We are back from our unexpected hiatus. The first order of business is to catch up on the wine news!
The weather is causing heartbreak in France again as hail hit Chablis, Cognac and Beaujolais on the weekend. As always, the extent of the damage will become clearer with time, but some are using the word “apocalyptic.”
It’s English Wine Week, and even 10 Downing Street is celebrating by making Ridgeview and Chapel Down its official suppliers of sparkling wine.
France’s futuristic Cité du Vin wine centre is now open in Bordeaux. For a look a the–oh, how shall we put this?–hideous museum of wine, check out this feature on the Drinks Business.
The creators of the wine-themed Japanese cartoon sensation, The Drops of God, are planning a new manga series about food and wine matching. Never heard of The Drops of God? Try this article from 2014 on the Daily Beast as an introduction.
A new infographic on the VinePair website will help with all your basic fish and seafood pairings.
VinePair also offered up a wine-themed colouring book. We aren’t into adult colouring, but if you are, uncork a bottle and click here.
And with that, we will leave you with your crayons to get on with it!
If your June is like ours thus far, you may be dashing betweens wine events, parties, travels and, er, mechanical bull riding. Still, we’ve saved a bit of time for this week’s wine news!
André Lurton, the only Bordeaux winemaker to test out the use of screwcap closures on classified whites, has decided to stop the trial after resistance from French buyers.
Fans of Alsatian wines, there’s an interview with Alsace’s Anne Trimbach on Bottlenotes.
VinePair celebrates the particular beauties of the Viennese urban vineyard and the Austrian heuriger, where winemakers sell their young wines in an atmosphere like no other.
Before you leave the VinePair site, you might also want to take a look at the infographic pairing wine with America’s most famous types of barbecue. I’m trying to imagine some of these flavours together and can’t quite manage it. I must need to eat lots more barbecue and make a thorough study of the issue!
On the subject of wine matching, Fiona Beckett has posted a guide to pairing food with Vermentino — a particularly useful guide in warmer weather.
A trade war may see Canada place huge taxes on imported wine from the U.S. in a dispute over meat products.
Matt Walls offers up a recipe and wine suggestions for oeufs en cocotte. He includes variations with spinach and smoked salmon, and any of them would make a fantastic brunch, lunch or light summer dinner.
World Gin Day is coming up on Saturday. Will you be celebrating?
We are just back from holiday, somewhat sunburnt and quite mad for the seaside. If in the coming weeks we feature more warm weather drinks, wines to go with fish or seafood, or just burst into sea shanties, you will now know why.
On with the wine news!
In this installment of crimes against wine, ram-raiders have hit Domaine Jean Marc Brocard in Chablis and Champagne stolen by the Nazis has been discovered north of Dresden in Germany.
Alder Yarrow has posted an interview with one of the trailblazers in grower Champagne, Anselme Selosse. Don’t miss this one.
If you’re buying Malbec without knowing these five key Argentinian sub-zones, you may be missing out on the Malbec of your dreams.
What is “pét-nat,” or pétillant-naturel?
And finally, does your rosé need a little lift? VinePair has a few suggestions for sprucing up your summer sipping.
It’s English Wine Week! We’re not sure how we’ll mark the occasion yet, but if you want to find out what’s going on in your area, the English Wine Producers website has all the details.
You could also catch up on Decanter‘s round-up of their latest English wine news and recommendations, or this article about how Britain shaped some of the world’s most famous wines.
In other news, the Champagne Council has launched a new free e-learning programme. We only had a quick look, but it looks as though you answer four questions to determine what level of programme suits you best, and then proceed. It seems to be intended for phones (unless you just like scrolling down and scrolling down on a computer through pages with GIANT fonts and very little on them … Janet does not.) Give it a try over at the Champagne Campus.
With the return of summer, it’s time to bring out the rosé. You might find these infographics on VinePair fun, from 10 Shades of Rosé to maps charting who in the world drinks the most rosé and how its popularity has grown in the United States.
