Ornellaia 2015 “Il Carisma” in starring role at Christie’s in London

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On 15 March the 12-litre Ornellaia 2015 will go under the hammer of the London auction house, alongside first-release Ornellaia Bianco 2014 and 2015 magnums

 

Ornellaia 2015 “Il Carisma” will play a starring role next 15 March when it goes under the hammer for the “Fine & Rare Wines” event hosted by the prestigious London auction house Christie’s, at 8 King Street. The occasion will showcase Italy’s top vintage wines, a category forging ahead in leading international auctions.

As already announced, the auction will include a single 12-litre bottle of Ornellaia 2015 “Il Carisma”, an authentic expression of its unique terroir. The diverse nature of the Estate’s soils – marine, alluvial and volcanic – coupled with its maritime climate create an environment in which red and white varietals can express themselves to the full. As winemaker Axel Heinz says, “wines of great vintages know how to impose themselves naturally, without force, their balance allowing them to shine without having to flaunt themselves”.

This is why “Il Carisma” is the quintessence of Ornellaia 2015. The version presented for auction is a pre-release and the 12-litre bottle (£2,200 – £3,500) is the only example of this large format leaving the cellars this year. Also going under the hammer are several bottles of the very rare Ornellaia Bianco, created in 2013 as the white expression of Ornellaia Rosso. New horizons thus open for aficionados and this auction offers collectors the chance to acquire magnums of the 2014 and 2015 vintages that have never been made available for sale.

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The Ultimate Bourgogne wine tasting: 33 Grands Crus

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33 Grand Crus of the Bourgogne winegrowing region are revered by wine-lovers the world over. If you feel the same, then you should sign up for this exclusive three-day training session in June during which you can sample and explore the very quintessence of Bourgogne wines.

With this unique session, the École des Vins de Bourgogne is offering you the opportunity to explore all 33 of these exceptional appellations. These three days are dedicated to tasting the most desirable and sought-after Bourgogne wines in an extraordinary learning experience.

“The Ultimate Bourgogne Wine Tasting: The 33 Grand Crus” will be hosted in English by two passionate experts, one in tasting and the other in geology.

To really get to grips with the terroir of these Grand Cru AOCs, multiple landscape readings below some legendary plots such as Montrachet and Corton are on the menu. The event is rounded out with visits to Grand Cru-producing wineries and guided tastings from the École des Vins de Bourgogne.

Siddura, eight wines to tell an island

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Siddura winery founded in 2008 from the fusion of the experience of a German industrialist and the profound knowledge of the territory and market of Massimo Ruggero, Siddura CEO.
Located in the little village of Luogosanto in Sardinia, it has in the “Terroir” the strong feature of the winery. The estate is immersed in a valley surrounded by granite, protected by the mighty winds of maestrale and caressed by the sea breeze.

The union of climatic factors and the specificity of the granite soil degradation give the wines a particular minerality. The cellar was born around its fulcrum: a fully-buried amphitheater building that exploits the geothermal potential of the site and boasts an innovative control system for the fermentation of individual tanks.

Here, the entire production chain, from grape to bottle, takes place, privileging spontaneous fermentations and using the most diverse types of containers: from concrete tanks, barrels and amphorae.
The estate stretches for two hundred acres and the grounds are a mixture of granite, sand and clay. They are loose soil, often arid, ideal for viticulture.

Sardinia in purity” is the Siddura philosophy, which has made it possible to produce a line with eight high quality wines. The company’s goal is to produce wines that identify with the terroir from which they come from. Production therefore provides limited harvests to ensure maximum quality, selective handmade harvest, micro-wine making and aging in the best oak barrels built in France.

In five years, Siddura wines have conquered over 130 medals in the most renowned national and international wine competitions.

To point out a revolutionary concept of Siddura; the innovative winemaking of white wines as if they were red, that is to create a long-lasting Vermentino that improves after a year of aging.

