Category Archives: AGENDA

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


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.

The Ultimate Bourgogne wine tasting: 33 Grands Crus

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.

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.

Slow Food Chefs’ Alliance to Be Started in Iceland


The Slow Food Chefs’ Alliance in Iceland is joining Slow Food’s large network of chefs committed to cooking and promoting products from the Slow Food Ark of Taste, Slow Food Presidia and other communities of local producers. The Slow Food Chefs’ Alliance project already has hundreds of members in eighteenth countries (Albania, Argentina, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Ecuador, France, Germany, India, Italy, Kenya, Morocco, Mexico, the Netherlands, Uganda, United Kingdom and Russia), making Iceland the nineteenth country to join the Alliance.

Dominique Plédel Jónsson, President of Slow Food in Reykjavik: “Iceland has been a live laboratory for a strong survival of cultural heritage in food products and preparation. At the same time gastronomy was not an issue in a country where survival was an everyday fight against natural conditions – the first generations had to be inventive since no salt was available, nor wood fire hence ovens, plants and herbs were scarcely found and not to be relied upon.

In the 20th century chefs started to connect to Europe and America and picked up traditions and technics from other countries. After going through a period of experiences with all kind of influences and starting to compete at international challenges, the chefs rediscovered their own heritage, beginning with the exceptional raw materials to be found on the island, mainly fish and lamb to start. The discovering of these local raw materials led very quickly to new recipes. For example, the safeguarding of the Icelandic Sheep, a breed on the Ark of Taste, is actually motivating chefs in different restaurants here to use lamb on their menu and promote it.”

Gísli Matthías Auðunsson, Chefs’ Alliance member at “Slippurinn” in Vestmannaeyjar, is working with the 15 products on board on Slow Food Ark of Taste, starting from classical recipes and transforming them to the taste of modern consumers. His motto is “I want to make Icelanders proud of their food traditions”.

The chefs who have joined the Alliance in Iceland so far are:

Ari Thorsteinsson, Humarhöfnin, Höfn

Gísli Matthias Audunsson, Slippurinn, Vestmannaeyjar

Hinrik Carl Ellertsen, Hverfisgata 12, Reykjavik

Hrafnkell Sigridarson, Mat Bar, Reykjavik

Leifur Kolbeinsson, Marshall Restaurant, Reykjavik

Lucas Keller, The Cookoo‘s Nest, Reykjavik

Maria Gisladottir, Nýhöfn, Höfn

Ólafur Agústsson, Kex Hostel, Reykjavik

Sveinn Kjartansson, Bordstofan Ehf, Reykjavik

Thorir Bergsson, Bergsson Mathús, Reykjavik

Chile leads the imported wine market in Brazil



The Brazilians increased the consumption of Chilean wines in 2016 and again Chile closed the year leading freely the ranking of imported wines in Brazil. This is what International Consulting recently points out: Last year, growth in relation to 2015 was 14% in value and 18% in volume, representing a market share of 44% in value and 48% in volume, more than double of Argentina, which holds 16%.

 Wines of Chile, the association that represents the Chilean wine industry, operates in Brazil with participation in some of the major wine events, as well as its own activities, such as the long awaited Tasting Wines of Chile in São Paulo, one of the most important events of the national wine calendar.

In 2017 the activities begin with the participation in ExpoVinis Brasil, the main wine fair in Latin America that takes place in São Paulo from June 6th to 9th. To introduce visitors to the news of one of the most diversified terroirs in the world, WOC will bring the trends and highlights of the wineries: Alto Quilipin, Aresti, Bouchon Family Wines, Doña Javiera, La Ronciere, MontGras, Pérez Cruz, Sur Valles Wine Group and Sutil Family Wines.

 “The activities carried out by Wines of Chile in Brazil have as main objective to present the diversity of terroirs, valleys, grapes and techniques of the wine industry in Chile. The high quality and variety of our labels are validated by the Brazilian consumer, who year after year has appreciated Chilean wines more and more “, summarizes Angelica Valenzuela, commercial director of Wines of Chile, who will come to São Paulo especially for the event.

Slow Fish 2017 in Genoa: We are the net!

The eighth edition of Slow Fish – the international event organized by Slow Food and the Region of Liguria – will be held from Thursday, May 18 to Sunday, May 21, 2017 in the Genoa’s Porto Antico (Italy). Dedicated to the world of fish and marine ecosystems, this international event ties together the pleasure of food with the protection of marine biodiversity. Admission to the event is free!

