18 December, 2002

Happy New Year to the girls

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I am delighted to see, that George has skipped the Nespress as Christmas and New Year's approaching. I presume, that he's got champagne in his flute and not just Korbel (American sparkling wine).

17 December, 2002

Runaway corks at yuletide

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Virgin and therefor still completely harmless corks. Carefull though once they're in the bottles.

A runaway cork from a bottle of champagne can cause severe damage in the your eyes. Say - and warn - American eye doctors.

Non skilled hands and warm bottles cause the trouble. The latter is a well known problem, the same may go for the skillness of hands. Do cool your bottle properly - in the fridge the evening before or at least in the early morning - and when opening twist the bottle, not the cork, carefully and without shaking. Last, be careful not to point at anyone, when you open. This ought to get you through the opening safely.

Now, I have never heard of anyone, who got their eyes damaged by a cork from champagne. Maybe the phenomenon is more regular when paired with American sparkling wines, that still call themselves champagne. A very long fight between producers from Champagne and collegues from the US.

More advice from the American eye doctors here. You could choose play it safe and just use the sabre. But, then again, I guess that just opens for new trouble, doesn't it?

16 December, 2002

Two rows are ready

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Sun sets around 4 o'clock PM, and in Loisy-en-Brie, late afternoon, we enjoy this pretty scenery.

It is just as wonderful as it looks. Though cold. Freezing cold, in fact.

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So we don't work more than a couple of hours. We are too cold, it got too late. With temperatures around zero but with a freezing cold wind from the east.

The wind arrives from the flat plains, that stretch from the slopes, covered with vines, the flat lands reach as far as the eye and even beyond. And the cold air really gets the time to grow very very cold when it finally catches up with us on the slope. Even the most hidden-away bone in our bodies are frozen after a couple of hours outside.

You don't move that much when you prune. If you are fast, you spend a couple of minutes at each plant, the slowly - this is where you find me and this year also Alain who is still not up at normal speed - use double or even more. (Read more about pruning.)

Fire in the brouette
There is only one way to stay warm on a day like this. I just asked uncle Michel for his best advice after spending a generation in the vines.

No clothes are good enough to keep this wind away from your bones, he says. Fire in the brouette, the special kind of wheel barrow, constructed of old oil barrels, is the only thing you can do to help yourself stay warm, he says.

The brouette may not look much, but a nice little fire, nourished by the stems, you cut, is the only way to keep your fingers and feet going om a winter's day in the vines.

But the brouette is unfortunately not at home. Alain's cousin had his brouette stolen in January, and borrowed ours, that thus spends the weekend at the Belles Feuilles-plot, rather than the "Vieilles Grandmeres, where we work this weekend. He has promised to deliver it back before January, where we'll need it even more.

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Status is now two rows pruned and finished. The plants are very visibly better than last January, where we pruned them for the first time. We see new branches and stems, that are stronger, and almost every plant has a least one, some even several stems as strong and thick as my thumb.

It is fantastic to see. It is fantastic to experience so fast, how the right treatment, the right pruning shows very positive results for the growth of the plants.

Now only 40 rows to go.

14 December, 2002

Champagne Granny gazpacho

2 Granny Smith apples
3 limes
25 cl champagne
5 cl cane sugar

  • Squeeze the limes.

  • Wash the apples, remove pips and core, keep the peel and cut in pieces.

  • Mix apples, limejuice and sugar in a kitchen machine in three-four minutes, and add the chilled champagne and let it mix in for another minute.

  • Serve in small glasses.
  • 13 December, 2002

    Rothschild headquarters in Reims

    The champagne brand in the making of the family Rothschild will eventually live in Reims.

    Half a year ago the family joint forces with "La Goutte d'Or", based in Vertus, to develop and upgrade the champagne of this cooperative to a new, better and more expensive brand.

    A true champagne house does not live in the countryside, but in a dignified villa with mansion-like windows, beautiful balconies of wrought iron and mansard roof. A future domicile like this has been bought for the occasion. In suitable surroundings, in Reims called the golden triangle, which has nothing to do with opium. In Reims this means, that the houses of Krug, Henriot and Roederer all are just around the corner.

    The name of this new brand is not yet known. Champagne Alfred Rothschild is another brand and belongs to another champagne house, Boizel Chanoine Champagne.