Siddura wines

1) SPÈRA Vermentino di Gallura DOCG in purity, about 13 °.
2) MAIA A Vermentino di Gallura coming from another squad of our vineyard, always in purity DOCG.
3) BERU Extreme processing, French vinification, small Chardonnay cut on Vermentino’s mass.
4) ÈREMA red sardine grapes, vinified in long fermentation.
5) BÀCCO Cagnulari in purity, historical grape of Sardinia recently rediscovered by the great international oenologists.
6) FOLA Cannonau in purity DOC.
7) TIROS It is the Sardinian super Tuscan, a base of Sangiovese and Cabernet sauvignon as the great wines of Tuscany.
8) NÙALI Moscato di Sardegna DOC Passito.

Champagne will meet growing demand

At a meeting between the Syndicat Général des Vignerons (SGV) and the Unions des Maisons de Champagne (UMC) on 21 July in Epernay, it was agreed to fix 2017’s marketable yield at 10,800 kilograms per hectare, which is identical to last year’s figure.

However, this year’s limit includes the release of 500kg/ha from the reserve – still wine held in tanks, which is held back as security in case of a bad harvest, as well as to add balance and complexity to non-vintage blends.

As the quantity from the reserve is significantly lower than last year’s figure, which was 1,100kg/ha, it means that the amount of grapes that can be picked for making base wine for Champagne from this year’s harvest is higher in 2017 – it was agreed to set 2017’s harvest yield at 10,300 kilograms per hectare with the aforementioned 500kg/ha from the reserve taking the total to 10,800kg/ha.

Last year’s large allowance from the reserve was granted because the 2016 vintage was naturally low-yielding by Champagne standards due to late spring frosts, hail and, as a result, a high incidence of grey rot in the region.

In other words, to reach the desired 10,800kg/ha for 2016, more wine had to be released from still wine from previous harvests.

In contrast, this year, the Comité Champagne has recorded good conditions in the vineyards and a favourable weather forecast for harvesting, which together should ensure a natural yield of around 10-11,000kg/ha on average in the region.

It will be an early harvest too, with unusually warm weather early on in the season bringing forward the growing cycle by 10 days compared to the average over the past decade, according to the Comité Champagne, which has also forecast that harvesting will start in late August, making 2017 among the five earliest harvest start-dates in the region’s history. (Other vintages with an August start-date are 2003, 2007, 2011 and 2013).

With the total marketable yield for Champagne remaining the same, it is clear that the region is attempting to prevent an oversupply of Champagne, and this year’s limit continues a trend of keeping supply below 11,000kg/ha since 2013, when total yields were set at 10,500kg/ha (lower than the 11,000kg/ha total set in 2012, which in turn marked a 12% decrease on 2011).

But, while the total yield is the same in 2017 as 2016, retaining an identical level of supply actually points to a positive mood in the region – a yield of 10,800kg/ha translates into roughly 315 million bottles, which, in 2016, was significantly greater than worldwide sales of Champagne, which totalled 306 million.

Indeed, in January this year Michel Letter, the director of Mumm said during a discussion about yields from the 2016 harvest – that the region had thought sales of Champagne would be higher when the decision on yields was made in mid-2016.

“We were a bit optimistic”, he said, pointing out that the global market for Champagne was looking more promising in May and June last year when the yields were set, adding that the French and UK markets had declined more than expected, while the US had not risen as much as many in Champagne had initially thought.

Moving forward to the situation today, the Comité Champagne pointed out that marketable yield of 10,800kg/ha gives Champagne “the means to meet a growing demand”.

Wine must-know terms for holidays

The basic wine terms might be very useful during vacations, especially in Europe, with its ancient grape-culture. It is not necessary to get in-depth, but below there are some terms we would recommend to keep in mind, while entering a restaurant in Italy or France, or Spain.

