Wines news of France I !

So back to my tastings hobby or is it drinking or definitely not collecting although I have some bottles…. The subject pops up again and can ‘t resist writing on it when I hear some exciting news on them. This time is finally been recognise as happening. So on a sunny bright 25C or 77F weather let me tell you a bit about the wines of France I ! The best!!!

Bordeaux wineries took a bold step last week, authorizing seven new wine grapes for Bordeaux AOC and Bordeaux Supérieur wines. It still needs to be approved by France’s national oversight body, INAO. It’s a huge move for one of the most conservative areas of the wine world.  For now, the only wines that will be allowed to use these grapes are those with the entry-level Bordeaux or the geographic Bordeaux Supérieur labels. The famous appellations of Bordeaux, such as Pauillac and Saint-Émilion, will not be affected.

Merlot is the most-planted grape in Bordeaux and is the bulwark of most red wines east of the Gironde river. The problem with Merlot in overly hot weather is not that heat is bad for the vines or the crop. In fact, Merlot in an overly hot year presents the definition of a first-world problem: it produces grapes that have too much sugar, so the wine has too much alcohol. But in France, it’s illegal to add water unlike California for example!

There are not so many ways French farmers can legally cut back on the alcohol content of their wines. Picking earlier is the easiest method, but there’s a limit to how early a farmer can pick, because often the sugar that becomes alcohol develops in grapes faster than the flavor compounds that make wine delicious. Picked too early, a wine might taste like alcohol and tannin and not much else. Different grape varieties ripen at different times, though.

The big name here is Touriga Nacional, perhaps the best grape in Portugal’s hot Douro Valley. Touriga Nacional makes wines of great complexity and elegance even in hot, dry conditions. Bordeaux’s white wines are not as expensive or important to the market as its reds, but they will get a boost with the white grape Albariño, which makes terrific wines from the coasts of both Portugal and Spain. Especially famous for the Galicia region of Spain.

The third-most important grape on the new list is Marselan, a cross between Cabernet Sauvignon and heat-tolerant Grenache created in a French research institute in 1961. Marselan appears in some southern French red wines but it is a major varietal wine in China. The other four grapes are obscure. They are:  Petit Manseng, a white variety usually used in sweet wines;  Arinarnoa, a cross between Cabernet Sauvignon and Tannat;  Castets, a rare red variety first identified in Bordeaux in 1870. It was down to less than one hectare in France in 2008, according to Wine Grapes by Jancis Robinson, Julia Harding and José Vouillamoz and  Liliorila, a rare white variety that is a cross between Chardonnay and another obscure grape with the evocative name Baroque.

Growers are only being allowed to plant up to 5 percent of their vineyards with them, and can only add up to 10 percent in their final blend of any bottling. the new regulations are just an approval of experiments that are already happening even in the most expensive vineyards in Bordeaux. There are some people who do some Carmenère in Pauillac today for instance.

The canicule (heat wave) had catastrophic effets on the wines, cultures and growing. Some winemakers in the south of France lost as much as 80% of the harvest!!! And the effect on the other areas has not been determine yet.

At least 150 bottles of vintage wines have been stolen from a restaurant in Paris, for an estimated amount between 400,000 and 600,000 euros. According to wine mag LRVF .The malefactor entered last Monday in the cellar currently under construction of the Maison Rostang restaurant, a two-star establishment located in the 17éme arrondissement , not far from the Arc de Triomphe, digging a hole about 50 cm in diameter ((bit less than 20 inches). Of course , they knew what to look for as they took mostly Petrus and Romanée Conti bottles!!! Now under Police investigation .More on the nice restaurant here:

The highest court in France (cour de cassation)  found that the Bordeaux Court of Appeal was right in April 2018 to dismiss the lawsuits of the prestigious Château Petrus against CGM, the company of  the Coureau brothers, merchants and owners in Saint-Savin (Gironde), accused  of counterfeit trademark and deceptive marketing practice. The dispute goes back eight years, when the Coureau brothers decided to name their wine “Petrus Lambertini Major Burdegalensis 1208” in reference to the first mayor of Bordeaux in the 11C. Petrus immediately tried to block the initiative by opposing the filing of marks of the brothers at INPI (National Institute of Industrial Property). In vain.

Château Petrus, property in Pomerol of the Moueix family and a Colombian-American minority partner, does not give up and in 2017, continues in correctional court after CGM after the publication on the internet of an announcement of an individual wishing to resell bottles of  second wine of Petrus. The name “second wine” appearing on the label.  In the first instance, Petrus wins, the court considering that there is a risk of confusion, even if the wine of the brothers Coureau is selling around 10 euros a bottle, far from the astronomical sums reached by the prestigious vintage.

A year later, the Court of Appeal sweeps this judgment, saying that if the Coureau brothers had indeed made a skillful use of the mark, a good consumer moderately aware of the wine would not be deceived, recalls the judgment of the Court of Cassation. Attracting the customer’s attention does not mean deceiving or misleading, the Court of Appeal noted. And the name of a second wine is not prohibited, even in the absence of first wine. There you Petrus name is not exclusive anymore!

And to close have a bottle find it , very good , recommended. Enjoy it

Vitatge Vielh ( in old Béarnais means old vintage) is the name of a plot planted in the 1940’s and in which are planted three grape varieties: Gros Manseng, Petit Manseng and Courbu. A very old vine behaves like an old fruit tree: it is less vegetative, better regulates its vigor and its production and gives fruits more tasty. Its firm structure makes it a dry white wine of care and gastronomy. It will perfectly accompany cooked sea fish, but also a grilled chicken or a roast veal served with a white sauce,  chanterelles or morels … and mature cheeses. For the 2014 vintage, a vintage with grape harvests in summer weather conditions, ideal! In tasting, You will feel a note of  exotic fruit, honey, acacia flower, very complex, and an acidity that arrives pleasantly, especially fruity, floral, it remains long in the mouth! The Clos Lapeyre is located 15 minutes south of Pau on the slopes of Jurançon (house wines here!) . Mr Jean-Bernard Larrieu (3rd generation) took over in 1985. The vineyard, between 350 and 400 meters above sea level, today has 18 ha of which half in terraces facing the Pyrenees. It consists mainly of Mansengs varieties.  It is from Clos Lapeyre  Chemin du Couday – Chapelle de Rousse;  More info here in English: Clos Lapeyre Jurançon

There you go and now in Summer enjoy the roses too. We are on !!! Enjoy the wines and especially try those from France. Cheers

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all !!!

2 Comments to “Wines news of France I !”

  1. The extra grapes are a huge step for Bordeaux wines. It will be interesting to taste the results!

    Liked by 1 person

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