Another look at the world of wines!

Let me give you some news from the world of wines, my world. If you have read my blog you know that once in a while I need to tell you about wines. It is part of our family tradition for generations and of course it is tradition not alcohol. We drink respectfully.

As the lead country, France, wine is always on the table and my table. There are some rumblings out there and would like to keep you abreast and a notch for me too. Here are the latest tidbits of the wine world from France.

The cru bourgeois are making their revolution with new colorful banner (brand identity), new coat of arms (logo) and new motto (baseline): “Quality with the eyes closed”. But in substance, they return to the old regime, distinguishing “crus bourgeois exceptionnels”, “crus bourgeois supérieurs” and “crus bourgeois“. The selection was unveiled in Bordeaux this past Thursday, February 20 (hot off the press!!) . It is the fruit of nine years of work intended to extinguish the smoldering sling. Because, in this immense and very diverse family of XXS or XXL vineyards, family properties, belonging to private or institutional investors, or even active in large groups, which represents 31% of the production of the Médoc with 28 million bottles, the chateaux enjoying a brand as strong as the label threatened to secede.

Owners and traders deplored the volatile nature of the annual classification: how to explain to the markets which abhor the uncertainty that a same vintage is bourgeois in this year and loses this quality the following year. Consumers, themselves, wondered about a price range varying from simple to triple depending on the prestige of the appellation and the reputation of the chateau with prices generally pulled down. The L’Alliance des crus bourgeois du Médoc,( Médoc Crus Bourgeois Alliance) has therefore clarified its offer. The new protocol, validated by the public authorities, introduces a return to prioritisation with constraints and independent controls specific to each category. And stabilizes the offer with a classification valid for five years, enough to sustain trade relations. They need to adapt to an ultra-competitive global market, while the quality level has generally gone up. This revised classification sounds a new start for the cru bourgeois wines.

Two hundred and forty-nine chateaux have therefore been selected from seven Médoc appellations. Fourteen are distinguished “crus bourgeois exceptionnels” wines, fifty-six are recognized as “crus bourgeois supérieurs” , 179 are “crus bourgeois “. The first level of qualification was for all a blind tasting, by the verification body set up by the association, of five vintages chosen between 2008 and 2016. For candidates for an additional mention, the second level of qualification included the tasting of five other vintages. It was then a question of appreciating the regularity of the quality, as well as the evaluation of the cultural and environmental practices, the management of the exploitation, the promotion of the vintage, the quality of reception, and the wine tourism offer.

Three categories but a collective promotion. Among the crus bourgeois exceptionnels winners are some of my favorites (in black) and others, these are Agassac, Arnaud, Belle-Vue, Cambon La Pelouse, Charmail, Malescasse, Malleret, Taillan (in AOC Haut-Médoc), Arsac and Paveil de Luze (Margaux), Le Boscq, Le Crock and Lilian Ladouys ( Saint-Estèphe), Château Lestage (Listrac-Médoc).

All these new “exceptional” were once “superior”. A good progression therefore. And among the new “superiors” of today, 24 ordinary citizens of yesterday are promoted while 18 regain their former title. It included nine “exceptional” (including Chasse-Spleen, Haut-Marbuzet or Phélan-Ségur) which, since, have prospered and 87 superior. Those who today would be unhappy with their fate still have the opportunity to appeal. As for the coexistence of these three categories, on the need for collective promotion, mention or not in titles. To be seen now the public reaction and welcome of these labels and properties. There are in general a very good price quality ratio to had.

More info in English at the official webpage of the Alliance: https://www.crus-bourgeois.com/en/

One of the best wine salons fairs in France is at Mâcon; Saône et Loire dept 71 in the Bourgogne-Franche-Comté region. Knowing a growing success, the Salon des Vins de Mâcon or Mâcon Wine Fair is renewed for the year 2020 on April 17, 18 and 19.

The show offers a tour of France of the wine regions. It will take place at the Mâcon Exhibition Center. You can discover and taste wines from all over the country and build a quality cellar at various prices. This event, open to the general public, promotes discussion between producers and consumers in a warm and friendly meeting place. The Concours des Grands Vins de France or the Great Wines of France Competition is also organized among all the exhibitors and will reward the best wine. The latter will take place on Saturday 18 April 2020.

Brief info the event will be held at the “Le Spot” Parc des Expositions, avenue Pierre Bérégovoy, 71000 Mâcon. The schedule hours are Friday April 17 from 14h to 21h, Saturday April 18 from 10h to 21h, and Sunday April 19 from 10h to 19h. Price admission is 5€ adult or free for children under 12 . The admission includes free tasting, and a free vintage tasting glass. More info here: https://www.concours-salons-vins-macon.com/

A misled issue out of trade barriers which we all talk of bringing down but still active. This one does not make sense as we cannot compare planes with wines! Apparently America thinks they are the same. The long meeting on Saturday with the President of the French Republic; Emmanuel Macron at the Salon de l’Agriculture or Agricultural Fair did not calm fears of the wine industry. Affected since October by a 25% surcharge on still wines exported to the United States, French wine-growers insist on the “urgency” of a response to an unprecedented crisis situation, which should cost them 300 to 400 million euros of turnover this year, out of 1.2 billion realized per year in the country of Uncle Sam.

