Would you like to stay in this Chateau?
Yes, this is the fairy tale Chateau de la Riviere in the Bordeaux region. They have a few exquisite guest rooms available. It is a truly amazing experience. They also have some of the most incredible cellars for storing their top quality wines.
We are running wine tours in the Bordeaux area, with a clear focus on fun, learning and experiencing top quality wines. We taste at Chateaux such as Lynch Bages, Mouton Rothschild, Margaux, La Gaffeliere and Cheval Blanc. We eat at some of the best and coolest restaurants in the Bordeaux region. And we normally find time to stay in a 5 star hotel for a night.
For more information and prices please email directly: firstname.lastname@example.org
Some recent statistics here have caused dramatic headlines. For sure the French export market is difficult on the back of extreme pressures from exchange rates and the credit squeeze let alone the bad and slow payment situation.
However statistics are open to abuse. Champagne sales may have fallen by over 40% in the first half of 2009, but the Languedoc Roussillon area has definitely increased sales. We, at Bella Wines, have increased sales by c 25% so far this year. Lets see what the important Christmas period generates..
If anyone is looking for the greatest value and most dynamic wines of the World then it is worth seeking out wines from the South of France.
I have often driven rapidly over the Millau Bridge, either excitedly heading back to Sue and the boys (its only 90 minutes from home) or charging north towards a ferry and England.
In July I traveled with the boys for a UK 'holiday'. We stopped at Millau to have ice cream and check out the bridge.
Designed by British architect Sir Norman Foster and conceived by French engineer Michel Virlogeux.
Cost: 400 million euros.
Where:Links the A75 Clermont Ferrand to Beziers motorway above the river Tarn valley in the South of France very close to the fantastic cheese village of Roquefort.
Record?: Highest bridge in the World at 343 metres above the valley floor.
14th December 2001....first stone laid by JC Gayssot, Minister of Transport.
28th May 2004....the two parts of the deck from either side are joined together.
14th December 2004...Inauguration by Presdient Chirac.
16th December 2004...First traffic
Interestingly there are only 7 steel pylons that connect the bridge to the valley floor.
The bridge is 2460 metres long.
There are 36000 tons of metal framework, 205,000 tons of concrete.
It is a stunning construction and well worth stopping off to have an ice cream and browse around the visitor centre.
This is a wild view from our house. The little building tucked in the garrigue is the Chapel of Sainte Leocadie. The pine trees, small scrubby oaks, thyme, rosemary, olives and sage all add the character and heart of this stunning wild corner of the Minervois.
This is a good a relevant article from Decanter magazine.
I have previously written about the healthy values of a couple of glasses of red wine. It seems that there is more as a preventative medication as well as a simple anti oxidant.
I would love to see wine prescribed by doctors. I know that French hospitals certainly serve wine at meal times.
29 have been accused of spouse abuse.
7 have been arrested for fraud.
9 have been accused of writing bad cheques.
17 have directly or indirectly bankrupted at least 2 businesses.
3 have done time for assault.
71 cannot get a credit card due to bad credit.
14 have been arrested on drug-related charges.
8 have been arrested for shoplifting.
21 are currently defendants in lawsuits.
84 have been arrested for drink driving in the last year.
Which organization is this?
It's the 635 members of the House of Commons, the same group that cranks out hundreds of new laws each year designed to keep the rest of us inline.
What a bunch we have running our country - it says it all. And just to top all that they have the best 'corporate' pension scheme in the country.
It is staggering that 84 MP's have been arrested for drink driving in the last year.
Are these role models?
Are these people we should respect?
Love him or hate him, it is inspiring to see a UK tennis player wanting to win at last. For so long the gentleman players have been under performing or not fulfilling their potential. However Andy Murray seems to have the determination, single mindedness and raw passion (as well as a lot of talent!) to succeed......and he is Scottish.....which is even better.
At last Summer may be around the corner. It has been damp, wet and miserable in the South of France recently. In fact it has been far better weather in the UK over the last two months. The vignerons have sufficient rain....now they are worried about rot and oidium(are farmers ever happy?). Whilst we have had ghastly damp heavy skies, we have been more fortunate than many parts of Bordeaux who seemed to have had severe hailstorms...one of the nightmares for any grape grower. One saving grace for this part of the Languedoc is that we have fresh cleansing winds that can soon change the clouds and freshen up the whole atmosphere. Let's hope.
