Tag: france

Wine Production Under Strain

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The International Organisation of Vine and Wine (OIV) reported that this year’s wine production had been at its lowest since the 1960’s. Indeed, the harvest saw an 8% fall in production with only 246.7 million hectolitres. Moreover, despite a growing wine consumption among different population types, the production decreases steadily.

According to the OIV, climate change is one of the main reasons for these poor figures and it blames warmer autumns and longer frost periods which impede the grape’s development.

Yet, this does not cause a drop in consumption because there is enough stock (e.g. only in France, there are 154 million hectolitres in stock) nor a surge in price as exports are thriving. According to OIV experts, cheaper wines may slightly increase their price, but high-end wines will maintain themselves.

Climate change is especially affecting countries such as France, Italy and Spain. We witnessed it with this year’s vintage, which was ahead of schedule and yielded a lower production: 35.7 million hectolitres of wine and must in Spain.

Nonetheless, the wine world remains dynamic thanks to all kinds of events: wine tourism is flourishing and exports are rising.

More data on low production were published by the Directorate General for Agriculture of the European Commission which predicted that next year’s wine production would have an estimate of just 145.1 million hectolitres, which is 14.4% lower and over 24 million hectolitres less than last season.

 TAGS:Domaine Du Tariquet Premières Grives 2016Domaine Du Tariquet Premières Grives 2016

Domaine Du Tariquet Premières Grives 2016, a white wine from Côtes de Gascogne vinified with gros manseng.

Buy Domaine Du Tariquet Premières Grives 2016

 

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Casa Castillo Monastrell 2015

Casa Castillo Monastrell 2015  is a red wine from Jumilla produced by Propiedad Vitícola Casa Castillo.

Buy Casa Castillo Monastrell 2015

10 Things About Cabernet Sauvignon You Didn’t Know

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There is no doubt that Cabernet Sauvignon is one of the most talked about grape varieties when it comes to red wines. This strain which comes from the French city of Bordeaux in the 17th century is the result of the crossing between Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc, hence its name. But there is so much more to the delicious grape, read more about it here: 

  1. Cabernet Sauvignon was the world’s most cultivated variety until the 1990s when the Merlot took over.
  2. It grows very well in very different climates. It’s so noble that it has expanded non-stop throughout the rest of Europe and in the considered countries of the New World (United States, Chile, New Zealand, and Australia).
  3. Wineries in the Napa Valley in California pay more for these grapes than for other varieties in the area. This being very ironic because it’s one of the most produced there, without diminishing its value and price.
  4. It’s the most cultivated grape in Chile. The cold breezes of the Pacific Ocean and the induction effect of the Andes result in wines that are very similar to the reds of Bordeaux. Even French wineries have invested in the region because of its potential.
  5. The red wines based on Cabernet Sauvignon have a lot of body, structure and strong tannins, so it is ideal to pair it with grilled red meats, rabbit, wild boar, lamb and stews, among others.
  6. The whole world loves this variety and China is no exception. Recently a report was released that stated that the Chinese are the biggest consumers of red wine in the world and the Cabernet Sauvignon is one of the most popular grapes in this country.
  7. In the United States, it has its own official day: the Thursday before Labor Day, which is celebrated the first Monday of September.
  8. Other names that it’s known for are Vidure, Petit Vidure, Petit Cabernet.
  9. It’s the grape variety that has more reviews in the database of Wine Spectator’s, about 24,000 tasting notes dedicated to Cabernet Sauvignon.
  10. It’s said that the word “Sauvignon” comes from the French “sauvage”, which translates as “wild”, and currently suggests that it was a grape so noble that it grew wild and free in France.

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Juan Gil Etiqueta Azul 2014

 

 

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Sassicaia 2012

New and better breeds to preserve Champagne

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It is well known that climate change is a global phenomenon that affects every one of us, including our agricultural processes and therefore our precious wine. The industry has already suffered many consequences because of this environmental problem and will continue to do in the future. However, for our luck, many people, including scientists and farmers, are thinking in new ways to change the wine market, specifically of our beloved champagne, and have joined forces to achieve a significant result.

