Bordeaux Under One Roof (Toronto) Interview with Pascal Loridon, Marketing Director, Conseil Interprofessionnel du Vin de Bordeaux (CIVB) by Liz Palmer

October 28, 2009, Polson Pier, Solarium, 11 Polson St. Toronto

The venue surprised me – it had a stunning view looking out onto Lake Ontario with lots of natural light. The Bordeaux Wine Council (CIVB) hosted a wine tasting/seminar in collaboration with wine agents to help discover the diversity of Bordeaux wines under $30. These wines are available through LCBO and/or through relevant wine agents. There were 18 tables with over 40 wines to sample. Most of these wines were relatively young, with a preponderance of ‘05 and ‘06 vintages. There were some ‘07 and with limited ’08. I found the better ones were closer to $30. None of the wines were overly-complex.

I had the opportunity to interview Pascal Loridon, Marketing Director, Conseil Interprofessionnel du Vin de Bordeaux (CIVB).

Welcome to Toronto Mr. Loridon…
Can you give me your thoughts on the harvest this year?

The harvest this year has been excellent – the weather could not have been better; we have had cool dry nights, rain whenwe needed it, and lots of sun. The weather has not been this good for a long time.

Do you believe 2009 will be another great vintage?

We are predicting 2009 will be a great vintage and are very happy with the high levels of ripeness, healthy grapes, rich colours, promising acidity, and overall balance.

For the 2009 vintage we will have a true Bordeaux: elegant with garnet/ruby colours, black fruits, wood, with “cigar box” aromas.

Do you have any suggestions for investors?

The outlook for 2009 is very promising and it would be a good opportunity for investors.

What is Organic Wine ?

Organic wines are produced by using only organically grown grapes. There are strict rules that govern the winemaking process, such as hand-harvesting, the types of yeasts to be used during fermentation, abstaining from all chemical substances such as herbicides, fungicides and pesticides in the vineyard, and most importantly, not introducing additional sulfates into the winemaking process.

When selecting Organic wine, here is how you interpret the labels:

“100% Organic” means that the wines are produced with grapes that are certified 100 % organically grown and do not have any sulfur dioxide added.

“Organic” means that the wines are produced with a minimum of 95 % organic grapes – may have low level of sulfur dioxide added.

“Made with Organic grapes” refers to wines that have a minimum of 70 % organic grapes – may have sulfur dioxide added.

Liz Palmer
Wine and Travel Writer

My interview with Ms Morgane Fleury (of the Biodynamic Champagne House Fleury Père Et Fils)

I caught up with Ms Morgane Fleury (of the Champagne House Fleury Père Et Fils) in Toronto, Ontario on November 13, 2009 to discuss their Biodynamic Champagne House.

Biodynamism is becoming more acceptable in the wine community. The underlying principles are extremely unusual with its quasi-mystical approach, blended with esoteric philosophy of life forces and planetary influences.

Fleury Père Et Fils vineyards are located on steep calcareous clay slopes, both sides of the Seine Valley, in the region of Côtes de Bar. Of the 15 hectares 90% are Pinot Noir and the remaining 10% are Chardonnay. All 15 hectares are cultivated using biodynamics. Fleury Père Et Fils have been biodynamic since 1989, and have for many years had a reputation for innovation. Champagne Fleury’s conversion to biodynamics was at the hands of Morgane Fleury’s and Jean-Sébastien’s father, Jean-Pierre. His interest in sustainable wine growing began in the 1970s when he used manual tilling (not herbicides) and composting (not chemical fertilizers). He began trials with biodynamics, applying only to 3 Ha, in 1989, and then in 1992 used it on the remainder of his vineyard holdings.

Jean-Pierre Fleury was the first grower in Champagne to convert to biodynamic farming.

Liz Palmer:
How much of the underlying biodynamic agriculture does Fleury Père Et Fils adhere to?

Morgane Fleury:
All of them – we all work together and also work with two other local growers. For instance, we’ve started working with horses over 20 years ago and have been working with essential oils to fight mildew.

