Archive for February 19th, 2022

February 19, 2022

Wines news of France XVI !!

And again wines, my newest series in my blog but an older hobby from yours truly! Let me share with my readers and followers this wonderful heavenly liquid we enjoy so much in my family. There are many wine regions of the world, and performance is going up all over including my beloved Spain. However, when it comes to decision, France is tops me think. Therefore, here is my newest Wines news of France.

Let me start you off with some technical figures on the wine trade , my educational treat.

For its 9th edition, the Wine Trade Monitor (I am diplomé of Sopexa!) deciphers market trends and prospects around the world. More than a thousand professionals from all countries draw their vision of the evolution of the sector after an inventory for 2021 the top three of the main producing countries remain the same from one year to the next, France, Italy and Spain being the champions in terms of production, but the order differs. In 2021, France is only in third place among wine-producing countries and even recorded a 27% drop in production compared to 2020. It must be said that France suffered the effects of a disastrous vintage with severe frosts in April, followed by summer rains, hailstorms and marked episodes of mildew , Markets therefore shaken up, especially since the taxation system put in place by the Trump Administration introduced in October 2019 and suspended in March 2021, and Brexit have strongly affected international trade, Already in the first quarter of 2021, exports had rebounded by +42.8% compared to 2020 (+8.6% compared to 2019), as many buyers took advantage of the suspension of sanctions to relaunch their purchases and replenish their stocks, then at their lowest. As for the punitive Chinese taxes on Australian wines, they will have given a boost to the purchases of French wines, in particular on mid-range cuvées and Bordeaux, carried by their international notoriety.

On the other hand, in terms of innovation and attractive ranges for young consumers, France does not make it to the podium, while Italy comes first, One of the other lessons from the Wine Trade Monitor study is that red wines continue to to be the best-selling in the world, even if we see an evolution towards a greater diversity of colors , Sacha Lichine has done a fantastic job on the American market with Château d’Esclans which today represents 35% of the market for rosés from Provence in the United States ! From now on, rosés and their image as a drink dedicated to moments of relaxation, to a certain art of living, are meeting with success on other markets, driven by the availability of large volumes as well from Provence than from Italy. While the porosity of the markets for novelties is slow, orange wines are gaining acclaim in certain markets, particularly in Japan, even if their production still remains anecdotal on a global level. As far as white wines are concerned, three French regions remain well placed: Loire, Languedoc and Burgundy. Languedoc is becoming a major player in international trade with products whose quality has greatly improved over the years. And the Asian markets remain fond of Burgundy wines. we see the appearance of challengers for French wines : the Portuguese vino verde which is progressing in purchase intentions thanks to significant commercial aggressiveness on prices  ; wines from Rueda, in Spain, with significant volumes available, or wines from Mendoza (Argentina), particularly appreciated by the British market for their fruity side.

However, a trend unites all wine stakeholders: the use of digital technology is essential. “75% of carriers now do some of their sales online, so more than a third of Canadian and US carriers now make more than 20% of their revenue online. A phenomenon that is spreading to all world markets. webpage: https://sopexa.com/fr/study/wine-trade-monitor-neuvieme-edition-de-letude-internationale/

With the development of wine purchasing channels, in particular the Internet, a number of wine counterfeits and fake bottles are circulating in the wine world , According to the latest figures from the repression of fraud, more than 20% of the international wine trade is affected by malicious fraudsters and counterfeiters, i.e. scams weighing more than three billion dollars on the world wine industry within which nearly 5% of fake grand crus circulate, not to mention the fraud which now affects the most recent vintages. I give you some signs and if need to let me know and will help you determine what you are buying in well known bottles. These signs that should alert the buyers are: Know what you are buying and where you are buying it, Consider the prices, Do not hesitate to call on an expert, Examine the purchase invoices carefully, Find out about the provenance wines, Checking the external and visual elements of the bottles, Pay attention to the capsules, The label, Checking the glassware and looking at the condition of the cork. Hope it helps,

The French lead but they need to do better in a very competitive world market, Launched in October 2021, the association Movis (Mots du vin et des spirits) brings together journalists and authors specializing in wines and spirits with one objective: to represent and defend all those who work for expression and information in these two areas. A rebirth, in fact, since this new association is in a way the heiress of the Afjev, founded in 1983, which became APV for Association de la Presse du vin, in 2008 and dissolved in 2014.

