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.
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.
What’s going on in the world of wine? Here are the stories that caught our attention.
In English wine news, wine estates in Sussex are bidding to create a Sussex appellation. English wine producer Chapel Down is opposed, however. Read up on the debate.
Also in Sussex news, another £10k wine has been stolen in a nighttime raid.
Fires are threatening vineyards in South Africa, both directly from burning and from smoke taint.
An ancient Greek wine jug has been found at the burial site of a Celtic prince in the Champagne region. Take a look at how well preserved it is!
Over on Decanter, Jane Anson profiles Fronsac and Canon-Fronsac, two Right Bank appellations you should take a second look at.
And finally, a tasting panel opened a 150-year-old bottle of wine salvaged from an American Civil War shipwreck. Want to know what happened next? Read on.
So far we have avoided stating the obvious to our American readers, but we might as well give in: Cold enough out there for you? Here’s hoping the weather improves where you are very soon, and if it can’t, we hope the cupboards are stocked and you are sitting somewhere warm with a hot drink.
Here’s this week’s news!
Martin Bouygues, owner of Château Montrose, was reported dead over the weekend, but you will be glad to hear he’s actually feeling quite well.
Over on Wine Folly you’ll find an article on the 7 primary styles of Spanish wine. It’s definitely worth a look if you want to get to grips with Spanish wines.
Here’s a headline worthy of a double-take: “Brigitte Bardot Saves Alcoholic Bears.” We’ll just let you read that one for yourselves.
In today’s wine crimes, a man went into the Kellermeister Winery in Australia’s Barossa Valley and opened the taps on four tanks, resulting in the loss of 25,000 litres of wine. Meanwhile, it seems English wine has arrived: Burglars stole 5,000 bottles of wine worth £80,000 from a warehouse at Bolney Wine Estate in southern England. Not the mark of success a wine producer wants, of course.
Tim Atkin picks 10 top wines from 2010 Brunello di Montalcino, along with a good, informative discussion of recent vintages and some of the things that set Brunello apart.
A crowdfunding campaign in support of Champagne Jayne is gathering force on GoFundMe, despite Jayne herself being gagged by Melbourne Federal Court and unable to rally support herself. As you may remember, wine writer and educator Rachel Jayne Powell, known professionally as Champagne Jayne, incurred the wrath of the Champagne bureau CIVC apparently for discussing sparkling wines other than Champagne via her Twitter and Facebook accounts while using the trademarked name “Champagne” in her professional name.
And finally, if the weather where you are is getting you down, why not do a bit of armchair travel? Wine-Searcher offers up a wine-lover’s guide to Paris, while Decanter provides a travel guide for Valpolicella.
All aboard for this week’s wine news!
English wine producer Chapel Down is producing what it believes is the first skin-contact white wine produced in England, using Bacchus grapes from the 2014 harvest.
One of Tuscany’s top producers, the Biondi Santi family, has announced it will not be releasing any Brunello di Montalcino from the 2014 vintage after a poor harvest.
Moët is launching a pop-up Champagne school on London’s South Bank to highlight the differences between Champagne and other sparkling wine. The Moët Academy will cost £40 for a 90-minute session from 13-24 April.
If you’re interested in Spanish wines, you might find this feature on Bobal, another of those grape varieties being rediscovered by Spanish wine producers and wine drinkers worldwide.
The French national appellation authority is considering creating Cru and Premier Cru tiers in Alsace, although the proposal is controversial.
Finally, you might enjoy this Q&A with Craggy Range’s Matt Stafford. Get the low-down on what makes Gimblett Gravels so special from the chief of Wine Enthusiast‘s 2014 New World Winery of the year winner.
We are gutted to hear of the demise of SkyMall (or its bankruptcy, which probably heralds its end). Ten times more interesting than the in-flight magazine waiting in the back of the seat in front of you on an airplane, the SkyMall catalogue entertained me through many a trans-Atlantic flight. I hope I haven’t read my last copy. Dr. Vino blogged about his favourite mad wine-related items from SkyMall.
Remember all that expensive wine stolen from French Laundry in California? Most of it has been found across country in Greensboro, North Carolina. There must be a road movie in that somewhere.
Decanter posted a slideshow of the results of its Cahors tasting panel. Malbec fans should take a look.
Gearing up for Superbowl Sunday? You might find VinePair’s tool for pairing Superbowl foods with wine useful. And for the rest of the world, the pairings would work just as well for your football or Six Nations nibbles in upcoming weekends.
Need help understanding Bordeaux labels? Wine Enthusiast has you covered.
Over on Wine-Searcher, Tim Atkin has written a quick-and-dirty guide to DRC — no, not the Democratic Republic of Congo, but Burgundy’s Domaine de la Romanée-Conti.
