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Billy & Poppy on beach

Date: Mon, Jan 12, 2009 Wine Tasting Winery Blogs Wine Business


Quality and pedigree on the right(Billy), and his mad French blonde bitch friend (Poppy). They are both great fun in their own way. We have had Billy since he was a puppy (13 years ago) and Poppy we picked up as a waif and stray from some friends near Pezenas. Having dogs is fun but also a responsibility . It does mean that Sue or I walk at least one hour every day.
This picture was taken on a beach near Agde on Boxing Day....there was nobody there.....best time to appreciate Mediterranean beaches!

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Chateau de Cassan

Date: Thu, Jan 8, 2009 Wine Tasting Winery Blogs Wine Business


One of the major differences between Bordeaux and the Languedoc are the smaller Chateaux!!! This may have something to do with the prosperity and the general wealth that oozes out of Bordeaux .....but this fantastic Abbaye/Chateau is situated just outside Roujan near Beziers. It dates from the 4th Century and has many links to the Bishops of Beziers as a religious centre.
It is called Chateau de Cassan and is available for weddings/parties launches etc etc.
We went to a fabulous Christmas market and gazed at the amazing architecture and wandered in the once splendid gardens.

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Chateau Latour For Sale?

Date: Sun, Jan 4, 2009 Wine Tasting Winery Blogs Wine Business


This is an interesting rumour that started last week in The Times.
Apparently Monsieur Pinault the multi millionaire owner of Ch. Latour in Pauillac has been hit hard by the credit crunch. Therefore he is trying to get rid of some of his assets pronto.
He also owns Christies auction house as well as the luxury goods brands Gucci, Yves St. Laurent and Stella McCartney.
Monsieur Pinault bought Chateau Latour in 1993 for €83 million. He is now looking for €150-200 million......but in a realistic market surely this First Growth Chateau and part of France's heritage would fetch nearer €500 million.
The Chateau has 78 hectares in total. But the fruit for the 'Grand Vin' comes from some of the best vineyards in the World...the 47 hectares surrounding the Chateau known as L'Enclos.

Bernard Magrez, who already owns Chateau Pape Clement along with a host of other very smart Bordeaux properties is rumoured to be interested.

It will be very interesting to see if any more Bordeaux Chateaux become available on the market due to the current global financial situation.


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Rose Tasting, London Feb 6th 2009

Date: Fri, Jan 2, 2009 Wine Tasting Winery Blogs Wine Business

This wine tasting should be a fantastic opportunity to try a really classy selection of Rose wines from the South of France.

The Rose wine category has increased enormously over the last few years. Rose is a good half way house for choosing wines that are versatile and easy. We will be showing all sorts of styles at this tasting. There will be organic, biodynamic, lutte raissonne and all shades of pink available!

This is a trade tasting aimed at wine buyers and journalists. Click on the invite below to enlarge. Let me know directly if you can make it along.

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HAPPY NEW YEAR

Date: Fri, Jan 2, 2009 Wine Tasting Winery Blogs Wine Business

Just a note to wish all customers and friends of Bella Wines a very Happy New Year.
This year will undoubtedly be challenging for business, however there will also be many positive opportunities for successful business ventures.
Although the UK and most of the World are having an economic slow down we still need to eat and drink!! Maybe we should drink less but drink better quality. Maybe we should look for better value wines from lesser known areas.
Bella Wines are very well placed to offer great value wines from emerging areas such as the South of France as well as cool climate areas such as Orange, New South Wales in Australia.
We firmly believe that you can have great fun with wine at all price levels. We want more people to be aware of the exciting wines that we have available. Therefore we have major plans to develop the business during 2009.
We wish everyone a Happy New Year and hope to see more of our friends, family and customers during 2009.

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Doctor creates 'world's healthiest wine'

Date: Tue, Dec 16, 2008 Wine Tasting Winery Blogs Wine Business

It sounds too good to be true. An Australian doctor claims to have created the world’s healthiest wine.

Daily Telegraph 16 Dec 2008

The drink purports to clean blood vessels and reduce the risk of heart attack with each glass.

Developed by Sydney doctor and wine historian Dr Philip Norrie, each bottle contains up to 100 times the amount of resveratrol - a naturally occurring anti-oxidant found in grapes - than a standard drop.

Resveratrol helps to maintain blood flow by keeping arteries free of fatty deposits called atherosclerotic plaque.

Dr Norrie said a wine infused with high levels of the odourless, tasteless anti-oxidant would act as a “vascular pipe-cleaner”.

“While the positive effects of moderate wine consumption have long been documented, the inclusion of such large quantities of this beneficial anti-oxidant is very good news for wine drinkers,” he told Australian Associated Press.

“What we’ve been able to do is boost the amount of resveratrol in wine and you wont even know its there ... you’re effectively clearing your arteries while you drink.

