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BKWine Brief nr 91, February 2011

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BKWine Brief

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This month’s Brief will be a bit shorter than usual (maybe for once living up to its name?) but we have some important things to share with you first. 

The reason this Brief is a bit short is that we have been very busy with our new wine travel site.

Yes, that’s right; we will be launching a new wine travel site with all our information on our wine tours and wine travel. It will make it much easier for you to find the info you want about our tours. Or so we hope.

The site is not yet officially launched, but it is accessible for you as a reader, as a pre-launch, already today: www.bkwinetours.com.

But we need your help! Before the official launch! We would very much appreciate if you could take a look at the site and let us know what you think! Does it work well? Can you find the information that you want? Is something broken? Etcetera…

When you build a new site you try and think of everything. But it is impossible not to miss things. Just like when you write an article – it is impossible not to make typos, and it is equally impossible to find one’s own typos.

So, we would be very grateful if you would take a look at our new wine tour and wine travel site and let us know what you think. Before we launch it officially. Just send us an email!

Please take a look here: www.bkwinetours.com

As you can understand, this has take quite a lot of our time recently.

And we have already pre-launched this autumns wine tours on that site, so you can take a look at those too:

— Bordeaux in early October, most likely during the harvest, and

— Burgundy in late October

But now, over to the Brief!

Britt & Per

PS: Recommend to your friends to read the Brief or forward it to them !

More on wine:

bullet Guest writers on BKWine.com
bullet Wine videos: BKWine TV
bullet Wine photography

 

News from BKWine
World’s Best Wine Tours” – Travel + Leisure Magazine, on TravelAndLeisure.com 

BKWine offers you two possibilities to go wine travelling this autumn:

 

bullet Wine Tour to Bordeaux, October 5-9, 2011 

For a wine lover a trip to Bordeaux is a must! In Bordeaux you find world famous châteaux and world famous wines but also a lot of new exciting initiatives (less famous but maybe more important for the future of Bordeaux!) and young enthusiastic wine makers.

On this trip we will visit both some big, famous Grand Cru Classé-châteaux and smaller ones that are less known, but very quality conscious. More info on our wine tour to Bordeaux here!

bullet Burgundy wine tour – exclusive, elusive, enchanting, October 19-23, 2011, 

Some of the most unique wines in the world – reds and white – come from Burgundy. A well made red Burgundy, made from the elusive pinot noir, is a wine of elegance, hardly found anywhere else. You find them in the Côte d’Or, the golden slope, the heart of Burgundy. More info on our Burgundy wine tour here!

For more information please contact us on email or on phone (we’re on French time). Visit our video channel http://www.youtube.com/bkwine to meet some of the producers we visit.

What do people think about a wine tour with BKWine?

That is of course a question that we think is very important. We want it to be a wonderful and memorable experience for everyone. Here are some of the comments we’ve had from customers this season:

 

bullet “Many thanks for a fantastic trip. You are so keen to make everything the best for your guests and you are so knowledgeable about wine. A pleasure to travel with you.”, W-A
bullet ”Thank you for a wonderful trip to Umbria and southern Tuscany. Wonderful in many ways – our initial ideas for the trip on food and wine in Umbria and Tuscany – and discovering sagrantino and sangiovese – were more than fulfilled”, I & P in Umbria and Tuscany
bullet “After last year’s fantastic trip to Champagne, Chablis and Burgundy our expectations were set very high. But this trip to Bordeaux was even better than we had hoped for. What lunches! What dinners we had! And what wonderful and personal wineries and chateaux we visited. We hope to come back on a new tour with BKWine!” A-M & S in Bordeaux
bullet ”You surpassed all the expectations that we had on the tour before we came. The organisation was without a glitch and the tastings was far beyond any similar things we’ve been to previously. It whet our appetite and we already look forward to our next tour!”, B & T in the Rhône Valley

Custom wine tours

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. We’ve done tours for wine clubs, for sommelier educations, for corporate events, for wine importers, for wine course study groups… just to mention a few.

