Archive for the 'vinexpo' Category

Vinexpo, odds ‘n ends, edition 2007

Best spit bucket
Perrin. Try to dump that over yourself, Miles! Yes, I spit my Beaucastel on stones imported from Chateauneuf du Pape.

Cheesiest video
Some continuous loop at the Torres stand about monks in Priorat. Excerpt: “The white light guided us to the land.”

Most groan inducing slogan
Tie! “Rockin’ Rhone” and “California wines: inspired by life”

Oddest attire
Woman dressed up as a martini glass

Best 2006 red tasted at Union des Grands Crus tasting
Leoville Las Cases (search for this wine)

Best 2006 dry white tasted at Union des Grands Crus tasting
Chateau Carbonnieux (search for this wine)

Best red wine tasted
Chateau Le Pin 2001 (from magnum; find this wine)

Worst red wine tasted
Chateau Le Pin 2001 (from magnum–more later; find this wine)

Best white vertical
Tondonia, gran reserva, 1981 – 1964, selected vintages

Best cheese plate table
Chateau Angelus

Best lunch
Vieux Chateau Certan. Yummy oysters!

Oddest animal
Life sized, black plastic stallion in the press room

Best fireworks
La Jurade, St. Emilion, complete with acrobat walking up side of old tower

Best looking ambassador in ceremonial robes
US Ambassador Craig Roberts Stapleton

Worst traffic
Everyday! (especially when leaving)

By the random numbers:
Attendees: around 50,000
Exhibitors: 2,400
Length of lines for sandwiches: 30 yards
Cost of mediocre lunch: 16 euros
Neutral places to sit: way too few
Men seen talking on the cell phone while urinating: 3
People seen wearing Crocs: none
When Vinexpo will be in Hong Kong: 2008

Ace of Spades expands into a full house

OK quick – who is associated with the champagne Armand de Brignac, aka Ace of Spades, aka Gold Bottle? if you said the hip hop-preneur Jay-Z then you get only partial credit. The producer is in fact the Champagne negociant, Cattier.

I spoke with Alexandre Cattier last week at Vinexpo about the wines that he provides to the US market, sold mostly through nightclubs and a handful of stores (find this wine), where the prices range from $300 – $375.

About the opportunity to develop the Ace of Spades, Cattier told me “It’s incredible–it’s one of the occasions that you have once in a lifetime as a negociant.”

I have not tried the wine myself and there was none offered, I might add, since Cattier said that the production was “very limited.” He did tell me that the wine is a brut nonvintage. Hmm, a “limited” brut NV?

Anyway, the brand is expanding. I saw samples of the new bottles, which will now include a shiny pink embalmed brut rose NV and a shiny silver emblamed blanc des blancs brut NV. Feel free to poke around the Cattier web site and see their existing line that includes a rose NV and a blanc des blancs NV. These are available in the US from $25 – $55. (Find these wines)

Reader mailbag: finding Ace of Spades Champagne
Jay-Z puts an Ace in play

Vinexpo, America’s Cup, Taste, Moldova, Russia, and more Mondavi – tasting sized pours

Vinexpo, schmoozefest
You’ve read some of my coverage of Vinexpo last week (with more material to come), but here’s Elin McCoy’s take on the happenings. [Bloomberg]

Boating wine
“That regatta [in 1851], known as the 100 Guinea Cup, was a fleet race around the island in sturdy yachts made of hardwoods, iron and copper that often featured staterooms below decks and carried plenty of wine and provisions. It took nearly 11 hours for America to complete a 50-mile journey and win…This time, the America’s Cup, sailed in the Mediterranean waters off Valencia, is a best-of-nine match-racing series around the buoys in carbon-fiber yachts, where lightness is king everywhere except in the keel and where the wine remains on shore unless it is being poured on someone’s head in celebration.” You decide which was the better wine voyage. [IHT]

Taste test
In a fascinating exploration of the physiology of taste–and a takedown of the system of wine scores–Michael Steinberger submits himself to the ultimate taste test to find out if he is a supertaster. Must read. [Slate]

Moldovan wine to flow freely again
Is that the sound of clinking glasses you hear in Chisinau? What? Where’s Chisinau? Why, Moldova, of course! In a showdown of the Vladimirs, President Putin said that he would lift the ban on President Voronin’s country’s wine. Russia had accounted for more than half of Moldova’s wine exports before the ban. [Moscow Times]

To Russia, with love
Should wine producers target Russia, India or China? David Skalli makes the case for Russia. []

Mondavi, House of
Eric Asimov reviews the new Mondavi tome in the NYT as does Jon Bonné in the SF Chron.


