Monthly Archives: September 2022

  1. Has Your Palate Changed? We Take the Amarone Test

    Has Your Palate Changed? We Take the Amarone Test

    Over the years, we have read quite a bit about how wine palates change. The conventional wisdom is that people tend to start with sweeter wines, then move to dryer wines and then move to more elegant, softer wines. The cliché then was that your parents liked Bordeaux while your grandparents preferred Burgundy.

     

  2. Loire Valley Vintners Are Embracing Organic Wine

    Loire Valley Vintners Are Embracing Organic Wine

    As a child, Liv Vincendeau loved going with her mother to the first organic shops in the little German village of Wiesbaden where she grew up. The shops, she says, were very hippie-like and not trendy like they are today. Her mother, an organic gardener and cook, was a member of the local green party and she would frequently organize tree planting excursions throughout the local towns. Vincendeau's family also spent a lot of time in the countryside, hiking in the forest and visiting world heritage sites. Unsurprisingly, when Vincendeau moved to France she brought her childhood values with her. In 2014, she founded a small Loire Valley winery, Domäne Vincendeau, and never considered anything but organic farming to manage the property. 

    “I always wanted to build something beautiful and nice to live and work in,” says Vincendeau. “There’s no way I would use chemical products that could hurt me or anyone else working in the vineyards. People in the office at conventional wineries often don’t consider the vineyard workers who are the ones exposed to dangerous products. When it’s yourself out there you think about it differently.” 

    The desire to avoid chemical exposure is not only affecting wine growers. Consumers, concerned with food and beverage safety, are demanding organic products, those made without the use of synthetic chemicals or genetically-modified components. The organic wine market, while still relatively small, is rapidly growing and according to Grand View Research, is expected to increase 10.2% by 2030.

    France is one of the leading countries of organic viticulture, with 17% of its vineyards farmed organically as of 2020 (Beverage Daily), and that number is rising. French wine growers are reacting not only to market demand, but to what they are seeing in conventional vineyards where chemically-treated soils lack a rich diversity of living creatures and vegetation. To the contrary, organic soils are teeming with microbiomes that are vital in maintaining a healthy ecosytem for grapevines to produce high quality grapes.

    Sylvain Grosbois, owner of Loire Valley winery Domaine Grosbois in Chinon, began to farm organically in 2007. “As we started to listen to what our vines  were telling us and to respect the soil and the life around them,” says Grosbois, “we noticed a huge difference in regards to the insect life and number and activity of birds. The soil is much more aerated and smells better, and the vine is more...

  3. Lauverjat Menetou-Salon: A Family Battles Historic Forces; ‘We No Longer Have Seasons’

    Lauverjat Menetou-Salon: A Family Battles Historic Forces; ‘We No Longer Have Seasons’

    We were at a small wine shop, looking for a nice end-of-summer white. We spotted the bottle at the same time and both said, “Awwww.” It was Menetou-Salon, a Sauvignon Blanc from the Loire Valley of France, which we don’t see that often. When we do, we think of Windows on the World in New York’s World Trade Center, where we first tasted it decades before terrorists brought down the twin towers on Sept. 11, 2001, killing almost 3,000 people. We recalled that first bottle when we had another Menetou-Salon at a French restaurant in St. Maarten during a cruise in 2006 and toasted our dear wine-loving friend Cathy, who we lost in that devastating attack 21 years ago. 

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  4. Mario Paoluzi of I Custodi: Rediscovering Mount Etna's Traditions

    Mario Paoluzi of I Custodi: Rediscovering Mount Etna's Traditions

    Mario Paoluzi is the owner of I Custodi, an artisanal winery located on the northern slope of Mt. Etna in Sicily. I Custodi refers to themselves as the "keepers" or the "guardians" of Mt. Etna's vineyards. Their mission is to preserve the land and traditions of the region as well as to respect the people.

    Paoluzi teamed up with well-known and highly regarded oenologist Salvo Foti to produce wines from Etna's indigenous grapes using traditional methods dating back centuries. The winery is part of a very important association of Sicilian growers and producers called "I Vigneri," which dates back 500 years but has more recently been revived by Foti as a way to pass on the skills and techniques of grape growing and winemaking from older generations. As a result, previously abandoned vineyards have been revived and there has been a renewed interest in the wines of Etna. 


    Christopher Barnes: Mario, tell us a little bit about how you got into the wine business.

    Mario Paoluzi: It was 2007. I was already here in Sicily, in Catania since 2001, since I moved here from Rome for a family business reason. And I had the chance to meet with Salvo Foti, who was following at the time a project called Il Cantante that...

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