You’ll get a tour designed exactly according to your requirements and tastes, made by one of the most experienced wine people in the business. We personally visit some 200 wineries and taste thousands of wines every year; we write on wine for various wine magazines (we had more than 30 articles published last year); in 2007 we published a ground breaking book on the wine of the Languedoc and in 2009 we published a book on vine growing and wine making – unique in its kind. And we have organised hundreds of wine tours over the years.

More info on the custom designed and bespoke BKWine wine tours and travel here!

Wine tours in Finnish

More info on the Finnish wine tours here: Viinimatkoja

Recommendations
A selection of what we have tried, tasted or visited recently. □  Producers 

Louis Sipp, Ribeauvillé, Alsace

Louis Sipp makes dry and elegant Alsace wines from grapes grown organically since a few years back. He got his organic certification in 2008. The balance in the most important thing in the wine, he says, and he gets it easier now, with organic grapes. “The grapes are riper and they have a higher degree of acidity at harvest time. The wines are fruitier and longer on the palate.”

Like all producers in Alsace Louis Sipp makes a huge number of wines. One of our favourites is Riesling Grand Cru Osterberg 2008. It’s dry with beautiful citrus aromas on the nose and very fresh in the mouth. The grapes are grown in a rather cool terroir which gives the wine a certain fatness. Riesling Grand Cru Kirchberg 2008 is from a warmer soil with a sunny exposition and the wine is rounder but still totally dry with a good minerality, even sharpness. This is two brilliant Rieslings. Also keep a look out for the Pinot Gris from Louis Sipp, especially the one from Grand Cu Kirchberg. The 2008 has 20 grams of residual sugar but nobody would guess!

Click here for address and more recommendations.

Read about more recommended producers on the site: Favourite Producers

□  Wine Bars and Restaurants

Paris:

La Régalade Saint Honoré, Paris 1

You are treated to the chef’s home made paté with cornichons as soon as you sit down at your table. It tastes very good but don’t eat too much! There’s a three course meal coming up. Bruno Doucet, owner of success story La Régalade in the 14th since 2004, opened La Régalade Saint Honoré in spring last year. And Saint Honoré is getting as popular as the one in the 14th. Book your table well in advance.

The set three course menu at 33 euro is the same for lunch and dinner and very good value for money. The food is creative although in the French bistro tradition. We started with a perfectly cooked tuna fish and continued with grilled filet de dorade with lentilles verts as main course. The soufflé au grand marnier for dessert is a dream. But fish is not the only thing on the menu; there is chicken, entrecote, scallops and several vegetarian starters. The menu changes according to the seasons. The wine list is interesting and the prices very decent. You get some good bottles for between 20 and 30 euro.

Booking necessary. Closed Saturday and Sunday.

Click here for address and more recommendations.

□  Wine of the Month

Criteria: an interesting wine (not too cheap) and one that you can enjoy with dinner or friends (not too expensive). And very good!

Åsa’s Wine of the Month
Rosso San Leopardo, Colli Maceratesi Rosso, DOC Riserva 2005. Producent: Cantine Belisario.

Rosso San Leopardo is a red wine from Le Marche in Italy. It is made from sangiovese (50%), cilegiolo, merlo and cabernet (Italians often don’t bother to make a distinction between c franc and c sauvignon it seems!). It has been aged in 5000 l oak vats for 12 months. The character is very inviting, perhaps a bit too much so initially, with warmth and vanilla flavours. But what was left in the bottle after dinner had developed very nicely, both I and my husband thought, after a night’s aeration. This is certainly a good buy at a modest price, only seven euros.

It also underlines that if you venture outside the most famous wine regions you can easily find good wines at modest prices. Price 7€, web:  Web: http://www.belisario.it/

Britt’s Wine of the Month
Mas Louise 2009, Cotes du Rhône

This is a new wine from an established producer. For around 9 euro you get a very good wine with spices and herbs and a southernly warm feeling. Quite round but with a good structure which makes it a perfect fit with food cooked in southern French style, say, a lamb or some kind of bird cooked with herbs like thyme and rosemary served with a ratatouille and soft roast garlic. The wine comes from the western side of the Rhone Valley, near the Lirac appellation. It is made from 65% grenache and 35% syrah. The name of the producer is Duseigneur. For this wine, Mas Louise, they use both their own grapes and grapes bought in from other growers. All grapes are organically farmed. “We help the growers we work with”, says Frédéric Duseigneur, the winemaker, “therefore we can be certain to get healthy grapes”. They also make a range of other wines made solely from their own vineyards, which are even biodynamic; slightly more expensive, e.g. Mayran Odyssée, Laudun and Antarès.   See our video interview with Frederic here.

