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The “Pope of Condrieu” dies

The wine industry was  recently saddened to learn of the death of Georges Vernay. Fondly known as the “Pope of Condrieu” he was a tireless advocate of the Viognier grape and fought throughout his life to promote wines from a village abandoned by producers after the war. “I preferred the wines from the slopes to those from the plains which I thought were mediocre” Georges Vernay stated last November. It wasn’t that long ago in fact that wine from the Rhône Valley was sold in bulk, and producers in the Côte-Rôtie and Condrieu…

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Maison Albert Bichot: United in Diversity

Maison Albert Bichot was founded in 1831. Over the years the company has developed and expanded considerably to become one of Burgundy's most prestigious winemakers. Much of its success can be attributed to the philosophy of Albéric Bichot. Somewhat echoing the motto of the European Union, he firmly believes that that each of his wine estates should keep to a human scale and have autonomy: in varietate concordia!   On Monday, 15th May, the whole iDealwine team enjoyed a day trip to Burgundy. Maison Albert Bichot kindly welcomed us to show us around…

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2017 vintage: French vineyard severely hit by frost

    The spring frosts wreaked havoc across a large portion of the vineyards of eastern France, in Champagne, Burgundy, the Loire valley, Alsace, Jura... and even Languedoc-Roussillon and the South-West. Last week – during the night of Wednesday-Thursday 20 April, to be precise – a number of French wine regions were hit by frost. This event caused even more damage because of the precociously advanced state of the vines' vegetation cycle, as a result of the fine weather and high temperatures of previous weeks. Many regions affected by frost; some growers better…

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Château Latour goes completely organic

Other estates have already done it. After Fonroque, Pontet-Canet and also Smith-Haut-Lafitte, it’s now Château Latour’s turn to announce its complete conversion to organic farming methods. This is headlining news in Bordeaux and it confirms that organic production is gradually making inroads.   You may remember that back in 2015 Château Latour, an 1855 classification Premier Grand Cru, announced its intention to completely switch over to organic farming methods. François Pinault, who owns this iconic Pauillac estate, can pride himself on being the first among the Grands Crus to embark upon this adventure…

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Stunning new cellars at Beychevelle and Kirwan

One by one, Bordeaux grands crus are updating their technical facilities... and their first step has been to make a call to the big names in the world of architecture. The latest to join this trend are Châteaux Beychevelle and Kirwan.   Some of the finest Bordeaux Grands Crus have been undergoing something of a metamorphosis over the last decade. Their doors, previously firmly shut to visitors, are now being prised open in response to the wave of wine tourism sweeping across the vineyards. And the cellar makeover is a key pillar of…

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Pomerol: vinification outside the appellation authorised

  On Friday 27 January, the Conseil d’État (the highest French administrative court) overturned the 2014 decree stating that wines bearing the Pomerol PDO must be vinified within the appellation, thus ruling in favour of seven plaintiffs who own vines in Pomerol but have cellars outside the appellation. To recap, in August 2014, a decree ratifying an amendment to the Pomerol PDO specification stated that cellars used to vinify wines with this appellation must be located within the geographical boundaries of the production area and not in neighbouring appellations, as was sometimes the…

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The Barton family celebrates 190 years in the Médoc

A few days ago, the Barton family celebrated a remarkable anniversary in their own elegant way: the acquisition, 190 years ago, of 50 hectares of land in the Médoc that now forms the Léoville Barton vineyards. A few days ago – first in Paris and then in London – the Barton-Sartorius family gathered to celebrate 190 years of its founding in the Médoc.  In the region, that sort of continuity is almost unheard of! The Bartons' Médoc association actually goes back a little further than even that, to 1722, when Irish-born Thomas Barton…

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Read more about the article David Hockney illustrates Mouton 2014
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David Hockney illustrates Mouton 2014

The label for the 2014 vintage of Mouton Rothschild has just been unveiled. In the year of the death of the figurehead owner, Philippine de Rothschild, it was a personal friend of the family, David Hockney, who designed the 69th Mouton-Rothschild label, bearing this message: "in tribute to Philippine". The Mouton labels In 1924, the year in which Baron Philippe de Rothschild bottled his first vintage at the château, he decided to call upon the graphic designer Jean Carlu to create a special label. It met with a mixed reception, and so it…

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Montrachet 2016… no production?

Following a harsh frost this spring, six of the most prestigious estates for the Montrachet appellation will only be producing a single wine between them this year, in micro quantities, which will probably never be marketed. Vineyards were hard hit by bad weather and in particular a frost at the end of April this year, so harvests are likely to be very small in some areas. Unfortunately Montrachet is one of them. Aubert de Villaine hinted to us in September that this was the case, and Le Point has recently confirmed it. Six…

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Ruinart, the very first Champagne house – since 1729

Ruinart is known internationally for the quality of its chardonnay grapes and the purity and aromatic finesse of its cuvées. This illustrious Champagne house has been in business since the beginning of the 18th Century. The history of this renowned Champagne house spans more than three centuries. The story began in the era of Louis XIV with a Benedictine monk, Dom Thierry Ruinart (1657-1709). Originally from Champagne, Dom Thierry worked in t he Abbey of Saint-Germain-des-Prés in Paris where he became aware of worldly society and the "bubbling wine" much loved by young…

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