Thursday, November 22, 2018

Staub - Cast Iron made in France

STAUB gathers people around good food in the kitchen and at the table. Each of their heirloom pieces comes with a story. Born in Alsace, a French region known for its craftsmanship and cuisine, their  cast iron cookware bring a taste of authenticity to every meal. Just look for the STAUB seal on every product. The name is a promise to you that you’re cooking with the best of France…wherever your kitchen may be.


Foodies, amateur chefs, tour guests : we can visit Staub on a "Wine tour" or "Wine and Villages tour" when we are near Turckheim.

Checkout a recent Facebook post with a Staub video here.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Google Business site

Not sure why Google "gives" you another website or as they call it Business Site, but here is ours.
Some posts from that site on a row.



Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Costs of French wine property per hectare (ha) in different regions in 2017

With a big thanks to iDEALwine and Safer:
En 2017, le prix des vignes de toutes les catégories de vins ont progressé :
  • +2,3% pour les AOP
  • +4,2% pour les AOP hors Champagne (en Champagne, le gain est plus modeste : +0,8%)
  • +8,1% pour les eaux-de-vie
  • +3% pour les hors AOP
La hausse générale est le fruit de plusieurs bassins régionaux :
  • +7,2% en Alsace
  • +5,5% dans le Rhône (ici, presque toutes les appellations progressent, y compris les plus réputées)
  • +4,9% en Bourgogne-Beaujolais-Savoie-Jura (les grands et premiers crus bourguignons poursuivent leur envolée)
  • +3,8% en Val de Loire-Centre (due en grande partie à Sancerre et Saint-Nicolas-de-Bourgueil)
  • +3,1% en Bordeaux-Aquitaine (du fait des appellations bordelaises les plus prestigieuses, Pomerol, Saint-Estèphe, Saint-Emilion)
  • +0,8% en Champagne (une hausse modérée du fait d’un repli de la Côte des Blancs)
  • +8,1% en Charentes-Cognac (du fait des exportations record en 2017)
La valeur du patrimoine foncier viticole AOP (69,4 milliards d’euros, +2,3%) est concentrée à 86% dans trois bassins qui ne couvrent pourtant que 45% des surfaces : la Champagne, qui représente à elle seule 55% de la valeur du total, plus de 38M€ (et seulement 7% des surfaces plantées), devant Bordeaux (12,7M€, +18%) (pour 28% des surfaces) et le bassin Bourgogne-Beaujolais-Savoie-Jura (8,8 7M€), pour 10% des surfaces.
Entre 1997 et 2017, le prix moyen national des vignes AOP a été multiplié par 2,5 (en valeur constante).  Le premier facteur d’augmentation du prix des vignes reste la baisse des taux d’intérêts, associé à une augmentation du revenu viticole. Le prix des vignes hors AOP, qui avait nettement diminué entre 2000 et 2010, remonte depuis 2010. Une remontée qui peut s’expliquer en partie par le dynamisme du Languedoc sur ce segment (qui représente 70% des surfaces hors AOP) et aussi par l’arrachage et la replantation de cépages plus qualitatifs.

LE PRIX MOYEN DES VIGNES DES PRINCIPALES APPELLATIONS EN 2017

La méthodologie choisie tend à lisser l’évolution des prix, en éliminant les transactions les plus élevées et les transactions les moins élevées.

A Bordeaux

(prix d’un hectare de vigne, évolution par rapport à l’année précédente)
Pauillac : 2 000 000 €/ha1 (-0,79%)
Saint-Estèphe : 450 000 €/ha (+17,49%)
Saint-Julien : 1 200 000  €/ha (-0,79%)
Moulis : 80 000 €/ha (-0,7%)
Listrac : 75 000 €/ha (-0,8%)
Pessac-Léognan :  450 000 €/ha (-0,8%)
Sauternes : 30 000 €/ha (-15%)
Pomerol : 1 500 000 €/ha (+14,5%)
Saint-Emilion : 250 000 €/ha (+7,85%)
Fronsac : 30 000 €/ha (-15%)

