Exploring the Diversity of the Rheinhessen Wine Region [Part 3 of 3] — VDP “Große Lage” Seminar and Tasting

A special trade seminar was held the following morning with a specific focus on VDP “Große Lange.” The seminar was held in the beautiful Kurhaus Wiesbaden, which is unmistakable Wiesbaden’s landmark. This magnificent neoclassical building is the city’s convention center.

VDP stands for Verband Deutscher Prädikatsweingüter (or the Association of German Prädikat Wine Estates). It was founded as a regional association in the Rheingau over a hundred years ago with the goal of recognizing and encouraging quality producers of dry wines.

The VDP has selected and classified the best German vineyard sites coming from all 13 of the country’s wine-producing regions. In 2019, there are 200 members. The logo for VDP is an eagle with grapes on his chest. If you see this logo on a bottleneck, you know that it comes from one of the best vineyards in Germany and is a trustworthy guarantee for the quality within. VDP has four classifications:

VDP Gutswein –  these are often the first wines of a wine year to be bottled and sold. They must come from estate-grown grapes and the producers are given freedom here to experiment and innovate.

VDP Ortsweine – these are wines that express regionality. The grapes must come from one village and offer a sense of expression of that particular place. Only regional grape varieties are used, and many come from the higher-classified Grosse Lage or Erste Lage sites.

VDP Erste Lage – these wines are Premier Cru from first-class vineyards where there are optimal growing conditions. These wines must also be grown with a view to sustainability and tradition.

VDP Grosse Lage – these wines come from the highest quality German vineyards. They are complex, express single vineyard sites, and are known for their long-aging. These wines also must also be grown and made with a view to sustainability and tradition.

Membership is by invitation only, and with producers known for long-standing quality and a commitment to excellence.  Members must also adhere to strict rules including low yields, higher starting must weights, selective hand harvesting, and five-yearly inspections.

Promotion remains a major aspect of its activities. The VDP has developed its own quality pyramid based on the official German system,  with a specific focus on dry wines. Recently, they introduced a new classification for Sekt, German sparkling wine.

5% of Germany’s vineyards are included in the VDP classification, accounting for 7.5% of the turnover of the German wine industry.

Riesling is the most important grape among VDP producers with 55% of all VDP vineyards planted with Riesling, compared to 23% across Germany as a whole.

 

 

Other grape varieties approved for VDP Grosse Lage certification include:

Chardonnay

Weissburgunder

Spätburgunder

Grauburgunder

Frühburgunder

Traminer

Drake Launches 2008 Vintage Champagne

Having unveiled his first Mod Sélection Champagne in January this year, Canadian rapper Drake is now ending the year by launching two 2008 vintage expressions.  Priced at US $480 and US $550 a bottle respectively is Mod Sélection Réserve Vintage 2008, and Mod Sélection Rosé Vintage 2008.

Mod Sélection Réserve is a blend of 10% Pinot Noir, 55% Meunier and 35% Chardonnay. According to the producer Maison Pierre Mignon, this wine has aromas of “rich, ripe fruit” with flavours of “orange peel, dried apricot, pineapple, brioche, nutmeg and clove” on the palate.

Mod Sélection Rosé Vintage 2008  is made using the saignée method and is a blend of 10% Pinot Noir, 50% Meunier and 40% Chardonnay. According to the producer it’s described as having a “deep-salmon hue” with “concentrated and complex fresh red fruit on the palate” with honey, ginger and sweet spice.

Commenting on the launch, founder and CEO of Mod Sélection Champagne, Brent Hocking, said: The attention to detail in every aspect of our production process is what sets this Champagne apart from all other 2008 vintages the industry has seen this year.

“We have purposely waited to release these special blends to ensure optimum quality and purity – and we believe they’re worth the wait.”

These releases mark the third and fourth product launches from the brand, following the launch of the Mod Réserve Champagne (US$300) and a Mod Rosé Champagne (US$400) earlier this year.

The new vintage Champagnes will be packaged in the brand’s brown metallic bottles and adorned with bronze detailing, made by craftsman from the Champagne region.

Champagne brand Mod Sélection operates in partnership with Champagne Pierre Mignon, a family-owned Champagne house based in Le Breuil in the Vallée de la Marne. The house has 16 hectares of vines, located in the Vallée de la Marne, Côte des Blancs, and Epernay.

Website: http://www.modselectionchampagne.com

British Columbia’s Two (Award-Winning) Indigenous Wineries – Virginia Hutton

During my visit to Okanagan in October, I attended the Fall Okanagan Wine Festival, and also had the opportunity to visit British Columbia’s two Indigenous wineries.

50 Years ago, the first aboriginal winery in Canada, Nk’Mip Cellars was launched by former Osoyoos Indian Band Chief Sam Baptiste. Osoyoos, in British Columbia’s, (BC) Okanagan region is Canada’s only desert and its sandy soils are used for growing 40% Okanagan wines.

The Okanagan region is located in the rain shadow of the Cascade Mountains and has a dry and mild climate with no month having a below 0°C average temperature. The summers are hot and dry with temperatures occasionally topping 40 °C.

Nk’Mip Cellars, (pronounced ‘inkameep’), located on the Osoyoos Indian Reserve,is part of the development including the Hyatt’s Spirit Ridge Hotel, and the Sonora Dunes Golf Course. Owned by the Osoyoos Indian Band, Nk’Mip was the first Indigenous-owned winery in North America and is ideally located, having been rated a class 1 site according to 1984 Atlas of Suitable Grape Growing Atlas in the Okanagan, and Similkameen Valleys. Justin Hall, a member of the Osoyoos Indian band and current Winemaker arrived in 2004. Nk’Mip Cellars was awarded the 2016 Intervin Winery of the Year and #2 Winery in BC in 2018 from Wine Align. Nk’Mip varieties include: Pinot Noir, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Riesling, Chardonnay, Pinot Blanc, Rose, and Ice Wine.

