Wines news of France XX !!

And the days are getting hotter with today at 19C high in my neck of the woods, Time to bring the best of Wine news of France. First ,thanks to all my readers and/or followers! Spring is in the air , and looking forward to Summer already ! Time to plan work around the house and get it done by September , Oh yeah, the wines of France are just super simply awesome and a great tradition. Often imitated, some time equaled ,but never surpass! Let me give some news shall we; hope you enjoy it as I.

More and more winegrowers are installing bat boxes in their vineyards ! The European species of chiroptera, this family of mammals which gathers 1200 species in the world, are great predators of insects. 36 of these species are present in France. A bat is able to eat between 1500 and 3000 insects in a single night ! Analysis of their droppings has confirmed that bats feast on the infamous grapevine moths: eudemis, cochylis and moth. In France, three species are sought: the common pipistrelle ,which measures only 3 to 4 cm and weighs about 5 grams, the lesser horseshoe bat , and the serotinus . To attract them and make them work at night, from March to September , because they hibernate the rest of the year , the winegrowers offer them a lodging, where they can sleep during the day. Following studies and deployment programs in the 2000s and 2010s, thousands of nesting boxes are installed in many appellations such as Picpoul-de-pinet, Faugères, Terrasses-du-larzac, Pic Saint Loup, Bordeaux, Burgundy..,etc. , it is good because there are no more active insects in the winter that the bats hibernate. For the rest, it is difficult to say whether bats alone are a more ecological and less expensive alternative to insecticides. But it’s going in the right direction, Stay tune folks ! Bats away !

The marketing and communication consulting agency SoWine unveils its 2022 barometer. The French have a very special relationship with wine.(oh yeah!) Over the past few decades, habits that were thought to be immutable have been turned upside down by the arrival of new ways of making wine, of distributing, and therefore of consuming. Indeed to be competitive we need to change with the times !

These are some of the habits forming of today’s generation of consumers as shown by SoWine survey. Significant increase in beer consumption of beers , the favorite alcoholic drink of the French since 2015, Wine nevertheless remains in the lead among women (45%) while 59% of men prefer beer. Increased knowledge of wines and spirits, The barometer reveals that in 2010 ,date of the first SoWine study ,only 35% of those questioned qualified as an informed connoisseur. Since then, the level of knowledge has increased, since in 2022, this figure has risen to 47% !! Good for you !! The importance of the price factor and the increase in the average shopping basket, When buying wine, the price is the first element that determines the consumer’s willingness to go to the checkout (58% of buyers). The price range from 11 to 20 euros reached 56% (+34 points since 2013), while the category over 20 euros represents 23%, an increase of 17 points compared to 2013. Price should not be the only factor folks !

Bordeaux, Burgundy and Champagne in the top three , but of course, The wines of Provence, for their part, now give way behind the nectars of the Rhône, Alsace and Languedoc. Is this news or what !

Organic, a key element for consumers, especially young people, Indeed, most of the amateurs surveyed stress the importance of environmental considerations when buying a bottle. 53% of them therefore take the time to see if the bottle displays a certification: 85% look at the “Organic Agriculture” label, 36% that of “Vignerons Engagés”, 29% that of “High Environmental Value” and 26% that of “Terra Vitis”. But quality has a price, since more than 50% are ready to pay more if the wine is stamped with one of these labels, Wow did they know how they make those wines ? I bet not ! Increasingly digitized consumption patterns, In 2022, SoWine reveals that 41% of French people bought their wine via merchant sites,(Nicolas is tops) a figure which has not fallen since the reopening of shops. The websites of large retailers occupy first place (33%) ahead of those of producers (30%) and wine merchants (25%). In addition, the survey reports that French consumers are increasingly fond of social networks, especially Instagram, with 32% claiming to follow estates, castles or brands. I rather go direct to the properties great friends over the years and great wines ! The French and spirits, a good cocktail, The share of French consumers declaring an interest in the world of spirits has increased by 5 points since 2019, to 42% ! Rum remains the most consumed alcohol (80%) (but of course mojito!) ahead of the whiskey, vodka, liqueurs or cognac.

