Wines news of France XXX !!

Well, we are cruising the last days of summer and soon be in the Fall (Sept 23rd France) , so we try to enjoy these days. Anyway, always good to bring the best of Wine news of France. First ,thanks to all my readers and/or followers! 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 Nicolas oenologists tasted 1,200 samples from 400 partners. About 50% were selected based on several criteria, with tasting taking precedence over the others. Half of the offer is committed to a sustainable and responsible approach. A discount of 20% on average will be applied during the Wine Fair. My favorite wine store chain in France fyi,Webpage : https://www.nicolas.com/en/

Already established in wine e-commerce, the Castel Frères group is about to finalize the acquisition of Vinatis, one of the French leaders in online wine sales. The Castel group, number 1 on the wine market in France and Europe, is about to buy Vinatis, as Terre de Vins revealed on September 5, 2022. Created in 2002 in Annecy by Emmanuel Toussaint and Olivier Ivangine, Vinatis today employs 120 people. The platform specializes in wines at low prices, sold between 4 and 8 euros, making it the online leader in this sector. With this takeover, Castel Frères, which notably owns the Nicolas and Savour brands, is therefore continuing its strategy aimed at wines with a good quality/price ratio. The Savoyard platform has also benefited in recent years from its development in Europe with 35% of its turnover, particularly in Spain, Italy and the United Kingdom. Enough to make the Castel group salivate.Well Vinatis I had purchase online a couple times and Nicolas as above is my favorite wine store so now same group huh ! Castel group webpage : https://www.castel-freres.com/en/

My previous multinational had a branch which I know and tasted their wines several times as such. Created in 2015, Cordier (formerly InVivo Wine my previous,,,) contributes to building a sustainable wine sector with its partner cooperatives, and contributes to the success of French wines around the world. In 2021, Cordier merged with the Occitan cooperative group, Vinadeis (was our old partner). The new entity is organized into 2 major divisions: Cordier Wines, which includes all services related to the development and marketing of estates, châteaux and wine brands: oenology, R&D, marketing, sales and integrated distribution. Cordier Excel, which brings together production, from bottling to manufacturing. Castel was our main competitor then and believe still is lol ! Webpage : https://www.cordier.com/en/our-collections/

This is a story about Beaujolais and what is to come with young new folks into the business of wines, We have Phillip Pascal, who already owns, with his wife, Catherine, the Domaine du Cellier aux Moines, a premier cru in Givry, and well-chosen plots planted with pinot noir or chardonnay, such as Les Combes and Les Charmelottes in Montagny, Les Pucelles in Puligny-Montrachet, En Chevret in Volnay and a few others. The property has also created Felix Helix, a range of more accessible organic wines. Together with Guillaume Marko, already co-manager of the Domaine du Cellier aux Moines. In Juliénas, they found a 5.5 hectare triangle of vines, set at an altitude of more than 300 meters, which is ideal in a context of global warming,   Around the village of Juliénas, the price of hectare oscillates around 40,000 euros, when it flirts with 150,000 euros in Morgon. Les Amourettes, a small house located in the middle of the vineyards, is used for technical meetings. The first harvests are carried out in a hangar transformed into a makeshift vat room, a few hundred meters further on. The restoration of crops requires large investments, up to 50,000 euros per hectare. It is a matter of uprooting plants in poor condition, preparing the soil, replanting, etc. From the outset, the vine is converted to organic viticulture, before switching to biodynamics. The estate was baptized Mont Bessay, in reference to the place called Côte de Besset. The building will be erected on the side of a hill, buried, integrated into the landscape, at an altitude of 400 meters. This furtive cellar, open to the vineyard, with its green roof, should be ready for the 2023 harvest. Moreover, the small production of the 2021 vintage of Mont Bessay gives rise to all hopes. At the tasting, the elegant frame and the balance of this Gamay already make it a serious vintage. Philippe Pascal and Guillaume Marko are not limited to Juliénas. They also acquired a parcel of Moulin-à-Vent and another of Saint-Véran. Beaujolais is enjoying a great dynamic today. The great Burgundian trading houses, such as Jadot, Latour or Drouhin, prospered there. Others prospect. The movement is partly accelerated by the passing of domains between generations. In the years to come, Beaujolais vines could disappear. Those that will remain should promote the appellation. Their main property Domaine du Cellier aux Moines : https://cellierauxmoines.com/fr/domaine/

