French Wine Magnate, Bernard Magrez, Wants to Give Bordeaux a Boost

October 15, 2009 at 11:39 pm (For the Love of Wine, Wine Tourism)

Bernard Magrez, wine magnate, has his sights set on Bordeaux. Read below about the famous multi-millionaire and his plans for promoting wine tourism in one of France’s well-known wine regions.

Bordeaux is set for shake-up

By Marcel Michelson

PARIS, Oct 13 (Reuters Life) – Bernard Magrez was 19 when he started working in Bordeaux wine and built up an emporium which now, at 73, counts 35 vineyards in several countries.

These days the self-made man and “new money” in the close-knit world of Bordeaux winemakers, says that many of the region’s “old money” families have lost the spirit to innovate and adapt to market changes.

As wine consumers become more adventurous, drinking wines from across the world, Bordeaux needs to focus on the top wines and invest in its high class image using wine tourism, aerial rides over the vineyards and posh picnics among the vines.

Magrez advises loss-making producers of lesser wines to get out of the business and pull up their vines before it’s too late.

We have gone through several crises already, cyclical crises. But this time I believe the crisis is structural,” he said in an interview. “Sooner or later we will see some drastic changes.”

For Magrez, many people in the industry have missed some fundamental changes in consumer behavior.

“In the past, a wine drinker was faithful to a small number of wines. But nowadays the modern consumer wants to try out different wines from different countries,” he said.

“A host wants to present a new wine to friends, share a discovery.”

Magrez made it easier for the consumer to find new wines as he put his name on the wines made in Spain, Portugal, Uruguay, Argentina, Chile, Morocco, Japan and California. But he has abandoned interests in Algeria and China.

“I am not a collector of vineyards,” he said. But said he could add another two or three.

Magrez worked for wine company Jean Cordier in Bordeaux for three years when, at 22, he bought a spirits firm.

“The sellers were two octogenarians and my bank manager was close to retirement. He had confidence in me.” Read the rest of this entry »


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Fifth Edition of South African “Wine Tourism Handbook” Launching in 2010

October 15, 2009 at 8:55 pm (Book Review, For the Love of Wine, Uncategorized)

Experts on South African wine tourism have created an informative and exciting compilation of the country’s many wine estates. Learn what went into the making of this multi-faceted book below:

Fifth guide ripe for the picking

‘The World’s Favourite Publications’, founders of two highly successful publications – the Wine Tourism News online and the annual Wine Tourism Handbook, both considered leading authorities on wine and tourism in South Africa, is proud to launch the fifth edition for 2010 – ‘The Wine Tourism Handbook’. This definitive guide to the Winelands is available and endorsed by Cape Town Routes Unlimited (CTRU) in line with its ‘Beyond 90 Minutes’ campaign.

The 2010 issue is also available at major local and international tourism trade shows;; leading book sellers; as well as through wine farms and hotels throughout South Africa priced at R110.

This issue has taken the handbook to another level by bringing with it a number of exciting new features such as updated maps demarcating all wine farms; major roads and places of interest for each wine route. In fact, given the size of the Stellenbosch wine route, there’s a map for each of the five sub-routes for 2010. Each map comes with an easy reference guide giving grid indicators; contact details for every farm; and tasting room hours. Read the rest of this entry »

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Value seeking leads buyers to malbec

October 14, 2009 at 10:20 pm (For the Love of Wine, Uncategorized)

Looks like malbec is making waves all over the world, including the southern coast of Oregon! The following is a newspaper article from The World praising Argentinian malbec for its value and its taste.

Value seeking leads buyers to malbec

By Tom Marquardt and Patrick Darr

Don’t look now, but malbec is gaining ground.

