Tag Archive for 'france'

2014 World of Pinot Noir Seminar – The Insider Wines of The Côte d’Or, Part 1

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One of the biggest thrills in wine, is finding bottles that perform above their price level. And, while Burgundy is not particularly known for bargains, there are still some excellent quality-to-price values to be found from several, shall we say, “less travelled” appellations and villages. These “insider wines” are often sought out by knowledgeable Burgundy enthusiasts who enjoy their value and pleasure, while saving their more expensive, high profile bottles for special occasions.

In a return engagement from his outstanding seminar at the 2013 WOPN, Don Kinnan, CSS, CWE, and the lead instructor for the French Wine Society’s new Master Burgundy Certificate program, led us through a few of these “insider” appellations, including Marsannay, Fixin, Pernand-Vergelesses, Savigny-Les-Beaune, Monthelie, Auxey-Duresses, Chassagne-Montrachet (a red!), Santenay, and the mountain of Corton, location of the Cote d’Or’s greatest expanse of Grand Cru vineyard acreage. Of course, the seminar also included a short history of the viticulture and principal vineyards and producers in each of these villages. Fortunately for us, 12 wines were selected to represent the best terroirs from these villages, which included a tasting of 2005 Corton and 2006 Corton-Charlemagne. Very nice touch!

So, join us as we listen to Don Kinnan give us insight into the lesser know “insider wines” of Burgundy, all in Part 1 of: Insider Wines of the Côte d’Or.

For more info:
World of Pinot Noir: www.worldofpinotnoir.com/

Slide Presentation at WOPN: Don Kinnan Burgundy Seminar

Sponsor: Millesima, Fine Wine Merchants: www.millesima-usa.com

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Show #360
(1:38:50 min 94.9 MB)

The Wines of Bordeaux – with Vignobles Garcin

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One might easily assume the Garcin family have always been Bordelais. However, they’re relatively recent transplants, having previously lived in the French Alps, where they owned a chain of supermarkets and a sports company. After the sale of these companies, brother and sister, Daniel and Sylviane Garcin, headed to Bordeaux in 1991, whereupon Daniel bought Chateau Smith Haut Lafite, and Sylviane bought Chateau Haut-Bergey. At the same time, Silviane formed Vignobles Garcin and continued to buy additional properties.

Vignobles Garcin consists of four small, ultra-premium wineries, including Right Bank properties Barde-Haut and Clos L’Eglise, as well as two Left Bank estates Haut-Bergey in Graves and Chateau Branon in Pessac-Leognan. The properties are now managed by Silviane’s daughter, Helene and Helene’s husband Patrice Leveque. The Garcin’s also decided to invest in Argentina, forming Bodega Poesia in the Lujan de Cuyo sub-appellation in the Mendoza region.

One of the properties, Chateau Barde-Haut, began as an addition to the family home on a 17-acre natural amphitheatre, just a few minutes from center of St. Emilion. Neighbors include Tertre-Roteboeuf and Troplong-Mondot. Dr. Alain Raynaud is also part of the Garcin team and consults on the winemaking.

Join us as we talk with the charming Hélène Garcin-Lévêque about Bordeaux, her family’s properties, and their progressive attitude in creating a state-of-the-art ‘green’ winery at Chateau Barde-Haut.

For more info:

Vignobles Garcin: www.vignoblesgarcin.com/

Bodega Poesia: www.bodegapoesia.com

Sponsor: Best Wines Online: www.bestwinesonline.com

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Show #342
(44:09 min 42.4MB)

2012 Hospice du Rhone Seminar – A Collective Quest: Le Vins de Vienne

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How about an armchair trip to the Rhône Valley? Well, beginning with a 10-minute primer on the Rhône Valley and its communes, this seminar from the 2012 Hospice du Rhône continues on to hear from each of the three vignerons behind a joint project called Les Vins de Vienne.

