Big moves to Bordeaux, a spitting wine author and news from the blind tasting championship – it’s been a big wine week.
It’s been another busy week in wine.
First, the organizers of the biennial Bordeaux Fête le Vin announced that the event would now take place every year. Meanwhile, Chinese authorities appear to have busted the country’s largest wine smuggling ring which, according to Chinese wine website Vino-Joy, amounts to 368 million Chinese yuan ($52 million) worth of wine. smuggling and would implicate an anonymous Bordeaux merchant.
Port house Kopke declared the 2020 vintage (a little late to the party as Taylor’s, Quinta do Noval and Sogevinus, Kopke’s umbrella group, had already declared vintages six months ago) and took the opportunity to launch its new 50-Year-Old Tawny and 50-Year-Old White Ports.
News of the creation of the Bordeaux Pirates syndicate has also begun to circulate, highlighting the initiative to promote “alternative and innovative winegrowers” in the region, led by Jean-Baptiste Duquesne of Château Cazebonne in the Graves.
Here, however, is the other news you may have missed this week.
Other Bordeaux châteaux change hands
While several articles this week detailed the sale of Château Peyrabon in the Haut-Médoc (bought via a holding by the famous Castéja family trading in Château Batailley, a little further east in Pauillac), there was also movement on the right bank of Bordeaux.
Pomerol’s Château Vieux Maillet and Château de Lussac (Lussac-Saint-Emilion) also reportedly changed hands this week, with the Stévenin family (already owners of 25 hectares of Saint-Emilion Grand Cru Château de Saint Pey) buying them from the former owners. Griet Van Malderen and Hervé Laviale. According to French wine news site Vitisphere.com, the couple acquired the properties in the 2000s.
“After having enlarged, modernized and retouched his Saint-Emilion property, Frédéric Stévenin wishes to develop the Châteaux of Vieux Maillet and Lussac in the same way”, indicates a press release from the Stévenin family.
The priorities of the Italian wine industry for the new government
Italy’s national wine trade organization, the Italian Wine Union (UIV), has set out its priorities for the new centre-right coalition government, which is likely to be led by Giorgia Meloni, leader of the right-wing Fratelli group d ‘Italia (Brothers of Italy ) partying.
According to Italian wine news site WineNews.It, the UIV’s proposed revisions cover four broad areas.
First step: the reorganization of the appellation system across the country. This is a huge topic with many ramifications, including: managing overproduction in certain areas; “reinforcement” of PGIs/DOCs (probably a shortcut requiring more financial support); and, perhaps most interestingly (if you’re inclined), the likely consolidation/amalgamation of broader appellations and regional titles with relatively low production.
Second, the UIV is asking for more support (again, read this broadly as a request for additional financial assistance) in overseas markets. The third item on the agenda is ‘health and wine’, with particular emphasis on defending wine against the EU‘s ‘cancer plan’ against cancer, some parts of which focus on wine consumption and its negative effects on health.
Finally, the adoption and support of the Italian wine industry’s sustainability certification program, introduced in March of this year.
A little, therefore, for the first woman Prime Minister of Italy.
French journalists hungover
Let’s start at the beginning: French television presenter Hugo Clément led a program aired on Monday September 19 (entitled “Alerte rouge sur le vin”) which covered a series of questions around the production of wine and their link with the global warming. The alcohol content in wines has come under scrutiny and even a questioning look at pots used in vineyards to protect vines from frost (but which burn considerable amounts of fossil fuels).
Cue the outrage of French satirist Gaspard Proust in an op-ed in the weekly Journal du Dimanche last Sunday (September 25). After pointing out in a mocking tone that Clément announces “We are here in Côte Rôtie” – while the cameras are filming the grape pickers in Condrieu – Proust does not let go.
“He claims that consumers want low-alcohol wine. Oh really? The sale of spirits has never been so good”, he continues, accusing his counterpart of being a “Tintin with soy” and pointing, about the frosted jars, “that the winemaker could lose a year of work, he [Clément] who cares”.
