Wines news of France XXIII !!

And the days are getting warmer, it seems like Summer is around the corner yeah!! Anyway, always good to bring the best of Wine news of France. First ,thanks to all my readers and/or followers! Spring was/is nice but looking forward to Summer without the canicule if you know what I mean! We have done quite a bit of work around the house, and still some more until 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.

After the announcement of the withdrawal of Château Ausone, Château Cheval Blanc and Château Angélus, it is the turn of Château La Gaffelière, Saint-Émilion Premier Grand Cru Classé B, to leave the classification of which it has been part since its creation in 1955. Unlike the classification of 1855, which is almost immutable, that of Saint-Émilion wines, dating from 1955, is in turmoil. In addition, said many, the rating system put in place for tasting contradicts all the ratings given to the châteaux by critics in recent years. A remark that resonates with the criticisms aimed at the tasting panel set up by the commission to taste the wines. Some were suffocated when they discovered that Bureau Veritas, selected as the organization in charge of the tasting and analysis of applications, was looking for independent professional tasters by posting advertisements on the Vitijob site, a site for job advertisements for all the wine sector, or on the website of the Union de la sommellerie française. For many castles, this recruitment process remains difficult to understand. In the vineyard, everyone knows the 30 professional tasters capable of correctly evaluating the Saint-Émilion wines by having a vision of the last 20 vintages, that is to say a real expertise. And the controversy continues folks, and no end in sight. Too bad for the Saint Emilion wines.

In a wine tourism guide which will be published by Éditions Flammarion on June 15, 40 Grands Crus Classés of the Médoc and Sauternes open their doors to 170 years of history. The reflection of an epic that began during the Universal Exhibition organized in Paris by Napoleon III, on the occasion of which the Bordeaux châteaux presented the fine flower of the French wine region. This initiative will result in a ranking of the most sought-after grands crus, divided into five divisions. While many of the castles featured in it have already published illustrated books retracing their history, here they are for the first time brought together in a travel-size guide that smacks of desacralization. This is followed by an invitation to travel over nearly 250 pages, which begins with a laudatory preface by Stéphane Bern, in which he praises the extraordinary historical, architectural, natural, gastronomic and intangible heritage of the Bordeaux vineyards. With a format inviting you to slip it into your bag, its beautiful book iconography and a fold-out map recalling the time when you used IGN maps to trace your route on the eve of going on vacation, this book also appears as the brilliant result of more than twenty years of editorial complicity with Flammarion, the favorite house of a certain number of châteaux, to which they already owe the publication of a work published in 2005 celebrating the 150th anniversary of the famous classification, which has passed more than 100,000 copies worldwide. The book call Bordeaux Route 1855, Editions Flammarion, 256 pages, 26 euros in France. Info webpage: https://editions.flammarion.com/bordeaux-route-1855/9782080283528

The general meeting of the Crus Bourgeois du Médoc last June 1,2022 was an opportunity to unveil new commitments. In sight: the next ranking, in 2025! Remember that 30 million bottles are sold each year! One of the outward signs of this new roadmap is the creation of the first Festival des Crus Bourgeois du Médoc. Good Wines Only, that’s its name, will be launched during the music festival in Bordeaux. The aim is to have an expression in Paris by 2024! (Olympics) Finally, the Crus Bourgeois continue to dig the furrow of sustainable viticulture. After integrating the environmental criterion into the classification, all members of the Crus Bourgeois, 250 properties spread over seven appellations (Médoc, Haut-Médoc, Listrac-Médoc, Moulis, Margaux, Pauillac and Saint-Estèphe) will have to commit to HVE criteria 3. (High Environmental Value (HVE) certification). More on the Crus Bourgeois: https://www.crus-bourgeois.com/les-crus-bourgeois-aujourdhui/

