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.
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.
Wednesday I was fortunate enough to attend a staff wine tasting of Hugel wines at the Wine Society. I actually went in on my day off just for the that, which should be an indication of how interested I am in the wines of Alsace and in Famille Hugel wines in particular.
The Hugel family has been producing wine in Riquewihr in Alsace since 1639, which is remarkable continuity when you consider how many times Alsace changed countries and official languages during the same period (six times since 1639, by my count). The Hugel family features prominently in Wine and War by Don and Petie Kladstrup, which, if you haven’t read it, is an collection of accounts of how the French tried to preserve cellars, vines, vineyards and the vintners themselves from the Nazis during World War II. We’ve just finished reading the book ourselves and will post a full review soon, but while many of the stories blur together in the Kladstrups’ descriptions, what happened to the Hugel family really stands out. Two Hugel brothers were conscripted into the German army and one, once he had managed to survive the Russian front and return to liberated Riquewihr, felt he had to go back to Germany and fight again as a soldier in the French army. The two brothers were actually on opposite sides of the fighting at the same time during a battle near Lake Constance. It’s frankly the sort of thing you’d find unbelievable if you saw it in a film. If you’re interested in reading more about the Hugel family during World War II, you can read excerpts on the Hugel website or in Wine and War.
Three generations of the Hugel family were in England this week for wine tastings and to announce the rebranding of the company from Hugel & Fils to the more inclusive Famille Hugel, as well as the launch of the family’s first single-vineyard wine called Schoelhammer. Schoelhammer is made from grapes from just 30 rows of south-facing Riesling vines, and the first release is from the 2007 vintage.
The energetic Etienne Hugel, Directeur General at Famille Hugel, and his son, Jean-Frederic, took charge of the staff tasting at the Wine Society and lead us through the fascinating stories of the family, its vineyards, and the great wines they produce. It’s always a pleasure to talk with producers who are so expressive and in love with their wines and grapes. The father and son team had us nodding and laughing, all the while learning from them in a most pleasant way.
We tasted a variety of Hugel wines, each of them impressive in its own way. The tasting notes below are mine, but the links will take you to the product page on the Hugel website.
Gentil Hugel 2012 (The Society’s Vin de Alsace 2012)
This wine combines noble grapes of Alsace: Riesling, Gewurztraminer, Pinot Gris, Muscat and Sylvaner. The result is a refreshing wine with a crisp, lively aroma and bright, but not biting acidity. It has good length and generous juicy fruit. Blending the qualities of these disparate grapes also makes this wine a good all-rounder with food.
Pinot Gris Tradition, Hugel 2012
This wine is quite dry and the sort of wine I enjoy most when I have it with food. It seemed to me to have a slightly shorter length than the Gentil. The acidity and the aromatic qualities of this wine would pair particularly well with fattier poultry such as duck and pheasant, or with game.
Gewurztraminer Tradition 2012 (The Society’s Exhibition Gewurztraminer 2010)
Etienne Hugel called this the family’s most curry-friendly wine. In fact, anything with any sort of spice will go extremely well with this. This wine has all the characteristics you associate with a fine Gewurztraminer: the aromatic qualities, the hint of spice, the freshness and delicacy. It’s as good an example of a classic Gewurztraminer as you are likely to find.
Riesling Jubilee 2009
This is one of the most expressive Rieslings I’ve had in a while. There is so much on the nose, with a fine flintiness and acidity. It’s well balanced with ample fruit and floral aspects that promise much for years to come.
Gewurztraminer Vendange Tardive, Hugel 2007
Etienne Hugel says this sweet wine is perfect with blue cheese. There’s acidity to lift the wine, so it avoids being cloyingly sweet, and while full of perfume and fruit flavours, it shows restraint. The 2007 we tasted was excellent, but we also tasted a 1998 that was divine. It was almost a pity I had to leave and get on with the rest of my day off.
The Hugel family is set to appear in a feature article in Decanter magazine next month, if you’d like to learn more, or the Famille Hugel website is full of additional information and truly beautiful photos. You can also follow Famille Hugel on social media.
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.
Happy St. Patrick’s Day, Winetuned readers!
Or if you fancy something French, Matt Walls has been cooking again. Check out his wine matching suggestions and recipe for classic Daube de Boeuf à la Provençale.
Travel to Austria’s Kamptal region in Niederösterreich and to a wine tasting with winemaker Matthias Warnung over on the blog at Les Caves de Pyrene.
In the Wall Street Journal, Will Lyons muses on 2010 Brunello di Montalcino and whether or not it will take Brunello into the spotlight worldwide.
So you know the differences between an Old World Sauvignon Blanc and a New World one. Can you distinguish between the seven regions of New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc? Sauvignon Blanc? Let Wine Folly make the introductions.
Decanter profiles Sancerre, the “French Pinot Noir you should be drinking.”
And finally, want to make a Riesling that tastes like a Sauvignon Blanc? You need to stress out some ladybirds/ladybugs. This was a new one on us, and a little disturbing.
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.