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The new issue of the BKWine Brief is out, #82, May 2010

>> Thursday, May 27, 2010

Welcome to the BKWine Brief nr 82, May 2010

It’s been a busy spring for us – if finally spring has really arrived, and even summer it seems. We have been travelling quite a lot. We haven’t counted the air (and rail & road) miles but it would add up to quite a few.

Our first destination was South Africa, the very first wine tour we have organised to this interesting wine country (that also is the biggest supplier of wines to Sweden!). For those who wanted there was an option to combine the tour with a safari (we wanted!). Very interesting wines to discover in this young-old wine country (they celebrated 350 years of winemaking last year!). Very interesting animals too! The tour was a big success and we are already planning the South Africa Wine Tour 2.0 for next March.

After that we headed off on one of our “three classics” tours. Spring was still not showing its nice face so we had a few cold days in the vineyards. But since we spent most of the time in the wine cellars it wasn’t all that bad. First to Champagne, where we tasted a lot of well chilled wines (thank you, absent spring). One of the persons we met was a bio-dynamic wine grower who presented an extensive tasting of his wines in his winery, and in particular an interesting overview of some of his “base wines”, i.e. the still wines before the second fermentation that gives the bubbles (more about that further down). We continued to Chablis where we enjoyed a nice dinner in a Michelin starred restaurant (and many wines in the wine cellars of course), to finish the tour in Beaune in the heart of Burgundy. Finally the sun showed up, just in time to enjoy some aperitifs on the outside terraces.

Bordeaux was the next destination where we all enjoyed a lunch served with sauternes all through the meal, plus numerous vineyard visits of course. The day the Bordeaux trip started with a bang. Literary. It was they same day the volcano on Iceland erupted. Luckily everyone had arrived OK in Bordeaux, but the more the trip went on, and the more the volcano continued its dirty business, the more we became worried. In the end it turned out good though. Almost everyone on the trip had come by car, and that’s never happened on one of our trips before! The one couple who were flying managed to arrange a car-swap deal with someone travelling in the other direction!

We went home by train to Paris, still worried about the volcano. The following week we were scheduled to fly to Palermo (Sicily) to take part in the jury at the Concours Mondial wine competition (we were the only Swedes in the 250-headed panel). What was going to happen? Just a few days before we were to travel we still did not know if the competition was going to be cancelled or not. And the volcano was still spewing its ash. In the end, the competition went ahead (big gamble from the organisers!) and we got on a flight to Italy the very first day the air traffic was (relatively) normal. We combined the wine judging with a few extra days travelling around the island to discover its various wine regions. We travelled some 1200 km over 3 days. On Sicilian roads… Sicilian roads are not like any other roads, I can assure you! But it was worth it. A very fascinating wine region, with steely wines from Etna (a volcano that thankfully kept quiet) to sweet marsala, and innumerable Greek temples on the way. You will read more about Sicily in coming Briefs!

After that Per headed to Tuscany. A wine tasting and cooking class tour (has anyone who was there tried to make home made pasta again?). All the winegrowers we met were very concerned about the sun, or rather the lack thereof. But I am sure that will sort itself out over summer. But again! The ash cloud! The last day of the trip, a new ash cloud appeared and closed airports on Ireland and… in northern Italy. But just in time for departure, around midday on Sunday, the airports opened again and everyone managed to get on a flight home. A bit of chaos at the airport but better that than no flight.

At the same time Britt headed to Chile and Argentina. There were no ash clouds in that part of the world but the first day there they had an after shock of the big earthquake earlier this year. “Only” around 4 on the Richter scale though. But Britt seemed more worried about having to go horseback riding around the vineyards…

That’s all for the time being. Well not quite, Britt heads to Stockholm tomorrow, for meetings and tastings.

And perhaps this makes you long for a wine tour? (And we’re not expecting any more ash clouds or earth quakes in the wine regions at the moment.) Think of us if you do.

Britt & Per

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