Wines news of France XXIX !!

Well, the temps have settle down into the usual nice Summer, and we enjoy it. 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 early 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.

For decades, the grape harvest was considered locally as the event of the year, a period during which entire towns came together, a sort of line of flight between the end of summer and the arrival of autumn. Today, they still evoke for our elders sweet memories of work in the countryside, village festivals and lunches on the grass, carrying with them the nostalgia of a “France before”. Nowadays, the harvest always takes place from July to October, depending on the climates and regions, and still gives rise to its share of traditions, some of which have disappeared. Because since the appearance of the first harvesting machine in Bordeaux in 1975, the bucolic ritual has taken a serious hit , and in 2010, nearly three-quarters of the vineyard was still harvested by machine. A trend further reinforced by the health crisis, during which many areas had no choice but to invest in machines, for lack of being able to count on seasonal workers stranded behind European borders. If the market continues to grow, with ever more efficient technologies , except in Champagne, where the specifications impose manual harvesting , the time has come to reconsider, and in the ranks of the new generation, they are more and more numerous to backtrack, favoring human and animal work to the detriment of the race for yields. Man or machine, impossible to say with certainty who will win. I hope man, the tradition of what we eat and drink.

AB, Demeter, Biodyvin, Vignerons Engagés, Terra Vitis… Which labels to trust? AB, for Organic Agriculture, and European organic label, known as Eurofeuille, still pass, the specifications have been the same since 2010. But concerning Demeter, Biodyvin, HVE, Terra Vitis, Vignerons Engagés… It’s a safe bet that our amateur will lose its lights. Normal, in this forest of labels, a cat would not find her young. Indeed!!! According to a 2021 Sowine/Winedata study, 53.4% of buyers take the time when buying to see if the bottle of wine displays an environmental certification. This boosts sales. As for the reputation of the different labels, 85% of respondents have already heard of AB, 36% know what Vignerons Engagés is, at least on paper, 29% for HVE and 26% for Terra Vitis…Very confusing you have to be in the business to know it well, the consumer is lost and really do not know the definition of these termes!!! AB  designs an agricultural biological label in France. Demeter is a private certification for food, cosmetics and textiles from biodynamic agriculture. Biodyvin. International Syndicate of Winegrowers in Biodynamic Culture.The Vignerons en Développement Durable association brings together winegrowers committed to a CSR approach from vine to glass. Its Vignerons Engagés label is the first CSR and sustainable label dedicated to the world of wine in France. Terra Vitis is a network of women and men, winegrowers or winegrowers, all committed to responsible viticulture. Distributed throughout France.

Great young wines can seduce with their generous fruit and power. But the same ones, with a few more years, can bewitch with their complex aromas and the velvety silkiness of their tannins. It all depends on the age of the wine. Normally, a bottle of 10 or 15 years of age does not require special attention. On the other hand, when you enter the world of bottles that are over 20 or 25 years old, you have to be more attentive and delicate: start by handling the bottle with care to avoid putting the probable deposit in suspension, be careful with the corkscrew and handle it with great care to prevent the cork soaked in wine from falling into small pieces, possibly and very delicately decant the contents just before serving in a decanter if the deposit seems very important to you, otherwise, handle as little as possible the wine before serving and therefore avoid decanting it even if it does not show a noticeable deposit. Prefer to puncture a small glass in order to place the level at the height of the shoulders of the bottle for a gentle aeration. If you haven’t downed the small glass in question out of relish, pour it back into the bottle just before serving! finally, the serving temperature can be rather a degree higher than the same wine in a young vintage because, as they age, wines normally lose a little alcohol. We will therefore be around 18° for most Bordeaux, Burgundy and northern Rhône wines, and rather around 17° for southern Rhône wines. For whites, stay between 13 and 14°, excessive cold not being a friend of mature white wines because it kills the complexity of their aromas. En Vino Veritas!

Thanks to the few rains in mid-August, the ripening of the Muscadet grapes continued positively. The harvest ban was declared on Tuesday 23 August. The vintage promises to be exceptional. This year, Tuesday August 23 marks the start of a strategic three-week period during which the quality of the vintage becomes clearer , three weeks earlier than in 2021, on September 15. In addition to Muscadet, there are other Nantes appellations such as Coteaux d’Ancennis Malvoisie and Gros Plant du Pays Nantais. In August, the winegrowers were impatiently awaiting a little rain and it finally came in the middle of the month, offering between 20 and 30 mm of water depending on the sector. This rain made it possible to reach an ideal balance between the sugar of the grape (potential alcohol) and the acidity. Professionals from Nantes claim that the vintage will enter the pantheon of Muscadet, just like 1976 or 2003. The 450 winegrowers spread over the 6,500 hectares of the Muscadet appellation estimate, at this stage, a harvest of around still far from the yields of the AOC, but close to a year of marketing. Much better than last year’s 145,000 hl.