En Bourgogne

Les grands crus : 6 000 000 €/ha (+8%)
Les premiers crus blancs : 1 536 000 €/ha (+4,1%)
Les premiers crus rouges : 650 000 €/ha (+2,3%)
Chablis : 164 000 €/ha (+4,99%)
Chablis premier cru : 350 000 €/ha (+0,3%)
Mâcon blanc : 65 000 €/ha (-0,8%)
Pouilly-Fuissé : 240 000 €/ha (-0,8%)

En Champagne

Côte des Blancs : 1 472 200 €/ha (-4,7%)
Côte d’Epernay, Grande Montagne : 1 188 900 €/ha (-0,19%)
Autres régions (Marne) : 1 040 000 €/ha (+1,17%)
Aube : 1 004 100 €/ha (+2,52%)

Dans le Rhône

Saint-Joseph : 120 000 €/ha (+9%)
Hermitage : 1 100 000 €/ha (-0,8%)
Cornas : 450 000 €/ha (-0,8%)
Crozes-Hermitage : 120 000 €/ha (+8,21%)
Châteauneuf-du-Pape : 405 000 €/ha (+3%)
Gigondas : 180 000 €/ha (-0,8%)
Vacqueyras : 90 000 €/ha (-0,8%)
Ventoux : 20 000 €/ha (+10,5%)

Dans la Loire

Sancerre : 160 000 €/ha (+9,44%)
Pouilly-Fumé : 155 000 €/ha (-0,8%)
Bourgueil : 20 000 €/ha (1%)
Chinon : 22 000 €/ha (-1%)
Montlouis-sur-Loire : 9 000 €/ha (+11,1%)
Vouvray : 21 000 (-1%)
Saumur : 14 000 €/ha (+2,9%)
Touraine : 8 000 €/ha (-1,2%)
Anjou : 14 000 €/ha (+6,87%)
Saumur (Maine-et-Loire) : 19 000 €/ha (-1%)
Saumur-Champigny : 58 000 €/ha (0%) (un chiffre qui ne prend pas en compte le rachat du Clos Rougeard par Martin et Olivier Bouygues en 2017, ce qui traduit des choix méthodologiques spécifiques.)
Muscadet : 10 000 €/ha (-1%)
Muscadet Sèvre-et-Maine : 12 000 €/ha (-0,8%)

En Alsace

Alsace (Bas-Rhin) : 106 000 €/ha (+6,1%)
Alsace (Haut-Rhin) : 153 600 €/ha (+6,7%)

Dans le Jura

Arbois : 36 000 €/ha (-0,8%)
Château-Chalon : 55 000 €/ha (-0,7%)
Côtes du Jura : 27 000 €/ha (+3%)
L’Etoile : 23 000 €/ha (+3,6%)

Dans le Sud-Ouest

Jurançon : 40 000 €/ha (-0,7%)
Madiran (Pyrénées-Atlantiques) : 15 000 €/ha (-0,7%)
Madiran (Hautes-Pyrénées) : 18 000 €/ha (-0,5%)
Madiran (Gers) : 16 000 €/ha (-0,6%)

Dans le Languedoc -Roussillon

Fitou : 11 000 €/ha (-0,9%)
Languedoc – Pic Saint-Loup : 40 000 €/ha (+4,44%)
Languedoc – Terrasses du Larzac : 20 000 €/ha (+16,96%)
Saint-Chinian : 12 000 €/ha (-0,8%)
Faugères : 16 000 €/ha (-0,6%)

En Provence

Cassis : 100 000 €/ha (-0,8%)
Bellet : 245 000 €/ha (-0,8%)

En Corse

Calvi : 18 000 €/ha (-28,6%)
Patrimonio et Coteaux du Cap Corse : 40 000 €/ha (-0,7%)
Ajaccio : 25 000 €/ha (+23,8%)
Vin de Corse (Figari, Sartène, Porto-Vecchio) : 25 000 €/ha (-0,8%)
Prix moyen (€ constants /ha) ; variation 2017/2016. Source : Safer

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

What a private tour does not mean !