Read more recommendations on restaurants and wine bars on my Restaurant and Wine Bar page.

News from the Wine World
Towards a European definition of organic wine: CEVinBio? 

Last year the EU project to agree on a definition of what “organic wine” would be was discarded. There was too much disagreement on what substances and what technologies should be allowed in the wine cellar. So the wine world is left with “wine made from organically grown grapes” because it is well defined and agreed what is allowed and what is not allowed in the vineyards. Some of the organic organisations in Europe have now launched an independent project to agree amongst themselves what ”organic wine” should mean, i.e. what should be considered organic in the cellar. The charter is called CEVinBio. It defines a (positive) list of accepted substances and additives in the vinification that are of agricultural origin and that are certified organic. It gives a (negative) list of a number of techniques that are not allowed, e.g. heating the must above 65 degrees C, very fine filtration (“ultra and nano” filtration), dealcoholisation, to mention some. Remains to be seen how this will be accepted in practice. (Source: La Vigne) Happy 20 Year Anniversary, Vacqueyras!

The AOC Vacqueyras is celebrating its 20th birthday. It was in 1990 that Vacqueyras was upgraded to an Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée. Before that it was “only” a Côtes du Rhône. A wine tasting in Paris recently of the 20 vintages made during these first twenty years as an appellation show that Vacqueyras indeed is a worthy AOC. The quality throughout was very good and the oldest wines well preserved. Most of the time it is wines that go very well with food. They are well structured with tannins and a fresh acidity.

Vacqueyras is in the region of southern Rhône, 30 kilometres northeast of Avignon and quite close to the beautiful mountains of the Dentelles de Montmirail. Some of its illustrious neighbours are Gigondas, Séguret, Sablet, Beaumes-de-Venise, Cairanne and Rasteau. The vineyards of AOC Vacqueyras cover an area of 1390 hectares and they are the most part situated around the small towns of Vacqueyras and Sarrians. The climate is Mediterranean with the northern Mistral wind blowing frequently and sometimes furiously. It is well liked though, because it keeps the vineyards dry and healthy. The garrigue is omnipresent in Vacqueyras. The perfume of wild herbes de provence is in the air and gives the wines a distinct spicy character. The soil is often extremely stony. A Vacqueyras must be made of at least 50 % Grenache and between 20 and 50 % of Syrah and/or Mourvèdre. Cinsault is also used, but sparingly.

We asked some of the producers who were present at the tasting in Paris about their impressions about the first 20 years as an appellation.

”It was a bit difficult in the beginning, the first 5-6 years”, says Frédéric Vache at Clos des Cazaux. ”We went from being one of the best Côtes-du-Rhône-wine to become an unknown AOC. But in the end of the 1990s there was the big boom for Châteauneuf-du-Pape which resulted in high prices which meant that we got our chance. Consumers that didn’t want to pay over prices for a Châteauneuf turned to Vacqueyras instead.”

And soon Vacqueyras was a well known name. Today Vacqueyras has its share of famous wine producers you can read about in all wine magazines, like Sang de Cailloux, Montirius och Monardière.

An important development during these 20 years is the increase in the number of private wine producers. In 1990 there were only 20, now there are 60-65. “There were a lot of young people who left the cooperatives in the 90s and started to make their own wine”, says Christian Vache at Domaine la Monardière.

Serge Ferigoule at Domaine Sang de Cailloux points out another important development:”We are better now at taking care of our land”, he says.” Organic and sustainable culture is growing.” His own Domaine Sang de Cailloux (which means the blood of the stones…) will be biodynamically certified next year. “My wines have gained in finesse since I started in biodynamics and the terroir and the vintage is more obvious.”