    It shall be interesting to follow how the Rothschilds will be constructing the golden image, that walks hand in hand with most houses. Who knows, maybe the master plan is as simple as producing truly great champagne? For a start they have hired the former chef de cave of the house of Ruinart, Jean-Philippe Moulin.

    12 December, 2002

    Champagne quotes: Churchill

    "Remember gentlemen, it’s not just France we are fighting for, it’s Champagne!"
    Sir Winston Churchill, British PM in World War II.

    The British prime minister (1940-45, 1951-55) was well known to be a champagne lover. His favourite brand, Pol Roger from Épernay, still honours him. The top line of the houses is named after the faithfull customer. ((English Wiki).

    04 December, 2002

    Drained of Dom

    Champagnelovers, that shop for Christmas in England, should not bet on being able to get hold on one of the bottles of topchampagne Dom Perignon. Last week they were offered at a very cheap price in a British supermarket chain.

    The newsstory was not even ready to end up around fish and chips, before a consumer article revealed, that the chances of a customer actually buying one of these bottles was just about smaller than not excisting.

    A retail price at 30 pounds - 50 pounds to save per bottle - sounded a bit too good to be true. It was. In fact the offer only included 1000 bottles to be sold in 70 of the biggest stores.

    The chain according to the website This is money obtained its stock from other suppliers, and not direcly by the Dom Perignon supplier. The people behind topchampagnes normally don't like to see their bottles on offer in supermarket.

    When this happened for another top end brand, Bollinger, last year, the company threatened the supermarket with a court case.

    03 December, 2002

    A sip of Charles above the skies

    Above the skies somwhere between Paris and New York we recently had the opportunity to test the Air France selection of champagnes. Jacquart for economy class and Charles Heidsieck for first class.

    The Jacquart was ok, the Charles Heidsieck was - as always when I've tried it - truely nice. The houses describes it, on its rather tiresome website as full, warm and vivid with fine, elegant bubbles.

    Charles Heidsieck did win its 22nd and 23rd distinctions of the year in this years International Wine Challenge competition for the vintage Champagne Charlie 1981 and for the version of the year of the non-vintage brut.

    So, where do you find Charles Heidsieck in Denmark? Well, that's a good question. Surfing the net, I only find it in the Copenhagen neighbourhood of Amager. 10 points for Gunnar Madsen in Holmbladsgade, who sells Charles Heidsieck, and big surprise, that no one else seems to sell this truly great champagne.

    02 December, 2002

    We prune again

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    Solveig seated on the small chariot, ready to prune vines under the Decembersun. Not that bad.

    This weekend our pruning of vineyards began. Under the sun. I am happy to realise, that I still enjoy to prune the vines. Very good, since we will spend most of our weekends until March doing this very important job.

    This year we decided to preprune. All branches above the upper thread has been cut off, which makes it a bit faster to prune. You simply spend less energy pulling and dragging out branches, that have grown between threads.

    Less miserable
    We work in two plots. Both planted with Meunier-vines. Half a hectare is in a splendid condition, with a better yield this vendange than average this year, well below the allowed quota. The other half a hectare we have dealt with for a year now. We took it in a miserable state, and it supplied us with only one third of the allowed quota at the grapeharvest.

    Now we are very happy to see, that it seems to have worked to prune the sad hectare very toughly last winter. The plants seem stronger this year, almost all plants I dealt with all had healthy branches and at least one as thick as my thumb, where I last year hardly saw any at all. This shows how much the plants needed good pruning. It will be very exciting to see, if they will provide us more grapes at the next vendange.

    Pruning of vines in Champagne follow very detailed rules, I have written about my training in this here. These are pictures from the work this weekend:

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    Alain sharpens the knives. We use the good old manual stuff rather than electrical ones.

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    Alain prunes. First he decides which branches are the good ones, then he prunes them in the correct length, and finally removes everything else.

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    To prune vines right is all about the right number of these ones in the end: These are the buds of this year, and this is where the grapes for the next vendange will develop.

    30 November, 2002

    Dom is weapon is x-mas sales

    When it comes to war, love and x-mas shopping no holds are barred.

    Readers that possesses the combination champagnelover and x-mas shopper in London ought to visit their local ASDA supermarket. Fast. I guess, stocks will not be infinite.

    The lethal weapon of the chain in the big war of x-mas shoppers is an offer on one of the most wellknown champagnes in the world. The Dom Perignon of Moët & Chandon for a price of just 30 pounds per bottle. Less than half the normal price.

