> Sunday, June 10, 2007 d’Aupilhac, Sylvain Fadat, Montpeyroux, Languedoc

Sylvain Fadat prefers to spend his time in the field. That’s where the important work is done, in his opinion. He’s one of the stars in the Languedoc, with Domaine d’Aupilhac that he created in 1989, north west of Montpellier. At that time, Languedoc still had a low-quality, big-volume reputation and Sylvain became one of the pioneers in on the path towards higher quality. He understood the fantastic potential, there to be discovered, in the vineyards around his home village – Montpeyroux. Today he makes a wide range of wines, both white and red, and all have lots of substance and personality. For example, his cuvées from very old vines of Carignan and Cinsault.

Click here for address and more recommendations.

Read about more recommended producers on the site: Favourite Producers

Read more recommendations on restaurants and winebars on my Restaurant and Wine Bar page.


Wine Tours

>> Saturday, June 09, 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):


BKWine Brief nr 47, June 2007

>> Friday, June 08, 2007

Here in Paris we had a wonderful month of April. We sat on the balcony until late in the evenings enjoying 20+ centigrade. Then May arrived with the total contrast: cold and rain. In our building they turn of the heating on May 15 (no matter what) and we’ve rarely been freezing so much inside as this May.

In many parts of France the pattern was similar: wonderful April, horrible May. So, what does this has to do with wine? Well, the early heat and sun made the vines virtually explode with energy early on in the season. Some say the growth is two weeks early, other say the plants are a month or more ahead of time.

But then we had rain and cold in May that messed things up. The result? Poor flowering, uneven pollination, colure and other problems. This will probably lead to a small volume harvest and it will also be difficult to choose the right moment to pick the grapes. Grapes on the same bunch will have different maturity (due to uneven flowering) and ideally you should harvest in successive ‘tries’, like in Sauternes, only the ripe berries. But that will be too expensive. In other words, it seems to be a year when the work in the vineyard will be very important and when the skills at harvest time will make a big difference. We will see.

Slovenia – A new wine country to discover!

I was recently in Slovenia and it proved to be a very pleasant discovery, both regarding wine, food and beautiful countryside. A landscape that seems to be a mix between Tuscany and Austria (try and imagine!), an exciting and creative cuisine, and wines that we certainly of good quality and often original. Some of the whites you have to get a bit accustomed to – skin contact for six months is not unusual! – but once you’ve recovered from the first shock the wines are certainly very drinkable and interesting. And the world of wine could do with a few more surprising wines. Indigenous grape varieties coexist with the internationally well known. Even if Slovenia is best known for its white wines we found several reds that impressed, for example the Pinot Noir from Marjan Simcic and Rofosk from Uros Rojac. In this neat little country with 2 million inhabitants they are also very keen on growing their vines organically, or, as the dynamic Vesna Krisancic at Movia, even biodynamic. We will no doubt see more of it in the future.

Find out for yourself

Why not come and see for yourself how the harvest turns out? We have an exciting wine tour to Burgundy in September and a tour to Portugal in October. Register now for your autumn wine tour! More info:

Book reviews

Just a reminder that you can find wine book reviews on our site. Perhaps good for some inspiration for summer reading or travel:



Link Tips

Some wine sites that you might enjoy visiting:

  • On Italian Syrah wines:
  • On Hans Vinding-Diers, a Danish-South African-Italian wine maker:
  • Wine comments from the US, including some Wine Spectator videos:
  • One of the most silly sites we’ve seen in recent times, somehow created out of the ashes of the defunct wine magazine Wine-X (explains perhaps why it didn’t survive…). We’re not quite sure if it’s serious or if it’s irony:
  • A wine merchant specialised in rare wines:
  • A Californian wine blog written by Victoria, a Swede:


