That is a pre-Phylloxera Tinto de Toro vine from Toro. Tough to tell from this picture but it's only a foot and a half tall. The weather, on the high-altitude plane where this was taken, is so extreme that the vines grow at a snail's pace. This example is nearly 140 years-old, making it amongst the oldest in Castilla y Leon. It belongs to Pago de Matarredonda. They make one of the most unique wines of the appellation.
That my friends is deliciousness. Dinner tonight took place on a Fronton Court. Fronton? The Spanish term for a game the Basque refer to as Jai-alai. Wondering why we were on a Fronton court? Not sure but it was the second time that day. At no point in my life did i envision myself on a Jai-alai court, let alone twice in one day. Regardless, the food was great. This beauty is a Shallot and Sherry Vinaigrette, Bronzed Candied Almonds, Violet Petals, Truffle Oil, Crunchy Sea Salt over a slice of Chilled Seared Paroto. Paroto? Baby horse...
What is that you may ask? That is yours truly holding a Jamon Iberico Jabugo...aka the World's most expensive ham. Apparently, one does not just purchase a Jabugo. One buys them as futures. You buy the ham when it's still a piglet and 4+ years later you get your ham. This little beauty will set you back about 1000 E or $1,400 US. A small plate of it in a restaurant will set you back $50-60.
The Council of State has just annulled the decree for the Vin de Pays “Vignoble de France.” The Federation of Independent Growers of Languedoc-Roussillon, the trade union of the Vine Growers of Herault and Association the Cause of the Wine, filed a motion disputing the legality of this decree. The European Commission has refused to publish the appellation in the Official Journal of the European Communities, stating that most likely does no conforms to the Community legislation which stipulates that a local wine must come from a geographical unit obligatorily smaller than the Member State. 70.000 hl of Vin de Pays have been approved for Vignobles de France to date.
**Please note: translated from the original French using Chris’ mediocre 10 years-ago college French. The original can be found at http://www.vitisphere.com/breve-55033-Vignobles,France,Conseil,d’Etat,annule,decret.htm
Thanks to Veronique from Montreal for the heads-up.
December 22, 2008
Australia has agreed to stop using terms such as Champagne, Sherry, Port and Chablis as part of a new EU-Australia Wine Agreement. In exchange, the EU will allow imports of reduced alcohol Australian wine made via reverse osmosis.
On 1 December, EU agricultural commissioner Mariann Fischer Boel and Australian foreign affairs minister Hon Stephen Smith signed an accord that protects 'traditional European' terms that define geography and geography-linked styles. This replaces the previous agreement signed in 1994. 'The big prize which the EU has won here is rock-solid legal protection on the Australian market for our treasured European wine names,' said Fischer Boel. 'So any shoppers seeing labels like these on bottles in an Australian supermarket will know for sure that they're getting the genuine article, not an imitation.'
Following a year-long grace period, Australian producers will cease labelling wine as Graves, Burgundy, Champagne or Sauternes, and using definitions like sur lie, clairet, cru artisan, clos and hors d'âge. Exceptions exist where such expressions are part of a pre-existing trademarks or business name, or are used in translations. So words including ruby, tawny, vintage, crusted, cream and solera may be used if the products meet necessary criteria. In exchange, the EU has agreed to simplify the certification procedure for Australian exporters.
The pact also allows imports of reduced alcohol wine made using processes involving reverse osmosis and spinning cones, previously verboten, and calls for simplified approval of winemaxking techniques that may be developed in the future.
Maggie Rosen, decanter.
***The new legislation protects Australias use of oak chips, reverse osmosis, and spinning cones. It does force them to stop using 11 terms within one year (Burgundy, Chablis, Champagne, Graves, Manzanilla, Marsala, Moselle, Port, Sauternes, Sherry and White Burgundy). In addition, they will have to phase-out the use of the term "Tokay" within 10 years. Full details can be found at http://www.wineaustralia.com/australia/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=ZizsdGJgSlI%3d&tabid=302 ***
December 22, 2008
The French Senate has allowed the eight St-Emilion chateaux demoted in the region's classification to return to their 2006 status. As part of a finance law amendment being passed by the French government today, the eight properties will regain their status in the (currently defunct) 2006 classification.
Chateaux Pavie-Macquin and Troplong-Mondot will return to Premier Grand Cru Classes, while chateaux Bellefond-Belcier, Destieux, Fleur-Cardinale, Grand Corbin, Grand Corbin-Despagne, and Monbousquet become Grand Cru Classes. The wines were demoted earlier this year following a legal wrangle when the classification was ruled invalid, and French government readopted the 1996 classification.
The modified law reinstating the eight properties follows months of lobbying – the owners of the demoted chateaux claiming significant losses in revenue. According to regional newspaper Sud-Ouest, a Grand Cru Classe can command 30% higher prices than a Grand Cru. 'With that decision [the removal of the 2006 classification] 10 years of work was reduced to nothing,' said Francois Despagne, owner of Chateau Grand Corbin-Despagne. The amendment is expected to be passed by the French parliament this afternoon.
Oliver Styles, decanter.com
“According to study carried out by Aregntina’s Universidad Nacional de Cuyo and the Trapiche winery, Argentine and Italian Bonarda are not related. The closest genetic match to the latter grape is the French variety Corbeau.”
Tim Atkin, Tom Stevenson’s Wine Report 2009
“New Jersey has gained a third appellation. The Outer Coastal Plains, in the southeast, is home to 20 wineries and commercial vineyards. The AVA is 2.25 million acres in size and covers the bottom third of the state.”
Sandra Silfven, Tom Stevenson’s Wine Report 2009