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This month’s must-have wine gadget: the screw cap opener

>> Monday, January 25, 2010

Dr. Vino is a wine blogger with a talent to unearth unusual and intriguing stories. He has found this month’s wine accessory that one should definitely not be without: a “cork screw” for bottles closed with screw cap the Butterfly Wine Opener. How else will you be able to open with flair those challenging screw top bottles?! We dive for the credit card to place an order!(not pictured here)


Zagreb Wine Gourmet Festival, February 12 & 13

Croatian wine and gastronomic delicacies will be on show on the upcoming Zagreb Wine Gourmet Festival on February 12 and 13. Lectures, workshops, wine tastings, cooking shows and culinary presentations will be part of the two day programme. More information on Zagreb Wine Gourmet Festival here


Taste organic wines at Vinisud with BKWine on February 22

>> Friday, January 22, 2010 other big wine fair to put in the agenda this winter is Vinisud (also in Montpellier), specialised in wines from the Mediterranean basin. Vinisud has asked BKWine to lead a wine tasting of organic (including biodynamic) wines. There will be range of wine producers represented from the different regions around the Mediterranean (Languedoc, Roussillon, Rhône, Italy, Spain…). Britt will make a short introduction on the latest developments in organic wine growing/making followed by an open tasting. There will be some 15-25 wines to taste. All details are not yet settled but the tasting will take place on Monday February 22 (IMPORTANT: NEW DATE!) at Vinisud in Montpellier. The introduction will be in Swedish (the primary target audience being Scandinavians) but if you can take a bit of Swedish you’re welcome even if you’re not Scandinavian! (So, if you’re there why not give us a call to meet over a glass of wine? BKWine will be there!: +33 6 83 51 12 53)


Millésime Bio the big organic wine fair

>> Thursday, January 21, 2010

Just a reminder on Millésime Bio, the big (only?) wine fair focussed on organic and biodynamic wines. A very interesting event for anyone hunting for wines with a sense of the environment. In Montpellier on 25-27 of January. More info (And if you’re there why not give us a call to meet over a glass of wine? BKWine will be there!: +33 6 83 51 12 53)


Taste Languedoc wines in Paris on January 21

Miss Vicky’s real name is Anne-Victoire Monrozier and she writes the blog Miss Vicky Wine. She also sells wine (I think, her family has a vineyard in the Loire valley), and, above all, she organises wine tastings in Paris. Her next event is a Languedoc tasting at the art gallery l’Oeilduhuit in Paris on January 21. Several interesting Languedoc producers are on the list. More info and registration on Anne-Victoire’s blog Miss Vicky Wine


An apple a day keeps the doctor away – No, make that a wine photo a day!

You may not know of our wine picture blog. It is a blog where we publish a new wine photograph every day. Or every day we’re in front of the computer. Each morning we pick a photo from our wine photo stock collection (we have some 30,000 images available on Alamy and on Photoshelter). Some recent entries have been on:

- making a wine barrel (cooperage)
- Chateau Haut-Marbuzet in St Estephe
- Château d’Yquem

And so on. You can subscribe to updates to the wine picture blog either on RSS or on email. The biggest challenge is to find a clever headline each morning. Sometimes inspiration is decidedly lacking… Perhaps we should start a reader/viewer competition? The Wine Picture Blog.


Vote for the new organic logo in the EU!

>> Wednesday, January 20, 2010 will launch a new logo to mark organic products (“biologique” in French). They created a large number of suggestions. Three suggested logotypes have been chosen for the final round – and you can be part of the jury. In fact, anyone can vote for what logo we should have in the future. Here’s the page to cast your vote for the best logo for organic products. Vote until 31 January 2010!


