The Ultimate Shopping List of Cheeses for Wine Lovers A guide to the best cheeses for a wine tasting party


Wine and cheese pairing is serious business in Wine Country. Over the 15 years that I’ve lived in Sonoma County, I’ve probably consumed my weight in cheese while sipping on a glass of wine at home, at work or at other winery tasting rooms. The wine and cheese pairing “research” we’ve undertook with our chef and associate winemaker at Jordan Winery—both for finding the best cheeses for pairing with cabernet sauvignon and determining which cheeses pair with chardonnay—has helped us fine-tune our list of cheeses for serving at a wine tasting. We’ve pulled together our wine and cheese tasting notes from several years to create the ultimate shopping list of cheeses for wine lovers with recommendations on where to buy each gourmet cheese online. These are some of the best cheeses to bring to a party, especially a wine tasting where Jordan Cabernet Sauvignon is being served.  Read More…..

Best Rhône 2017 wines: The top scorers

See Matt Walls’ top scoring Rhône wines from the 2017 vintage….

Best Rhone 2017 wines
The top scoring wines from Rhône 2017

Best Rhône 2017 wines: The top scorers

Matt Walls returned to the Rhône at the end of 2018 to taste the 2017 vintage en primeur.

Here’s a preview of his top-scoring wines, in advance of his in-depth reports for northern and southern  Rhône later this week on Decanter Premium.

See also: First taste: Chapoutier single vineyard wines 2017

Compared to the 2016 vintage, both northern and southern Rhône 2017 are better suited to those looking for ageworthy wines.

‘Whereas 2016 in the Northern Rhône was the perfect vintage for those looking for detailed, refreshing wines with clear typicity that will drink well straight away, 2017 is more a vintage for the cellar,’ says Walls in his Northern Rhone 2017 vintage report, coming this week.

Similarly in the south, ‘2017 doesn’t have the effortless balance and joie de vivre of the 2016s, but will be enjoyed by those looking for structured, tannic, ageworthy wines,’ according to Walls.

For those looking for value, St-Joseph 2017 ‘is home to some of the best value wine in France.’

You will be able to view all of his value picks in his upcoming reports, as well as his lists of top-performing producers and best wines, with 300 tasting notes and scores.

The following wines have all scored at least 96 points from Walls in his 2017 report.

Top Rhône 2017 wines:


See also: Anson – How Nicolas Jaboulet started again in the Rhône

The post Best Rhône 2017 wines: The top scorers appeared first on Decanter.

Climate Change Leadership Porto – Solutions for the Wine Industry 2019

On March 5-7, 2019, the city of Porto will host a major global debate on the challenges faced by the wine world due to climate change.

In partnership with the Porto Climate Change Leadership conference.

Porto Sunset

An international conference, Climate Change Leadership Porto – Solutions for the Wine Industry, will provide a forum where the industry can discuss and share personal experiences and practical short and long-term solutions to mitigate the impacts of a changing climate.

The conference will help us understand our role in climate change and enable all sectors of the wine industry to work in concert to reduce their collective impact and help ensure a safe and sustainable future.

Internationally renowned authorities will share their research and practical experience and discuss the strategies being implemented to reduce the effects of climate change.

Confirmed wine industry speakers include:

  • Miguel Torres
  • Cristina Mariani-May
  • Gérard Bertrand
  • Margareth Henriquez
  • Professor Roger Boulton of UC-Davis
  • António Amorim
  • Climatologist Dr. Greg Jones
  • Dr. José Vouillamoz
  • Cindy de Vries – Fetzer Vineyards
  • Gerard Casaubon – Concha y Toro
  • Jaume Gramona
  • Joël Rochard
  • Gilles Descôtes
  • Jamie Goode
  • Paul Willgoss
  • Linda Johnson-Bell

The conference will help to identify where and how we can start to push back.  It will provide solutions and real examples of what is working and aims to involve all players up to CEO and owner level.

On the last day, following the wine industry debate, the conference will culminate with the second edition of the Climate Change Leadership Porto summit attended by world-class climate change experts and activists. Nobel Laureate and former US Vice-President Al Gore will be the Keynote Speaker. Other speakers include UN Champion of the Earth for the world’s largest beach clean-up project, Afroz Shah; Director-General of WWF International Marco Lambertini; Kaj Török, Chief Sustainability Officer at MAX Burgers, the World’s First Climate-Positive Burgers, and other names to be announced shortly.