This will be the first time that Movis has participated in Wine Paris & Vinexpo by organizing a round table on a theme that concerns all players in the sector: is tradition still the future of wine? Nicole Rolet, owner of the Chêne Bleu estate in the Luberon, and initiator of Fine Minds 4 Fine Wines, a think-tank dedicated to the future of wine, Samuel Montgermont, president of Vin et Société and the Union des Maisons of Rhône wines, Bruno Kessler, president of the National Interprofessional Association of French Wines (Anivin) and director of the wine division at Cordier by Invivo (hey my former employer in another division!) , Jacques Carroget, winemaker in the Loire at La Paonnerie estate and president of the Union for the Defense of natural wines and Christian Paly, president of the national committee of AOC wines and spirits of the Inao will debate for one hour on this theme.

Wine Paris & Vinexpo Paris was from February 14 to 16, 2022 at Paris Expo Porte de Versailles, For three days, more than 2,800 exhibitors converge in Paris to present their latest vintage, their flagship products and their rarities like so many nectars to share with wine connoisseurs of the whole world. The event, which will span four halls at the entrance to the Paris Expo Porte de Versailles park (halls 3, 4, 5 and 6), will make room for small winegrowers as well as major brands international. Hall 5, dedicated to international producers , Alongside the wines in Hall 3, the Be Spirits by Vinexpo space and its huge Infinite bar will bring together spirits from all walks of life, oscillating between micro-distilleries and recognized brands In all, 2,864 exhibitors and 25,739 professional visitors, including 28% international from 109 countries. In the top 5 countries represented, Belgium, the United Kingdom, Italy, the Netherlands and the United States came in large numbers alongside the French. The next edition of Wine Paris & Vinexpo Paris will be held from 13 as of February 15, 2023. webpage : https://www.vinexposium.com/en/wineparis-vinexpo/

For this new episode of season 3 of Les Passeurs de Goût, head to Burgundy to meet Frédéric and Jean-Christophe Rousseau , The Rousseau family has always gravitated around cooperage. The story began with their grandfather in 1954, with small projects in Burgundy , Once a simple storage container, the barrel is now a crucial step in the development of certain wines. It was in the early 1980s that the now very famous Burgundy piece was created, a 228L barrel, which is equivalent to 300 bottles. The wood of the barrel accompanies the wine. From one barrel to another, the wine will indeed develop its own aromas, its own structure and its own subtleties. Brioche, vanilla, coffee… All these aromas are found in the wine thanks to its aging in barrels. Like roasters, they work the oak of their barrels according to the desires and tastes of their customers. The result is a quality product that allows wines to evolve over time. I must add the barrels are exported from them and other to many world top producers to aged their wines. Webpage : https://www.tonnellerie-rousseau.com/en/homepage/

The story of a winemaker like this one ,begins in Limoges when Dominique Decoster put an end to her career in porcelain (Haviland). Retirement ? He was only 52 years old, in great shape and does not intend to embark on a golf career. Quickly, he decides to buy a domain. It was done in 2001. On the advice of the very local Jean-Luc Thunevin, winemaker of the cru, the Decosters acquired Château Fleur Cardinale, in Saint-Étienne-de-Lisse, in the Saint-Émilion appellation. All they have to do is learn how to make wine. At the time, the estate had 17 hectares, compared to 23.5 today. The family will add Château Croix Cardinale (5.5 hectares) and a few plots to their purse. The vines are mainly exposed to the north: an advantage in a context of global warming and a major drawback when the frost hits in the spring, as in 2017, when 97% of the harvest was swept away by the cold in one night. The estate is now managed on a daily basis by Ludovic Decoster, son of the owners, and his wife Caroline, both vintages 1982, In recent years, in addition to the classic varieties of the right bank ,merlot, cabernet sauvignon, and cabernet franc which allow it to develop its reds, the family has planted 2.5 hectares of sauvignon blanc, sauvignon gris and semillon, is experimenting different vinifications, sees far. The essential process of conversion to organic farming has begun. In normal times, production fluctuates around 120,000 bottles. The Decosters invested in the construction of the new cellar, which was recently completed. The buildings have a terrace equipped with tasting rooms and a dining room. Château Fleur Cardinale was on the Saint-Émilion list in 2006. The Decosters intend to continue their momentum and take the next step. Webpage : https://fleurcardinale.com/

