Burgundy, two new AOCs

Approval was granted by the Institut National des Appellations d’Origine (INAO) in June 2017 for the two new AOCs of Vézelay and Bourgogne Côte d’Or.

• Vézelay becomes a Village appellation
Vines were first grown in Vézelay during the Roman era, but unfortunately, they were almost completely destroyed by phylloxera in 1884. In 1875, they began a gradual comeback, and were granted the Bourgogne appellation in 1985. Then in 1998, the quality and uniqueness of this terroir were recognized and given a welcome boost when they were awarded the Bourgogne Vézelay Régionale appellation.
The creation of the Vézelay appellation confirms the region’s potential for producing quality wines.

• Bourgogne Côte d’Or: A new Régional appellation
The granting of this new Régional appellation is the result of two decades of hard work by professionals in the winegrowing industry. By validating this new AOC, the INAO has confirmed that the terroir in this part of the Bourgogne winegrowing region truly has its own unique characteristics.
But you’ll need to wait a few months before you’ll have the chance to sample these two new appellations, as the first wines from the 2017 vintage won’t come to market until the fall of 2018.

From the Bourgogne Wine Board (BIVB)


The Hospices de Beaune Wine Auction – a weekend not to be missed!


From 17-19 November, come join the party in Beaune for the 157th Hospices de Beaune Wine Auction. Although the actual sale is reserved for potential buyers, the general public can watch the proceedings in the street on a giant screen. And plenty of tastings are organized in the surrounding streets. Over the weekend, the city of Beaune is filled with shows and concerts. Local restaurants often offer special menus for the event, making for a truly magical occasion, and one definitely not to be missed!

From the Bourgogne Wine Board (BIVB)




Wine production in New Zealand’s Hawke’s Bay has suffered losses due to incessant rains in March, bringing down its total production from 2016’s 42,000 tonnes to 33,000 tonnes in 2017.
The news was revealed recently by Hawke’s Bay Winegrowers Association chairman, Michael Henley, when speaking to New Zealand Herald.
According to the newspaper, the heavy rainfall during the harvest in March created some lower than normal volumes for growers.
Despite being a challenge, the 2017 vintage is still “much stronger” than 2011 and 2012, said Henley, adding that it has the potential to produce some “outstanding” wines that could rival great vintages of 2013 and 2016.
Chardonnay is said to be unaffected because it had been picked before the rains hit. Cabernet Sauvignon is another grape that was spared from the heavy rain thanks to its thick skins, and the region’s overall good drainage.
“It is still a wait and see thing because they are still youthful and in the barrels, but there will be some fine wines come out of this vintage,” he added.
This year, globally wine production has suffered due to a string of natural disasters including frosts and hails in Europe, which is faced with its lowest wine production since WWII.

An article from The Drinks Business by Natalie Wang

Family Frey bought Château Corton-André (in French)


Caroline Frey, qui préside déjà à la destiné du Château La Lagune dans le bordelais et de la maison Paul Jaboulet Ainé dans la vallé du Rhône, va désormais diriger aussi une grande maison de Bourgogne, le mythique Château Corton-André que sa famille vient de racheter.
La présence de la famille Frey dans le domaine viticole remonte à ses origines champenoises. Elle détient un important vignoble dans les plus beaux crus de la Champagne ainsi qu’une participation au sein de la prestigieuse maison Billecart-Salmon. Deux autres joyaux complètent le patrimoine familial constitué au fil des années par Jean-Jacques Frey : à Bordeaux, le Château La Lagune, 3e grand cru classé 1855 et, dans la vallée du Rhône, les Domaines Paul Jaboulet Ainé, dont le fameux hermitage La Chapelle s’inscrit au panthéon des plus grands vins du monde.
Caroline, la fille ainée de Jean-Jacques Frey signe à Bordeaux comme dans la vallée du Rhône des vins de haut niveau, dans un souci permanent de qualité et de respect des terroirs.
En rachetant au groupe Béjot le Château de Corton-André (fraîchement acquis auprès du groupe Ballande et Meneret), la famille Frey arrive en Bourgogne en restant fidèle à ses valeurs d’excellence. Le Château de Corton André est emblèmatique du vignoble bourguignon. Son architecture et ses magnifiques tuiles vernissées surplombent les vignes d’Aloxe-Corton et il dispose d’un clos ainsi que d’un vignoble de sept hectares dans les prestigieuses appellations de Corton, Corton-Charlemagne, Meursault, Volnay, Pommard…
Entre un château particulièrement représentatif et des terroirs d’exception, Caroline dispose d’un joli potentiel pour vinifier de grands vins.