The event follows the Climate Change Leadership Summit 2018 held in Porto last July at which the keynote address was given by President Barack Obama.  The key outcome of this summit was the launch of the Porto Procotol, which commits its participants to adopt and promote concrete actions, however small, to help reduce the impact of a changing climate. While this important global initiative recognises that the wine industry is uniquely well placed to take a leadership role in climate change mitigation, the Protocol welcomes the participation of institutions, companies and individuals from all areas of activity.

Climate Change Leadership – Solutions for the Wine Industry Porto 2019 will also feature an extensive Trade Show Area at the Alfândega Conference Centre where sponsors and exhibitors can showcase their products and services, as well as their initiatives to mitigate and adapt to climate change, to the approximately 700 delegates coming to Porto from over 40 countries.

To obtain further information and register at the conference, please visit or contact

Find out more about the Porto Protocol and membership at


The post Climate Change Leadership Porto – Solutions for the Wine Industry 2019 appeared first on Decanter.

‘Game of Thrones’ Dornish Wine Brought to Real Life by St.-Emilion Vintner (Wine Spectator)

The end is coming: The final season of everyone’s favorite medieval-fantasy-gorefest-drama debuts on HBO this April, and we’re not quite prepared to say goodbye to all the incredible wine references made throughout the show (we’ll always have Tyrion Lannister‘s immortal credo “I drink and I know things”). But one winery in Bordeaux has come up with a way for wine-loving superfans to give a proper sendoff to the beloved series: a taste of a real-life version of that fantastic Dornish wine all those Westerosi enophiles, Tyrion in particular, have been rav(en)ing about for the past seven seasons.

Vigneron Thibault Bardet of Vignobles Bardet, across the Narrow Sea over in St.-Emilion, got the idea to research how wine from Dorne would actually taste based on how it has been described in the GoT books and series, as well as how the climate of the arid southernmost region of Westeros is portrayed.

“The project began after watching an episode of Game of Thrones with a friend,” Bardet told Unfiltered. “We thought that it may be very interesting to have the possibility to drink the wine from Dorne. Sadly, after some research, I discovered that there wasn’t a wine like that. So I decided to make my own.” (His libation is not to be confused with HBO’s branded GoT merch wine.)

Rarely an episode goes by that we don’t see a noble character holding a goblet of wine aloft as they make covert alliances or order death sentences, so we know the juice is likely quite good. Still, “in the TV show, they don’t speak a lot about the Dornish wine taste, but in the book, there are so many descriptions about it,” Bardet said. “After reading all [of the books], I had more than 40 pages of wine information. The main information was: fruity, powerful but easy to drink, and [with] intense dark color.”

For Thibault and his father, Philippe, that description had Merlot written all over it. Once they had their grape, they knew they would need to source it from vines in sandy soils, to mimic the terrain of the fictional peninsula that is Dorne; a warm, dry summer in Bordeaux in 2016 gave them appropriately Dornish weather.

The result is not one but two cuvées made in the Dornish style: Dornish Wine Castillon Côtes de Bordeaux Red 2016 and The Imp’s Delight St.-Emilion Red 2016. The latter—named after the wine Tyrion hopes to one day make when he retires from the spotlight and purchases his own vineyard—is vinted without sulfites, which Thibault thinks is probably how Dornish wine would have been made in those mythical days.

And while Westerosis (and Wine Spectators) typically prefer wine, those seeking the harder stuff might enjoy a new collection from HBO and Diageo of eight single-malt Scotch whiskies, each one corresponding with a major royal house in the GoT universe—the Lagavulin 9 Year Old House Lannister, the Dalwhinnie Winter’s Frost House Stark, and so on. “Valar dohaeris,” as they say—”all must serve.”

HBO / Diageo

A Scotch of fire and ice

Nail Salon Puts Tiny Champagne Flutes, Vodka Bottles at/on Your Fingertips

Russia-based nail-salon chain Nail Sunny wants to help you to keep your favorite glass of bubbly on hand at all times—literally. That’s the idea behind one of the salon’s new nail-art concepts: Mini acrylic-like molds of Champagne, vodka and brandy bottles (plus a mimosa pitcher) are sculpted and decorated, sealed to nails on one hand, then filled with actual alcohol using a small syringe. The party really gets out of hand—again, literally, of course—when the wearer “pours” the bottles’ contents into the molds perched atop their other hand, of tiny Champagne flutes and cocktail glasses.

