Reaching the bottom of the barrel: Coronavirus pandemic batters European wine production

 

It’s an ancient beverage turned cultural icon, so cherished in France that the legendary Victor Hugo once provocatively wrote: “God made only water – but man made wine”. Aside from being a staple at many family dinner tables, wine is also a massive European industry – and one that’s going through its own coronavirus-induced crisis. This in a sector that was already battling against 25% tariffs imposed by Donald Trump in 2019 that have seen exports slump.

Source: Reaching the bottom of the barrel: Coronavirus pandemic batters European wine production – Talking Europe

Fine French wine auctioned to help Covid-19 care staff

High-end fine French wines are being sold at auction to raise money in support of healthcare staff working on the frontline against the Covid-19 pandemic.

The specialist website iDealwine has been running the auction since April 27. It will last until May 7. It had been aiming to raise €100,000 overall; but managed to raise €60,000 in just a few days, so may yet exceed its target.

All the money raised will go to medical charity “Protège Ton Soignant” (Protect Your Carer), which helps healthcare personnel.

The auction catalogue features almost 1,000 bottles, including prestigious wines from Bordeaux, Alsace, Bourgogne, and Champagne. The list also includes a number of Italian and Portuguese wines, as well as varieties of Scottish whisky.

Continue reading “Fine French wine auctioned to help Covid-19 care staff”

10 Top-Rated Rosé Wines, From Provence to Your Couch

Spring has sprung and that means it’s time for rosé all day. Here are our picks for choice bottles from the French region that started it all, Provence.

Rosé season is upon us. The best way to transition into warmer weather is with a bottle from Provence, the French region that started the pink-wine craze.

Delightfully fruity, yet impeccably honed by crisp acidity (and sometimes tangy minerality), rosés from Provence are often considered the top in their category. While usually made from a mix of red grapes—the roster can include Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Cinsault, Grenache and Mourvèdre—some bottlings can even include the white grape Vermentino, or Rolle, as it’s called locally.

Here are some of the top-scoring Provence rosés from across the region that are hitting shelves and online shops. Scoop them up and enjoy a bit of Provençal sunshine in a bottle.

Château Vignelaure 2019 Rosé (Coteau d’Aix-en-Provence); $22, 93 points. Produced from organic grapes, this ripe wine is well structured and richly elegant. It has depth and concentration as well as a touch of tannins from the Cabernet and Syrah in the blend. The wine is just ready to drink, although it will be better from late 2020. Monsieur Touton Selection Ltd. Editors’ Choice. –Roger Voss Continue reading “10 Top-Rated Rosé Wines, From Provence to Your Couch”

Go for Rhône — the classic French wine that’s also great value

Given that 2018 is the fourth great rhône vintage in a row, it’s time we all stocked up on what is the best-value classic French wine region. What’s weird about the Rhône, despite its stellar whites and reds, is just how few of us put it on a par with Bordeaux and Burgundy.Perhaps what confuses drinkers are the dozens of wine styles made along the Rhône valley, from Lyons in the north to Provence in the south. They broadly divide into two camps: the cooler northern Rhône’s steep, granite, terraced slopes produce peppery, syrah-spiced reds, while the sunbaked south is known for heady, herby grenache-led gems. As so often, the 2018 vintage is a game of two halves [ . . . ]

Read full story at THE SUNDAY TIMES: Go for Rhône — the classic French wine that’s also great value | Weekend | The 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

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 “