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BKWine Brief nr 108, August 2012

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Per Karlsson portrait Britt Karlsson portraitWe are getting more and more excited. It is a certain nervousness or anxiety that is building up. Next week we will launch our new book! What will people say?!

The book’s title is Wine and the Environment, Organic, Biodynamic, and Natural. And that is a pretty good summary of what it is about. Unfortunately it is only published in Swedish. At least for the moment. (Any interested publisher among our readers?)

Primarily the book tries to explain what all those concepts are about. What is, really, an organically grown wine? No sprays of poisons in the vineyard? Actually, organics spray too! More environmentally friendly? Yes, probably, but not necessarily. We also explain what the biodynamic winemakers do without focusing too much on the sometimes curious philosophy (that all too often is the focus in articles on biodynamics). Instead we talk about what the biodynamic winegrowers do in the vineyard and how they reason. And then we have the natural wines, sustainable, fair trade etc. We explain what it is without trying to “convert you to the true fait” for any of those things.

In the second half of the book we have a selection of growers that do this kind of wine growing and wine production. A personal selection.

Here is some more information about the book (currently only in Swedish).

This whole question of the environment and organics is an interesting debate. Of course “environmentally friendly” is better than noxious. But it is not always easy to say what is “best”.

Another way of looking at it is to say that it is the end result that is most important (difficult to deny actually): “I don’t bother that much if it is organic/biodynamic/natural/… or not as long as the wine tastes good”. In a way that is a reasoning that many winemakers have: “yes, I am organic, but I don’t put it on the label. I want the consumer to buy my wine because they like the taste of the wine, not because I have an organic certificate”. Good logic that too. But that will soon be over. Now, within the EU, if you are certified organic then you have to put it on the label.

Personally we are often rather agnostic: the most important thing is that the wine is delicious. At the same time today it is almost a given that wine producers do not use lots and lots of sprays in the vineyard over what is necessary (but it can still be quite a lot though!). But we can also see that more and more of the winemakers that we meet and that we visit on our tours are organic, or biodynamic, and make excellent wines. Is that because those practices are becoming more common? Absolutely. Is it because we have spent almost two years working on our book? That is no doubt true too!

Finally, we must give you a quick update on the wine tours. It is high time to register if you are interested in any of these wine tours:

  • Bordeaux, 19-23 Sept
  • Chile and Argentina, 4-19 Feb 2013
  • South Africa, 1-11 March, 2013

Britt & Per

PS: Recommend to your friends to read the Brief or forward it to them (click here to send them the Brief)!

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What’s on at BKWine Tours

“World’s Top Wine Tours” – Travel + Leisure Magazine, on TravelAndLeisure.com

2012 wine tour program

  • Bordeaux 19-23 September
  • Tuscany 10-14 October
  • Champagne 14-18 November

2013 wine tour program

  • Chile & Argentina, 4-19 February 2013
  • South Africa, 1-11 March 2013

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 twice on the list of AOL Travel’s best wine tours

vineyards and mountainBeing twice mention on a list of the top ten wine tours is an honour that we certainly did not expect. We are very honoured and happy. But that is exactly what happened when AOL Travel made their list of, as they call it, “the ten best wine tasting holidays”. It is our tours to South Africa and to Chile-Argentina that made the AOL Travel list. A big thank you!

Read more on BKWine’s Travelog Wine Travel Blog: Two of ten of the best wine tasting holidays come from BKWine, says AOL Travel

(Why not see for yourself? Join us on a wine tour!)

Åsa’s Wine of the Month: Batár 2009, IGT Toscana, Querciabella

guido de santi querciabellaÅsa’s wine of the month comes from Querciabella, a winery in Tuscany that has been organic since 1988 and biodynamic since 2000. The vineyards are in a superb location in the Chinati Classico region at a good altitude (300-600 m) with a south facing exposure for most of the vineyards. Batár is made from 50% chardonnay and 50% pinot bianco. The wine ferments in barrique and after both the first (alcoholic) and second (malolactic) fermentation it is kept on its lees for nine months. The wine is elegant and if you close your eyes you might even think that it is red due to the body and the power in Batár. It has a full-bodied mouth-feel with lots of ripe fruit, vanilla, honey and with just a touch of bitterness in the end, probably from the mineral-rich typically Tuscan soil called “galestro”. It has lots of elegant aromas and even the most discerning nose can be satisfied. www.Querciabella.com. Price: around 50 euro.

