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Is it Really Terroir or Is it Just Marketing?

Date: Thu, Feb 14, 2008 Wine Business

By Michael Apstein Feb 12, 2008 It is often difficult for American consumers, who are accustomed to varietal labeling, to understand and the see the virtue in the European tradition of naming wines by reference to place of origin rather than the name of the grape--a system that highlights the importance of terroir or place. Part of the difficulty stems from determining whether the character of the wine is due to the producer's style or whether it is truly due to the origin of the grapes. Maybe the difference between wines made from grapes in adjacent regions--or even vineyards--is due to the winemaker's techniques and has little to do with the locale. Certainly in Burgundy, tasting two Puligny-Montrachet Les Folatières from different producers, such as Louis Latour and Olivier Leflaive, who have vastly different styles, can make you wonder how they could have both come from the same vineyard. This is not a problem limited to a single grape variety or an individual country. In California and other New World wine areas, producers are trumpeting the uniqueness of wines made from grapes grown in a single vineyard or specific regions. Pine Ridge, an outstanding Napa Valley-based winery, bottles a variety of Cabernet Sauvignon made from grapes grown in different subregions of Napa, such as Stags Leap, Howell Mountain, Rutherford and Oakville. Pinot Noir and Chardonnay--perhaps it's the Burgundy paradigm at work--seem to be the favorite grapes for winemakers to use in an attempt to capture a sense of place. While Patz & Hall produces a Napa Valley Chardonnay made from a blend of grapes grown in five vineyards, they also produce ones from grapes grown exclusively in vineyards scattered over Northern California: the Hyde Vineyard in Carneros, the Durell Vineyard in Sonoma, Dutton Ranch and Zio Tony Ranch, both in the Russian River Valley, and Alder Springs Vineyard in Mendocino. They also have six single vineyards bottlings for Pinot Noir from similarly diverse geographic locations. Patz & Hall emphasizes the importance of vineyard by putting the vineyard name on the front label and relegating the varietal name to the back label. Morgan, an excellent Monterey-based producer that focuses on Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, bottles several wines from single vineyards that are only miles apart from one another. They produce Chardonnays from grapes grown in their Double L vineyard, located in southern end of Santa Lucia Highlands, and from Gary and Rosella Franscioni's Rosella's Vineyard, just three miles down the road. The soil in the two vineyards is similar--sandy loam with traces of limestone--but Rosella's Vineyard is slightly warmer and has more protection from the wind. Gary's Vineyard, from which Morgan makes an excellent Pinot Noir, is just four miles south of their Double L Vineyard, which is planted to Pinot Noir as well as Chardonnay. (Both Chardonnay and Pinot Noir can flourish in different parts of same vineyard. The best European example is Corton, which has Grand Cru status for both Chardonnay and Pinot Noir-based wines). More and more, we are seeing single vineyard wines from places like New Zealand, countries that have a shorter tract record for discerning individuality of specific geographic areas. Villa Maria, one of the country's leading producers, bottles both a Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir from the Taylors Pass vineyard in the Marlborough region on the northern tip of the South Island. The fundamental question remains. Are the wines unique and reflective of the site, or is this single vineyard labeling just a marketing tool? Do Try This at Home The obvious way to answer this question is to taste wines--from the same vintage--from different...

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Pierre Perrin in the Wine & Dine magazine

Date: Mon, Jan 21, 2008 Wine Business

beaucastel, chateauneuf, philosophie

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Jeroboam elected best Japanese wine importer

Date: Mon, Dec 3, 2007 Wine Business

Jeroboam the Japanese wine importer we founded 5 years ago together with our friends Hugel from Alsace and Laurent Perrier (who since then was replaced by Pol Roger) has just been elected Japan's best importer by Wine business international magazine. That's a fantastic achievement for the team leaded by Carl Robinson. Congratulations!

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UK market: Berry Bros buys our agent for UK.

Date: Thu, Oct 4, 2007 Wine Business

from BBR website: Berry Bros. & Rudd is delighted to announce that it is acquiring the business of Mistral Wines, the prestigious agency house founded in 1970 and run by Anthony and Novella Lacey since 1976, which specialises in the wines of the Loire, Rhône and Midi. Mistral Wines will be integrated into BB&R's agency arm, Fields, Morris & Verdin (FMV), which supplies hotels and restaurants in Greater London and leading merchants throughout the UK FMV already boasts an enviable clutch of top-flight agencies, including Vega Sicilia, Ridge Vineyards, Champagne Jacquesson, Domaines Lafon, Carillon and Ostertag, Luciano Sandrone, Isabel Estate and Dog Point Vineyard, and the inclusion of the Mistral exclusivities, Château de Beaucastel and Perrin et Fils along with other substantial producers, considerably strengthens this portfolio. John Hutton, FMV Managing Director, says "This exciting acquisition of Mistral Wines not only strengthens the FMV agency portfolio but also offers us the opportunity to grow our business in new markets." Anthony Lacey, adds "Novella and I are very pleased that Mistral has been bought by the distinguished family firm of Berry Bros. & Rudd and we very much look forward to joining forces with their agency division Fields, Morris & Verdin"