The Beaujolais wine route : https://www.destination-beaujolais.com/en/la-route-des-vins.html

Two Beaujolais we love over the years and recommended are :

Domaine Louis-Claude Desvignes , Côte du Py Javernières 2020,Morgon. The class! With supreme finesse, this cru combines both a great juice, a beautiful shine, with a suave substance that does not reveal its richness. Because obviously, the maturity and the material are there, but melted in a whole of great elegance, with slippery tannins ,An essential domain, always at the top of the rankings and the prize lists, embodied by Louis-Benoît and his sister Emmanuelle.

Château du Moulin-à-Vent, Champ de Cour 2020, Moulin-à-Vent. A must in the appellation. Always at the top of the charts with each vintage, this model estate, whose rating has exploded over the past ten years, once again offers a remarkable cuvée, perfectly timed, from just over 3 ha, at 200 meters, on slightly stony ground. Fruit, balance, maturity, melted tannins: everything is already in place. It’s perfect !

The Conseil interprofessionnel du vin de Bordeaux (CIVB) has been thinking about ways to correct the image that sticks to the skin of the region: wines that are essentially red, tannic and strong, of classic taste, expensive and elitist. This identity card corresponds less to current tastes and consumption patterns, and this is reflected in sales. Indeed, the French eating less red meat, the consumption of red wine at the table is falling, while the demand for white is on the rise all over the country and that rosé is showing an insolent form. Whites and rosés dominate, for example, to accompany aperitif platters, very popular in cities. The other driver is price. It’s up to us to show the consumer that we produce terrific and very diverse Bordeaux wines between 5 and 15 euros. For this, the region intends to embody its vineyard more, to highlight the hard work of hundreds of winegrowers working in the shadows as well as winegrowers who are committed to telling their story, their wines, their approach. The CIVB webpage : https://www.bordeaux.com/us

Overdrive to an old favorite of our house. It is on the fine and sandy gravel of the Haut-Médoc that the charming Château Cantemerle rises, whose origins date back to the dawn of the 12C. Consecrated as the fifth grand cru classé in 1855, WWII nevertheless left it a few shots in the jar, with hectares of vines which remained in abeyance until the unexpected takeover by an insurance company, the SMA, a shareholder known for its attachment to its vintages. However, it will take the estate a few decades to restore its image. An exceptional vintage in the Médoc region, 2016 has already been ready to drink since 2021, with Cantemerle a classic blend of Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon, sweetened with a few Merlots and Petit Verdots. On the nose, small black fruits as if rolled up in aromas with the opulence of zan and vanilla flower, which we find on the palate in a delicate tangy variation, carried by tannins that have become silky, which suggests to this cuvée a bright future. Looking on the rebound indeed, Webpage : https://www.cantemerle.com/en/

Another old guard beauty ! A destiny that can be found at the Château d’Issan, whose wine would have been served at the wedding of Eleanor of Aquitaine and Henri Plantagenêt in 1152. Today, the property has preserved its impressive medieval building as a setting, whose enclosure extends over hectares of vines anchored in thick soils of gravel and clay, which will give in 2020 one of the most convincing vintages in its history. On the nose, a bouquet of summer fruits, which rising to the hollow of the nostrils gives the illusion of being lying on a blanket, in the middle of a field of wild grass, caressed by the gentle warmth of a sun. of spring. On the palate, a wine with chiseled elegance, with a dazzling profile, which explodes on eminently crunchy fruit, whose tannins still skate like a snowplough towards a fragile finish, saved by this chalky austerity where one can read the promise of a probably fabulous guard, Always reliable indeed, Webpage : http://www.chateau-issan.com/en/index.html

This 2021 vintage experienced, as we know, a very disturbed genesis and the Gironde accumulated a series of climatic events which weighed heavily on the smooth running of the vegetative cycle, maturities, yields… After fierce spring frosts, it was terrible attacks of mildew, then a cool and not very sunny summer, saved by a milder autumn. In short, an enormous amount of work in the vineyards and a more favorable harvesting period made it possible to produce decent wines, sometimes even great ones, with nevertheless significant heterogeneity from one appellation to another, even from one property to another. Various successes depending on local situations, but wines whose best always overflow with personality are:

