French regions compete to replace Paris as wine ‘capital’

Bordeaux, Burgundy, Champagne, and Rome have all been making their pitches to be the new home of the International Organization of Vine and Wine (OIV) after it announced they were leaving their Paris offices.

The OIV plans to settle into its new headquarters by 2024.

The OIV is one of the world’s most prominent wine organizations and has 48 member states, including most major wine-producing countries, except the US and China. It produces annual reports on global wine production and consumption.

Such an international scope gained the OIV the monicker “UN of wine” and its headquarters as “wine’s world capital.”

Mayor François Rebsamen of Dijon, where the OIV offices would be located if Burgundy gains the nod, revealed they have solid funding brought by the region’s support.

The decision will be finalized with a vote of all of the member countries.

However, it’s France who would choose which of its cities to propose for OIV approval.

Word has gotten out that the French government is leaning toward recommending Dijon.

A French government proposal for the location is expected to be made at the next OIV General Assembly on July 12, a spokesperson said.

The OIV member states are given a reflection period and may vote in October 2021.

Source: Econo Times

What to Drink With Spicy Foods: Champagne, Riesling, Pinot Noir & More

A running list of grape varietals that can bring out the full flavor of my favorite fiery food choices

As a product of Galveston, Texas, I’m convinced that my love for spicy foods is embedded within my DNA. I can remember at a very young age (let’s say, around seven or eight years old) enjoying bowls of my Granny’s gumbo with dabs of hot sauce; smoked ribs and sausage links hot off the barbeque pit courtesy of my dad in the summertime; and of course, cracking and sucking the head from many small mounds of crawfish. And as I got older, my tolerance for spice only increased. From bags of Flamin’ Hot Cheetos through middle school lunches to adding one too many jalapenos on nachos at high school football games, I couldn’t shake the need for spicy foods if I tried. 

Now that I’m old enough to enjoy wine with a meal on a regular basis, I’ve been keeping a running list of grape varietals that can bring out the full flavor of my favorite fiery food choices. From a bowl of spicy Thai noodles to a basket of buffalo wings, I’ve discovered that wine – compared to beer or other beverages – has the ability to go toe-to-toe with some of the most succulent dishes.

Hot Tip

Something to note about pairing wine with spicy foods: it’s important to be mindful of the amount of alcohol present. In food, chili heat tends to create a warming or burning sensation on our palate. The higher the level of alcohol in a wine, the more astringent (and uncomfortable) spicy food it will feel on your tongue. To avoid that, it’s important to choose wines that are light, dry, fruit-forward, and high in acidity.

Recommendations

Sparkling wine or Champagne  
Bubbly may not be your first choice when it comes to enjoying spicy foods, but it should definitely be a consideration moving forward. If you’re a seafood lover like me, the fizz in a Brut Champagne (which means, it will have very little sugar added) is a great option to help bring out the freshness of fish that has been elevated with spice. 
My Bottle: G.F. Duntze NV Brut Réserve (Champagne)
Dish: Spicy seafood pasta

Riesling
A white wine that is naturally high in acidity and sweetness, Riesling is versatile and can accompany any meal. Because of its natural sugars, a light German Riesling — which can have notes of green apple and lime — is an ideal option to pair with spicy Thai dishes because it can provide a cooling sensation to your palate. 
My bottle: Von Buhl Armand Riesling Kabinett 2015
Dish: Massaman Curry

Albariño 
If you like Pinot Grigio, then you’ll totally enjoy a glass of Albarino. Hailing from northwest Spain, Albarino is the white wine of Spain. While often compared to its Italian cousin, this dry, medium-bodied, high acidic wine is crisp, refreshing, and has notes of peach and apricot that would be great for the next Taco Tuesday. 
My bottle: Bilbao Albarino 2018
Dish: Spicy Pork Carnitas 

Gewurztraminer
While this French wine may be a little bit tricky to pronounce, it is one of the most fragrant white wines you’ll find, and ranges from dry to sweet. For the sake of accompanying our quest for spicy culinary satisfaction, an aromatic dry or off-dry Gewurztraminer from Alsace will have medium acidity with fruity notes of grapefruit, pineapple or peach. This will pair incredibly with the rich spices of Caribbean food. 
My bottle: Geil Gewurztraminer Kabinett
Dish: Jerk chicken 

Pinot Noir
As one of the beloved noble red grapes, Pinot Noir’s fresh red fruit flavors (think strawberry, raspberry, red cherry) allow for it to be enjoyed when it is fairly young.  Pinot Noir is a personal favorite of mine, simply because it is easy drinking and goes with almost everything. A quick suggestion when choosing a bottle: Pinot Noirs from Oregon aren’t cheap, but you are going to get your money’s worth. 
My bottle: Ken Wright Pinot Noir Willamette 2017
Dish: Dan Dan noodles

