About Britt Karlsson

Maker of World's Top Wine Tours. On WBI's Power List of wine journalists. Wine Profile of the Year 2011. We've been named World's Top Wine Tours by Travel + Leisure Magazine. We've written a wine book that won the award World's Best Wine Book for Professionals and another that's been awarded Best Wine Book in Sweden for Professionals. We had (probably) the first web site on wine in Scandinavia in 1996. We publish one of the most read independent wine newsletters on wine. And lots of other things we're proud of too.
Author Archive | Britt Karlsson
Rodrigo Romero at Viña Maquis, Colchagua Valley, Chile

The greatness of carmenere in Chile at Vina Maquis | Britt on Forbes

Carmenere is the signature grape of Chile. Given that, one would think that it is an easy grape to grow all over Chile. But that is not the case. It is a grape that can give green or harsh characters to the wine if it does not ripen properly or is on the wrong type […]

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Otskhanuri Sapere Monastery Wine, Georgia

Qvevri and “normal” wines from Lipartiani-Khareba in Georgia

Georgia is on the move. And it’s no longer just the qvevri wines that get attention. In June, Winery Khareba/Lipartiani presented its wines in Paris. We tasted red and white qvevri wines and “regular” wines. These latter ones account for most of the production in the country. However, the traditional method of qvevri, which means […]

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Chateau Darius, Saint Emilion

Château Darius: Young wine entrepreneurs set out to modernize Saint Emilion

The wine world is considered by many to be a bit old-fashioned. But times are changing. “We want to be innovative in this very traditional world,” says Flavien Darius Pommier. 23 years old and with a Master’s Degree in Business Administration in his pocket, he is now, along with a friend, marketing the family chateau […]

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Fattoria della Aiola Chianti

A typical Chianti: Fattoria della Aiola Chianti Classico

A little while ago a few bottles of Chianti Classico arrived in the post from Fattoria della Aiola. This turned out to be a wine estate founded in 1934 by an Italian politician and sold in 2012 to Russian investors, who now continue to develop the 36 ha property. We tasted the wines and discovered […]

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La Vinocave wine shop in Reims

“Foreign” wines in France increase the market share

In France you drink French wines. With the variety that exists in this huge wine country, you never get tired of French wines. But the fact is that the French drink more and more foreign wines. An study on wine sales in big grocery stores (where most wines are sold) shows a rise in recent […]

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100% natural neck label

Proposals for new rules for organic wines upset the wine growers

The EU rules for organic farming are being reviewed and discussions are apparently in the final phase. Several proposals have upset the French (and also other countries’) organic growers. One of the new proposals is that annual controls should be reduced to every two years and perhaps even less frequent. Organic growers worry about the […]

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Champagne, classic white and rosé

How the rosé trend is killing one of France’s great wines: red Bandol

I was a bit shocked the other day when I saw a video clip with Etienne Portalis from Château Pradeaux, one of the well-known wine estates in Bandol. Bandol has always, for me, been the great red wine of Provence. A structured, high-quality red wine, surrounded by a sea of (not always very exciting) rosé […]

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Winter in the Rhone Valley

Keep an eye on the weather and limit your spraying

Most (all?) wine growers today aim for less spraying in the vineyard. Regardless of the products you use when spraying. There are various preventive measures that facilitate this goal. For example, keeping an eye on the weather. To do this, a weather station will help. The company Cooptain has recently installed eight weather stations in […]

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A barrel cellar tunnel at Bodegas Roda in Rioja

Rioja, now with single vineyards on the label

Henceforth it is allowed for Rioja to indicate the name of the vineyard from which the grapes come from on the label. Many producers have impatiently been waiting for this. Consumers want, says the Rioja producers, to have this precise information. The traditional Rioja categories will remain: joven, crianza, reserva and gran reserva. The single […]

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The Chateau de Saumur along the river

Saumur Brut without sulphur from Ackerman

Ackerman is a major producer of sparkling wine in the Loire Valley. Now the company launches its first bubbly chenin blanc without added sulphur (Saumur Brut l’Esprit nature, 11.50 euros on site). But that does not mean that these wines automatically fit into the “natural wine” category. Certainly, the absence of sulphur is important to […]

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A tractor for treatments in a vineyard in Champagne

How much does a vineyard cost in France?