As published by the Vinetur, the National Institute of Agronomic Research (INRA) in collaboration with the French Institute of Vine and Wine of Montpellier, will develop a program that is scheduled for the next 15 years with the sole objective to create 4 to 5 new grape varieties that will be capable to adapt to the climate challenges that will come in the future.

“We work on the long term, and the fundamentals of the grape varieties of our denomination could definitely change”, said Thibaut Le Mailloux of Champagne Committee, composed of the winegrowers and production houses of the region. “Research must absolutely start now because in 25 years it will be too late.”

In 2015, the first breeds fertilized with grapes were ended. Last June, the second crossing experiment concluded. This hybridization process should result in 4,000 seeds that are intended to be cultivated within the next 6 years in various experimental plots in the region. It is estimated that by 2030, and after several tests, analysis and tastings, the French catalog will be able to annex from four to five new breeds and then inscribe them in the DO Champagne.

Scientists have a duty to monitor all these processes to preserve the typical characteristics of these wines. The primary objective is to preserve the style of a good champagne and all the tradition that this means.

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Pol Roger Brut Réserve

 

 

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Moët & Chandon Brut Impérial

3 Movies where champagne (also) plays a role

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The seventh art is a pleasure for our senses, like a glass of champagne, which has had its moments of glory on the big screen and now is time to recognize its great performances in emblematic films of cinema.

1. James Bond: a film that is an icon in the UK and around the world, where, as we know, glamour and exclusivity are present within each of the works that take part of the saga. As we have seen, the best bottles of champagne, like Bollinger and Dom Perignon, have positioned themselves as the quintessential drink of our favorite spy.

2. Champagne: What any other film could be on the list than this precisely? The famous work of the legendary Alfred Hitchcock tells us in this silent film, back in the late 20s, the story of a young elite, high-class girl living at the expense of her dad’s champagne business. You will never forget the scene in the great glass of champagne at the beginning and end of the film, which has been copied again and again since then throughout the film universe.

3. The Great Gatsby: going to modernity and contemporary times, we have this film based on the novel by the great author F. Scott Fitzgerald, where we find our beloved Leonardo DiCaprio personifying the protagonist Gatsby, where we can see the great feasts that they were assembled and where this frothy drink was the last thing he could miss. Although the novel never mentions any specific brand or house, the writers for the film of 2013 decided to opt for Moët & Chandon, which we see throughout the film. Undoubtedly, a space of more than two hours full of advertising for the French house.

“Too much of anything is bad, but too much Champagne is just right”

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Moët & Chandon Brut Impérial

 

 

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Dom Perignon Vintage 2004

What is like to be in the largest Wine Museum of the World?

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Wine lovers now have another place to visit this summer. We are talking about the City of Wine or Cité du Vin, located in Bordeaux, France, and occupies no less than 140,000 square feet, a really good and considerable surface to explore and learn about wine culture through the activities they offer.

One of the reason of its importance is that, besides being very big, is flooded with cultural aspects like arts, history and experiences all around wine.

Furthermore, it is an excellent place to live and embrace the wine culture. It hosts a huge wine cellar with over 14,000 bottles to enjoy the flavors and the development of in situ wine. To complement the experience, it has numerous bars and restaurants built in where you can know more of the manufacturers, taste wines and a lot more.

In order to create the best “wine environment” for visitors, the design of the building has been carefully designed to offer and emulate this initiative. It was constructed with a wavy form and has modern aluminum and etched glass panels that decorate it. The facade is illuminated with golden reflections in a truly stunning design. For its striking architecture it has been nicknamed the Guggenheim wine.

The entrance to the City of Wine costs about 20 euros and it includes access to all facilities where the DO from different countries are explained. It also includes tastings and other activities. In addition, there is intense cultural program with shows, concerts and debates about wine.

The newly opened wine museum is active, and right now the audience can enjoy the rebroadcast of the matches of Euro Cup which took place these days in France with wine tastings for the attendees. Being a really beautiful city which holds a very rich wine culture, is no coincidence that the museum is in Bordeaux.