The harvest began on August 20 2022 in Champagne. They promise to be of extraordinary quality, in line with the three great vintages of 2018, 2019 and 2020. The relative dryness has also been beneficial. Because if an excess of water is never good for the quality, too intense a drought can cause blockages of maturity and heterogeneity in the progress of the grapes which complicates the picking circuits. Finally, the third highlight is that this is a warm vintage. For the rest, the sunshine, the heat and the drought allowed the grapes to reach good levels. The only downside is the difficulty of recruiting pickers.

For the Provençal winegrowers ; the first secateurs were launched on August 11 2022 in the traditionally earliest sectors such as the golden triangle of Cuers, Montfort sur Argens, and the Var coast. Thanks to rains in mid-August, the vintage promises to be of good quality with unexpected volumes. Despite the increasingly marked climatic vagaries, cool nights maintained the balance and Provence is expecting an average vintage in terms of volumes or around 950,000 hl for Côtes-de-Provence. Rather good news after three small problem harvests. The vintage will be fine, but the winegrowers will be encouraged, even more than in other years, to harvest during the coolest hours of the day, or even at night, in order to bring in the grapes as cool as possible and preserve the purity of the aromas of the famous rosés from Provence.

This white grape variety is not one of the international stars, yet it is the spearhead of two French appellations that are dear to our taste buds. Who is the Mauzac? Mauzac is an indigenous variety from the southwest. He is probably from the region of Gaillac, although that of Limoux also claims his paternity. Truce de guerre de clocher, this white grape variety is productive, late in terms of maturity, fan of limestone and clay-limestone soils, much less admirer of Botrytis in the vine and worms in the bunch, Mauzac gives excellent sparkling wines . It is the exclusive grape variety of the Gaillac Mousseux Méthode Ancestrale and the AOP Blanquette de Limoux ancestral method. It represents 90% minimum of the assembly of the AOP Blanquette de Limoux traditional method. It expresses itself with intense aromas of ripe apple, pear, exotic fruits, acacia flower, reveals its bubbles with finesse, fills the palate with its beautiful material, well contrasted by a fair acidity. bloom longer in its original vine, its berries are adorned with a pretty red hue testifying to over-ripeness. In this case, it is perfect for making sweet wines like Gaillac Doux, with bewitching notes of honey, quince and candied fruit. It is also vinified in still whites in Gaillac, Limoux, Entre-deux-Mers, Sainte-Foy-Bordeaux, Côtes-de-Duras, where it brings all its complexity and structure on the palate to blended wines. Mauzac is a niche grape variety, proud of its roots, a quiet force that deserves to be known. Indeed is excellent in the above wines , try it !

The Château La Tour Carnet anticipates climate change, This fifth growth classified in 1855, in Haut Médoc, owned by Bernard Magrez, has become the site of an experiment intended to simulate the effects of climate change by 2050. It is to study the adaptation of 84 grape varieties to new artificially induced climatic conditions. the National Institute of Origin and Quality (INAO) recently authorized the integration of 6 new grape varieties among 52 tested according to the specifications of Bordeaux and Bordeaux Supérieur. 84 rows of vines corresponding to 84 grape varieties, 42 red and 42 white, (1 row per variety tested) were planted. The Touriga National is one of the 84 varieties tested. It has also recently been authorized by the INAO in Bordeaux and Bordeaux Supérieur according to certain rules. Tasted, the 2018 expresses aromas of blackberry, tar, graphite, crushed tomato. Vegetal and rooty in the mouth, tomato leaf again, a bit drying. On July 6, 2022, Tour Carnet brought together 280 researchers from around the world, as part of the Terclim Congress. This is a great recognition of the work done so far. The 14th International Terroir congress and the 2nd ClimWine symposium was organized jointly in Bordeaux from the 3 to 8 July 2022, webpage : https://bernard-magrez.com/en/chateau-la-tour-carnet-grand/

Two Gaillac wines for the summer. We have enjoyed over the year and visited property know the owners well so fyi. The chicest, Blanc Perlé 2021, Château Clément Termes Blanc Perlé is a specificity of Gaillac wines. During vinification, the carbon dioxide released during alcoholic fermentation is retained so that a pearl of lightness stimulates the palate at the time of tasting. This cuvée delicately displays a necklace of citrus fruits, exotic fruits and white flesh. His mouth has the evanescence of great evenings. Sparkling pearls, a pretty freshness balanced by a beautiful material, a last dance with fruity scents. A finery of two well-matched white grape varieties, Loin de l’Œil and Muscadelle, which will tactfully enhance your aperitifs by the water on Marennes oysters, shrimp skewers, falafels. The most cosmopolitan, Château Clément Termes 2019, Braucol, Duras, Syrah, Merlot, varietals with varied origins which join hands brilliantly, for a beautiful lesson in life… A maddening diversity of flavors of blackcurrant, raspberry, liquorice , black pepper. A successful blend with pleasant roundness, well-coated tannins, which drags on with notes of black cherries. A red wine that makes you want to go beyond our gastronomic borders with a lamb tagine with prunes, a Kobe beef tataki, a duck breast with spices from around the world. Webpage : http://www.clement-termes.com/