"Wine Tech" galleries for the enthusiasts

We have started a series of wine growing and wine making slide shows to show more details on how some things are done. The intention is to illustrate some aspects of wine making or growing more in detail to give the enthusiast a better insight into each theme. For each theme we’ve created what we in lack of a better name call a Wine Tech Gallery. It’s a slide show with a series of photographs that illustrates the subject. (You can view it in full screen mode if you want.) Originally it was intended as supplementary material for our book A Wine is Born but it can of course be of interest to anyone who wants to know more about wine. Here’s what we’ve covered so far (an do come with suggestions for new subjects if you have ideas of things you’d want to see us cover):

- Noble rot
- Pumping over (remontage)
- Machine harvesting grapes
- Grape sorting and selection


Wine Trend 2010 #10: China grows in importance

>> Saturday, January 16, 2010

In a longer term this will have a big impact but even in the short term it will be noticeable. It is above all on the consumption side that it will have an effect – the Chinese demand for wine will grow. It will primarily be more expensive wines that will sell rather than budget wines for the mass market. On the production side, on the other hand, i.e. Chinese wine, it will take much longer time before it will have any impact internationally.


Wine Trend 2010 #9: More protectionism in the EU

This is the trend that we most hop that we will be mistaken on. Over the last few years the EU agricultural policy (the CAP) regarding wine has mad quite a lot of progress towards a more open and market oriented regulation. This is largely thanks to the outgoing agriculture commissioner Mariann Fischer Boel and her diligent (but not always successful) work. It has often led to protests from the wine producers, and above all from the wine producers lobbying groups. Now it is time for a new commissioner and Dacian Ciolos from Romania has been nominated. His nomination has been greeted with cheers from the protection-loving wine lobby. Ciolos comes from a wine producing country (albeit not a big one) and the wine lobby hopes that he will show more sympathy towards their demands for subsidies, protection measure than what Fischer Boel did. Before we see what happens in reality in Brussels there is no way of knowing, of course, but let us hope that there will NOT be a trend towards more subsidies, more protectionism and other things that are only bad for consumers, and also bad for the wine sector in the long run.


Wine Trend 2010 #8: Cheaper (less expensive) champagne

Champagne is probably the wine region that has prospered most during the past decade. They have rather had a shortage of wine (or grapes) and steadily growing prices. But there’s a risk that this is over. Sales in 2009 have probably dived by more than 25% (we don’t have any final numbers). In spite of what is almost effectively a production cartel in the Champagne region, to control prices, next year is likely to be hard. (The local control authority decided, for example, to cut the allowed grape yield in 2009, hoping that it would keep prices up.) In time for New Year you could buy champagne in Paris for less than 9 euro and in England it seems you could find some bottles at less than 15.


Wine Trend 2010 #7: More demand for lesser known grape varieties

>> Friday, January 15, 2010

In Bordeaux they grow more and more petit verdot and sauvignon gris. Marselan has been approved for AOC Côtes du Rhône. We will see more and more wines with unusual grape varieties that previously were known only locally. If even. Are consumers tired of chardonnay and merlot? Why not try a tannat or a malbec? Or even more exotic a prieto picudo, an alfrocheiro, negrette, xinomavro…?


Wine Trend 2010 #6: Good time for budget wines

2009 was the year of The Crisis but it didn’t make people stop drinking wines. Instead, consumers moved towards less expensive wines. This, we think, will continue in 2010. There will be a focus on value for money. Expect good times for wine producers who make budget (not to say cheap) wines with lots of taste. Garage wines have almost disappeared from the lime light; bubbles tend more and more to come from northern Italy or Spain; perhaps consumers will even discover that there are plenty of excellent Bordeaux wines that are not “classed growths” – and that sell at a fraction of the price.


From Parisian to walnut farmer and truffle hunter

>> Thursday, January 14, 2010

Just read this wonderful story by Tom Fiorina about how he became a truffle hunter. Hunting truffles not with a pig, not with a dog. But with flies. Truffle flies.

I have participated in a truffle hunt a few times and it's always been with a dog. That's what is usually the case these days. But I've heard it explained and seen it demonstrated that you can do it by letting the flies guide you. But I hardly thought it was true. But apparently it is.

It's a wonderful story and you should read all of it (it's quite long but worth while).