The advantage of a private tour is that you/we can adjust and tune many things beforehand. 
For wine tours we can pick a theme (just Rieslings for example) and/or specific area in Alsace, Burgundy or Tuscany.

At village tours we can skip a village or change a village I normally go to for another one.

But (future) customers please understand that booking a private tour does NOT mean tthat you can change everything on the tour day itself.

For wine tastings at the better wineries,  I must make appointments some time before. We can NOT just drop in everywhere as we please.  
On a  “Wine & Villages tour” we normally do one extensive wine tasting. Now I can change things and add one more tasting on such a tour, but I cannot do 3 or 4. And the other way around : “If” tasting appointments are made by me , we reserved time at those wineries. We cannot just not show up then. They are waiting for us and cancelled other visitors.

The same goes for lunch restaurants. 


I make reservations before based on quality and price. I often reserve a table at a Michelin starred restaurant. We cannot just not show up then, because “the weather is so nice” and people want to sit outside. The restaurant is waiting for us and cancelled other customers because of our reservation.

Cheers to some great tours coming up!

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Join us on a tour or tasting

JoliSoleil organizes wine tours and wine tastings in or near Gerardmer, in the Netherlands and in California.






Monday, March 12, 2018

Cast iron stoves and wood burning



Wood burning has gotten a bad reputation in Holland, because of pollution and "fine dust". Here where I live in France, it is what you do to stay warm and cook in winter though. And if there is one thing I have learned over the years, is that you should not fight nature but comply with it. 

Forests everywhere, wood everywhere.....This is what people have been doing here for centuries. Dry wood....right size..right temperature. .





Only heating my radiators with fuel costs me a fortune and the big space in the farm still stays chilly. Warming up the cast iron in the Rayburn woodstove in the kitchen and in the chimney of the big fire place in the main room gives a nice warmth that stays for 16-24 hours without adding new wood. That means you normally pick up in the morning where you have left in the evening. And it stays comfy. Of course we also roast and bbq in the big fire place.



Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Eau de Vie (and Marc de Vie) in Alsace and Burgundy

Water of Life

One of the lesser-known spirit categories is eau-de-vie. Most people will have tried one, and often without realising as various countries’ national drinks are classified as eau-de-vie, such as Raki from Turkey and European Slivovitz.

Confusingly, eau-de-vie (French for ‘water of life’) is a term used in French to mean ‘spirit’. But in English-speaking countries, it refers to brandies made with fruit other than grapes.
Not all will use the term on the label – common types of eau-de-vie include Romanian Tuică, Schnapps from Germany, Hungarian Pálinka and Ceylon Arrack from Sri Lanka.

So: An eau de vie is a clear, colourless fruit brandy that is produced by means of fermentation and double distillation. The fruit flavour is typically very light.




History

They tell a tale in the broad, pine-clad Ville Valley, which cuts into the foothills of the Vosges beneath the frowning fortress of Haut-Koenigsbourg. In the 17th century, they say, an Alsatian monk boiled up some fermented cherries to produce an elixir he hoped would provide a cure for cholera.
He called it ''eau de vie'' or ''water of life.''

Well, maybe. What is certain is that for several hundred years, this valley and others in Alsace have been producing clear, unsweetened fruit brandies called eaux de vie, which are not to be confused with liqueurs like creme de banane.

Eaux de vie do not cure cholera (or anything else, for that matter), but at their best they rank among the world's great after-dinner drinks -- evocatively perfumed, rich, pure and explosively flavorful, almost like biting into a perfectly ripe raspberry or Bartlett pear.
So great is the intensity of aroma and flavor that you have a virtual orchard in your glass. Leave that glass sitting out, emptied but unwashed, and 48 hours later a faint scent of fresh fruit will linger in the air.


How is it made?

It is made in a similar way to Cognac and other grape brandies. The method varies, but usually the fruit is pressed to extract its juice, fermented with the help of yeast (which can be either commercially produced, or by using naturally occurring strains within the fruit) to create an alcoholic liquid, and then distilling it.
Eau-de-vie are usually unaged, and are usually bottled soon after production to preserve aroma and flavour.