Liz Palmer:
Since adopting biodynamic principles, have the quality of your Champagnes improved?

Morgane Fleury:
We are very pleased – The key is soil health. We are working to keep it constantly healthy. The structure of the soil gives back the essence of the terroir.

Liz Palmer:
Do you think that the more esoteric aspects of biodynamism are absolutely necessary, i.e., the ashing and timing interventions on the basis of the alignment of planets)?
Morgane Fleury:
We now find that our Champagne has more fruitiness and more terrior in the nose and pallet.

Liz Palmer:
Some of the principles of biodynamism appear odd. How do you respond to critics who suggest this?

Morgane Fleury:
We ask them to think differently, to read and to do some research. One of the most controversial preparations …my brother Jean-Sébastien uses is (preparation #501) 2X per year for energy.

Field Preparation 501
• Crushed powdered quartz prepared by stuffing it into a horn of a cow and buried into the ground in spring and taken out in the fall (mixture of 1 tablespoon of quartz powder to 250 liters of water). The mixture is sprayed under very low pressure over the crop during the wet season, in an attempt to prevent fungal diseases. It should be sprayed on an overcast day or early in the morning to prevent burning of the leaves.

Liz Palmer:
What is your favorite Champagne?

Morgane Fleury:
’95 Fleury “Cuveé Robert Fleury” Brut Champagne – its pure pinot with more minerality and less dosage. It was the first vintage we made that was biodynamic.

Liz Palmer:
What was your Champagne moment for 2009 ?

Morgane Fleury:
I have two champagne moments:
1. After the harvest – we celebrated! Our harvest was from Sept 6th to 26th – the weather was perfect, with no rain), and
2. The opening of my Champagne and Wine store “Ma Cave Fleury” in Paris.

Liz Palmer:
What are the favorite foods that you pair with Champagne?

Morgane Fleury:
My favorite: Raspberry cake with Rosé Champagne, also

Vanilla cream pastries



White meats

Liz Palmer:
Do you have any champagne recipes that you can share with me for my book?

Morgane Fleury:
I will send you some when I get back to Paris – some of our family recipes.

Liz Palmer:
I am in the process of working with some scientists on health benefits of Champagne – do you have anything to add?

Morgane Fleury:
I believe champagne cures depression for the elderly.

Liz Palmer
Wine and Travel Writer

Valentine’s Day – Pairing Wine with Chocolate

When pairing wines with chocolate for Valentine’s Day match lighter, more elegant flavored chocolate with lighter-bodied wines; likewise, the stronger the chocolate, the more full-bodied wine.

White Chocolate
White chocolate tends to be mellow and buttery in flavor, making it ideal for Champagne, Sparkling Wine, Orange Muscat or Sherry.

Milk Chocolate
The classic milk chocolate pairing is Port; other considerations are lighter-bodied Pinot Noir or Merlot, as well as Riesling, Muscat, and of course Champagne or Sparkling Wine.

Dark Chocolate
Dark or bittersweet chocolate need a wine that offers a slightly robust flavor itself, with a hint of its own chocolate notes. Cabernet Sauvignon and intense, in-your-face Zinfandel perfect the dark chocolate match, resulting in an unparalleled tasting combination. Also Pinot Noir, Merlot, Champagne and Sparkling Wine can handle dark chocolate around the 55% cocoa mark. Tawny or Vintage Port also offers a well-balanced pairing approach to dark chocolate dessert or truffles.

My Pick for Valentine’s Day
Billecart-Salmon Brut Rosé, Champagne (Mareuil-sur-Ay, France) This non-vintage brut rosé is delicate and is impeccably balanced and guaranteed to have your taste buds singing.

Both Champagne and fine dark chocolate are two of life’s greatest pleasures. There is nothing quite like a popping the cork on a perfectly chilled bottle of bubbly and digging into a box of exquisite dark chocolate in front of a roaring fire with your Valentine while the snow falls outside.

Liz Palmer
Wine and Travel Writer