Tasting 20 years of Vacqueyras: 1989-2009

— Vacqueyras 1989 Signature
Domaine des Amouriers
Mature, long taste with aromas of the garrique and some dried fruit. Very well preserved och very tasty.

— Vacqueyras 1990 Traditionelle
Domaine la Garrigue
Intense nose of tobacco and cedar wood. Good concentration, length and balance.

— Vacqueyras 1991 Cuvée Prestige
Le Clos des Cazaux
Quite light in style but a nice wine with some elegance. A difficult year with rain in August and September.

— Vacqueyras 1993 Vincilia
Domaine de Montvac
Good, intense aromas of ripe fruit, autumn leaves and mushrooms. Still very fresh.

— Vacqueyras 1993 Classique
Domaine des Amouriers
An elegant and well balanced wine with soft tannins. Very good.

— Vacqueyras 1994 Traditionelle
Domaine la Garrigue
Light, elegant and tasty. Spicy aromas of the garrique, some tannins. Good.

— Vacqueyras 1994 Vieilles Vignes
Domaine la Monardière
Good and well balanced with aromas of dried plums. The end is a little bit short.

— Vacqueyras 1995 Lopy
Domaine le Sang des Cailloux
Very concentrated, powerful but still with a good balance. Tobacco and autumn leaves in the nose. Very good wine from a powerful and warm vintage.

— Vacqueyras 1996 Lopy
Domaine le Sang des Cailloux
Refined and elegant with mature aromas and a freshness that is typical of the vintage.

— Vacqueyras 1997 Traditionelle
Domaine la Garrigue
Powerful wine with a good acidity and some tannins. A well preserved wine, still young in style.

— Vacqueyras 1998 Lopy
Domaine le Sang des Cailloux
Young in style, a lot of fruit and vitality. Soft tannins. Very good.

— Vacqueyras 1998 Les Genestes
Domaine des Amouriers
Quite light in style and soft to begin with but a bit hard at the end. With food this shouldn’t be a problem.

— Vacqueyras 1999 Cuvée des Templiers
Le Clos des Cazaux
A pleasant wine, a bit on the light side but still with a good concentration and length.

— Vacqueyras 2000 Vieilles Vignes
Domaine la Monardière
Young aromas of black berries, very intense and powerful without being too much. The balance is there. A great wine.

— Vacqueyras 2001 Vieilles Vignes
Domaine la Monardière
Some oak, roasted coffee and tobacoo on the nose. Good fruit but a bit too oaky.

— Vacqueyras 2001 Vincilia
Domaine de Montvac
Complex aromas of ripe fruit. Quite young in style. Red berries on the palace and well balanced. Very good.

— Vacqueyras 2002 Grenat Noble
Le Clos des Cazaux
Light, elegant and rich in taste. Red berries on the palate, almost a bit like a Pinot Noir. A very pleasant wine.

— Vacqueyras 2003 Cuvée Prestige
Le Clos des Cazaux
Full bodied and very warm in style (alcohol) but with a dry finish. Lots of ripe and dark berries. A well made wine with some balance from a very hot year.

— Vacqueyras 2004 Cuvée des Templiers
Le Clos des Cazaux
Round, soft with a pleasant nose. Good fruit and some oak aromas. Tannins are present. The finish is a bit too thin.

— Vacqueyras 2005 Ceps d’or
Domaine la Fourmone
The nose is a little bit closed. But I like the style which is quite light with good tannins and freshness.

— Vacqueyras 2005 Le Clos
Domaine Montirius
An easy to drink wine with elegance and structure.

— Vacqueyras 2006 Sélection Maître de Chais
Domaine la Fourmone
Round, soft and fruity, quite unpretentious. .

— Vacqueyras 2007 La Ballade des Anglès
Domaine du Bois de Saint Jean
A young wine, complex, very powerful with aromas of medicinal herbs. Almost like a port wine in style, maybe a bit over extracted?

— Vacqueyras 2008 Cuvée Templier
Le Clos des Cazaux
A nice, young and full bodied wine already with a good balance between oak and fruit.

— Vacqueyras 2009 la Tour aux Cailles
Domaine de la Brunely
Intense, fruity aromas, a good concentration and balance. Already a very good wine.

