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July 2006


Dubeouf Guilty of Wine Fraud

   Georges Duboeuf, 72-year-old patricahe of the important Beaujolais house has been found guilty of "fraud and attempted fraud concerning the origin and quality of wines," and fined 30,000 Euros by the French courts. It seems Dubeouf's cellars contained tanks where basic Beaujolais, Beaujolais-Villages and Beaujolais 'crus' like Juliénas, Saint-Amour and Morgon had been mixed together, in an attempt to improve his wines after a difficult 2004 harvest. Though in many countries blending different vineyards, regions and "qualities" is at the discretion of the winemaker, the practice is strictly
prohibited by French wine law. Dubeouf or his staff may have been looking after their loyal followers by trying to get the best from a sub-standard vintage, but that is not an excuse acceptable under the law.

Wine at the Fringe

There is a programme of wine and spirits events at the Edinburgh fringe festival this year, being held on a barge at Edinburgh Quay, Fountainbridge. There are four different wine and spirit events each day being organised by Case Studies wine school, including a rum and chocolate event with Coco of Bruntsfield supplying the choccies and Dave Broom talking
 
about the rum. Tickets are £14 each from Case Studies web site, phone +44 (0)1236 829920) or the Fringe box office on +44 (0)131 226 0000, with events running throughout August.

Wine Society Centenary Fizz


   The Wine Society, the oldest wine club in the world, is celebrating 100 years of collaboration with Alfred Gratien which produces The Society's own label Champagnes. To mark their relationship The Wine Society is launching two exclusive, limited edition Cuvée Centenaires: Cuvée Centenaire NV is available solely in magnums, and comprises 60 per cent Chardonnay, 20 per cent Pinot Noir and 20 per cent Pinot Meunier from the excellent 1998 vintage. The wine is fermented in small oak barrels. Cuvée Centenaire Blanc de Blancs NV is made from 100 per cent Chardonnay from the 2002 vintage, fermented in French oak from Chablis. The Society's buyer, Marcel Orford-Williams, says: "creating these two special Champagnes has been an enormous pleasure. Both these wines are exceptional due to the traditional techniques employed by the cellar master and the quality of the grapes."


Kendall-Jackson Travel Bursary
Californian winery Kendall-Jackson is launching an annual travel bursary in association with the Academy of Food & Wine Service. The bursary will give one UK-based sommelier or wine buyer the opportunity to visit the two extensive Californian coastal properties owned by Kendall-Jackson. Applicants are invited to select one or two Kendall-Jackson wines and submit a thesis (of at least 1,000 words) entitled: 'The current perception of California wines in the UK on-trade and how best to promote them'. Open to all UK-based
 
sommeliers and wine buyers, judges for this competition will be looking for a creative approach exploring, for example, the perspective of buyers and diners and the strengths and weaknesses of Californian wines against their competitors. To enter contact Naomi Blee, Jackson Wine Estates International, Tel. 07865 250 914 or naomi.blee@jweimail.com.

Brands rule the Wine Market


   According to research by ACNielsen for the international Winery, E&J Gallo, branded wines are now firmly in poll position amongst UK wine drinkers. 2005 sales indicate that the market for wine has grown by 88.2% in the past seven years, and it is the big brands such as Gallo Family Vineyards that are spurring the growth in the market. Gallo claim this is because "consumers seek wines that deliver consistent, reliable quality and value." Whilst unbranded wine sales have stayed flat, spending on branded wines has risen from £1.2 billion in 1997 to £3.4 billion in 2005.

Symingtons Expands

The Symington family has announced that Warre's Port has acquired Quinta do Bom Retiro Pequeno, one of the best estates in the Rio Torto valley (Not to be confused with the adjoining Quinta do Bom Retiro that belongs to Ramos Pinto). Warre's is the oldest British Port company, and every Vintage produced by Warre has included grapes from the Quinta do Bom Retiro Pequeno, but the outright purchase of the 46 hectare estate of 137,820 old vines is seen as complementing Warre’s other main vineyard, the Quinta da Cavadinha that is situated at a slightly higher altitude, is later ripening and faces southeast in the nearby Pinhão valley. In fact this latest acquisition confirms the Symington family as the biggest owners of premium vineyards in the Douro, bringing their overall total to 19 individual Quintas.
 

The Tasting Rooms


   The Scottish city of Dundee, historically famous for Jute, Jam and Journalism, now has one of the UK's most ambitious wine and food centres at The Tasting Rooms. Comprising a wine floor, deli and mezzanine café within the totally renovated structure of a Victorian jute mill, the Tasting Rooms offer "Leather sofas and laid-back tunes, with live music on the Baby Grand on Sundays." The Tasting Rooms aims to offer customers a 'cellar door' wine experience, where they can learn about wine, browse the deli for
foods to match their wine purchases, and enjoy innovative dining over a bottle of wine selected from a choice of over 200 on the wine floor. The Tasting Rooms, 5 South Ward Rd, Dundee, DD1 1PU. Telephone 01382 224188.

Tastings with Personality
Taste-in is a new wine tasting concept that will appeal to some (and appal others!). Wine celebrities like Oz Clarke, Michael Broadbent, Matt Skinner or Charles Metcalfe can be hired to conduct a tasting in your home. According to the people behind Taste-in, the individual experts will select and source a range of wines for the tasting, and arrive fully equipped with wines, glasses and spittoons, and will look after the organisation, pouring, etc. Prices for the two hour tasting begin at £1200 for up to 12 people. See www.taste-in.com.
 


Mateus Rosé Comeback?

   Undoubtedly one of the icon wines of the 70s, Portugal's Mateus Rosé is rolling out a £1.2m national TV advertising campaign to 'drive brand awareness' during the key summer months. The campaign targets 20 to 35 year old drinkers and will feature Mateus Rosé and the new variant, Mateus Rosé Tempranillo, both of which have contributed to, and benefitted from the upsurge in rosé drinking in recent years. Mateus Rosé enjoyed its highest sales in over a decade in 2005. Launching
on 31 July, the highly visible pink polar bear advertisements will run throughout August during programmes including Big Brother and Hollyoaks, targeting younger consumers.