It all began in Vienne, a commune in south-eastern France, located on the Rhône River, 20 miles south of Lyon. The region was originally planted to grapes by the Romans over 2,000 years ago. Yves Cuilleron, Pierre Gaillard and François Villard dreamt of reviving an old vineyard in Seyssuel, a small town in the area. The three already had their own well-known and highly respected individual projects which gave them a claim to fame as recent pioneers of the “renaissance” of the 1980s in the Rhône Valley. As you listen to each of them, you have to admire their collective fortitude, as this also quickly becomes a quick look at AOC rules and regulations (‘don’t do this, don’t do that, can’t you read the sign’).

Join us as we hear from Yves Cuilleron, Pierre Gaillard and François Villard in a seminar moderated by Jeb Dunnuck, whose great work with the Rhone Report recently led him to a chair at the Wine Advocate.

For more info:
Hospice du Rhone: www.hospicedurhone.org/
Le Vins de Vienne: www.vinsdevienne.com

Sponsor: Pinpoint Technologies – Your Business List Source: www.pinpoint-tech.com

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Show #340
(1:07:15 min 64.6MB)

The Vineyards of Pouilly Fuissé – with Domaine J. A. Ferret

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Founded in 1840, Domaine Ferret is located in the Mâconnais region of Burgundy, in the commune of Fuissé. Here, half-way between Beaune and Lyon, Chardonnay is Pouilly Fuissé’s only grape variety. While it is the best-known part of the Mâconnais, there are currently no Premier Cru vineyards within the AOC – something Domain Ferret would like to change.

Of all Burgundy’s appellations, Pouilly-Fuissé has the most varied geology. The geological rifts and slopes are more accentuated, the spectrum of rocks present is the most diverse within the Maconnais, and the soils can be poor, made up of hard limestone and even calcite, but they can also be richer clays, based on alluvial marl deposits, schist’s and even volcanic-sedimentary pebbles. More than 330 million years separate the most ancient of these rocks from the most recent deposits. These foundation rocks, located on the eastern fringe of the Beauregard plateau, are made up of limestone deposited by ancient lakes.

A precise knowledge of the region’s most terroirs forms the basis of the parcel by parcel vinification for which the Domaine is known. In particular, the classification of Tête de Cru and Hors Classe were established by Jeanne Ferret. She was among the first to bottle wines at the Domaine. Her daughter, Colette, followed in her footsteps, developing the Domaine’s reputation for excellence. When Louis Jadot acquired the 18-hectare property in 2008, its goal was to continue working in the tradition established by the Ferrets.

Since 1840 Domaine Ferret has had an uninterrupted tradition of women as directors/winemakers, a tradition that has been continued by Audrey Braccini since 2008. Join us as we talk with Audrey, about the geography, the history, and the wines of Domaine Ferret from Pouilly Fuissé.

For more info:

Domaine J. A. Ferret: www.domaine-ferret.com/

Sponsor: Best Wines Online: www.bestwinesonline.com

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Show #335
(41:29 min 38.0MB)

Meet Soliste Cellars – with Claude Koeberle

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Claude Koeberle is quite a fascinating study and has been called a “force of nature.” He is opinionated (“Many of California’s fruit-forward wines do not pair well with food”), devoted to Pinot Noir with religious fervor (“Cabernet Sauvignon is an evil weed”), and talkative. He could impress you with his culinary accomplishments (Apprenticed under Paul Bocuse and Alain Chappell, became the youngest 3 Star Michelin Chef in Paris, Chef at Ma Maison and L’Orangerie in Los Angeles, James Beard Award as a master chef, French Laundry partner, and one of the driving forces behind Creative Culinary Concepts, Inc., and K World Cuisine, Inc.), but he would rather talk at length about how he has taken old world (Burgundian) beliefs and applied them to produce wines with finesse and balance that work in harmony with fine cuisine.

Together with long time friend and business partner, Donald Plumley and their respective spouses, Claude started Soliste in 2005 with the release of a Sonatera Vineyard Pinot Noir. The name Soliste is derived from the special barrel or “soliste” that Burgundian winemakers reserve for their family and friends.

Join us as we talk with Claude Koeberle about his culinary career, and how it led him on a journey into wine.

