BKWine Brief nr 148, December 2015

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Per Karlsson portrait Britt Karlsson portraitWith Christmas holiday preparations to take care of maybe you don’t have time to read BKWine Brief. Or, maybe this is the time when you do have time! Whatever the case, this month’s Brief has more reading that usual.

Christmas is also a time to say thank you.

We are very happy that we have so many readers of the BKWine Brief and on BKWine Magazine. That so many people seem to appreciate what we do. Thank you all!

BKWine Magazine (the site is, it seems, the most read independent editorial web site in Sweden and it is, as you know, also very widely read all over the world. (“It seems”, since few if any publish any reliable and trustworthy statistics.)

If you think what we write is interesting or entertaining then please “like” BKWine Magazine on Facebook and “share” what we write on Facebook and Twitter! That means a lot to us. And tell your friends about our free subscription to the Brief.

We also say a big thank you to all our wine tour clients. We have organised many hundreds of wine tours over the years and bought thousands of wine lovers, novices as well as professionals, to meet with passionate wine makers in wine regions all over the world. And shared our own passion for good wine, food and travel. This has made BKWine into one of the leading wine tour companies in the world. And as far as we know the only one who has won several prestigious prizes and awards for wine books. We organise more than 30 wine tours each year.

If we are also the best is for you to decide. We hope to meet you on one of our wine tours some time soon. If you are interested in out wine tours don’t forget to like BKWine Tours on Facebook.

Also a big thank you to all our contributors on BKWine Magazine who contribute a tremendous amount to spreading knowledge and enthusiasm about wine.

If you need a last second Christmas gift tip (if you read this before Christmas!) we can recommend one of our wine tours. We can get a gift card to you in time for Christmas (provided you have a printer). Or give a tour as a gift to yourself. Spring season features Bordeaux and the autumn will have Champagne, Douro and Bordeaux. In addition to custom designed tours. More info below.

This time of the year people talk about the new trends of the coming wine year. Trends are difficult to guess as they are unpredictable. We do believe however that organic wines will continue to gain ground. Wine producers talk a lot about the environment and organic viticulture. We see more and more certified producers in Europe and also in South America and South Africa. Some say they work organically without wanting to get certified. It costs money, they say, and it is even more paperwork to handle. It really doesn’t cost that much to be certified but we can understand that some want to avoid the hassle with more paperwork. (If you want to know more you can read our book on organic wines.)

But we have a New Year’s wish. We would so much like not to hear and read statements like this one, coming from a well-known and very knowledgeable wine writer (but he is not alone in making such statements!): “The winery X is planning to be completely organic in their vineyards in 2016. However, they don’t wish to be certified, since they don’t want to close the door entirely to synthetic products, in case of bad weather conditions.”

If you want this door to be open, then you are not organic. An organic grower does not use synthetic chemicals. Never. He makes do with other products that are allowed for organic farming. If you want this door to be open then your vineyards are “sustainable”. That is also a good thing. But do not call it organic. (If you want to know more about what is permitted and forbidden in organic wine growing read our just-published article.)

Biodynamic viticulture is also increasing. Our guess is that biodynamic farming will be interpreted more and more freely in the future (there is no official definition of biodynamics in the same way as there is for organic farming, even if there are private organisations that do certifications). We think that winegrowers will embrace the parts of the biodynamic philosophy that suits them. Which is not a bad thing.

Anyone can read the founder Rudolf Steiner’s books and interpret them in their own way. Demeter is an international association that certifies biodynamic farmers and they have made their interpretation. Which they of course consider to be the only true one. Which of course it not necessarily is. (See also in The Brief about the upcoming Demeter wine fair.)

The basis for all wine growers who thinks about getting into biodynamics, however, must be organic viticulture. No synthetic chemical products. Ever.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Britt & Per

PS: Recommend to your friends to read the Brief !

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What’s on at BKWine Tours

For more information please contact us on email or on phone (we’re on French time), or go to our wine travel site on!

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

Do you want the latest news and updates on our wine travel activity? Subscribe here! (Second alternative

From the World of Wine

Some recommendations for the Christmas holidays (or after)

baccarat glassIf your cellar isn’t already filled up, here are some suggestions from a few of our favourite producers.


