Wines news of France XIII !!

And why not in this nicest period of the year to show off some of the best wines in the world! That is wines news of France in one of my newest series on one of my preferred hobbies. Let me tell you some news, some tastings and some technical stuff I like. Hope you enjoy it as I.

The Grenache is one of the most widely planted grape varieties in France. According to a 2017 report from the International Organization of Vine and Wine (OIV), it covers 10% of the national vineyard and, with 81,000 hectares, it is located in terms of area just behind Ugni Blanc (82,000 ha, mainly cultivated for cognac) and merlot (112,000 ha). As popular as it is must-have. It is even more present in France than in Spain, its native country, where it covers 62,000 hectares, especially in the north. Very faithful to these two countries (which represent 87% of its world surface), it is found, sporadically, in other countries, the United States, Australia, Argentina or Morocco for example. It is the eighth most cultivated grape in the world for wine and spirits. While its drought-resistant plants adapt perfectly to rising temperatures, several diseases threaten the longevity of this grape. So on the endangered list of wine producing grapes ! Yet very delicious ,big areas in France to look for wines of this grape are Languedoc-Roussillon, PACA, and the Rhône valley.

And what about finding a good glass or bottle of Champagne in the train stations of France? Well they are there but minimum me think. Did I tell you had a French neighbor in Versailles when he invited me out for a drink, he always asked for Champagne in a bar and he found it. His favorite bar even had the bottles ready for him lol. Nice neighbor indeed!

Small and large, train stations are wonderful places, so they tell me…. We even have Éric Frechon, the head chef of Bristol who has established his quarters on the ground floor of Gare Saint-Lazare train station, and Christian Le Squer, that of George-V, whose team works wonders upstairs from the Rennes train station. The stations have remained the center of the world, haunting the storyboards of filmmakers and the notebooks of writers. We hear the corks of bottles of Duval-Leroy yearless brut popped out !!

At Gare Montparnasse train station, the bistro opposite remains a favorite place to drink champagne. By the glass, the waiters at the Petit Sommelier (ave du Maine) offered me the Brut Réserve cuvée from Maison Bérêche & fils, elegant, dense, very ripe, fruity and low in dosage. I was impressed by the Chartres train station , as in a world where everything changes, this long Art Deco building resembling a monastery, with its high central windows showing stained glass, seems to have to resist all modernization projects. I like the Chartres train station and Marcel Proust loved it before me, when he went with his family to Illiers, which became Combray through the effect of his powerful imagination.

To enjoy a glass of champagne, there is no need to stray into the bistros on Place Pierre-Semard, Chartres. You have to go up to the parvis of the cathedral square and sit on the terrace or slip inside the Bistrot Racines, a supernatural wine bar inaugurated in September 2021 by Bertrand and Nathalie Jallerat. At Bistrot Racines, I drank a glass of Pierre Pinard Tradition Brut, produced in Sézanne from pinot noir, chardonnay, and pinot meunier. Le Grand Monarque, place des Épars, where the sommelier Nicolas Duclos reserves for enlightened amateurs some marvels of champagnes from winegrowers: Pierre Gerbais L’Unique 100% pinot blanc 2014, Larmandier-Bernier Vieille Vigne du Levant Grand cru 2009 and, for the fond of rosés, the Grand Cru Extra-Brut Rosémotion from JL Vergnon. From Chartres to Reims, from one cathedral to another, it is 225 km. And more than 100 champagnes on the Grand Monarque menu. In this impressive list, I recognized the hand of Eric Beaumard, Breton of Fougères, one of the French stars of sommellerie, who lovingly watches over the 50,000 bottles of the George-V cellar in Paris His menu offers both safe values ​​and discoveries, with a single large house, the famous Blanc des Millénaires 2006 by Charles Heidsieck. To get from Reims train station to Bordeaux Saint-Jean train station, the traveler has no other way than to go back through Montparnasse. Sweet France, dear country of mine … Our rail network, built in a spider’s web with Paris as its center, illustrates in a caricatural way the centralization of the country. Yes indeed difficult to explain this but France is a centralized country after the kings/emperors were gone. And ,hey, now you know I do trains too Grand Voyageurs travelers SNCF to boot!! OF course, I still prefer the road warrior way lol!!

And now some tips from the pros, and me humble amateur but read my blog and you will know me better…As we are in the season to be merrier and gift giving is in vogue here are my pros and cons on gift giving wines!

5 tips for gifting the right wine: Choose a vintage echoing a year of birth. Choose the wine according to the dish. Play on emotion. Investigate target your friends’ tastes, their habits. The art of speech. Pick a wine you like, and tell them why, tell your experience at the estate, an anecdote, something they’ll remember when they open the bottle.

Gifting a wine: 5 mistakes to avoid: Do not trust the professionals… Buy without tasting. To be stingy. Choose an astonishing or very little known wine. Disregard their tastes.

The yearless non vintage Brut, or BSA for close friends, is the calling card of Champagne Houses. With a difficult objective: to succeed each year in being faithful to the style of the House, which its enthusiasts must be able to recognize regardless of the vagaries of the year serving as a “basis”. Some favorites are the Leclerc Briant Brut Réserve (Extra-brut); Chassenay d’Arce Cuvée Première Brut, and the Collet Brut Art Deco Premier Cru. There you go,find them and enjoy them, super!!

