Monthly Archives: May 2012


Château Castigno from  Assignans in the Aude(France)  organized around Brussels a great event for their customers and friends in Belgium. Mr. & Mrs. Verstraete and their daughter, An-Sophie have invited their clients to a superb winemakers’meal  preceded by a great tasting and explanation of their wines.

Their range of wines made from grape varieties typical of southern France (Roussanne, Marsanne, Viognier, Grenache, Syrah, Clairette …) is very extensive, ranging from sparkling wine to sweet wine.

We particularly liked:

* Grâce des  Anges, White, 2011. The nose exhales a very strong strong flavour. Its mouth is powerful and bold notes give this wine an unusual strength

* Grâce des Anges rose, 2011. A highly developed nose of white peach. On the palate, a good acidity gives this pleasant rosé structure and a nice attack. The persistence of this wine is exceptional.

* Merlot. This is the only single-varietal wine of Chateau Castigno. Its nose is very beautiful. It has all the characteristics of a good merlot from Bordeaux with the southern side of Languedoc wines. A lovely wine!

* Secret des dieux. A red wine made from syrah / carignan / grenache / mourvedre. This wine is typical of the powerful sun of Languedoc. Very expressive nose and hints of garrigue, spices and dried black olives. What a powerful wine& .

All the wines of Chateau Castigno are remarkable and we have liked all of them … The family Verstraete took this opportunity to present its rehabilitation plan for the wonderful village of Assignans. A small forgotten village which will now be revitalized through the purchase of village houses which  have been transformed into luxury holiday cottages for friends and the olvers of the wines of Chateau Castigno. This beautiful project involved an entire region and funds from the Languedoc-Roussillon region have helped the family to extend the dream of making wine to a beautiful resort of wine tourism ! We had a tremendously nice  day and their  public-relations event  was impeccable. Bravo to family Verstraete. !

video: henry BORZI, Editor in chief VINEYARDS PAPER




“Operating a family-owned vineyard is certainly a labor of love, one that we do because of a belief in our terroir and a passion for our region. It is even more certainly a labor full of sleepless nights, nights spent wondering if the weather’s too warm for the season; if it’s too cold for the season; hoping it will rain soon; hoping the rain will stop; praying the fog will hold off; monitoring tank temperatures during fermentation…

The payoff is the end result, a culmination of all of the efforts in the vineyard and the cellar presented in a bottle. The wines we make are, of course, wines that we like to drink ourselves. For us, however, there is no greater pleasure than being able to share our wine with others, and learning that they love them as much as we do. That approval, especially from our peers, is what makes all of the hard work worth it.

So we are both fiercely proud and immensely humbled to announce that our Bergerie Rouge 2011 has won the Regional Trophy in the 2012 Decanter World Wine Awards, for a red wine over 10£ from the Languedoc-Roussillon. This is the second year in a row one of our wines has been awarded a Regional Trophy – last year, it was the 2009 Château des Karantes Rouge. The award is a delight and a tribute to the dedication and skill of our winemaker, Nicolas Laverny.

In addition to the Regional Trophy, Château des Karantes Rouge 2010 has been awarded a gold medal for the third year in a row and the Bergerie Rosé 2011 a bronze medal.”


This month has been truly historic for Bodega Raffy, an argentinian winery led by a frenchman.

After an exciting (yet tough!) year of transition from Market Finance to the Wine Industry, the founder of Bodega Raffy finally stepped out of the shadows, thanks to several successful awards at international wine competitions.
More specifically: out of 14,000 participating wines at the Decanter World Wine Awards, Bodega Raffy came in the Top 120 wines globally, with its Malbec Réserve 2010, winning a Regional Trophy, ie. above Gold Medal status: “Best Argentinian Malbec over £10”. And this is our first-ever vintage!
A tremendous achievement, given that this bodega came ahead of 99.2% of the participants so far. The wines of bodega Raffy  will be taken around the world with other Trophy winners, to be tasted by wine professionals and consumers in 30 different cities worldwide. Bodega Raffy  also remains in the race to win an International Trophy awarded to only 26 wines in the competition. These awards will be announced by Steven Spurrier at Royal Opera House in London on 5th September 2012… Fingers crossed for this lovely zine estate.


Nigel Farage MEP

A row over whether a Kent wine can be called wine has taken on a fruity twist.

In a dispute that overshadows the bendy bananas saga, the EU has refused to allow a Kent tipple to be called wine.

That is despite the fact it’s made from wine grapes, is produced in the usual fashion and bottled like any other wine.

But because the drink from Chapel Down vineyard in Tenterden uses non-EU grapes – the Malbec variety from Argentina that has been transported to UK – it has to be called a “fruit-based alcoholic beverage”.

UKIP leader and MEP Nigel Farage hosted a ‘non-wine’ tasting in Brussels, on Europe day,  where many MEPs were present.

His aim was to allow fellow members to try the “fruit-derived alcoholic beverage from produce sourced outside the EU” – and make up their own minds.

We made up our mind after tasting this delicious wine which shows the know-how of british winemakers and it reveals the absurdity of some EU regulations. Moreover, moldovan grapes exported to Belarus and prepared in Belarus can be sold as wine into the EU while this fantastic Kent wine made with grapes from Argentina can’t be sold into the EU. An incredible loss of 1300 bottles worth 15pounds each.

We’re sure Nigel Farage MEP (EFD, UKIP) will follow this issue very closely