Pomace brandy is a liquor distilled from pomace that is left over from winemaking, after the grapes are pressed. It is called marc in both English and French. So you could say that "marc" is a special kind of Eau de Vie.


At Windholz in Ribeaville

Tasting Eau de Vie or a Marc at a wine tour

Many Alsatian and Burgundy wineries produce Eau de Vie and/or Marc next to their wines.
Apart from that there are some specialized distillers in the area's.

Don't forget to ask us for a smell and sip, while we are on the road tasting wines with you.
We also love to mark your "marc".

At Windholz in Ribeaville



Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Example calculation - wine shop USA


Know that:
The quoted prices in our Webshop are without taxes and in your "shopping basket" you can see the brut shipping and insurance costs.
To give you an example calculation of net costs and shipping for a bottle of Euro 25,= TTC (with tax) in France, please check this table:


So with 30 bottles or more you pay 20+5= 25 Euro per bottle AND get the wine delivered in the USA at your home. That is the same as you would pay in France (TTC) at the winery!

See you at the Wine Club at  https://js-usa-wine.club/ or via the JoliSoleil Wine Tour website:  at https://www.jolisoleil-winetours.com/jsusawineclub 

Cheers !!!


Friday, February 16, 2018

So per bottle you would pay the same as you would pay at the winemaker in France or Italy?


The best wines from for example Alsace shipped to the USA

Americans can now (re-)order wines from Alsace, Burgundy and Tuscany from their home. We take care of all duties and custom papers. The wines will be delivered by UPS or FedEx on your doorstep. For some wines this is the ONLY way to get them in the USA as they might not be imported in your country.






Is it not expensive?

Shipping wines from France to the USA has become easy and affordable now!

You can order the selected wines in our Store in boxes of 6. Of course there are shipping costs but as the wines are not consumed in France or Italy, you do NOT pay the 20% French (TVA) or Italian taxes on the bottle. Keeping this tax advantage in mind: the shipping price for 6 bottles already drops to about Euro 16,= per bottle instead of +/- Euro 21,= (including all insurances). BUT if you ship a total of 5 boxes (30 bottles) or more OF ANY wine/winery in this shop, your net shipping costs drop to +/- Euro 5,= (or less) per bottle. So per bottle you pay about the same as you would pay at the winemaker in France or Italy: your tax advantage pays for the shipping!

Visit our shop today!

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Team building and senior management strategy retreats

Are you planning a business presentation or a management meeting in Alsace, Burgundy or Tuscany? 


We partner with exquisite (chateau) hotels and restaurants in these area's that provide the right atmosphere and have all the facilities you might need.


We can help you organize your stay and of course your lunches and dinners but also (wine) excursions in the area. Of course we can also design a "lady's program" or help you find a speaker for your congress.



Thursday, February 1, 2018

How about a boat tour ... in Colmar and do a wine tasting?


Site Members get all kinds of information for free - register today !

Become a JoliSoleil Site Member and get all kinds of information for free.

The information (often in PDF format) will grow in 2018!
So drop by now and then!

For information on Alsace (grand cru's, food pairings, etc.) register and follow this link
Example:
Complete list plus surface from Alsace Grand Cru's by JoliSoleil
















And how about our information on the Aoc's of Burgundy and the "Cuisine" of Tuscany?

You can download and read our documents (in PDF) for free, just register as a site member !

Cheers
    et
a bientôt!

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Biodynamic winemakers - complete freaks ?

Weird people ?
If I told you that a biodynamic winemaker takes the flower heads of yarrow, fermented in a stag's bladder, and applies them to compost, or that he ferments oak bark in the skull of a domestic animal, you would think he was a bit nuts, wouldn't you? That's why people don't shout about it - it's just too weird.

But such processes seem to work. Some of the world's greatest wine producers are already making wine biodynamically, and increasing numbers are dabbling in it, from California to Australia, Chile to South Africa, Italy to France - especially France.