Now I bring you closer to home and an area we visit quite often and buy, Between 5 and 15 years old, the best Muscadet wines have aromas and an outfit in the mouth that make them great gourmets. Always perfectly dry, they have their place with the most refined dishes. The Nantes vineyard is on a different soil from most French vineyards, the base of which is most often sedimentary of the limestone type, With the same melon de Bourgogne grape variety , which is not found in Burgundy despite its name and which is unique to the Nantes region ,the different types of soil induce different behaviors and characters. After fermentation, the lees are what remains of the yeasts that have transformed the sugar in the grapes into alcohol. They are what nourish the wine during its ageing. In contact with them, it acquires its richness, its complexity and above all its richness and its ability to continue to age harmoniously. All Muscadet wines undergo aging on lees, for 6 months, 12 months, 24 months or more for certain communal crus such as Le Pallet, Clisson or Goulaine. Chez Joël et Florence Forgeau, “Le coin des Evêques” 2015, a Muscadet de Sèvre & Maine on lees is to be discovered for its floral and grilled aromas, its frank and fresh mouth, its tonic length, wonderful !! The Joël et Florence Forgeau winery  at Mouzillon: https://www.muscadet-forgeau.com/

The official muscadet wine webpage : https://www.muscadet.fr/en/

There you to folks, another dandy episode of Wines of France! Enjoy them with moderation, its good for you, antioxydant and very healthy drink.. En Vinos Veritas.

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

February 19, 2022

The Jardin del Principe of Aranjuez!!

I know about Aranjuez since a small enfant, my mother would sing to me the concierto of Aranjuez, that has been even turns into operas and zarzuelas in my beloved Spain. The best I heard was played by Paco de Lucia ,the great Flamenco guitarist. It is said that Juaquin Rodrigo was inspired by the love to his wife Victoria. Many versions tells of a love between a Prince and a lady that was not possible to be, this one I like it better but both are not proving yet. The Royal Palace of Aranjuez is one of the residences of the King of Spain , part of the Comunidad de Madrid. However, I like to expand and tell you more about this wonderful park/garden part of the palace, Hope you enjoy it as I.

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The Jardin del Principe is a large park within the Palace of Aranjuez (see post), 150 hectares, delimited by the sinuous course of the Tagus river, and the Calle de la Reina, which stands out for its botanical wealth. Its name is due to Carlos IV, who had it built when he still held the title of Prince of Asturias, conserving previous elements, such as the Primavera orchard and the Fernando VI pier. The Jardin del Principe is the largest park in Aranjuez with 7 km perimeter.  Only half of the garden can be visited. In the northern part, which is the one that borders the Tagus river , the garden is protected by a stone dike called Malecón de Solera, while the southern part is delimited by a long fence on a Colmenar stone plinth and brick pillars adorned with artistic stones. The garden is formed by a wide variety of different tree species

This large garden has monumental neoclassical entrance gates. Before reaching the Tagus river, you can see the old Spring garden. The pier is located at this point, preceded by a roundabout with five picturesque pavilions, the largest being the Royal Pavilion built in 1754. You can also see a small octagonal garden, which as a courtyard of honor separated the main pavilion from the street of the pier. The Great Pavilion, built by order of his father, King Carlos III, was the space that the future monarch used to frequent, to enjoy the beautiful views it offered. For this reason, he would like to contribute to enriching this space, entrusting a series of changes and extensions to the gardener Pablo Boutelou. Other elements that enrich the garden are the fountains, including that of Narciso, and that of Apolo, the latter being a replica of the one found in the Royal Palace of La Granja de San Ildefonso. In the Estanque de los Chinescos you can see a small neo-Greek temple, with magnificent Ionic marble columns, as well as a small Chinese-type wooden pavilion.