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R de Ruinart

 

 

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Ruinart Brut Rosé

 

 

9 bars to enjoy a good wine in Paris

 TAGS:undefinedAlthough Spain is emerging as one of the most gastronomic countries, Paris is still famous for its cuisine, champagne and good wines. If you go to Paris for a romantic getaway or holidays, this is where you’ll get the city’s best wines.

  1. Madeleine L’Écluse. Here, you can taste delicious Bordeaux wines and other regional specialities. Don’t miss out on the good desserts and cheeses to accompany your wine.
  2. Grands Augustins. Rich desserts and an exceptional charcuterie are the hallmarks of this bar, with wines from official French appellations.
  3. Nicolas Bercy. They offer a menu of about 15 different wines. One can choose to drink them per glass or bottle, in addition to eating good and traditional French delicacies.
  4. Vinomania. The name says it all, tasty wines, from various designations of origin and also a selection of new and rare wines.
  5. Le Comptoir Marguery. Try out and taste various types of wines and champagnes.
  6. Le Tambour. This small bar has an unpretentious cuisine accompanied by local wines. Moreover, the kitchen is open until 3.00 am.
  7. Avant Comptoir. The decoration of the bars and restaurants of Paris is often very exclusive and personal, this is also the case at  the Avant Comptoir which offers a varied menu of dishes and a large assortment of wines.
  8. Aux Bons Crus. A small, unknown wine bar that offers regional specialities. The wines are selected by the owner of the bar.
  9. O Chateau. A popular bar that offers an abundance of well-known wines, cheeses, good food and an excellent atmosphere. It is frequented both by Parisians and tourists.

And alas, if you do not have the opportunity to travel to Paris, you can always have a glass of good French wine to console yourself. Cheers! 

Uvinum recommendations for French wines: 

 TAGS:Whispering Angel Rosé 2015Whispering Angel Rosé 2015

The Whispering Angel Rosé 2015 has its name from the Whispering Angels chapel from the early 19th century with two cherubs above the altar. The rosé managed to outshine its 2014 vintage which had already convinced many renowned wine critics.

 

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M. Chapoutier Bila-Haut Occultum Lapidem 2014: Through biodynamics Michel Chapoutier gets the best out of his wines, reminding us of images from the South of France with its warm colours and scents of Mediterranean woods. 

Bars to drink good wine in Paris

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We continue in France and this time it’s turn for wine bars. In Paris night-life is one of the biggest attractions, and if you’re looking for options to have fun in good company be sure to know some of the bars to drink good wine recommended by Time Out.

And otherwise, you can always drink a good French wine, such as the ones we recommend below.

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Clos du Marquis 2005: a red wine with Saint-Julien DO with the best bunches of 2005 petit verdot and merlot and 13º of alcohol strength. 

 

 

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Château Gloria 2009: a red wine with Saint-Julien DO vinified with gloria from 2009. 

 

 

Photos: Uvinum and Mariano Mantel

Wine consumption in France reached a record low

 - French producers are concerned, and rightly so, because -apart from other problems related to competition and appellations of origin– they are seeing as, in recent years, their countrymen are drinking less and less amount of wine. In fact, according to a recent study made by FranceAgriMer, under the French Ministry of Agriculture, the average consumption is just one glass a day when traditionally it was much higher.

Besides the economic crisis, which has had a fairly negative impact on the consumption of all types of products in France, as in other countries, they are beginning to detect a shift in consumer habits of the French, who increasingly tend to soft drinks and juices to accompany their meals, something that could be called a cultural transformation.

The study data are conclusive, especially when compared with similar studies of the past. So, currently the average French -still being the Europeans who drink more wine- consumes 57 liters annually, while in the mid-sixties of the last century the figure was around 160. Compared to recent years, the data should make think the key industry players: in 2005 the daily drinkers of wine represented 21% of the total, and today only 17%, increasing instead the number of occasional drinkers.

No doubt, some data that should also be considered by wine producers from other countries, traditionally wine consumers. The popularization, firstly, of soft drinks and refreshments (of controversial nutritional value) and, secondly, of fruit juices (more suitable with healthy consumption habits) are slowly changing a tradition rooted in France for centuries, so that its strong wine industry is starting to be forced to take action on the matter.

