2013 is almost over.
Thank you dear reader!
You who read the BKWine Brief and BKWine Magazine! It is thanks to you that we continue to write. It is thanks to you that BKWine Magazine has become a wine site with a wealth of information on all sorts of vinous subjects. And also one of the oldest wine web sites, “wine on the internet since 1996”. 2013 was a year with more published and with more readers than ever before.
We hope that you, dear reader, will continue to read and enjoy what we write!
Thank you to all the BKWine reporters!
It is thanks to you that BKWine Magazine is becoming even richer in contents. We look forward to new and exciting wine stories.
Thank you to all wine tour participants!
We spend a great portion of our time on the wine tours. Each year we meet several hundred wine travellers on our wine tours. It is always a fun to meet you, taste some wines, visit vineyards, and share a delicious meal. It is also thanks to you that we continue to find new outstanding producers to recommend. Each year we personally visit some 200-300 wineries. (Perhaps not a wine writer record? But still quite a lot!) Wineries that we chose ourselves, which gives us more freedom with than marketing-driven press trips. 2013 was a year with more wine tour and more wine travel guests than ever.
We hope that you, dear wine traveller, come back soon! And that you who are “just” a reader perhaps one day also become a wine tour participant on one of our tours!
Talking about tours, there are still a few places left on the wine tour to South Africa in March. But if you want to join us, do hurry up! It will be a magnificent wine tour.
We are also getting closer to the deadline for the May tour to the Douro. Book now to join us!
Over Christmas and New Year one tends to spend a lot of time with food and drink. By coincidence we have several pieces in this month’s Brief on port wines. Port is something that is sometimes considered a Christmas wine but why not extend that period a bit. Let’s make January a port wine month.
In the Brief you will find plenty of other good wines: Bordeaux that does not have to be horribly expensive, Burgundy, southern Italy, Spain, South Africa and more. Much more.
Now we are charging the batteries for 2014 that will be a fun year!
One last thing: We are very grateful for your help in spreading the word about the Brief! Do you know someone who is interested in wine? Tell him/her to subscribe to The Brief! Do you know someone who could be interested in a wine and food tour to one of the world’s wine regions? Tell him/her about our wine tours!
Thank you and see you next year! Happy New Year!
Britt & Per
PS: Recommend to your friends to read the Brief!
What’s on at BKWine Tours
- South America: Chile and Argentina, 1-16 February 2014
- South Africa, 28 February – 10 March 2014
- Douro Valley, Portugal, 14-18 May 2014
For more information please contact us on email or on phone (we’re on French time), or go to our wine travel site on www.bkwinetours.com!
We also make custom designed wine tours – on-demand tours for you and a group of friends, for your company (maybe to scout new winegrowers?), for a special event… We can combine winery visits and wine touring with other activities: gastronomic workshops, visit to an oyster farm, truffles hunting, cheese making, and more. More info on the custom designed and bespoke BKWine wine tours and travel here!
Wine tours in Finnish: We also do wine tours in Finnish. And in German, Norwegian, Spanish…
Do you want the latest news and updates on our wine travel activity? Subscribe here! (Second alternative BKWineTours.com)
From the World of Wine
BKWine runner-up in wine / travel blogging competition!
A bit of a mouth-full, wine / travel blogging competition… Great Wine Capitals is an association of some of the world’s great wine regions. Their mission is to spread the word that these wine regions are fantastic travel destinations. This year they arranged a competition for bloggers who write on wine and travel. We write a lot about wine and travel on The Wine Travel Blog so we were of course keen to participate. We did not win Mindy Joyce did with her piece A Magical Trip to Bordeaux, A Better Trip to the Wine Counter on WineryCritic.com. Congratulations! But we came in second place, runner-up with Britt’s article Combining Valparaiso and Casablanca makes a magical wine tour. In addition we landed the number 5 and number 7 slots. Her are our articles:
- The Mendoza wine region: a land of amazing contrasts (Britt)
- Pouring over the edge in the Franschhoek vineyards (Britt)
- The importance of always carrying a flash-light when wine touring in Bordeaux (Per)
- Let’s go for a walk in Bordeaux City! (Per)
- The red soul of Tuscan wines: sangiovese (Åsa)
- Combining Valparaiso and Casablanca makes a magical wine tour (Britt)
- Florence, a capital of wine and food (Åsa)
- The Douro Valley: a meandering river and terraced vineyards (Per)
LAN D-12 Quarta Edicion Rioja 2010, Bodegas LAN | Britt’s Wine of the Month
It has been awhile since I drank a Rioja. This wine I was served blind and I did not guess that it was a Rioja (I will not humiliate myself by telling you my guesses). But I thought it was delicious. Elegant and smooth was the first words I used and I added lovely cherry fruit and other red berries. A well balanced wine.
