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Showing posts from December, 2008

Will Bernard Margrez acquire Chateau Latour?

It is Jane Anson who alerted me, through her blog, that the Médoc Premier Grand Cru Classé Château Latour might be for sale. It seems that the crisis is also starting to hit rich châteaux owners, and a change of ownership of one of Bordeaux's most prestigious estates would be... quite something.

Interesting, and perhaps worrisome, is the rumour that Bernard Magrez might be looking at this treasure prey. Magrez is a modernist in Bordeaux, making polished and perfect wines. Another way of describing the style of his wine: he teams up with consultant Michel Rolland. Together they modernised the monumental classic Château Pape Clément. The result is good, but so was the original − it is like someone buying a 17th century canal house and replacing the original interior by some contemporary design...

I rather see Magrez and Rolland restoring the quality of a Saint-Emilion like Château Fombrauge − with very good result. Modernism and Right Bankishness seems a better couple, also.

But Magrez…

Dutch authority on Burgundy Gert Crum speaks out

People who follow this blog will remember that I have written before about David Clark and his wines (a/o about the visit that Jan van Roekel and I brought to his domain in December 2007, and last month about the first impressions from bottle).


Last November, after a year of waiting, the 2006s finally reached Amsterdam. I sent a bottle of the Passetoutgrains (very much à point at this moment) to Dutch Burgundy guru Gert Crum. Crum published his findings in De ProefKrant from December 2008/January 2009 and these I need to share with you.

Crum's article is titled Een balans opmaken. At the end of 2008 he is drawing up the balance, highlighting the year in four points. Two of these points concern individual wines, noticeable wines. The first is the white Château Rives-Blanques "La Trilogie" 2006 (AC Limoux), the second one − indeed − the Passetoutgrains 2006 from David Clark. Let me translate his praise.

"The other wine that made me happy seems a simple red Burgundy. It i…

Bling barrels at Vinitech

There are the most amazing 'destockages' going on in Bordeaux at the moment, as merchants rush rid themselves of whatever wines they can bear to part with, and many that they can.

As the new head of the local wine merchant's union told the local paper, Sud Ouest, 'getting rid of stock is a priority at the moment'.

Auctions seem to be the simplest way, at least there are plenty of ads for them in the local paper. If I had any cash, instead of the several thousand euro loan I had to take out to get the house in rent ready mode, I would be buying. But it is not to be. Instead I must just cling to my 12 bottles of Pontet-Canet 2007 (as yet unbottled) and hope for the best.

Just for the record, a loan in France for house works is readily obtainable, at 5% interest, if you already have a 27 year mortgage. Credit crisis?

Even at Vinitech last week − the bi-annual wine equipment trade held in Bordeaux − you might have thought the credit/global financial crisis was all slightly…

Inniskillin Sparkling Icewine 2006

Although sparkling icewines have been made in Canada since the late 1990's, they are still a rarity. I only first heard about them this past Spring while researching this article (in Dutch) I wrote on ice wines in general.

Because of their high sugar levels, Canadian icewines were forbidden in Europe until 2001. The concern was that a second fermentation could occur in the bottle. As was the case with the monk Dom Pérignon, the resulting sparkling wine would be seen as a fault, a hazard which could break the bottles.

But refermentation is precisely what Canadian icewine producers like Inniskillin are doing now, only the second fermentation takes place not in the bottle, but in a steel tank (Méthode Cuvée Close). In reality, it is difficult to ferment ice wine grapes because of their high sugar content; inducing a second fermentation is even more difficult. Vinification lasts seven months and the wine is aged on the lees, then filtered and bottled under pressure.

The idea of combining…

Expected: flavoured barrels!

Flavoured barrels, that's what winemakers, and fussy drinkers, will be picking over next. So just when you thought it was safe to concentrate on soil, the vineyard, the vines, the terroir, and let the whole winemaking process settle back into its place, along come these barrels.

Examples of actual flavours that might potentially be available currently include spicy, tannic and red fruit.

The barrels are the idea of Seguin Moreau, a leading French cooper. Currently the intelligent barrels are still in the research phase, with Seguin Moreau busy working out how different wood molecules react to, and with, the wine stored in them. The current expectation is that they will be ready for commercial sale by 2010/11.

Their potential use will no doubt be controversial and will reignite the whole wood chip discussion, because the ordinary barrels v. flavoured barrels arguments are already similar to the chips v. barrels ones.

Basically you have, on one side, those that say barrels are for slow …