Friday, February 28, 2014

The Rise and Fall of the Super Tuscan Wines

"There was a time when Super Tuscans ruled the Italian wine world. The darlings of critics, their popularity (and cost) were unparalleled. Names such as Sassicaia and Solaia were the stars of restaurant wine lists. Nowadays, however, Super Tuscans are just not, well, that super anymore! "

"The actual term “Super Tuscan” is often attributed to Robert Parker, the famous U.S. wine critic that gave many of these wines high scores, driving demand and prices up. Producers started using it on labels and a new category was born, which proved a huge marketing success."

"By the 2000s, the Super Tuscans faced three challenges. Firstly, the “brand”, was diluted. Everyone (and their cousin!) was introducing so called "Super Tuscans" to the market and overall quality deteriorated badly.

Secondly, the true Super Tuscans became quite simply unapproachable. An Ornellaia Bolgheri Superiore can easily cost upwards of $400 in a restaurant.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, wine enthusiasts started to shun the use of international varieties looking for a return to the native varieties of a terroir. For all these reasons the moniker is not used as much. The truly greats are still thriving but they don’t necessarily present themselves as Super Tuscans. Tignanello, Sassicaia, Ornellaia, Solaia, Le Pergole Torte are all amazing wines with certain vintages commanding impressive demand and prices."

From an article by Vincent de Rossi - Read more here

Thursday, February 27, 2014

How about a great dinner with matching wines at Hattonchâtel Château?

Happy to organize a wine tasting and/or dinner in this beautiful entourage: Hattonchâtel Château.

How about the best whites from Alsace and the best reds from Tuscany paired with great food in a sumptuous dinner? Afterwards stay the night and sleep in a comfortable historic site.
Mail us ....and make a reservation!

Our planned "Local Wine Events"

Moving on with our business we posted some of our planned wine vacations on LocalWineEvents.
May, June, July we already scheduled some tours in Tuscany.

From August, September and October we will be in Alsace mostly.

This does NOT mean that we cannot tour with you in Alsace in June for example or in October in Tuscany.

Please tell us what you would want and when? We probably can be of service!

Terry & Pieter

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Brunello is “ageless”, it is the wine of a lifetime

Brunello is “ageless”:
  • it is the wine of a lifetime: a “mature” red when turning 18 
  • on the threshold of adulthood, to pop open at graduation after five long years of studies at university and of ageing in the cellar, 
  • a “certainty” like when you turn 35, 
  • “reassuring” at 50 because it ages and improves over time, 
  • an uncommitted “sin” to indulge in when reminiscing on life at 80 years of age, 
  • an “exception” in the wine world that remains unflappable when it reaches the same age as those who extraordinarily turn 100.
Read more here.

Visit and taste these ageless wines with JoliSoleil Guided Tours.
Plan a tour via


Independent Winegrowers Exhibition in Strasbourg

Much adventure is planned for 24 February 2014! We shall be attending the Independent Winegrowers Exhibition in Strasbourg, France. At 11.00 am  we will begin our adventure at 67000 Strasbourg.
Here we will be able to meet with over 560 French Winemakers, many of whom will be from our wine region in Alsace France.

Strasbourg, where we will be going, is the capital and principal city of the Alsace region in eastern France, and the official seat of the European Parliament. She is a lovely city, full culture, mystic, and majesty. She has a lovely airport, and acts as a hub for the surrounding region, of which Alsace in all entirety is a cradle of humanity for many starts in life no matter how long ago.

The Alsace region can trace its wine making days back to Roman times. This is a lovely setting for wine and wine tasting, as I see it as the most storybook like place on earth. Dotted with castles, and half timbered homes, it is picturesque and lovely. The wine rout of Alsace is exceptionally beautiful, romantic, and full of lovely vineyards and 52 Grand Cru locations.

So this Sunday we will start our adventure attending "Salon Des Vins Des Vignerons Independants". With an investment of 6 euros we will receive a INAO tasting glass that has been engraved. We will be able to talk to the winemakers themselves about their history, wine and art. We will be sampling their wines and if we choose to take some home, YES!, we will be given 'farm gate' prices.

From viewing the information available I think it is lovely that the arrangement of the locations of the various wine makers is random. Yes we will have a catalog and be able to visit our favorite producers and see what is new, but also we will be in the mix and meet wonderful winemakers we still do not know.

There also will be stalls available to buy a baguette (sandwich of sorts). Also it is possible to purchase wines, and leave them as you keep tasting and looking around and collect them at the end of the visit via the facilities, by simply backing in your car. Which is very good if you've ever tried to tote much bottles around, you know this is not handy.

Days: 21 - 24 February - location: Wacken Strasbourg, checkout their website

Americans in Alsace - dive into history

This Friday we have an appointment with Americans in Alsace, which I am excited about. This is a club my husband joined for me, that will allow me to connect with other Americans living in this region.