    In Denmark a bottle of Dom P - vintage 1999 - sells for 850 kroner, the same in France,

    Apart from the French themselves, nobody buys more champagne than the British.

    28 November, 2002

    Champagne quotes: Keynes

    "My only regret in life is that I did not drink more Champagne."
    John Maynard Keynes, English economist, famous last words from 1946.

    Keynes is known as the economist, whose theory recommends states with economical problems to stimulate themselves out of problems by using more money than they make.(English Wiki).

    Goodbye small, hello big

    The champagnes of the future look big. The manager of one of the big players, Remy Cointreaus Jean-Marie Laborde, predicts, that the growing prices of grapes will eventually force some of the small winegrowers out of the game in the years to come. Says British newsagency Reuters.

    The loosers will be you and me.

    The first signs are easy to spot already. It's all about prices, of grapes and vineyards.

    Graperprices passed the limit of crises
    The grapeprices have now crossed the traditional limit of crises, five euros per kilo. Champagnehouses and winegrowers, who produce champagne of their own usually need to buy grapes, since houses need more grapes and smaller growers typically don't grow all three grape varieties often in need.

    In principle, the big and very rich houses can bid up the price, until they get what they want. The smaller players cannot afford to follow the big ones into infinite prices. This may eventually influence their production, lower it or change the content of it.

    So far the big houses, that sell 70 percent of the champagnes of the region, have refrained from bidding up as a sort of unwritten agreement with the winegrowers, that own and cultivate 90 percent of the vineyards.

    This summer the biggest of the big ones, the LVMH manager of champagnes, Jean-Marie Barrillère, said that he doesn't want to play by these rules any longer. Instead he will bid up the prices, until he gets what he wants.

    He mentioned, that far too many champagnes are sold badly. The Remy Cointreau manager agrees. The problem is, that winegrower's champagnes are usually priced at least five-ten euros under a big house.

    Million per hectare
    Also the prices of vineyards are now far beyond the skies with prices at a million hectares for the most expensive ones. Big houses can afford to buy whenever vineyards are for sale.

    We have calculated these prices ourselves. No small growers - like us - can spend so much to get so little. Only in the fifth generation after us the land would begin to make money. This you can only do, if you have a lot of money and a lot of time to wait for black numbers. The richest houses possess both.

    One of them just bought our childless neighbours hectares. The house will take over when the person retires in some years. Montagne de Reims will then have one small brand less, and a big house a few more Grand Cru-hectares to play with.

    "It's clear there will be consolidation among the brands." says the Remy Cointreau-manager to Reuters.

    The purchase of the vineyards of our neighbour is a good example, how right he is. The development is on already, and the traditional dynamics between big and rich houses and small, rural growers with own brands stagger these years.

    More loosers
    Too bad for small winegrowers, whose kids eventually will have to sell their vines as plots become too small to do anything with them. Few will have the necessary money to buy out their siblings to keep the land of the family together.

    All, who love champagne, are loosers too. The direction of this development is also likely to move towards more expensive and also more standard champagnes.

    The big brands sell sublime champagne experiences but they also deliver flat fizz, created to please the palates of the entire world. The small brands sell terribly bad champagnes, that obviously crave for the necessary savoir-faire, but they also present simply fantastic products, that contain all you could ever want from the Champagne terroir.

    17 November, 2002

    This is me. Who are you?

    Welcome to Bubbles.

    The baby eventually came out as a blog. Its kind was not very important to me. It had to be fast and easy, since I had only few hours to set it up to be ready for the grapeharvest in September 2004. Older entries are a fake-solution I have made to be able to run the blog in several languages.

    Do you need my help?

    I am pleased to write about chamagne - it's obvious, I hope - or France in general. I can help you plan your trip. Show you around at our place or at other's places in Danish or English. We talk about the price. Mail me here.

    My background:
    Factual version: LinkedIn

    Litterary version:
  • Blog began with grapeharvest
  • That is why I came to France
  • Computers, radio, web
  • France, language, integration
  • Champagne is a great synthesis
  • Hey, mail me

    Blog began with grapeharvest
    I came to France on maternity leave, with 15 years of work experience mainly from Danmark to start all over again at my first grapeharvest in September 2004. Picking grapes is rather exotic for a Dane, only now you hear about vineyards here and there on particular sunny slopes, there was certainly none when I grew up. Now I'm pretty
    convinced that you don't find many wineregions in the world, that harvest and grow the grapes in a more back to basics-way than you'll find in Champagne. So much of the work is still completely manual.