The Château Cantenac Brown Cru Classé de Margaux called on the American artist David Popa to create an ephemeral fresco visible only from the sky “an earthly fresco”. The spray bottles are filled with natural paint, made from chalk, wine lees, green clay, black earth, the same materials used by the first artists of humanity to make the cave paintings in their caves there. This is a painting of several tens of square meters which represents two open hands carrying a bunch of grapes. Superb and completely invisible from the ground floor. Even if the discovery of the fresco is done on screen, the emotion is real. The family is creative. Son of a graffiti artist of Romanian origin married to a Frenchwoman, grandson of ballet dancers, who attended a New York art school, David Popa combines in his work ancestral techniques, cutting-edge technologies and a deep desire for nature. The Château Cantenac Brown bought at the end of 2019 by the Le Lous family, the estate is currently under construction. Both levels of the Tudor-style castle are renovated from top to bottom. Right next door, a building that housed around fifty rooms and a swimming pool will be transformed into a vat room. For the sake of eco-responsibility, the walls have not been knocked down but will integrate the next building. Everyone is surprised to discover these buildings from the 1990s supported by dozens of props, like the remains of Pompeii. Soon, these walls will become those of the vat room, after being lined with compressed earth or earthen briquettes in order to naturally guarantee a constant temperature of 15°C all year round, without artificial air conditioning. The cooled air will come from Canadian wells dug into the ground. The work should be completed before the 2023 harvest. Amazing worth the detour eventually. Webpage: https://www.cantenacbrown.com/

After two years of absence, the Hellfest festival, in the heart of the Muscadet appellation, is back even stronger by organizing two editions in a row. For those who will be part of this double part, the Hellfest organizes various wine tourism activities. The largest extreme music festival in Europe. Every year since 2006, tens of thousands of fans have gathered to revel in Hard Rock, metal and all the derivatives of these musical genres with, on the program of the various editions Def Leppard, Iron Maiden, Kiss, Metallica, Scorpions, Deep Purple, ZZTop…etc. In short, all that is best. But now, after the cancellation of the last two editions due to Covid, the organization has decided to make up for some of the lost time by organizing two festivals in one, the first part taking place from June 17 to 19, and the second from June 23 to 26, 2022. What to do during the 4 days off? Wine tourism, of course! Because the particularity of this event is to take place in Clisson, (see posts) near Nantes, in the heart of the Muscadet appellation area. The festival and local winegrowers have also, from the outset, forged an unprecedented partnership allowing spectators to taste local wines during the various concerts. Metal and Muscadet lovers will therefore be able, between the two editions, to explore the vineyard for 4 days to deepen their knowledge as part of an operation called Hell’Tour. On the program, the discovery of estates and the vineyard on foot, by minivan, by small train, by bike… embellished with tasting, it goes without saying, visits to castles (Clisson, Goulaine, Tiffauges – where the famous Bluebeard lived ), distilleries… (see posts) The programme, set up in partnership between Hellfest, the tourist office and the Nantes wine federation. A good way to discover the richness of Muscadet wines, from the simplest to the most complex, including muscadets on lees and the various vintages, of which Clisson is one of the standard-bearers. Webpage: https://www.levignobledenantes-tourisme.com/

Nicely hidden here, how about the Bordeaux en primeur 2021? What are our favorite dry white wines at low prices in 2021? Some of favorites and still going strong over the years were/are: Chateau Olivier, Pessac-Leognan. Chateau Talbot – Chateau Talbot Caillou Blanc, Bordeaux. Château Cantenac Brown – Alto, Bordeaux, and Chateau Latour-Martillac ,Pessac-Leognan. Note their red has other appellation names.

And , I had them before knew it but now its official appellation ! The announcement came through a decree published in May in the Official Journal: the Pinot Noir from Kirchberg in Barr and Hengst in Wintzenheim obtained the controlled designation of origin “Alsace grand cru”. It’s official, Alsace now also has its great red wines. The Alsatian vineyard has 51 plots classified as “grand cru”, appellations until now reserved for the Riesling, Muscat, Pinot Gris and Gewurztraminer grape varieties from these terroirs meeting strict criteria and production rules The first mentions of Pinot Noir Grand cru will be able to appear on labels in 2023. The wines of Alsace webpage: https://www.vinsalsace.com/en/tastes-and-colours/grapes-varieties/light-or-full-bodied/pinot-noir-dalsace-rouge/

The WST (Wine & Spirit Tourism International Trade Fair) is coming to Reims in March 2023 with the ambition of welcoming 300 exhibitors. More info official webpage: https://wst-internationalfair.com/

