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
Vineyards and mountains in Franschhoek, South Africa

Travelling in the South African wine regions can be full of surprises

“It looked very curious. The clouds were pouring over the edge of the mountain tops in the Franschhoek Valley. It looked almost like a waterfall that was falling down on us. Luckily the “waterfall” evaporated before it reached the middle of the valley where we were standing in the vineyards.” “We were in a block […]

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Contrasts in Mendoza: wine, landscape, climate…

“There are two ways to get to the Mendoza wine region. Either you fly in, from Buenos Aires or Santiago (or from somewhere else). Or you come by road. The “easiest” road to take is over the Andes from Chile. Not that there is anything particularly easy about driving across the Andes. I have done […]

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Mandatory spraying in the vineyard

It can be costly to refuse to spray against the grasshopper that spread the disease flavescence corée. Flavescence dorée is a bacterial disease that weakens the vine. The only thing you can do to prevent the disease from spreading is to remove the infected vines and to use insecticide against the grasshopper that spread the […]

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Which vine rootstock do you choose for your vineyard plantings?

Almost all vines planted today are grafted onto an American rootstock. This is because the wine louse, the phylloxera, is still present in the soil. The American vine is immune to phylloxera, but not the European one. The wine grower can choose from different rootstocks, depending on the soil type and grape. But in fact, […]

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The root cause? Expensive French rootstocks

France has many nurseries that provide winegrowers with new vines. These nurseries are now worried that the French vines have become too expensive compared to other European countries. They keep losing market shares. Exports have declined over the past five years. France exported last year 14 million vines. At the same time 12 million were […]

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Corked wine? Not only cork defects

When you talk about faulty wines, the cork is often the scapegoat. However, there are other types of defects. A tasting in the region of Touraine in the Loire Valley shows that the cork defect is not the biggest problem. The tasting was conducted by the Inter Loire in September when a large number of […]

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Moët & Chandon to launch Indian bubbles

Champagne house Moët & Chandon has launched two Indian sparkling wines, Chandon Brut and Chandon Brut Rosé. They are made in Dindori which is located in Nashik, one of India’s most promising wine growing regions. Nashik is located about three hours’ drive from Mumbai. Here we also find the well-known Sula Vineyards along with 40 […]

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Sugar or grape must in the wine? Yes? No? Maybe?

The discussion concerning who is allowed to chaptalise and who instead must use concentrated grape must to enrich their wine has been going on in France all year. Two ways to do enrichment. To chaptalize means adding regular sugar to the must. But whether adding sugar or concentrated grape must, the result is the same. […]

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Initiale from Champagne Jacques Selosse | Britt’s Wine of the Month

The current Selosse is named Anselme. It was his father, Jacques, who founded the estate in Avize in 1949. Anselme took over in 1974. The vineyards are mainly located in the Côte des Blancs, but he also has a bit of Pinot Noir in Aÿ and in Ambonnay. His Champagnes are among the most prominent […]

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Stolen fruit is sweeter? Theft of Sauternes grapes

We have been asked this question several times: does it happen that wine growers get their grapes stolen before harvest? The vineyards are after all rather unprotected. We usually say that this is not a big problem. But apparently thefts do happen. Recently, someone did a clandestine midnight harvest at Château Suau, a grand cru […]

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A French nitrogen ban in the vineyards?

The French Ministry of Agriculture is discussing a decision to ban nitrogen fertilisation to farmland with an inclination of more than 15 %. This is to reduce nitrate emissions into the environment. This has naturally upset winegrowers in several regions. Wine growers probably use slopes more than other farmers. Regions like Champagne, Provence, Crozes-Hermitage, Sancerre, […]

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Young Bordeaux wine champions

Bordeaux has found a way to get young wine lovers to take an interest in Bordeaux wines. Since a few years back La Commanderie du Bon Temps in Médoc, Graves and Sauternes organizes “The Left Bank Bordeaux Cup” for wine clubs at business schools and universities. Initially, the competition was only open to French and […]

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Soil detail. Slate. The black soil.

Black soil as good as white

Schist (slate) deserves more respect. Wine growers in Anjou in the Loire Valley are a bit upset about the fact that limestone gets all the attention. So they organized La Paulee de l ‘Anjou Noir on July 29 in Coteaux du Layon to honour the schist of Anjou. The message of the day was: Anjou […]

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Less oak means more fruit in the wine

Sometimes it feels like every wine you drink is oaked. But the fact is that only 2% of all the world’s wines spend time in oak barrels, according to Drinks Business. And this is down from 3% in 2008. Nowadays winemakers want to stress the fruit so they reduce the time in oak and they […]

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Sandy soil in a vineyard in Castile and Leon in Spain

High or low planting density in the vineyard? (It’s not just yields!)