Just to illustrate it a bit, here's a truffle fly (a real, but dead, one):

And here are a few illustrations of how you do it:

(No, that's not Tom Fiorina on the picture)

Here's a rather normal size truffle:

And a really, really big one:

Here you can see the white pattern inside the truffle:

But back to hunting them. Digging to find it:

Here it is. What? You think it's a stone?

Well, this may look like one but it tastes quite different from a stone, and costs a bit more:

If you don't trust your fly finding capabilities:

Some truffles canapes perhaps?:

And if you have too many you can sell them at the market:

If you want to see more truffles and truffles hunting photos you can look here.

We occasionally organise truffle hunting tours for the enthusiasts. Where you can take part in a real truffle hunt a winter morning (you can only do it from December to February...). And once you've spent all morning outside, frozen to the bone (perhaps), we sit down around a lunch table and have a truffle lunch: appetizer with truffles, starter with truffles, main course with truffles, and a bit more truffles, cheese with truffles, dessert with truffles... It's really a wonderful experience.

If you're curious you can find out more about our truffles and wine tours here. Sometimes we have a truffles tour on our 'public' tour program but we also do them custom made on request.


Wine Trend 2010 #5: Less oaky wines #2

When talking to producers it is much more clear: they frequently say that they want to emphasise the fruit and avoid masking it with oak. They cut down on the portion of new oak used. So, on the producer side this is a clear trend. Perhaps a contributing factor, a year like this year, is that an added benefit of this is a reduction in the outlays for new (and expensive) barrels?


Wine Trend 2010 #4: Less oaky wines #1

We think this is a trend but we’re not quite sure. Many people talk about this: less oak in the wine, but …. when you make a show of hands after a wine tasting to see which wine was most appreciated it’s usually then one with oak character that comes out on top. So perhaps people like oak after all. Can it be like for champagne: many champagne producers tell the story of the visitor who says “I like the really dry champagne, preferably Brut Nature” (without any dosage), but when they taste the wines blind, one with no sugar at all and one with a slight dosage, it’s the wine with sugar that they prefer…


Wine Trend 2010 #3: Balance

>> Wednesday, January 13, 2010

We will want less beef and punch in the wines and more balance and elegance. It is less important to reach a high alcohol level and more important to find an equilibrium between fruit and the other components in the wine. Wineries will experiment with yeast that produces less alcohol (yes, there is), grape varieties that produces less sugar but still ripe grapes, techniques for removing alcohol from the finished wine etc. (At the same time, one should remember that a high alcohol level is not in itself contrary to a well balanced wine. There are many well balanced wines with high alcohol levels. It is mostly a question of competent wine making. An in truth, if you think about the health effects, or drinking and driving and such things, does it really matter if it is 12.5% or 13.5%?)


Wine Trend 2010 #2: environmental issues #2, ‘nicer’ packaging

The trend to less environmentally ‘bad’ packaging will continue. Not least, we will see fewer of the ridiculous weight lifting bottles often used for prestige cuvees. We remember well (but not with joy) the bottle that weighed in at 1.4 kg. Empty! We will see lighter bottles, PET bottles (plastic bottles making a return!), aluminium bottles, bag-in-box without the box (so, wine-in-a-plastic-pouch), and why not more of the wines in a can (recyclable of course). All these alternative packaging will continue to suffer from the stigma of assumedly containing cheap wine. In conjunction with this we have other environmental aspects: greenhouse-gas-neutral wines, CO2 studies in more an more regions etc.


Wine Trend 2010 #1, environmental issues #1, eco-friendly wines

It’s been a trend for some time now but we think it will continue and perhaps accelerate in 2010. We consciously say “eco-friendly” and not organic wines since there is a big group of producers who work with so called culture raisonnée (almost organic, but not quite 100% so; sometimes wrongly, in our opinion, translated to ‘sustainable wine growing’). This group continues to grow and is in numbers probably bigger than organic wine growers. But both culture raisonnée, organic and bio-dynamic vine growing will grow. And if the EU agrees, as is the plan, on what an “organic wine” will be it will accentuate the trend (today there is only “wine made from organically grown grapes”; what is done in the wine cellar is not regulated).