For more info:
Soliste: www.soliste.com/

Sponsor: Wine Berserkers: www.wineberserkers.com

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Show #331
(1:20:47 min 74.0 MB)

Go West Young Man – with Jean-Charles Boisset

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Jean-Charles Boisset was born into the world of wine. His parents, Jean-Claude and Claudine, had founded the family winery in 1961 in one of the most traditional winegrowing regions in the world – the village of Vougeot, in Burgundy. Born in a room above the family cellars, he grew up within view of the centuries-old vineyards of Château du Clos Vougeot. His involvement began early, accompanying his grandfather to the vineyards, playing in the barrel rooms and, as a teen, working several summers in the winery and cellars.

Jean-Charles completed his studies at the University of London, and moved to the U.S. for graduate studies in business and finance. He soon began work with Boisset’s American operation, and successfully developed a domestic portfolio of wines, while building a sales and marketing arm for the U.S. and Canada. He then joined the family management team back in Burgundy as Vice-President, and began to expand the Boisset holdings to become the third largest wines-and-spirits concern in France. He also ramped up the quality level by focusing on small-production wines from vineyards with very low yields that relied on organic or biodynamic farming methods.

However, having been exposed to American culture at a young age by both his parents and grandparents, Jean-Charles headed West again – ultimately to the vineyards of California. Continuing his search for premium New World terroir for Pinot Noir, Boisset added DeLoach Vineyards to its portfolio in 2003, followed by the 2009 purchase of Raymond Vineyards, and the 2011 purchase of Buena Vista Winery. The family had now also firmly planted their roots in California. Today, the Boisset family collection includes wineries that share more than 18 centuries of combined winemaking heritage and tradition in some of the world’s most prestigious terroirs, from Burgundy to the South of France, and to California’s Napa Valley and Russian River Valley. As if this weren’t enough, Jean-Charles would also find amour, marrying Gina Gallo in 2009, thus creating an immediate royal wine-family.

Join us as we talk with the charming and ebullient Jean-Charles, President of Boisset Family Estates, about his affection for California, his many wine innovations, and all things wine and philosophy.

For more info: Boisset Family Estates: www.boissetfamilyestates.com

Sponsor: Pinpoint Technologies – Your Business List Source: www.pinpoint-tech.com

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Show #327
(1:14:18 min 68.0MB)

2013 World of Pinot Noir Seminar – Terroir: the Soul of La Côte d’Or, Part 2

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Want to learn more about Burgundy? Well, there’s a seminar for that! In fact, this is the 2nd of two parts. You’ll be pleased to hear that the 2013 World of Pinot Noir presented a very nice and detailed glimpse of the region that you’re bound to find informative. We’ve broken it into two parts for easy listening.

Join us as we listen to Part 2 of Terroir: the Soul of La Côte d’Or. Don Kinnan, CSS, CWE, and the lead instructor for the French Wine Society’s new Master Burgundy Certificate program, resumes his in-depth seminar on the wines, soils, climate and history of the Côte d’Or. Don begins discussing the Côte de Nuits and the villages of Gevrey-Chambertin, Chambolle-Musigny, Vougeot, Vosne-Romanee. Then for the Côte de Beaune, Don focuses in on Beaune, Pommard, Volnay, and Puligny-Montrachet.

For more info:
World of Pinot Noir: www.worldofpinotnoir.com/

Slide Presentation at WOPN: Don Kinnan Burgundy Seminar

Sponsor: Millesima, Fine Wine Merchants: www.millesima-usa.com

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Show #323
(1:07:520 min 61.6 MB)

2013 World of Pinot Noir Seminar – Terroir: the Soul of La Côte d’Or, Part 1

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Want to learn more about Burgundy? Well, there’s a seminar for that! You’ll be pleased to hear that the 2013 World of Pinot Noir presented a very nice and detailed glimpse of the region that you’re bound to find informative.

So, join us as we listen to Don Kinnan, CSS, CWE, and the lead instructor for the French Wine Society’s new Master Burgundy Certificate program, as he presents an in-depth seminar on the wines, soils, climate and history of the Côte d’Or. Don begins discussing the Côte de Nuits and the villages of Gevrey-Chambertin, Chambolle-Musigny, Vougeot, Vosne-Romanee. Then for the Côte de Beaune, Don focuses in on Beaune, Pommard, Volnay, and Puligny-Montrachet – all, in Part 1 of Terroir: the Soul of La Côte d’Or.