When things in your life seem almost too much to handle, when 24 hours in a day are not enough, remember the mayonnaise jar and the 2 glasses of wine... A professor stood before his philosophy class and had some items in front of him. When the class began, wordlessly, he picked up a very large and empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with golf balls. He then asked the students if the jar was full. They agreed that it was. The professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles rolled into the open areas between the golf balls. He then asked the students again if the jar was full. They agreed it was. The professor next picked upa box of sand and poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled up everything else. He asked once more if the jar was full. The students responded with a unanimous'yes.' The professor then produced two glasses of wine from under the table and poured the entire contents into the jar, effectively filling the empty space between the sand. The students laughed. 'Now,' said the professor, as the laughter subsided, 'I want you to recognise that this jar represents your life. The golf balls are the important things; your family, your children, your health, your friends, and your favourite passions; things that if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full. The pebbles are the other things that matter like your job, your house, and your car. The sand is everything else; the small stuff. If you put the sand into the jar first, he continued, there is no room for the pebbles or the golf balls. The same goes for life if you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff. Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness. Play with your children. Take time to get medical check-ups. Take your partner out to dinner. Play another 18 holes. There will always be time to clean the house and fix the disposal. Take care of the golf balls first; the Things that really matter. Set your priorities. The rest is just sand.' One of the students raised her hand and inquired what the wine represented. The professor smiled.'I'm glad you asked. It just goes to show you that no matter how full your life may seem, there's always room for a couple of glasses of wine with a friend.'
This headline could also be....'Light exercise makes you feel more healthy'.
It is definitely the 'silly season' just before a budget. The UK government desperately needs to raise taxes to fund their inefficiencies. Alcohol is an immediate easy tax.
According to a recent article in the Telegraph these are the worrying statistics:
Large glass (250ml) of average strength red wine = 214 calories = one bag of Cheesy Wotsits.
A bottle of average strength red wine = 644 calories = 14 jaffa cakes or McDonald's Cheeseburger and medium fries.
Large glass of medium dry white wine = 190 calories = two and a half digestive biscuits.
Bottle of medium dry white wine = 570 calories = chicken with cashew nuts and egg fried rice.
One pint of premium lager = 330 calories = one four ounce fillet steak
One pint of cider = 200 calories = one KFC chicken drumstick
Large Bailey's (100ml) = 320 calories = one Snickers bar
One shot (25ml) of vodka or gin = 55 calories = one 25ml serving of single cream(in may cases I would rather drink the alcohol!!!)
Kate and Chris are some fun people in the leafy suburbs of Manchester at Reserve Wines. They are always trying something different and they have a friendly and easy attitude towards their customers. The shop is really well stocked with interesting wines, that you would not always see in supermarkets or on the high street. Essentially Kate and Chris are passionate about their business and this is reflected having just been selected as Independent Wine Merchant of the Year in the International Wine and Spirit Competition 2008.......which is a just reward for their hard work.
I was in the shop recently to taste and review one of the excellent Logan Wines. If you want to see a charming video click here!
The 1855 classification of Bordeaux wines has stood the test of time apart from a couple of minor adjustments (Chateau Mouton Rothschild was elevated to 1st Growth in the early 1970's). However this classification was mainly for the 'Left Bank' of Bordeaux.
On the other hand the St.Emilion classification was introduced in 1954 in order to promote the top Chateaux and show off a hierarchy of quality. The classification is reviewed every 10 years and controversially Chateaux are promoted or demoted. This obviously gives the classification more fluidity, whilst keeping the Chateau owners 'on their toes' to maintain or establish their quality.
Unfortunately it has now all gone pear shaped!
The most recent classification in 2006 was disputed by the demoted Chateaux and they took legal action. The court cases have been back and forth and unfortunately at every turn the reputation of St.Emilion becomes slightly more tarnished. The latest news from St.Emilion is that the 2006 classification will not stand.....so the lawyers have won!!!
This leaves the current labelling for Chateaux which were demoted or promoted in limbo! It also means that if the next classification takes place in 2016 we could be in for some fun.
Read more in Decanter.
There are many parts of the viticultural year that have benefited from innovation and progress. Harvesting machines are the most obvious advancement from the traditional hand pickers.
These innovations take time to bed in and they also normally have critics from the older generation.
One area of grape growing that has not really had much advancement over the years is pruning. Apart from the introduction of electrical sheers rather than manual sheers...which has reduced the arthritic problems and tendinitis.
Every vine grows in a different way. The branches develop and shoot over in all directions. Therefore the pruning and more importantly the selection of the next years growth has always been done by a human. How can a machine make a judgement on a healthy shoot? How can a machine decide what looks good or bad to cut?
Well.....the Americans have come up with a new machine that will halve the labour costs and speed up the pruning....click the link here. Will we be seeing the first robot pruners in the Minervois soon?
This was a fascinating article on the web
France is currently having an identity crisis for wine. Undoubtedly the anti alcohol lobby is becoming stronger, whilst at the same time wine is an important fabric of the heritage of France.
It is an interesting conundrum ......support a traditional part of the French lifestyle and pastimes or become a prohibitionist state!
Unfortunately President Stircrazy is not a wine lover......perhaps he will be convinced by his potentially new BF over the pond who likes an occasional tipple and an occasional surreptious ciggie!