Monthly Archives: March 2012


This year, the Louis XV is celebrating its 25th anniversary.

“My encounter with Monaco was a magical and important moment in my life. It is here between France and Italy that I have concentrated my Rivieras. Today, I know that this region that serenades the sun has inspired all my cooking. Its strength and honesty are drawn from the earth.” Alain DUCASSE

Launching a year of celebration, a very special birthday menu will be inaugurated this spring, on 22 March, a perfect illustration of the Louis XV cuisine: sincere, well tuned, respectful and delicious. An event that will be the cause for a worldwide celebration from Alain Ducasse’s chefs, who will pay tribute to essential cuisine by adding an especially created Mediterranean-inspired dish to their menu; others will chose the Louis XV signature dessert: le Baba au rhum comme à Monte-Carlo.

A journey to the heart of the Rivieras … Inspiring and inspired

In May 1987, Mr. Ducasse opens the doors to the Louis XV. Prince Rainier III of Monaco and Monte-Carlo SBM entrust him with the daunting task of turning the Louis XV into the first hotel restaurant to be awarded three Michelin stars, and as a deadline, he is given a maximum of four years. Against all odds, only thirty-three months later, Alain DUCASSE -33 years old at the time – wins the challenge: three stars are awarded to the restaurant. The momentum is gathering, yet the adventure has only just begun. On the Casino Square, the Hôtel de Paris is home to the Louis XV. The moment the client exits the revolving door, they are plunged into the history of this legendary Palace, so evocative of the elegant splendor of the Belle Époque. Those seeking culinary emotions are naturally drawn towards the Louis XV. Then begins a journey where time stands still. The sumptuous Versailles-inspired dining room, frescoes, velvet, chandeliers and large mirrors, the fine bone china, crystal and vermillion … Inside this dazzling setting, the service evolves, a discreet ballet of an attentive staff, entirely dedicated to the 50 guests.

A tribute anniversary menu

The menu imagined by Alain Ducasse, Franck Cerutti and Dominique Lory to celebrate the 25 years of the Louis XV simultaneously pays tribute to Nature, who within it, presents all its treasures, and to those who are its modest craftsmen. During his years as an apprentice to Michel Guérard, Roger Vergé and Alain Chapel, Alain Ducasse has retained what has become the cornerstone of his culinary philosophy: to exalt the truth in all products without impairing them, searching for the source of the flavor. The cook only interprets with measure and humility what Nature has offered. It is this simple story that the chef has written throughout the years at the Louis XV. As a lover of life and Nature, the chef declares his unconditional passion for the produce. He apposes his hallmark onto masterfully orchestrated cuisine, uniquely inspired and simplified in appearance.

“Because a restaurant is above anything, a place to eat” says Alain Ducasse, adding that we owe it to ourselves to “give back to technique its true and unique role: to reveal the flavors of nature.”



 Elisabetta Gardini MEP  wants the European Commission to react to the issue of faked Prosecco.
Indeed, the producers of Prosecco, the sparkling wine from northern Italy, advocated by  azienda Battisti have, with MEP Gardini, raised a t serious problem. Millions and millions of bottles of false Prosecco are produced in Brasil yearly and the commission “has te react” according to Elisabeth Gardini.

According to Mrs. Gardini, “recognition of Prosecco at European level has asked years of work for italian winemakers and an enhancement of land and soil”

“The case will not be easy to solve  as it will force Brazil to intervene and seize the false Prosecco which would be in the world market. This is yet another issue that indicates the need for greater coordination at European level.

An issue to be followed in the coming months


The issue of planting rights was discussed Monday night at a special symposiumat the European Parliament, led by Ms Astrid Lulling MEP (EPP, Lu).

In Italy, MEP Giancarlo Scotta (EFD, I) advocates the voice of the vineyardswhich are against the projects of liberalization of the Commission. He considers that liberalization of planting rights is a threat to the authenticity of Italian wines and he fears a relocation of production to regions with more favorable social conditions and less costs of production..

The MEP also focuses on the role of the Commission to effectively control designations of origin and fight against counterfeits.

Giancarlo Scotta MEP (EFD, I)


Astrid Lulling MEP,(Lu, PPE), chairman of the wine intergroup in the European parliament

Astrid Lulling MEP (EPP, Lu), with his colleague Michel Dantin (EPP, F) invited friends and colleagues all of the wine industry to discuss the problem of planting rights in the european union..