For more info:
World of Pinot Noir: www.worldofpinotnoir.com/

Slide Presentation at WOPN: Don Kinnan Burgundy Seminar

Sponsor: Millesima, Fine Wine Merchants: www.millesima-usa.com

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Show #322
(1:14:53 min 68.6 MB)

A Walk Through Burgundy

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Allen Meadows is probably the most followed and well-known enthusiast and reviewer of the wines of Burgundy. Owner and author of the popular quarterly publication Burghound, Allen has been visiting the Burgundy region of France since 1979, when, after finishing graduate school, he decided to “give himself a gift” and travel to Europe. Allen got more than he bargained for, as his early interest turned first to fascination and finally to admiration and love for Pinot Noir and the wines of Burgundy.

Join us for this talk by Allen Meadows, recorded at the 2012 International Pinot Noir Celebration (IPNC), held at Linfield College in McMinnville, Oregon. IPNC is considered to be one of the premiere annual Pinot events held world-wide. For this tour through vineyards of Chambolle-Musigny, Echézeaux, Gevrey-Chambertin, Nuits-Saint-Georges and Vougeot, Allen’s guest panelists include winemakers Bertrand Ambroise of Maison Ambroise, Grégory Gouges of Domaine Henri Gouges, Jacques Lardière of Maison Louis Jadot and Philippe & Vincent Lécheneaut of Domaine Lécheneaut.

For more info:

Allen Meadows’ Burghound: www.burghound.com/

IPNC: www.ipnc.org

Sponsor: Wine Berserkers: www.wineberserkers.com

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Show #320
(1:51:44 min 102 MB)

The Wines of Alsace – with Florian Beck-Hartweg

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Beck-Hartweg in Dambach-la-Ville is one of the historic domaines of Alsace. Building on a long tradition of family winegrowing that began in 1590, the reins now belong to young Florian Beck-Hartweg.

As you might expect, Florian makes his wines in the vineyard. Growing Sylvaner, Pinot Blanc, Auxerrois, Riesling, Pinot Gris, Gewurztraminer and Pinot Noir, his overall goal is to create a balanced vineyard with low vigor vines, biodiversity resulting in a natural yield reduction. The results are wines that are very consistent, with terrific minerality, concentration and presence in mouthfeel.

Beck-Hartweg has a mere 5.5 ha (1 hectare = 2.47 acres), out of which 1.5 ha is on the Grand Cru Frankstein vineyard. Although the Grand Cru Frankstein vineyard covers 56 ha, it is divided into four separated, but very similar, south-facing parts. The bedrock here is granitic and the soils are sandy, well-drained and capable of producing elegant, complex, fruity wines with purity and marvelous acidity.

In the last several years, Florian has gained a solid reputation among lovers of wines from Alsace as a skilled, progressive and communicative representative of the future of Alsace. Join us as we talk with Florian about the family heritage, his wine-growing methods and wine-making style, and his philosophy concerning the Alsace AOC and its wines.

For more info:

Florian Beck-Hartweg Wines: beckhartweg.free.fr/

Sponsor: Best Wines Online: www.bestwinesonline.com

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Show #319
(45:10 min 41.4 MB)

Maison Joseph Drouhin, with Laurent Drouhin

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Those familiar with Maison Joseph Drouhin are in for a treat, as we spend some time with Laurent Drouhin talking about family and wine. Maison Joseph Drouhin bwas founded in 1880, when Joseph at the age of 22, left Chablis and settled in Beaune. He was succeeded by his son Maurice who began to establish a vineyard domaine for the House, purchasing land in such appellations as Clos des Mouches and Clos de Vougeot. With its 73 hectares (182.5 acres), the Joseph Drouhin Domaine is one of the largest estates in the region. It owns vineyards in all of Burgundy: Chablis (38 hectares – 95 acres), Côte de Nuits and Côte de Beaune, (32 hectares – 80 acres), Côte Chalonnaise (3 hectares – 7.5 acres). It is comprised of a majority of Premier and Grand Crus, planted with the two Burgundian grape varietals, pinot noir and chardonnay.

