Wine news of France XII !!!

Well here coming back to my a bit regular posts on wines! of France, of course. The very best and again had tasted and/or visit all the major producing countries in our world ! I like to tell you the latest buzz on my favorite subject chosen by yours truly from various French wine pro publications that I received online or on paper.

We do not really know if Christmas was on the balcony, but Easter was indeed in the fire. Since last Monday, temperatures have fallen below zero in several northern wine regions. The nocturnal efforts of winegrowers to limit frost damage were not enough: crops are severely affected in several regions of France. According to the Interprofessional Council for Bordeaux Wines (CIVB), it is “already certain that this spring frost will severely impact the volume of the 2021 harvest”: the frost has “hit hard” on large areas of the Bordeaux vineyard. In the Rhone Valley, the first land rise in temp let fear the worst. Last Friday, according to Météo France, it will still be cold in the early morning in the lands north of the Loire, over a large north-eastern quarter, in the Massif Central and in the interior of Provence, with frequent frosts reaching locally – 4 to -2 degrees on the Grand Est.

Last Monday evening, on the Champagne side, there was still hope to pass between the drops. The Champagne Salon said “we experience disasters every day, at all levels. It is important to stay positive.” Overall, Champagne is doing quite well. A calm behind which hides cellars much less empty than in previous years, the health crisis having led to a significant drop in sales in France and abroad. At Drouhin-Laroze, in Burgundy, the candles have nevertheless succeeded in limiting breakage. But the Burgundy vineyard will undoubtedly be one of the most impacted. There is talk about black jelly, with buds literally roasted by the cold. However, some estates are reluctant to use candles, which are very expensive, preferring the traditional straw fires prohibited in Burgundy such as at the Breton estates, in Touraine, whose plots of Vouvray have been protected, to the detriment of those located in Bourgueil. At Château Coutet, 43 hectares in the town of Barsac, in the Bordeaux region, it was a disaster, with temperatures dropping to -3.9 ° C. Despite straw fires lit every 80 meters, it is estimated that more than 90% of the vineyard has been affected. Even if since 2017, they have been used to this kind of events. April 2021 has a strong chance of staying in the memories of many.

SJB, the Bollinger family holding company, acquires Ponzi Vineyards, a historic estate in the Willamette Valley, in the United States. Domaine Ponzi Vineyards, was created in the late 1970s by Dick and Nancy Ponzi. For its part, the Ponzi family remains the owner of 40 hectares under a supply contract with the estate. The total needs of the winery represent in all and for all 140 hectares of vines. Production hovers around 480,000 bottles, at prices ranging from 25 to 120 US Dollars. SJB which brings together the brands Bollinger, Ayala, Chanson, Langlois-Chateau and Delamain.

These vines largely dominated by Pinot Noir, but Pozzi also produces Pinot Gris and Chardonnay located in Laurelwood. Last June 2020 they joined the AVI (American Culture Area, equivalent of the French AOC) of the Willamette Valley which brings together the terroirs of Chehalem Mountains, Dundee Hills, Eola-Amity Hills, McMinnville, Ribbon Ridge, and Yamhill-Carlton. The strategy is to get closer to the American consumer who is especially fond of local wines, as well as to the zone where the consumption of high-end wine is the most important. The acquisition of this property forms the basis of Bollinger’s new US strategy. Bollinger is not, far from it, the first Champagne house to attempt an adventure in Oregon. Four years ago, under the leadership of Gilles de Larouzière, the Maisons & Domaines Henriot group became the majority shareholder of the Beaux Frères estate, owned by Michael Etzel, Robert Parker and Robert Troy, in the historic Willamette Valley. Long before that, at the end of the 1980s, the region had been brought to light by the Burgundians Robert Drouhin and his daughter Véronique, true pioneers. Since then, the Jadots, Meo Camuzets and others have joined them. With success…. Now how the wine will be best if all is from France lol !

Soon the rebirth of a forgotten vineyard? Chef Yannick Alléno and the prestigious Domaine Marquis d´Angerville have just replanted 30 acres of biodynamic vines … about thirty km from Paris. It was on the initiative of chef Yannick Alléno that an astonishing adventure two years ago began, that of replanting vines in the town of Conflans- Ste-Honorine (Yvelines 78) . And decided to plant two thirds of pinot noir and one third of gamay, intended to produce a wine that I like, the passetoutgrain. The vines will be cultivated biodynamically, with the help of the teams from the Domaine de Volnay, present to advise and support Laurent Berrurier in his new role as winegrower. In four years, if all goes well, we will be able to taste the first cuvée of Clos Bellevue, and drink to the health of a still confidential vineyard, which we would be wrong not to keep an eye. To be continue…

While canned wine has enjoyed tremendous success across the world, the French still seem reluctant to taste their national drink in an aluminum container. And I hope they don’t follow this!!! Jean-Pierre Robinot ; the Angevin winegrower is about to launch his 25cl cans (conditioned by the Winestar brand) containing a Cabernet-Franc in red and a Chenin in white. Juices in conversion to organic, vinified in nature, intended to be consumed quickly … as we would a soda lol!!!. However, although the French are large consumers of cans, they remain difficult to associate with wine, as if this traditional product could only tolerate a noble glass case. Of course, the canned wine is already enjoying enormous success in the United States. The research firm WICResearch analyzes the phenomenon from all angles and the figures are striking: the supply of wine in cans has tripled since 2018, with some 900 references available today on the US market. Followers of cans for all kinds of beverage, the United States are much more receptive to wine in a metal ring and favor this product, which has become trendy thanks to its multiplied marketing possibilities. Better stay over there!!!

