Lebanon MW trip
Trip hosted by Union Vinicole du Liban (UVL), 7-12 April 2019
A small group of 14 MWs from nine different countries travelled north from Beirut to Batroun, back to Ghazir via Byblos, further south to Bhamdoun before crossing Mount Lebanon to Bekaa, and then all the way down to Jezzine. On all our stops, we were fantastically welcomed by several wineries on visits, lunches, walkaround tastings and dinners.
The country has possibly the oldest traces of wine production with wine trading dating back to over 4,000 BC and perhaps even older. From ports like Byblos, the great tradesmen of Phoenicians travelled to Egypt and the Mediterranean islands. Even with an impressive rich wine history, Lebanese wines are not as globally spread as one would expect.
On the trip we got a taste of it all, and what we tasted and saw gives great hopes for a more visible international interest and presence for Lebanese wines.
Lebanon has so much to offer: a very long and rich and broad history, and one of the best cuisines – if not the best – in the world; wineries that represent great history and are also cultural treasures; interesting indigenous varieties like Merwah, which stands well alone or in a blend; old wine tradition and knowledge influenced by the classic French winemaking; modern international influence, and; young energetic generations eager to take over the tradition and bring it further with innovation and experimentation.
Mai Tjemsland MW
Champagne MW trip
In April Comité Champagne (CIVC) hosted 20 very lucky MWs to a five-day tour of the Champagne region featuring the latest in research, innovation and diversity of producers,styles and districts. The tour began at CIVC headquarters, Epernay where were given an overview of the CIVC activities and roles in the region. Much of the research and technology is directed to the issues of climate change and sustainability. This was the focus in the tour of the experimental Plumecoq vineyards in the Cotes de Blanc. We commenced the second day with a visit to two producers in the Cote de Blancs. Firstly Champagne Bruno Michel, in Pierry, who own several small organic vineyard parcels and produce a range of beautiful wines. Later that day we were hosted at the main production facility Centre Vinicole-Champagne Nicolas Feuillatte in Chouilly, for a Vin Clair blending session with Chief winemaker Guillaume Roffiaen. It was a complex process, very informative and enjoyable.On day three we visited the beautiful vineyard and cellars of Champagne Bollinger, Ay. Bollinger are known for their Pinot Noir dominant wines and oak use in production.We had a very interesting vin clair tasting of the same wine under different fermentation and storage vessels. Later we visited a small family producer Champagne Ulysse Collin, Congy, Cote de Villevenard who make single parcel Champagnes, which are fermented and matured in oak of various sizes and ages.We began day four with a drive to the southern Champagne districts of Cote des Bar and Montgueux. In the Cote des Bar we were hosted at Champagne Alexandre Bonnet, Les Riceys. They produce a range of Champagnes and the rare Rose de Riceys. A second producer was the cooperative Champagne Devaux, where we tasted vin clair wines with a range of oak levels and MLF illustrating the diversity of blending parcels. A memorable afternoon was enjoyed at Champagne Jacques Lassaigne in Montgueux. They produced a very different and interesting Chardonnay Champagne variations!The final day took us to Champagne Salon and Delamotte. We toured the Salon vineyard and cellar in the Grand Cru village of Le Mesnilsur Oger. A quick walking detour took us to the famous Clos du Mesnil vineyard. We ended the trip with a visit to the amazing caves and cellars of Champagne Taittinger, Reims, and an evening hosted at Champagne Taittinger’s beautiful Chateau La Marquetterie, Pierry.
Alison Eisermann Ctercteko MW