Instagram / @nail_sunny

Pair with knuckle sandwiches.

From the looks of Nail Sunny’s Instagram account, the whimsical manicurists previously topped nails with baby bottles, flower corsages, chess pieces, lightbulbs, bottle openers and hand tools (once more, literally): functional fingertip Phillips-head and slotted screwdriver bits. Unfiltered is now headed to Moscow to get a set of corkscrews on one hand, and on the other, a foil cutter, Port tongs (two fingers), Champagne saber and Coravin.

Scots Call for House of Lords to be Disgorged Over Champagne Habits

Britons deploy the euphemism “tired and emotional” to describe one’s state after imbibing, say, a mite too much Champagne. And Parliament’s House of Lords has been getting frequently tired and emotional on a not-insignificant amount of Pol Roger, according to figures obtained by the Scottish National Party. This while the Scots are getting very (literally) tired and emotional at all the antics of their neighbors south of the wall in the lead-up to their Brexit bugbear.

This latest hurly-burly began when the SNP discovered that the House of Lords’ mostly private watering holes in Parliament served 679 bottles of Champagne and Prosecco in the 2017-18 session, at what the SNP characterizes as discounted prices, subsidized by taxpayers who rarely have access to the members’ wine and dining venues. The subjects of the Crown pay about $1.5 million in taxes annually that goes toward catering and other Parli parties, including $894,000 on the Lords’ dining room.

“The House of Lords is a democratic disgrace—with party donors and cronies given a say on our laws without the chance for voters to kick them out,” Member of the Scottish Parliament Bill Kidd told the National (“the newspaper that supports an independent Scotland,” it should be noted). “It’ll stick in the craw of voters to hear that these unelected Lords are guzzling Champagne and Prosecco while others are struggling.”

Enjoy Unfiltered? The best of Unfiltered’s round-up of drinks in pop culture can now be delivered straight to your inbox every other week! Sign up now to receive the Unfiltered e-mail newsletter, featuring the latest scoop on how wine intersects with film, TV, music, sports, politics and more.

Perfect Match Recipe: Meat, Leek and Potato Casserole with Riesling (Wine Spectator)

“All the crazy techniques of doing something with nothing come from very poor people,” chef Gabriel Kreuther reflects. His case in point is baeckeoffe (“baker’s oven”), the traditional meat-and-potatoes casserole he grew up eating in Alsace.

The story goes that, once upon a time, Alsatian village women would marinate pork, beef and lamb in white wine the day before laundry day. The next morning, they’d throw the meat and its marinade into a lidded terrine along with potatoes, onions and spices, sealing the pot with a ribbon of dough to ensure that no steam could escape. En route to the washbasin, they’d drop off their dishes with the village baker, whose massive stone oven would by then be cooling slowly after the morning bake. The baker would set the pots inside.

Over the course of the day, the oven’s residual warmth would melt the meat to buttery tenderness, simmer the sliced onion into sweet, translucent threads of gold, and release the potatoes’ starch to thicken the broth. Come evening, each woman would pick up her hot casserole and bring it home for dinner. The dough seal, once broken at the dinner table, would shatter into bolts of crunchy crust—perfect for soaking up the steaming broth.

Today, of course, this all sounds remarkably quaint. What would these women have given for an Instant Pot, or even a standard-issue home oven? (To say nothing of takeout menus, or a partner whom they could reasonably expect to perform a share of the domestic work.)

Nonetheless, the origin story of baeckeoffe suggests that multitasking is nothing new. Certainly today, a dinner that more or less cooks itself while you tend to other parts of life has not lost its appeal.

Kreuther is quick to note that, paradoxically, one of the most traditional aspects of the dish is that it varies from kitchen to kitchen. “Every single town, every single village, has a slightly different way of doing it,” he explains. “Some places will say, ‘Oh, you’re putting carrots in? I’m not [putting] carrots in mine.’”

In your own kitchen, feel free to tweak the recipe to suit. You might swap out some of the pork shoulder for thick-cut bacon, Kreuther suggests, or use a single type of meat rather than three.

