Category Archives: French wines

Bourgogne 2018: An ideal vintage

The 2018 vintage was met with a unanimous show of satisfaction from the north of Bourgogne to the south.

The exceptional weather, especially during the harvest period, resulted in grapes with perfect health, allowing picking to extend over almost a whole month. Initial tastings ahead of the Hospices de Beaune Wine Auction have given an early idea that 2018 will be a truly great year.

The vines had built up some reserves over winter thanks to some very rainy weather, and the growth cycle began on the late side. When the sun started to show in April, the vines sprang into life, with budburst taking place veryrapidly. The mild weather then allowed the plants to make up for lost time, even getting ahead of the average.
Frosts in April sent a shudder across the whole region, but damage remained very limited. Flowering and fruit setting took place without hindrance. Summer saw constant heat and drought, apart from a few hail storms in early July that were of no great consequence. The vines continued to grow at a fast pace until mid-August.

Veraison took a little longer in places, the heat and lack of water affecting some of the younger vineyards. Nonetheless, since the hydric reserves had been restocked over winter, most of the vines came to maturity nicely thanks to the ideal weather conditions. The first grapes were picked in the last 10 days of August. Since the dates of flowering,the rainfall and temperature varied greatly from one area to another, harvesting extended into the last 10 days of September. The fruit was in extraordinarily good health, and the weather was perfect, allowing each winemaker to harvest at the optimum moment. The mood was serene across the whole wine region, producers enjoying this magnificent vintage that combined quality and quantity.

Many think this will be one of the best vintages in many years. Vinification of the whites went without a problem, the grapes having retained a good level of acidity despite the heat. The reds required a little more  attention during vinification due to the relatively high level of potential alcohol.

White wines

In 2018, the aromatic complexity of the white wines is incredible. They are explosive on the nose, with an amazing diversity that reflects each terroir. The wines have a certain crispness and good minerality.  In the mouth, they are rounded and generous, balanced with a nice tension.

Red wines

The 2018 reds have a seductive intense color. They are already well structured and powerful, with nicely-integrated tannins and good concentration of fruit. These exceptional wines are perfectly balanced, and are already tasting well in their first flush of youth. This is a delicious vintage with splendid
maturity.

Crémant de Bourgogne

This is a benchmark year, with expressive aromas that vary from one varietal to another,promising balanced and aromatic base wines. The Pinot Noirs are generous, with notes of cherry and rose, resulting in balanced wines with a pleasant freshness. The Chardonnays are powerful, with moderate acidity, making them well-rounded. The fruit aromas reveal some exotic notes, nuanced by fragrances of apple and peach. The Gamays have delicate aromas of raspberry and strawberry, underscored by citrus touches (clementine, lemon).The Aligotés are sharp and lemony,as usual, with good length in the mouth.

Advertisements

Bouzeron celebrates its 20th anniversary in November

First applied to the 1997 vintage, the Bouzeron appellation has had to wait until the end of 2018 to celebrate its 20th anniversary!
But the wait is deliberate, to allow the 15 winegrowers who have come together for the event to offer a tasting of the first and last vintages of Bouzeron, from 1997 and 2017.
This event, for specialist journalists and market influencers including wine store owners, sommeliers, and restaurateurs, will be showcased on the weekend of the Hospices de Beaune Wine Auction, on Saturday 17 November from 3:00pm to 6:30pm, a stone’s throw from the Hôtel-Dieu in Beaune.

If you are interested in participating, please contact us, as the event is by personal invitation only.

Bouzeron is the only Bourgogne Village AOC that is produced from the Aligoté grape. This village on the steep slopes of the Côte Chalonnaise produces a wine that is pale in color with white blossom on the nose. In the mouth, its distinct roundness, structured body, and indulgent vigor, are the fruit of a perfect alchemy between a varietal and its terroir.

Wine Tour Australia 2018: Springtime for Bourgogne Wines Down Under!

The Bourgogne Wine Board (BIVB) is offering training and press meetings during the Regional Chamber of Commerce’s Wine Tour.
The second edition of Wine Tour Australia will allow the around 20 winegrowers and négociants from the Bourgogne winegrowing region who have signed up for the 2018 event to offer tastings of their wine to Australian market influencers, including sommeliers, importers, and distributors.

The aim of the event is twofold:
•   To raise awareness among and train Australian wine professionals in the specifics of Bourgogne wines
•   To deepen relations with this market which offers some fine potential for Bourgogne wines

In parallel, the BIVB is offering some targeted training for this market.

Two events have been organized:
•   Melbourne, 30 October: Two masterclasses as sidebars to the tasting in the Grand Hyatt hotel. A morning session is open to all local wine industry professionals and will present lesser-known Village appellations. The second will be exclusively for sommeliers and will explore the notion of Climat.
•   Sydney, 1 November: Two masterclasses will be held at Doltone House, Hyde Park, the same location as the tastings.

In Quebec, Canada, Bourgogne wines are booming!

Figures from the Canadian monopolies for 2017 confirm the popularity of Bourgogne wines.
Exports of Bourgogne wines to Canada have been growing over the last three years and in 2017, hit record numbers with 6.5 million bottles for €50 million in revenue. Detailed analysis of sales from the three main monopoly-governed provinces, which closed their accounts at the end of March 2018, confirmed the trend.

Quebec, Ontario, and British Colombia account for at least 85% of sales of Bourgogne wines to the country. The three monopolies together recorded an 8% hike in volumes of Bourgogne wines (5.5 million bottles sold), mainly thanks to white wines, which were up 12%, compared to a 4% rise in sales of reds and a 2% for Crémant de Bourgogne.

