Wines news of France XXV !!

And the days of Summer are here yeah!! We had mild weather and then heat and now it seems we are heading for more heat as high in my area of 31C, Anyway, always good to bring the best of Wine news of France. First ,thanks to all my readers and/or followers! 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.

The “Act for Change” Symposium took stock. On June 27, 2022 at the Cité du Vin of Bordeaux, 35 international experts of 17 nationalities met to discuss the future of wines and spirits by 2030. Among the major trends and developments that will mark the next vintages, in particular was a question of new consumption habits, changes in viticultural practices, agroecology and innovative packaging. All to be implemented in the near future because yes, climate change is here and it’s also heating up in the vineyard , Among the solutions mentioned, the emergence of new grape varieties within the appellations, support for the conversion to organic and biodynamic areas or the adaptation of practices to the vine such as agroecology. Today, many estates are rehabilitating polyculture or replanting trees in their vines, a practice that existed a long time ago and which was slowed down from the 19C, with the arrival of monoculture. As for consumption habits, the wine drinkers of tomorrow will have to get used to containers other than glass bottles, the production of which is responsible for nearly 40% of the sector’s CO2 emissions. Many initiatives are emerging on this subject,like using paper bottle, a packaging that emits six times less CO2 than a glass bottle. The climate issue is a challenge that must therefore be taken up collectively, relying on an entire community to build the wines of tomorrow. Changes and still not sure if better,,,,,time is of the essence, More info webpage : https://symposium-actforchange.vinexposium-connect.com/

Since 2006, the Hellfest, the most famous extreme music festival, has established a partnership with the Muscadet winegrowers. An original but effective way to promote this wine made from the Melon de Bourgogne grape. What a funny idea, so at all rock festivals, beer reigns supreme! But now, the Hellfest is not a festival like the others. It is located in Clisson, in the heart of the Muscadet appellation. The site is also completely surrounded by vineyards. The site occupies 120 hectares: 38 for the concert area, 28 for the campsites and 55 for the car park. A large part of these grounds are rented for the year, others for the duration of the festival. Sometimes a few vines had to be uprooted, but the festival paid for the cost of replanting on other plots. The bar is now 300 m2 , located at the end of a wooded area where festival-goers come to seek a little shade and freshness, It is accessed by passing under the monumental gate of the Kingdom of Muscadet. On site, there is of course a cuvée of Muscadet, produced by the six local winegrowers, dashing, fresh and thirst-quenching, as well as a red Gamay and a rosé. It’s the rock festival where you drink the most wine ! 2022 is history but stay tune for 2023 ! Webpage : https://www.hellfest.fr/

And I had the priviledge to taste this awesome Champagne Krug,,, happy to tell::) At the head of Krug since April 2022, Manuel Reman has challenges but with a great team, They are in the process of writing a new charter with the winegrower partners who sell them grapes. These are people with whom they have sometimes been in contract for almost a century !! At Krug , they are few hundred, and sometimes micro-plots with about sixty hectares, He says, « We have a big project for the complete renovation of the cellars and the vat rooms ». This will be done after the 2023 harvest or at the beginning of 2024. Moreover, their first market is Japan. It’s a cuisine that goes perfectly well with Krug. In the United States, the place where they would like to develop is New Orleans. There is both all this history and this culture around music, but also a cuisine that is spicy, exotic. Today we have no problem selling the bottles so we finally have the chance to be able to choose where we sell them and we try to sell them to people who understand the Krug philosophy, who enjoy drinking Krug , not the people who drink Krug because they can just afford to drink it. There is a story about their marketing and sales director, met a chef in Los Angeles who is a Krug lover and who offers a glass of Krug to each of his guests in his tasting menu. These are the people they want to help, people who understand Krug. Me too Salut !! webpage : https://www.krug.com/

To celebrate its 250th anniversary, the house of Veuve Clicquot has transformed the most prestigious train into a champagne paradise, the Venice Simplon Orient-Express ! The Dame Clicquot Ponsardin celebrates her 250th birthday and the birthday party is commensurate with her longevity ,On the program, visit the chalk pits with guests from all over the world, and especially from the United States, A must to drink indeed, me too !! webpage : https://www.veuveclicquot.com/fr-int

Definitely, Provence attracts more and more personalities, and not only movie stars. Thus, since the spring of 2020, the Castéja family has set foot in the Coteaux d’Aix. This acquisition, carried out by the holding company of Catherine Castéja (Philippe’s wife) and her three children, enabled him to add a Provençal jewel to his portfolio of personal properties, including the Château Prieuré-Lichine, the Ballande trading houses & Méneret and Sovex GrandsChâteaux. The Château Bas had everything to seduce him/her: a thousand-year-old history, charming buildings and, above all, 300 ha of biodiversity, including 75 ha of vines grown organically since 2010. It is there, on the sunny clay-limestone hillsides, that the grape gains in concentration, largely swept away by the mistral. The Le Temple cuvée testifies to this with a finesse, length in the mouth and balance that sign the emblematic rosé of the property.Yes indeed try it ! webpage: https://www.chateaubas.com/