What is biodynamic winemaking?
So what exactly is biodynamic winemaking? Good question. Let me say that many winemakers who do it don't fully understand it. "It's like Japanese: if you jump straight into it, it's too esoteric, too strange," says Alsace biodynamic winemaker André Ostertag.
Another convert, Dominique Lafon, from the great Meursault estate of the same name, adds: "At first you can't believe the stories that you hear, but once you see for yourself what is going on in the vineyard, you are more ready to accept it."

The term "biodynamic" translates roughly from its Greek roots as meaning "working with life energies". Biodynamic wines are those made from grapes grown following the principles of biodynamic agriculture, stemming from a series of lectures delivered by Rudolf Steiner (1861-1925), linking man, the earth and the cosmos.
Steiner believed: "It is impossible to understand plant life without taking into account that everything on Earth is actually only a reflection of what is taking place in the cosmos." The biodynamic farmer thus sees the farm in the context of a wider pattern of lunar and cosmic rhythms. No synthetic fertilisers or pesticides are used here instead, they use a range of special preparations (the aforementioned oak bark, etc) to boost the productivity of the soil. These are diluted, then applied in homeopathic quantities determined by the position and influences of the sun, moon and stars.

The height of the moon, for example, is crucial to the planting cycle.
When the moon is descending, sap flows downwards and things don't grow as fast (including your hair, apparently - so it's a good time to get it cut), making this the best time to plant young vines. But that, of course, depends on where you are in the signs of the zodiac. I told you it was weird.
The days in the biodynamic agricultural calendar are divided up according to the signs of the zodiac. There are root days (earth signs - Taurus, Virgo, Capricorn), leaf days (water signs - Cancer, Scorpio, Pisces), flower days (air signs - Gemini, Aquarius, Libra) and fruit days (fire signs - Leo, Sagittarius, Aries). If you plant your potatoes on a root day in a falling moon, you'll have a perfect crop - or something like that. This is organic farming with knobs on.
It sounds mysterious, I know, but grape growers who have embraced the system report great improvements in the health of their vineyards, while winemakers claim to produce cleaner, more vibrant wines.

Lafon, who first started experimenting with biodynamics more than 10 years ago, says: "You see better growth in the vineyard - longer shoots, with roots that go really deep. I saw a vineyard that was almost dead double its crop after being farmed biodynamically."
And he declares: "Our fruit is riper, more intense, and better balanced in terms of acidity, with a more even crop. And all of us have felt that there's more energy in the wines - in the whites, especially."


Alsace on the lead
There are more than 20 producers in Burgundy who are into biodynamics, but Alsace boasts more than anywhere else in the world. "I guess it's a question of geography - Steiner's influence along the Rhine," explains Ostertag, who first experimented with it in 1997.
He, too, saw a virused vineyard spring back to life with biodynamics. "I was so impressed, I had to try it," he says. "It became less and less strange as I went along, though I can't explain why it works. Even scientists don't understand how it works. It's not rational, and I'm a really rational person. I don't think about it too much, I just do it."

You'll have to do your homework to search out biodynamic producers - most don't exactly shout about it (it's a spiritual thing, rather than a marketing thing), and give no indication on the back labels. Those that do so open up another can of worms, as very few growers are certified biodynamic (Demeter, a certified trademark of the Biodynamic Agricultural Association, is the main certifying body in the UK).


You could always search out Frederic Grappe. He runs Dynamic Vines, the first wine supplier to concentrate on biodynamic wines. His name might be familiar to many in the industry - he was formerly head sommelier at both Orrery and Roussillon restaurants in London. He has about 70 biodynamic wines on his books, from 18 different producers - all French, except one from Spain. And, yes, his on-trade accounts are mostly top-end, so far.
Grappe says: "I feel that these wines really need to be explained, so I need passionate people buying them, with serious lists." That said, one of his biggest customers is a modest French bistro, La Trouvaille, off London's Carnaby Street, whose co-owner, Guillaume Siard, is now a huge fan of biodynamic wines and lists 85 of them on his 100-bin list.
The bistro didn't start out that way, however. "When we opened eight years ago," Siard says, "we specialised in wines from the South of France, but we realised that most of the wines that we had chosen for the list were made organically or biodynamically. I am drawn to wines that have pure flavours, a vibrancy, balance and authenticity - which these have. But you need to choose carefully. Just because the wines are organic and biodynamic doesn't mean they are good."
He does attempt to explain biodynamics on his list, but to keep things simple he marks each wine with an "N" for natural. He explains: "It's much easier that way, as some aren't certified organic or biodynamic, and some are."