The grape is tempranillo from four different vineyards around Haro in the Rioja Alta. The taste of the oak is discreet. The wine has spent 10 months in partly new American barrels and partly in new French barrels. Here we have a skilled winemaker who knows how to handle the oak. Which is probably a necessity when you are responsible for a large oak barrel cellar with a French, American and Russian oak barrels and even some mixed. Bodegas LAN is owned by Portugal’s largest wine company Sogrape since 2012.
Have you ever visited France? What did you think?
France is the world’s most popular travel destination. More than 80 million visitors (!) come to France each year. When you travel around France it is easy to understand why; landscape, climate, people, gastronomy, wine etc. All at reasonable prices. But France still wants to improve the welcome they give visitors and therefore they are conducting an international tourism survey. If you want to contribute to make France even better as a travel destination you can respond to their international tourism survey here.
And if you are eager to travel to France and enjoy some of the wonderful experiences, not least food and wine, then you should come on a wine tour with BKWine.
Kopke Colheita 1957 | Magnus’ Wine of the Month
A few weeks ago I was in Portugal, mainly to taste wine and port. Port wine is something I to connect with Christmas (and all other days too). To sit and sip a glass of really good port wine together with a piece of chocolate, a piece of cheese or just with the feet warming in front of the fire-place is pure pleasure. Personally, I’m fond of tawny and colheita port. Tawny is a port that has matured for at least seven years in small oak barrels, has a lighter colour and a clear barrel-aging character. The wine is sold with the age specified on the bottle, such as ten, twenty, thirty, or forty years. It is a blend of wines with an average age as indicated. Colheita is a port that resembles a tawny but comes from a single vintage and is matured in oak barrels until it is ready for consumption.
It is hard to choose when you have fabulous wines to choose from. In the end it was a stand-off between Kopke Colheita 1937, 1957, and 1961. After careful consideration the 1957 wins, mainly because of a great acidity that makes it seem as if this wine’s flavours echo between the taste buds for an eternity.
Rickety Bridge wins double gold for South African bubbly
South Africa makes very good sparkling wine. Since a few years back they call their sparkling wines made from the traditional method that is with a second fermentation in the bottle, MCC, Methode Cap Classique. In the MCC Challenge which recently took place in South Africa, 100 wines were tasted and judged and one of our favourite producers in Franschhoek, Rickety Bridge Winery, was the winner of a double gold medal with their MCC Blanc de Blancs 2009.
This MCC was the first sparkling wine that Rickery Bridge had ever made. Wine maker Wynand Grobler used chardonnay from a selected plot for this wine. With very low yields, fermentation partly in French oak barrels and a little over three years on the lees the result is a full bodied, fresh and complex MCC. A very worthy winner. Read more on Rickety Bridge.
Aix-en-Provence without “Coteaux”?
Cote and Côteaux, we see these words everywhere: Côtes du Rhône, Coteaux du Languedoc, Cote des Blancs, Côte de Beaune, etc. It is an old French tradition to call wine regions located along rivers or slopes like this. Often the prefixes indicate a larger wine area (though not always, Côte Rôtie is a good example).
