Wines news of France VIIII !!

And bringing back my series on my other hobby other than travel which actually are complimentary. The wines are in me since 8 yrs old !! and that is a long time folks , believe me. To be brief as plenty in my blog and especially for newcomers, welcome all; I am certified wine expert by France (Sopexa) and Spain (ICEX) and have visited many vineyards all over the world. Of course, after all this experience I too can to believe the best were, are and will be for the forseeable future from France ! Hope you enjoy the post as I do.

Starting with a bang! It is a Champagne that is drunk late at night in Saint-Tropez or Miami, it is a wine for gourmets that knows how to accompany the best meals, from appetizers to dessert, it is a juice created by a Benedictine monk who never tastes better than in the cloister of the Abbey of Hautvillers, where he was born!  The production of Dom Pérignon, both great wine and supermarket, obeys principles that the successive cellar masters of the abbey have refined and applied. One of the first pillars of the house is blending, that is to say the choice of grapes from different plots that will go into the composition of the wine.  Dom Pérignon is releasing the 2010 vintage this year, a very open wine, with notes of pineapple, intense jasmine, a glorious champagne and broad shoulder, almost massive, which stands out from its predecessors. A wine with horses under the hood, sharper than the 2006, which turned out to be fat and nicely viscous. Much less toasted than the 2004, voluminous, airy. 2010 does not have the depth either, the gravitas of 2003. Each vintage finds its audience, and reveals a little of the personality of the one who loves it. YES it is out go for it!!! See my posts on Champagne.

The Roederer wine library, set up in 1999, is for those who have not had the patience to keep their wine in the cellar to enjoy it at the best time. This year, gourmets will discover the 1999 vintage. The vinothéque is between 300 and 500 bottles of rosé and between 700 and 900 bottles of white put on the market each year.  Today, of their 242 ha, 120 ha are certified organic. 122 ha are HVE (high environmental value) certified, of which 10 ha are biodynamic. the first edition of Brut Nature Rosé is breathtaking. The tension of this “bone” wine is even more noticeable on the rosé than on the white. This 100% organic vintage, made from a biodynamic vineyard, with no added sulfur or sugar, co-signed by designer Philippe Starck, has been a great success, especially in Italy.  The Roederer Group is preparing the production of a still red wine and a still white wine. The white will be made from a Chardonnay from Mesnil-sur-Oger. The red will come from a Pinot Noir from Mareuil-sur-Aÿ. These two wines, vintage 2018, will be released next February 2021.

It is now possible to produce vintage wines, that is to say that the use of reserve wines is no longer mandatory. This is a great opportunity for Champagne to express its uniqueness and to show once again that these are great wines and a great region. Here is a Champagne with pretty tension, straight in its boots but without stiffness. On the nose, this wine with fine bubbles is an orchard at the end of summer, it scents pear and mirabelle plum, while the palate, of the creamy type, gives way to red fruits. The glacier coast, exposed to the south, as its name does not indicate, and the parcel of Meurtet, exposed south-east. Two unique expressions of Aÿ pinot noir. Barely 6,000 bottles are sold each year. Served as an aperitif, it awakens the taste buds with immense sweetness. Gourmets will keep it at the table where it will happily accompany foie gras, scallops, langoustines, lobster and cheeses. Let us add that this Champagne lends itself to a long guard. Those less in a hurry can wait until 2040.

Already consultant in the wine and spirits sector in New York, Hongkong, and Zurich, and later in charge of exports for a great domaine in the Rhône, Jean-Baptiste Ancelot finished to accomplished his dream as a student. That is, the culmination of a census of each country wine producers in pretty bottles, a project that took him eleven years of worrk. From this adventure, he took out the work of the Wine Explorers. The opening of an e-shop is the next logical step. Already six countries are highlighted in its catalog. In Austria, in the region of Burgenland, they discover the cuvées of the domain Silvia Heinrich and the red grape variety Blaufränkish. Then passing through Bosnia-Herzegovina to taste the wines of the Brkic estate made from the zilavka (white) and blatina (red) grape varieties. Hungary, Romania and the Czech Republic are part of the trip, like Malta, with the Meridiana estate. The proposal should quickly be enriched with Greek, Lebanese, Moroccan, Italian, Slovenian vintages ..They want to quadruple the supply on the French market from the first half of 2021. The book and concept here:  Wine ExplorersLe 1er tour du monde du vin, (the first world tour of wines) by Jean-Baptiste Ancelot, ed. Omniscience, 234 pgs, here at 35€.