The Champagne Telmont house revealed the result of its collaboration with the French glassmaker Verallia around a bottle lighter than ever, After ten years at Moët Hennessy, Ludovic du Plessis joined the Rémy Cointreau group, where he spent seven years with the Louis XIII cognac house. He therefore joined forces with Bertrand Lhopital, also cellar master, and the Cointreau group became the main shareholder, recently joined by the American actor Leonardo DiCaprio. Baptized « Au Nom de la Terre » or in the name of the earth, the project started in 2021, and is now passing a major stage in its deployment, with the objective of reducing its carbon footprint by significantly reducing the weight of its bottles, from 835 to 800 grams. A first test is underway on a volume of 3,000 bottles, which will be observed with the greatest attention during the entire winemaking process. Today there is a real demand from consumers, particularly from the United States and Japan, Before thinking about the weight of the bottle, the project started with a conversion of the estate to organic, before attacking the reduction of packaging, and to the choice to no longer use transparent bottles for their rosé and blanc de blancs, because this is non-recycled glass. These cuvées are now in green bottles, which has the advantage of preserving them from the taste of light. They have also eliminated air freight in favor of maritime transport, and reuse the bottles within a radius of 100 km with cider and sparkling wine producers. Finally, the label has been one of our great battle horses, with the desire to display all the information necessary for consumers. It is this bet on transparency that differentiates them today on the market. webpage:

Next September 2022, the final result of the new Saint-Émilion Grands Crus Classés classification, revised every ten years, must be officially published. It follows the 2006 ranking, which was finally canceled, and that of 2012, still entangled today in legal proceedings. However, the fact that three of the most prestigious crus of the appellation, Châteaux Cheval Blanc, Château Angélus and Ausone, decided not to present their candidacy caused trouble for the vineyard. And the legal ramblings continue for the ranking but the bottom line is the wine, The INAO has its work cut out for Saint Emilion,

The 16th edition of the Week-End des Grands Crus de Bordeaux will be held from June 17 to 19, 2022, Come to taste more than 110 local wines during a tasting day on June 18, embellished with “masterclasses” taught by great figures of wine and pairing imagined by chefs from the region, The Week-End des Grands Crus de Bordeaux is organized by the Union des Grands Crus de Bordeaux, which was created in 1973 and brings together 131 châteaux. Webpage :

Let me do a run to Pomerol with a family anecdote. When I first came to meet my girlfriend’s family which eventually became my wife and now unfortunately for me my dear late wife Martine; I met the father-in-law..You know that goes… However, during the conversation in my best French in 1990, I found out that he was the director of sanitation and water services in the city of Meaux (my Martine was born, but her father never met as he died in a car crash in near Gaillac, when she was 10, on the same day my twins were later born November 17, his name was Pierre). The father in law that I met or stepfather Dédé has a large collection of wines and the one he brought up for me was a Pomerol 1960!!! He was and still not a heavy wine drinker but has a few bottles from the political arena given as gifts. He told me does not know how it taste as was 30 years in his cellars!!! Well the wine was super and the name was a Château Trotanoy!!! It was heaven on me I felled in love right there lol!!!

The absence of an official classification obliges everyone to form their own opinion, according to their culture, their tastings, their tastes and the sums they are ready to invest in this pleasure. Sometimes at the risk of making a mistake, for lack of knowledge of the appellation, for lack of time. The Le Figaro has a ingenious method to classify them when shown to their audience like me. Their method is something like this, First of all, we made a selection based on the Wine Lister Pro scores (subsidiary of the Figaro group), retaining only those who obtained a minimum score of 900 out of 1000. This score is calculated from 14 criteria of rating, in order to offer a 360 degree perspective on each of these wines. Evaluated by the average ratings of five of the most respected critics in the world Jancis Robinson (follow), Antonio Galloni and Neal Martin (Vinous), Bettane+Desseauve, (follow) and Jeannie Cho Lee. We assess brand awareness via popularity and prestige, by analyzing the number of internet searches for each wine (on the most visited wine site in the world, Wine-Searcher (good one indeed follow) as well as its presence on the best wine lists in the world, such as the Clarence in Paris or The French Laundry in California’s Napa Valley. Finally, we dig into the economic dimension ; for the sake of consistency, because we noticed a significant difference in level between the property in ninth position in our ranking and that placed in tenth position, our ranking only includes nine castles. Which are Pétrus, Château Lafleur, Vieux Château Certan, Château la Conseillante, Château Le Pin, Château l’Evangile, Château Trotanoy, Château l’Eglise Clinet, and Château la Fleur Petrus,Not bad at all huh !!!

Some of the other names popping up in best lists are :

Château Clinet. The wines are indeed graceful and fresh, typically Pomerolian and the quality achieved has never been so evident as in the last two vintages, 2019 and 2020,

Château Latour. One of the accessible crus of the Jean-Pierre Moueix galaxy, which places two of his colts among our top 9, Trotanoy and La Fleur-Pétrus. It is also and above all one of the former cousins ​​of the leader of the classification, Petrus, that the same owner, Madame Loubat, acquired in 1917; she lived at the castle and died there, not without having largely extended the vineyard on the superb plateau of Pomerol

Château Gazin. At less than 80€ a bottle, Gazin offers very enviable value for money in Pomerol. It is one of the oldest properties in the appellation, now run by the fifth generation of the Bailliencourt family, known as “Courcol”, represented by Laure, Christophe, Inès and Nicolas. The nickname “courcol” was given to them by the King of France Philippe-Auguste in 1214, after their ancestor distinguished himself at the Battle of Bouvines.