For several years now the appellation Coteaux d’Aix en Provence has struggled to get rid of their Coteaux. They would prefer to call themselves simply “Aix en Provence”, just like the well-known town close by. They still have not managed to convince the INAO but they will not give up. And why would it not work? The nearby appellations of Luberon and Ventoux have both managed to get rid of their Côtes. They were previously Côtes du Luberon and Côtes du Ventoux. But not anymore. And Coteaux du Languedoc is now Languedoc.
An appellation without a prefix is associated with higher quality, at least by the French consumer. Read more on reussir-vigne.com
Selling wine in supermarkets, something to be ashamed of?
Often we hear wine producers in France saying, not without a certain pride in their voice that their wine is certainly not sold in supermarkets (grande surfaces). I wonder why this would be so terrible. Today’s supermarkets often have as a minimum a very decent selection of wines and sometimes an extremely good one. So what is there to be ashamed of it? And you cannot ignore the facts: 88 % of all wines in France are sold in supermarkets.
The wine shops in France only have 7 % of the sales. These shops often specialize in regions like Languedoc-Roussillon and the Rhone Valley, where there are many small producers that find it hard to sell to supermarkets, or in more niche products like biodynamic and natural wine that may need to be explained to customers. The remaining 5 % is direct sales, either at the winery or at wine fairs.
Figurers from vinetsociete.fr/chiffres
The golden secateurs to Lynch-Bages’ pruner
Now in winter time, maybe the wine produce can slow down a little and recuperate? Hardly. Now begins the season for la taille, the winter pruning. An extremely important task that requires special skill so you do not put a pair of secateurs in anybody’s hand. But you probably would put it in Diamentino Rato Teixeira’s hand. He recently won a pruning competition held at the Château Dillon in Bordeaux. He and his rivals had to prune as quickly and as skilfully as possible a number of vines. A theoretical test was also part of the competition, testing the competitor’s knowledge of vines diseases and similar things. Teixeira works at Château Lynch-Bages in Pauillac.
This competition for the “Golden Secateurs” was only the beginning. Several pruning competitions will be organized in France during the winter. French farmers like competitions. They can be quite amusing actually, not least the ploughing competition where you must plough as straight as possible.
Read more sudouest.fr
Kryp In, restaurant in the Old Town of Stockholm
Britt recently visited Restaurant Kryp In in the Old Town of Stockholm. A perfect place if you want to try Swedish ingredients and Swedish specialities. The wines are mainly organic, well-chosen and often from small, high quality producers.
There was actually a Restaurant Kryp In in the Old Town already in the 18th century. It was a favourite restaurant of the famous (at least in Sweden) poet Carl-Michael Bellman.
Read more about Restaurant Kryp In
Sweet and delicious, lovely ports (and some more) to savour
We have had some very special and delicious red sweet wines over Christmas. A 40 years old tawny, a colheita 1940 (vintage tawny), a vintage port 1975 and an insanely sweet wine from Andalucía. We had a small and intimate wine tasting one evening with these wines to see how the differed and how they were similar. Not least the two tawnies were outstanding and memorable wines, a type that we hope more people will discover.
Read more about these four fantastic sweet port and other wines here.
Bordeaux is not only exclusive and expensive wines, there is also much affordable quality
The vast majority of wine producers in Bordeaux make wines at very reasonable prices, and often of very good quality. Unfortunately one tends too easily to only think of the now very expensive “classified” chateaux in the Medoc, Graves and Saint Emilion and their un-classified but equally famous cousins in Pomerol. It is a mistake to believe that all of Bordeaux is at this exalted level of prices.
Unfortunately, the chateau in the medium price range, say between 10 and 25 euro have difficulties getting noticed (not least in Sweden where there is a big monopoly buyer). But now Le Grand Cercle has decided to change this. They came in force to Stockholm and presented their wines. BKWine’s Carl-Erik Kanne was there and tasted. He gathered a lot of recommendations on excellent Bordeaux wines for reasonable monies!
Why not discover some of this on location? Come on a wine and food tour to Bordeaux with BKWine.
Travel to the wine country with the experts on wine and the specialist on wine travel.