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End of the harvest

Date: Tue, Oct 2, 2007 Wine Business

That's it, the harvest is over. We finished the counoise and mourvedre in Beaucastel this week-end and the grenache in Vinsobres today. We believe that 2007 will be a great vintage in the southern rhone and will keep you posted on the wines. Technorati Tags: 2007, beaucastel

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Friday sept 28th: Mourvèdre and Counoise at Beaucastel

Date: Fri, Sep 28, 2007 Wine Business

Technorati Tags: perrin, philosophy, terroir

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2007 vintage report Chateauneuf du Pape

Date: Wed, Sep 26, 2007 Wine Business

2007 vintage report from the Federation des syndicats de producteurs de Chateauneuf du Pape: "A very healthy grape harvest following an exceptionally dry summer... With just 35 mm of rain between the 16th of June and the 15th of September, we can confirm that the summer of 2007 at Châteauneuf-du-Pape was an exceptionally dry one. According to the agricultural weather forecast based at Carpentras, it is probably the driest in the last twenty years. The average rainfall registered at 161 mm (The weather station at Orange). The rainfall of these last few days (about 20 mm between the 16th and the 18th of September) were welcomed. The short spell of rain did not bear any negative consequences on the course of the grape harvest which starts to draw to an end. The summer of 2007 had more wind than normally predicted (20 days of strong Mistral between the 1st of July and the 15th of September) and slight surplus on the level of seasonal sunshine (1.157 h against 1.145 h on average). In spite of strong variability in temperatures, marked by 30 days when the minimal temperatures laid between 10 et 15°C, and only 7 days when the maximum temperatures were higher than 35°C, the seasonal averages remain in conformity with the normal (slightly higher in June and September and slightly lower in July and August). The climate results over the last few months confirm what was visible in the vines : the summer of 2007 was particularly favorable to obtaining a vintage of quality, endowed with good aromatic balances and beautiful colours. In the vines the sorting needed was minimum, the grape pickers advanced with ease, thus giving the possibility to winemakers to stop their harvesting a day or two in the week to leave the grapes reach their perfect maturity. Optimizing the potential of the 2007 vintage. The quantity of this year’s harvest is slightly higher than the decennial average with yields which should range between 32 and 34 hl/ha, for an authorized maximum of 35 hl/ha. 2007 vintage is situated along the same lines as the four previous ones. 2003, 2004, 2005 and 2006 vintages were tasted on September 15th at a seminar organized during the ‘Rhône Valley wines festival’ in Copenhagen, and will also be presented on October 22nd in London during a demonstration with wines from Tavel and Châteauneuf-du-Pape." Technorati Tags: contact, history, philosophy, rhone, terroir, vinification

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Update on the harvest: Tuesday Sept 25th

Date: Tue, Sep 25, 2007 Wine Business

Well, i think we can start saying that this year we are very lucky. The weather is still outstanding, very sunny and very windy. We had about 20 mm of rain last tuesday, and then the mistral started again and the sun came back. The weather forecast for the next days is the same and we feel really lucky especially when we look at the forecast for tomorrow which shows once again that south-east of France has unique weather conditions this year. We will finish harvesting the Grenache in Chateauneuf du Pape by the end of this week. Next week we will start harvesting the Mourvedre and Counoise. In Gigondas, Vacqueyras and Cotes du Rhône, we just finished. In Vinsobres, we started harvesting the Syrah yesterday. People start saying that 2007 will be in line with 89 or 90. Great colour, great concentration... we will see but for sure it will be at least a very good vintage. Technorati Tags: 2007, beaucastel, chateauneuf, rhone

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Picture of the day...

Date: Thu, Sep 20, 2007 Wine Business

Must from Syrahs freshly picked

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Wednesday sept 19th

Date: Wed, Sep 19, 2007 Wine Business

The temperature since yesterday are quite cold: around 68°F which is good for grape-picking... Today Grenaches and Syrahs have been picked; the harvest, which is picked by hand, is carefully sorted out on arrival at the cellar and only the best grapes are vinified. After being destemmed completely the grapes are going into the fermentation vats where they undergo a traditional vinification. Technorati Tags: beaucastel, contact, millésimes, perrin, philosophie, rhone, terroir, vinification

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Monday sept 17th

Date: Tue, Sep 18, 2007 Wine Business

We continued picking some Grenaches by the parcel just front of the Chateau de Beaucastel... Technorati Tags: beaucastel, contact, millésimes, perrin, philosophie, terroir, vinification, wine

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Friday sept 14th- Grenaches at Beaucastel...

Date: Fri, Sep 14, 2007 Wine Business

Live with Pierre Perrin... Technorati Tags: beaucastel, contact, millésimes, perrin, philosophie, rhone, terroir, vinification, wine

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Thursday sept 13th

Date: Thu, Sep 13, 2007 Wine Business

We started very early this morning to pick our first Syrah in Gigondas for our Perrin et Fils "La Gille". At the same time an other team of pickers finished harvesting the Syrah in Coudoulet and also harvested some Grenache there. The mistral stopped blowing yesterday and the weather is beautiful on most of France as you can see on this satellite picture from Meteo France... Technorati Tags: beaucastel, contact, millésimes, perrin, philosophie, terroir, vinification

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