Gamay
This French wine is particularly unique because it solely focuses on grapes from Beaujolais, a region that is immediately south of Burgundy. The wines produced from this region have light tannins, fresh fruit flavor, and should be served (lightly) chilled to highlight their acidity. 
My bottle: Beaujolais Nouveau
Dish: Fajitas 

Grenache
Finally, another French wine (that also goes by the Spanish name, Garnacha) is another red wine that can be enjoyed chilled. Putting a little chill on a bottle of Grenache in this instance is important because unlike the other wines listed above, Grenache tends to be low in acidity and high in alcohol. The pepper spice in Grenache uniquely brings out the spice in Indian cuisine. 
My bottle: Domaine Lafage Cuvee Nicolas 2017
Dish: Chicken Chettinad

Source: What to Drink With Spicy Foods: Champagne, Riesling, Pinot Noir & More – Thrillist

If You’ve Never Explored French Wine Country, Begin With Beaujolais

Each year, more than 10 million visitors journey to France’s storied wine country. Among the most traveled to regions are the big names: Bordeaux, Burgundy, Champagne, Alsace. Conspicuously absent from the top of that list is Beaujolais — an area that might just be more scenically enchanting than all the rest. But just because the masses are missing out doesn’t mean you need to make the same mistake. Here’s why this part of southwestern France is worth exploring today, before it’s ‘discovered’ by everyone else.Accessibility is a word that comes up time and again in describing Beaujolais. Its location is easily reached by car or rail from Lyon, France’s 3rd largest city. Its people are universally welcoming and almost unnervingly hospitable. But most inviting of all is the wine — a light-yet-luscious red fermented exclusively from the gamay grape varietal. Its appeal spans the spectrum of drinkers; from those seeking something delicate, to those in search of boldness; the self-avowed novice to the full-fledged enthusiast.

In the US, our experience with Beaujolais is primarily viewed through the lens of Georges Duboeuf. The 85 year old wine merchant has been exporting juice from the region since 1964. Négociants, as they are known in France, don’t actually make the wine, but partner with the producers to get the liquid bottled, labeled, and brought to market. A testimony to Duboeuf’s profound impact on the region — his lasting partnership with the local farmers — appears in the form of Hameau Dubouef. Built adjacent to the rail station in his hometown of Romaneche-Thorins, this is the only museum in all of France dedicated entirely to winemaking. It’s open daily from 8AM – 7PM and provides the ideal springboard from which to dive headfirst into the heart of Beaujolais. [ . . . ]

Continue at FORBES: If You’ve Never Explored French Wine Country, Begin With Beaujolais

Try French Crémant As A Budget-Friendly Alternative To Champagne

Linda sipping
Linda sipping at wine tasting

Crémant has been around for ages, but now it appears to be having a moment. Sparkling wine’s popularity continues unabated and consumers are finding Crémant to be a terrific budget-friendly option that offers complexity and finesse [ . . . ]

Continue at FORBES: Try French Crémant As A Budget-Friendly Alternative To Champagne

Below are top selections of Cremant that won’t disappoint:

Robitaille’s Recommendations:

André et Mirielle Tissot, Crémant du Jura Rosé Extra Brut: This is a delicious wine from the Jura made by a very conscientious family of farmers. The blend of Pinot Noir, Trousseau, and Poulsard is a pure expression of the people and the place. Fresh, crisp, balanced with an almost ethereal texture, this wine is just heavenly.

Domaine Belluard, Les Perles du Mont Blanc: From the town of Ayse in the Savoie, this is a beautiful wine that absolutely shows the potential for Crémant wines in the French Alps. Dominique Belluard has been running the domaine since 1988, and nearly single-handedly rescued the Gringet grape from extinction. Gringet, an old indigenous varietal of the Alps, has very high natural acidity, making it perfect for crisp, bright sparkling wine. I always find a deep mineral core in this, and something beautifully aromatic, like preserved Meyer lemon.

Victoria James’ Recommendations:

Domaine François Mikulski and Jean-Noël Gagnard, Brut Grand Lys (2014) Both of these Crémant de Bourgogne selections are cult favorites and make great bubblies.

Domaine Mittnacht Freres Crémant d’Alsace

André & Michel Quenard, Vin de Savoie Crémant Extra Brut (NV)

Château de Brézé, (NV) and Château de Brézé, Rosé (NV) Crémant de Loire: Both the rosé and white Crémant that are search-worthy.

Other Excellent Selections:

Gratien & Meyer Brut and Rose: Founded by Champagne producer Alfred Gratien (of Champagne Alfred Gratien) in 1864. Winemaker Florence Hayes strives to craft sparkling wines with freshness and finesse.

Jaillance Cremant de Bordeaux, Cuvee de l’Abbaye: Bright and crisp. Made from merlot; it is wonderfully juicy and fresh with raspberry and cherry notes. Just delightful.

Pierre Sparr, Brut Reserve Cremant d’Alsace: Winemaker Alexandra Boudrot is careful to note that all fruit is handpicked, then gently pressed and left on the lees for a year minimum. Crisp and lemony with ripe apple notes.