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.
After French drinks export shipments to the U.S. dropped significantly in 2020 due to tariffs—whose five-year suspension was announced this past Tuesday—exports have been rebounding strongly in the first four months of 2021. In this calendar year through April, U.S. imports of wine and spirits from France leapt 25% and 13% in volume terms respectively, according to French government agency BusinessFrance. French beer and cider also registered gains during the period.
Provence is now the single-largest region among French wines exported to the U.S. and increased 15% through April in volume terms, driven by ongoing growth for rosé (+17.5%). But the fastest-growing wine region is the Languedoc, which soared 86% year-to-date. Gains were recorded nearly across all segments as vermouth exports to the U.S. rose 41% year-to-date while Champagne surged 48%. Veuve Clicquot and Moët & Chandon together comprise over two-thirds of the Champagne market in the U.S.—according to Impact Databank—and bucked the trend last year by registering volume gains during the pandemic.
With the exception of vodka (-37% year-to-date), imports of French spirits also recorded impressive increases through April. French liqueurs soared 47% in volume terms, while the largest segment, Cognac, rose 49%. After crossing the 5-million-case mark last year, Hennessy Cognac became one of the 10 largest-selling spirits overall in the U.S. market for the first time. Hennessy and Rémy Martin, which is also growing strongly, comprise well over three-quarters of the Cognac market in the U.S., according to Impact Databank.—Juan Banaag
French winemakers have lit candles and burned bales of straw to try to protect their vineyards from sharp spring frosts, with the forecast of more cold nights this week raising fears of serious damage and lost production.
Temperatures plunged as low as -5°C overnight in wine regions including Chablis, in Burgundy, and Bordeaux, which could hurt shoots already well-developed because of earlier mild weather.
Outside Chablis, known around the world for its fruity, acidic white wine, a deep orange glow from tens of thousands of candles hung over the rolling vineyards in the early hours.
Winemaker Laurent Pinson said he had put between 300 and 600 large candles – burning cans of paraffin – across many of his 14 hectares of vines.
“The harvest is at stake over a few nights – one, two or three nights – and if we have no harvest, that means no sales, no wine for consumers,” Pinson told Reuters. [ . . . ]
The global pandemic and a trade war with the U.S. delivered a one-two punch to France’s wine and spirits industry in 2020. According to the Federation of Wine and Spirits Exporters (FEVS), exports fell 13.9% last year as the industry hopes a new presidential administration will deliver some relief [ . . . ]
— French wines from €10; and an easy cocktail to make with a new gin
By LESLIE WILLIAMS
A recent spate of watching French movies and TV ( Spiral, Lupin, Call My Agent, Une Fille Facile etc.) sent me into my samples corner this week to see what I could find from la Belle France. In addition, Lidl have their annual ‘Taste of France’ promotion in store this week and I’ll be stocking up on Normandy Cider, Saucisson Sec, Breton Butter Biscuits and of course my guilty pleasure — Croque Monsieur sandwiches.
The Croque Monsieur is admittedly best consumed in a dive bar with a bottle of Stella Artois and a Pernod chaser but it seems unlikely I’ll get to do that this year. France is easily the country I’ve spent the most time in besides Ireland and 2020 was the first year I didn’t get to visit since around 1993 — I miss it.
While there is little good to be said about Brexit, a small positive is that it will draw Ireland closer to France with more ferry crossings already in operation and hopefully more opportunities for Ireland’s produce to sell there and vice versa — there is no doubt the French will appreciate our better produce far more than our nearest neighbour ever did.
I think what I love most about France is that my rather obsessive food and drink-focused life is considered perfectly normal there. I love its huge diversity of wine styles and its pursuit of perfection in all areas of gastronomy. The Appellation d’Origine Protégée (formerly ‘Controlée) system covers not just wine and cheese but also chickens, prunes (Agen), lentils (du Puy) and even chilli powder (the wonderful Piment d’Espelette from the French Basque country).
Of course, the AOP system is by no means perfect and more a guarantee of typicité than of quality but it is still miles ahead of any similar system and of huge benefit to rural France where a tiny region can gain fame for a cheese (there are more than 400), an eau de vie or a white pudding (Boudin de Rethel) made by only a dozen or so producers. We should be aggressively pursuing similar IGPs (Indication of Geographic Protection) for Ireland — Cork needs an IGP for spiced beef, drisheen and maybe even things like buttered eggs.
Selections this week are all from France and are a mixum-gatherum of wines —about 20 of which I tasted over the past fortnight. I think only the Dunnes Daronton Ventoux has appeared before and that was a from a different vintage. Bon Appétit et Vive la France!
