Some who have just recently entered the world of wine, new wine lovers, recent wine enthusiasts, sometimes says that it is so “difficult” to taste wine. On the contrary! It is the easiest thing in the world to taste wine. The most important thing when you taste wine is if you like it or not, and that, anyone can decide. And everyone is right. And then just put a few words on why.
It’s another thing to “guess right”, but that’s not the main point, that’s not what wine is all about! It is also something that even the most experienced wine taster often fails in. Believe me! (Do not believe those who say that they systematically, or even mostly, get it right. Not until you have exposed that person to a serious blind tasting with unknown wines…)
Almost as easy as this is the sometimes feared, sometimes mystified theme of combining food and wine. Wine and food pairing. It is easy!
How do you learn to combine food and wine in the best way? Need to read long articles about it? Or maybe even thick books? Well, it might be good inspiration, but you do not actually need it to succeed.
In fact, with just a slight exaggeration, most food goes very well with most wines. You will surely have some idea how the food will taste when you plan to cook it, or when you order it in a restaurant, right? You will also have some idea of how the wine will taste that you are thinking of choosing, correct? It is not more difficult than that! Do you have the feeling that it will match well? Then it will be a good pairing. Food and wine in combination is a question of feeling, not of science.
That a Chave Hermitage 2008 would be better than the Hermitage Domaine du Colombier 2011 to a dove in its own jus with cauliflower purée and spinach can be interesting to discuss but in reality it is most likely that both will work perfectly. As will a Chateau Vieux Maillet Pomerol 2004. Or why not, a Baigorri Rioja Garage 2010?
And then it is also very much a question of the circumstances. There are times when a grilled rib eye is perfect with a Barolo, other times this excellent piece of meat really needs a Beaujolais.
Of course it is always interesting to experiment, to try and test, and to discuss. But it is a pity to be too theoretical.
It is above all a mistake to imagine that there are some clear, unambiguous and universally valid rules.
That would only make you nervous about that there might be a “right” and a “wrong”, and then it will easily turn out to be just “wrong.” Wine is a sensual, emotional product so the anguish and anxiety will turn things bad.
Many winemakers who are asked “what is the perfect food pairing to this wine?” about some particular cuvée from a particular vintage often become a little bit perplexed. They hesitate and think and then they might answer “well, it goes well with some meat. Or maybe also some charcuterie and cheese. But of course, a fish in a sauce might work well too. Just have it with something you think will be great!”
That is probably the best advice: just give it a little thought and make a combination that feels right, and that makes you salivate. Then it will never be wrong.
But that does not change the fact that half the fun around the table can be to discuss good food and good wine and how they go best together!
What do you think? Do you agree or are we totally in the moon? Let us know!
Enough of this philosophy!
Food and wine in combination is one of the main themes on all of our wine tours. All tours aims to give you a really great wine experience and unforgettable gastronomic memories. It is important for us. And for you, I hope. Join us on one of our tours and we can discuss which combinations were the best!
Take a look at the travel programs on the schedule below!
Britt & Per
PS: Recommend to your friends to read the Brief !
What’s on at BKWine Tours
- Champagne, September 14-18
- Bordeaux, September 28 – October 2
- Douro Valley, October 12-16
- Chile and Argentina in South America, January 28 – February 12, 2017
- South Africa, February 24 – March 7, 2017 (full program coming soon)
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!
From the World of Wine
In short, news and stuff from the world of wine.
Trending: English wine, mainly sparkling
There is a lot of talk about English wine at the moment. Not least of the sparkling wine that makes headlines every other day. Either it is champagne houses that invest in English vineyards or it is English bubble that wins over champagne in blind tastings.
Production figures for 2015 have recently been published and they show that England last year produced more than 5 million bottles of wine from 1956 hectares. Two thirds of the wines are sparkling and one third is still wines, mostly white. Only 10 % are red or rosé. Chardonnay and Pinot Noir are the most widely planted grape varieties. The average size of the wineries is 4.3 hectares. The largest vineyard, Nyetimber, has 177 hectares. The most northerly vineyard in England is located in York.
You can find more information about English wines here englishwineproducers.com
If you want to taste some of the best sparkling wines around, but, alas not English, come on the wine tour to Champagne.
Rhône Wine festival in Denmark
Dansk Vincenter (Danish Wine Center) in Advedøre outside Copenhagen is once again this year organising a Rhône Wine festival in September, more specifically, on Saturday 17 September. It is a festival for “those who love Rhone wines”. And who does not? There are few wine regions that offer such a complete wine experience as the Rhone Valley.
A number of Danish wine importers exhibit during the day and there will be a large number of wines for tasting, from both northern Rhone (Hermitage, Crozes-Hermitage, Côte Rôtie, etc.) and from the southern Rhone (Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Gigondas, Vacqueyras Côte du Rhône, etc.)