The Château Climens changes hands ! The vagaries of the weather, the frosts of 2021 and 2017, the hail of 2020 finally got the better of the tenacity of the biodynamist from Barsac and owner of Château Climens, Bérénice Lurton. The latter sold the majority of its shares to the Moitry family (Patrimonia, a group specializing in wealth management), which is their first acquisition in wine, For thirty years at the head of this splendid 31-hectare vineyard. The single tenant acquired by her father Lucien in 1971, Bérénice Lurton has continued to promote the terroir of Climens, considered the counterpart of Château d’Yquem in Barsac, in particular by converting it to biodynamics a dozen years ago. An argument that weighed during the sale as well as the recent creation of Asphodèle, the dry white cuvée from Climens which is already reaping exceptional notes. Changing of the guards always in Bordeaux, webpage : https://www.chateau-climens.fr/

Since today ,Thursday July 7 2022 is an important date for the Saint-Estèphe appellation with the inauguration of the new Château Laffitte Carcasset. The unprecedented choice of using different vats (stainless steel, concrete, frustoconical and inverted frustoconical) makes it possible to vinify to measure, according to the grape varieties, the terroirs, the levels of maturity… They have also developed an automatic temperature control algorithm of fermentation. The 5 guest rooms are already full, to receive customers, wine tourists, journalists, it starts very strong! They already have several weddings for next year to show the property to as many people as possible. The new kid on the block, see it, webpage : https://www.laffittecarcasset.com/

What are the exceptional rosés to taste this year? Well everybody has its list and I have mines too:

Château Minuty Cuvée 281 of 2021 Provence, Côtes de Provence, Elegance remains the pink thread of this wine full of finesse and roundness. On the nose, a few peppery accents highlighting a juicy peach also present on the palate, tonic and saline.

Domaine de l’Île , Porquerolles Rosé 2021, Provence, Côtes de Provence, Under a rose petal color, aromas of pomegranate and cherry parade on the nose before continuing on the palate while tension, saline, with soft notes of raspberry and of pomelo.

Domaines Ott, Clos Mireille Rosé 2021, Provence , Côtes de Provence, Dionysos and Poseidon watch over this Olympian rosé, governed by a beautiful energy on the nose and on the attack, the smoothness taking over on a saline mouth with citrus notes.

From Gaillac to Bordeaux via Beaune, all the regions are getting in tune and offering to discover the history, gestures and products that make their wines special juices. As a couple, with family or with colleagues, discover its wine museums ! Indeed they are precious, here are my favorites,

A stone’s throw from the Eiffel Tower, in the 16éme arrondissement, the Paris Wine Museum offers you a visit to its splendid 15C vaulted cellars. After having been the official cellars of the Dame de Fer restaurant for a long time, they were rehabilitated in 1984 by the Conseil des Echansons. The museum now offers a complete visit that will introduce you to the methods of vinification and conservation of wine and all the objects that are used during the wine aging process. Webpage : https://www.museeduvinparis.com/

It is one of the most beautiful museums in the world, it is both an architectural work and a museum: we are of course talking about the La Cité du Vin of Bordeaux. This building, with a futuristic design, hosts the presentation of what is the pride of the Bordeaux region: wine as art. It is in magnificent spaces and on a multi-sensory path that you will discover how wine is made, from the vine to the bottling. The Bordeaux museum clearly stands out from others on a national and international scale by its intuitiveness and its pedagogy. Panels and information will guide you through the 19 themed rooms. Webpage : https://www.laciteduvin.com/en

Between two visits and tastings at the estate, take the time to visit the Burgundy wine museum in Beaune. The Burgundy museum presents an impressive collection of bottles, jars and other products related to wine. Nestled in the heart of the Hôtel des Ducs de Bourgogne, this museum will delight young and old alike with a very significant outdoor space. After the obligatory review of the stages of wine making, you can let yourself be tempted by the olfactory workshop which will introduce you to the flavors of Burgundy wine. Webpage : https://www.beaune-tourism.com/things-to-do/attractions/musee-du-vin-de-bourgogne-675138

The Gaillac vine and wine museum, It is in a historic building of breathtaking beauty that you will have the opportunity to discover the vine and wine trades in Gaillac, in the Tarn. It was none other than the Benedictine monks of the region who built this abbey in the 10C. Overlooking the Tarn, the vine museum lets you discover the work of the winegrowers and the instruments, sometimes of religious origin, that they used at the time. You will end the visit in style with a tasting of Gaillac wines, to the delight of oenophiles, webpage : http://www.ville-gaillac.fr/culture/infos-pratiques-musee-de-labbaye

My educational section continues, love it, the world of wines !! and France ,of course !!!

They are called Artaban, Floréal, Muscaris, Souvignier gris or Coliris and Selenor, since 2017 disease-resistant grape varieties can be planted and marketed on French territory !! Resulting from crosses between European vines and other species carrying the genes of resistances (American and Asian), these grape varieties come from long and expensive French and foreign study programs. It takes between 12 and 20 years to obtain a new grape variety, from the creation of the variety of the first seeds to its production. In July 2018, the national IGP committee validated the possibility of including these grape varieties in their specifications. And after examination, the INAO therefore gave its agreement for the integration of these new grape varieties in the specifications of 15 IGP’s including the Protected Geographical Identities of Cévennes, Gard, Pays d’Oc, Atlantique or Val de Loire. Concerning the appellations, no AOC has yet started a project of integration in a specification, Out of the 1200 hectares of resistant grape varieties planted in the French vineyard, it is the German grape variety Souvignier gris which is the most represented with 365 hectares cultivated followed by Floréal and Soreli. The new world order to watch carefully….