“Getting people to stop smoking, exercise and lose weight, is a nice idea but in reality it doesn’t happen. Drinking two glasses of wine is realistic, enjoyable and also good for you and I’ve made it even healthier,” he said.

Dr Norrie is now producing his own range of wine, including a chardonnay and a shiraz, each containing 100mg/L of resveratrol per bottle.

He said this was as much as is contained in 70 to 100 bottles of standard white wine or 15 to 20 bottles of standard red.

“I stress that these benefits are best realised with moderate drinking,” Dr Norrie said in a warning to any connoisseurs planning a wine-based health kick.

University of Queensland cardiologist Associate Professor David Colquhoun also stressed the need for “moderate” consumption as he said the benefits of resveratrol were well known.

“Studies have strongly suggested that consumption of wine rich in resveratrol can lessen cardio-vascular disease, heart attack and stroke, he said.

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Doctor creates 'world's healthiest wine'

Date: Tue, Dec 16, 2008 Wine Tasting Winery Blogs Wine Business

It sounds too good to be true. An Australian doctor claims to have created the world’s healthiest wine.

Daily Telegraph 16 Dec 2008

The drink purports to clean blood vessels and reduce the risk of heart attack with each glass.

Developed by Sydney doctor and wine historian Dr Philip Norrie, each bottle contains up to 100 times the amount of resveratrol - a naturally occurring anti-oxidant found in grapes - than a standard drop.

Resveratrol helps to maintain blood flow by keeping arteries free of fatty deposits called atherosclerotic plaque.

Dr Norrie said a wine infused with high levels of the odourless, tasteless anti-oxidant would act as a “vascular pipe-cleaner”.

“While the positive effects of moderate wine consumption have long been documented, the inclusion of such large quantities of this beneficial anti-oxidant is very good news for wine drinkers,” he told Australian Associated Press.

“What we’ve been able to do is boost the amount of resveratrol in wine and you wont even know its there ... you’re effectively clearing your arteries while you drink.

“Getting people to stop smoking, exercise and lose weight, is a nice idea but in reality it doesn’t happen. Drinking two glasses of wine is realistic, enjoyable and also good for you and I’ve made it even healthier,” he said.

Dr Norrie is now producing his own range of wine, including a chardonnay and a shiraz, each containing 100mg/L of resveratrol per bottle.

He said this was as much as is contained in 70 to 100 bottles of standard white wine or 15 to 20 bottles of standard red.

“I stress that these benefits are best realised with moderate drinking,” Dr Norrie said in a warning to any connoisseurs planning a wine-based health kick.

University of Queensland cardiologist Associate Professor David Colquhoun also stressed the need for “moderate” consumption as he said the benefits of resveratrol were well known.

“Studies have strongly suggested that consumption of wine rich in resveratrol can lessen cardio-vascular disease, heart attack and stroke, he said.

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Weekends in France

Date: Sat, Dec 13, 2008 Wine Tasting Winery Blogs Wine Business

Sue has had a tummy bug for the last three days. The French endearingly call any stomach complaint a 'gastro'. I always find this ironic as the Brits are so fond of Gastropubs!
Anyway it has meant full on child care for a few days....which is always great fun. Max and Jasper are developing strong and interesting characters. They are great with each other which is very important. They are also competitive! Max can now gallop on his pony and Jasper has mastered a steady trot. We have spent the last two evenings trying to be quiet around the house (which has never been our strong point). We have been gathering firewood from old vineyards that have been grubbed up and walking the dogs in the hills and forests. We have been playing chess and drafts. We even experimented with a 'cooperative' rather than 'competitive' game at breakfast this morning after I went to a fascinating talk last night about 'Jeux cooperatifs'. Tomorrow we are planning to go and see a special theatre show of Aladdin in Montpellier. Sue should be better by then, which is great. My only concern is that I will have to endure a trip to 'Old' McDonalds Restaurant. Maybe its time for a gastro?

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Weekends in France

Date: Sat, Dec 13, 2008 Wine Tasting Winery Blogs Wine Business

Sue has had a tummy bug for the last three days. The French endearingly call any stomach complaint a 'gastro'. I always find this ironic as the Brits are so fond of Gastropubs!
Anyway it has meant full on child care for a few days....which is always great fun. Max and Jasper are developing strong and interesting characters. They are great with each other which is very important. They are also competitive! Max can now gallop on his pony and Jasper has mastered a steady trot. We have spent the last two evenings trying to be quiet around the house (which has never been our strong point). We have been gathering firewood from old vineyards that have been grubbed up and walking the dogs in the hills and forests. We have been playing chess and drafts. We even experimented with a 'cooperative' rather than 'competitive' game at breakfast this morning after I went to a fascinating talk last night about 'Jeux cooperatifs'. Tomorrow we are planning to go and see a special theatre show of Aladdin in Montpellier. Sue should be better by then, which is great. My only concern is that I will have to endure a trip to 'Old' McDonalds Restaurant. Maybe its time for a gastro?