Authentic
Grappe has lots of explaining to do, but most people get it, he says. "Restaurant wine buyers are becoming increasingly bored with the globalisation of wines - the lack of identity and character," he believes. "Biodynamic wines are just so much more authentic - closer to the area they come from."
This is what drew him to biodynamic wines in the first place. "My palate was just moving closer and closer to these kinds of wines," he explains. "It's not just about the wines, either, it's about the people behind it. And there are more and more winemakers moving in this direction. In France, they were seen as complete freaks up until five years ago. Some people still think that."

You can't really blame them. Biodynamic winemaking has provoked a fair amount of scepticism, especially in the scientific community, who are put off by its rather esoteric, cultish image. And no full studies have been conducted yet, which would help its wider acceptance.

Nobody can say for sure how biodynamics contributes to these wines. There aren't any non-biodynamic wines made by the same producers in the same way to compare them against, and the practice has picked up only in the past 10 years.
Biodynamic agriculture is tricky and precise, and requires an enormous commitment from the winemaker, but the fact remains that some of the best vineyards - and vegetable gardens - in the world are biodynamic.

Based on an article in Caterer & Hotelkeeper

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Possibility to join luxury Alsace tour in May 2018

Although JoliSoleil offers mostly private tours, some of our customers ask us for the possibility to share a tour or join an existing tour group.

On a Notice Board page on our Website we post possibilities to join an existing group.

We have for May in Alsace:



An English speaking (American) couple plans a 4 day Luxury Wine and Food tour in Alsace.
Period (options):
1) May 16-19
2) May  9 -12
3) May 23-26
Language spoken on this tour will be English
The tour consists of:

  • tastings at  7 wineries,
  • 3 lunches (normal),
  • 3 dinners (1 Michelin starred including wines)
  • All transport except for the morning of day 3.
A more detailed program description is available on request.
Price:
Euro 810,= per person
Interested ? Then please mail to combinetour@jolisoleil.com

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Gourmet getaways

Which wineries to visit
On our private wine tours we first of all offer our clients a general overview of what the region has to offer. That means they will get to know and taste all official grapes that are allowed in the area.
And then of course we compare many wines: grand cru's of Alsace, premier and grand cru's from Burgundy and docg's from Tuscany.


We always end a tour in the afternoon at one of the top wineries in the area. The customer having tasted and learned a lot during the tour day(s), often knows which wines would be most worthwhile to finish with.
I, as a wine guide spending the time with my clients getting to know them, can often predict which wines would be most interesting for them to try and buy at the end.
These are some great advantages of a private tour with a knowledgeable wine guide (...)

Maybe I should stress the fact that I do not do the same tour every day. I select the wineries to visit in a more or less logical order for driving but I also will build up a variety. If communicated before, my selection of wineries for the visits is also based on the clients preferences and suggestions.

Lunch and dinner
For lunch I always select at least a good restaurant. I want to present my customers the great (local) food that the region has to offer.  And quality goes over quantity! Too much food for lunch can ruin the following afternoon tastings. And people need to save some space for dinner in the evening too of course.



Michelin stars
A lot of my clients ask me for the possibility to include lunch and/or dinner in a Michelin starred restaurant. After all they are on vacation and doing an exclusive wine tasting, so often they are in the mood to give their taste buds a food treat too.
In some cases they just want to experience the having been in a famous Michelin starred restaurant. In other cases they have read about a special menu, the chef, a dish etc..
Last but not least: in such a restaurant a wine and food pairing will be perfect!

I often discuss possibilities with the restaurants sommelier beforehand and also sur place we can discuss wine pairing details with the very knowledgable sommeliers.


Budget
Here is another advantage of a private tour. In a mixed group I cannot force people to spend more money then they might have expected for let us say "just a pizza" or a "tarte flambee".
Normally we spend 25-30 Euro p.p. without drinks.