Given that it’s so variable, what makes for a successful baeckeoffe? “It’s good potatoes, the seasoning and a good dry wine,” he says. Many recipes call for a splash or two of vino; here, you’ll need a bottle and a half. In that quantity, the wine’s quality will be apparent. “At the end of the day, I’m not saying you should use a $600 bottle of wine for cooking, but if you buy a $3 bottle of wine, if the cork already costs $1.75, what’s the wine worth?” he implores. So spring for something decent. “And if you really want to extend the whole thing to perfection,” he adds, “then you should just use the same wine as you [plan to] drink.”

Aim to be equally discerning in your choice of potato. “For this, you should use a potato that, when it’s fully cooked, doesn’t finish up in mush,” Kreuther says. He also suggests seeking out a variety whose color leans more yellow than white. “The whiter it is, the more starchy it gets.” Waxy—i.e., not starchy—potatoes such as German Butterball hold up the best, but middle-of-the-road, lightly starchy Yukon Golds are a great choice, because while they’re sturdy enough not to break down in liquid, the little bit of starch helps thicken the broth. By not washing the potatoes after they’re sliced, “you preserve the starch from the potato, so when everything cooks together, the wine gets slurpy, almost soupy.”

Though it may seem precious, “The [dough] seal is actually important, because when it’s not sealed at all, the risk that you’re having, depending on what kind of pot you’re using, is that all the vapor goes away and your dish is dry,” Kreuther explains. The dough is a quick mixture of flour and water, but if you’d rather not go there, he notes, you can buy packages of frozen puff pastry and use those instead. Aside from keeping the moisture in, the crust makes for a dramatic presentation as you open the dish and it shatters apart—and it’s great for dunking. But if you choose to forgo the seal entirely, be sure to use a good quality pot with a very tight, heavy lid, and resist the urge to check on the casserole before time’s up, lest you release all that nice steam.

At home, Kreuther garnishes his baeckeoffe with fresh chives and serves it alongside a salad of Bibb lettuce with Dijon vinaigrette. He occasionally cooks versions of it at his self-named New York fine-dining temple, a winner of Wine Spectator’s Best of Award of Excellence. One such treatment showcases a high-low mix of black truffles and beans in a mason jar. But he loves his home-style version too. It ain’t fancy, he concedes, but so much the better: “That simple thing is what makes people happy.”

Pairing Tip: Why Riesling Works with This Dish

[videoPlayerTag videoId=”5986830790001″]

Visit our YouTube channel to watch a version of this Perfect Match video with closed captions.

For more tips on how to approach pairing this dish with wine, recommended bottlings and notes on chef Christopher Flint’s inspiration, read the companion article, “Baeckeoffe With Riesling,” in the Dec. 31, 2018, issue, via our online archives or by ordering a digital edition (Zinio or Google Play) or a back issue of the print magazine. For even more wine pairing options, members can find other Alsatian Rieslings or German Silvaners in our Wine Ratings Search.


For the casserole

  • 1 pound boneless pork shoulder, cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 pound boneless lamb shoulder, cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 pound boneless beef chuck-eye, cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes
  • Salt and pepper
  • 5 small to medium yellow onions
  • 1 medium carrot, peeled and sliced 1/8-inch thick
  • Whites of 2 medium leeks, halved lengthwise and chopped 1/2-inch thick
  • 1 sprig thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 parsley branches
  • 2 whole cloves
  • 1 1/2 bottles dry white wine, such as Alsatian Sylvaner or Riesling
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 5 pounds medium Yukon Gold potatoes
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
  • 1 marjoram branch
  • 1 tablespoon coriander seeds, crushed
  • Chopped fresh chives, for garnish

For the dough seal (optional)

  • 1/2 pound all-purpose flour
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • Poppy seeds
  • Salt

1. Season the meat with salt and pepper and place it in a very large plastic or glass container. Slice 1 onion 1/8-inch thick. Add the carrot, leek and sliced onion, followed by the thyme, bay leaf, parsley and cloves. Pour the wine over. Cover and let marinate overnight in the refrigerator.

2. Preheat the oven to 300 F with a rack in the bottom-third position. Butter the bottom and sides of a large Dutch oven. Peel the potatoes and slice them 1/8-inch thick. Place in a large bowl and season with salt and pepper.

3. Slice the remaining onions 1/8-inch thick. Remove the meat and vegetables from the refrigerator. Set a colander with a bowl underneath and strain the solids, reserving the liquid. Separate the meat from the vegetables and set the meat aside. Add the vegetables to the potatoes, followed by the garlic, remaining onions, marjoram and coriander, and stir to combine. Discard the parsley.