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The famous Narcissus fountain with its dog on a pillar placed in a beautiful cup, into which he is about to fall. The cup is lifted by four sturdy Hercules The Fuente de los Cisnes (Swans) is inspired by a fountain in the gardens of the Royal Palace of Granja de San Ildefonso. It features a rock with two marble children grasping a swan, whose beak sticks out of the water. Further on, the Fuente de Apolo (Apollo, in Carrara marble, shows the God of Beauty on a pedestal , There is a Estanque de los Chinescos (Chinese figures) is an artificial lake bordered by a small grid, with three islands on which there is a temple or kiosk of Greek style, another of Chinese type and an Egyptian granite mausoleum. with a series of eight Ionic columns that support a ceiling crowned by a bronze pineapple painted in marble color. Between each column were Egyptian canopic jars now missing. An artificial hill, called Montaña Rusa (roller coaster) was built. Its real name was Montaña Suiza (swiss mountain). It is crowned with a wooden temple from which there is a superb view of the whole garden. Finally, at the easternmost end, we find the Casa del Labrador, built by Charles IV, Neoclassical style, particularly known for its large collection of statues and clocks.

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The city of Aranjuez on the prince garden https://visita.aranjuez.es/espacio/jardin-del-principe/

The tourist office of Aranjuez on the prince garden :  https://www.aranjuez.com/jard%c3%adn-del-pr%c3%adncipe.html

The Comunidad de Madrid region tourist office on the gardens of Aranjuez: https://turismomadrid.es/en/discover/heritage-cities/aranjuez/11283-the-gardens.html

There you go folks, a nice palace and a beautiful garden in a nice town of Aranjuez. Maybe not a love story for you or me but nevertheless its a very romantic place especially in the gardens. Enjoy the Jardin del Principe in the Royal Palace of Aranjuez!!

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

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February 19, 2022

The music kiosk of Alcalà de Henares!!

Several times we went to a famous town to seek the wonderful monuments that makes it famous. However, often in time, we see other monuments that catch our eyes and we even come to enjoy it even more. This is the case of our walks in the beautiful city of Alcalà de Henares, in the province of Madrid and in the Comunidad de Madrid region. Here will tell you more about its pretty music kiosk; hope you enjoy it as I.

In the Plaza de Cervantes (see post)  was not a year for many celebrations in 1898, that is why the inauguration in that year of a beautiful and elegant music kiosk in Alcalá de Henares was like a ray of light, for which followed the prevailing fashion in Europe in the 19C of the so-called iron architecture, which had already been imposed in Madrid. The music kiosk was finished on April 11, 1898.

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The wrought iron railing presents an allegory of music with a lyre and two trumpets on each front. Octagonal floor plan with eight fine and elegant columns, on whose bases the name of the workshop “Lebrero Madrid” in which they were carved is engraved. On four of its fronts we see four coats of arms of the city with the royal crown. Cast iron allowed music kiosks, in addition to having a light structure, to be beautiful and decorative and thus, in the last decade of the 19C, many in Spain were designed by municipal architects who gave them their characteristic stamp.

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It is made of exposed brick and in neo-Mudejar style. It is known by various names such as the Casino Mercantil or the Círculo de Contribuyentes (Circle of Taxpayers) . Years go by, many of them very hard in Alcalá de Henares, including a civil war and many venerable buildings disappear, but the music kiosk is still here, which has served not only for music hundreds of times, but also for theatrical performances, political meetings, religious ceremonies , and radio programs, but its deterioration is so evident that a careful restoration was finally decided, and so on September 22, 2001 it reopened with a concert by the Municipal Symphonic Band and the Andalusian company Al-baraka. Currently, although the musical tradition of Alcalá has not ceased, the concerts have not been held in the kiosk again. One of the alleged reasons is that the noise generated by the traffic surrounding the square makes it unfeasible.  Again , a new restoration work  was done in September 2021.

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The Alcala de Henares tourist office on the music kioskhttps://alcalaturismoymas.com/el-quiosco-de-la-musica-de-la-plaza-de-cervantes-de-alcala-de-henares/

There you are folks, a dandy monument in the middle of a beautiful square in pretty Alcalà de Henares not to be missed. The music kiosk is wonderful and the little ones will enjoy it even more me think. Hope you enjoy the post as I

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

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