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Lagerfeld, Dom Perignon pay homage to Claudia Schiffer's breasts

Date: Thu, Dec 11, 2008 Wine Tasting Winery Blogs Wine Business

Karl Lagerfeld has frequently used Claudia Schiffer as a muse. But this recent article in Decanter
caught my eye.
I had never realized that the original Champagne coupe was based on the breasts of Marie Antoinette. It will certainly make me enjoy my Champagne more this Christmas.
The Dom Perignon website is also quite fun for more weird stuff about Lagerfeld and pretty people supping very expensive Champagne.

We have some magnums of Dom Perignon 2000 @£1050 per 6 magnums ex vat,
and also some bottles available:

Dom Perignon 1996 @ £795 per 6 bottles ex vat
Dom Perignon 1990 @ £895 per 6 bottles ex vat

telephone us or email to reserve your stock.

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Cork, Forest in a bottle on TV tonight

Date: Tue, Dec 9, 2008 Wine Tasting Winery Blogs Wine Business

Fascinating TV program on BBC2 at 8pm tonight.
An exploration of the use and abuse of cork.
Every time we weigh up which bottle of wine to buy, we hold the fate of nightingales, rare black storks, secretive wild cats and one of the world's most remarkable trees in our hands. Cork producer and wildlife enthusiast, Francisco Garrett explains what will be lost if cork stoppers are replaced by plastic or screwtops.

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Logan Apple Tree Flat Merlot 2006 review

Date: Mon, Dec 8, 2008 Wine Tasting Winery Blogs Wine Business

Surely this must be the most fun review for a wine from the lovely people at Reserve Wines (click on their name to see the review)in Manchester.

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Languedoc Roussillon Wines

Date: Sat, Dec 6, 2008 Wine Tasting Winery Blogs Wine Business

Here are some stats:
In 2006 the Languedoc Roussillon had 268000 hectares under vine.

The total volume produced was 16,044,000 hectolitres (1 hectolitre = 100 litres= 133 standard bottles (75cl)) Therefore the total production was 2,139,146,520 (that is 2.1 billion bottles!!!)

The split for this is:
69 % Red
18 % Rose
13% White

Of the total production:
19 % is Appellation Controlee.....meant to be the best.
54% is Vin de Pays....literally 'Country Wine' where you can mention the grape varieties on the label.
27% is Vin de Table...the rest.

The principal grape varieties planted:
Reds:
Carignan 52000 hectares(ha)
Grenache 45000 ha
Syrah 44000ha
Merlot 31000ha
Cabernet Sauvignon 19000ha
Cinsault 14000ha
Total red:205000 hectares.
Carignan is still the most extensively planted grape variety. Although it is regarded as a bit of a weed and usually blended with other grapes it can still produce stunning wines...as long as the vines are old.

Whites:
Chardonnay 12000 hectares (ha)
Muscat(s) 8000 ha
Sauvignon Blanc 6000 ha
Grenache Blanc 4000 ha
Total white:30000 hectares.

I believe that Chardonnay was only introduced to the Languedoc area in 1978. Its global domination is continuing!

The producers:
72% Cave Cooperatives
26% Independent Winemakers
2% Negociants.


The wine world is constantly changing and evolving. This is especially relevant in the Languedoc Roussillon where the volume of production has reduced significantly in the last few years. There have been generous incentives to grub up vineyards and stop producing wine. There have also been significant changes in demand for different styles of wines. The Rose revolution continues at pace. It will be interesting to see a similar set of statistics in 5 or 10 years time.

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Best value wines of the world?

Date: Wed, Dec 3, 2008 Wine Tasting Winery Blogs Wine Business


The Sud de France must surely have the largest diversity and greatest value wines of any wine producing region in the World.
Where can you get fantastic value Sparkling wine, elegant crisp fresh whites, fruity reds, classic oak aged reds, amazing dessert wines and much more???
The big swathe of land between Marseilles and the Spanish border has always been recognized for bulk production. But the quality growers are emerging and gradually gaining strong reputations. You do not have to pay crazy money to enjoy great value wines.
Many independent wine merchants in the UK such as Vin Neuf Wines in Stratford upon Avon have incredible selections of well chosen wines. They offer a personal, family service and they have pride in their quality wines. When the wine world can seem quite confusing and the bigger wine brands seem to take over every supermarket shelf it is well worth contacting a proper merchant such as Vin Neuf to tailor your Christmas needs.
The only problem is the enormous selection! This chap called Nigel is ready to pounce(notice the Visa card at the ready).

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