4. Spread half the vegetable mixture evenly on the bottom of the pot. Next, add all of the meat. Spread the rest of the vegetable mixture evenly on top, pressing down gently. Pour the reserved marinade over so that it is almost level with the top of the ingredients. If necessary, add a bit of water or chicken stock. Cover with a tight-fitting lid.

5. Optional: To make the dough seal, in a small bowl, combine the flour with 1/2 cup water, mixing thoroughly. Transfer to a floured surface and knead briefly. Roll into a rope long enough to tightly encircle the pot. (Alternatively, thaw frozen puff pastry and form it into a roll in the same way.) Brush egg wash onto the rim where the pot and the lid meet, then press the dough into the egg wash to seal the pot. Brush the dough seal with more egg wash and, if desired, sprinkle with salt and poppy seeds.

5. Place the pot in the oven and bake for about 4 hours. Let rest 10 minutes. Discard bay leaves and marjoram. Serve family-style, garnished with chives. If you made the dough seal, serve pieces of the baked crust alongside. Serves 8 to 10.

Defining Japan’s Wine Terroir (Wine Spectator)

The Japanese wine industry is maturing, gaining new recognition and increasing sales thanks to improving quality. That’s led the government to take the first steps toward a true appellation system, noting on labels where grapes were grown.

But that’s created a challenge for wineries, because most don’t own vineyards and many source fruit from multiple regions. And an aging population of farmers means that vineyard acreage is actually shrinking just as demand for local wines is growing.

New laws safeguard Japanese terroir

Wine is the only sector of Japan’s alcoholic beverage market that is growing annually by volume. In 2017, the government granted manufacturing licenses for fruit wine to 39 new entities, according to the National Tax Agency.

Before the new regulations, there were few rules for labeling wine in Japan. This meant consumers with little knowledge of domestic wine couldn’t easily distinguish between bottles. Wine made from imported grape juice concentrate was sold alongside domestic wine as “Japanese.”

Imported grapes could also be blended with domestic grapes, and the resulting wines sold without concern for place names. There were no official restrictions on naming regions on labels when mixing grapes from different locations, with the exception of wines sourced from the Yamanashi and Nagano prefectures. (Those regions have a longer winemaking history, and labeling laws were enacted more than a decade ago.)

The new regulations from the National Tax Agency, which went into effect at the end of October 2018, state that only wines made from 100 percent domestically grown grapes can be labeled as Japanese wine. The rules also create a new geographical indication system restricting the use of place names to wines using at least 85 percent fruit from that place. Also, more than 85 percent of a single grape variety must be used to put the grape name on the label.

With new rules, complications

While the new law will make it clear to consumers where their wine comes from, it’s also creating headaches for wineries. For a long time, wineries were not permitted to have vineyards. New rules passed in 2009 included measures to allow wineries to rent agricultural land, but it is still much cheaper for wineries to buy fruit than to cultivate vines.

While large companies are starting to plant their own vineyards and more established wineries have long-term relationships with farmers, smaller producers have to build partnerships and make spot buys, often from different areas each year. Under the new geographical indicator rules, wineries might need to redesign labels annually.

Hisayuki Kawabe, winemaker at Takahata Wine in Yamagata, said that many of Japan’s wineries name themselves after their town or local area, but don’t always source grapes from the same place. “Three quarters of our wine is made with local fruit,” said Kawabe, who spent 15 years making wine in California, “and I’m making the needed adjustments with careful consideration about how best to present new information on the labels.”

Takahata Wine also makes more than 50 private labels for hotels, resorts and other businesses around the country that want souvenirs to offer customers. All those clients will need to adjust their labels. Kawabe worries that up to half of the smaller businesses might simply stop their orders because the cost and time of consultation and redesign might be too much.

Grape shortages on the horizon

The changes come at a time when the number of farmers is declining. Over the past 10 years, Japanese vineyard land has decreased by 3,600 acres, a reduction of roughly 8 percent, according to government statistics. While there are more wineries, the number of growers is decreasing due to the aging population. There are also reports that some elderly farmers refuse to sell land held by their families for generations, despite not having successors.

Even Japan’s most popular grape is hard to find. Koshu is a white grape variety, slightly pink in color, and long-grown in Yamanashi. A hybrid of Vitis vinifera and Asian grapes, it is considered native to Japan. Roughly 10 years ago, many growers replanted their vineyards, switching from Koshu to table grape varieties that sold for higher prices. Then, Koshu wine started to gain popularity, pushed enthusiastically by Japan’s wine community as being uniquely Japanese.

