Wines news of France XVIIII !!

And let’s get going in Spring with another in my series ,Wines news of France now in its 19th edition; thanks to all my readers and/or followers! Spring is in the air and work around the house has started easy does it; also more wine more wine the best in the world! Oh yeah, that is France just in case you still do not know it ….Often imitated, some time equaled ,but never surpass! Let me give some news shall we; hope you enjoy it as I.

The French love to put labels. In terms of wine, this passion is reflected in the importance given to classifications, the criteria of which the consumer is often unaware of. Indee too much marketing by all, and the main thing is who is the producer and what happened that year in the vineyards ! If the best known of the classifications remains that of the red wines of the Médoc, in Bordeaux, dating from 1855, there are a whole myriad of classifications within the French vineyards. That of Burgundy prepared under Napoleon III, that of Champagne crus created in 1919, that of Graves wines, endorsed by the INAO (National Institute of Origin and Quality) in 1953, that of Saint-Emilion since 1955, that of the crus de Provence in 1955, that of the crus bourgeois in Bordeaux since 2003… The list of this French passion for classifications resembles a veritable inventory !

Because there are as many ways to classify as there are classifications! The 1855 classification was created by the brokers, the only wine buyers at the time, based on the prices of wine from the different châteaux over fifty years. The Premiers Grands Crus Classés are the most expensive, the latter a little less. Suffice to say that 167 years later, water and wine have flowed under the bridges, and this classification no longer makes much sense, While in Alsace and Burgundy, the classifications are based on the terroirs , the best ranked are those reputed to produce great wines. A basic criterion that totally ignores the know-how of the winemaker. The classification of Saint-Emilion created in 1955, and revisable every ten years, it is contested each time, often in court. To the point that Château Angélus and Château Cheval Blanc have withdrawn and will not appear in the next one, expected for September 2022. In this ranking, tasting counts for 50% (only 30% for the first grand crus), the reputation of the cru for 20% (35% for the grands crus), the land base and the homogeneity of the terroir for 20% (30% for the grands crus) and the management of the vineyard for 10% (5% for the first grands crus classés ) So what are these rankings for? Essentially for three things: satisfy the ego of the owner, provide a marketing argument that reassures the least informed consumers, and define the price of land. It is therefore not a buying guide, and the consumer should not be mistaken. Thus, it will be better to trust the recommendations of your favorite magazine or journal or wine amateurs like me lol !!!

And there you go folks, after ten years of proceedings and multiple twists and turns, the Bordeaux Court of Appeal agrees with the Saint-Émilion 2012 ! classification and confirms that of 2022, which is currently being drawn up. This decision fell and it looks like a victory for all the winegrowers of the appellation who aspire to a little serenity, as the pressure has been intense for months. Of course, they will go before the Council of State, highest court Reacted Me Eric Morain, the lawyer of Château Croque-Michotte, denouncing a “totally incomprehensible motivation and twisting the reality of the roles of Messrs. de Boüard and Castéja”. The Saint-Émilion Wine Council salutes the meaning of this decision “which highlights the seriousness and rigor of the work carried out by the Inao, the Classification Commission and the independent certifying bodies » So the ego pride continues ,in the meantime check their prices lol !

In 1965, repatriated from Tunisia, Marc Pagès set out in search of a terroir with great potential. He chose Château La Tour de By because it is in a frost-free region, as per Frédéric Leclerc, who joined his grandfather in 2005. At the time, it represented an area of 32 hectares, which is has since grown to 75 hectares. Today, the entire vineyard of the property located north of the Médoc, between the Gironde estuary and the Atlantic Ocean, covers 115 hectares. In 2009, Benjamin Richer de Forges rejoined his cousin at the head of the estate. As for the 2014, it diffuses aromas of black fruits, cocoa, roasted on the nose. On the palate, it is fresh, creamy, like a pulpy, juicy fruit, coated in present and pleasant tannins. Sublime ; Webpage : https://www.latourdeby.fr/

Alain Brumont Pacherenc du Vic Bilh Le Blanc d’Alain Brumont 2020, Inseparable from Gascony, Alain Brumont is a winemaker never jaded, always in search of experimentation. On his land in Madiran, right in the stronghold of tannat, he enthusiastically tries his hand at white wine. And selects with his son-in-law Antoine Veiry the clay-limestone terroir of Château Bouscassé, to launch his brand new cuvée of dry Pacherenc. This white is a delight, a superb balance between tension and fat. Between white flowers and citrus fruits, this grapefruit skin side which brings sharp bitterness, a beautiful energy emerges. Jovial, nervous, enjoyable, this white wine sets the bar very high. Indeed delicious !! Webpage : https://www.brumont.fr/en/