Wine growers talk about high and low yields in the vineyard. In Languedoc they have around 45 hectolitres per hectare, in Bordeaux 50 to 60 and in Champagne even higher. But when you talk about yield it is also important to know the planting density of the vineyard. The density can vary between 1 500 […]

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Balloons over the landscape in Cappadocia, Pigeon Valley, Turkey

Sade Öküzgözü 2011, Kavaklidere, Turkey | Britt’s Wine of the Month

While visiting Vinexpo in Bordeaux in June I stopped at the Turkish stand and tasted some of their wines. Quite a few of them were good. I especially liked a wine called Sade Öküzgözü 2011 from the producer Kavaklidere Winery. The hard-to-pronounce Öküzgözü is the name of the Anatolian grape variety that the wine is […]

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Government sales campaigns for organic wines?

The organic winegrowers in Languedoc-Roussillon say that the state, through advertising campaigns, should encourage French people to drink organic wines. It is difficult for us to do it ourselves, say the growers. They argue that the campaigns could provide information on environmental impact and water saving but also about the social role because organic farmers […]

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Here’s how much you are allowed to harvest in Champagne this year

Champagne has now decided how many kilos of grapes that growers will be allowed to pick this fall. Champagne differs from other districts in France when it comes to determining the yield. In Champagne they make an assessment every year of how the market looks and based on that they decide how much champagne they […]

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Savagnin Arbois 2008, La Cave de la Reine Jeanne, Jura

Uncorked: Good wines we have tasted recently, August 2013

Uncorked: Under this heading we collect various wines that we have tasted, and liked, recently. It can be wines that we have had during dinner at home, at wine tastings, press lunches, visits to vineyards, or other occasions. We describe the wines just with a few short sentences, tasting notes that we hope will give […]

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An old Guyot trained vine on gravely soil

Caillou blanc de Château Talbot 1993, Bordeaux Blanc | Britt’s Wine of the Month

White Bordeaux wines can be really good. The fact is that we are rarely disappointed. And yet they are relatively unknown. Some white Pessac-Léognans made in small volumes are sold at high prices, but the rest of the white Bordeaux wines are living a fairly quiet life. There are not that many of them. Only […]

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Stormy weather in July

Burgundy suffered from disastrous hail storms on July 23. In the Côte de Beaune some wineries have had their entire vineyard destroyed. The agriculture minister Stephane Le Foll were quick to announce that victims would receive tax credits to meet the financial shortfall. 1350 hectares around the town of Beaune were affected by the storm, […]

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Add water to desired strength (water into wine?)

Michel Chapoutier in the Rhone Valley is fond of saying controversial things. A few weeks ago he talked in Drinks Business about how to best get rid of some of the alcohol in high alcohol wines. Best method, he says, is the simplest. Dilute the wine with water. He believes that it does not change […]

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Yeast – selected or natural?

Everyone agrees that the grape-must must ferment to become wine. However, when it comes to what type of yeast to use, opinions differ. The choice is open to the winemaker to let the must ferment using the yeast that naturally sits on the grape skins (and in the air) or to use a cultured (selected) […]

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The “other” Alsace: sweet Alsatian white wines and red wines

Alsace wines are often compared to German wines and it is said that the big difference is that the German wines are sweet and Alsatian wines are dry. There is some truth in this, although the German wines are getting drier because of changing consumers preferences. And even Alsace has its semi-sweet and sweet wines. […]

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Just a spoonful of sugar… Another reason to add sugar in champagne

More and more champagne houses decrease the dosage. This is the small dose of sugar that is added to the champagne just after the sediment has been removed (the disgorgement). Not adding any sugar at all has become a trend that we certainly have not seen the end of yet. In Drinks Business we now […]

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What happens to all the grape skins?

In Europe we like to regulate things and therefore all wine producers must hand over grape skins to a distillery after the grapes have been pressed. Which of course has many advantages. That way you use this waste product as much as you can. But all grape skins are not destined to become grappa or […]

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Spraying a vineyard

Dangerous pesticides for spraying in the vineyard. Dangerous for whom?

The discussion about organic or not organic is often about the taste of the wine. Maybe there should be a greater focus on the possible harmful effects that pesticides can have on people working with and handling the products. A new French report made L’Institut national de la santé et de la recherche médicale (Inserm) […]

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Uncorked: Good wines we have tasted recently, July 2013

Uncorked: Under this heading we collect various wines that we have tasted, and liked, recently. It can be wines that we have had during dinner at home, at wine tastings, press lunches, visits to vineyards, or other occasions. We describe the wines just with a few short sentences, tasting notes that we hope will give […]

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Southern France irrigates

Irrigation in the vineyards is no longer taboo in France, nor is it prohibited. (It is curious how often one still hear people saying that irrigation in France, or even in Europe, is not permitted. How wrong they are!)  In Languedoc several projects are under-way which aims to expand the irrigated area. The goal is […]

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Rain, wind and hail. Then heat and more hail.

The bad spring turned into a cold, rainy and windy early summer in France. Hail, storms and even small tornadoes have occurred. Some regions have suffered worse than others. For example, Vouvray in the Loire valley was hit by devastating hail combined with extremely strong wind on the morning of June 17. A large part […]

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