As an American from California I knew a bit about wine before my arrival on this side of France. The good news is my palate has changed! I've learned to appreciate white wines a lot more. Chardonnay, which seemed to be the only white wine available at times, has taken a much needed back seat to Riesling, for me for sure. Also, my most profound moment in tasting wine in California was my first Gewurztraminer, which I first tasted somewhere around Napa, California.

Now since one year in Alsace I have tasted many, and though it still ranks as a high, I find I like a nice balanced Pinot Gris even more most of the time, but not always.

We will be visiting le Cave Historique des Hopital Civil in Strasbourg. This Hospital has a cave underground dating back to,,,wait for it,,,1395. Yeah I wrote 1395. 500 years!

Here we will have a 2 hour tour with 3 wine tastings! Of course my husband has been here before but it will be a first time for me, and I am much looking forward to this! Location is:  1 Place de l'Hopital, 67000.

Anyway, I am much looking forward to Friday, as it will be an action packed day!I will have my notebook and camera ready.
I wish you would join us, the more the merrier as the adventure continues.

Cheers from Terry!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

We are on CNN - well: CNNi writes about JoliSoleil Guided Tours - Alsace

CNNi writes about JoliSoleil Guided Tours.
They love our travel packages for Alsace.

Read more here:

About Brunello di Montalcino wine

Brunello di Montalcino wine was invented in the 19th century by a group of grape growers who cloned the Sangiovese grape, discovering the Sangiovese Grosso and it is a wine of great quality and longevity. In fact, it can be aged for a long time (from 10 to 30 years), only improving as the years go by.

It is one of the most famous Italian wines, the “real Italian”, the one that everyone, from wine lovers to VIPs and from collectors to heads of state, knows the world over; a must for unforgettable moments on every “special” table, at the most important events and in dream cellars; the one that guidebooks never fail to award, that ratings never miss, that auctions never leave off the block.

Always up to par, it “dresses up” as an endorser and as a limited edition, as a private label to a work of art, in a pink jersey or as an Olympian, as a “character” in a film or novel. It is signed, designed, autographed, numbered, given as a gift or for a collection, charity or solidarity.
When it suits up as a Made-in-Italy ambassador, where it is called upon to evoke the Italian dream par excellence, Brunello di Montalcino, “shot” by MontalcinoNews, has something to wear for every occasion.

A top pick for those looking for intense emotions in a bottle and even among the pioneers of wine by the glass for a luxurious treat, Brunello di Montalcino is the “wine dream” par excellence of the lovers of good drink, because everyone has a label, vintage, or cellar of the famed red among their favorites to open during memorable moments, to cork and share at “special” tables.

Just like on the tables of leaders and heads of state, where glasses of Brunello have always been raised to accompany official political moments and meetings sanctioned at table – from Queen Elizabeth to Presidents of the Republic, Francesco Cossiga and Giorgio Napolitano, from the Emperor of Japan to the King of Sweden, from the German Prime Minister, Gerhard Schroder, to the wedding banquet of Prince William and Princess Kate.

Even American President Barack Obama, often ad hoc, opens a magnum or jeroboam, or a more original limited edition, perhaps numbered or from a collection.

Limited editions, which Brunello di Montalcino boasts many of, are sometimes designed by famous artists who have created real collections of works of art – from Fernando Botero to Sandro Chia – or made for special events, even on a national level, for anniversaries or centennials, just as old as a bottle of this great red could very well be, even for charity or solidarity.

Without overlooking bottles made especially for sports events like the Giro d’Italia – for the historical Carrara-Montalcino leg including its dirt roads (2010) – the Olympics or co-branding famous Italian brand names and not only, from Poltrona Frau to Harley Davidson. And which have often been the star of special auctions bid on by fervent collectors in special formats alongside true auction experts who, have always had Brunello, or even a vertical collection thereof, among its top lots all over the world.

Brunello is courted by VIPs, who claim to be admirers sometimes with such great fervor that they choose to produce their own or even create a private label, just like Hollywood celebrity Richard Gere, with the many appearances and name-dropping on film and TV, to music – featured in important reviews in Italian music – to literature, design and fashion – designed by some of the most famous Italian designers including Fendi, Ferragamo, Gianfranco Ferrè, even in a negligé.

More and more, Brunello is seen as a star walking the red carpet or the catwalk, starting on the night of the Oscars. And whatever its format, no matter where in the world, one thing is certain: among the unique and prestigious bottles, from all over the world, that should never be missing from the dream cellar par excellence, Brunello is there.