The Osoyoos Indian Band leases the majority of their 380 acres in the Okanagan, with 60 acres producing Nk’Mip’s 18,000 cases annually. Distribution extends to Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba.

The second Indigenous winery, Indigenous World Winery, is owned by Robert Louie, former Chief of the Westbank First Nation and his wife Bernice. They are descendants of the original Sylix people of Okanagan. Located in West Kelowna, Indigenous World Winery has produced a number of award-winning wines, most recent, winning one silver and 2 bronze awards at the 2019 Wine Align National Wine Awards of Canada. Varieties include: Cabernet Sauvignon, Gamay, Pinot Auxerrois, Cabernet Franc, Pinot Gris, Gewürztraminer, Viognier, Merlot, Marechal Foch, Chardonnay, Muscat.

With 5 leased properties and 2.5 acres of estate land, Indigenous World Winery produces just over 10,000 cases annually, primarily for the BC and Alberta markets.

Indigenous tourism is booming in British Columbia, allowing visitors the opportunity to explore indigenous culture and engage with communities they might not otherwise connect with. The Okanagan Region’s beautiful landscapes, rich history, wonderful hospitality, and award-winning wines deliver an outstanding experience for all wine lovers!

For further information:

Nk’Mip Cellars
http://www.nkmipcellars.com/

Indigenous World Winery
https://www.indigenousworldwinery.com/

Okanagan Wine Festivals Society
http://www.TheWineFestivals.com

 

The 5th International Rose Symposium – Marseille, France January 22, 2019

I’m very excited to be invited to the 5th International Rosé Symposium / Rencontres Internationales du Rosé.

The Symposium is hosted by the Provence Wine Council (CIVP), and the Rosé Research and Experimentation Centre, which takes place in the magnificent setting of the Mucem in Marseille on Tuesday, January 22, 2019.

The Symposium, this year, is focusing specifically on research and insights related to rosé wine.

The international speakers are members of the scientific, technical and wine-growing community, and will share their research and studies related to rosé wine.

The 2019 themes will focus on the future of rosé wines, revolving around three major challenges for the industry:

• Adapting to climate change
• Ecological transition
• Changing consumer patterns

The morning will be held as a plenary session, which will include the three major challenges. The lunch cocktail lunch designed by Gérald Passedat.

The afternoon sessions include technical or think-tank workshops, and the presentation of several innovations from fundamental or applied research.

Watch for my followup report.

Website: https://www.rencontres-internationales-rose.com/home.html

The Royal Champagne Hotel & Spa Opens

“Follow the road of the golden bubbles”
MAITRE DE MAISON – NICOLAS BÉLIARD –

 Champagne’s first contemporary luxury hotel, The Royal Champagne Hotel & Spa officially opened this week.

Embracing the lush bounty of the champagne houses and the surrounding UNESCO World Heritage sites, guests will have exclusive access to private Champagne houses, harvesting sessions with local wine producers and tastings personally curated by the in-house concierge team.

The Royal Champagne Hotel & Spa boasts an enviable location right in the middle of the vineyards that stripe the hills of Epernay, the capital of Champagne, and the historic villages of Champillon and Hautvillers of Dom Perignon fame. Reimagining a wine-country retreat for all seasons, local Reims-based architect Giovanni Pace has designed the property in the style of a contemporary amphitheatre, incorporating the original 19th Century Post House where it is said that King Charles X of France stopped over before heading to Reims for his coronation.

‘Champagne’ rooms start at £489.92 per night feature a king-size bed and private terrace.

The top tier ‘Josephine’ suite meanwhile, will set you back £1,068.71 a night and boasts a sitting room and balcony overlooking vineyards.

Each of the 49 rooms in the 16,000 square foot space features Hermès bath products.

The original property has been closed since 2014 after it was acquired by Boston-based Champagne Hospitality collection, a group of boutique luxury hotels and spas that includes the award-winning Le Barthelemy Hotel & Spa in St. Barths. The hotel is led by Nicolas Béliard, formerly General Manager of the Peninsula Paris.

Royal Champagne Hotel & Spa is home to the region’s first world-class destination spa spanning 16,000 ft. In partnership with acclaimed French brand Biologique Recherche, the wellness centre comprises nine treatment rooms; state of the art fitness facilities; a wood-lined yoga studio; eucalyptus-infused sauna; manicure and pedicure stations, and a mosaic-tiled Hammam. Completing the experience are two temperature-controlled, chaise longue-lined swimming pools – one indoor, one outdoor – along with dedicated staff who deliver invigorating juice blends and guide guests to multiple relaxation lounges. Biologique Recherche offers a highly personalised approach, with signature treatments including the ‘Soin seconde peau / Second skin treatment’, a regenerating and lifting facial treatment. All products are formulated using pure natural or biotechnological compounds and are fragrance free. Spa packages and retreats will also be available throughout the year.

Two-star Michelin chef Jean-Denis Rieubland is the Royal Champagne Hotel & Spa’s Executive Chef, where he leads the two gastronomic dining experiences – a gourmet dining room, Le Royal, and a more casual, all-day restaurant, Bellevue. Formerly Executive Chef of Le Chantecler at the Negresco Hotel in Nice, Chef Rieubland brings the highest level of gastronomy to Royal Champagne, where he will preserve French ‘know-how’ while injecting a contemporary touch. Rieubland’s cuisine is influenced by the local surroundings, working closely with farm producers of the region. He will also be developing a Chef’s garden on a large terrace overlooking the hills of Épernay.

www.royalchampagne.com