Château Petit-Village. Stuck on the Pomerol plateau between La Conseillante and Certan de May, the 10.5 hectares were bought in 2020 by the Moulin family (Galeries Lafayette), also shareholders of Château Beauregard since 2014 (with the Cathiard of Smith Haut Lafitte).

Often mistakenly considered the second wine of Château Lafleur, Les Pensées is actually produced on a separate plot, on a clay vein located in the middle of the terroir dedicated to great wine. This confidential plot, of only 70 ares, offers a completely different wine, more Pomerolian than its big brother thanks to the presence of clays, but possessing the same magic instilled by the Guinaudeau family, with a very precise mineral finish, carried by 45% Bouchet (Pomerol name given to Cabernet Franc).

And now for the masters a bit of talk, read ,and educational on Pomerol wines.

Michel Rolland, Stéphane Derenoncourt and Thomas Duclos, all three consultants for the biggest Pomerolian properties, come back to the evolution of the wines of the appellation. For info, I have followed Michel Rolland since the 80’s great innovator in France and especially California wines.

We no longer need to introduce Michel Rolland, international oenology superstar, without whom Bordeaux would not taste the same. This fine Pomerol connoisseur still advises some of the greatest properties in the appellation, even if he is slowly passing control to a new generation after having sold the majority of his oenology laboratory to three close collaborators.

Stéphane Derenoncourt (Dunquerque) is certainly one of the most influential consultants in the world of wine, working with more than a hundred estates in Napa Valley, Lebanon, Italy and Greece and, of course, the Bordelais ,

As for the Libournais Thomas Duclos, he is considered one of the new strong men of Bordeaux and described by some as the anti-Michel Rolland, even if he regularly pays homage to him. For both of them, Pomerol wines have undergone a marked evolution in recent years.

This is a nutshell what they had to said too long technical exposure for the blog, Hope it helps you appreciate the Pomerols even more !

The quality has seriously increased. There are no more bad wines, as before. Today, Pomerol wines are more on the fruit, even if they remain wines for laying down. the notion of purity and precision. This is valid in Pomerol as in other appellations, but particularly here because the valuation of the bottles is important today, even if we find more drinkability, we keep the character of the terroirs, The identity of the properties even on vintages like 2015 and 2016. there is a new style in Bordeaux and Pomerol is part of this stylistic challenge. They are more elegant, more slender. It is a reflection of the times.
The evolution of Pomerols is therefore linked to an ongoing modernism which means that people tend to drink younger wines, to buy ready-to-drink bottles, unlike what dad or grandpa used to do. Today, the properties want consumers to be able to enjoy it now we eat less fat and less sugar. The accompaniment in terms of wine has followed the same path with things that are more “light”, more real. wine is something other than water. It is spiritual, a reflection of society, a part of a dream, a philosophy, everything but not a drink. You just have to understand its time and a large part of Bordeaux no longer understands its time. The wines are more harmonious and balanced, which allows them to be tasted young and to have fun. A kind of democratization of things carried by a new generation which brings audacity and breaks the codes. There will certainly still be innovations, but the big changes are made in times of great crisis and Pomerol is not concerned. Great revolutions happen when people are hungry. Rankings are a good thing when they are done right and when they are consensual. Pomerol does not need this promotional system. We are talking about areas that produce for some 5,000 cases per year, which is very little. And this preserves the land base a little, which can facilitate transactions. The land speaks. What makes the reputation of the crus is their ability to produce products of a certain quality and consistency over time. The great Pomerols are those that will continue to be true, to show the typicality of the appellation, to cultivate this identity. We must always keep in mind the objective of great wines, which is to live for a long time. The Bordeaux model is no longer retained by young consumers who do not care. They want a philosophy, an environmental commitment and sweep away the classic-boring style of Bordeaux. Today, the young winegrowers are trained, they have traveled and they arrive with the audacity of youth, ready to shake up the codes. We are truly in a period of transition, which will see successes and losses.

The Syndicate of Pomerol wines:

There you go folks, another wine episode of my belle France! The wines of France that is, superbe, sublime, wonderful, gorgeous, enjoy without moderation but accompanying a meal, family table just perfect. See you in the vineyards of France.

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

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