“No, Hugo will want to oil our eyes by lamenting the disappearance of a family of bears in the Napa Valley fires,” he added.
The rants hit social media and, to be fair, Clement took it with good grace.
“Many of you sent Gaspard Proust’s article on me [laughing crying emoji]“wrote Clement on Twitter. “As a great defender of the right to satire, I have no objection to being on the side of the recipients. If you don’t want to be laughed at by comedians, you mustn’t be in the public domain. That’s the game [upside down smiley face emoji].”
Storm in a teacup or legitimate debate?
Marlborough opens research center
Meanwhile, in the southern hemisphere, New Zealand’s central Marlborough region is set to benefit from a NZ$3.8 million ($2.2 million) wine research facility, officially opened Thursday by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Regional Development Minister Stuart Nash.
Dubbed the New Zealand Wine Center – Te Pokapu Waina o Aotearoa, the facility is based in the wine region’s main town of Blenheim and will be part of the Blenheim campus of the Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology (NMIT). The facility will combine both the study of wine through NMIT and research undertaken by the Bragato Research Institute (the country’s leading wine research organization).
“I know that recently two dealcoholized wines received bronze medals in a blind taste test. And I think that shows how in tune our export sectors are with consumer expectations around the world,” Ardern said (likely making a few growers wince) during the opening.
“The New Zealand Wine Center will help our already world-class wine producers stay ahead of global wine trends by developing new products and helping to address issues such as the impact of climate change on the sector,” Nash added.
The center was funded by the New Zealand government’s Provincial Growth Fund, with part of the funding going towards the creation of a new experimental ‘state of the art’ future vineyard.
Peru pays tribute to the former boss of the OIV
The Peruvian Embassy in Rome paid tribute to the former Director General of the so-called “Wine UN”, the OIV, Dr. Federico Castellucci, presenting him with a diploma and a “gold medal with diamonds ” of the Peruvian Association of Oenologists and the National Brotherhood of Pisco Tasters of Peru.
The awards came in recognition of Castellucci’s collaboration with Peruvian winemakers during his tenure at the OIV. Castellucci is currently president of the Confagricoltura Wine Producers Federation, one of the main wine producer groups in the country.
According to the official statement from the Peruvian government, “a similar recognition was also given to Mr. Vicente Sotés, former vice-president of the OIV and professor at the Polytechnic University of Madrid”.
The press release continues: “The award ceremony […] was followed by a promotional event for our flagship drink in the “Pisco Warm-Up” format, attended by around 35 representatives of the Italian economic sector.”
For the curious, a Pisco Warm-Up is an aperitif-type cocktail in which different pisco-based cocktails are at your fingertips. A quick Google search indicates that the event is a specialty of the Peruvian Embassy in Rome.
Blind Tasting Championships for Ayala
The 10th edition of the World Blind Tasting Championships, organized by the French magazine La Revue du Vin de France, will take place next weekend at Champagne Ayala in Aÿ.
The event is expected to feature 31 national teams from around the world. Last year’s winners, Hungary, will be there to defend their title.
“The championship will consist of a series of tastings, during which the participating teams will have to blindly identify twelve wines from all over the world, French wines being more represented”, reported this week the Champagne site lachampagnedesophieclaeys.fr, without doing anything of the sort. Gallic. bias. The tasting is limited to 10 minutes per wine and the teams (generally made up of four tasters and a coach) must identify the main grape variety of the blend, the country of production, the vintage, the appellation and the producer.
New entrants for this edition of the tasting include Moldova, Kenya, Canada and Scotland. The Kenyan and American teams are made up entirely of women “who will be keen to shine in an event that has long been overrepresented by men”, added Claeys.
The event is expected to be streamed live on the Vimeo video platform although at press time no link has been provided.
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