Jack’s wine of the month: Langhe Nebbiolo, Pio Cesare

>> Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Jack’s wine of the month
Langhe Nebbiolo, Pio Cesare

It’s a new decade and time for new wine experiences. I suggest that you take the time to make a nice and hearty meat stew one of the January weekends and serve it with a well-decanted (3-4 hours in advance) nebbiolo wine. Try the “mini-Barolo” from Pio Cesare, Langhe Nebbiolo 2006 (around 10€). You will get lots of compact grape character to go with the stew. The wine already shows some age with touches of porcini mushroom and cherries; a good tannin structure behind and a quite high acidity. You can keep it for a few years but excellent to drink now – with food.


BKWine Pick: Le 26, Narbonne

Le 26, Narbonne

This is one of our favourite restaurants in Narbonne, not that choice is lacking. In the miniscule space (30 m2 plus terrasse) le chef Frédéric Nalais serves delicious and well made food. Try the croustillant de noix de saint jacques en feuille de brick (scallops in crispy spring roll dough), ravioli with basilica or a grilled dorade (sea bream) with coriander and cream of fennel. Excellent goat cheese from the Cévennes mountains. At lunch time you can get la formule expresse for the steal of 14.50 € and in the evening you can try the menu terroir for 24.50€ or, more ambitious, le menu des gourmets at 37€. A good wine list with an emphasis on local wines: Corbières, Minervois…

Click here for address and more recommendations.


BKWine Pick: Osteria da Ugo, Verona

>> Monday, January 11, 2010

Osteria da Ugo, Verona

It’s hidden in a back street and you may have to fend off the dust bins on your way there even thought it’s in the beautiful city of Verona. It’s a traditional osteria (bistro for the Francophile), serving typical regional food from Veneto – the region where Verona is located in north east Italy. You can for example get a meat stew with amarone, or pasta with an abundance of porcini (and other) mushrooms, or a risotto made with local cheese and rosemary. A bit rustic, country-style, but very friendly service even when very busy. A pleasant restaurant, mid-priced food, and far from the local American province called Piazza delle Erbe. The wine list is also good, featuring many Valpolicellas and Amarone in various vintages.

Click here for address and more recommendations.


BKWine Pick: Braida, Rocchetta Tanaro, Asti

>> Sunday, January 10, 2010

In Monferrato, in the hills east of Asti, we find Braida, a winery belonging to the Bologna family. Today it’s the third generation Bolognas who manages the winery, Raffaella and Guiseppe, both with an oenology education. They are assisted by Norbert Reinisch, an Austrian doctor, married to Raffaella. The Bologna family were perhaps the first to realise the potential of the barbera grape variety. In 1982 they launched their first vintage of Bricco dell’Uccellone, made from 100% barbera, aged in small French 225 litre barrels for 15 months. No one had made something like that before and people didn’t think it was a barbera. Bricco dell’Uccellone 2006 is a powerful, full-bodied wine with a dense structure and good fruit, not hidden behind the discrete oak aging (~35-40€). Some other delicious wines from Braida@ the white Il Fiore and the red Il Bacialè, a Monferrato Rosso made from barbera, pinot nero and a touch of cabernet sauvignon and merlot (~11-14€). Their top wine is Ai Suma, made from grapes harvested later, very concentrated and extracted, an almost overwhelming wine with close to 16% alcohol. Will survive a well chosen strong cheese…

Click here for address and more recommendations.


BKWine Pick: Weingut Franz Leth, Fals am Wagram, Austria

>> Saturday, January 09, 2010

Weingut Franz Leth, Fals am Wagram, Austria

Wagram is an Austrian wine region a short distance west of Vienna totalling 2500 ha. The make primarily white wines and grüner veltliner accounts for 55% of the production. Winemaker Franz Leth also makes predominantly white wines but has expanded his production of reds recently. Try for instance his Grüner Veltliner Brunnthal 2008 (~12€), a wine with complexity with citrus flavours and ripe tropical fruit. It has a good and fresh acidity and in spite of the alcohol level reaching 13.5% it is well balanced. Another fantastic gruner veltliner that we tried is the Scheiben 2006. Franz suggests keeping if for 20 years or more… The Blauer Zweigelt Gigama 2006 (~22 euro) is proof that the red wines have a bright future. It is intense, spicy, with flavours of dark cherries and some oak. It has been aged for 24 months on barriques. Also a wine that definitely will improve with some aging.