There will be a lot of people so make sure you buy your ticket in advance. All the info is here rhonevinfestival.dk.
The countries that drink (and produce) most sparkling wine in the world
Germans love bubbles. They drink more sparkling wine than any other nationality in the world, 2.9 million hectolitres, which is 4.7 bottles per person. In second place is Russia with 2.4 Mhl and in third place the US with 1.9 million hectolitres. France comes only in fourth place with 1.8 million hectolitres but fare better if you calculate the consumption per capita. Then the French end up in second place after the Germans with 3.7 bottles per year and per person.
Saving face a bit more, France produces 20% of the world’s bubbles. Italy is the second biggest producer with 18%, Germany is third with 15%, followed by Spain and Russia each with 10% of global production.
Most of the sekt (the German word for sparkling wine) produced in Germany is made from simple imported bulk wine that is turned into sparkling wine in Germany, often with fairly low alcohol content. Sekt of higher quality (Deutscher Sekt), from German grapes, represents a very small part of the huge sekt production. But it is growing. Read more: mon-viti.com
Immerse yourself in sparkling wine and contribute to world consumption on the wine tour to Champagne.
Languedoc quality pioneer Aimé Guibert at Mas de Daumas Gassac passes away
Aimé Guibert, quality pioneer in Languedoc, has died at 91 years of age. He founded his property Mas de Daumas Gassac outside Aniane in Languedoc in the 1970s. 1978 was the first vintage. Guibert focused on quality, he wanted to make a wine of top quality. And not just with any grapes, he wanted to make a wine with Bordeaux grapes. So he planted Cabernet Sauvignon, above all, but also Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. From the very first vintage Mas de Daumas Gassac received a lot of attention from wine journalists. At the time, in the late 1970s, Languedoc was an unknown wine territory for most people. So this was an exciting and quite daring project. A pioneer indeed.
1986 saw the first vintage of the white Mas de Daumas Gassac with an interesting blend of grapes, Petit Manseng, Viognier, Chenin blanc, Chardonnay and a number of unusual varieties. Aimé Guiberts sons run the property today. Read more: daumas-gassac.com.
Happy 80th anniversary to 75 French appellations
In 1936 the first appellations (AOC, appellation d’origine contrôlée) were awarded to 75 wine regions in France. The very first appellations were confirmed on 15 May 1936. It was Arbois, Cassis, Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Tavel and Monbazillac. Then during the year a further 70 regions were confirmed. It is an interesting list that shows which districts were well known and popular at the time. It also tells us something about the wines people liked. They liked sweet wines in those days. In the Languedoc it was only three districts that received an AOC and all three produce sweet vin doux naturel (VDN): Banyuls, Frontignan and Muscat de Frontignan.
Of the appellations on the list from 1936 25 are in Bordeaux and 22 in Burgundy. The others are scattered around in France. Today there are about 350 appellations in France. Since 2009, they have gradually changed their name to the AOP, appellation d’origine protégée. Here is the list of the 76 first appellations: vitisphere.com. Please note that La Grande Rue should not be on the list. Today it is a grand cru but it was not in 1936.
Le Blanc 2013, L’Existence des Choix, Domaine Turner Pageot, Languedoc | Britt’s Wine of the Month
Domaine Turner Pageot is a small winery in the village of Gabian. It is run by the very enthusiastic Emmanuel Pageot and his wife Karen Turner, who is also winemaker at the well-known Prieuré Saint-Jean-de-Bébian. At their family estate, Domaine Turner Pageot, they make wines that are far from the streamlined and boring. Their wines are all about personality and character. Original and unusual.
This white is made from Marsanne which gives the it a rich and powerful style. The must has been in contact with the skins for some time which gives the wine even more fatness and also a strong colour. This is a delicious with lots of character for the price of 14.50 euros in a wine shop in Paris.
We never get enough of Grenache, prepare for Grenache day on September 19
Frequent readers of the Brief know that we are very fond of Grenache. It is one of the world’s most widely planted grapes but it is very much a grape that works behind the scenes. The name is rarely seen on the labels and is used mainly in blends with other grapes. It often works in the shadow of its fellow southern grape Syrah. But more and more people are discovering the superb qualities of Grenache. The warm, spicy character that the grape gives to the wine without making it too heavy. Grenache wines are often elegant.