Once grown extensively in Bordeaux, this often overlooked and fickle grape variety has put Argentina on the map in recent years. So how could a grape variety rejected by the French flourish in Argentina? Did the French miss the boat on this one?
Read the rest of this entry »

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Book Review: “In Search of Bacchus: Wanderings in the Wonderful World of Wine Tourism” by George M. Taber

October 13, 2009 at 11:49 pm (For the Love of Wine, Uncategorized)

Journalist and entrepreneur George M. Taber is renowned for his four paragraph coverage of the Judgement of Paris, an epic wine event in 1976 that compared prestigious French wines with California wines. Since then, he’s authored several vino-centric books including this month’s “In Search of Bacchus: Wanderings in the Wonderful World of Wine Tourism.”

AP writer Nigel Duara reviews Taber’s new book below.

Wine tourism, on safari or from the armchair

“In Search of Bacchus: Wanderings in the Wonderful World of Wine Tourism” (Scribner, 287 pages, $30), by George M. Taber: Thirty-three years ago, George M. Taber set the world of wine on fire with a four-paragraph dispatch about a tasting in France that compared the work of French vintners with those of their counterparts in California. The California wines won, and winemaking in the New World has never been the same.

Taber wrote a book about the experience, “Judgment of Paris,” followed by a second book, “To Cork or Not to Cork,” on the history and controversy of wine corks.

Now, he’s turned his sights on wine tourism, examining 12 regions on six continents in his new book, “In Search of Bacchus: Wanderings in the Wonderful World of Wine Tourism.” He begins in familiar territory, California’s Napa Valley, and winds his way through Chile, Italy and New Zealand, among others, before arriving finally at the former Soviet state of Georgia. Read the rest of this entry »

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MateVeza Tasting at Bottle Works in Seattle – 9/29

September 23, 2009 at 7:48 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , )

Yerba Mate,  South America’s caffeine of choice, is now paired with America’s favorite  beverage – beer! We can’t wait to check out the Washington debut of this very unusual concoction – it takes an integral part of Argentinian culture (drinking Yerba Mate tea) and puts a completely new, alcohol-infused,  spin on it.  Hey, it may not be wine, but we like it anyway! Taste MateVeza for yourself on September 29 from 5-7pm at Bottle Works.

Here’s what the Facebook invite says, if you’re curious what’s in store at this unique event: MateVeza Organic Yerba Mate Ale is finally available in Washington. To kick things off, we will be pouring the original Organic Yerba Mate Gold and new Organic Yerba Mate IPA at Bottle Works, one of the best bottle shops in the country. MateVeza founder Jim Woods will be there to perform a reenactment of his famed discovery of yerba mate beer. And most importantly, MateVeza will be available for purchase, so bring your shopping carts! More here.


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Taste Wines from Achaval-Ferrer, Winery of the Year, 9/23 5-7PM Seattle

September 22, 2009 at 10:48 pm (For the Love of Wine) (, , , , , )

Don’t miss a chance to meet the the head vintner for Achaval Ferrer and Hand of God Vineyards.  Please join us at The Local Vine to taste Malbecs from the winery chosen as 2009’s Winery of the Year by Wine & Spirits.  One of the hottest wines around, they have raised the bar for Argentinian wines. The winemaker will be at The Local Vine to lead this tasting of wines from his Mendoza, Argentinian winery.

Local Vine Winemaker Tasting: Achaval Ferrer- September 23rd 5:00 – 7:00

2520 Second Avenue / Seattle, WA 98121 / 206.441.6000

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Santiago Achaval is widely recognized as one of Argentina’s premier vintners under his Achaval-Ferrer label. Achaval-Ferrer boasts four of the five highest rated wines in Argentine history, as judged by Wine Spectator, and the highest rated Argentine wine to date according to Robert Parker.

In addition to the Achaval-Ferrer label, Santiago is head wine maker for the new brand, Hand of God Wines. Hand of God (Mano de Dios in Spanish), a boutique winery in the Uco Valley, Argentina. Planting was done in 2007 and fruit will be ready for harvest in 2010. Hand of God will be the only other Santiago Achaval wines available on the market. We are eagerly awaiting their first release.