Currently, the European Commission wants to liberalize planting rights and allow all winemakers throughout Europe to plant new vines without restrictions. Emerging markets like Britain has expressed its position in the voice of the McIntyre MEP (UK, ECR) support the position of the Committee.

Most producing countries (including France, Italy, Spain and Germany) want to limit the planting rights in the UE to keep a stabilised market.

The meeting took place at the European parliament

Wine estates owners have worked hard on qualitative recognition of soils and land, and want to avoid a loss of land quality, a price collapse, a loss of wine quality, and environmental disaster that would result from an overproduction  (particularly in terms of the exhaustion of the water)

Unusually, all the ministers of agriculture of the major wine producing countries were present to express the position of their national governments who oppose the liberalization of planting rights.

Many french, italian and spanish MP’s were there to express their opposition to liberalised planting rights.

The representative of the European Commission. said that the commission would hear all parties and that the Commission doesnt’t have expressed its posiiton yet. This is already a shift in the position that the commission has issued since the beginning..

Mrs Lulling, MEP, president of the intergroup “wine” in the EP considers that we are near to a solution. Countries like Belgium and Poland have yet to be won to secure the future of tomorrow the wine industry in the European Union.

Motre to come in our emagazine VINEYARDSPAPER on march 30th 2012



More than a winemakers’ vintage: a vintage that required cool-headedness and a tailored approach!


If there are vintages for which the precision of the work in the vineyard is particularly important, then 2011 is a fine example!


The dry weather and early development of the vines were key factors for this vintage, and it was thanks to the precision of the work in the vineyard that we were able to extract the full potential of every plot.


Leaves were removed in the spring on a parsimonious basis, depending on each vine; the first green harvests take into account the age of the vines and their root development, with a view to avoiding stress. This meticulous work carried out by the Château’s permanent team continued after the beneficial rain in mid-July with a second removal of leaves and thinning of the bunches in August in order ensure uniform ripening, which had been uneven due to the dry weather between May and July. The minimum use of pesticides approach (full ploughing, grassing, no herbicides, mixed hedges surrounding the vineyard…) initiated more than ten years ago also contributes to balanced ripening and the aromatic complexity of the grapes, particularly in the more complicated vintages…


At harvest, the grapes had reached optimal ripeness with very satisfactory balances, but selection was still important and extremely thorough. More successive sortings were necessary for the white grapes than for a more classic vintage, and the sorting of the red grapes was a huge task.


In the vats, the extractions were slow, but we prefer to let time have its effect… This patience is rewarded because as a result of this slow process, the grapes release silky, beautifully formed tannins.




The wines produced at Malartic-Lagravière in 2011 offer superb purity of fruit, very rich and yet also very refined, accompanied by a silky, elegant, complex tannin structure. Definitely a vintage to taste as soon as you can!

Mrs Severine Bonnie of Chateau malartic-Lagravière with our editor




Weather conditions this year have been particularly favourable for the vine’s growth cycle and the grapes’ ripening process.

The months of July and August saw high temperatures and a generous amount of sunshine. This fine weather continued into September, with an alternation between cool nights and warm daytime temperatures, which encouraged a concentration of aromas and an increase in anthocyanins (pigments). The grapes ripened ideally and harvests dates are now being staggered.  Crops being gathered are perfectly healthy.   It is too early to make an estimate about harvest volume.We should keep in mind that hailstorms during the month of March caused significant damage to 19 000 hectares of vines (15% of the total Bordeauxwinegrowing region).  The extent of this damage varied considerably from one plot to another in vineyards, but the result is a decrease in production.

Dry white wines

Harvests of white Sauvignon grapes begun on 27th August in the earliest-ripening areas.  In September harvesting of this variety became widespread and continued afterwards with the Sémillon variety.

Red wines

Merlot grapes are currently being picked.  Harvests of this variety begun in mid-September for the earliestripening areas.  The berries are intensely aromatic, full of  fl avour, showing excellent concentration in sugar; the pips are crunchy and the skins appear to have marvellous colour potential (anthocyanan evels are high).  Acidity levels are low; this is an indication of excellent ripeness.Harvests will continue with Cabernet Franc in the  first days of October, followed by Cabernet Sauvignon, depending on the earliness of certain terroirs and how ripeness has developed.

