Archive for the ‘French wine’ Category

Cornas, development, and international style

Monday, September 24th, 2007

Location: France, Rhône Valley, Northern Rhône, Cornas

The Rhône Valley is beautiful. Currently the Cornas part is threatened to be uglified. In France, the entity for building authorisations is the municipality. So the debate should grow locally during the campaign for the next municipal elections in March 2008.

Anyway here is a primer on a prominent local grower: Jean-Luc Colombo.

Jean-Luc Colombo in his Les Ruchets vineyard, by Winekakis.comFrom his beautiful farm high up behind the village of Cornas, Jean-Luc Colombo manages to be a domaine owner, a negociant and a wine consultant for many of the most important producers in the region.

His vines, forming Vignobles Jean-Luc Colombo, occupy 55 acres in the appellations of Cornas and Côtes du Rhône. The benchmark from these vineyards is the Cornas Les Ruchets, a powerful syrah with 45 percent new-wood aging. A recent addition to the range is La Louvée which is a special vineyard selection.

As a negociant, Colombo keeps the wine he buys in the producer’s cellar rather than bringing it to his own.

Jean-Luc and his wife, Anne, founded Le Centre Oenologique des Côtes du Rhône in 1984. As a consultant, his influence, particularly in the use of new wood for aging, has been considerable in the Rhône valley. His winemaking style is international.

Winery address:
Jean-Luc Colombo

Pied La Vigne, Cornas
Phone: +33 (0) 4 75 40 36 09

Guigal, Rhône Valley

Monday, September 17th, 2007

Location: France, Rhône Valley, Northern Rhône, Côte-Rôtie

Guigal is a big name in Côte-Rôtie, where vines have been cultivated for 24 centuries. With his cuvées such as Brune et Blonde, La Turque, La Mouline and La Landonne, Marcel Guigal has led the revival in the appellation that has put it among the top red-wine regions of France.

Guigal winemaking incorporates the pure fruit from low yields in the vineyard with new oak in the cellars. Recent additions to the whites include strict temperature control during fermentation.

Having taken control of Vidal-Fleury, the other major négociant in Côte-Rôtie, Guigal now manages more than a third of the production of the appellation. The firm also produces a white Condrieu and larger quantities of Côtes du Rhône.

Winery address:
Château d’Ampuis
69420 Ampuis
Phone: +33 4 74 56 10 22

Grapes are being harvested early worldwide

Thursday, September 6th, 2007

The harvest comes when the fruit is ripe. This occurs at the end of summer for grapes. So the harvest is not currently under way in places where spring is arriving. Such places include South Africa and Australia.

Grape harvest at Flat Creek Estate, TexasVitis vinifera is currently harvested in the Northern hemisphere. You have other options for obtaining wine grapes. I’ll talk about them in the upcoming guide to making your own wine starting in a week.

Harvesting is very hard work and is labor intensive.

The Northern hemisphere shows grape harvest about two or three weeks earlier than usual. In Western Europe this is not because the summer was sunny and dry like in 2003. It was not. “In 2007, the whole season was early, right from the budding, because of the mild winter and spring” said Luca Vietti, winemaker at the Vietti winery, in the Piedmont (as reported by the Wine Spectator).

Harvest in the first half of August only concerns some white grapes. The regions where vintners began harvesting in the first half of August are:

  • In the USA: the Napa Valley in California;
  • In France: Alsace and Roussillon;
  • In Italy: Lazio, Veneto and Trentino.

Other websites show recent reports on the current harvest: in California, in Texas, in North Carolina, in New York, in France (there and there), in Italy, in Germany. The present post is the first in a series on the grape harvest. The series will end with a snap view of the 2007 vintage. Your feed reader will be automatically updated of the posting if you subscribe.

Don’t believe mentions of a good vintage yet: it’s too early to address this fuzzy concept: wait until the wine is made! Still we already know that it will be very difficult for even expert winemakers to make good wine in the following parts: Texas, Bordeaux, Puglia and Sicily.

Later articles on the vintage are here:

Louis Jadot, Burgundy

Saturday, September 1st, 2007

Maison Louis Jadot is a négociant house, but also the owner of a considerable domaine of more than 101 acres – huge by burgundian standards. It is now owned by the Koch family (which also owns the American importer Kobrand), but for nearly 40 years Jadot has been run by the Gagey family, currently represented by Pierre-Henry Gagey.

Louis Jadot logo

The whites are made from chardonnay grapes. They are firmer and, when young, more acidic than many burgundies, but these characteristics allow them to age well.

Rich reds from pinot noir are the hallmark of the firm, whether from domaine vineyards such as Chambertin Clos de Bèze or Chambertin Clos Saint-Jacques, or from its negociant wines.

Winery address:
Louis Jadot
21 rue Eugène Spuller
21200 Beaune
Phone: +33 (0)3 80 22 10 57

I’ll profile other well-known Burgundy wineries in the next weeks. Please subscribe to the Chardonnay feed or to the Pinot noir feed.