“The amount of Koshu grapes being grown is far below what winemakers would like,” said Kunio Naito, managing director of Tokyo importer and retailer Cave de Relax.

Lessons from two historic regions

While the new laws will create growing pains, two historic wine regions that have had similar rules for more than 15 years show the long-term impact may be good for the wine industry. Yamanashi is Japan’s oldest and most famous wine region—the first record of wine produced there is from the 16th century, and some believe winemaking dates even farther back. It’s home to quality wineries like Château Mercian. It has the highest number of wineries and is home to the town of Koshu, which the grape was named for. Just across the border in Nagano is Shiojiri, another well-known wine area.

Toru Mochizuki, an advisor at the Yamanashi Wine Manufacturer’s Association, said most Yamanashi wineries use local grapes. Wineries there have been focusing on growing the region.

Neighboring Nagano has acted to encourage growth within its wine sector by designating four new wine areas, said Sasateru Maruyama, an official at the local spirits section of the Nagano prefectural government. “The Chikumagawa, Kikyogahara, Nihon Alps and Tenryugawa Wine Valleys promote wine production and tourism in the regions,” said Maruyama.

The region is also addressing the issues of dwindling farmland. “Despite the decrease in farmers here, the area of local cultivation is increasing as prefectural policies and training programs help wineries and younger growers take over farmland,” said Takaro Miyajima, from the government’s horticulture and livestock division. New vineyards are also being created with joint funding from the Japanese government.

While the new regulations will strengthen the position of Japan’s winemakers, the next step is ensuring vintners have enough grapes and educating consumers about regional wine. And it will be up to winemakers to make that push. “There are no penalties attached to the new regulations,” said Kawabe. “We don’t know if everyone is going to protect the new regulations or not.”

Stay on top of important wine stories with Wine Spectator’s free Breaking News Alerts.

Dine at an NYC Restaurant Award Winner for Less (Wine Spectator)

NYC Restaurant Week returns for its winter season, Jan. 21–Feb. 8, with discounted dining at some of the city’s top restaurants, including 77 winners of Wine Spectator‘s Restaurant Awards for wine-list excellence. Now in its 27th year, the promotion by the city’s tourism bureau offers 2-course lunches for $26 and 3-course dinners for $42. Reservations are now open at nearly 400 participating restaurants across all five boroughs, spanning a wide range of cuisines.

The promotion provides a chance for diners to explore beyond their usual spots, according to Chris Heywood, senior vice president of global communications for NYC & Company. “If there’s a restaurant that you’ve been waiting to try and you’ve been putting it off, this is the time of year to do it,” Heywood said.

While the promotion doesn’t include wine, the discounted meals help encourage diners to experience some of the higher-end destinations with award-winning beverage programs. In addition, some restaurants independently craft wine pairings for the prix-fixe meals.

“Wine lovers flock to New York to explore the city’s great wine cellars,” said Wine Spectator executive editor Thomas Matthews. “We invite visitors to the city to become part of our wine community.”

Best of Award of Excellence winner Aureole, which has been participating in Restaurant Week since the initiative began in 1992, will feature optional by-the-glass pairings for each course, along with a “sommelier’s selection” of value wines in the range of $50 to $75.

“Hopefully it leads to future business, but also even more enlightened dining experiences for guests,” said head sommelier Candace Olsen.

NYC Restaurant Week has come a long way since it was created as a promotion for delegates at the 1992 Democratic National Convention. It now runs twice a year and has inspired similar programs in cities such as Miami and Las Vegas.

To learn more and sign up for email updates, visit

What makes a wine vegan? Ask Decanter

Are you seeing more wines marketed as vegan? What means that a wine is – or isn’t – suitable for vegans?

vegan wine
How do you know if a wine is vegan?

What makes a wine vegan? Ask Decanter

Given that wine is the product of grapes and yeast, some may assume that all wines would be appropriate for vegans – those who do not consume any kind of animal product – but this isn’t always the case.

Wine bars and retailers have started to market some wines as vegan friendly in response to the growth of veganism in several countries, including the UK and US. According to The Vegan Society, 600,000 people in the UK were vegan in 2018.

Veganuary‘ is increasingly part of the New Year calendar, slotting into the post-festive detox trend.