The bulk of volume and growth involved Quebec, where the Société des Alcools du Québec (SAQ) monopoly sold 4.5 million bottles of Bourgogne wine in 2017, up 13% over 2016. This French-speaking province is the fifth-largest export market for Bourgogne wines in the world.

The Bourgogne region has profited from significant growth in white-wine drinking in the province, whilst Crémant de Bourgogne has become the leading French AOC (not including Champagne) in terms of revenue.

British Colombia continues to grow more slowly in terms of exports, up 4% in terms of volume, thanks to growth in sales of the Chablis AOC. On the other hand, sales of Bourgogne wines in Ontario have shrunk by 11% in terms of volume over the year.

Crémant de Bourgogne, sophistication and authenticity

For a long time served with crème de cassis, Crémant de Bourgogne is now establishing a reputation in its own as a high-quality sparkling wine worthy of the finest tables.
•   A relatively recent story

Sparkling Bourgogne wine first came to attention in 1830, via the plume of Alfred de Musset, who celebrated it in “Les Secrètes pensées de Raphaël”, and from the early 19th century, it was being produced in Chablis, Nuits-Saint-Georges, Rully, and Tonnerre.
The Crémant de Bourgogne appellation was created in 1975, in recognition of strict production rules, traditional and rigorous expertise, and high-quality vinification.

•   Did you know?

This wine is always white (blanc de blancs or blanc de noirs) or rosé, brut, extra brut and less often, demi-sec. The Éminent and Grand Éminent categories, introduced two years ago, are the most rigorous in terms of production. Because the ageing is so lengthy, wines bearing these labels are only now coming to market. The area covered by the appellation is the same as that of the Régionale Bourgogne appellation.

•   All the characteristics of a Bourgogne wine

For Grégory Georger, owner of the Maison Parigot & Richard, the two words that make up this appellation are significant: “The word Crémant, which is the guarantee of the production method; and the word “Bourgogne”, which takes on all its importance here because lovers of Bourgogne wines know they’re going to find all the characteristics of a Bourgogne wine – sophistication, elegance, and authenticity,” he says.

New: Viré-Clessé producers are now authorized to make levrouté and demi-sec wines!

Since June 2018, producers in the Viré-Clessé appellation have been officially authorized by the INAO to produce Viré-Clessé with the words “levrouté” or “demi-sec” on the label.
•   Recognition – at long last!

Until now, Viré-Clessé enjoyed a special dispensation with regard to the production specifications of the Viré-Clessé appellation to produce wines that are “levrouté”, that is to say wines that contain residual sugars. An official decree signed on 26 April 2018 has now modified these specifications, so they can now add the words “levrouté” and “demi-sec” to their labels. For them, their traditional practices have finally obtained the recognition they deserve.

These wines, classed as moelleux, are different from liquoreux wines. They are not produced every year: the weather must be optimal. For example, in 2017, a handful of producers were able to make these two types of wine:
Viré-Clessé demi-Sec: These wines have a lower sugar content lower than Viré-Clessé levrouté, but higher than those of the Viré-Clessé AOC, of between 4-8 grams per liter.
Viré-Clessé levrouté: Everything starts in the vines where the harvest conditions are more rigorous. According to the official decree, they must be harvested by hand and the sugar content must be between 8-18 grams per liter. Ageing must be at least until 1 February of the second year following the harvest.

•   The meaning of the word “levrouté
This term is unique to the Mâconnais region. Here, noble rot or Botrytis cinerea turns the grapes a brown color reminiscent of a hare’s fur, or the “pelage du lièvre”.

•   What the wines taste like
For Franck Michel from the Domaine Michel, Vice President of the AOC and who was responsible for the campaign to change the appellation specifications, “These wines are indeed sweet, but they are also wonderfully vigorous with lovely minerality making them very evenly balanced.”

Viré-Clessé demi-sec often reveals aromas of white blossom and candied fruit. One also detects floral aromas in Viré-Clessé levrouté along with hints of ripe fruit and honey.

The network of Bourgogne Wine Ambassadors expands

With a network of 60 official Ambassadors in France and in 17 other countries around the world, the BIVB was keen to expand its team. And to do this, 10 training experts – including several Masters of Wine – were selected from around 100 applications around the world. Six came from the USA, one from Canada, and for the first time, successful applicants also came from India, Australia, and Switzerland, counting one apiece.
They traveled across Bourgogne from north to south, widening out their experience and discovering all the richness of the region through theory lessons, landscape readings, estate visits, meetings with professionals, and themed tastings. This intensive training week was capped off with a demanding final exam requiring a high level of understanding.
All 10 applicants passed the test, thus obtaining the coveted title of Official Bourgogne Wines Ambassador. These passionate specialists are now entitled to promote Bourgogne wines in a variety of ways, such as by hosting masterclasses in their territory with market influencers or wine-loving consumers.
Here is a list of our newly-qualified Bourgogne Wine Ambassadors:
•   Mark Shipway (Canada)
•   Marianne Franz (USA)
•   Christian Oggenfuss (USA)
•   Robert Bath (USA)
•   Tanya Morning Star Darling (USA)
•   Liz Palmer (USA)
•   Andrea Pritzker (Australia)
•   Sonal Holland (India)
•   Timothy Magnus (Switzerland)
•   James Barlow (USA)
In October, it will be the turn of France to strengthen its network. A recruitment campaign is underway with the aim of attracting 10 candidates to the Bourgogne region next fall. The following are prerequisites: Being a trainer in the wine sector with a good level of knowledge of Bourgogne wines; having a network of market influencers; and being active on social media.
« Older Entries