  • Château Lestrille Capmartin 2013, Bordeaux blanc, approx 8 euro
  • Vouvray Sec, Domaine Vincent Carême, Loire Valley, approx 17 euro
  • QM Vinhas Velhas Alvarinho, Vinho Verde Quintas de Melgaço, Portugal, 19 euro


  • Château Carsin, Cuvée Noire 2010, Cadillac, Côtes de Bordeaux, approx 15 euro
  • Montirius, Le Cadet, Vin de Pays de Vaucluse, approx 8 euro
  • Montefalco Sagrantino Cantina Le Cimate, Umbria, approx 25 euro
  • Quevedo Late Bottled Vintage Port, 2007, approx. 15 euro
  • Laurent Combier Crozes Hermitage 2014, approx 15 euro


  • Champagne Vincent Joudart, Special Club, approx 35 euro
  • Champagne Françoise Bedel Entre Ciel et Terre, approx 38 euro
  • Champagne Vve Fourny & Fils Blanc de Blancs Brut Premier Cru, approx 25 euro
  • Clotilde Davenne Brut Extra Crémant de Bourgogne, approx 15 euro
  • Champagne François Secondé Millésime 2008, approx 32 euro

Wine tours with BKWine autumn 2016

vineyard bordeauxWe will soon have all details on But we already have the dates. More information will soon be available on the travel site.

  • Champagne, 14-18 September
  • Bordeaux, 28 Sept – 2 Oct
  • Douro, 12-16 October

And keep an eye on our website, there may be more tours coming!

And if you want to go travelling in the vineyards in springtime it is time to book your Bordeaux wine tour now!

The most popular Champagnes in France

champagne mummMost French buy their wines in supermarkets, GMS as the category is called here. So which brands are the most popular at the moment? We have the list where we find, not surprisingly, big houses and at the top a cooperative.

1: Nicolas Feuillatte (Centre Vinicole – Champagne Nicolas Feuillatte)
2: Alfred Rothschild (Lanson)
3: Canard-Duchêne (Thiénot Bordeaux Champagne)
4: Mumm (Pernod)
5: Charles de Cazanove (G.H. Martel)
6: Martel (G.H. Martel)
7: Heidsick Monopole (Vranken-Pommery Monopole)
8: de Castellane (Laurent-Perrier)
9: Mercier (Moët Henessy Diageo)
10: Chanoine (Lanson)

Read more:

If you want to explore some of the best champagnes (if not the most selling) then you should come on the wine tour to Champagne with BKWine in September! (More details soon.)

French vine acreage increases with 8,000 hectares in 2016

young vinesThe figure has to be approved by the Minister of Agriculture at the end of December but everything indicates that France’s vineyards will increase with 8,057 hectares next year. This represents 1 % of the country’s total vineyard area which is the maximum growth per year under the new rules in the EU that came into force recently. The European Commission wanted to bring the figure to 2 %, but France and the other major wine countries lobbied for 1 % and they had their way.

The wine producers that have asked permission to plant new vineyards must commit themselves to produce, until 2030, the same type of wine that the permission was granted for. For instance, if you apply for permission to plant grapes in order to make a wine without geographical origin (ie a “vin de france”) in the Bordeaux appellation region, you cannot change your mind and start making appellation wine instead, at least not in the next 15 years. Read more

Saint Emilion classification of 2012 (2006?): Are the problems over?

chateau valandraud saint emilionThe saga of the 2012 (2006?) classification in Saint Emilion continues. Maybe. Three chateaux, Croque-Michotte, La Tour du Pin Figeac and Corbin Michotte, disputed the classification because they felt they had been treated unfairly and believe that the evaluation of their chateaux left a lot to be desired. Corbin Michotte lost in 2012 its classification as a Grand Cru Classé and the other two chateaux had their applications to become a Grand Cru Classé rejected. INAO does not believe that any chateaux were unfairly treated. At the beginning of December a court in Bordeaux heard both sides and a judgment  was pronounced December 17. The judgment establishes the classification as presented in 2012. Croque-Michotte and Corbin Michotte says, according to the newspaper SudOuest that they will appeal. Read more on

There has, to say the least, been much turbulence around the 2012 classification. It started when the revision made in 2006 was cancelled. After that Saint Emilion had no classification until 2012 when a new revision was presented. We don’t know if the evaluation of the chateaux has been correct or not. But it is clear that if you decide to have a revision of your classification every ten years, it is obvious that there will be changes and that some chateaux will be dissatisfied. Maybe the founders of the classification in the 1950s didn’t realize that with so much money at stake, the chateaux left out of the classification will not just retreat and lick their wounds. They will protest. It just shows that the whole idea of a classification is unsustainable and brings no benefit to the consumer.

Read more on BKWine Magazine on

Be they classified or not, you will taste some of the best wines in Bordeaux on a wine tour to Bordeaux with BKWine. Book for April or September!