Click here for address and more recommendations.


Welcome to the BKWine Brief nr 78, January 2010

>> Friday, January 08, 2010

Just like last year, we did some brain storming (late one night after some good bottles of course) on what might be the trends in the wine world in the coming year. You can read more details below in the Brief but here are the headlines:

Wine Trend 1, environmental issues #1, eco-friendly wines
Wine Trend 2: environmental issues #2, ‘nicer’ packaging
Wine Trend 3: Balance
Wine Trend 4: Less oaky wines #1
Wine Trend 5: Less oaky wines #2
Wine Trend 6: Good time for budget wines
Wine Trend 7: More demand for lesser known grape varieties
Wine Trend 8: Cheaper champagne
Wine Trend 9: More protectionism in the EU
Wine Trend 10: China grows in importance

One year ago we also looked in the crystal ball, in the BKWine Brief in January 2010. Were our predictions correct last year? Take a look for yourself in the Brief for January 2009!

We’d be very interested to hear what you think about the wine world in 2010! Are we completely off the board? Or do you agree? Or perhaps you have completely different predictions for the coming year. Send us an email or post a comment in the blog!

This rather extended holiday season (especially if you’re Swedish: December 24, 25, 26, 31 and January 1 and 6, plus half of 5 are vacation days, or “red” days as they say in Sweden. It refers to the colour in the agenda and not to your political views) has given us plenty of opportunities to open some nice bottles. Traditionally, for Swedes, it’s the season for the Christmas gigantic smorgasbord with plenty of beer and aquavit. Yes, we’ve had some of that but we’ve also managed to down some good wines.

We wrote some time back about our “Swedish” wine cellar that we’ve moved home (from Stockholm to Paris). It’s been hibernating almost untouched in Stockholm since we moved from there almost twenty years ago. In other words, there were some “interesting” wines there that we have started to sift through. If you follow us on twitter (@bkwineper) you might already have had some of our spontaneous reactions to those wines ‘live’ over the holidays.

Just to give you some examples: Château Beauregard 1981 (Pomerol), Chateau Grillet 1986 (Condrieu), Château Chasse-Spleen 1976 (Bordeaux), Les Silex Chateauneuf-du-Pape 1977… The experiences have been very varied and sometimes unexpected : a magnificent Château Grillet (we no longer believe in those who say that Grillet cannot age !); a, to us, unknown Chateauneuf that surpassed all reasonable expectations; several (OK, that’s an exaggeration – let’s go for ‘some’) old clarets that were still alive (sometimes on life support) but that were mostly very elegant and delicate, partially due to the time that had passed (more than 30 years sometimes) but probably also because none had an alcohol level above 12.5%...

We’re thinking of making our database with tasting notes available on the internet. Would that be a good idea, in your opinion?

Britt & Per

PS: Recommend to your friends to read the Brief or forward it to them !

You can read the full Brief here!


Wine tastes better in blue or red light

German researchers have concluded that wine tastes better (is perceived as tasting better? – a philosophical distinction perhaps) when tasted in light with a red or blue colour, compared to if the lighting is neutral white or green. They had the subjects taste wine in different coloured light and compared reactions. The colour also had other, more specific effects: Red light made the wine taste sweeter and fruitier. Red or green made the drinkers think the wine was more expensive (1 euro more on average) than white or green. Drinkers are warned of bar owners who try and manipulate guests’ perception with the colour of the light (no we’re not joking). All according to


End of good times for Bordeaux?