An article from Le Dauphine



Modern Australian winemakers are breaking away from the old tradition of blending plots and vineyards to focus on terroir-driven, single vineyard wines, says Michael Hill-Smith MW, co-founder of Shaw + Smith Winery in Adelaide Hills.
Speaking about Shaw + Smith Winery’s single vineyard Chardonnay ‘Lenswood’ at a lunch event organised by its Hong Kong importer, Links Concept, Hill-Smith MW explained: “There’s a movement moving away from blend of regions. If you look at bigger companies like Penfolds, they’ve got a tradition of blending one region with another. There’s a history of blending for the best wine, and nowhere else in the world would that happen for premium wine.
“Despite the history, the modern wine movement is about single origin, single site and single block.”
The ‘Lenswood’ 2014 is only the second vintage released from the winery after it purchased the vineyard in 2012, and it has already been lauded by Australian wine critic James Halliday. Not that Hill-Smith seems very interested.
“Who cares what James Halliday gives,” he declared. “Until you get a 98, then it really does matter,” causing a room full of guests to burst into laughter.
Compared with Australia’s famous Shiraz output, Smith believes that Chardonnay is “one of the most exciting grapes, if not the most exciting” grape in Australia. “Because where would you go to buy these lively, fresh, vibrant wines at a price that doesn’t make your eyes bleed?” he asked.
“What is fascinating about Australian Chardonnay is that it has evolved and continues to evolve in an exciting way. The wines are no longer oaky, golden, old fashioned or heavy. As we learned to plant the grape in cooler vineyard sites with some vineyard age, we are making some of the most exciting Chardonnays in the world, even more than Burgundy or California,” he continued.
In 2016, the country’s total white wine production amounted to 808,000 tonnes and Chardonnay is responsible for half of that figure, with a total of 406,000 tonnes crushed, according to Wine Australia.
In addition to its Chardonnay range, which includes ‘M3’ and the single vineyard ‘Lenswood’, the winery also makes Pinot Noir and a cool-climate Shiraz including a single vineyard called ‘Balhannah’.
Its latest offerings including Shaw + Smith Sauvignon Blanc 2016, M3 Chardonnay 2015, Lenswood 2014, 2015 Pinot Noir, 2014 Shiraz and Balhannah Vineyard Shiraz 2013 which are all available in Hong Kong now.

An article from The Drinks Business by Natalie Wang

14 new Masters of Wine


The Institute of Masters of Wine  announced 14 new Masters of Wine. Based in five different countries, the new Members of the Institute are, Nova Cadamatre MW (USA), Julie Chene Nyheim MW (Norway), Alistair Cooper MW (UK), Philip Harden MW (UK), Ashley Hausman Vaughters MW (USA), Sarah Heller MW (Hong Kong), Tim Jackson MW (UK), Andreas Kubach MW (Spain), Fernando Mora MW (Spain), Aina Mee Myhre MW (Norway), Billo Naravane MW (USA), Catherine Petrie MW (UK), Nigel Sneyd MW (USA) and Morgan Twain-Peterson MW (USA).

There are now 369 Masters of Wine living in 29 countries.

The new Members have proved their understanding of all aspects of wine by passing the Master of Wine examination, recognised worldwide for its rigour and high standards. The MW examination consists of three stages, including theory and practical exams, and culminates in the submission of a final research paper, an in-depth study on a wine related topic from any area of the sciences, arts, humanities, or social sciences.

In addition to passing the examination, all MWs are required to sign the Code of Conduct before they are entitled to use the initials MW. The Code of Conduct requires MWs to act with honesty and integrity, and use every opportunity to share their understanding of wine with others.

An article from the Institute of Masters of Wine

New Zealand wine exports reaches record value


The export value of New Zealand wine has reached a record high according to the 2017 annual report of New Zealand Winegrowers.
It has now been valued at $1.66bn, up +6% in June year end 2017, and is New Zealand’s fifth largest goods export.
Over the past two decades the wine industry has achieved average annual export growth of +17% a year according to the Report.
“With diversified markets and a strong upward trajectory, the industry is in good shape to achieve $2bn of exports by 2020,” said Steve Green, chair of New Zealand Winegrowers.
According to the report, exports to the US have lead the strong growth, passing $500m for the first time (up +12%). New Zealand wine became the third most valuable wine import into the US, behind France and Italy.
Green highlighted that in order to achieve continuing value growth, it is critical for the industry to maintain focus on protecting and enhancing its reputation as a distinctive, quality product.
“Our premium reputation remains the greatest collective asset for New Zealand wine, and underlies the high average price our wine commands in global trade,” added Green.
“Improved protection of New Zealand’s regional identities through its Geographical Indications Registration Act, and initiatives such as the launch of the Sustainable Winegrowing New Zealand Continuous Improvement extension programme will help enhance the world-class reputation of New Zealand wine as a premium and sustainable product.”

An article from Drinks International by Shay Waterworth