Château Mouton-Rothschild (I am on their mailing list and visit and buy lol!): 2021 captivating nose of black fruits, exotic wood, rich and elegant at the same time. The palate is just as dense as it is caressing, the tannins are incredibly mature and the whole gives off an impression of soothing serenity. A big Mouton. Pauillac and Saint-Estèphe 2021, They are among the great successes. These two appellations from the north of the Médoc, more concentrated, close to the Gironde, with a homogeneous terroir, have generally produced wines of good quality, in a less generous style than in previous years, the signature of this complicated, lighter and digestible vintage. Château Pichon-Longueville Baron: racy nose with elegant oak. Mouth already very structured by wood tannins, black fruits in retreat and delicate touch of cocoa. Great potential for sure. Petit Mouton from Château Mouton-Rothschild: concentrated, racy nose, with intense fruity and woody notes. Ample and elegant mouth, fine tannic structure, perfect maturity and velvety fruit on the finish. Grand! Château Les Ormes de Pez: fruity nose tinged with a slight vegetal note. Nice juice on the palate, very consistent, with a bit virile oak but also a lot of race!

Saint-Julien and Margaux 2021 , Here are the two Médoc appellations where the experts felt the most heterogeneity. Château Lagrange: the nose offers a generous, greedy, very ripe fruity score. Precise woodiness. Mouth of great suppleness, polished tannins, breadth and generosity of the fruit. Already very well in place. Château Léoville-Barton: nose full of sap, combining very ripe fruit and wood of great finesse. Straight palate, tense with freshness. An enticing fruity bouquet, full of juice. Racy breeding. Full wine, great potential. Château Lascombes: racy nose, floral accents, bud, subtle woodiness. The palate already displays a harmonious structure, with a nice blend of fruit and wood, even if the aromas are obviously still youthful. A safe bet from Margaux which confirms once again.
Pessac-Léognan, This appellation in the south of Bordeaux experienced a mild winter and an early budburst with the consequences that we know at the beginning of April. The end of the cycle, calmer, allowed to harvest healthy grapes and to develop a vintage of low volume but which offers beautiful qualities. The whites are fresh and very aromatic. The reds show more disparities but with interesting fruit and lots of crunch. My all time favorite here is the Château Pape Clément , and their 2021 has a concentrated nose of red and black fruits. Almost imperceptible wood. The mouth shows a nice concentration combining rigor and classicism. A construction designed for the long term. Go Bordeaux !!!

Very well known to me as way way back help sell theirs wines in Florida !! Working after my regular work hours with Philippe E Dreyfus (RIP) The famous Bordeaux wine merchant, founded in 1897, organized a major non-Bordeaux wine tasting in Paris, Shanghai and Tokyo for the start of the 2022 school year. The opportunity to return to the current dynamism of the export market. Maison Ginestet is one of the major players in Bordeaux wine merchants with a turnover last year of 107 million euros. In the segment of grands crus and similar wines, France remains the leading market (25% of its 2021 turnover). However, exports to 60 countries are proving particularly strong and current order levels remain high, particularly in a few key markets. Among them, the United States, which has fully benefited from the historic euro-dollar parity for 20 years. But we could also mention mainland China, which is dynamic due to the closure of imports from Hong Kong, As Business France indicates, with in particular a 35% increase in the United States or a 23% increase in Japan. The importance of certain markets for traders can also be explained by their longstanding local presence. Maison Ginestet has, for example, historically been present on the Japanese and Thai markets since the 1990s and globally has 8 sales representatives in Asia (out of a team of 35) ,The recovery of tourism in Southeast Asia also explains the strength of the markets such as Vietnam, the Philippines or even Singapore. For 2 years, the emergence of South Korea whose very informed consumers are more and more interested in great wines. This country now represents more than 15% of turnover in the Asia Pacific zone ,I the core business of merchants remains the influence of Bordeaux wines, the number of non-Bordeaux references in their catalogs is growing. Maison Ginestet now carries 35 high-quality references,Webpage : http://www.maison-ginestet.com/bordeaux-wine-trade-bordeaux-trader-en/bordeaux-wine-ginestet.html