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Champagne Billecart Salmon Brut Réserve

 

 

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Châteu Minuty Château Minuty M Rosé 2011

Cognac, bouquet from France

 TAGS:When we talk about Cognac, it´s clear that we are referring to a special spirit. It is because of its geographical specificity, which restricts its output to a little place in the world, coincidences of life, it is in France and includes the regions of Charente-Maritime, Charente, Deux-Sevres and the Dordogne, which in turn are divided into six zones:

– Grande Champagne

– Petite Champagne

– Borderies

– Fins Bois

– Bon Bois

– Bois Ordinaire

It is also due to its double distillation, through which retains the maximum flavor from the wines that become liquor during the process. And it is as well because of the limited number of grape varieties that are allowed as part of its composition.

All these reasons have led to this being a beverage distilled associated with the upper class, the powerful men and the most exclusive circles. And maybe that?s the reason why cognac, despite being only a branch of a type of beverage, brandy, is even more famous than it.

But what happens before it gets to our glass? First goes the copper and the oak. Or in other words, first it is distilled, a process which takes the best from this liquid gold after rejecting the first and last parts to get rid of toxicity, and then it is allowed to settle and mature in new oak barrels (which cannot have contained anything other than cognac), in which it will gain in bouquet up to the peak.

The longer the cognac remains in the barrels will be called differently, alluding to its age:

  • VS (Very Special) cognac are all those who have aged in oak for at least two years.
  • VSOP (Very Special Old Pale): four years of aging, at least. This one is also known as “Réserve” in its French name.
  • XO (Extra Old), the most exclusive, which have evolved in oak barrels for at least six years, and which are also called Hors d’âge or Napoleon.

If we were to choose only one of each type, basing our decision on the powerful argument best quality ? price relation, starting with the best I will recommend the Hennessy XO: for its power and masculinity, its flavor and character, it would be followed by the Courvoisier VSOP Fine, because it makes us feel like Napoleon after fighting his best battle, and finally, the Remy Martin VS, for its aroma, its complexity and intensity that captures our attention from the first contact.

Finally, a couple of curiosities, the first surprise about cognac is the large number of English names for such as typically French product. This is because it was originally exported to England mainly. Another curious note, perfect to bring up in a conversation with friends while holding a glass of cognac, is that finding a cognac recognized as such which does not come from France is possible.

The reason for it takes us back to the end of the Second World War in which France planted a debt to a Latin American country: Uruguay. As payment thereof, in 1946 and by order of the French Government a vineyard and a distillery were established in there. In the first one, Ugni Blanc grapes grew, and the second was built at Juanicó, which still continues to produce its distinctive cognac.

Let’s begin trying “The French Connection”:

 TAGS:Courvoisier V.S.O.P. FineCourvoisier V.S.O.P. Fine

Deep, powerful, savory,… a jewel at the best price.

Buy Courvoisier V.S.O.P. Fine 21,42?

 

 

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Remy Martin is one of the most traditional brands in France.

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Consumers stay home and drink wine

Good news for the wine industry: a recent survey shows wine has become consumers’ first choice in the US, UK, and Australia when they stay at home, which itself remains a strong trend as people seem reluctant to return to their pre-Crisis levels of spending on eating and drinking out.

The bad news for upper tier wineries is that the wines chosen remain on the lower end of the price scale in the US, Australia, and other countries like Italy and Austria. Only the UK is feeling optimistic- 30% are willing to pay more then $10 per bottle versus the $7 bottles selling in the other countries.

Red wine

What does this mean? In the short term wineries selling wines over $10 are going to continue to struggle for a while and wine flash sales and deals will continue- more of the same we’ve been seeing in the past year. But long term it means drinking habits are shifting from beer and spirits towards wine, which is considered better for your health, adds an additional level of pleasure to food, and has strong associations with sharing good times with family and friends. Even the Crisis has had one major upside, as in their search for values consumers have become more open to experimenting with new regions and varietals. This means once confidence is restored the industry may have its best moment yet- a wide wine drinking population, now open minded and with increased power to move up the price scale and searching for great finds at all levels. And with internet shopping for wine now more widely available, consumers will be able to take advantage of more choices than ever.