Archive for May 9th, 2018

May 9, 2018

The wine news of France!

What better way to start my regular posts in my blog than talking about a favorite of mine all my life. The wines if you tap wines in my search front page you will see the history of my involvement with it. There has been some good news and interesting facts about it lately.

First, on this day May 8 1945 WWII ended in Europe and it is celebrated here in France as a holiday, so we are all off and some use the bridge on Monday too. Then May 10 Thursday is Ascension Day off and the bridge off on Friday 11th; a great long week.

A great men of wine I have followed for several years and enjoyed his wines is Bernard Magrez, owner of four Grands Crus Classés in Bordeaux, and about 40 other domains in the world. Taking aim at developing new vineyards and also to take position in new territories. Recently, he purchase the Château de Sartre and its 33 hectares in the appellation Pessac-Léognan. The castle was owned by the Perrin family, and produces 140000 bottles two thirds red and one third white each year. Now, it will allow Bernard Magrez to offer a complete line of Pessac-Léognan wines of high quality such as Château Pape Clément, Clémentin, the second wine and now Château Le Sartre of which the bottle price sits around 18€ in France. This latest purchase will allow a domaine of land of 54 hectares in the Haut-Médoc bordering his other property the Château La Tour Carnet that has itself 180 hectares. The idea is to increase the production of the second wine of La Tour Carnet. He had also made an acquisition of a property of 1,5 hectares in Pomerol as well to add to his portfolio which includes one hectare of Châteauneuf-du-Pape as well as a sign promise to developed wine in the country of Georgia. More here:

A bit on the outlook for the year 2017 wines from several sources I use. Last April 20/21 and later April 27/28 there were very cold temperatures in the Pessac-Léognan area going down to -3C and even lower in the Médoc at -5C. The grapes were so advance that the bunches were not only burned by the cold but also some early developing bunches of grapes too. The return to Spring in May allowed the flowering to be fast and unison as well as the heat of June helps the growth of the vines in the areas touch by the cold weather. The conditions were very helpful especially to the white grapes varieties such as the Sauvignon blanc that started in August 16 under the sun, a record of early heat and those of Sémillon were extended to September 15. The reds the situation is more unique as the merlots early ripers got the full of the precipitations of early September, and the harvest in many needed to be advance to avoid the rotten phenomenon.  The Cabernet Sauvignons the maturation is slower and were help by the return of the dry and sunny weather from September 20th and were able to be harvest in good conditions.

Finally, the consensus is that 2017 will produce very yummy , fresh, and cracking wines with a lot of body. OF course, the quality is not for all. On the left bank or rive gauche north of Médoc the wines were spare the cold, such as Saint-Estéphe, Pauillac and Saint Julien will get very good wines.  The situation is mix in the Margaux with a quality production and some wines bearing the effect of the cold with vegetable notes and hard tannins. It is the same with more important proportions in Listrac and Moulis . More on the south, at Pessac-Léognan we have a double situation; Pessac was spare but not Léognan.  The appellation gives excellent whites even more superiors than 2015 or 2016, while the reds are ok on the properties save from the cold. On the right bank or rive droite, the situation is more complex. The grand crus were little impacted by the climatic incidents of April , except the area between Figeac and Cheval-Blanc. Pomerol had a double vintage with great wines on the plains but those properties in the beltway of the appellation had less luck.

The world wine production was affected by the climatic waves in Europe and had a reduction of 8,6% in 2017. This is their lowest level in the last 60 years! Total production was 250 millions hectoliters against 273M in 2016 according to the numbers provided by the International wine organization in French OIV. In Italy, the first world producer it came down 17% in value and 19% in France the second producer due to the cold spell in the Bordeaux area, but also, Charentes, Jura ,and the Alsace pain in third place went down 20% as ell while the USA came down only 1%, been the 4th world producer . China going up to the 7th world position just behind Australia, and Argentina. The best movers were in Latin America with an increase of 25% in Argentina and a reduction of 6% in Chile (9th world producer).  However, the consumption of wine was stable with about 243 million hectoliters in 2017, against 242 millions in 2016. Here in world consumption the USA is first with 32,6 million hectoliters in front of France with 27 millions (bear in mind the total country population) On the export market, Spain is in first place with 20,5% of the market while France is first in value amount worldwide with 9 million euros exported.  The total world exports figures were 107,9 million hectoliters in 2017 and increase of 3,4% from 2016, and a value of 30,4 million euros or 4,8% increase from 2016.