My recommendation for today is the Château Rollan de By 2015 ; Médoc, Cru Bourgeois, Bordeaux red , A successful vintage in the Médoc, this 2015 has also had time to settle down. Well integrated, the tannins have softened, contributing to the smoothness of the wine. A surge of red fruity aromas followed by roasted notes for this vintage to drink today. Webpage : https://www.domaines-rollandeby.com/

The thunder of Grain de Sail (we buy from them our Mexican coffees) They are coffee roasters, chocolatiers and wine carriers all in one ! The Breton company based in Morlaix has put the wind in its sails and the wine in its holds. Sometimes chocolate maker, coffee roaster and wine carrier by sailboat, nothing seems to stop Grain de Sail. Returning to Brittany with arms laden with coffee and chocolate from the other side of the world, all with a carbon footprint at the level of the daisies. It was the dream of Jacques and Olivier Barreau, two twin brothers from Brittany, at the origin of the Grain de Sail project. Today, in addition to bringing back cocoa and coffee from Latin American organic farming by sailboat, subsequently transformed in their optimized factories equipped with photovoltaic panels, they transport French wine, also organic to the United States. The Grain de Sail 2 sailboat will be 52 meters long and 11 meters wide, and will have a loading capacity of 350 tons, which represents around 180,000 bottles. This is 8 to 10 times greater than the capacity of their first cargo sailboat. In addition to having more storage capacities, it is faster and more economical. It’s simple, with Grain de Sail 2, they cut transport costs in half. It is modern technology that remains low-tech, because when it is too sophisticated, it is often also very complicated to manage. The first voyage aboard Grain de Sail 2 is scheduled for the first quarter of 2024. Last April, Heidsieck champagnes boarded the Grain de Sail sailboat, to reach New York on the occasion of the 200th anniversary of the house. A crossing of the Atlantic in tribute to Charlie, the founder of the house, who was one of the first to sell his champagne in the United States by sending it by sail. The United States is one of the largest export markets for French wine and New York is in a way the gateway. The idea is to expand the distribution area on the East Coast afterward, with Boston, Vermont, New Jersey, Delaware, Washington, etc. The complete loop of a trip is three months with Grain de Sail 1 but on Grain de Sail 2, it will be done in about two months. The crossing between Saint-Malo and New York will last a fortnight instead of 25 ! Sail away and bring the best to France as well, as the best of France to the world ! Webpage : https://graindesail.com/en/

The cellars of the Longueil grocery store, Maisons-Laffitte, Open since 1950 ,8 avenue de Longueil, Maisons-Laffitte Yvelines 78, We shopped here when living in Versailles superbe !! Sharing and discovery. Pleasure to meet with the winegrowers that we pass on to our customers. We have a very wide range of wines and spirits for neophytes and great wine lovers. Website : https://www.epiceriedelongueil.com/

For the fourth consecutive year, a small artisanal French brewery has won the prize for the best beer at the World Beer Awards, A dark beer from the confidential Cap d’Ona brewery, in the Pyrénées-Orientales. Brussels Beer Challenge, European Beer Star, World Beer Cup, and finally the World Beer Award in London, which has just awarded the prize for best dark beer in all categories to the Cap d’Ona brewery, a small family business located in Argelès-sur -Mer, for its Wood Aged Grand Cru , which is also awarded in the best barley-based beer category ,The three previous editions of the World Beer Award have also been particularly generous, with in 2019 the prize for the best beer of Belgian style, in 2020 the best rye beer, and finally in 2021 that of the best beer with spirits (awarded to their amazing chestnut rousse). This year, their blonde matured in barrels of grand cru Chardonnay, as well as their brown and their amber grand crus, competed. I need to try this beer not yet done, Webpage : https://www.worldbeerawards.com/

The Cazottes distillery, or an ode to eaux-de-vieIt is at Carlus, a few km from Gaillac, known for its production of solar wines that will make you finish the four irons in the air, that the charismatic Laurent Cazottes has taken up the torch of the small family farm. A kind of garden of Eden cultivating an English charm, where cereals, vines and oilseeds rub shoulders with expanses of pear trees and other juicy golden greengages. Lush orchards bending year-round under a blazing sun, whose thorny extension extends over nearly 1,000 meters of blackthorn bushes, elderberries, guigniers and other wild quince trees. The crystalline purity of its eaux-de-vie quickly enabled it to appear on the finest starred tables, starting with the celestial Tour d’Argent, and to grow its business by expanding its scope to the production of Tarn wines. and amazing new world juices. Among his finest successes, a liqueur in which 72 varieties of tomatoes are sown and then transplanted in the midst of herbs and plum trees, the names of which alone make up a symphony with soft oriental overtones: Golden Jubilee, Noire de Crimee, Rose de Berne, Merveilles des Marchés, Cornue des Andes… Picked when perfectly ripe, they are then sorted before being manually cut into quarters, then copiously drizzled with homemade grape eau-de-vie, so that the slow period of maceration. Endowed with a finesse on the edge of acidity, with bitters so sublime that one would almost forget the delicately carnivorous bite of the degrees, this marvel would make the greatest liqueurs pass for dark drops, and whose devastating effects prohibit for long hours to get back on the road…webpage : https://www.distillerie-cazottes.com/en

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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