Lots of wine fairs in 2016

vinisud wine fairThe beginning of the year is when many of the most important wine fairs take place. It is a season when the wine producers can spare a bit of time. Here are some of the most important (click on the links for more info):

The mother vine, the beginning of everything

young vine leafWhere do all the vines come from? In most cases they are purchased from nurseries. Some wine growers take cuttings from their own vineyard, but it is unusual. In France, nurseries have a total of 3564 hectares of mother plants or mother vines (vignes-mères), divided into 2002 hectares with rootstocks (porte-greffes) and 1562 hectares with grafts (greffons).

Merlot is the most planted graft, followed by Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Grenache, Ugni blanc, Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc and Cabernet Franc. Virtually all the permitted grapes are grown as grafts. If you buy a Cabernet Sauvignon you have 15 different clones to choose from and for Pinot Noir around 30 different clones are offered. The wine growers can choose between 28 different rootstocks. The three most popular are SO4, 110 Richter and 3309 Couderc. The most common, SO4 (its full name is Sélection Oppenheim 4), is planted on 200 000 hectares in France. It is a crossing between Vitis berlandieri och Vitis riparia. Read more

Winemaker for a day: blending wine

blending wineHow hard can it be? Blending a wine? I mean, you have a few different pure variety base wines which, together, will converge in a balanced and tasty cuvée that will hit home with any wine critic any-time! Now, if you do not get my irony in the above sentence then I can clarify that it is much more difficult than you might think to make a good cuvée. The respect that I have for all winemakers out there and the winemaking craftsmanship in itself increased manifold as our efforts to compose a really good wine progressively defaulted.

Read more on how BKWine Magazine’s representative succeeded, or not, in blending a Côtes du Rhône wine: The art of blending a Côtes du Rhône wine.

If you want to try yourself to blend wine you can take a look at our wine tour programs.  Some tours include a blending workshop, for examples sometimes in Bordeaux and Chile-Argentina.

One of France’s most important export markets for wine

shipping wine“When you ask wine producers what their main export markets are you often hear things like Great Britain, the USA, Germany, today sometimes even China etc. And if you then ask ‘You mean you don’t export much to Belgium?’ you get the reaction ‘Well, yes, of course, that’s one of our most important markets. But it’s not really export’…”

Per takes a closer look at this important export market in the article on BKWine Magazine: Wine in Belgium, import-export and consumption statistics.

Oregon and Burgundy with Jacques Lardière, Louis Jadot’s winemaker

jacques lardiereJacques Lardière is the retired winemaker at Louis Jadot who could not keep away from making wine. He was recently in Stockholm to present Jadot’s new wine from Oregon in the United States and met with BKWine Magazine’s Peter Cronström. The tasting also came to include a firework of Jadot wines from Burgundy.

Read more on this exciting wine tasting in BKWine Magazine: Louis Jadot’s new American adventure.

Château Angélus shoots to fame in Saint Emilion | Britt on Forbes

chateau angelus“Château Angélus is not exactly a new wine château. The current owner is the 8th generation so the château has been around for some time. But it is a new chateau in the “A” category of the Saint Emilion classification. Up until 2012 this highest level, Saint Emilion Premier Grand Cru Classé A, had been reserved for two châteaux: Château Cheval-Blanc and Château Ausone.

But times change and in 2012 Château Angélus and Château Pavie joined these two prestigious chateaux. Not, I think, without some grunts of discontent from the original two.”

Read more on this article originally published on Forbes on BKWine Magazine: Château Angélus shoots to fame in Saint Emilion.

And if you then want to discover even more about Bordeaux you can come on a wine tour to Bordeaux with BKWine.

A new way to keep leftover wine: half-size decanter

demivinI have a magnum decanter and quite a few regular size decanters but I don’t have a half-size decanter. I am not sure I need one. Perhaps I do, perhaps I don’t. Two Dutch designers have designed a new decanter that is big (small) enough to contain just a half size bottle. The idea is not that you need something to decant in when you open a half-bottle. Instead the idea is that you should use this decanter when you want to open a regular bottle but you only want to drink half of it and store the remaining half for later.

You can support the project on the crowdfunding site Kickstarter. Read more in Per’s article on BKWine Magazine: Do we need a half-size decanter? Demivin Kickstarter project.

A selection of delicious Spanish wines

rioja vineyards“No other country in the world has a greater area under vines than Spain. It is truly a country where the wine is produced in every corner. Thus, there are many different types of wine and many different styles. Fortunately, there is an excellent chance to learn more about Spanish wine, the annual Spanish wine day. This is a day when the wine importers showcase their Spanish wines. In many cases the winemakers also participate to get a chance to talk to the wine consuming public about their wines.”

Read more about Tobias Karlsson’s favourites at the Spanish Wine Day on BKWine Magazine: A tour of Spain in 18 selected wines.

