Archive for the ‘Review french wine’ Category

The Wine Lady’s Wine Wars: France Vs Spain

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Dethroning a King: Why French Sparkling No Longer Reigns Supreme

bubblyA recent article in reports that Champagne (the “real” bubbly made in the Champagne region of France) has been suffering a steady decline in sales, especially in their export markets. In 2009 alone Champagne producers decreased production a whopping 44% to account for decreased demand.

At the same time, sales of Italian bubbly have jumped a whopping 22%. That’s not too surprising in these economic times, given that a bottle of Champagne goes for anywhere from $40 to $300, while you can pick up a good Prosecco for under $15.

So cheers to the Italians for making the most of bad times and creating good times for their bubbly producers.

The article also explained that Italian sparkling wine producers haveĀ  begun to create fine bubbly that can compete head to head with the French in the premium category. Again, good for them.

In fact, the wine world has always had any number of top-quality producers of fine wine and sparkling wine, even though the French would have us believe that they are in sole possession of the top-quality market niche. The French have always been incredibly good self-promoters, and for centuries had the wine world believing that Quality was defined by their Bordeaux, Burgundy and Champagne. They had us all believing that if we preferred the taste of something — anything — else over the taste of French wine, it was because: a) we’d had a bad bottle; b) we had a bad palate; or c) we were hopelessly low-class and incapable of appreciating the finer things in life. Read the rest of this entry »

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Battle of the Bubblies: Joseph Perrier vs Jules Bertier

joseph perrierI’ve often wondered if this whole Champagne thing really means anything.

I’m referring to the huge fuss that’s been made about using the word “Champagne” on a bottle of bubbly: that it can’t be used as a generic term for sparkling wine and can only be used to designate a wine from the Champagne region of France. The Champagne folks act like the Keepers of the Holy Grail, as though any bubbly besides theirs is swill not fit to drink and can therefore not bear their name.

So I was excited when I stumbled across a bubbly challenge. I had recently served a sparkling wine from France (but not Champagne) and got rave reviews from everyone who tried it. I heard comments such as, “I don’t usually like champagne, but I like this one.” Now, I can’t take those comments totally at face value: In America, most people drink sparkling wine only at weddings and New Year’s Eve parties, and tend to lump everything with bubbles under the name “champagne,” including cheap domestic stuff made in giant concrete vats, and sweet stuff from Italy. But the point is, the folks who drank my non-Champagne bubbly meant, “This stuff is good.” ‘Nuff said.

Then I was given a sample of a true, blue, honest-to-God Champagne, and decided to do a taste-off to see if the Champagne label really did bring with it a distinct style and superior quality. Here are my results.

Jules Bertier Premiere Cuvee Blanc de Blanc is a non-vintage sparkling wine from France’s Loire Valley. This region is best known for the white grape Chenin Blanc. Caves de Grenelle, which produces this cuvee, grows Chenin Blanc, Chardonnay and Cabernet Franc. Since this wine is called “Blanc de Blancs,” which indicates an all-white-grape blend, this must be made from Chenin Blanc and Chardonnay. The winery has a long tradition, founded in 1859, and is known for producing fine Cremant de Loire (sparkling wines from the Loire region). Read the rest of this entry »

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