Text: Consorzio del Vino Brunello di Montalcino
Original text by Elisa Manieri.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Top 10 'new generation Alsace' dry wines according to Decanter

Top 10 'new generation' dry wines:

René Muré, Cuvée Prestige, Crémant d’Alsace NV 
17.5/20pts (91/100pts)
£17.22 Spirited Wines
Made from Pinots Blanc, Gris and Noir, and Riesling – the final blend based on a solera method of previous vintages added to the wine of the year. On lees for 12 months and then 18 months’ ageing in bottle (this one disgorged in 2007). White apricot and pear, with hazelnut notes, yet floral and citrussy on the finish with still vibrant bubbles.
Drink 2014–2020
Alc 12.5%

Trimbach, Clos-Ste-Hune Riesling 2007 
19/20pts (96/100pts)
£100–£135 Bordeaux Index, Harrods, Fortnum & Mason, Hedonism, Lay & Wheeler, Millésima, Swig, The Wine Society
1.7 grams/litre of residual sugar (RS) and 7.2g/l acidity. Precise fruit and complex expression of limestone freshness. Old vines (45–50 years old) facing south and southeast bring concentration to this wine, which finishes on a subtle note of white pepper.
Drink 2018–2035
Alc 13%

Trimbach, Cuvée Frédéric Emile Riesling 2007 
18/20pts (93/100pts)
£28–£45 Berry Bros & Rudd, Fortnum & Mason, Great Western Wine, Harper Wells, HG Wines, Majestic, Millésima, Planet of the Grapes, Swig
0.7g/l RS, 7.9g/l acidity. From grapes grown on Geisberg and Osterberg grands crus. Still young and shy but with some aeration you get lemon and green apple aromas, and stony hints. Very pure and mineral-driven palate with subtle concentration and excellent potential.
Drink 2015–2025
Alc 13%

Frédéric Mochel, Cuvée Henriette Riesling, Altenberg-de-Bergbieten Grand Cru 2010 
17.5/20pts (91/100pts)
A 2013 DWWA Silver medal winner. Ripe, juicy and open palate with citrus, baked apple and spice flavours. Excellent density and a very refreshing, floral finish.
Drink 2014–2025
Alc 13%

Sipp Mack, Riesling, Rosacker Grand Cru 2010 
17.5/20pts (91/100pts)
£17.95 Gerrard Seel
Very pure and pristine grapefruit aromas and flavours. Rounded structure with precision and vibrancy on the finish.
Drink 2014–2025
Alc 13%

Barmès-Buecher, Clos Sand Riesling 2008 
17/20pts (90/100pts)
£24.91 Gauntleys
3.7g/l RS, 9g/l acidity. Biting but not cutting acidity. Superior freshness and a tang of iodine and lime notes.
Drink 2015–2025
Alc 13%

Henry Fuchs, Riesling, Kirchberg Grand Cru 2009 
17/20pts (90/100pts)
£18.85 Christopher Piper
Aromas and flavours of rhubarb, mango and aniseed. Located at the cooler high point of Kirchberg, at 400m, this vintage offers delightful tension and fine fruit.
Drink 2014–2020
Alc 13.5%

Pfister, Cuvée 8 2011 
17/20pts (90/100pts)
£14.38 The Drink Shop, Woodwinters
Riesling, Pinot Gris, Gewurztraminer and Muscat blend. Exudes richness, complexity and dryness. Lacks the razor sharpness of pure Riesling but popular for palates seeking greater richness and plenty of
Drink 2014–2018
Alc 13.5%

Pfister, Riesling, Engelberg Grand Cru 2009 
17/20pts (90/100pts)
£24.01–£27.50 Halifax Wine Co, The Drink Shop, Woodwinters
Refreshingly rounded yet dry palate showing Chablis-like focus, citrus flavours and aromas of grapefruit and lemon. Lingering finish marked by wet stone and gunflint notes.
Drink 2014–2020
Alc 13.5%

Henry Fuchs, Pinot Blanc- Auxerrois 2012 
15.5/20pts (85/100pts)
£10.28 Christopher Piper
Lovely notes of mirabelle plum, apricot and iodine saltiness. Made from old vines on a high slope between Ribeauvillé and Bergheim, which maintains freshness.
Drink 2014–2015
Alc 13%


Sales of Alsace Crémant reached new highs in 2013!

With 34 million bottles sold in 2013 the sales of Alsace Crémant reached a new high.

While the consumption on the home market in France remained stable, the sales in countries like Germany, Belgium and also Sweden and Great Britain has boomed.

The success is explained by the simple fact that a good product is promoted for a very reasonable price. Congratulations Alsace wine makers!
#jolisoleil  #drinkalsace

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Group tour Tuscany : 23-26 of May

Only 2 places left in group of 8. We stay in Siena and will visit the great names in Chianti, Montepulciano and Brunello from there. Mail or call for more information!