Go for good or great Gigondas

>> Thursday, June 07, 2007

Gigondas is a small appellation in the southern Rhône valley that has almost become a little bit forgotten. For a while it has perhaps not been among the most dynamic of wine regions but more recently it has seen something you could almost call a renaissance. Today there are several interesting producers in Gigondas. Raspail-Ay is probably the best known but there are many others. If you are curious to find out a bit more about them (plus a few truths about the 2003 vintage) you should read Mark Williamson’s (Willi’s Wine Bar) commentary here


Laroche opens boutique hotel in Chablis

>> Wednesday, June 06, 2007

A year or two ago Laroche opened a wine bar and restaurant in an old renovated mill and now (after quite a long wait) it’s time for the hotel. It is a very small and luxurious hotel above the restaurant. Seven rooms (two suites, one with a large terrasse) await the guests. Almost minimalist design, very low-key and elegant with a discrete African theme (perhaps inspired by Laroche’s new vineyard in South Africa). Goes well with a Grand Cru in front of the fire place in the hotel living room.


Crowds in the vineyard – 17,000 vines per hectare

>> Tuesday, June 05, 2007 de Tracy has just launched a new cuvée called “Haute Densité”, or simply HD. 2004 is the first vintage of the peculiar wine from one of the best estates in Pouilly-Fumé. The wine comes from a 1 ha vineyard on Kimmeridge soil. It is planted with a density of 17,000 vines per ha! Quite extraordinarily dense; generally, vineyards are considered to be densely planted with “just” 8-10,000 vines per ha. Why plant so densely? The winemaker Laurent Pataille answers: “It increases the competition between the vines and gives the wine more concentration since we only have two bunches of grapes per vine”. The result? An elegant wine with flowery aromas, very mineral, and a long and powerful taste (45 euro at the estate). Impressive for vines that are only a few years old.


Bring you own wine to the restaurant

Sometimes one thinks that it’s a pity that one can’t afford to drink some really nice wines in a restaurant. Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to bring with you to the restaurant that wine-candy you have in the cellar at home? Well, in the UK that is quite possible. The ambitious wine site Wine-Pages have now done a list of restaurant that allows you to bring your own wine. You can find this BYO (Bring Your Own) list here Including a few restaurants in the US.


Next Vinisud takes place on 18-20 February 2008

Vinisud in Montpellier is a trade show focusing on wines from the Mediterranean basin. It has grown rapidly in recent times and is today a must for those who are interested in wines “from the South”. Many exhibitor come from France – naturally – but all the countries around the Mediterranean are represented. The next edition will take place on February 18-20, 2007. To note in the agenda!


Soave – combining wine and food

During Vinitaly the Consortio of Soave launched a new information leaflet on combining Soave wine with food – specifically with Scandinavian food. The booklet contains recommendations and recipes from famous Scandinavian chefs and how to combine it with Soave wine. It is written by Magnus Saccone in English with an Italian translation. To order the booklet send an email to press (at)


OIV – what is it?

>> Monday, June 04, 2007

In the last issue of The Brief we mentioned that Montenegro has joined the OIV. Unfortunately we were a little bit imprecise in explaining what OIV is. Federico Castellucci, general secretary of the OIV, has asked us to clarify that OIV stands for Organisation Internationale de la Vigne et du Vin, or in English: International Organisation of Vine and Wine, and that OIV is an intergovernmental organisation of a scientific and technical nature and a recognised competence for its works concerning vines, wine, wine-based beverages, table grapes, raisins and other vine-based products. It is composed of 43 member countries who have an economic interest in wines and other alcoholic and non-alcoholic products derived from grapes. Clarification now done. More info on their site:


Château la Roque in Pic-St-Loup (Languedoc) changes hands

>> Friday, June 01, 2007

bf15-396-9670Château la Roque, one of the best known properties in the successful appellation Pic-St-Loup in Languedoc has just changed hands. The new owner is the ex-industrialist from Normandy, Jacques Rivette. the property covers some 80 ha, 32 of which are planted with vines.

The blog has moved. Here is the new location: BKWine Magazine Blog.

  © Blogger template Webnolia by 2009

Back to TOP