Something I have known since 1990 when met what would be my now dear late wife Martine, there is Champagne in Seine et Marne 77 ! In Champagne, the shears are busy harvesting the plots of the Bombart and Ernould families, except for one detail… These few hectares of vines are located in Île-de-France region, 75 km from Paris. On the borders of Seine-et-Marne, dept 77 ,three villages in the Marne Valley. Saâcy-sur-Marne, Nanteuil-sur-Marne and Citry are the only three crus of the controlled designation of origin (AOC) to be located in the region, on clay-limestone soil suitable for Pinot Meunier, which gives the wine lively and fruity notes. People are not necessarily aware that there are winegrowers in Seine-et-Marne, In Saâcy-sur-Marne , the harvest began on last Friday on the two hectares of the family vineyard. There are more than 15,000 winegrowers who make up the viticultural champagne, only 13 operators are listed in the Seine et Marne department, counts the Champagne Committee, the interprofessional organization of the appellation. The whole represents 92 hectares in production, or 0.27% of the total Champagne vineyard, But they are here !!! Champagne Bombart : https://champagnebombart.fr/

Champagne Ernould Facebook page : https://www.facebook.com/champagneernould

Last but not least, the passing of a great wine men that I have followed for many many years and have tasted his wines, Louis-Fabrice Latour, the leader of Maison Louis Latour, one of the largest trading companies in Burgundy, died on the night of September 5 to 6 2022 at the age of 58. Burgundy loses one of its ambassadors. He was the director of the Maison Louis Latour since 1999, a wine merchant and producer firm for more than 200 years ,He represented the eleventh generation at the head of the family business. He was also president of the Federation of Wine and Spirits Exporters of France (FEVS), as well as President of the Interprofessional Bureau of Burgundy Wines (BIVB) from 2013 to 2021. Recently, Louis-Fabrice Latour had taken on the mission of raising a Cross of Charlemagne broken on one from Corton, garnished with vines from Maison Louis Latour. He gathered his craftsmen and then inaugurated the monument on May 5th. Quite a symbol. Maison Louis Latour owns 48 hectares of vines in Burgundy, including 27 grand cru, in the Vosne-Romanée, Puligny-Montrachet, Gevrey-Chambertin, Corton-Charlemage and Corton appellations. In 2003, Louis-Fabrice Latour acquired Simonnet-Febvre, a Chablis wine estate, then in 2008 Henry Fessy, a producer of Beaujolais and Mâconnais wines on 70 hectares of vines. Webpage : https://www.louislatour.com/en/

Quick news update on Saint Emilion!! Finally, the new classification of properties in the Saint-Émilion appellation is revealed. The Inao unveils the 2022 classification of Saint-Emilion wines. It includes 85 properties. Figeac reaches the top of the top, the category of 1st Grand Crus Classés A. Within the Saint-Émilion appellation ,5,400 ha and a little over 500 winegrowers , the classification establishes three categories: the grands crus classés, the premier grands crus classés and the premier grands crus classés B or A, the fine flower. To reach the rank of Premier Grand Cru Classé A is to settle on the Olympus of the right bank. This new ranking is not really a surprise. It consecrates the evolution of a single leading property , Château Figeac , and confirms the position of Château Pavie, which joined the super category in 2012.

Grands Crus are : Chateau FRANC-MAYNE,Chateau GRAND CORBIN,Château BELLEFONT-BELCIER,Château HAUT-SARPE,Château LA COMMANDERIE,Château La DOMINIQUE, Château VILLEMAURINE,Château DASSAULT, Château LA TOUR FIGEAC, CLO de l’Oratoire, Château FLeur Cardinale, Château FOMBRAUGE ,Convent des Jacobins ; Château FONPLEGADE, Château FONROQUE , and Château MONBOUSQUET.

Premier Grands Crus are : Château BEAU-SEJOUR BECOT,Chateau CANON LA GAFFELIERE, Château FIGEAC (distinction A),Château PAVIE (distinction A),Château TROPLONG MONDOT,Château VALANDRAUD, and CLOS FOURTET.

The above is a partial listing of the properties that I have tasted over the years.

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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