Group tour Alsace : 12-14 September

Only 2 places left for tour from 12 - 14 September

You will stay in a nice little hotel near Kaysersberg. The breakfasts and one lunch are included. Dinner can be organized, but that is up to you. Of course we have suggestions for you. From simple and tasteful to very exclusive Michelin Star restaurants.

Included are visits and tastings at 4 wineries. We will visit wineries with very different philosophy's in Bas Rhin and Haut Rhin.

Monday, February 10, 2014

The Alsace Wine Route - Tour with us JoliSoleil

The Alsace Wine Route is 170 kilometers (about 106 miles) from Cleebourg in the north to Thann in the south.  This route began in 1953 and takes visitors through the middle of the Alsace wine country vineyards and villages. 

The history of the wine making in Alsace goes back to old Roman times. Castles dot the landscape, villages, churches, vineyards and wines, cuisine and traditions all make Alsace a unique and magical European experience.

The vineyards of Alsace are among the oldest in all of France. For over 20 centuries this region of France has produced wine. It began in Roman times with the legionnaires, also known as the Roman Legion, which is basically the ancient Roman army.

Here begins the story of wine laws when in 92 AD Emperor Domitian banned planting vines in Italy, and ordered uprooting half of the vines in production in all Roman provinces to increase the production of cereals.  Other wine laws followed to combat fraud, to set boundaries, to regulate varieties, to set labeling standards and so on. Wine laws began in 92 AD and continue on to this day.

Alsace went through a disastrous time in viticulture when the 30 years war (1618-1648) came with mass destruction. Also climate change, and wine guilds that didn't work out lead to problems in wine making for Alsace that continued on until the French Revolution (1789-1799). After the French Revolution the wine guilds disappeared and wine making was able to be reorganized.

In the 19th century there were no regulations on what varieties of vines could be planted. Following the instructions of Jean-Antoine Chaptal, Napoleon’s minister of agriculture, they allowed a high sugar content in the wine believing it increased the level of alcohol, and following the instructions of Doctor Gall they believed the best way of making a good wine included adding water to bring down acidity.

Labeling the bottle (wine labels are referred to as etiquette in France) with the grape variety and the name of the region began in Alsace in 1919. 
In 1945 Sylvaner, Riesling, Gewurztraminer and Pinot Noir achieved prominence. When France was freed from German occupation. General de Gaulle signed an edict for the first appellation dórigine. The demand for quality caused Alsace winemakers to improve their production. In 1962 Vin dÁlsace was promoted to the rank of AOC (appellation d’origine controlee), and the number of allowed grape varieties had been cut to eleven. A limitation in the size of the vines and a reduction in the maximum yield (130 hl in 1983, 88 in 2000).

The tradition of Alsace is to make dry white wines and Pinot Noir used for rose or red. Oak casks are used for a time for fermentation, also stone and stainless steel are used.The type of varieties grown, the plots of ground they are grown on, terroir, the direction in which the vines face (mostly south and south-east), the amount of rain fall and exposure to sunlight all effect the richness, complexity aromas, sugar content and acidity and other properties . Since the Middle Ages it has been known that maturity of the grapes depends on the best exposure to the sun.

Since 1975 51 Alsace Grand Cru appellation was established as a mark for the finest wines produced in Alsace.

Note on AOC qualification: 1. Alsace wines can only be  bottled in the slender usually green-colored bottles known as “Flute d’Alsace”.  2. The wines have to be bottled in the production area.

Monday, February 3, 2014

The Amish in Alsace - Saint Marie aux Mines

Apart from wine the Alsace has many other things to offer. This time we want to tell you something about minerals & gems and ... about patchwork.

Not far from Kaysersberg lies Saint Marie aux Mines. As the name suggests there are mines here. But there is also something else. Saint Marie aux Mines is the craddle of the Amish.
On our city tours we will visit this interesting city and sites.

The Protestant Reformation began by Martin Luther, 16th century, started a lot of radical changes in Europe. During the 17th century, Anabaptist, coming from Switzerland moved into the Alsace region in France. One such man was Jacob Amann, the founder of the Amish.
Out of the Anabaptist community the first Amish settled in Sainte Marie in Alsace

In addition to being excellent farmers, the Amish also produced excellent gems and minerals from the Sainte Marie aux Mines. To this day the Saint Marie aux Mines still produce fantastic gems and minerals. There is an international show which will be held the 26-29 of June 2014 titled the 51th International Gem and Mineral Exhibition.

In addition to gems, Sainte Marie is also famous for its fabric production and patchwork. An international patchwork show will be held 18-21 of September 2014 for the 14th annual international event. ( Patchwork is the term used for quilting.)

Find these and other events by clicking on "Events" on our website or our public calendar for Alsace.

Mail or call us for more information.
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