Victory for Château Ausone and Barrière Frères in trademark dispute in China:

Posted by on July 23, 2013
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Victory for Château Ausone and Barrière Frères in trademark dispute in China

The Chinese Trademark Office (CTO) supported the two Bordeaux companies, rejecting and outlawing two uses of similar names and images.

Négociant, Barrière Frères was challenging the submission of a ship logo which it said was too similar to the ship it uses for its “Grand Bateau” label.

Ausone also won its case to abolish the use of its name in Chinese characters.

The offender in the case is said to be known in Bordeaux circles as “the trademark squatter”, and was accused by the CTO as acting in bad faith.


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Recipe for wine-popsicles from Kim Crawford wines in New Zealand

Posted by on July 23, 2013
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In line with the recent heat-wave, Kim Crawford wines have published recipes for frozen Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir lollies which apparently help keep the wine’s flavour profile more or less intact.

The Pinot Noir Popsicle requires 1.5 pounds of ripe blackberries, four ounces of dark cane sugar, four fluid ounces of water and six to eight fluid ounces of Pinot Noir.

Dissolve the sugar in the water while gently heating it and then leave to cool. Lightly puree the blackberries and then add the sugar water and wine.

Kim Crawford stated that the tartness of the blackberries will “highlight the natural fruit notes of Pinot Noir leaving a slightly tannic finish”.

Pour the solution into moulds, add sticks and freeze for four to six hours.



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Bomb in Carcassonne linked with radical winemaker group

Posted by on July 23, 2013
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Bomb in Carcassonne linked with radical winemaker group

The headquarters of the local Aude socialist party in Carcassonne was the scene of a bomb explosion around midnight on Tuesday, July 16.

The damaged building was defaced with the letters CAV – Comité d’Action Viticole, rather suggesting that this militant group was taking responsibility.

Following the explosion, Harlem Desira the first secretary of the Aude socialist party, made this statement: ‘We condemn in the strongest possible terms this unacceptable act that could endanger the lives of bystanders or participants in the meeting which ended just one hour before the explosion No claim, no ideology can justify such acts.’

French agricultural minister Stephanne Le Foll – whose name was also tagged on the building – has voiced his shock at the events, and highlighted the efforts the French government have been making on behalf of the wine industry.

Foll stated: ‘The government’s support of winemakers, and my own, is something that has seen concrete results and solutions. We will try to understand their attitude, but will never accept their methods.’

The CAV has been latent for several years, a wine action group initiative started in the late 20th century, but most active in the 1960s, and most recently in 2008, when activists attacked a building in Narbonne.






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More evidence that the French paradox exists:

Posted by on July 23, 2013
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More evidence that the French paradox exists

A recent, robust study has found a connection between moderate wine consumption and a lower risk of mortality from cardiovascular disease and cancer among middle-aged men, which provides more credibility to the French paradox phenomenon.

Researchers from the Université Paris Ouest Nanterre La Défense and Bordeaux Segalen University in France followed 35,292 men over about 28 years. Discovering that when more than 50 percent of their alcohol consumption was derived from wine, a lower risk of death from heart disease and lung, lip, oral cavity, pharynx, larynx, bladder and rectal cancers was observed.

There was a substantial number of cases whereby moderate wine consumption was connected with 40 percent reduced risk of mortality from cardiovascular disease, and a 20 percent reduced risk of death from cancer.

At the beginning of the study the subjects ranged in age from 40 to 65 years and were derived from Eastern France. In conclusion, a total of 4,035 deaths from cancer were recorded. Figures for heart disease-related deaths were unavailable.

Scientific opinions differ in terms of the so-called French paradox, which stipulates that the health properties of red wine supresses the effects of a high cloistral, rich, fatty diet as a precursors of coronary heart disease.

The Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health also proposed that drinking up to half a glass of wine a day can extend life expectancy in males by five years, when studying the drinking habits of randomly selected men over a 40-year period.


