Want to learn history while drinking some wine? Treasury Wine Estates just launched the perfect brands for the wine and history buffs: 19 Crimes, Château St. Jean, Gentleman’s Collection and Beringer Bros.
There is no miracle, just innovation through technology. Treasury Wine Estates powered an app based on Augmented Reality. One downloaded on a mobile phone, the app allows to listen to the story of the criminal pictured on the label or, in the case of the more classical Beringer Bros. label, to listen to the story of the brothers.
A few years ago an American friend visiting Bordeaux told me he loved Pinot Noir. Being French I answered: “You’re certainly in the wrong region. You should go to Burgundy: their wines are great.” His puzzled look told volumes. Pinot Noir and Burgundy were not a natural association in his mind. We cleared up the misunderstanding and he shook his head in dismay at my long explanation.
But his reaction and my experience dealing with foreigners in love with French wines got me thinking. Being French in the wine business can be a source of frustration when trying to explain…
2016 is the birth year of a new Madeira brand launched by Madeira Vintners in Portugal. It is the first new Madeira brand in 80 years. Madeira Vintners is also the first new producer on the island since 1946.
The Madeira Vintners is headed by Lisa Gonçalves, a young Madeiran enologist who trained in Algarve, Alentejo, France and New Zealand. Her experience taught her to be open and answer positively to new challenges. She hired young female professionals to help her.
Do you know a street artist nicknamed Le Diamantaire (the Diamond Cutter)? If you live in Paris, Bordeaux, New York, Miami, Montreal or Zurich, you might have crossed the name and the work of this talented young artist, born in 1987 in Normandy, France.
As some of his “elders” (Invader, Zevs), Le Diamantaire chose a style and a material, glass he cut diamond-style. In 2014, a sponsor offered him a studio where he could let his imagination run free. He took this opportunity to create monumental sculptures, like his 4000 work.
For decades, Classified Growths and French luxury wines were accustomed to having a second wine. This “second wine” was made from lesser quality grapes considered not good enough for the “grand vin”. It was very often named “Le Petit…” (The Little one — like the second wine of château Guiraud, le Petit Guiraud).
Château Mouton Rothschild had the same strategy, calling its second wine “Le Petit Mouton” (The Little Sheep). Not to be confused with Mouton Cadet, their negociant wine.
When your wine is in the category of the classified growth or the “grand cru” how damaging is it to…
In fact, for decades, there was no question. One bought luxury goods first hand. Then the web happened. Consumers changed. Luxury houses stayed true to themselves. Young and trendy entrepreneurs bypassed them and changed the game.
What happened? Younger consumers have different values: they favor mobility, experience, sustainability, ethical and social values more than possession and status. Instead of owning a good, they’d rather rent it or buy it second hand. Then, when tired of it or interested by an other item, they will sell it and buy something different.
Wondering if I’m being very French by complaining about restaurants? Here is what one of my American friends wrote about her recent experience in a “high end” Paris restaurant: “The restaurant sprawls over three levels — and we were ignored on all three. […] We waited and then waited some more. This was the perfect prelude to what followed: more waiting, slap-dash service, screwed up orders of both food and wine and a regular refrain telling us we should order more. ‘Our plates are small, well, medium, so you should order at least three each.’ …
Today let’s enjoy some soul searching — which can become a creative process. These last few months I embarked on a new reading path connecting my French roots and my American “spirit”. Of course it was in relation to what became my everyday life over the last years: wine, food, lifestyle, culture and innovation.
At first, a simple book title attracted my attention: Au Revoir to All That: Food, Wine, and the End of France by Michael Steinberger. A click on my Kindle account and I started reading a long lament about the decline of France as the heart of…
Iconic wine, yes but coming from Provence instead of Bordeaux, Burgundy or Champagne. Surprising? No, if you think about it: quality is mostly a matter of work, terroir and talent. Let me take you to Rasteau (pronounce ras-to) in the Rhone Valley:
Ortas Cave de Rasteau was established in 1925. Believe it or not, it is a “cooperative winery”, member of the upscale club “Marques&Coops” (Brands & Coops) showcasing 12 cooperative wineries to promote high quality wines.
The coop is the leading producer of the appellation and has several assets to promote the quality of its wines:
Should I confess that, as a French scholar raised in Paris, France, I am not familiar with horses, saddles and equine paraphernalia? On the other end, my father, born on Mauritius Island and raised in Madagascar, spent his youth on a horse back and brought his saddle to France when he moved to the country. The saddle was displayed on a chair in the living room for the intrigued eyes of the family guests and was part of the decor of our Parisian apartment. It was a plain leather saddle with no peculiar artistic design. Its appeal came from the…