Here are our picks of this week’s wine news:
This may help you with your summer parties: Punch is offering what it calls House Cocktail hacks, where top bartenders offer recipes for cocktails using only two spirits, two additional elements (vermouth, amaro, etc.) and two simple syrups you can quickly whip up yourself.
If you’re a fan of Madeira, this might interest you: changes to labelling laws will allow a fifth grape variety, Tinta Negra, on the front label, and a new category for 50-year-old Madeira has been introduced.
In this week’s wine crime news, the head of a French wine producer has been accused of illegally blending other white wines into its Chablis.
Over on Matching Food and Wine, Fiona Beckett sings the praises of Vermentino with seafood.
May already? As always, May came in with a flurry of celebrations, from May Day and the Kentucky Derby to Britain’s three-day bank holiday and today’s Cinco de Mayo. Hope you’re enjoying the busy spring — we certainly are!
And here are the wine stories that caught our attention this week!
There’s a new crowdfunding site called Cruzu which is specifically for wine-related projects. If you’re feeling flush and in a giving mood, check out what’s on offer.
Here’s a news item for the history buffs: What was the best wine to drink in the Middle Ages? You can begin your investigations here.
And yet again thieves strike the wine industry. Someone stole £100,000 from the Basingstoke warehouse of Berry Brothers & Rudd by cutting through a wall.
Here’s some good news in advance of English Wine Week, which will take place later this month: Waitrose reports its sales of English wine have increased 95%.
And finally, in this week’s wine science, the identification of unique proteins may make it possible to identify grapes infected by Botrytis cinerea (noble rot). Who cares, you ask? Well, makers of Amarone care, because it may make the job of separating desirable withered grapes and undesirable botrytis-withered grapes much easier.
Welcome back to this week’s most interesting wine stories in the news — at least to us! Also if you haven’t been on site in a while, you might have missed Daniel’s notes from a Famille Hugel wine tasting and our adventures at a recent Australian wine tasting.
Frog’s Leap’s John Williams makes the case for Merlot in the Wall Street Journal.
There’s a good interview with winegrower Michel Vallet of Italy’s Valle d’Aosta in Wine Spectator, while Wine-Searcher has a substantial profile of the Mosel’s Markus Molitor.
Whether you are looking for upcoming events, feel a bit scientific, or want to dig in to some of wine’s controversial topics, this week we have you covered!
If you aren’t near London, English Wine Week is coming up from Saturday 23 May to Sunday 31 May. Events will take place all over the country and you can get information about what’s going on in your area on the English Wine Producers website.
In previous years, International Sherry Week followed hot on the heels of London Wine Week and English Wine Week, but the celebration has been renamed Sherry Wine Week this year and shifted to 2-8 November 2015. You can go to the Sherry Wine Week website and subscribe to the newsletter if you want to keep up with the latest news.
English Sparkling Wine Day will apparently be celebrated on St. George’s Day on 23 May 2015. We believe this may be the first year English sparkling has been celebrated, so if you are so inclined, get out there and try some of the best bubbly the South of England has to offer. A peculiar twist of fate means we’ll actually be at an Australian wine tasting on the day, but we tasted 2010 Ridgeview Fitzrovia Rosé, 2011 Ridgeview Bloomsbury, and 2009 Nyetimber Brut Classic Cuvée last year during English Wine Week and posted our notes. The 2010 Ridgeview Fitzrovia Rosé is a particular favourite of ours, so if you’re looking for an English sparkling wine to try, you might start there.
Will Lyons has written an article for the Wall Street Journal on Bordeaux’s Château Lafleur, Pomerol’s tiny, family-owned wine powerhouse.
Researchers at the University of Queensland have discovered the success of Pinot Noir may be down to its ability to incorporate virus DNA into its own genes and evolve.
If you’re looking for a wine adventure in London, the Wine Sleuth recently attended one of the twice monthly tastings held in the 380-year-old wine cellar of the Stafford Hotel in St. James in Central London.
The Academic Wino weighs up the pros and cons of the Ganimede fermentation method and the traditional fermentation method used for red wine.
On Wine Shout you can read about Italy’s Alto Adige DOC and the 2013 Lagrein from Elena Walch Family Estates.