A retaliatory measure linked to a judgment by the World Trade Organization (WTO) against Airbus, accused of receiving public subsidies that distort competition with Boeing. The WTO therefore authorized the United States to tax $ 7.5 billion in products imported from Europe per year. The Trump administration immediately imposed an import tax of 10% on commercial aircraft and 25% on wine (Airbus produced in the state of Alabama which explains the low tariffs applied to aeronautics so a biased system indeed). The EU is still evaluating their counterattack nbut it seems do not want or need further escalations on trade barriers. In the meantime, the French winemakers suffer and the public over the pond pays higher prices.

And be ready as from March 1 to 31, 2020, Duclot La Vinicole, distributor of Bordeaux Grands Crus, presents its ninth edition of “Carte sur Table” (menu on the table) . Fifteen very fine Bordeaux wines will be on the menu of prestigious establishments at cellar prices so that amateurs can indulge themselves from 60€ Château Branaire-Ducru 2012 to a 690€ Château Cheval Blanc 2006. The selection is made up of wines that have reached perfect maturity or are highlighted in younger vintages, ready to drink even if we can still keep them waiting. These fifteen vintages will be available in a dozen of mainly Parisian restaurants such as Le Gabriel, La Scène, Origines, Gaya, etc ; but also in Versailles in the Trianon Palace to which are added Flocons de Sel in Megève. Among the bottles not to be missed, let me tell you to note a Château Pavie-Macquin 2014, 1er grand cru Classé of juicy Saint-Emilion, powerful, mineral, with chalky tannins 75€, a Château Giscours 2006, 3rd classified growth of Margaux en magnum , supple and silky, with melted tannins 150€. In the Saint-Estèphe appellation, connoisseurs will appreciate the Château Cos d´Estournel 2008, 2nd growth classified complex and generous 160€ or the Château Lafon-Rochet 2001, 4th growth classified 75€. Without forgetting a Château Lafite Rothschild 2004, Premier Cru Classé of Pauillac 690€ as well as a Château l’Évangile 2012, a magnificent Pomerol 160€. Superb opportunity at good prices, more info here: https://www.cartesurtable.com/

And one big news if lately the country has scare a few…. We do not seems to stop going ,investing, and enjoying China. La Fondation pour la culture et les civilisations du vin or in English the Foundation for Wine Culture and Civilizations, which manages the Cité du Vin de Bordeaux, brings its expertise to a pharaonic Chinese project: musée universel du vin or the universal wine museum. The opening is scheduled for the end of 2021. A cultural center dedicated to wine will be created in Fangshan, 40 km from Beijing, just over five years after the inauguration of the Cité du Vin de Bordeaux. The two institutions work in cooperation, but it is neither a copy nor a trademark license.

Its initiator has been speaking French since the age of 12 and knows the hexagonal culture (French) and its wine well, he planted a 60 ha vineyard in 1999, south-west of Beijing, and vinifies his Château Bolongbao organically (“ Bo ”for Bordeaux,“ long ”for the duration and“ bao ”which means castle, very French), in Bordeaux style, and finally, the City/Town Hall of Beijing is participating in this museum project as well, of course…

The new 18,000 m² space, located next to the Bolongbao estate, will include a 6,700 m² permanent tour with temporary exhibitions, an auditorium, multi-sensory events, a cellar, a gourmet restaurant and a wine school. The neighboring commercial area with hotels will obviously include wine sales spaces for individuals. There will also be a breeding ground for Chinese and international businesses. Designed in partnership with the French agency Architecture Studio, based in Paris, Shanghai and Venice, the project is presented as a stone village backed by vines, inspired by Saint-Emilion. The Scarabée agency, which had already focused 10 years ago on the founding fund for what would become the Cité du Vin in Bordeaux, is also associated with the Chinese project.

The 5 themes presented will be: What is wine; wine in the world with 12 major countries, 6 from the New World, 6 from the old, including France and China; the history of wine in China, rich in its latest archaeological discoveries; wine and the senses will present the categories of wine (red, rosé, white, sparkling …) and their sensory effect, with whenever possible, a passage to practice and advice on the art of living. The unmissable tasting stage will be staged like in a Parisian bistro.

The cooperation project of the Cité du Vin de Bordeaux is the 4th French museum project in China. It was announced after, the opening of the annex to the Pompidou Center in Shanghai in November 2019, as part of a brand license agreement, sale of expertise, loan of works and organization of exhibitions. the association of the Musée Picasso Paris and the Giacometti Foundation with the opening of a new art center in Beijing in June 2020, in district 798, as part of a contract for the sale of expertise, loan of works and organization of exhibitions; the project to create a Rodin museum in Shenzhen, the fruit of a partnership between the Rodin Paris museum, the city of Shenzhen and a Chinese collector, within the framework of a contract for the sale of expertise, loan and purchases of works and organization of exhibitions. And a 5th project should be announced soon by another French scientific museum.

SOURCES: avis-vin.lefigaro.fr, lejournaldesentreprises.com, vitisphere.com, and winespectator.com

Hope you have enjoyed this special post on the wines from France. And do drink it awesome tradition with good food , good cheers, and good family reunions. En Nino Veritas.

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

 

 

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