What are the soft, syrupy, natural sweet wines… When wine gives pride of place to sweet and sweet notes, it can take different forms. Indeed, there are different processes for concentrating sugars in the berries, and therefore in the wine. Because the more sugar there is at the origin, the more so-called residual sugars will remain after the alcoholic fermentation.

Noble rot. This small mushroom, also known as botrytis cinerea, is at the origin, among other things, of the famous Sauternes. It likes humid areas, often populated by streams forming morning mists and sunny afternoons, to develop. Under its action, the grapes wither and dry up. Sugar takes up more and more space, so much so that they are nicknamed “candied grains”. Sémillon, Chenin and Riesling are among his favorite grape varieties.

Raising. No microscopic fungus, but an overripeness of the grapes by natural drying in the air. It can be carried out on feet, if the climate allows it, or on a bed of straw in a warm and ventilated place. The objective is to dehydrate the berries by letting the water evaporate, which has the result of concentrating the sugars and obtaining a higher alcoholic degree. There is also a characteristic acidity, synonymous with a nice freshness during of tasting. Like the botrytised bunches, successive selections are made to gradually harvest the fruits, which are perfectly golden by the sun. A real work of craftsmanship.

Icewines. It is not just the heat that increases the sugar level in the grapes. The cold can be a great ally. A particularity discovered at the end of the 18th century by Austrian and German winegrowers surprised by early frosts. They pick and squeeze frozen berries and realize that the frozen water lets the sugar take over. This strategy has since made its way into several northern vineyards which have made it their specialty.

The mutage. Here, it is not in the vineyard that we play on the sugar level, but during the vinification. It starts in the classic way and sees its fermentation stopped by adding alcohol. It can be a neutral alcohol or a wine brandy, often local. One thinks of Pineau des Charentes, to which Cognac is added, or Floc de Gascogne, which includes Armagnac. All the sugars are thus not transformed into alcohol and remain in large quantities in these so-called mutated wines. This technique is used to deliver natural sweet wines such as Maury or Porto.

Wine bottles are kept lying down. It is a principle of good wine storage: they are stored horizontally. The reason is simple: to avoid wine oxidation. For this, it is important that the cork remains in contact with the wine. The liquid thus moistens the cork and prevents it from drying out, shrinking and then crumbling. The cork would then lose its seal and allow too much air to enter the bottle. This entry of air, called oxidation, results in premature aging and spoilage of the wine. Cork taints spoil wine no matter how the bottles are stored. Sure, but you might be wondering if to avoid cork taint it’s not better to store the bottle upright? It should be noted that the storage position of the bottle has no influence on the corked taste. And again, the reason is simple: if the cork has been attacked by the molecule responsible for cork taint, the wine will be spoiled, regardless of its storage position. Keep bottles lying down: a principle that applies to cork stoppers, Storing bottles in a lying position is valid for bottles closed with a cork stopper. Indeed, the other corks or screw caps do not need to be moistened by the wine to avoid drying out.

You know ,half of French people consider restaurants to be their favorite places to eat. And many people drink wine when they go there! Despite everything, we note a drop in wine consumption, especially in restaurants. And this is due to several factors: First of all, wine is not systematically offered to the consumer, unlike water, even in bottles Also, the main packaging, i.e. A 75 cl bottle, is overtaken by current practices (which rather towards wine by the glass) ,and becomes unable to satisfy the consumer. Finally, the price of wine remains high in catering, in particular because of the coefficients applied by restaurateurs. The quality/price ratio is not always respected, but also the price of the wine is not in harmony with the price of the dishes. If the 75 cl format tends to put off customers, drinking wine by the glass appears to be the solution! This practice also allows you to taste several wines, without having to drink a whole bottle. In addition, the price can be attractive to the consumer. This practice has become so widespread that a recent study showed that two-thirds of customers in cafés, restaurants and hotels preferred wine by the glass rather than by the bottle. This phenomenon is more marked among the younger generations who prefer wine by the glass by 77%, while those over 50 show their attachment to the bottle at 32%. The trend towards local consumption in restaurants should also be noted. Regional wines, from local terroirs are very popular The fashion for afterwork and aperitifs makes it possible to serve wine at the start of the evening. These small orders can be multiplied by the practice of offering wine by the glass. In terms of wine colors, consumption leans more towards white wine and rosé wine, which are more suitable as an aperitif. Red wine, meanwhile, is always very popular! Moreover, despite the “Bordeaux bashing”, this vineyard remains the favorite for no less than half of the French, just like Burgundy, and Champagne! Closely followed by wines from Rhône, Alsace and Languedoc. Of course, we go in bunches so the bottle is always taken, and most is Red, then Rosé, and finally White.

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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