Slow Fish 2017 sees the participation of delegates from numerous countries: Australia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Denmark, Ecuador, France, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Morocco, the Netherlands, Russia, Senegal, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Tunisia, Uganda and the United States.


Members of the international Slow Fish network are indeed the protagonists of this event: fishing communities, biologists, chefs, consumers and experts. They all take part in this journey across seas, oceans and freshwater to understand the complexity of the aquatic world and improve the management of the sea’s resources.

The theme of this year’s event is: We are the Net. We are all part of a living, interconnected system, and we act upon it when we buy seafood products. The Slow Fish network wants to call our attention to the urgent need for fishing methods that operate in harmony with the delicate ties of the net. The net here is not just a fishing tool, but a web of relations: water, soil, microorganisms, fish, fishermen and consumers.

Along the seafront at the Porto Antico, the Slow Fish Marketplace exhibits fresh fish, preserves, salts, spices, extra-virgin olive oil and much more. Here visitors can meet the producers and fishermen behind the Slow Food Presidia products from the sea. Among them are the Mediterranean Prud’homies and the Natural Breton Oyster Presidia from France; the small-scale fishermen from the Orbetello Lagoon Presidium in Italy, who produce bottarga di cefalo (a traditional preserve of salted mullet eggs), breed sea bass and sea bream to preserve stocks; and the Wadden Sea traditional fishers Presidium from the Netherlands – the last to practice fixed fishing rather than mobile, working with a limited number of marine species.

There will also be several Terra Madre food communities working with fish, seafood and its derivatives: the mangrove fishermen of Muisne from Ecuador, who are developing a project to repopulate marine fauna, shellfish and crustaceans and at the same time protecting mangrove forests; a cook from the Aglou artisan fishers in Morocco; a representative of the Tarja community of native Itelmen from Kamchatka (Russia) which has long dedicated itself to fishing and selling wild salmon; a group of artisanal fishers from the Kerkennah island (Tunisia) who use the charfia to catch fish, a kind of fixed maze constructed from 4,000 date palm leaves; and the Nkombwe fishermen from the northern shores of Lake Victoria in Uganda.

At the Slow Fish Marketplace the public can enjoy the freshness of the ingredients through 18 Fish-à-Porter events: a kitchen in which artisans and chefs organize tastings along with marine biologists and fishers.

The event program also includes conferences on human and environmental health, the wide panorama of virtuous seafood, the protection of biodiversity, food waste reduction and migration issues; Dinner Dates with stars of Italian and international cuisine; and Slow Path guided tours to discover good fishing practices, sea stories and engaging characters across the event.

Visitors have the chance to discover tasty specialties in the Street Food and food trucks area and enjoy a selection of artisanal beers. In the afternoons and evenings, the Enoteca – with 300 wines selected by the Wine Bank – hosts Temporary Tastings. In the Chefs’ Alliance Kitchen 15 Italian and foreign chefs will be taking turns to cook using products that respect the environment and animal welfare. In the Mixology area, the public can learn the stories behind cocktails, their ingredients and how to make them, guided by experienced bartenders. The Pizza Point offers fish themed pizzas prepared by the country’s finest pizzaioli, and the Shrimp Spot serves red and pink Sanremo shrimps, either raw or cooked.

Capital San Rocco Ripasso 2015 from Tedeschi Wines

In Valpolicella area we discovered the strong character and love of the people who produced this wine, the gentle hills where grapes are grow and the rich, complex cultural heritage and traditions that have been treasured in Valpolicella for centuries.

The careful attention that Tedeschi wine devote to the vineyards implies the research for the most effective interaction between soil characteristics, microclimate, exposure to the sun, best varieties, and training system.  Thanks to our constant, strong commitment, the Tedeschis wines have become synonymous with terroir and Valpolicella all over the world.

We tasted: Capital San Rocco Ripasso 2015

This is a wine made using an ancient winemaking technique called “ripasso”. This consists in introducing a part of Valpolicella, produced the preceding autumn, onto Amarone wine marc after these have been decanted in March. The grapes used to produce this wine come from vineyards located on the Moraine Hills in the Valpolicella area.

This red wine has a strong ruby red. Clear and transparent. The bouquet is complexe and ample. We noticed notes of cherry, raspberry and red currant give freshness to the wine. The flavour is fruity, well-balanced and well-structured. The wine is warm and round. The after taste confirms the character of the bouquet. This wine has a long-lasting and persistent flavour with a good balance.
For the food pairing is ideal with red meat, game and cheeses.

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