New premium wines from Trivento in Mendoza

We recently had the occasion to taste a range of premium wines from Trivento in Mendoza, Argentina. The wines have just been launched in the “on special order only” range at the Swedish monopoly but our comments may be of interest also to other than our Swedish readers.

Trivento was created in 1996 and is today one of the five biggest exporters of wine from the Mendoza. They have 1289 hectares spread over several different vineyards. The vines are around 15 years old. The name Trivento means “three winds” and refers to the three winds that are frequent in Mendoza: the cold polar wind, the warm zonda, and the wind from the south-east called sudestada, that often brings with it storms and sometimes hail. “The winds are a challenge for us, but also a part of Mendoza”, says Maximiliano Ortiz, the winemaker.

Like many other in the Mendoza today Trivento are keen on finding new and better locations for their grapes. They are buying land in the Uko Valley and they will plant new vines to make new wines. 2005 was the first vintage of their premium cuvee Trivento Eolo, made from almost 100% malbec (there is also between 2 and 10% of syrah). The grapes grow in stony soil but in a well protected area close to the Mendoza river. The vines were planted in 1912! Therefore the yield is low and they give a concentrated wine. The 2007 is very good, with good yet elegant structure; a touch of oak; ripe, dark berries, and a fresh acidity. It a wine to drink with food. It has been aged in French oak barrels in their brand new winery cellar, inaugurated in 2008. They have 4200 oak barrels, 60% of which are French, the rest being American. “The American oak gives more sweetness and softness to the wine”, says Maximiliano. “The French oak gives more elegance, but the wine needs to stay longer in the barrel.” They are doing test with aging the same wine in both types of barrels to see what works best.

They have also been successful at Trivento with torrontes, chardonnay and syrah. A favourite of ours is Trivento Golden Reserve Syrah 2007 made from grapes coming from the Uko Valley. The wine has a good syrah style with quite a lot of black pepper in the finish and a very good an generous fruit, and just the right amount of tannins. Also delicious is the Trivento Amado Sur Torrontes made from 75% torrontes, 15% viognier, and 10% chardonnay. Maximiliano Ortiz, the winemaker, likes the combination of viognier and torrontes: “Viognier adds aromas of apricot and peaches to the flowery style of torrontes.”

The name of the vineyard and the soil is more important than the grape variety in Burgundy, according to BIVB

Representatives from BIVB – Bureau Interprofessionel des Vins de Bourgogne – were in Stockholm recently and BKWine took the opportunity to talk to Raphaël Dubois, wine grower with his sister in Premeaux-Prissey, and also responsible for communication at the BIVB. The theme for the Stockholm event was terroir och climats. The objective was to put forward the unique notion of terroir in Burgundy and especially in Côte d’Or. Thanks to the great variation in soil and micro climate in the Bourgogne we have hundreds of different climats och lieu-dits, that is separate vineyards or part of vineyards, often mentioned on the label. It can be a grand cru, a premier cru or just a parcel of land that deserves being vinified separately.

It was the monks during the middle ages that started it all. They noticed the differences and they divided the land in the Côte d’Or into all these different climates. It is easy to see Burgundy as a very traditional wine region but Raphaël Dubois says that the young generation of wine growers is very open minded and modern. ”The last ten years we have seen a lot of young people taking over from the parents but also growers coming from outside, from other parts of France and from other countries. They are all fascinated by the possibilities that our unique terroir gives them but they also want Burgundy to be seen as a dynamic wine region”, he says.

”It is important that we can explain to the consumers the big differences we have in terroir. But this word, terroir, is difficult for certain consumers to understand. Sometimes they ask, why can’t you just put the grape and the signature of the producer on the label?!” But of course Raphaël, or any other producer in the Côte d’Or, would never simplify things like that. It would make life easier, he says, instead of making, say 20-25 different wines from 15 hectares, but much more boring.

”Burgundy is not a beginner’s wine”, says Raphaël, ”our target group is consumers that already know something about wine. If people already know our wines and our grape varieties, then you can start talking about terroir and climats.”

This post is also available in: Swedish

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