King Louis XIV loved the delicate rosé wine produced in Les Riceys, a small village of 1,500 inhabitants located in the south of Champagne, in the Côte des Bars. The production of rosé is a heroic act, because the village also has the right to produce, from the same grapes, Coteaux-Champenois and especially Champagne. The appellation of origin Rosé-des-Riceys occurs in three communes, Riceys-Haut, Riceys-Haute-Rive and Riceys-Bas, on specific plots, from a short maceration of the skins of the pinot noir grapes with its juice. Maceration is stopped as soon as the famous “taste of Riceys” appears. The wine then passes from the vat into oak barrels where it matures for a year or more.  This rosé is rare. Of the 320 million bottles produced, still wines called Coteaux-Champenois represent less than a million and Rosé-des-Riceys a few tens of thousands. In other  words, nothing for a global market. But it is one of the best rosés in France and its very original taste, more Burgundy than Champagne, is sought after, especially since it can be kept without problem between three and ten years. This rosé is eaten locally on pig’s trotters in Sainte-Ménehould or on a soufflé pie with chaource cheese. Among the fifteen producers, it must be mention Alexandre Bonnet, always very consistent, Olivier Horiot, with a good density, Defrance, quite rustic, and Veuve Devaux, always very elegant. Four interpretations for a unique wine. Indeed to taste!!!

Today, some winegrowers proclaim it loud and clear: they are proud to belong to one of the 580 cellars or unions of French cellars (cooperatives). Out of 75,000 harvest declarations in 2019, 43,300 are cooperative members who own small structures of around seven hectares. The geographical development of my selection begins in Alsace where the Cave de Ribeauvillé, created in 1895, is considered to be the oldest of the cooperatives. The Champagne is the region which offers the most beautiful list of enterprising cellars, since the beginning of the century to moment when the Champagne economic network is united between the trade and the winegrowers following the revolts of 1911. In Burgundy, the producers of crémants are efficient, while in still wines, La Chablisienne has long proved its worth, followed by the cellars from the Mâconnais and the Côte Chalonnaise such as Lugny, Buxy and the Vignerons des Terres Secrètes. In the Jura, the village fruit farms have a voice, particularly that of Arbois. In the Rhône Valley, the Cave de Tain-Hermitage is playing in the big league, while some cellars in southern villages are on the rise, with cuvées based on often organic and / or “natural” fruit. The Midi offers a nice group of dynamic cellars. It is true that cooperation has its roots in Hérault, thanks to the alliance in 1901 of a small group of winegrowers from the village of Maraussan, Les Vignerons Libres, whose cellar inaugurated in 1905 during Jaurès’ speech founded the system. 31% of cooperation is concentrated in Languedoc and Roussillon. Finally, on the western front, two large groups dominate the southwest: the dynamic Cave de Plaimont and Vinovalie, the Bordeaux entity Tutiac, which has taken over the marketing of a large part of the region. The Loire, for its part, remains slightly behind …too small to join forces as cooperatives.

The AOP Listrac-Médoc is, with its cousin Moulis, the most “continental” of the town’s appellations of the Médoc. They doesn’t “look” at the estuary like the others. Thus, even if the climate is temperate oceanic, the temperature minima are lower here than in the other communal areas of the peninsula. The Listrac and Moulis area is one of the latest in the Bordeaux vineyards. Listrac is also distinguished by its terroir. The soils of the Médoc depend largely on the six ancient terraces of the Garonne. The wine-growing soils are generally more clayey than in the other Médoc town’s appellations. Hence a higher proportion of Merlot (63%). But there are significant variations between sites …! This was a find for us way back and enjoying ever since.

