Travel: Maremma and Lucca

Travel: Maremma and LuccaAs part of her ideal Tuscany wine tour, Carla Capalbo shares her top picks of where to visit from the Meremma, Lucca and up the coast. Royal Victoria hotel, PisaMaremma and Lucca: Where to eat and drink
Beginning to the southeast of Grosseto, Maremma’s most populous city, for simple grilled meats, hand-made pastas and local wines, Trattoria Cupi, near Magliano in Toscana, features the best of the Maremma; from €40 (www.trattoriacupi.it). Read more

Ian D’Agata’s top 10 exciting wines from Italy

Ian D’Agata’s top 10 exciting wines from ItalyNever has the Italian wine scene been more dynamic, enthuses Ian D’Agata. We are spoiled for choice, with a wealth of wines on offer that communicate the passion of vine growers and winemakers for their land, and for the palette of indigenous grapes available to them.Although France is the source of the world’s most expensive and sought-after wines, it is Italy that offers wine lovers the largest variety of fantastic wines to choose from. Clearly, this is the best of times for Italian wines. When I look back at my last 35 years following Italy’s wines, it’s apparent to me that Italian wines have never been better. Gone are the quickly oxidising colorless wines of the 1960s and early 1970s, which might have tasted fantastic while on holiday but that travelled poorly and rarely had much to say once you were back home. And it is just as rare to find red wines marred by dirty smells and flavours nowadays.
Over the last 10 years especially, there has been an incredible appearance of age, and everyone on Italy’s wine scene seems to be contributing in a generally positive way. There’s a generation of talented young individuals who have taken stock of the potential of their grapes and land, and who are determined to make high-quality wines that speak of Italy – and, even better, of their specific part of Italy. Plus highly professional consultant winemakers who, for the most part, have realised that they can’t just apply the same tried-and-tested recipe to each estate they work with. Government institutions and consortia are also building positive contributions, sponsoring studies to explore the soils and microclimates in specific viticultural areas, and introducing new, more most likely, classifications, often with the help of academia.
He picks his 10 exciting wines showcasing the variety Italy has to offer… Read more

Napa Valley wine train ‘100 percent wrong’, says CEO

Napa Valley wine train ‘100 percent wrong’, says CEOThe chief executive of the Napa Valley wine train has apologised for his staff's 'insensitive' actions after their choice to eject 11 women spurred a wave of criticism on social media. A carriage view of the Napa Valley wine trainSome Chirrup and Facebook users saw the Napa Valley wine train incident as a racial issue – a motive also suggested by the women themselves – and the hashtag #laughingwhileblack has been circulating widely.
The 11 women, most of whom are African American, are part of a book club and travelled on the wine train over the weekend. Staff ordered them off the train for building too much noise.
‘The Napa Valley wine train was 100 percent incorrect in its handling of this issue,’ said wine train chief executive Anthony ‘Tony’ Giaccio. The organisation hired crisis management pr consultant Sam Singer to handle the situation. Read more

Sotheby’s offers taste of Krug 1915 Champagne for $15,000

Sotheby’s offers taste of Krug 1915 Champagne for $15,000Wealthy wine lovers will be given the chance to taste 100-year-ancient Krug 1915 vintage Champagne at a Sotheby's New York auction this September. The Krug 1915 will feature as part of a two day tour and tasting.Bidding for a two-day tasting at Krug cellars in Champagne will start at $15,000, Sotheby’s said.
The LVMH owned Champagne house has promised to uncork one of only four remaining bottles of Krug 1915 vintage in its cellars, as part of a tasting that will encompass Krug vintages spanning the past 100 years.
Sotheby’s’ auction, to be held on 25 September, comes amid higher interest in vintage Champagne amongst the world’s wealthiest wine lovers.
Olivier Krug will lead the tasting and there will also be a vineyard tour that is to include some of the description of the 1915 vintage in Champagne – which took place during World War One. Read more

Jefford on Monday: Up The Steep Hill

Jefford on Monday: Up The Steep HillChateau Latour and Napa Valley Araujo owner Francois Pinault has just been named the eighth richest man in France, but this archived column from Andrew Jefford considers the wide difference in value that exists in wine and reports on a tale seldom reported yet arguably much more predictable. BrandstattThis Jefford on Monday article was originally published on 25 August 2013.
I’ve never, alas, tasted an Araujo Estate Cabernet Sauvignon grown in the Eisele Vineyard, Napa Valley.  My newly bought enthusiasm for fantastic Napa Cabernet, though, suggests that I’d like it a lot.
What was ‘the undisclosed sum’ paid by the Pinault family in late July to bring Araujo into the Latour stable?  No one knows quite which two digits preceded the million dollar abbreviation.  (Or were there, even, three?)   The colossal difference in land values, though, between Napa Cabernet vineyard and those of Coonawarra, Margaret River, or indeed any additional location in the ‘New World’, is remarkable, and merits reflection by landowners in those additional key Cabernet regions. Read more

Tesco to close wine community website

Tesco to close wine community websiteTesco plans to close its wine community website within a week in order to re-focus on wine sales via its shope and on Tesco.com. Tesco wine community website to closeA spokesperson for UK supermarket confirmed to the closure of the Tesco Wine Community website. It will stop to operate on 28 August, after being launched in December 2011.
The news comes amid a hard period for Tesco, although it did not link the wine community website closure to its current financial state.
‘We know the [Wine Community] site has proved really informative for some customers, but we will now focus on providing in rank on our award winning wine range in store and on our Tesco.com website,’ said the spokesperson.
Tesco is also set to lose its long standing category director for wine, Dan Jago, who is moving to become chief executive of the Berry Bros & Rudd merchant in the next few weeks.
Tesco’s head of wine development, Laura Jewell MW, has also left in the past 12 months to become the UK chief of trade body Wine Australia.
The retailer said in June that the UK grocery market in general was ‘challenging’ – despite its small increase in like-for-like sales by number in the first quarter of its financial year.
All of the so-called huge four UK supermarkets – Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury’s and Morrisons – have faced greater competition from discounters Aldi and Lidl, as well as from Waitrose at the higher end of the market.
 
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Australia launches tasting notes for Chinese wine drinkers

Australia launches tasting notes for Chinese wine drinkersChinese wine lovers are set to get more tasting notes with local references to taste and flavour when choosing Australian wines, due to new research. chinese, china wine, wine, drinkersThe research identified 34 Chinese wine descriptors, the majority with Western equivalents (examples below), although some were hard to classify as either Chinese or Western descriptors (such as clove, star anise and mango), said researchers from the Ehrenberg Bass Institute for Marketing Knowledge, University of South Australia. Read more

Profile: Château de Cérons, Cérons

Profile: Château de Cérons, CéronsI can do no better than quote Stephen Brook: ‘Even in ancient age Jean Perromat (born in 1923) was a tall, imposing figure, exuding the authority he yielded for decades as mayor of Cérons and diligent promoter of its sweet wines. Chateau CeronsThe Perromats are an influential family in the province and his brother Pierre was for many years president of the Institut National des Appellations d’Origine (INAO). The château is a lovely 17th-century manor in the Bordeaux ‘chartreuse’ style, opposite the village’s Romanesque church.’
Here is description in the building, and in its courageous continuation: Cérons lies just north of Barsac and was awarded its own appellation in 1936, 10 days previous to Sauternes was similarly recognised. Cérons, with its small port on the Garonne to facilitate trade, was long part of Sauternes until being expelled in 1921 to allocate the absorption of the commune of Fargues into Sauternes, perhaps influenced by the Lur-Saluces family of d’Yquem and Filhot, then, as now, owners of Château de Fargues. Read more