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Welcome to the BKWine Brief nr 75, October 2009

>> Monday, October 26, 2009

The big thing for us right now is that our new book is finished. Really finished. We will have it in our hands in just a few weeks! We’re really excited.

The book tells the story of how a wine is made. It’s aimed at the wine enthusiast but can also be used as a wine course book. It’s quite unusual in that it goes into details of vine growing and winemaking – but with a text aimed at the wine lover.

The story in the book evolves around two themes: First, our innumerable conversations with winemakers, interviews, vineyard visits (we visit some 200-300 vineyards each year), wine shows etc. They are to a great extent the ones who tell the story in the book, explaining what they do and why. Secondly, we show that there are rarely any absolute truths. There are always different sides to an argument. If one winemaker says that you should absolutely have stainless steel fermentation tanks to make good wines, his neighbour will be convinced concrete is the best. The same goes for closures, oak, filtering, planting density etc etc. And both are generally right and make good wines. The interesting thing then is why you do this or that. And we explain, or let them explain, that in the book.

The book has two sections: The first half is dedicated to the vineyard: planting, vines and grape varieties, training and pruning methods, soil, climate, illnesses, manual vs. mechanical harvest etc. We also try and get to grips with this thing “terroir”. The vineyard section ends with an explanation of organic wine growing and biodynamic wines (issues that are often misunderstood!). We try and explain it in a practical, down to earth way.

The second half talks about the work in the wine cellar: The importance of sorting (and how you do it), crushing, pressing, fermentation is looked at in detail, as is the ‘upbringing’ of the wine (élevage) and the aging, the influence of oak, assemblage (blending), fining and filtering (should you or should you not?) etc. We look at what various substances you can add in the winemaking to control and influence the result. Closures have a chapter of their own (another subject that is often misunderstood): natural cork, plastic cork, screw caps, etc, as does ‘special' vinifications: sweet wine and sparkling wines. Finally we look at defects and problems, e.g. corked wine and reduction, and what types of wine you should cellar and age.

Everything is illustrated over 300 pages with many, many colour photographs (you wouldn’t expect anything else from us, would you?).

It will be hot off the presses (not the wine ones) by mid November.

Sounds interesting?

Well, hrrm, it’s published in Swedish (but the pictures are nice). We’d love to find a publisher for an English or French edition. Any suggestions?

Apart from that, the travel season is starting to calm down now. We’ve been to quite a few of Europe’s wine districts this autumn, and most have been very positive about the harvest, and some have been positively jubilant. At least for the quality. Many are suffering from smaller harvests than usual.

But what remains is the European Wine Bloggers conference next week (at least for some of us – Britt stays in Paris), something that I’m sure we’ll have reasons to come back to.

In this issue you also get a special report on the 2007 wines from Bordeaux. We recently tasted most of the Grands Crus Classés plus some others (the ones that are part of the Union des Grands Crus). In summary the reds from 2007 are delicious, accessible, with a nice fruit dominated by blackcurrant and some mint. Not an extraordinary vintage – instead they’re quite nice to drink already today! But the whites on the other hand …. are fabulous. Unfortunately, white Bordeaux seems not to be much appreciated by the consumers. Production has shrunk to only 10% of the total in Bordeaux. Let’s hope that the superb 2007s can change that.

Britt & Per

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