The French wine and spirits sector is sacrificed for a dispute over aeronautics,yes. The Federation of FEVS exporters denounced  last Thursday, December 31, 2020 after the announcement of extended customs duties by Washington (USA). Three weeks from the end of its mandate, the Trump administration announced on the night of Wednesday, December 30 to Thursday that it was preparing to impose additional customs duties on European products, in particular wines (excluding sparkling wines like champagne) and cognacs. Washington is authorized to do so by the World Trade Organization in the context of its dispute with the EU on aid to aeronautical giants. Since October 2019, the United States has imposed a 25% customs duty on still wines below 14 degrees, sold in containers of less than two liters!! According to information from the FEVS, this 25% tax will now extend to all still wines, including in bulk, as well as to wine-based spirits, such as cognac. The FEVS calls on the EU to take action to finally resolve this conflict between Airbus and Boeing and to compensate the French and European companies which are the collateral damage of this interminable conflict. Indeed trade wars are not good and do not resolve anything.

The Bordeaux Wine Council (CIVB) Wine Bar is located on the ground floor of the Hotel Gobineau, a magnificent 18C building reminiscent of the famous Flatiron in New York. The place which also  houses the headquarters of the CIVB is atypical with its neoclassical architecture and its stained glass windows dedicated to the wine world. Lovers of Bordeaux wines flock to it, the queue often overflows into the street! Here, they only serve bordeaux! The menu is regularly updated, and you can permanently taste around thirty wines carefully selected and served by the glass. The prices are between 2 and 8 €. The tasting can be accompanied by platters of cheese, cold cuts, or chocolates. Note on sunny days: the place has a pretty terrace, with a breathtaking view of the Grand Théâtre. Indeed we always stop by when in Bordeaux since 1991!!  Le Bar à Vin du CIVB, 3, cours du 30-juillet, 33000 Bordeaux. Tél. : 05 56 00 43 47. webpage : https://baravin.bordeaux.com/

And last, left for last as it is a sad news indeed, my Lavinia is gone.

It is with great sadness , really no words for it that I read in the LRVF magazine ,the Lavinia wine shops are closing this January 9 2021! This is certainly bad news, which shows the fragility of the wine professions in these times of the Covid19 virus , and which will make a big splash. The Lavinia store, the emblematic wine merchant on Boulevard de la Madeleine, will close its doors on Saturday January 9 in the evening.  One of the most beautiful wine windows in Paris draws the curtain, after twenty years of ambitious work to raise the reputation of the best French and foreign wines in the capital. It rose to nearly 40 million euros in sales in 2015, including 17 million for the Madeleine store alone, its flagship. Opening of a restaurant where you could drink any bottle of the store without corkage duty (yes wonderful after work), development of a very profitable spirits department, distribution of wines to restaurants via the Vins du Monde subsidiary, corporate gifts, gift boxes for individuals, online sales, home deliveries in the West of Paris, store openings in Madrid, (visit here too!!) Barcelona, franchises in Ukraine to Kiev and Odessa, subsidiaries in Hong Kong, establishment in La Défense, specialized distribution with the takeover of the Augé boulevard Haussmann cellar. …The brand innovated every year, with some success. And the high rent in the Madeleine district (more than 1.2 million euros per year! Yes Paris is expensive!) weighs too much when the demonstrations of yellow vests erupt in the beautiful districts then the Covid19 virus, which plummets the attendance of the store. The Covid19  virus , in fact, also cut the taps of foreign tourists visiting Paris and fond of iconic bottles, which represented nearly 5% of turnover. Barcelona have closed, Ukraine has not responded since the Orange Revolution and the situation is tense within the group. Last April, Lavinia sold its Vins du Monde subsidiary and its allocations to prestigious foreign domains such as Vega Sicilia, Harlan Estate or Pingus. After the closure of the Lavinia La Défense store, a business district that has been deserted since the rise of teleworking, here is the turn of Lavinia La Madeleine. Again, sad very sad if there was one I thought this one will survive but I guess was wrong, the virus did it but it has been a downward fall for a while. Oh well , need to find me another one now! Lavinia will be irreplaceable!

And there go folks , gladly reporting from the world of wine and my belle France. Hope you enjoy reading as Id writing it. En vino veritas!

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!! And to add drink wine even if in moderation lol!!!

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