See also: Is wine gluten free? Ask Decanter

See also: Sulphites in wine – friend or foe?

Vegan wine

It is often some traditional fining agents that can make a wine unsuitable for vegans.

Egg whites or casein (a protein found in milk) can be used to remove tiny particles of sediment in a wine that cannot be removed by filtration.

However, other ways of doing this are becoming more popular.

‘Traditional fining products that were egg/fish/milk derived have probably – we think – moved on to a lot of vegetable-based products,’ said Kristin Syltevik, of the Oxney Organic Estate in East Sussex, England, speaking in 2018.

Other animal products used in wine production may include beeswax (used to seal bottles) and agglomerated corks (which use milk-based glues).

In reality, many wines are vegan friendly. However, it can be difficult to tell. Regulations in the EU and US do not currently require wineries to list fining agents on labels.

More wine retailers and producers have started to help consumers make a choice by highlighting which of their wines are vegan friendly.

Majestic Wine told last year that it defined vegan wine as those that ‘will not have been fined, filtered or come into contact with anything derived from an animal or dairy source’.

Decanter’s Tina Gellie also shows in Weekday Wines which wines are labelled vegan, as well as those that are organic and biodynamic.

Three vegan labelled wines to try:


The post What makes a wine vegan? Ask Decanter appeared first on Decanter.

The changing styles of Valpolicella: Fresh vs dried grapes

Expressing Valpolicella’s true spirit is a matter of taste, reveals Michael Garner…

Valpolicella wine
Autumnal vineyards in the hills above Fumane.

Ernest Hemingway knew exactly what to expect from his glass of Valpolicella. In his 1950 novel Across the River and into the Trees, his mouthpiece, the cantankerous Colonel Cantwell, refers to his favourite drop as ‘the light, dry red wine which was as friendly as the house of your brother’. His readers might struggle to find an example to fit that description today: Valpolicella is a wine style in real crisis. Production has plummeted, and the style Hemingway loved is being squeezed flat between two monoliths: Ripasso and Amarone. The boom in the popularity of Amarone has caused an even more stratospheric rise for Ripasso: the more Amarone is made, the more lees become available and the greater the quantity of Valpolicella being refermented on those lees.

Scroll down for Michael Garner’s top 8 Valpolicellas made with fresh and dried grapes


See Michael Garner’s top 8 Valpolicellas made with fresh and dried grapes

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The post The changing styles of Valpolicella: Fresh vs dried grapes appeared first on Decanter.

Château Dauzac in Bordeaux to get new owner

French entrepreneur Christian Roulleau was expected to be confirmed as the new owner of Château Dauzac, following talks with insurance group MAIF, which has owned the Bordeaux fifth growth estate since 1988.

Château Dauzac owner
Château Dauzac.

It emerged in December 2018 that Christian Roulleau was in negotiations to buy Château Dauzac, based in the Margaux appellation and a fifth growth in the 1855 Classification.

A source familiar with the situation said that a deal has subsequently been agreed, although there has not been official confirmation. It is thought the deal could be worth around €120 million.

Roulleau is co-founder of SAMSIC, one of Europe’s leading business services firms, based in Rennes. He and his family had a fortune of €700 million in 2018, according to French business publication Challenges.

Dauzac’s current CEO, Laurent Fortin, would not comment on takeover talks but told this month that he expected to remain in position. ‘I am totally in-line with the strategy of the new acquirer,’ said Fortin. ‘I am delighted and honoured to continue to write the beautiful story of Château Dauzac.’

With a surface area of 120 hectares, including 49 hectares of vines in the Margaux appellation and two in the Haut-Médoc AOC, Dauzac has undergone a transformation under Fortin’s direction; backed by MAIF investment.

In particular, there has been a shift to biodynamic principles and increased focus on the best vineyard sites, as reported by Decanter’s Jane Anson in her profile of Dauzac and its wines last year.

The estate produces about 300,000 bottles per year on average, including 120,000 of Château Dauzac ‘first wine’, 100,000 of Aurore de Dauzac, nearly 60,000 of Bastide de Dauzac and 20,000 of Haut-Médoc appellation wines.

The estate also has the D de Dauzac brand, marketed by Dauzac-owned Delta Négoce, which sells nearly 350,000 bottles per year.

In the last two years, other rumoured suitors for Château Dauzac have included Chinese billionaire Jack Ma and also the Cathiard family, of Château Smith-Haut-Lafitte.

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