Reporting from Montecucco, a new wine region in southern Tuscany that was just made DOCG

hills and vineyardsMontecucco is one of the “new” wine regions in Tuscany, Italy, that has powerful neighbours to fight for consumer mind share with and has several challenges. But that is making great progress and wines to take note of.

BKWine’s reporter in Italy, Åsa Johansson, goes into the details of some of the producer in this her second report.

Read the article: Montecucco, a Tuscan wine region too watch

BKWine features (sort of) in a detective crime novel

man with knifeIt is actually the BKWine Scandinavian Wine Fair in Paris that is mentioned in the Swedish author Anna Jansson’s book “The Alchemy’s Eternal Fire”. We don’t have as prominent a role in the book as Gute Vineyard, a Swedish winery that is actually mentioned by name. Without revealing too many secrets we can say that neither BKWine nor Lauri Pappinen (the owner of Gute) is the murderer. At least i think not; I have not yet finished the book…

Read Britt’s article, including some juicy pictures: Murder in the vineyard? BKWine appears in a detective novel

A quick note on an interesting Burgundy producer: Domaine Goisot

burgundy vineyardWe recently had the opportunity to taste a few of the Domaine Goisot’s Burgundy wines. The wines were much in demand and the importer almost immediately ran out of stock.

Read Magnus Reuterdahl’s note (short in English, more extensive in Swedish, use Google Translate) on the producer: Sold out: delicious wines from Domaine Goisot in Burgundy

You can’t go wrong with “A life of luxury and wine in France”

luxuryThat was the heading on a syndicated article on travelling in wine regions published in the Swedish press. The author has travelled around several of France’s beautiful wine regions and gives his personal tips. He also mentions one single tour operator for wine tours in France. Guess who!

Read more on BKWine’s Travelog Travel Blog: “A life of luxury and wine in France”, on BKWine in TT, GP etc

Problems in Beaujolais

beaujolaisAs many as a quarter of all Beaujolais growers (ie 500 growers) will possibly go bankrupt before the year is over. So great is the crisis in the region, according to La Vigne. The harvest in 2012 will, due to various weather problems, be small and this will not help the situation. The growers expect a yield of only 35 hectolitres per hectare instead of the permitted 60 hectolitres.

Beaujolais has suffered several years of declining prices. It’s a shame. Beaujolais has so much to offer and is in many ways a unique wine. We hope people will soon start to appreciate it again. But of course, growers must be able to deliver quality. Maybe it’s good that some growers will disappear and with them the bad wine. Beaujolais – as we’ve said before here in the Brief – needs to work on its image now that Beaujolais Nouveau has lost some of its appeal (except in Japan, apparently). Gamay is an amazing grape when grown in Beaujolais. It has a fruitiness that few other grapes can beat. We keep our fingers crossed for Beaujolais.

Read more in La Vigne Mag Lavigne Mag

Wine journalism, ethics and ”disclosure”. Is it important?

bottlesSparked by a twitter discussion recently and by the fact that the debate pops up every so often (in particular on American wine blogs!) I though it could (possibly) be interesting to bring up this issue with “disclosure” again. “Disclosure” is mostly interpreted as that when you write about a wine you say “I received this wine as a free sample”. It can also apply to other things, like sponsored trips to wine regions etc.

Our view on this is, in very short words: “disclosure” is almost pointless; what is important is the journalistic ethics and the honesty of the writer and that is not demonstrated by any “disclosure”.

We would be very interested in your views. Read our more extensive reasoning here: Does it matter for a wine blog if the wines you write about are samples?  And do write a comment with your view!

The profile of a wine blogger

profileWine blogging probably started in the US an has been slowly spreading across the world. France was rather slow to catching on (has always been a bit of a laggard on the internet) but in recent years it has become a very active wine blogging scene. A French business student made a survey of the French wine bloggers with some expected and some unexpected results.

Read our analysis here: Wine bloggers: profile, motivation and influence

The Wine Economist reflects on wine travel and wine tourism in France

bus in the vineyardOver at the (very interesting) wine blog The Wine Economist Mike Veseth has laid hands on the May issue of La Revue du Vin de France that is dedicated to wine tourism. The RVF issue’s cover boasts “the 35 best wine tour circuits”. With a Critical eye Mike inspects what is in the magazine, but also with a somewhat American eye of course: Wine Tourism à la Français[e].