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Crush of the Week: Achaval-Ferrer Quimera Mendoza 2003

September 15, 2009 at 10:17 pm (Crush of the Week, Malbec Reviews) (, , , )

Any of the Quimera wines by Achaval-Ferrer are truly a pleasure to drink.  Really really lovely stuff.  According to Wine Spectator the Quimera 2003 is a “Really juicy red, with raspberry, red currant and boysenberry fruit flavors mixed with racy mineral, briar and floral notes. Long, mouthwatering finish brings you back for more. Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc. ” –JM

If we were using any more than 1/2 a cup in the braised Duck recipe I would never recommend cooking with it but it does make a lovely sauce.

Achaval Ferrer Quimera 2003

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Recipe of the Week: Red-Wine-Braised Duck Legs

September 15, 2009 at 10:07 pm (Food Pairing - Malbec, Recipe of the Week) (, , )

I hate to admit it but it’s really starting to feel like fall and I’m kind of enjoying it.  I’m craving duck and potatoes.  Go figure.  The following recipe is adapted from one a found in an old issue of Gourmet. I’ll use a nicer wine for this recipe than I normally would in cooking since it only calls for 1/2 a cup.  Plan on enjoying the rest of the bottle.  We used the  Achaval Ferrer Quimera Mendoza 2003 Malbec this time around but any dry red will do.



6 large whole duck legs (about 4 1/2 pounds total), trimmed of excess fat

1/2 cup malbec wine

2 heads garlic, cloves separated and peeled

8 fresh thyme sprigs

1 cup mixed dried fruit such as dried sour cherries, chopped dried apricots, chopped pitted prunes

5 cups chicken broth

* Accompaniment: herb roasted potatoes


Preheat oven to 350°F. and season duck legs with salt and pepper.

1. In a heavy pot or dutch oven just large enough to hold legs in one layer, cook legs, skin sides down, over moderately high heat 10 to 15 minutes, or until skin in crisp and browned. Removing fat from kettle as it is rendered with a metal bulb baster or very carefully spooning off). Turn legs over and cook until browned on the other side, about 2 minutes, transferring to a plate.

2. Pour off  fat from pan and reserve 1 Tbsp if making roast potatoes.  Deglaze with wine, scraping up brown bits. Simmer wine until reduced to a syrup and add garlic, thyme and 1/2 cup dried fruit. Return duck legs, skin sides up, to kettle and add broth. Bring mixture back to a simmer and braise, uncovered, in oven 2 hours, or until legs are very tender. Transfer legs to a platter and keep warm.

3. Pour braising mixture into a 1-quart measuring cup and let stand until fat rises to the top. Skim off fat and pour liquid through a sieve into a saucepan, pressing hard on solids. Boil liquid until reduced by about one third and slightly thickened and add remaining 1/2 cup dried fruit. Simmer sauce until fruit is softened, about 5 minutes, and season with salt and pepper.

For Potatoes

Cut small red skinned potatoes in quarters, put in baking dish, season with salt and pepper,  toss with fresh thyme and 1 Tbsp reserved duck fat.  Bake for 30-45 minutes depending on how well you want them browned.

** Have you tried this recipe? Love it? Hate it? Let us know in the comments.

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Dinner with Santiago Achaval

September 8, 2009 at 10:05 pm (Uncategorized)

If you happen to be in the Menlo Park, CA area on the 25th of this month, please check out this dinner event hosted by K&L Wine Merchants. You’ll have a chance to meet the maker, taste wines from his Achaval Ferrer brand and get a hint of what the future wines of Hand of God vineyards are shooting for. More details here.


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South Africa’s down with the Malbec Buzz

September 8, 2009 at 9:28 pm (Uncategorized)

In November 2009 the Concours Des Vins (CDV) will launch a new varietal wine competition: The Malbec International Competition.

The MALBEC INTERNATIONAL COMPETITION will be held on 27th and 28th November 2009. It will gather between 350 and 400 samples from some ten countries and there will be around forty wine tasters, drawn from the world’s top Malbec specialists.

Further information:

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