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Cult Wines Ltd and Killik & Co Fine Wine Tasting, Company Introduction and Networking Event:

Posted by on July 22, 2013
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The Evening: Guests will get to enjoy a fun and interactive introduction to fine wines comparing New World vs. Old World, accompanied by canapés produced by the award winning Bingham Restaurant, in the beautifully presented Garden Rooms which are adjacent to the River Thames. Guests will also be introduced to the services of both Cult Wines Ltd and Killik & Co, two Richmond based businesses. The evening will end with a small Cult Wines Portfolio tasting where you will be introduced to an exclusive range of fabulous Roussillon wines.






Angelus price increase pays off

Posted by on July 16, 2013
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Hubert de Boüard of Château Angelus who famously and controversially increased prices by 30% for the 2012 en primeur offer, can feel rightfully self-satisfied as an excellent uptake has been experienced.

Indeed, de Boüard admitted: “At the beginning, for the first 15 days to one month, I was a little unsure.” However, he pointed to a delayed surge from the market, saying: “Now we have a lot of demand – we have sold 110% of what we expected. We produced 95,000 bottles and have sold 80,000.”

Both Château Angelus and Château Pavie were promoted to the top tier of Premier Grand Cru Classé ‘A’, de Boüard told the drinks business: “The problem was that we had to keep the price to show that something had happened, but of course everyone in 2012 dropped their prices.”

Both Angelus and Pavie took the decision to increase prices substantially, whilst even first growths of the Left Bank released at around a third cheaper than their 2011 vintage, this resulted in some inevitable criticism.

De Boüard spoke out regarding the customer base for the wine, stating that: “The Chinese market did not buy a lot of 2012”, before adding: “I am very happy to say that Angelus has been bought by Switzerland, Belgium, France, the US, UK – demand is everywhere.”

De Boüard outlined the improvements he had made at the estate since taking over in 1985, resulting to the Angelus’ promotion.

“Step by step we have improved our reputation for the quality of our wine,” he remarked, stressing: “Selection in the vineyard was crucial. We used to pick over six days; now it’s six weeks. To make a great wine is not just terroir, it’s what you do with it.”

To complement the more selective picking, de Boüard has introduced a number of smaller 50-litre vats to the cellar in place of the 150-litre versions used previously.

Production levels have also shrunk to support this quality focus. “When I took over it was close to 200,000 bottles, now it is close to 120,000,” he confirmed.

It was also noted by de Boüard that “of course” the proportion of second wine Le Carillon d’Angelus had increased during this time, with the label currently accounting for around 25,000 bottles.



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Awe-inspiring Burgundy auction scheduled for the autumn

Posted by on July 16, 2013
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In excess of 140 lots of Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, worth an estimated $2.1 million, will be sold at auction this September.

Sotheby’s have announced that the sale will take place in in Hong Kong on September the 7th.

The wines are derived from eight grand cru-designated vineyards in the Côte d’Or, with the most desirable being from Vosne-Romanée. These include Romanée-Conti, La Tâche, Echézeaux and Richebourg.

The sale includes:

• 36 six-liter methuselahs

• 18 lots of Romanée Conti

• More than 70 magnums

• Vintages from 1970 to 2003

• 30+ lots of Echézeaux and Grands Echézeaux.

There is increased need for guarantee of provenance due to the Rudy Kurniawan counterfeit scandal, Sotheby’s emphasise that the wines on offer have been stored correctly and that the source is highly legitimate.

The auction house states that: ‘All the wines in this sale were purchased, on release, directly from one of Domaine de la Romanée-Conti’s importers, and were subsequently sold as a part of a larger collection to the current owner. So the wines have only been owned by two collectors since being distributed by the importer.’

Hong Kong is also set to host a sale of wines direct from the cellars of first-growth Bordeaux estate Haut-Brion.



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Australia’s 2013 crush was the biggest in 5 years

Posted by on July 16, 2013
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According to the Winemakers’ Federation of Australia (WFA), Australia’s 2013 wine harvest was the biggest in five years, rising more than 10% on 2012 to hit an estimated 1.83m tonnes.

Substantial yields were achieved despite reports of average to below average yields, following Australia’s hottest summer on record, and one of the driest.

The WFA described the growing season as ‘good’ stating that grape prices had continued to recover from the low of 2011, rising 9% to A$499 per tonne, the highest figure recorded since 2009

‘The increased crop is attributable to an absence of major events such as disease or flooding which affected previous vintages, as well as the availability of sufficient water for irrigation,’ the WFA said.