    So the blog began with pictures and diary from this first grapeharvest of mine. I uploaded everything via the phoneline. Since then we have installed a fast connection, thank God.

    Already pushing the stroller of my son through the neighbouring vineyards I begain to get interested in the work. I wondered. What were all these men and women doing, day after day all winter, all spring. They cleaned, they pruned, they attached. And later I learned to do it as well.

    Gradually, as I got better in French, I began to read about to theory of the vineyards, the impressive history of the development of champagne and the history of this great very wartorn region. It was the first subject in France, that challenged me so much, that I basically learned French, because I just had to read it. So it became my gateway into French language, French culture and French way-of-thinking.

    To the top

    That is why I came to France
    I Jeg havnede i Frankrig efter at have stået imod i 12 år. Med god grund. En fransk landsby er ikke noget let sted at holde sig på benene. Nu er vi imidlertid fire, så det er ikke længere kun mine behov, der tæller. Jeg kom i begyndelsen af min barselsorlov efter at have født Clement i 2003. Det var især Clements og nu Evas, og for dem er det godt, at vi er her.

    Nogle gange hader jeg det. Nogle gange nyder jeg det. Solskinsturene i den orange-røde efterårsskov med dens gennemtrængende duft af muld og kulde. Forårsturene i vinmarker med knopper, der er på bristepunktet, og hvor jeg netop aner spidsen af årets første lyserøde blad. Stæreflokkenes kredsen over efterladte vindruer.

    Den brogede historie i dette land, der har invaderet af alle de plager, der har været i Europa: Hunnere, romere, vikinger, tyskere, russere, englændere og sikkert flere endnu. Hver gang nogen graver mere end 10 centimeter ned i Reims' undergrund dukker der et eller andet uvurderligt frem af så stor vigtighed, at man må skrive et par linjer af historien om. Dette er gammelt kulturland på en måde, der ikke findes i f.eks Danmark. Endelig er der jo champagnen og før den almindelig vin, der har præget regionens udvikling i mange hundrede år.

    Den slags giver rødder af en anden karakter end mine, der det meste af mit liv har været der, hvor jeg sluttede min computer til. Den moderne verden med andre ord. Der hvor man tjekker sin email mindst én gang om dagen.

    To the top

    Computers, radio, web
    Min karriere begyndte som programmør på Philips. Temmelig internationalt og sjovt det meste af tiden. Jeg var nu ikke så interesseret i Philips, deres salg og sådan noget, men jeg trivedes rigtig godt sammen med Philips' mennesker både i København, Oslo, Stockholm, Helsinki, London, Paris og Eindhoven. En god tid.

    Det var også dengang jeg gik i skole hele tiden ved siden af mit arbejde. Filosofi på Københavns Universitet i halvandet år, diverse engelsk- og franskkurser. Tværfløjte. Journalistik.

    Netop fyldt 25 år kom jeg ind på Journalisthøjskolen. Boede i Århus. Min by var altid København, sådan er det stadig, og jeg får det altid bekræftet, når jeg bor andre steder. Da jeg startede på DJH, stoppede jeg alle de andre skoler. Journalistik - at søge og ordne viden - var nok i sig selv. Jeg elsker ord.

    Efter skolen lavede jeg radio i Åbenrå. Jeg ELSKEDE også at lave radio, og at optage lyd. Det var ligesom at være barn igen. Jeg var også glad for at få en tid i Sønderjylland, som jeg havde hørt så helt utrolig meget om fra min mormor, der boede der under slut 30'ernes kulturkamp og det meste af 2. Verdenskrig. Til sidst elskede jeg ikke at være langt væk fra mit netværk og søgte tilbage til øerne.

    I Odense begyndte jeg at lave netjournalistik som en af de første i Danmark, inden it-boblen bristede og alt det der. På hvad der må være det første længere kursus i Danmark i at skabe indhold på nettet i 1999 var der højt til loftet og plads til begejstring.

    Jeg var med til at udvikle både det brede nyhedssite på Politiken.dk og det dybe på Bobler.blogspot.com. Hvis jeg havde mere tid til at sætte mig ind i sagerne, ville jeg fluks afsøge og udlege mulighederne i de nye sociale tjenester som f.eks. Facebook.