If you are thinking of becoming a wine grower in France, here are some important figures just announced by SAFER, a government organization. In 2016, the average price for an AOP vineyard was 140,600 euro per hectare. The figure shows no major change since the year before. However, one change has occurred. The prices have […]

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Indigena from Pares Balta

Indigena Garnacha 2012, Parés Baltà, Penedès, Catalonia, Spain | Britt’s Wine of the Month

One of our favourites in Penedès is Parés Baltà, an organic and biodynamic estate (certified Demeter), run by the brothers Joan and Josep Cusiné. But the winemakers are their wives, Elena Jiménez and Marta Casas. I fell for this wine, Indigena Garnacha 2012, immediately. It is well built, quite powerful, but balanced and even with […]

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Franz Kunstler 1994 Riesling Beerenauslese

The reinvention of German wines | Britt on Forbes

Over the last couple of decades German wines have changed dramatically. Here are some of the NEW keywords: The semi-dry / semi-sweet whites are on the retreat. (Thankfully!) Bone-dry whites with plenty of elegance and style have come in force. Red wines have moved to being marginal to being a serious player in Germany. But […]

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Cork soaking for TCA testing

Natural cork is doing very well these days

An article about how natural cork has made a comeback in recent years made me look for some interesting cork statistics from Apcor, the association of Portugal’s cork industry. 34% of the world’s cork forests are found in Portugal. That means 736,000 hectares in Portugal of a total of over 2 million hectares in the […]

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Oak barrel aging and fermentation cellar. J Portugal Ramos

Oak ageing yes, but discrete flavours please

Oak ageing is an important ingredient in the production of a quality wine, this all wine lovers are well aware of. Important yes, but more and more winemakers are trying to make the oak as discreet as possible in their wines. The oak ageing is needed, they say, to stabilize the wine and to give […]

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Nets to protect vines from hail in Chablis, Burgundy

Extreme weather and natural disasters in the vineyards around the world

Frost has been a serious problem throughout Europe this spring. But frost is not the only climate phenomenon that a vineyard can encounter. No vineyard is completely sheltered from extreme weather or natural disasters. Cold, frost, hail, fires and floods due to heavy rainfall are the most common weather problems. Burgundy, Piedmont and Mendoza in […]

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Terraced vineyard. Priorato, Catalonia, Spain

Vineyard surface in the 18 EU wine countries

Of the 28 member states of the EU, 18 counts officially as wine countries. Wine is made also in Denmark, Sweden and Poland but you have to have more than 500 hectares planted to be included in the statistics. Vineyard area in hectares, total EU, 3 190 459 ha: Spain, 941 154 France, 802 896 […]

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Cork soaking for TCA testing

VINC, new TCA-free cork from the Cork Supply Group

The Company Cork Supply Group, a major supplier of natural corks, introduced earlier this year a new cork called VINC. This is a cork that is guaranteed to be free of TCA contamination. In other words, a wine sealed with VINC will not be corked. VINC is a technical agglomerated cork, which means that it […]

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Burning hay bale for frost protection in Burgundy

New type of frost control in Burgundy: burning hay (video)

In Côte d’Or in Burgundy this year, for the first time, a new method of frost control has been used. The burning of straw bales. Many of them. Maurice Chapuis at Domaine Chapuis in Aloxe-Corton explains why: “They are setting fire to the straw bales at around four o’clock in the morning. They do it […]

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Silwervis Chenin Blanc 2014 Swartland

Five “natural” wines from South Africa that are really good! | Britt on Forbes

There is a wine revolution quietly going on in South Africa. Or more correctly, a second revolution. The first one was when apartheid ended and the KVW iron grip on the wine sector also came to an end. That led to the birth of the modern wine industry in South Africa, where today you can […]