In reality the wine terms in these countries could be traces to days of Roman Empire and beyond, however for a tourist it would be beneficiary to master some basics. Here are the basics to make your conversation with a sommelier a meaningful experience:)

  • Tanins – Naturally occurring compounds in grape seeds, skin and stems that will make wine taste “astringent and dry.” Bitterness in red wine is what is called tannin.
  • Varietal – The type of grape that your wine is made from. From Cabernet Sauvignon to Chardonnay, varietals are the most common wine identifiers.
  • Terroir – How the environment grapes are grown in affects the taste of your wine, from soil to climate.
  • Oaky – One of the most famous descriptors of wine. It’s when your wine has wooden undertones, usually thanks to the barrels it was aged in.
  • Bouquet – the terms wine aroma and wine bouquet are not exactly scientific but they can be useful to classify the origin of where the smells come from in wine. A wine aroma is derived from the grape variety and a wine bouquet is derived from the winemaking process of fermentation and aging. A classic example of a wine bouquet is the smell of vanilla, which usually comes from aging wine in new oak barrels.
  • Sweet vs. dry – Sweet wines are usually easier for novices to swallow than drier wines. Dry wines have more undertones of tanins and may make your mouth feel more sensations.
  • Light vs. full-bodied – Lighter-bodied wines go with light dinners and summertime. They usually have higher acidity and lower tanins. Fuller-bodied wines go with a steak dinner and cold winter nights. They are low in acidity and drier.
  • Finish – The aftertaste of wine. Does the taste last for a while after you swallow? This is the difference between a short finish and a long finish. Simpler wines tend to have a shorter finish, while more complex or older wines tend to have a longer finish.

New Slow Food Presidium Launched in the Netherlands to Protect Traditional Boeren Leyden Cheese

unnamedLast Sunday, June 25, Slow Food Netherlands launched the Traditional Boeren Leyden Presidium during the Slow Food in the Park event, a festival held to celebrate the diversity of the Slow Food network and spread the message of good, clean and fair food, featuring free workshops, tastings and a lunch prepared by the Slow Food Chefs’ Alliance.

 

The new Traditional Boeren Leyden Presidium promotes cheesemakers from the cheese’s historic area of origin in Southern Holland, who skim milk following natural procedures and produce 10-12 kg cheeses matured for at least 12-18 months. Boeren Leyden is one of the oldest cheeses in the Netherlands, but today only a few farms still graze their cows in the open pastures of the polders and use traditional equipment and methods to produce a high-quality cheese whose flavor is on the verge of disappearing.

 

The Presidium involves a group of producers and affineurs:

 

 

Until 1870, all the cheese in the Netherlands was made on small farms by the cattle breeders themselves. When, in the early 20th century, the international demand for Dutch cheese increased, small cheesemakers gradually went into crisis, unable to survive on a market demanding competitive prices and high production figures. Nowadays, just 1% of Netherlands’s cheese is made on small farms and Boeren Leyden represents just a small fraction of that percentage.

 

The city of Leyden, whose coat of arms is stamped on labels, hosted a popular cheese market as early as 1303 and, until two centuries ago, Boeren Leyden was the most common cheese in the country. Thanks to its high acidity, low fat and firm structure, this cow’s milk cheese was perfect for carrying on Dutch navy and merchant ships. Despite the extremely high temperature and humidity of the tropical seas, the cheese kept very well and was used to nourish ships’ crews throughout the 16th and 17th centuries and traded in the country’s overseas colonies. It was in that period that cumin was added to the curd to make the hard cheese easier to cut.

 

According to the traditional Boeren Leyden cheesemaking process, morning milk is left to stand all day long to allow the cream to rise to the top. Then the cream is removed and the evening milk is added. The cream that rises during the night and removed the next morning, after which the milk is heated to a temperature of 28-30°C. Rennet is added, the curd is cut into 5-10 mm fragments in the next half hour, the whey is drained and the curd is washed with water to regulate lactose and pH levels. The curd is then stirred vigorously and left to ripen, following a practice similar to that of cheddaring. The resulting curd is crumbled and, after the addition of cumin seeds, placed in molds between two layers of curd to which cumin has not been added. After the molds have been pressed for some hours, the cheeses are extracted and pushed through so-called ‘zakpers’, which give it its typical rounded shape. After being soaked for four days in brine, the rind is coated with a reddish-brown film dyed with annatto seeds.

 

Boeren Leyden has received PDO (Protected Designation of Origin) certification under the ‘Boeren-Leidse met sleutels’ denomination and the 10-12 kg cheeses can be made throughout the year, maturing periods varying from 30 days to 30 months.