    To the top

    France, language, integration
    Til Frankrig kom jeg, fordi jeg ville give det en chance, lære fransk og forsøge at forstå franskmænd, inklusive Alain, der dog altid har været lige så internationalt orienteret som jeg, rejst og arbejdet over hele Europa på flere sprog.

    Det ene år, jeg havde barsel med mit første barn fra mit job i Danmark var ikke nok til at lære det franske at kende, og det var vigtigt for mig, fordi vi jo som familie på godt og ondt må leve og bo i to kulturer. Jeg vurderede meget tidligt, at det ikke er muligt at forstå den franske landkultur uden at tale fransk og bo i den. Den er meget lukket. Selv for franskmænd fra byen, har jeg efterhånden lært.

    Desuden har jeg to børn, der skal lære dansk, hvilket ikke er noget, der kommer af sig selv, har jeg fundet ud af. Men foreløbigt kommer det, min søn er tosproget og håndterer uden problemer samtaler på to sprog ad gangen. Vi andre har også efterhånden lært at håndtere tre sprog i hovedet af gangen. Det tog lang tid at lære. Det er besværligt både ved middagsbordet og i omgang med andre, men jeg stoler fuldt og fast på, at det er indsatsen værd.

    Integration er en yderst interessant sportsgren. Nogen gange kunne jeg ønske mig, at jeg ikke havde hovedrollen. Andre gange sætter jeg pris på det ekstra perspektiv, jeg altid kan give her, og får i Danmark. Prisen er isolation, jeg fjerner mig fra det jeg kom af men oplever ikke at jeg tilsvarende nærmer mig det, jeg er kommet til.

    To the top

    Champagne is a great synthesis
    Min blog kom dels til at fungere som den kanal, jeg skrev på, i en tid, hvor jeg ikke ret nemt kunne virke som journalist, fordi jeg ikke kunne fransk nok til at lave egentlige historier herfra.

    I stedet har jeg målrettet indsatsen mod champagne, hvis historie og arbejde jeg meget tidligt blev fascineret af. Jeg har altid godt kunne lide modsat-rettede dynamikker, i Kbh elskede jeg Christianshavn for dets blanding af rigdom og slum. Champagnes dynamik henter sit spændingsfelt i mødet mellem den meget landlige druedyrkning og de umådeligt rige og globalt orienterede champagnehuse, der er gensidigt afhængige af hinanden og for det meste respekterer denne balance.

    Bloggen blev en form for syntese, hvor jeg forener mine tidligere interesser med den nuværende. Den engelske oversættelse var oprindeligt for at også Alain - det går sgu ikke så hurtigt med indlæring af dansk som jeg kunne ønske mig - kunne læse med og rette mine eventuelle brølere.

    Den fungerer både som min dagbog fra vinmarkerne, mine betragtninger, nyheder og kommentarer. Skulle nogen være i tvivl, står det hele naturligvis for min egen regning. Jeg forsøger at være fair, hugger f.eks. ikke andres citater i urimelig grad og aldrig uden at citere og gerne også linke til det relevante sted. Ellers lever nettet ikke, og det går jeg - om nogen - ind for. Jeg anvender gratis software og har derfor valgt ikke at have reklamer på bobler. Man er hjertelig velkommen til at linke til mig, jeg låner også gerne billeder og/eller tekst i rimelig grad. Men i så fald: Spørg lige om lov først, ikk'? Selvom man kan hugge i løbet af to sekunder, findes almindelig høflighed stadig, også i den digitale tidsalder.

    To the top

    Hey, mail me
    Kommentarer er rigtig dejlige. Man skal desværre bruge et øjeblik på at oprette sig som bruger i www.blogger.com for at kunne kommentere. Det kan jeg ikke gøre noget ved andet end at opfordre til det, hvis man har noget at sige. Gør det nu. Så kan du fortælle mig, hvad du synes her bagefter.

    To the top
  • 16 November, 2002

    Say champagne to your tapas

    Champagne works just perfect as an aperitif. Served with fingerfood tapas style instead of or as part of the starter, it's even better.

    The very basic possibilities are crisps, olives, slices of good sausages and/or cheeses. The variations are just about infinite.