On Wine-Searcher Jason Wilson argues that the intense Summer of Riesling campaign that has dominated Riesling press in the United States for years has actually done more harm than good in promoting Riesling, primarily because sommeliers are still pushing sweet Rieslings.
A cache of the oldest known bottles of Ruinart Champagne have been unearthed in a cellar in Alsace.
There’s a peculiar new infographic from Jacob’s Creek making the rounds to help you match food and wine. Some of these wines aren’t the first we would have suggested, but then some of the foods aren’t either — Sea salt and balsamic vinegar crisps? “Gourmet” Scotch eggs?
One last note, in case you missed it last week: Daniel attended a staff tasting of some of the wines of Famille Hugel in Alsace. Not surprisingly, given that he loves Hugel wines and Alsatian wines in general, he was impressed. You can read the details here.
We came across some interesting stories in the press this week, so let’s crack on with the wine news!
Will sampling strips make it possible to know exactly what a wine tastes like before buying and opening the bottle? Beringer is giving it a try in a US supermarket chain.
UK wine merchant Majestic has bought Naked Wines for £70 million.
There’s a good article on the Academic Wino, especially if you’re interested in issues related to climate change and its effects on wine production: “Biochar as an Alternative to Irrigation in Extreme Drought Conditions.”
Vinepair featured a guide to the often-overlooked wines of Corsica.
Decanter posted a good wine travel feature on Puglia.
And, finally, we came across a good collection of features on Chablis on the Saveur magazine website. There are articles on the food and people, a travel guide, and a set of recipes.
And it’s time again for the weekly wine news! Here are the stories that had us talking over the last seven days. Did we miss something that caught your attention? Let us know!
Everyone’s talking about the Bordeaux 2014 vintage. What do you need to know? Let Tim Atkin be your guide over on Wine-Searcher, where he gives you his general impressions and his top 10.
One of the more interesting items we read in the heavy press coverage of the Bordeaux 2014 vintage was that several white wine producers were performing partial malolactic fermentation on their highly acidic 2014 Sémillon and Sauvignon Blanc grapes.
Jane Anson wrote an interesting piece for Decanter about how Cabernet Franc is losing its place in Bordeaux’s vineyards and becoming rarer in blends. I hadn’t realised how many vines were actually being pulled up in favour of other varieties.
Decanter actually had several articles we found particularly thought-provoking. Take a look also at Stephen Brook’s “Think you know Pinot Grigio?” (Hint: Brook says you don’t, if you haven’t tried the fine examples now growing on the slopes of Friuli) and Natasha Hughes arguing that wine flaws may play a different role in our enjoyment of wine than we think. The Hughes article also has a good run-down of wine flaws and how to detect them. Well worth a read.
Wine Spectator recently created a new newsletter called Unfiltered, its new fun, breezy and entertaining e-newsletter” on drinks and pop culture. Want to see the first issue? So far we aren’t impressed, but we’ve subscribed on the assumption it might not be Real Housewives, Sandra Lee (yes, *that* Sandra Lee, American readers) and Jonas brothers every week. Bad start, though.
VinePair offered a cheat sheet for body in red wines, which might be helpful to anyone trying to learn more about wine styles and regions (and especially anyone studying for wine exams).
Speaking of wine exams — why are you taking them? An Australian doctor of psychology says you can become a wine expert in four hours . . . .
Chances are you’ve seen this. It popped up in our Twitter and Facebook feeds regularly over the last week, but on the off chance you missed it, here’s the strange story of the 1974 US Forest Service Cocktail chart. Read up here on the Drinks Business (the image is clickable and can be enlarged) or here on VinePair.
Fiona Beckett’s drink of the week on Matching Food & Wine is Verus Riesling 2013 from Slovenia. As fans of Riesling who can’t remember ever having tried one from Slovenia, we are intrigued.
And last, but certainly not least, the next time you are on the spirits aisle in Asda, look for Freddie Mercury — not in the flesh, of course, but in the form of a tribute vodka produced by Stoli. It’s called Killer Queen and Brian May is officially endorsing it. Get the details here.