Technical themes:

Coulure and millerandage

Published on September 9, 2012

These two little issues have cropped up in several places in Europe in vintage 2012. They often go hand in hand, and they are usually referred to by their French names.

French paradox – climats and lieux-dits

Published on September 1, 2012

French semantics are to the fore as we delve into the fog-bound world of attempting to differentiate between Burgundian ‘clos’, ‘climat’, ‘lieu-dit’, ‘cru’ and ‘appellation’. Some are easier; others require increasing magnitudes of microscopy, combined, perhaps, with a small gallic shrug for the inevitable French paradoxes.

French brokerage, or courtier, system

Published on August 16, 2012

Courtiers – a word to conjure polarised views, especially of the Bordeaux trading system. But in France the courtier system is not a one-size-fits-all, though the broker still puts together a customer with the wine they want, that they’ve sourced through their contacts.

Taste test: semi-carbonic versus de-stemmed fruit

Published on July 19, 2012

Schools of thought are evolving in Beaujolais, especially in the Beaujolais crus, around semi-carbonic maceration versus a Burgundian style of fermentation using de-stemmed grapes with pump-overs or punch-downs to extract colour and tannins. To see if it is possible to begin to taste the difference between these two vinification methods, I conducted a tasting seminar.

Semi-carbonic maceration

Published on July 15, 2012

Carbonic maceration and semi-carbonic maceration are not quite the preserve of Beaujolais and the gamay grape, but this is the region where the techniques reach complex and varied permutations. The process can produce vibrant, lively, fresh, and sometimes also very serious, wines.

Minerality – quote, unquote 3

Published on April 14, 2012

Here’s a northern European selection of minerality quotes and comments from Germany and the Loire, with just one Champagne thrown in for good measure.

Tasting of Champagne Jacquart 2011 vins clairs

Published on April 6, 2012

Floriane Eznack, winemaker at Champagne Jacquart smuggled out (not literally, but by the sound of the administration involved, it might have been the easier option) some still base wines from the 2011 Champagne vintage.

Ladybird taint

Published on March 21, 2012

Ladybird taint is thought to be on the rise and cool climate regions are particularly vulnerable as climate warming allows these species to migrate into previously unpalatable regions.

Pinot noir the new bright thing

Published on March 5, 2012

“Pinot noir is the next wine fashion” said Ross Brown, of Brown Brothers, speaking at the closing session of the 8th International Cool Climate Symposium, in Hobart, Tasmania.

GST to be the climatic index of choice for viticulturists?

Published on February 26, 2012

Pioneering cool climate viticulturist Dr Andrew Pirie, of Tamar Ridge, has revitalised growing season temperature (GST) as a single measure offering a refined definition of cool climate.

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