Robert Drouhin, succeeded Maurice in 1957, acquiring many of these additional vineyards, especially in Chablis. He was one of the first Burgundians to introduce “culture raisonnée” – doing away with pesticides and other chemicals. Robert and Françoise Drouhin’s four children: Philippe, Véronique, Laurent and Frédéric run the Maison now.

Join us as we talk with Laurent Drouhin (Director of U.S. Sales), about his family’s history, as well as the wines of Burgundy and Oregon of course.

For more info: Maison Joseph Drouhin: www.drouhin.com

Sponsor: Pinot Days: www.pinotdays.com

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Show #305
(57:19 min 54MB)

Conversation with Louis-Fabrice Latour, President of Maison Louis Latour

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Louis-Fabrice Latour is the seventh generation to run the family-owned Louis Latour business, taking over as President in 1999. Born in Beaune in 1964, he is the son of Louis Latour, current Chairman of Maison Louis Latour. Louis-Fabrice is president of the association of Burgundy négociants and president of the French national wine and spirit exporters association (FEVS).

Louis Latour has been a négociant-éleveur since 1867, and today produces 105 different wines. The two sides of the business consist of Domaine Louis Latour (wines from Louis Latour’s own vineyard holdings in Burgundy) situated in the medieval village of Aloxe-Corton, and Maison Louis Latour (a portfolio of wines from sourced grapes and wines that are blended to a style) headquartered in a beautiful 17th century house on Rue des Tonneliers in the heart of Beaune.

Join us in a fascinating and openly frank session with Louis-Fabrice, covering topics such as his family legacy, the role of négociants in Burgundy, vintages in Burgundy, and the current state of Burgundy exports to the United States. Of course we had to have some appropriate libations during the conversation, and Louis-Fabrice adds an interesting running commentary about the two wines we sampled: 2004 Louis Latour Corton Charlemagne and 2009 Louis Latour Marsannay.

For More Information:

Maison Louis Latour www.louislatour.com

Sponsor: Millesima, Fine Wine Merchants: www.millesima-usa.com

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Show #296
(1:00:48 min 58MB)

2011 Hospice du Rhone Seminar – The Rhone Valley

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The first seminar from the 2011 Hospice du Rhone, was designed as an introduction to the Rhone Valley at large, the 2nd largest wine producing region in France. As with an introduction to anything, there is no way to fully cover the Rhone Valley in a single seminar. Thus, three producers were selected to discuss the region and present some of their wines.

Michel Gassier discussed his Château De Nages. Michel described how his 70-hectares of Château de Nages is planted with Syrah, which seems to excel in the soil, creating dark, concentrated, tannic grapes, while the Grenache is reserved for the poorer soils which temper its natural growth. In addition, Mourvèdre seems to add a spicy complexity to the finished wines. Michel discovered that certain parcels of his had a predilection for Roussanne, as well as Grenache Blanc to round out his white blends. He also described Costières de Nîmes at the southern most vineyard of the Rhone Valley, where Rhone varieties are planted on the stony alluvial despoits of the Rhone River, and dry winds of the Mistral blow regularly. He also explained something less intuitive than you might think – how the heat of the day becomes cool at night to help keep the wines from this region fresh. Apparently, the top layer of stones stores up the heat of the sun. Then at night, the heat is released by the stones accentuating the natural convection caused by the cool sea air that comes in from the Rhone Delta called the Petite Camargue. The warm rising air displaces the cooler air above it, forcing the cool air downward. As a result, the temperature range between day and night is increased.