The film star director Francis Ford Coppola (why can he stay with films) understood this well, he who launched several cuvées of his wines sold in packs of four cans (pinot noir, pinot gris, chardonnay, sauvignon) and even a very glam rosé wine called “Sofia”, named after his daughter, also a famous filmmaker. Among the myriad of brands, we can also mention Bev, Love & Exile or Backpack, which focus on fresh, fruity and light wines, with ultra-graphic packaging (and industrially made). Because if this method of conservation does not lend itself to all grape varieties or all vinifications , it makes it possible to broaden the opportunities for consuming wine (picnics , outdoor events, transport) and to rejuvenate its target by targeting 18-25 year olds as a priority to then bring them to more demanding bottles? What if the can formed the fine tasters of the future? . So anything is possible. The only snag in this beautiful story: Robinot cans are priced at 8 euros for 25cl… A high price that seems to contradict the purchasing power of its target. Of course, innovation has its costs but really better stay with sodas!

In the category of nature wines, it seems that the Drappier family is one step ahead of many Champagne winemakers. Brut Zero, a wine without sugar, filtration and sulfur, was released in 1998. An oenological success. The rosé will follow. The first draw comes from the 2004 and 2005 harvests. This wine is claimed to be unfiltered, not discolored, not dose. It feels like a field of strawberries on a beautiful end of summer day. On the palate, some tangy notes, peppery hints and over-controlled acidity. What sounds I like about Drappier: the total mastery of the wine which remains very balanced even when it comes to the most cutting-edge products. It is recommended to serve this rosé at 8 ° C. At the table, it will be the ideal companion for langoustines, shrimps, crabs and other sushi.

In a context of tension between the various candidates for the takeover, Château Beauséjour Duffau-Lagarrosse, premier grand cru classé B of Saint-Emilion, will be sold for 75 million euros to the cosmetics group Clarins, associated with Joséphine Duffau-Lagarrosse. Cosmetics and wine well I guess that is diversification. To note , Clarins cosmetics were the first gift of my dear late wife Martine to my dear late mother Gladys!

The recent owner of Château Fourcas Dupré, Gérard Gicquel, confirmed his thirst for Médoc by purchasing Château d’Agassac from Groupama. It was after many commas, parentheses and dashes that the sale was finalized with a signature, bottom right. Thus, Groupama, which owned Château d’Agassac since 1996, was promoted to Cru Bourgeois Exceptionnel last year. This project responds to the development of the family group with ambitious investments in business services, around “hospitality” carried by the Beautiful Life Hotels group with already 10 high-end hotel establishments and in the wine sector with the acquisition of Château Fourcas Dupré indicates the press release. Beautiful Life Group thus consolidates its presence in the Médoc vineyards with a volume of 500,000 bottles. One of my favorite wines of the Médoc, track since 1990.

What to drink with … a sea bream? (Daurade, Fr.) Its flesh is tender, its skin tasty and salty; with a lemon juice seasoning, it gains a tangy touch; roasted in the oven with a little fennel, it is enriched with anise-flavored flavors. It will obviously need an aromatic, fruity, young white wine, not too complicated on the palate. The Domaine Meo-Camuzet Hautes côtes de Nuit a fruity and herbaceous nose, a round and charming mouth with a fat that will round off the salty and iodized character of the fish, here is a great label with ease. More unexpected, but just as appropriate, a Roussette de Savoie signed Guy Justin. Still little known until 1993, its wine was only sold in bulk ; this very pretty estate has another particularity, since the vineyard occupies only a small place there, and the rest of the activity is divided between market gardening and breeding. Its Marestel cru will match sea bream exactly, with a blooming bouquet, hints of dill, citrus fruits (orange) and white pepper. The palate has a roundness very softened by the fat, with a lively finish. Its silky side will rebalance the iodized character of the fish, itself underlined by the minerality of the wine. Nice meal to be had we get ours from a traiteur or ready made take out gourmet place in town! The wines webpage are

Domaine Méo-Camuzethttps://www.meo-camuzet.com/fr/les-vins/17/clos-saint-philibert

Domaine Guy Justinhttps://vins-de-savoie-justin.fr/la-roussette-de-savoie/

And there you folks, en vino veritas; with moderation but do enjoy the wonderful wines of France and the world. We drank it every day with meals…and we love it. The only French way!! Hope you enjoy the post as I.

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

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