Domaine Tissot Trousseau Singulier Rouge 2020, A figure of the Jura, Stéphane Tissot is one of the pillars of Franche-Comté, an inventive and talented winemaker. Indeed one of my first wines ever from France was one of his vin jaune ! Each year, he delights us with his cuvées which cover the entire spectrum of local grape varieties. Reds, whites, sparkling, sparkling or oxidative wines: no false note here, the wines are of a level rarely reached. This trousseau grape offers beautiful scents of wild strawberries, of a disconcerting delicacy. We are on the wire, the step of a ballerina who points here to finesse, there a tapered weft in a long ribbon. A little gem to book with poultry or finely cured meats. Another work of Art ! Webpage : https://www.stephane-tissot.com/en/index.htm

Finally, retirement for Régis Camus, Cellar Master of Rare Champagne, After 28 years of service, the man who was eight times best Champagne Cellar Master of the Year by the jury of the International Wine Challenge between 2004 and 2013, will therefore take a rest. Responsible for the Charles Heidsieck and Piper-Heidsieck brands, he devotes himself exclusively to the jewel of the house, Rare Champagne officially created in 2018. Rare Champagne originated in 1885 for the celebration of the presentation of Piper-Heidsieck’s first prestige cuvée to Queen Marie-Antoinette a century earlier. On the occasion of this centenary, Pierre-Karl Fabergé, jeweler to Tsar Alexander III, had imagined a bottle embellished with gold, diamonds and lapis lazuli that technical constraints did not allow to achieve. One hundred years later, Van Cleef & Arpels gave life to the bottle designed by Fabergé by creating a unique bottle of Rare vintage 1976, the first vintage of the 20C of Rare Champagne , Since that date, each vintage of Rare Champagne, always produced in series limited, celebrates an exceptional year, sign of a triumphant nature and magnified by the expertise of the Cellar Master and by the work of time, Webpage : https://rare-champagne.com/en

When Champagne wakes up at the Aube (dept 10) , In the far south of Champagne, languishing on a border line with Burgundy, the vineyards of Aube have long been carpeted in the shadow of the great houses of the Marne. With a production that is close to a quarter of the 300 million bottles sold worldwide each year and a predominance of the venerable pinot noir vinified wonderfully, the Aubois are today however far from being at bay, pushed by a few estates including the cuvées that left me speechless. The same free and impertinent spirit at Charles Dufour, to whom we owe a radical conversion of the family domain and sublime cuvées without sulfur Not far from here, we also find the astonishing Jeanne Piollot, who beyond the two family domains Courtin and Piollot took over a plot in Molesme, in the Châtillonnais, where it vinifies magnificent bubbles in the Vin de France appellation. Not to mention the intriguing Champagne Clandestin project, a modern trade born from the collaboration between Benoît Doussot and Bertrand Gautherot of the Vouette & Sorbée house. The Aube Champagne webpage : https://www.aube-champagne.com/en/portfolio-post/champagne/

This pas Sunday March 20,2022, the 61st Hospices de Nuits-Saint-Georges auction was held. An edition considered exceptional, with a result that for the first time exceeded 2 million euros, an increase of almost 30%. It was held at the Château du Clos de Vougeot, in a warm and caring atmosphere. It gave rise to an exceptional result, despite the poor harvest obtained following last year’s late frost. Thus, for the first time, auctions exceeded 2 million euros, with a sales result amounting to 2,486,000 euros for 109 pieces sold, up almost 30% compared to the previous year ( 114 pieces on sale in 2021). This year, the average price of the piece has therefore also reached an unprecedented record, at 22,481 euros for the reds , an increase of almost 35% compared to 2021 (16,687 euros) , and 58,000 euros for the only white piece, i.e. a surge of 115% over 2021 (27,000 euros). At the same time, the Hospices de Nuits-Saint-Georges traditionally reserve a barrel for the benefit of an association. This “Piece of Charity” raised 43,585 euros for APF France Handicap, the main French organization defending the rights and supporting people with disabilities. Great cause and I am a proud donor over the years ! Webpage Hospices de Nuits : http://www.hospicesdenuits.com/

APF France : https://www.apf-francehandicap.org/

And hold on, here comes the Bretons !! The first Breton wines are expected for 2023 In Bretagne/Brittany/Breizh, there are around fifty winegrowers in the planting phase who, within ten years, will be harvesting and making wine. Among them are Mathieu Le Saux and Noémie Vallélian, at the Ferme de Port Coustic, on the Île de Groix island off Lorient in my Morbihan 56 ! Already cider producers, in 2020 they planted three hectares of Chenin, Grolleau and Folle Blanche, and will complete their planting this year with 0.5 hectares of Pineau d’Aunis and 0.5 hectares of Albariño, a grape variety from Galicia. With a microscopic production expected for 2023 (about 500 bottles), they hope to increase their production and create « Anjou-type wines » ! Meanwhile, on the Presqu’île de Rhuys peninsula, in Sarzeau, also, in my Morbihan ! the couple of Champagne winegrowers, Guillaume Hagnier and Marie Devigne, have been patiently cultivating 27,000 vines since 2020. The first harvests are scheduled for 2023 for bottling in 2024. Just as for the wines of the Ferme de Port Coustic above, a Loire profile is taking shape. Under the iodized spray of the Gulf of Morbihan, plants of Chenin, Chardonnay, Cabernet Franc and Folle Blanche are currently growing.