More reading on the above here:

Coming up. Onjune 6 2018, the most prestigious houses of Champagne will be in Paris on the tastings Grands Champagnes pour l’éte or great champagnes for summer.At the rive gauche of Paris in the heart of the neighborhodd of Saint Germain des Prés in the renovated HotelLutetia finding itself on the luxury ranks and a new chapter in its history. Gorgeous hotel had dine and drank at the bar there. The event hours start from 20h. Hôtel Lucetia 47 boulevard Raspail 6éme. A cheese buffet will be available to accompany the tastings admission for 39€ . There will be Champagne Castelnau , Champagne Cattier, Champagne Charles Heidsieck, Champagne Drappier, Champagne Gosset, Champagne Henriot,Champagne Joseph Perrier,Champagne Lanson,Champagne Laurent-Perrier,Champagne Moutard,Maison Mumm,Champagne Perrier-Jouet ; Champagne Philipponnat ;Champagne Piper-Heidsieck; Champagne Pol Roger Champagne Ruinart, Champagne Tattinger, Champagne Thienot, Champagne Veuve Clicquot , and Champagne Waris Larmandier. Just in time for the reopening of the hotel; more info here:

Tom Sullivan , an American story in purchasing the Château Gaby in Fronsac just over the Médoc in Bordeaux. The vineyards descend to the Dordogne river. There he and his wife owns a mansion that they enjoy spending time in . In little time Mr Sullivan has acquired four properties there, The Château Gaby appellation Canon Fronsac, also Château Moya appellation Castillon côtes de Bordeaux, Château du Parc, appellation Saint Emilion Grand cru and Auguste appellation Bordeaux Supérieur all in bio or in the process of conversion. All total about 20M euros in investments for this American millionaire who has made his fortune in the parquet and removable energies as well as real estate in Florida. The commercial strategy is to sell his wines in the UK and the USA/Canada markets only. He finds the wines from Napa very tannic and pre fabricated so he turns to France and especially the Bordeaux. He was looking to invest there but found the prices too high.  Today, 90% of his 320K bottles are produce in his properties in France and the wines are exported with good recognition in the USA especially on the west coast but also in Miami and New York. Do not know let me know readers please. One property is here Gaby:

With my curiosity for wines, I have spent quite some time in the Luxembourg country.  There I have come to know very good bottles . The country produces about 6 million liters of wine in 2016 (last figures I got) , it has about 1280 hectares of vineyards and 42 km long of planting going from the famous Schengen to Wasserbillig all along the Moselle river. I was by the town of Remich name the pearl of the Moselle for its wines and scenery; but my best impression was the bubbly or sparkler (cannot be call Champagne) at Grevenmacher and the Caves Bernard Massard. Worth a detour and pretty town we visited with the family a short while back (search)it here:

And if in France and need a quick wine, any prices and good advice search no more go to my reliable Nicolas stores all over France. I have a customer for years and never a problem or bad wine; the local store in Vannes is very friendly and so is the one in Lorient. The fair on them on the 2016 year is here.

And if on this neck of the woods a local one with stores in Guérande, Vannes and Plescop (we go here) is the Les Chais Saint François, good advice and bigger selection too. More here:

And finally, one wine.  While in 1815, the the cards of the kingdom of France were done by Cassini and on No 58 the review on Narbonne and its surrounding there was an auberge with the name of La Cendrillon; in the 17C Charles Perrault give it famous to the oral legend with a book play on the little princess (Cinderella). The Juyeux family owns it since 1750 just south of the Orbieu river and north of the village of Ornaisons, the owners dream of making it one day with the mention of Grand Cru on the bottles to make due the name of Corbiéres. Here they have good name neighbors such as the Boutenac, Caraguilhes, La Voulte Gasparets, Ollieux Romanis, Villemajou, and the closest neighbor Fontfroide, all very good names of wines here. Here you must taste the Classique a blending of Grenache, syrah and mourvédre fruity with long on the mouth. The bottles are only sold at maturity. Do find it and try wherever you are, red corbiéres 2014 16,50€ the bottle at La Cendrillon. More here:

Enjoy in moderation but do drink it, it is heavens. Happy travels good health and many cheers to all. Life goes on now stronger and more closer than ever.

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