>> Thursday, January 07, 2010

One of the most influential wholesalers of Bordeaux wine has closed down its Bordeaux business. It’s a potentially revolutionary story that has attracted surprisingly little attention. Diageo Chateaux and Estates has decided to abandon all trade with top Bordeaux wine, according to a story in the AFP. DCE has been the biggest actor on the American market for top of the range Bordeaux (primeurs). The decision means that they will cease trading in Bordeaux wines and that they will liquidate the stock that they have.

This means that the single biggest US customer will disappear and that there may be an oversupply of dumped Bordeaux on the market. According to some estimates their stock may be worth up to $200 million. A trader in New York, quoted by the AFP, says that he has stocks of Bordeaux worth $5.5 M that is now unsaleable since his prices would be 50% over the dumped DCE wines. Read the original article from AFP here.

Dan Berger, writing in the Napa Valley Register, thinks it may be the start of a crisis for Bordeaux , others don't agree, e.g. Tyler Colman (Dr Vino) is more sanguine and does not seem to think it’s a big issue.

One can’t help wondering what impact it will have on the Bordeaux Primeur Circus that will soon kick off for the 2009 vintage and for the Bordeaux market as a whole.

What do you think? Are we exaggerating the possible impact? What will the consequences be?


Amarone is granted DOCG status

>> Wednesday, January 06, 2010

The DOCs Amarone della Valpolicella and Recioto della Valpolicella in Veneto in Italy have been promoted to DOCG status, according to DOCG is the highest classification in the Italian wine laws. The DOCG label may be used from the 2008 harvest. Growers welcome the upgrade and say that they hope it will improve the economy and the quality of the regions wine, and that it may reduce the amount of fake amarone that has circulated on international markets recently. How that will happen is unclear. More


The magic of words: Chaume is ‘grand cru’ or ‘premier cru’ or both?

The French sometimes put too much stock in the magic of words and in the value of appellations, as this story, just one of several about AOC and name wrangling, shows: In 2003 a new appellation was launched in the Loire Valley, with the blessing of the INAO of course: the AC Chaume Premier Cru, within the Coteaux du Layon region. (It’s very difficult to understand how the INAO could agree to it to start with.) This was a sweet white wine appellation in a wine region close to the city of Angers.

However, the neighbours said ‘we are not amused’ since there was already since long an appellation, and a very prestigious one (albeit virtually unknown except to the real wine nerds) called Quart de Chaume. The producers of QdC thought (understandably) that the name “Chaume Premier Cru” might give the impression that ‘plain’ Quart de Chaume was something lesser (which it is not, rather the contrary).

So they took the case to court. And won. So Chaume Premier Cru was annulled in 2005 and disappeared. Wine growers are not ones to give up easily (if they were they probably wouldn’t be wine growers), so the CPC growers tried again, now in 2007 with the name Coteaux du Layon Chaume. But not with better luck. They ran into opposition and this AOC too was annulled in May 2009.

But there’s no giving up when it comes to AOC word magic (just think of Saint Emilion’s classification that’s been five (?) times in court and through the French parliament). The latest proposal, as we read in Decanter, is that Quart de Chaume will become a Grand Cru and Chaume ‘tout court’ will become a Premier Cru. It’s not yet approved by the INAO and there’s still scope for someone not being quite happy with it, but for the moment it looks as if it will pass.

If only the French wine growers would spend a little bit more time thinking about their customers and less fighting each other in court and in the AOC system they’d have more success on the international market… More in


Terras do Sado becomes Peninsula de Setubal

>> Tuesday, January 05, 2010

The Portuguese wine region Terras do Sado is located just south of Lisbon. It Has recently been renamed Península de Setúbal in an effort to make it better known. The new name will be uses from the 2009 harvest.


The monopoly model gains international supporters? More countries adopt monopoly?