Wine Under €15
Jean Cornelius Riesling, Alsace, France — €9.99
Jean Cornelius Riesling, Alsace, France — €9.99
Alsace is the only French region where Riesling is permitted in an AOP wine and thank goodness as it loves the Alsace climate. The best Alsace Riesling from producers such as Trimbach or Zind Humbrecht are among the best white wines in France. Entry-level but with typicité, this has lively apple and pear fruits and good balancing acidity with lingering tart apples on the finish.
La Roche d’Argent, Saint Émilion 2018, Bordeaux — €12.99
This is my pick of the Bordeaux in the Lidl French promotion, still a bit young but from a ripe year so drinking well now. Dark red-purple in colour, dark plum aromas with some violet hints, full and concentrated on the palate with crunchy textures and ripe black fruits. This will soften a little over the next five years.
Terroir Daronton Ventoux 2019, Rhône, France — €12.50
From the Rhonéa Cooperative, which has 236 growers in the Dentelles de Montmarail mountains (geographically Provence but classified as Southern Rhône). Made in a deliberately fruit-driven style, this is packed with red and black fruits with noticeable spice notes — fruit-driven palate with a bit of grip and structure thanks to its youth, but very drinkable and suited to rich casseroles or a mid-week pizza.
Wines Over €15
Puech Morny 2019 Gigondas, France — €16.99
Gigondas is a half-hour drive north-east from Châteauneuf-du-Pape and good examples have similar weight and power (if perhaps a little less elegance) than the best wines of its more famous neighbour. This pours a rich purple-red with aromas of dark cherry and blackberry and is fruity and supple with good creamy concentration and richness. Lingering spicy red fruits on the finish and a solid example of Gigondas, a wine that generally costs at least €22.
Kuentz Bas Mosaïk, Alsace, France — €16.69
We associate Alsace with varietal wines but there is a long tradition of blends, often field blends from the same vineyard. This is made from 30% Sylvaner, 20% Pinot Blanc, 15% Pinot Gris, 15% Muscat, 10% Gewüztraminer and 5% Chasselas and, as you would expect, floral Gewüztraminer is detectable on the nose but also pear confit — textured and almost lush on the palate but with balancing acidity. This matched a Tartiflette perfectly.
Château Crabitey Graves 2019, Bordeaux, France — €24
White Bordeaux is often rather overlooked and although it represents just 10% of the wines of the region, it can offer excellent value and quality at all price levels and ages beautifully. A blend of 70% Sauvignon and 30% Sémillon, this has stony citrus and apple aromas that follow through on the palate with the Sémillon flavours rounding out the mid-palate and adding complexity and length. The red version is also recommended.
There’s a famous quote by Rumi that best describes the importance of a fine wine, “Either give me more wine or leave me alone”
Only a true connoisseur of wine would connect to this saying and only a true lover of wine would know the real worth of a French wine. France, besides being famous for its rich culture, age-old traditions and grand architecture, the country is globally renowned for its wine. The world swears by French wines and every region here produces its own beverage. So let’s take a trip to some famous French vineyards that will tell you everything to plan your vineyard trip in France.
Wine of Provence
Your French vineyard tour won’t be complete without tasting the wine of Provence. This breathtaking French region is just a few hours drive from Nice and is known for producing some fantastic wines. This entire territory is dotted with vineyards and one can also enjoy wine tasting experiences here. The warm climate and the region’s proximity to the sea makes it a perfect place for grapes plantation. Syrah, Cabernet, Sauvignon, Cinsault and Clairette are some of the best wine brands here.
Wine of Loire Valley
Loire Valley is another famous wine producing region in France. Some of the popular vineyards here are located in Anjou-Saumur, Touraine, The Pays Nantais and Central Vineyards. Loire Valley wines are light and that’s what makes them so popular. One can choose from a stunning selection of red wines, white wines and sweet roses.
Wine of Burgundy
Burgundy is a historical French territory famous for its vineyard regions. The wine regions of Burgundy include Côte de Nuits, Châblis, Côte de Beaune, Côte Chalonnaise and Beaujolais, to name a few. The wine produced in this region is considered complex, which makes it very expensive. The region also produces some amazing white wines made from Chardonnay, and red wines made from Pinot Noir.
Wine of Bordeaux
A wine lover’s list of favorite wines won’t be complete without mentioning Bordeaux wine. Counted among the most famous and also the largest wine regions in France, Bordeaux is the world capital of wine! Situated in Southern France along the sea, the wine produced here tastes unique as it comes mixed with mineral qualities.
Rhone Valley wine
Another popular wine region in France is the Rhone Valley in Southeastern France. The region is spread across the meandering Rhone River and the wines produced here are the most expensive one. The Rhone Valley wine is known as Côtes du Rhône wine and some of the prominent products here include Grenache Blanc, Marsanne and Viognier.