2015 French Wine Crop Reaches 47.7 Million Hectolitres

harvestThe French Ministry of Agriculture has released its latest estimates for the year 2015. They state that France has harvested approximately 47.7 million hectolitres. The 2015 harvest is up 1% up from last year (47.1 mhl) and up 4% on the five-year average. Production of PGI wines and base wines for brandy is showing a significant increase last year, respectively +5% and +6%. Conversely, production of appellation wines, at 21.61 mhl is marginally down (-2%) on 2014 but 3% higher than the five-year average.

The Ministry of Agriculture ascribes the rise in estimated production to rainfall in August and September, which was particularly beneficial in the western part of the country, especially in Charentes. A report by Agreste states that “bunch weight is one of the highest this decade”. It also points to a surge in production of Cognac compared with previous estimates, with an extra 1 mhl harvested by producers.
France was divided into two halves this year, with the eastern part of the country enduring less favourable weather conditions than other regions. Drought affected Burgundy, Beaujolais and Corsica and reduced production potential compared with August forecasts. Alsace, which was also affected, but to a lesser extent. In the South-East of France, periods of rain in September brought forward harvesting and caused some losses. In Languedoc-Roussillon, the crop is expected to be virtually on a par with last year’s.

Source: Vitisphere

Not Shaken, Not Stirred – What is James Bond’s Champagne of Choice?

bol2As a connoisseur of all things fine, what does James Bond drink?

Champagne seems to be high on his list. From Sir Roger Moore KBE to Daniel Craig choices include some of the top champagne houses: Dom Perignon, Taittinger, and Bollinger.

Bollinger seems to be the front runner as it has been featured in 14 Bond films, starting with Live and Let Die in 1973 staring Roger Moore – vintage and style unknown.

Also in Moonraker, Octopussy, The Living Daylights, A View to Kill, License to Kill, and Skyfall James Bond shows a preference for Bollinger RD – vintages include 1969, 1975, 1979, and 1997.

He switches to one of my favourites in 1995 to Bollinger La Grand Année in Goldeneye and also drinks it in Tomorrow Never Dies, The World Is Not Enough, Die Another Day, Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace. Vintages include 1988, 1989, 1990, 1995 and 1999.

To celebrate the release of SPECTRE this October, Bollinger has launched the Champagne Bollinger Spectre Limited Edition. This unique Bollinger cuvée is from the 2009 vintage, notable for its aromatic elegance.

Liz Palmer

Need an excuse to drink champagne….

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Tomorrow, October 23, 2015, is the sixth annual Global #ChampagneDay —

All you need to participate is a glass of Champagne — share your photos, tasting notes, experiences and videos on any social media site, and be sure to add the #ChampagneDay hash tag so your wine friends from around the globe can share in the fun.

Yes, it’s that special time of year to raise your flute to the quintessential wine of celebration, good cheer and toasts everywhere: Champagne!

And remember Champagne is from the Champagne region of France, which, on July 5th 2015 was granted World Heritage status by UNESCO and Champagne is from the Champagne region of France, making it the only sparkling wine that can be called Champagne.

Liz Palmer
The Ultimate Guide To Champagne – Release Date: Spring 2016
wwwLiz-Palmer.com

ARMAND DE BRIGNAC’S BLANC DE NOIRS LAUNCHES AT HARRODS

ArmandDeBrignac_BlancDeNoirs_LPThis week Armand de Brignac launches a new cuvée — Blanc de Noir Ace of Spades made of 100% Pinot Poir at Harrods, London.

Blanc de Noir Ace of Spades sells for the hefty sum of £695 per bottle and is presented in a dramatic gunmetal bottle.

There is a limited production of 3,000 bottles with 240 being allocated exclusively to Harrods.

“A marvellous strength of the Blanc de Noirs is its versatility; it can truly be enjoyed on its own, but it will also be the perfect wine for an entire meal. This is a very sophisticated wine for the pleasure of a lucky few,” comments Gerald Loparco, a representative for Armand de Brignac. “Harrods has a global reach and an unmatched reputation for excellence, so we thought that our common philosophies and traditional approach with a modern twist was the perfect match for this worldwide exclusive launch,” Gerald adds.

Liz Palmer

Moët & Chandon Pushes the Boundaries with Prestige Cuvee MCIII

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Moet & Chandon is set to release a new prestige cuvee into the US market early October.

Their new cuvee “MCIII” is highly unusual as it incorporates base wines from the 2003 vintage and a range of older reserve stocks, includes non-sparkling vin clair wines, with an assemblage of vintage wines aged both in stainless steel vats and oak casks.

This unique blend is 50 percent of Pinot Noir from the grand cru village of Ay, and 50 percent Chardonnay from Chouilly and Cramant.

Gouez has also included a high proportion of still, oak-aged wines: nearly 40 percent of the blend is reserve wine matured in oak barrels, hailing from the 2002, 2000 and 1998 vintages.

The Chef de cave Benoit Gouez completed this truly unique blend by uncorking vintage Champagne from 1999, 1998 and 1993 vintages.

With the price set at $450, this new prestige cuvee is being introduced gradually, with a limited production of 15,000 bottles.

The presentation is quite dramatic — MCIII is presented in a black bottle with a metallic cap, medallion base and beautiful wooden coffret.

Chef de cave Benoit Gouez has stated: “We have created a cuvee of great complexity, which is composed of three strata” or layers.”

Liz Palmer
@ChampagneHouses