Writing and telling stories about wine on the internet
The recent #DWCC, Digital Wine Communications Conference, in Rioja included a session on wine communications, what it is and who does it. BKWine was one of the panellists. It became an interesting exchange of ideas with several well-known international wine personalities: Robert Joseph, Tyler Colman, Paul Mabray, Justin Howard-Sneyd, and BKWine.
Read more and watch the video: What is wine communication and who are the communicators?
Sun and rain and wine in southern Italy
“’The sun always shines in Campania except in Irpinia,’ said my friend from Napoli. He seems to be right. Because when I get off the train at Naples Central Station unseasonably warm sun rays heat me up. But the closer we get Irpinia the denser the dark clouds become. After a forty minute drive that brings me to the hotel the rain pours down in big heavy drops.”
BKWine’s Åsa reports from the “anteprima“, the primeur tasting, in DOCG Greco di Tufo in Campania: Greco di Tufo from Irpinia, Italy’s forgotten treasure
One good opportunity to explore the wines and food of Irpinia is to come on a wine and food tour to Campania in southern Italy with BKWine, including of course a lunch at the luxurious Marennà restaurant.
Burgundy wines from 2011 from Louis Jadot in Beaune
Early after the harvest 2011 in Burgundy the wines were said to be of mixed quality, some outstanding, others of more modest quality. What is assessment today? BKWine recently had the opportunity to taste a range of wines from 2011 from the big Burgundy producer Louis Jadot together with their export manager Sigfried Pic.
BKWine’s Roland Eriksson tastes and reports: The 2011 vintage in Burgundy at Louis Jadot
Another way to get a good insight into the quality of the vintages in Burgundy is to go there: you will taste many vintages and wines at the vineyards on a wine and food tour to Burgundy with BKWine.
Travel to the world’s wine regions with the experts on wine and the specialist on wine tours!
A harvest report from Chablis
Here is a summary of the vintage 2013 as seen by the growers’ association BIVB-Chablis.
In summary, they say:
- A difficult growing season due to the weather, that led to:
- Late harvest and
- Small volume. Nevertheless
- Sufficient maturity and
- Balanced wines
According to the growers’ association.
Read more: The 2013 vintage in Chablis
A short introduction to port wines with the Calem house
The port wine producer Calem dates back to mid-1850s. Today, like many other port producers, it is part of a group together with several other famous names. It has a wide range of ports, from young ruby to very old tawny. We had the opportunity to taste a number of their wines back to a tawny 1961, together with Sónia Figueira, export manager of Calem.
BKWine’s Carl-Erik Kanne reports: Calem, a port house with a range of ruby, vintage, tawny & colheita.
There are many good and great wines to discover in the Douro Valley, both the sweet port wines and “regular” table wines. Both the port and table wines will be plentiful, at tastings and at gourmet meals, along with Portuguese food on a wine and food tour to the Douro Valley with BKWine. Book now for May!
Travel to wine regions with the experts on wine and with the specialist on wine travel.
Mixed bag of goodies: wines we remember from December 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 you a short but accurate impression of what we thought of the wine, without delving into finer points tasting notes.
On this month’s wine list:
- A mixed bag from the Rhône Valley
- Barolo and others from the Piedmont, including an unusual ruché
Some inspiration for more wine discoveries! As well as, in some cases, a perspective on what to expect from older wines. Read more on these wines: Uncorked: Good wines we have tasted recently, December 2013.
Cold Facts: a misleading TV program on wine growing and wine making
It caused a certain brouhaha when an ”investigative” television program on wine was aired recently in Sweden, Kalla Fakta (Cold Facts). Several wine producers and wine importers appeared in the program in a way that can best be described as misleading or manipulative. The program talked about treatments in the vineyard showing as “scandalous” agricultural practices that are well-known and hardly any news (nor particularly outrageous). They also talked about “additives” in wines giving the impression that wine is to a large extent a concoction of various more or less dangerous foreign ingredients to create artificial flavours.
Read more on what Britt has to say on this television program that was a good example of manipulative and misleading journalism rather that serious investigative reporting: Poison in your glass? Big headlines, thin on news in television program on wine.
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This post is also available in: Swedish