Chilean producer Ignacio Recabarren says when he says Carmenère is “more than jam in the sandwich,” (i.e. more than something to add fruitiness to a blend), and we definitely agree that Chilean Carmenère deserve a second look — and glass.
And finally, are we the last ones to discover this Silly Tasting Notes Generator? Want a sample? “A firm,full textured but equally oily Dessert wine. Detecable american oak, freakishly evil raisin and bashful cardboard. Drink now through 2020.” We have got to find a way to use “freakishly evil raisin” and “bashful cardboard” in tasting notes. Via Dr. Vino.
Is that snow I see falling outside? Brrr! Settle in somewhere comfortable and warm and catch up with the latest wine news.
The world of wine lost two greats in recent days: Sonoma County is mourning the loss of John Pedroncelli, one of its pioneering winemakers, while Serge Hochar of Château Musar in Lebanon was killed in an accident while on holiday in Mexico. Tributes to both men have appeared all around the world, but we found this piece on Hochar by Andrew Jefford for Decanter magazine particularly poignant. It was only about a month ago that Daniel selected a Pedroncelli wine for Wine of the Week at work.
Bottlenotes conducted a Q&A with Carol Duval-Leroy of Champagne Duval-Leroy, and you might find her responses to questions about working as the head of a Champagne house as a woman, whether Champagne is a feminine wine, and her favourite memory of drinking Champagne.
Did you know that some winemakers in Australia are putting sunscreen on their grapes to protect them from the strong Australian sun? We didn’t.
Benjamin Lewin MW wrote a piece on Burgundy’s micro-négociants, who tend to see themselves as winemakers and are involved in the winemaking process from the moment of harvest all the way to the bottle. Also take a look at the companion piece to the article that lists Lewin’s top fifteen wines from Burgundy’s micro-négociants.
And finally, Mrs. Winetuned is heading off to her book club meeting tomorrow night, and she was not at all amused by this weekend’s article on wines for book clubs in the Guardian. We really enjoy Fiona Beckett’s column and her work in general, but she’s pretty far of the mark here. Book clubs are youngish women who pretend only to like wines they believe are popular? Hmmm. Still, if you happen to be in a book club full of pretentious young women with relationship problems and a fondness for vino, you might enjoy the recommendations.
An ancient technique of grape cultivation has been given UNESCO World Heritage status. About 30 growers on the island of Pantelleria, 85km off the southern coast of Italy, still practice it, using dried Zibibbo grapes (a.k.a. Muscat of Alexandria) to produce Passito di Pantelleria.
I’m not certain we should be telling you that C******** Jayne is being taken to court by Champagne lawyers. We might all get sued for even discussing it.
Ever wondered what ice wine is? If you don’t know, head over to VinePair and read up, because it’s a dessert wine you might want on your table this holiday season.
On Matching Food and Wine, Fiona Beckett gives you eight spirits and liqueurs perfect for gift-giving and holiday celebrations. I’ll admit there are quite a few on here I didn’t know, and now I’m curious!
The founder of the West London Wine School is launching the North London Wine School next month. If you live near Kilburn, you’re in luck.
Finally, the results of Riesling Masters 2014 have been released. We’re fans of Riesling, and the list was surprising — not that we’re complaining. So many wines we didn’t know just means that many more interesting Rieslings to try!
A happy, surprisingly sunny September Tuesday to you — the last September Tuesday, as a matter of fact. From the looks of the shops, tomorrow is the first day of December rather than October (mince pies on the shelves in September??), but as the weather’s so nice we’ll skip over the ranting about retailers trying to fast-forward to Christmas. Here’s the latest wine news!
We had never seen these stained glass windows in the cathedral in Reims, but look at that! The people are making wine! If you don’t care about winemaking in stained glass, there are also photos of the windows by Marc Chagall. Be sure to click on the images to see the enlarged versions.
The Drinks Business featured an article about a recent even where Sarah Jane Evans MW gave an introduction to the Somontano region of Spain. Well worth a look if you are interested in Spanish wines.
The medieval Belgian city of Bruges has approved plans to install an underground beer pipeline to reduce the number of delivery vehicles in the town’s picturesque streets. To us the idea sounds amazing, and also more than a little scary.
On Wine-Searcher, Tom Hyland gives you the key things to know about respected Champagne firm of Billecart-Salmon in Mareuil-sur-Äy, including that there’s nearly 45% Pinot Meunier in the Brut Reserve, which is unusual.
And, finally, Zach Geballe introduces you to the wines of Washington State. Given that it’s the second-largest producer of wine in the U.S. after California, shouldn’t you know more about its world-class wines?