Something I enjoy a lot, and will tell you a bit more of it. Whether it is called squid, Calamares (in Spain), Chipiron (in the Basque Country), Supion (in the Midi of France) or Encornet, it is indeed the same thing: a marine mollusc of the order decapods, with a fusiform body dressed in dark membranes and surmounted by a globular head. However, the animal is one of the stars of our holiday plates, accommodated in a thousand and one ways: in salads, in donuts, with garlic, lemon, stuffed (à la sétoise), fried (à la Marseille), sautéed (à la basquaise), American style, en su tinta (in a sauce made with the contents of its ink pouch Spanish ). Also fried in a sandwich delicious!!. The Spaniards invite it in their paellas and zarzuelas; and the Japanese even dare it in sashimi, that is to say raw! The preparation of the mollusk is immutable: you have to remove the film that covers the body, then the feather-shaped bone, cut the bottom of the head to remove the beak and the eyes, empty the soft parts, and recover the pocket ink if you’re going to use it for sauce. If this is not the case, it is better to ask the fishmonger to gut the animal. The secret is to cook the animal over very high heat and very briefly. The choice of wines will depend on the preparation: iodized enough to join the squid, fruity enough to face the aromatics that enhance the taste. From this point of view, Mediterranean wines are essential. And that can be from many countries but especially from France and Spain. Enjoy it!

The movie “Champagne!” Coming out yesterday Wednesday,June 8 2022. The Nicolas Vannier’s film takes place in Champagne with Elsa Zylberstein, a winegrower in organic conversion, as its central character. Elsa Zylberstein plays a winegrower in Champagne, who invites her fifty-year-old friends to come and celebrate the bachelor party of Patrick, played by Stéphane de Groodt, the last bachelor of the band. The future wife, who arrives unexpectedly, sows trouble in this troop which has known each other for thirty years. This smiling film highlights the values of friendship with a cast that makes you dream: Elsa Zylberstein, François Xavier Demaison, Stéphane de Groodt, Eric Elmosnino, Sylvie Testud, Valérie Karsenti, Stéfi Celma, etc. Nice bubbly romantic funny movie to watch indeed ! Allôciné webpage and preview: https://www.allocine.fr/film/fichefilm_gen_cfilm=290417.html

And now a worthy cause, very nice indeed. A wine tour of France by bike is the somewhat crazy project of Yann Dufouleur, agent and wine merchant, to finance the relaxation area designed by the artist Robert Einbeck for the patients of Professor Pascal Leprince‘s service in La Salpêtrière Hospital. Top start on June 20 on the forecourt of Reims Cathedral! Robert Einbeck designed the “Serenity” project, a virtual reality room immersing patients in an environment of color and light that should lead them “to the most complete relaxation” and participate directly in their therapy. Intended for patients at the Salpêtrière Hospital, this installation requires funding. has therefore imagined carrying out a solo, on the eve of his fiftieth birthday, a wine tour of France by bicycle, crossing all the high places of wine heritage in three weeks (Le Phare de Verzenay, the Hospices de Beaune, Le Pic Saint Loups , the City of Bordeaux wines…), i.e. a loop of 3000 kilometres. At each stage, he will meet a winemaker who will choose a special cuvée from his production in large format, which will then be decorated by the artist Robert Einbeck. All the bottles repatriated by Dyvin will be exhibited in Paris and then marketed at an auction, the proceeds of which will be donated to the Robert Einbeck’s Friends association. Yann Dufouleur also hopes in the long term that the “Serenity” program can be adopted in other hospitals and in particular the CHU of Reims. (CHU= Centre Hôpitaliere Universitaire). More info and source Terredevins webpage: https://www.terredevins.com/actualites/le-tour-de-france-viticole-de-yann-dufouleur

And last, but not least. The Oenologists of France, experts in wine and tasting, are at the initiative of Vinalies, the international benchmark for wine competitions. The Vinalies Internationales and the Vinalies Mondial du Rosé distinguish the best wines in the world by category. The Vinalies Internationales and Vinalies Mondial du Rosé competitions are among the most rigorous and are organized according to an extremely demanding scheme. Such as wines tasted and evaluated only by professionals: French and international oenologists, tasters and wine professionals recognized in their country (36 nationalities represented in 2022). Impartiality of judgments. The wines are tasted blind and presented in homogeneous series. There is no question of judging a brand or an appellation, only the quality takes precedence.Anonymization of samples throughout the tasting chain. A rate of medal-winning wines strictly less than or equal to 30% in accordance with the international standard of the OIV (International Organization of Vine and Wine). Writing detailed tasting comments on the wines tasted and awarded. Each international competition awards the following medals:
Grand Gold: score of 93 to 100/100
Gold: score 89 to 92/100
Silver: score of 85 to 88/100
The best scores of the Grand Or medals are awarded a Palme, rewarding the best wine in each category.
The Vinalies Internationales list the best wines in the world according to their category: white, red, rosé, sweet (+12g/l), sparkling, spirits, ciders and fruit wines. In 2022, 36 countries were represented. Webpage: https://www.vinalies-internationales.com/fr/resultats/palmares

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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