“Ungrafted Vines” hits the silver screen in 2024

He’s a winemaker, a rebel, an iconoclast and an outspoken critic of Bordeaux’s “industrial soup” style of winemaking – and now Loïc Pasquet is an unlikely movie star.

Pasquet’s battles with the Bordeaux establishment have seen him dragged to court, fined and forbidden from using the Bordeaux appellation because of his commitment ungrafted vines and native Bordeaux varieties. However, he has had the sweetest of revenges by producing a wine that has become the most expensive Bordeaux-produced wine – and now a movie about his achievements is hitting the screen.

The 51-minute documentary will air via Apple TV next year and features Pasquet documenting his battles with bureaucracy and his dedication to recreating the pre-phylloxera wines of Bordeaux. It also features input from respected wine writers like Jane Anson and Jacky Rigaux.

Pasquet, who bought his first bottle of wine when he was just 11 years old, believes that wine is a European cultural treasure and that it has been debased by too many Bordeaux producers in order to pander to critics, rather than simply making wines that reflect the terroir.

“Why destroy that heritage to make one style of wine? They are saying to [wine critic Robert] Parker ‘What wine do you like? We will make it for you.’ They are making industrial soup,” he told journalists at a preview of the film.

The launch of Pasquet’s 2015 vintage of Liber Pater at a staggering $33,000 (subsequent vintages have also hit that mark) was the spark for the documentary, but he was open about his pricing policy.

“This is what my customers will pay to drink something that nobody else can. If you go into space, how much does it cost?”

He was referencing his wines being made from grapes grown on ungrafted vines, an anomaly in Bordeaux.

“If you try a Bordeaux from 1860 [before phylloxera prompted the grafting of vines onto disease-resistant rootstocks] and 1960 you can taste the difference. Grafting changes the chemical composition of the wine.”

Source: Wine Searcher

400 Drones Light Up The Sky At The Bordeaux Wine Festival

The Bordeaux Wine Festival was held June 22nd to 25th, where attendees were part of wine-tasting programmes and other fun experiences. But the highlight of the festival was the spectacular drone show.  The Bordeaux Wine Festival 2023 took an environment-friendly approach to replace its annual firework with drones.

Over 400 drones lit up the night sky over the Garonne River in Bordeaux. There were 20-minute shows held on both Friday and Saturday where the drones created stunning formations of wine being poured into a glass from a bottle, a vineyard, and the drones went into formation spelling: ‘Bordeaux celebrates wine’ in bold letters in the stunning night sky. The drones were operated by the French company Dronisos.

67 Pall Mall to open wine club in Bordeaux

67 Pall Mall, a private members club for professionals and collectors has officially secured the rights to a building in central Bordeaux, with the aim of opening up in 2025. They signed a lease on a property in the Triangle d’Or, 21 Cours de l’Intendance.

Grant Ashton, Founder and CEO of 67 Pall Mall said, ‘Bordeaux is at the very heart of the world of wine and the new club provides an amazing location for members and visitors to enjoy a fantastic range of Bordeaux’s wines. The club will offer a breadth of unique local wines alongside well-known favourites for both members and non-members to enjoy.’

The club will offer the most extensive wine list in the region which will feature 5,000 by the bottle, of which 2,000 bottles will be selected from local chateaux, 1,000 from the rest of France, and 2,000 wines from the rest of the world. They will also have a selection of 500+ wines by-the-glass.

There will also be a public “Bar à Vin” on the main floor, and the first and second floors will be for members only, with access to a clubroom, bar and several private dining rooms. The fourth floor will offer a rooftop terrace with a sweeping view across the historic city.

 

Bordeaux 2022 vintage produces ‘high-quality grapes’

The Conseil Interprofessionnel du Vin de Bordeaux (CIVB) has just released its 2022 vintage report, which mentions difficult climate conditions, and 2022 being one the earliest harvests on record.

Despite these challenges, amongst others,  ‘high-quality grapes’ were still produced. Pruning was delayed to limit the risk of a late frost and customized leaf removal and trellising was deployed to protect bunches from the sun.

The 2022 report also highlights the “deep roots of Bordeaux vines” and their natural resistance to water stress as contributing factors to the good health of the grapes.

Due to the scorching summer and autumn temperatures, the harvest began 15-20 days ahead of the 10-year average.

Rain started in mid-August, which brought new life to the vines, slightly increasing the volume of the berries. Stimulated in parallel by the alternation of hot days and cool nights, the grapes were able to reach optimum ripeness, according to the report.

Ideal conditions at the end of September favoured the development of botrytis on the grapes. The weather conditions allowed for four to five successive passes through the vineyard up to the end of October.

For the third year in a row, the volume of the harvest in Bordeaux is below the 10-year average, in large part due to the drought, which had a major impact on the overall yield of the 2022 vintage.

Extreme climate events also hit the vineyards in 2022, leading to significant losses in some cases. As a result, the volume of AOC wine produced in 2022 is 4.11 million ha, 11% below the 10-year average.

The early harvest had no adverse effect on the quality of the 2022 vintage in Bordeaux. The weather conditions from the end of August to the end of October were, “ideal for picking without haste and at perfect ripeness, despite the dates being earlier than usual”, according to the report.

The dry white wines are said to possess the characteristics of a good quality vintage, maintaining freshness and acidity despite the drought.

For the rosé wines, “the juices are just the right colour and full of flavour”, the report also states.

The juices from the red grapes are “exceptional, with perfectly ripe tannins and yet without excessive alcohol levels. The wines have a unique fruitiness, silky and concentrated without being heavy”.

The early-drinking red wines of Bordeaux, “have all the qualities of well-balanced wines with very nice freshness”.

And for those destined to remain longer in bottle, their aging potential seems “particularly promising”, the report also finds.

 

Sandrine Chamfrault appointed Director of the Wine Syndicate of Graves Wines

Sandrine Chamfrault has recently been appointed Director of the Wine Syndicate of Graves Wines. Originally from Bordeaux, Sandrine and began her career in communication agencies, before joining the French Rugby Federation as part of the World Cup in 2007. In 2008, she became a consultant partner in an audit firm, then joined Château Marquis de Terme in 2013 with the mission of developing the tourism, communication and marketing division.

As Director of the Syndicat Viticole des Graves, Sandrine Chamfrault aims to support the marketing of Graves wines and to increase its visibility in France and internationally, as well as its brand’s digital presence.

“I want to premiumize the perception of Graves, which are quality wines, well rated, and which offer a wide variety of choices. I will continue the substantive work-initiated years ago to create a strong identity for the wines of Graves. The Syndicate has a role of network animation, it is an entity which must become essential, which federates the local ecosystem, must be a driving force and an example for the members. I have always had this desire to carry out a collective project, which is why I am delighted to join the Syndicat Viticole des Graves” explains Sandrine Chamfrault.

“The Syndicate has a role of network animation, it is an entity which must become essential, which federates the local ecosystem, must be a driving force and an example for the members. I have always had this desire to carry out a collective project, which is why I am delighted to join the Syndicat Viticole des Graves  ”  Sandrine adds.