Next up was Nicolas Haeni, of Domaine de Cabasse. The Alfred Haeni family moved from Switzerland to Séguret in 1990, and operate both a winery and a hotel. In 2004, Nicolas took over management of the winery, and continued in his father’s tradition. The growing area extends across twenty hectares and various appellations: Séguret, Sablet Côtes du Rhône Villages A.O.C., and Gigondas AOC. He seemed to love their location in Séguret in the Provençe, a region where the Romans planted vineyards. Jucunditas (Latin for “joie de vivre”), is now known as Gigondas. Nicolas described their most recent challenge – the terracing encompassing 3.7 hectares in Séguret, which were laid out in 2005 and planted in 2006. They were able to terrace the mountain slope while at the same time taking into consideration the landscape’s view and the risk of erosion. All steps of the terracing were measured by laser and have a slope of three percent. The drainage is first led to the crest of the hill before it flows over the terracing. These specifications qualified them for the EU-supported Priorat Life Project. The terracing also afforded very dense planting.

The last panelist was Albéric Mazoyer, of Domaine Alain Voge in Cornas. Albéric is Alain Voge’s partner and operating winemaker. Albéric now runs the estate. Alain excelled in conventional grape-growing, but Albéric convinced him to go biodynamic. Voge has 6.5 ha of Syrah in Cornas AOC, 4 ha of Marsanne in St Péray AOC, 1 ha of Syrah in St. Joseph AOC, and a few more Syrah vines in the CdR. The Syrah vines are planted in decomposed granite, known locally as gore, on some of the most beautiful hillsides in the Cornas appellation. In the winery, the Syrah grapes used for the red wines are destemmed. Fermentation is done in small (30-50 hl) stainless-steel vats; temperatures are controlled, and caps are punched once or twice daily. Ageing is done in oak barrels for 14-24 months, according to the “strength” and requirements of each wine. For the white wines, the grapes are pressed whole. Alcoholic and malolactic fermentation is done in barrels for Fleur de Crussol and Terres Boisées, then the wine is aged on lees for 12-16 months. The Harmonie cuvée is vinified then aged on lees in vats only for 10 months.

For More Information:

Hospice do Rhone www.hospicedurhone.com

Sponsor: Pinpoint Technologies – Mailing List Source: www.pinpoint-tech.com

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Show #295
(59:00 min 30MB)

Young Burgundian Vignerons Visit World of Pinot Noir 2011

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Rusty Gaffney and Jay Selman have a casual and intimate conversation with Alexandrine Roy and Thomas Bouley, participants in the “Young Turks of Burgundy” tasting at the World of Pinot Noir. We were impressed by their charm and willingness to share their insights into the role of young vignerons in Burgundy today and their impressions of American Pinot Noir. (Please excuse our butchered French)

Sponsor: Pinpoint Tech – Your Mailing List Source: www.pinpoint-tech.com

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Show #286
(29:38 min 21MB)

Distillation – The Birth of Cognac

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Welcome to our video podcast: Cognac Distillation – Video Show #99.

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After fermentation, the white wine is distilled into ‘eau-de-vie.’ To become Cognac, this involves a double distillation, for which only the heart, or middle portion of the second distillation is retained. The heads, too high in alcohol, and the tails, lacking harmony, are carefully removed and distilled over again to perfection.

For its first distillation, the unfiltered wine is brought to boil in the copper pot. Since alcohol evaporates faster than water, alcoholic vapors can be collected in the onion dome shaped cowl and in the swan neck, which slows the rectification process of the flavors, before passing into the long serpentine condenser coil. Vapors condense to the contact of the cooler and turn into a liquid known as ‘brouilli,’ with an alcoholic content of 27 to 30% vol. This is distilled a second time in a process called the ‘bonne chauffe’. The distiller’s key task is then to choose the moment when to isolate the ‘heart’ of this second distillation, extracting the ‘head’ and the ‘tail’ in the process.

This distillation process is a delicate and slow one. It lasts for approximately twenty four hours and requires the constant care of the distiller. It usually begins in November and is conducted day and night for several months. The rule binds it to stop at the latest at the end of March. Distillation is a key factor that gives Cognac its distinctive character. Its secrets are handed over from generation to generation.