Vintage 2007 in progress: weather


Weather. It’s probably not something you talk a lot about except for when you are trying to have polite conversation with your aunt at the family reunion. But for wine grape growers it’s a point of discussion.

And this year has been wet in France. The total rainfall hasn’t been astronomical but it’s just rained almost every day for the past six weeks and there’s a lingering humidity. Take Vinexpo: it’s been mostly sunny but it has rained at some point during every day that I’ve been here.

one evening, a fierce storm came out of nowhere and included golf-ball-sized hail. I grabbed one from outside the tent where I was finishing a wonderful dinner and snapped a bad pic. I circled the big hailstone above. Also of note in photo: Chateau Saint Pierre 2002. Mmmm.

And it’s been damp all over France. I was talking with Nicolas Joly from Savennieres in the Loire and he said that he had never seen the vine flower this early.

What does all this mean? Well, perhaps not more than some wet raincoats. But at some point, a string of sunny days would be good to dry things out. But in hoping for heat, you have to be careful what you wish for.

Poll of the day: wasted grapes

What’s the biggest waste of grapes?

poll now closed

Yellow jersey, Beaujolais in tin – new products from Boisset

Vinexpo is a time that a lot of wine producers launch new products. Perhaps one of the most experimental producers is the Burgundy-based house, Boisset. They brought the world French Rabbit in TetraPak a year or two ago. Their stand was packed looking at their new releases.

Yellow Jersey is a new wine (not yet available in the U.S.–but maybe one day, find this wine). A screwcap rests atop a plastic bottle with little raised jerseys. Given the recent scandals with professional cycling, one might wonder if the bottle itself has been “juiced.”

And under the Mommesin brand, they have Beaujolais in a can, ready for chilling. They wrote “Grande Reserve Red” on the can so that people in the store would know what it was that was on the shelf in front of them. There’s also a chardonnay from Macon-Villages.

A little over three years ago they bought the Sonoma brand De Loach out of Chapter 11. They have ripped up all the vines on the 22 acres surrounding the winery and have let the vineyards lie fallow in a conversion to biodynamics. They’ve just been replanted with pinot noir and chardonnay.

Their packaging innovation continues with an pinot noir from the Sonoma Coast vineyard, Sonoma Stage. Only 150 cases of this pinot noir was produced and 10 of them have been bottled in Stelvinlux, a sort of fancy screwcap. While some consumers might not be able to swallow the $85 price tag, at least the pinot noir in the bottle actually tastes like pinot noir, unlike many from California these days.

Making and marking up Quinta do Ameal

On the shuttle into town on Sunday I sat next to Pedro Araújo. We were chatting and then as I was wandering the hall I saw his stand. I went over to taste.

He has two wines that he makes organically in northern Portugal on the banks of the Lima River. The area is known for vinho verde, which is grown with ripping yields of 15 tons per acre he said. Araújo rolls in at not exactly miserly six tons but makes two wines that are worthwhile.

The first is the 2006 Loureiro fermented and aged in stainless steel. It’s clean, fresh with a pleasant minerality and verve. (find this wine)

The 2004 Escolha (meaning “selection”) sees a little oak yet retains the minerality and fresh lemony acidity under the oak. I preferred the first wine slightly more. (find this wine) He also had brought a 2001 Escolha to show the aging potential of the wine. Unlike a traditional white wine from the region, Iit was still fresh with only a hint of oxidation.

I’d love to say the first wine is a good value since Araújo told me that he sells it form the winery for 3.20 euros (about $4.25). But, sadly, the 2005 is only available in US stores for $15.

Importer: Eric Solomon.

Contender for craziest sign at Vinexpo



Portuguese producer



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