We don’t always agree though. Read our comment on the BKWine Travelog Wine Travel Blog:  French wine tourism from an American perspective

Everything you have ever wished for from the Languedoc

britt in a wine shopIt is perhaps (for sure) a bit of an exaggeration. “We have a big hole in our wine cellar. Or so it seems. We need to refill the spaces on the shelves so that we have something to drink for dinner. We have always had a soft spot for the wines from the Languedoc so my thoughts wandered off to a wine shop we visited very long time ago, the Caves 41 in Nîmes. The have a great selection of Languedoc-Roussillon and Rhone wines as well as a little bit of other things.”

Read the rest of Per’s commentary of this amazing Languedoc shop: A treasure trove of Languedoc wines: Cave du 41 in Nimes | BKWine Pick

The Germans like their Sekt

glass of sparkling7% of all wine produced in the world is sparkling, according to Vitisphere. This is an increase of 2% since 2002. 65% of the sparkling wines come from France, followed by Italy, Germany, Spain and Chile. As for the consumption of sparkling wine Germany tops the list closely followed by France.

The Germans drink up most of the sparkling wine they produce (called Sekt) themselves. According to the  German Wine Institute the Germans drank last year 335 million liters of Sekt out of 420 million produced. Much of the German Sekt is simple wine, sometimes with an alcohol level as low as 6%. A small part is Winzersekt, quality Sekt from a specific region, but over 80% are made by a few large producers. If it says Deutscher Sekt on the label the wine is made from German grapes. Most of the Sekt however, is made of imported base wine made bubbly in Germany.

Read more on Vitisphere

The French like their French wine regions

french flagFrance is the world’s biggest tourism destination so when La Revue du Vin de France make a special supplement on wine tourism it is perhaps to be expected that the overwhelming majority of the travel destinations are in France. The magazine is full of tips and recommendations for those who want to travel around the wine districts to taste wine and to discover wine producers. “La RVF” has made a list with the 35 best wine routes. We organise wine tours to many of those destinations but actually not to all. Perhaps that is something we need to change?

Read more on BKWine’s Travelog Wine Travel Blog: The 35 best wine tour routes

Wine tours in Vinogusto and in The Independent

bergerac train stationWe also have to tell you (we are very proud!) that BKWine’s wine tours have been mentioned by the English newspaper The Independent and by Vinogusto, a “social” site with wine information. More on the travel blog:

Britt’s Wine of the Month: Domaine Pierre Chauvin 2008, Cuvée La Fontaine des Bois, AOP Anjou, Loire Valley

white loire grapesIn the heart of sweet wine appellation Coteaux du Layon in the region of Anjou (Loire), we find this estate of 15 hectare. Paul-Eric Chauvin is the fifth generation to continue the family tradition. The winery is managed organically since 2005 and it has been certified since 2008.

The region’s main grape is chenin blanc and it is also the main grape at Domaine Pierre Chauvin. As is often the case here in Anjou it is used for dry, semi-sweet and sweet wines. Wines from chenin blanc are wonderful to drink both young and old. They age beautifully thanks to the high acidity which, even when the wine is young, is never intrusive. In addition, the prices here in the Anjou region are often very reasonable.

This wine is a dry Anjou and it has been aged 12 months in oak which has given it structure but not really any oak aromas. Chenin in itself is a pretty full bodied grape and the oak accentuates the fatness. It is a little oxidized in style which contributes to the complexity. The nose is reminiscent of apricots and honey. The taste is long with significantly high acidity. Paul-Eric does not chaptalise and he uses only the natural yeast.

The wine is 12.80 euro in the Internet wine shop specialized in organic and natural wines www.vinivert.com

A holiday tip: a gîte in the Languedoc at Domaine Terres Georges

domaine terres georgesThis is perhaps a little late in the day, but who knows, perhaps you have some vacation left, or want to do something this autumn or want to plan for next year? Domain Terres Georges is a small (very small) wine producer run by Anne-Marie and Roland Coustal, a young couple. It is in the Languedoc, in the Minervois (Castelnau d’Aude), a beautiful part of the region. We discovered them almost by chance when we were working on our first book, on the wines of the Languedoc. Every time when we have tried the wines since we have thought the were a) delicious, and b) very good value for money.

But this is not about their wines (although we do encourage you to try them if you can find them!). We just had an email saying that they have finished creating their “gîte” that you can rent for a vacation. The apartment looks wonderful from the pictures and it is just next to the wine cellar, so if you go there you will certainly have an easier time finding their wines. More info both on their wines and on the gîte here: www.domaineterresgeorges.com.


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