Allen Meadows and the Wines of Domaine Fourrier

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Allen Meadows, a.k.a. Burghound, moderated this entertaining Seminar featuring the owner and winemaker of Domaine Fourrier, Jean Marie Fourrier. Domaine Fourrier has a four generation history in Gevrey-Chambertain and was one of the first Domaines in Burgundy to export wine to the United States. The Domaine experienced a revitalization with the arrival of Jean Marie Fourrier in 1994, and the wines, as Allen Meadows noted at the Seminar, “Are built on balance, not concentration.” Jean Marie Fourrier says his wines are only crafted from vines at least 30 years old, and represent “terroir in a glass.”

Join us at this seminar from the 2010 World of Pinot Noir.

For More Information:

The Burghound – www.burghound.com

Domaine Fourrier – domainefourrier.pagesperso-orange.fr

The 2011 World of Pinot Noir – www.worldofpinotnoir.com

Sponsor: Millesima, Fine Wine Merchants: www.millesima-usa.com

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Show #281
(1:20:41 min 70MB)

The Scent of Black

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Welcome to our video podcast: The Scent of Black – Video Show #91.

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In the Cahors region of France, black truffles are almost literally as valuable as gold in the culinary world. Prized for their glorious scent, black truffles are fungi that grow exclusively on the roots of oak trees. Found in late autumn and winter, the truffles cannot be seen since they grow under the ground. Pigs, or specially trained dogs have been used to search for these elusive truffles. About 20% of the French production comes from southwest France, which possesses the limestone soils and dry hot weather that truffles need to grow.

In the late 19th century, an epidemic of phylloxera destroyed many of the vineyards in southern France. Large tracts of land were set free for the cultivation of truffles. Thousands of truffle-producing trees were planted, and production reached the peak of hundreds of tonnes by the end of the 19th century. Wars during the 20th Century decimated the fields. After 1945, the production of truffles plummeted, and prices rose dramatically. In 1900, truffles were used by most French people, and on many occasions. Today, they are a rare delicacy reserved for the wealthy, or used on very special occasions.

Originally a common grape in Bordeaux, Malbec has lost popularity as one of the five varieties in the Bordeaux blends. Meanwhile, Malbec increased its status in the French region of Cahors, an area southeast of Bordeaux, where it creates distinctive wines that now require 70% of the variety.

GrapeRadio is proud to present a look at the Cahors region, as rightly famous for its black truffles as it is for its Malbec, a wine that exemplifies the scent of black.

All About Comté – Part 2

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Welcome to our video podcast: Comte – The Art of Cheese – Part 2 – Video Show #89.


If you like cheese, you’re probably familiar with Comté. This French semi-hard cheese made from unpasteurized cow’s milk has been produced for hundreds of years, and is still traditionally made in more than 190 cheese dairies, known as the “fruitières” in the Jura region of eastern France. The Jura plateau of the Franche-Comté is the most mountainous (and coldest) region of France stretching from the eastern edge of Burgundy through the foothills of the Jura Alps to the Alps along the border with Switzerland.

It is the first French AOC (label of origin) cheese, guaranteeing the quality of the cheese. Each 40 kilo (about 88 pound) wheel of Comté is made from the milk of many different small farms. The milk is collected at a fruitière, where it is manipulated and transformed under strictly controlled conditions. After its fabrication, the huge wheels of cheese are transferred to a limited number of cellars spread across the region, where they will age anywhere from 4 – 18 months. The taste is variable depending on the age and the season of the milk. It’s typically described as salty, mild, and fruity. Some cheese have strong hazelnut flavors, while others have subtle hints of nutmeg. Wine pairings? Dry whites and lighter reds work beautifully with Comté.

Join us for this first of two episodes covering this fascinating region. We’ll learn some of the history of this region, and what makes this part of France special, but more importantly, how this translates to Comté itself.

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GrapeRadio is a wine talk show. Show topics cover issues such as the enjoyment of wine, wine news and industry trends - the hallmark of the show is interviews with world class guest (winemakers, vineyards owners, wine retail / wholesale leaders, restaurateurs and sommeliers). The scope of the show is international so expect to hear many guests from around the world.

GrapeRadio has received numerous awards and honors including the 2008 James Beard Award for excellence in Journalism.

GrapeRadio has been the subject of numerous news reports by: The New York Times, Business Week, CNN, The Financial Times of London, and Wired Magazine.