The grape has its very own Grenache day, on September 16. It also has its own website, grenache-association.com where you can find information about the grape and read about skilled Grenache producers. Some of our favourite Grenache wines come from the southern Rhone valley and from Priorat in northern Spain. A few suggestions:
- Vacqueyras Garrigues, Domaine Montirius, ~15 euro
- Gigondas Domaine du Pesquier, ~12 euro
- Rasteau Domaine de Verquière, ~12 euro
- Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Domaine Giraud Tradition, ~25 euro
- Finca el Puig, Priorat, ~18 euro
- Mas Igneus, FA206, Priorat, ~ 15 euro
Features that we have published during the past month, with lots of reading for you.
Oregon: a wide range of pinot noir wines
The third instalment of our trilogy on wines from Oregon starts like this: “After these preludes it was time for the exhibition hall and it felt appropriate to begin by tasting other wines from producers previously mentioned”, and then launches into profiles and tastings of several wineries: Ponzi Vineyards, King Estate, Rex Hill, Bergström Winery and more.
Read the whole article by Carl-Erik Kanne on BKWine Magazine: Oregon: a wide range of pinot noir wines.
The South African wine show, with a selection of interesting wines
When South African wines came to Stockholm BKWine Magazine’s reporter was there: “WOSA, Wines of South Africa, organized again a wine show with producers from South Africa in Stockholm. Twenty-five importers / agents were present with more than double the number of producers. I had to limit myself to a few producers that particularly interested me, which does not mean that the others were less interesting.”
Read the rest of the article by Lennart Stengård on BKWine Magazine: The South African wine show, with a selection of interesting wines.
Here is some information about current and future wine tours with BKWine.
The bubbly wine tour to Champagne
Bubbly wines have a boom like never before. Fizzy wine from all over the world is selling like crazy, Prosecco, Franciacorta, cava, crémant etc. But at the top of the prestige pyramid you have of course Champagne. In France they champagne producers are hard at work as never before continuously improving the quality of their limited production. But times are changing. The focus is starting to move over from the big and famous Champagne “houses”, the names that we all know well, to the “growers’ champagnes”. This is wines – champagnes – made by smaller independent producers, just as delicious at the big names (or more) and often more individualistic and original.
You will discover both types on our wine tour to Champagne but the focus is on the growers that you should discover. Book now.
What can you find behind the grand chateaux façades in Bordeaux?
Bordeaux is the world’s biggest quality wine region. 120,000 hectares of vineyards, 5 million hectolitres of wine, 7000 wine producers. Yet most people think almost only on the fewer than 100 world-famous chateaux when they hear Bordeaux mentioned. If you are really interested in wine then perhaps it is not a price list (yes, in fact!) from 1855 which is your best guide. Come with us behind the scenes at the chateaux, for example to the one which was so far away in 1855 that the owner thought it was too far to go all the way into the city just to be on some list called a “classification”. Or the family who will invite us to an oysters and seafood buffet with plenty of white, red and rosé on the table.
With a knowledgeable cicerone there are so many more exciting things to discover on a wine tour to Bordeaux than just the big international brands. Book now.
Table wines and fortified wines along the river: the Douro Valley wine tour
To call it “table wine” sounds a bit wrong, they are some of Portugal’s best wines, made in the Douro Valley. But what else can you say? “Light Wines”? Not better. They grow these outstanding wines in a landscape that meanders all along the winding river. The slopes are so steep that it is hard to imagine that anyone at all had the idea to grow wine here.
Surrounded by the same spectacular scenery, the same steep slopes, they make the famous port wine. Who has not opened a vintage port at Christmas or had a glass with a stilton blue cheese? But what perhaps not many know is the absolutely wonderful old tawnies that can be found here. Probably even better than vintage port I think. Judge for yourself on the wine tour to the Douro Valley in Portugal. Book now.
The 2017 wine tour programs to Chile-Argentina and to South Africa are now ready
The wine tour to Chile and Argentina earlier this year clearly showed that this today are two countries making great wines. Those who say that it is just low-end mass-produced wines are living in the past. For sure. Here you can find very talented producers making elegant and characterful wines from both classic and unusual varieties. Brilliant Cabernet and Syrah for example, but also surprises like Sémillon and Cinsault. All with a breathtakingly beautiful landscape in the background. And the wine tour to Chile and Argentina also includes a trip across the Andes by bus. A once in a lifetime experience. Book now.
The program for South Africa is now finally settled. It took a bit longer than planned. New on the program is that we go down to the south coast to Hermanus and Walker Bay, which in recent years have become famous for wines that are elegant and fresh in a “European” style. Included on the wine tour to South Africa you also have of course things that you just cannot miss, Franschhoek, Stellenbosch, a braai and much more. Book now.
If you want to see more pictures and videos from these two trips we’ve made two Facebook pages with lots of images and clips from the trips:
- Wine tour to Chile and Argentina, pictures and videos (more coming soon)
- Wine tour to South Africa, pictures and videos (more coming soon)
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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