Edouard Cazals, winemaker in Saint-Jouan-des-Guérets, in Ille-et-Vilaine (dept 35). In 2019, he planted two hectares of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Grolleau and in the winter of 2021 another two hectares of Chardonnay, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Meunier and Portuguese Blue. His first harvest will take place this year, in October 2022 ! Aurelien Berthou, a graduate of SupAgro Montpellier and oenologist, he is the coordinator of the first Breton wine training (BPREA) at the lycée Kerplouz Lasalle high school in Auray (my twins boys went here!!!) , in Morbihan as well. To date, eight students are following this course, and four new ones are expected for next year. But Aurélien Berthou also has another activity, his own this time: on April 4 2022, he will plant 2.5 hectares above the port of Saint-Goustan (Auray-Morbihan!) , very close to his high school. I am going to plant soreli, which is a cross between friulano and a resistant Hungarian grape variety, muscaris, which crosses solaris and muscat petit grain. And also Sauvignac, a cross between Sauvignon and Riesling, Aurélien plans to make its first harvest in 2024 for bottling in 2025.

There are two association helping improve winemaking in Bretagne ! These are the Association for the Recognition of Breton Wines (ARVB), and the (AVB), the Association for Breton Winegrowers, which brings together only professional winegrowers already in activity and whose operating area exceeds the legal framework for heritage vines (vineyards intended for family consumption, whose surface does not exceed 1000 m2, and whose fruits must not be used for commercial purposes, So Yec’hed Mat! (breton) Or à votre santé !(French).

The ARVB: https://vigneronsbretons.bzh/histoire-de-larvb/

The AVB: https://www.vignerons-artisans-de-bretagne.bzh/

Mme Pascaline Lepeltier will represent France in the 2023 World’s Best Sommelier Competition, Born in La Rochelle in 1981, based in New York since 2009, member of the RVF (magazine revue du vin de France) tasting committee, Pascaline Lepeltier will try to win the prestigious title of best sommelier in Paris. As sommelier of the world. She is already meilleur ouvrier de France in sommellerie and best sommelier in France, You have to be up to win at the end of such a whirlwind of tests, entirely in English: Theoretical questionnaire, identification of photos, preparation of a dry martini, tea service, several blind tastings… For example, the candidates had to define a thiol, precisely describe eight wines blindly in four minutes, or slip into the shoes of the head sommelier of a large establishment in New Delhi, in charge of setting up a strategy to sell 60 bottles of Mouton Rothschild 1981 which threaten to lose their luster. Best of luck !! webpage: https://www.asi.info/

You have heard or read, the 2022 Michelin Guide has just unveiled its awards 627 starred restaurants make up this edition, including 49 newly promoted establishments. One special one for me for the place is Plénitude – Cheval Blanc Paris within the walls of La Samaritaine, where chef Arnaud Donckele directly wins the triple winner. There are 522 restaurants now crowned with a star in France Michelin Guide…In total, 74 establishments have been awarded two Michelin stars in France in the 2022 list. Finally, 41 restaurants have won their first Michelin star!

Some highlights as my favorite either ate there or have friend connections in the business are the Lalique hotel-restaurant at Château Lafaurie-Peyraguey, Grand Cru Classé of Sauternes (Gironde 33), Les Belles Perdrix at Château Troplong Mondot in Saint-Émilion; and in Bordeaux, the Maison Nouvelle by Philippe Etchebest. Also, Le Favori – Les Sources de Cheverny (41) , and closer to home the Gavrinis (Baden-Morbihan 56) where chef Luca Marteddu does wonders, The Sources (Lorient-Morbihan) where the brothers Mathieu and Nicolas le Tirrand submit iodine to refinement to magnify the taste of the product ; Also Ronan Kervarrec (Ronan Kervarrec – Le Saison à Saint-Malo Ille et Vilaine 35) who recounts a story worth tasting; The La Tête en l’air (Vannes-Morbihan ), chef Clément Raby creates masterful and original creative cuisine, with relevant combinations and recipes that hit the spot! La Chebaudière (Auray-Morbihan ), La Chaumière de Pomper (Baden-Morbihan ), Gare aux goûts (Lorient-Morbihan), and Hyacinthe et Robert (Pontivy-Morbihan), The official count in the Guide Michelin webpage : https://guide.michelin.com/fr/fr/article/michelin-star-revelation/guide-michelin-france-la-liste-complete-des-restaurants-etoiles

There you go folks, another dandy edition of wines news of France, a superbe hobby which grows over the years and by now will only stop with me gone. Hope you enjoy this post as I. And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

6 Comments to “Wines news of France XVIIII !!”

  1. Hombre, por más que me guste el vino, y me gusta mucho, te equivocas porque no hay vinos como los nuestros, los de denominación de origen españoles, los de Italia, Francia y otros países serán buenos también, pero tío, no hay comparación. ¿Has probado nuestros vinos valencianos de Utiel-Requena?

    Liked by 1 person

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