Sweet white wines


CIVB A. Benoit

CIVB A. Benoit

Gathered by successive stages of manual sorting on the vine, harvests of grapes for sweet white wines have barely begun.  Weather conditions at present are ideal for these grapes that undergo the infl uence of an extremely specifi c micro-climate.  Humidity, in the form of early-morning mists, encourages the work of the botrytis cinerea fungus (noble rot), a vital factor for producing these wines.  Very warm daytime temperatures dry out the grapes and concentrate all their fl avours.  The grapes express remarkable aromatic potential.




Montalcino, 25th February 2012 – The early harvest was rewarded with four stars for Brunello di Montalcino2011. These were assigned by the jury of experts and producers that this morning, on the occasion of the Benvenuto Brunello, announced publicly their evaluation of the quality of the harvest. The decision to pick the grapes 15 days in advance balanced the effects of the heat wave that struck the Tuscan territory last summer, making the  year 2011 another high-level vintage. Now we shall have to wait the regulation 5 years  (6 for Riserva) before tasting the Brunello 2011 and having a confirmation of the excellence and high quality of this wine that, potentially, a 4 star harvest provides for. The rest will be guaranteed by the ability of each producer.

Mean time the international 2012 preview continues with the other  usual events of Benvenuto Brunello: today the  affixing of the commemorative plaque and the assignation of the Leccio d’Oro prizes.

An artist design for the 2011 harvest plaque affixed, following the tradition, to the outside wall of the Montalcino’s Palazzo Pubblico: the image was created this year by the stylists of “Salvatore Ferragamo”, griffe of the internationally renowned fashion house. The same design has been reproduced on T-shirts and sweatshirts for sale at the event. The proceeds of their sale will be used entirely to finance the acquisition of a new ambulance for the Confraternita della Misericordia of Montalcino. The plaque represents an original floral composition in which the vine leaves,  stems and bunches of grapes are the background of a glass and a bottle of wine, that take the shape of delicate white and pink flowers. Giovanna Gentile Ferragamo, Salvatore’s daughter, presented the design of the plaque which was reproduced on the T-shirts sold for the purchase of an ambulance donated to the Confraternita della Misericordia di Montalcino.

The “Brunello calendar” that can be admired in the historic centre of Montalcino, is a veritable art gallery with works by artists such as Sandro Chia and Oliviero Toscani, fashion stylists such as

Roberto Cavalli and Ottavio Missoni, cartoonists such as Emilio Giannelli or sport champions such as Deborah Compagnoni.

The recipients of the Leccio d’Oro this year were GAIA RESTAURANT of Hong Kong for the restaurant sector, the BIONDIVINO WINE BOUTIQUE of San Francisco (USA) for the wine shop sector and the ANTICA TRATTORIA SUBAN of Trieste for the bistrot sector.

The Gaia Restaurant (, one of the best Italian restaurants of Hong Kong, was the first place to be opened by the “Gaia Group” that started in 2000 and spread rapidly throughout China with the opening of several other restaurants and bars. Gaia Restaurant of Hong Kong is managed by Pino Piano: Neapolitan by birth, Piano has travelled all over the world, moving from London to New York until he landed in Hong Kong. The wine lists contain more than 600 bottles, between Italian and French labels.

The Biondivino wine shop ( of Ceri Smith was founded in 2006 and is mainly specialized in Italian wines. This exclusive “Italian wine boutique” of San Francisco comprises in its wine list something like 490 wines of twenty different Italian regions of which 150 have a shelf cost of under twenty dollars.

The Antica Trattoria Suban ( of Trieste was born back in 1865 and since then four generations of restorateurs  have done their best to carry on the gastronomic tradition born of the fusion of different people, religions, habits and customs. The trattoria was opened and to this day still stands in the Rione di San Giovanni, a stipover area and a passage for the traffic between the Carsica Plane and Trieste. Today the  trattoria is managed by Federica Suban.

The jury that chose the candidates is composed as usual by the President of the Consorzio  Ezio Rivella and the members of the Committee of the Presidency Donatella Cinelli Colombini, Marco Cortonesi, Giancarlo Pacenti and Fabrizio Bindocci, and of experts Allan Bay, renowned journalist in the food and wine sector and Corriere della Sera writer of the “Vivi Milano” column; food and wine writer of food books for the US market Faith Willinger; President of the Associazione Italiana Sommelier (AIS) Antonello Maietta and President of Gruppo del Gusto  of the Foreign Press in Italy Alfredo Tesio.


Montalcino, Toscana