In a private group we can discuss things beforehand and reserve an exclusive table..
By the way: many Michelin starred restaurants offer lunch menu's for about 45-55 Euro p.p. during the week. Sure, a little more expensive, but a pleasant surprise for lots of people.

Michelin in Alsace, Burgundy and Tuscany
The Michelin restaurant guides are well known all over the world. In countries like France and Italy they are very important.
I sometimes go to dine there in private, but thanks to you: "the JoliSoleil wine tour customers" I have visited a lot of them in my area's quite a few times now.
Over the years I got to know a lot of chefs and sommeliers personally, which absolutely adds to my job satisfaction.



Gourmet Getaways
As a logical answer to the demands of a group of customers JoliSoleil now also offers: "Gourmet Getaways".
This is something special  for a special occasions like a romantic weekend, a wedding, a special business achivement, etc.
They are always private events

In a 3 -, 4- or 5- day Gourmet Getaway  you will enjoy:

- lunches at Michelin "Bib Gourmand" or "Star restaurants"
- an introduction and wine tasting and at your hotel
- visits and tastings of the top wineries of the area (4 per tasting day, so for example 8 visits on a 3- day Getaway
- at least one 5-course dinner with matching wines in a top Michelin * restaurant.
- you will meet many wine makers and chefs personally

We can assist you in booking a room in a 5-star hotel either in a city like:
  • Colmar or Strasbourg in Alsace
  • Beaune or Dijon in Burgundy
  • Siena or Florence in Tuscany
In all areas are also beautiful resorts in the country site.

To give you an idea: prices for a 3 day Getaway start at Euro 1.250,= p.p., but better mail us to get a personal proposal for your private tailor made Gourmet Getaway.

Monday, January 8, 2018

2018 - another year has begun.

All the special wine glasses are washed and put away for the next special occasion. The year 2018 has really begun. That does not mean that there are no more wine glasses at hand of course.
They are our more our standard day to day glasses that can be used for lots of different wines and last but not least are not to vulnerable.


Being in the wine touring business for some years now means lots of contacts with winemakers. We follow their activities and we talk with them about the weather often.
It is interesting to be "around" so to speak, when there are hail storms in spring in Burgundy or Alsace or like in the beginning of 2017 to witness the frost periods after some mild weeks in March which already woke up nature.
Fascinating and scary to see how winemakers in for example the freezing Volnay area in Burgundy made hay fires at night trying to save the buds. In other parts they use fuel stoves.
Still damages in Chablis for example and here and there even in Alsace.


Another thing I remember very vividly were the hot summers of 2003, 2009 and for example the summer of 2015. I remember touring at 40+ C and more in 2015 with the airco at full blast in my car. I remember nature gasping for water. The grape vines still looked healthy but their maturing grapes were  sometimes still a bit small.  I remember talking to wine makers being happy and a bit worried at the same time. As they are not allowed to irrigate, the root system of their vines had adapted to all of that dryness. They went deep even in granite soil. But ...it has to rain at some time....

Most wine makers left the leaves growing on the branches, sticking out, so they would protect the grapes  from too much sun, like a parasol. In other years they might have pruned them to get sun on the grapes. These are decisions you can only make once per season. You cannot glue the protecting leaves back on.
Some biodynamic wine makers even sprayed camomile tea over the plants to relax them. Yes, it works for humans and it also works for plants.


Finally, at the end of August it did rain....Not too much...; and then after a couple of days some more. Ideal !!! Just what the grapes needed to survive, grow a bit more and further mature. Big smiles on all the wine makers faces. In Alsace this became a great year for Pinot Noir but also for other grape variaties. The results in Burgundy and Tuscany were also great.

What will 2018 bring? We already had some snow at the end of 2017. And then lots of rain and floodings in the first week of the new year. Temperatures are still mild.
We will follow the weather forecasts on TV every day again. We will also be looking outside on our 2018 tours and "feel the weather" and of course discuss the weather lots of times, sipping a glass.
Fun !!!
 
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