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A barrel cellar tunnel at Bodegas Roda in Rioja

Spain still the biggest wine country in the EU, according to Eurostat

Eurostat has recently published a variety of interesting statistics on the EU’s vineyards and wine industry. The EU currently has more than 3 million hectares of vineyards and 80% of it is classified as quality wine. Spain is the largest wine country with 941,000 hectares. EU’s largest wine region is also in Spain: Castilla-La Mancha […]

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Clos Saint Joseph 2015 Syrah, Côtes de Provence

Domaine Clos Saint Joseph in the easternmost part of Côtes de Provence

50 kilometres north of Nice is a small town called Villars-sur-Var. We are quite far away from the wine regions. Closer to Nice is the appellation Bellet and further west is the Côtes de Provence. But Villars-sur-Var also has vineyards. One of the few wine growers here is Roch Sassi. His small domain of 4 […]

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Working in a steep vineyard

Champagne rejects astronaut in advertising campaign

Atout France is a government organization that is responsible for promoting various French tourist destinations. Recently, it launched an ad campaign aimed at French tourists. The slogan for the campaign is “France, tout un monde à explorer – Devenez Françonaute” (France, a whole world to discover – be a Franconaute). The campaign images show an […]

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Spraying with helicopter

Frost Fighting Helicopters in Montlouis-sur-Loire

Spring is a lovely time of the year but it can also be a nail-biter for wine growers in northern wine regions. No one wants to be hit by frost in April or May, destroying the new buds.As it unfortunately happened in many places earlier this spring. There are various ways to protect the vines […]

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A beehive in the garden

Bee Friendly certification

A wine can be certified organic, biodynamic, sustainable and now there is also a certification taking into account the well-being of the bees. It is called, of course, Bee Friendly. The label is a private initiative by European beekeepers to make farmers aware of the damage that certain pesticides make to this small, but very […]

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Chateau Bourdieu Absolu 2016 primeur

Tasting En primeur: Château Bourdieu Absolu 2016

Muhammad and the mountain? The primeur tastings in Bordeaux take place every year in early April. We have not been there this year but we did a mini-primeur tasting at home with one wine the other day. I tasted the wine blind. The colour was dark, really dark with a purple rim. The wine looked […]

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The castle ruin in Chateauneuf-du-Pape

Stony soil and lots of sun = rare Chateauneuf-du-Pape blanc | Britt on Forbes

Chateauneuf-du-Pape is one of France’s most exclusive appellations. It covers only 3200 hectares (less than e.g. Chablis in Burgundy). It is famous for its rich and powerful red wines. Only 7% of the production is white, so the white Chateauneufs can almost be considered a rarity. but if they are hard to find it is […]

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Bottles in a wine shop marked organic wine (ekologiskt)

Some organic favourites worth trying

Here’s a handful of organic wines that we have encountered recently that we certainly recommend trying: Anima, Avondale, Chenin Blanc, 2013, South Africa, ~15 €. Nice honey tone, a little pineapple and citrus, elegant and subtle oak. The wine is full-bodied without being heavy. Vacqueyras Garrigues, Domaine Montirius, Vacqueyras, France, ~16 €. Clean and nice […]

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Shipping all over the world

Bordeaux exports stable in 2016

Bordeaux exported 2 million hectolitres of wine (270 million bottles) in 2016. The region accounts for 17% of French wine exports in volume and 36% of the value. China and the US compensate for declining exports to Europe. The six largest markets for Bordeaux wines in value are: China: The growth continues and China is […]

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Big tractor equipped for spraying

Lower copper limit for organic wine producers. Maybe.

Being an organic winegrower means that you are obliged to spray with copper to prevent certain fungal diseases rather than using synthetic pesticides. Copper is effective primarily against mildiou. As with all other pesticides the authorisation to use copper is renewed every ten years. This year the EU will evaluate copper and decide whether to […]

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