Remember my previous post? Well oysters is king or queen… The raw oysters go well with whites Muscadet-Sèvre-et-Maine, Pouilly-Fumé and Chablis. Grilled oysters goes well with Pessac-Léognan ,Graves, and Chablis. Bon appétit or in Vino Veritas!!

And this is what I love most France. The road warrior trip on the roads of my belle France and enjoying its wonderful culinary traditions and the best wines in the World! The Loire valley wines are on my podium. Here is some suggestions for the trip that can be done by bicycle too.

Following the banks of the Loire river to enter “gentle France”, this is the Loire Valley, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is to take a road that leads from dungeons to castles, from gardens to royal abbeys, from wine-growing villages to historic villages. The route is punctuated by discoveries of a most complex wine over 800 km and 70,000 hectares of sparkling, still, dry, off-dry, mellow, tannic or more fruity. Will bring you to taste grape varieties with character like Cabernet Franc for the red, Bourgueil, Chinon, St Nicolas de Bourgueil and especially the star grape of the Loire Valley, Chenin, for the white, giving dry wines but also sweet wines sumptuous with Vouvray and Montlouis. Gamay in red, Sauvignon in white, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pineau d’Aunis, Pinot noir, Chardonnay, so many grape varieties that are added to produce young and light wines but also more tannic wines for aging. . Between the Atlantic Ocean and Champtoceaux, you will visit Nantes, the medieval city of Clisson and above all you will taste the famous Muscadet! Between Champtoceaux and Saumur, you will enter the domain of Anjou, Saumur, Layon and Crémant de Loire wines. You will not fail to visit the Abbey of Fontevraud, the troglodyte sites, Angers, Saumur and their castles. Between Saumur and Chenonceau, the wine route of Touraine, country of Rabelais: the wines of Chinon and Bourgueil will seduce you. You will accompany their tasting with visits to the châteaux of Chinon, Amboise, Chenonceaux, Azay le Rideau and tufa cellars. Between Chenonceau and St Aignan, you will go to Sologne via the Cher valley to visit Cheverny, Chambord, Valençay while continuing to savor the wine of Touraine. Love it, will go next week God willing to Cheverny, Valençay, and Loches!!!

French winemakers will likely see the country’s 2021 harvest go down as the smallest for several decades, the country’s ministry of agriculture said this month. With forecast production of 33.3 million hectolitres, one would have to go back to 1977 to find a vintage of comparable size, said the ministry’s statistics service, Agreste. Even in ’77, the overall crop was larger than the projected 2021 harvest, because France’s vineyard area was bigger in the 1970s. Yes stay with the 2020 and 2018 me think.

From Bordeaux to Champagne, there is barely a region untouched by difficult weather conditions to varying degrees. Severe spring frost and early summer mildew attacks have been the main culprits, but not exclusively. Talking about the 2021 harvest. At Mas de Daumas Gassac in the Hérault area of Languedoc. They claimed that will lose about 50% of the white due to the frost, and about 30% of the rosé! In Champagne, the overall harvest could be the smallest for 40 years, Agreste said. In Chablis, the Drouhin winemaking family said, ‘The harvest in Chablis is low to very low because of the frost. Where frost protection has been successful, the harvest is fine, but the protected areas are small.

Elsewhere in Burgundy, a spokesperson for regional wine body, the BIVB, said ‘The situation is too complex with damages everywhere but heterogeneous: some plots have been preserved ,while, their neighbours have been hit. Sometimes it is from one row of vines to the other that you can see differences. In Bordeaux, Sauvignon Blanc has been particularly hard-hit, according to France’s agriculture ministry. . Jura, for example, could see a harvest around 80% smaller than usual, according to Agreste estimates. Alsace was not so badly affected by frost, and overall yields there for appellation wines might be 17% down on the five-year average. Provence’s wine body, the CIVP, said in August that it believed around 30 wine estates had suffered at least some damage from fierce wildfires in the Var area. The full picture was unclear, however, and the body thanked emergency services for all their efforts to contain the fires. Provence’s total vineyard area stretches across 200 km and the CIVP also said in August that harvest size was still hard to estimate. It will not be good take read here first.

In the first half of 2021, France exported 7.3 million hectolitres of wine worth 5.2 billion euros. This equates to increases of 15% by volume and 40% by value compared with the first six months of 2020 during lockdown, but more importantly to growth of 15% by volume and 9% by value compared with the first half of 2019. Not only are exports of French wines outstripping those during the first wave of Covid-19, they are also returning to growth rates in excess of their pre-Covid performance. I guess folks stay home they drink more lol!!! Among the top 10 export destinations for French wines, however, some markets are casting a shadow over the overall picture. A case in point is the drop in volumes shipped to Great Britain (of course brexit-johnson deal) at the beginning of 2021 compared to 2020 (-13%). Although China imported more French wine in the first half of 2021 than in 2020 (+47% in volume and +86% in value), it has not reverted to 2019 levels (-20% in volume and +6% in value). The above according to export arm of the French government, Business France.

There you go folks, another dandy episode on the wine history of ….Stay tune it can only gets better and I thank you for your support. And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

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