However, it added that the sustained warm dry weather had produced unusual ripening dates and a ‘very condensed harvest’ in many regions.

Demand for red grapes exceeds demand for white grapes, with prices for red up 13% to A$619, and white just 2% to A$388/tonne.

Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz are the top three in terms of price increases, rising 18%, 16% and 15% respectively, while Chardonnay prices were up 6%, and Merlot, Grenache and Sauvignon Blanc all rose 3%.

Interestingly, Semillon prices declined 3% and the average cost of Riesling slipped down by 0.3%.

Red wine grapes’ crop increased by 52%, with Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot – accounting for 86% of that figure, other varieties such as Mataro, Tempranillo, Durif, Sangiovese and Barbera are said to be of growing importance too.

Chardonnay accounted for a mammoth 45%, Sauvignon Blanc just 11% and Semillon a disappointing 9% decline. Muscadelle and Viognier also showing small increases, and Muscat Blanc increased more twice.



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Big yields in California will potentially decrease price for consumers

Posted by on July 16, 2013
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There has been a recent heat wave in California with temperatures reaching above 100°F (37.7°C) in Napa and Sonoma Counties, which has resulted in accelerated ripeness.

Jeff Smith of Hourglass Wines spoke to Wine-Searcher: “People get a little wiggy about heat, especially with global warming as the backdrop. The heat we had a couple weeks ago worked to our favour because of the timing.”

Smith also explained that: ‘The scorching days in the beginning of July came before most vines in the area went through veraison, which meant that the growth of the vines themselves slowed down. However, the berries that will eventually become $150 cabernets were unaffected’.

There are fears that another heat wave at the end of the month would be bad, as sugar accumulation would increase without phenolic development. Currently, however, temperatures have decreased.

Logistically, large wineries will need to organise facilities so that they have tanks to ferment a crop that’s due sooner than usual.

Sparkling wine producers always harvest first, Mumm Napa might start as early as July 22, making it one of their earliest harvests ever.

“The crop looks good and healthy at this point, with yields slightly above average,” says Mumm Napa winemaker Ludovic Dervin.

Speculations have also been made stating that yields could be huge like last year, so much so, that big wineries like E. & J. Gallo are looking to rent tank space to move red wines that haven’t yet been bottled. Smith says it’s not an issue for smaller vintners, who don’t have a complicated schedule for use of their facilities.

“I know everybody tries to go out and do early projections on when they’re going to pick and how big their crop is going to be,” Smith explains. “For the big corporate guys, that’s important. For the little guys, we don’t worry so much about that.”

Such large yields might result in a price decrease for consumers.


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Recent heat-wave will potentially save 2013 vintage in France

Posted by on July 16, 2013
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Vigneron’s across France endured a disastrous spring, followed by an equally unpromising start to the summer, however the recent emergence of the sun means that the 2013 vintage could now become one to remember.

Hail storms and heavy rains throughout the spring delayed harvest by at least two weeks, however, the current forecast is favourable and indicates that the warm weather is here to stay throughout the summer and into the autumn.

Pascal Férat, president of the representative body of grape growers, the SGV, in Champagne explained that: “The current weather report is favourable, flowering has finished, with the potential of a generous yield, but the summer months will determine the quality of the grapes and the wine,”

Growers are certain that the harvest will be late: “The harvest will not be as early as last year, that’s for sure,” said Jean Bourjade of Inter Beaujolais, the gamay-producing region’s wine trade body.

This situation is mirrored in Bordeaux: “We are two to three weeks behind, compared to a normal year. A beautiful summer, which is expected, will allow us to make up a week but we will certainly have a very late harvest,” said Benoît Purbet, vineyard manager in Saint-Émilion region.

Again, in the Loire Valley, Jean-Martin Dutour, of InterLoire commented: “Compared to recent years, we are between 10 and 20 days behind. If we have good weather in the months of July, August and September, it may not be so late in the end.”

The general consensus is that a reasonable crop is expected, but not outstanding. Cold weather and hail have still reduced yields considerably.

Comparisons are being made between this year and the conditions of 1983- a rainy spring followed by a dry summer.




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