Jura, the French Wine Region You’ve (Probably) Never Heard of 

For a few years now, the wines of a small pocket of France have been the toast of the sommelier and wine shop owner community. But for most, Jura means very little (and no, we’re not talking about the Scotch whisky). It’s almost as though industry types have been trying to keep the secret, safeguarding a small but delicious supply of funky French wine just for themselves

Jura rests in the north of France, between the exalted vineyards of Burgundy and the Swiss border. Expectedly, it’s a bit chillier here, and there’s a nice mix of clay soils down low and sought-after limestone soils higher up. The “jura” name comes from a Celtic word for forest and there’s even a resident mountain range sporting the name. Continue reading “Jura, the French Wine Region You’ve (Probably) Never Heard of “

US agrees to hold off tariffs on French wine

The US President Donald Trump and French President Emmanuel Macron have agreed to hold the tariffs on French wine until the end of this year.

Wine cellar

Last December, the US government announced that it is planning to implement 100% tariffs on $2.4bn worth of French goods as a response to France’s digital services tax.

The tariff will be implemented on wine and other French products, such as Le Creuset Dutch ovens, Hermès handbags and Roquefort cheese, announced Trump.

US-based wine importers protest that Trump’s tariff decision on French wine will impact their livelihoods.

The digital service tax is aimed at American companies such as Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon (GAFA).

The French government also previously announced it will be imposing a 3% tax on the annual revenues of the US-based technological companies.

However, recent discussions between the Presidents have reportedly calmed the situation to some extent.

According to French diplomatic personnel, who addressed various media agencies, Macron and Trump have agreed to hold the tariff implementation plans and focus on continuing negotiations on digital tax at the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

President Macron tweeted saying he had a ‘great discussion’ with President Trump and that the two countries would ‘work together on a good agreement to avoid tariff escalation.’

Currently, a 25% tariff has been implemented by the US government on French wine due to Airbus trade dispute.

Source: US agrees to hold off tariffs on French wine

My Totally Racous, Très French, Super Wine-Soaked Weekend in the Loire

At an epic gathering of natural winemakers in France’s verdant river valley, I slurped oysters and downed magnums and got a sense of what makes this community, and its wine, so special.

Let’s get one thing straight: I know very little about wine. I drink a lot of it,
sure—the natural stuff more specifically, which as far as I understand it is a loose, poorly defined term that more or less refers to wine made by small producers without the addition of weird chemicals and with the addition of eye-catching labels. But compared with the friends and sommeliers whose oenological ramblings I excitedly nod along to, I often feel like a poseur. I know my way around a wine list, but at the end of the day, I’m a sucker for bottle art. I will always order the hypebeast wine I recognize from Instagram. I use the word funky too often. My wife, Lauren, and I went to a hip wine fair once and bought a poster we had seen in hip wine bars and hip wine stores because we thought it looked cool, not because we knew anything about “Catherine et Pierre Breton,” the French winemakers whose names were scrawled across the bottom. It hangs above our dining room table, and when we’re having our Wine Friends over, I’m always nervous someone will ask me about it, the same way 13-year-old me prayed older kids wouldn’t see my Sex Pistols T-shirt and ask questions about a song that wasn’t on the greatest hits album.

Continue reading “My Totally Racous, Très French, Super Wine-Soaked Weekend in the Loire”

How Red Wine is Made 

Wineries make red wine today much the same way they did 6,000 years ago in Greece and Persia. Dark-colored grapes are harvested, crushed, fermented, stirred and separated from the skins by a press. Voila! Red wine.

Better containers, presses and cellars have increased quality and efficiency of red wine production many times over, but it’s still essentially a simple process. Red wine production requires no cooking or ingredients besides grapes, yeast and, usually, sulfur dioxide as a preservative.

Red wine is made on the skins

Red wine is made like white wine, but with one major difference. Generally, it ferments with the grape skins and juice combined in a tank or vat. White wines are pressed before fermentation, separating the juice from the skins.

The skin contact in red wine production allows color, flavor and textural compounds to be integrated into the juice, while the yeast converts sugar to alcohol. The skins contain most of the good stuff that gives red wine its color, while the pulp mostly provides the juice.

Harvesting red-wine grapes and the crush

Red wine grapes are ready to harvest in late summer to early fall, several weeks after the initial green color of the grapes has turned to dark red or blue-black, a period called veraison.

Vineyard crews cut the grape bunches or clusters from the vines. That’s either done by hand or a self-propelled machine that shakes or slaps the grapes off their stems and collects the individual berries and juice.

Delivered to the winery, winemakers can also sort out mildewed grapes, unwanted raisins, leaves and debris. Clusters then go through a destemmer/crusher that removes the whole grape berries from the stems and may squeeze them slightly to get the juice flowing. Any juice created at these stages prior to pressing is known as free run. Machine-harvested grapes are already ready to ferment. Continue reading “How Red Wine is Made “