An excellent way to discover more outstanding Spanish wines is to come on a wine tour to Spain with BKWine, for example a wine tour to Rioja or a wine tour to Catalonia (including Priorat and cava).

The biggest wine producers in Argentina are… well, do you have a guess?

argentina vineyardsWine is an extremely fragmented industry. I know of few, if any, markets that are equally fragmented. Beer, for instance is far more dominated by a few big companies. But even if that is the case, the wine market is much more concentrated, with bigger players, than what the average consumer thinks. Four companies dominate the Argentine wine market with a total market share of 52%.

Read more on Argentina’s biggest wine producers in Per’s article on BKWine Magazine: The biggest wine producers in Argentina.

You may not get to meet the biggest but certainly some of the best wine producers when you come on a wine tour to Argentina and Chile with BKWine. Book now.

Wine from co-operatives can be exciting, but perhaps not always | Per on Forbes

muscadet wineWine co-operatives may not be all that visible on the market but they play a very important role in the wine business. However, cooperatives did, to some extent, fall into a hole the second half of the 20th century, but today many are getting out of it and deserve new recognition. A recent meeting with several CEOs of French cooperatives showed it well when they presented their wines for me to taste.

Read more on these forward-looking wine co-operatives with some exciting wines in Per’s article on BKWine Magazine, originally published on Forbes: Cooperatives gaining ground in quality wines | Per on Forbes.

An introduction to champagne

champagne pupitreChampagne is an easy two hour’s car drive east of Paris. Or you can take the fast TGV train that in just 40 minutes takes you straight into the centre of Reims, the capital of Champagne. To give you some conversation ammunition for the festive season, here are some basic facts and figures about this famous sparkling wine region: grape varieties, wine styles, champagne regions etc, including a few not so well-known facts. For example that Champagne actually has 7 grape varieties, not three as is often said.

Read more on champagne the drink and Champagne the region in Per’s article on BKWine Magazine: Basic facts and figures on Champagne.

An if you then want to learn more, and experience some delicious wine and food, then you can come on a wine tour to Champagne with BKWine in September.

”Organic wines have no ’additives’ and are not sprayed in the vineyard”? Wrong!

tartaric acid“When making organic wine you use no additives and you don’t spray toxins in the vineyard”. This is what one can both hear and read sometimes. But it is wrong. Organic wine producers both spray their vines and use processing aids (“additives”). And a good thing it is! On the whole, we should be very happy that organic winemakers do so. Not to spray at all in the vineyard and not using any processing aids or additives in wine production would in most cases result in wines that nobody wants to drink and which in many cases would be defective.

Read more on what organic winemakers do and what is permitted in Per’s article on BKWine Magazine: Additives and techniques used for organic wines; good or bad?

Many of the producers that we visit on our wine tours are organic. Come on a wine tour  with BKWine and you can pepper the wine producers with questions yourself.

Serve your wine at the optimal temperature. How to

champagne in iceSometimes you need to cool or warm your wine to obtain the right serving temperature. Which way is the best and how do you know how long it will take? Here are some practical examples that show you how to make sure you are serving the wine at the optimal temperature.

Read more on cooling and warming wine and on what is the best temperature in Britt’s article on BKWine Magazine: Serve your wine at the right temperature.

Why do we no longer drink sweet and fortified wines?

chateau yquemWhy do we no longer drink sweet wines? The market situation for sweet wines and fortified wines in Sweden. It is catastrophic. Over 25 years the consumption of sweet wines has fallen by around 85%. The consumption of fortified wines is also falling dramatically although not quite as much. There is only one category of fortified wines that have made progress over the last 25 years!

Read more on the miserable situation for sweet and fortified wines in Per’s article on BKWine Magazine: Emergency Alarm: We no longer drink sweet and fortified wines.

What will YOU do to avoid the catastrophe?

Selected wines from Veneto, Piedmont and Tuscany

valpolicella vines“Italy is on top when it comes to Swedes’ favourite wine countries. More than 26% of all wine sold in Sweden in the last quarter of 2015 came from Italy and almost 40% of all red wines sold had Italian origin. Recently there was a big Italian wine fair where many wines were presented. I had the opportunity to taste some of what was on offer and here are some of the favourites that I found.”

Read more on Tobias Karlsson’s favourites in his article on BKWine Magazine: Pearls from Piedmont, Veneto and Tuscany. The Italian Wine Day.

Explore more fantastic Italian wines on a wine tour to one of the Italian wine regions with BKWine.

Don’t be an egoist! Share with your friends and other wine enthusiasts! Forward the Brief to your friends! Suggest that they sign up for a free subscription !

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This post is also available in: Swedish

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