They are discussing a reintroduction of the monopoly model for selling alcohol in the country. A working group is toiling to present a proposal in March 2010. The Prime Minister, who has initiated the project, has already previously introduced strict limitations on the sale of alcohol, e.g. by forbidding internet sales, we read in So, where is this country that apparently has understood that the Swedish monopoly model is “the world’s best way to sell alcohol” (according to the Swedish monopoly’s own advertising)? Russia of course. More info


A bottle of Masa Super Premium for $2500

>> Monday, January 04, 2010 very elegant bottle safely guarded in an elegant wooden box decorated with stylish calligraphy. Harvest made by hand, of course, and delicately treated to produce a unique beverage for the connoisseur. Produced in only 100 bottles. A new super-extra-special-premium wine from California? A new champagne to rival Krug’s Clos d’Ambonnay (with an equally silly price tag)? No. A bottle of green tea. More info on King of Green Masa Super Premium


400 Bordeaux chateaux sold at auction

>> Sunday, January 03, 2010

On December 18 a bit over 400 Bordeaux chateau were sold at auction in Paris. It wasn’t the actual wine estates that were sold of course, but depictions of them. In 1850 the first edition of what was to become a legendary wine book was published: Cocks et Feret’s Bordeaux et ses vins (Bordeaux and its wines). It was a description of all the major wine properties in Bordeaux at the time, including an illustration of the chateau. The illustrations were artistically designed copper plate prints. What has now been sold at auction is the original copper plates for the 400 and some featured chateaux, 5 to 15 centimetre big copper printing plates. They were sold at auction with price estimations ranging from 500€ to 3000€ (final prices not yet available). Judging from the catalogue it would make for beautiful desk decorations. More info:


So what does Worcester Sauce has to do with wine?

We don’t know. But it’s the name of a new wine blog by Stuart George. Stuart. Stuart is a journalist which perhaps explains that is blog posts are on the long side compared to the blogger average. He writes mainly about wine but digresses frequently into other subjects like art (his most recent posts are on art exhibitions). But you have, as mentioned a lot of stuff on wine, e.g. a long (very long) text on wines from Chile. And if you look closely you can also find some “pages” (as opposed to blog posts) with more info, e.g. a chateau profile on Chateau Haut-Bailly in Bordeaux. So, why Worcester Sauce? Suggestions, anyone?


South Africa experiments with genetically modified vines

>> Saturday, January 02, 2010

In August the University of Stellenbosch was given permission to plant en experimental plot with 1 ha of genetically modified vines. This touches a very infected debate. Some say that such trials must not be done. The had a small planting of GM vines in Alsace until recently. They were allowed to plant the vines under condition that they produced no grapes, in other words, that all flowers were removed. They had this trial until recently – it was vandalised and destroyed. But now there is a new trial in South Africa. Those who say that it should be done are afraid of unpredictable consequences that might lead to a catastrophe. Those who are in favour say that the experiments may lead to plants that are resistant against some diseases. That could lead to substantial reductions of vineyard spraying, and thus less poison spread in nature. It will be interesting to see what happens. Read more: The Genetically Modified Grape Storm in a Desert Wine Glass. The Genetically Modified Grape Storm in a Desert Wine Glass.


World’s first malbec competition

>> Friday, January 01, 2010

It’s very popular with varietal wine competitions so for the first time in world history (!) there was recently an International Malbec Competition. Malbec perhaps not the world’s most wide-spread variety but you can find it in several different countries.

These are the plantings:

- Argentina 24,310 ha
- France 6,630 ha
- Chile 1,020 ha
- USA 680 ha
- South Africa 408 ha
- Italy 340 ha
- New Zealand 170 ha
- Total: 34 000 ha
(Source: P Fegan, Chicago Wine School)

Argentina, and specifically the Mendoza, dominates in terms of acreage. In France the variety is best known for the wines it produces in the Cahors, but it is also planted in Bordeaux and the Loire Valley (under the name cot). Cote de Bourg, who co-organised the competition, is the sub-district in Bordeaux with the highest percentage of malbec: 10%.

So what was the result of the competition? Well, there were two categories: northern hemisphere and southern hemisphere, but in the southern category there was a draw so three wines won trophies:

- Northern hemisphere: Cahors, Chateau du Cèdre "GC" 2007
- Southern hemisphere: Dolium Gran Reserva 2006 (Argentina, Mendoza) and Malbec Single Vineyard San Carlos 2005 (Chile, Valle de Colchagua)

Mer info :

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