    I usually upgrade, inspired by some of the following themes:

    • Crudité: raw vegetables - carrots, tomatoes, cucumber, cauliflower -with dip and/or NEW RECIPIE: tapenade
    • Bread with a little something: Blinis, grissini, little pieces of bread, oatcakes with caviar of aubergine, tapenade, fish rillettes, tuna mousse, tomatopesto and so on.
    • Cake salé - salty cake, that may contain feta-cheese, red pebbers, smoked ham or salmon, olives, nuts and much more.

    Dry or sweet champagne?
    These little dishes work fine with dry champagnes, that is variations within the brut and ultra brut-ranges with a dosage of 15 grams of sugar per liter or less. They are the most common ones anyway.

    In Denmark a house like Veuve Clicquot-Ponsardin sell quite a few bottles of the sweeter demi-sec, probably because of the immortal - apparently - Danish tradition of serving the champagne with sweet almond cake New Year's Eve.

    Black tapenade

    50 grams of black olives
    2 tablespoons of capers
    A handful of chopped parsley
    One clove of chopped garlic
    One tablespoon of lemonjuice
    1/2 dl of olive oil
    Herbes de Provence
    Salt and pebber

  • Tapenade is an olive spread from Southern France. It is spiced with a mix of herbs called herbes de Provence. It consists of thyme, wild thyme, marjoram, oregano, rosemary, basil, chervil, lovage, sarriette, lavender and fennel.

  • Prepare this dish only with good olives, you stone yourself.

  • Chop everything fine with a food processor, if you want your tapenade very smooth. Otherwise chop it manually.

  • Add less or a bit more olive oil until the tapenade gets the consistency you like.

  • I use coarser versions for pasta, softer versions to dip or spread.

  • Good salt works well in a dish like this.

  • Try out others types of olives, salty anchovies and so on.

    NB: Some would advice not to eat garlic at all when you drink champagne.
  • Sort tapenade

    50 gram sorte oliven
    2 spsk kapers
    En håndfuld hk persille
    1 fed hvidløg
    1 spsk citronsaft
    1/2 dl olivenolie
    Herbes de Provence
    Salt og peber

  • Tapenade er oliven-smørepålæg fra Sydfrankrig. Det er krydret med blandingen herbes de Provence (urter fra Provence), der består af timian, vild timian, merian, oregano, rosmarin, basilikum, kørvel, estragon, løvstikke, sar, lavendel og fennikel.

  • Lav det kun med gode oliven, du selv udstener.

  • Findel alt med foodprocessor, hvis du ønsker tapenaden helt jævn. Ellers hakker du det groft på et skærebrædt.

  • Tilsæt mere eller mindre olivenolie til tapenaden får en passende konsistens.

  • Jeg bruger grove versioner i pasta, linde versioner til dip eller smørepålæg.

  • Godt salt kommer til sin ret her.

  • Eksperimentér med andre oliventyper, ansjoser af den salte sardel-type osv.

    NB: Ifølge nogen råd skal man holde sig fra hvidløg, når man drikke champagne. Det gør jeg ikke, men jeg vælter ikke hvidløgsfed i maden.
  • 15 November, 2002

    Kitsch and co. from Piper

    Okay, this is cool in the exaggerated, slightly vulgar way, that only a champagne house can strike and actually manage to add to their glamourous image rather than loosing it. So here goes: One point to Piper Heidsieck for that.

    Unfortunately the publicity site of designers Viktor & Rolfs for Piper Heidsiecks Rosé Sauvage happens to be so laboured, that I could not figure out how to get into it during those couple of minutes I could care. Just wonder who would then. Since I after all have quite an interest in it. After all it's champagne.

    *** The day after I wrote this - today - I tried again, and dadum the site worked. It's still heavy, because it's full of web-meringue covering up a lot of nothing. By the way, it's a crime not check that your site actually works before you open it as well. Honestly, Piper-Heidsieck. If I didn't know better, I would start wondering if this how you deal with your champagnes too. ***

    Super house
    Luckily I know that Piper Heidsieck is a super house, even it does not perform as much on the big global scene as some of the collegues. Don't pay too much attention to that. Even they do offend the web when they introduce yet another annoying, heavy and useless site. The idea to turn everything upside down still has its charms.

    Tainted with red wine
    The wild rosé is an assemblage, which means it is a blend, that has achieved the colour from redwine, aged for two years. The nose is fresh red fruit with notes of mandarin and grapefruit with hints of cinnamon and fig. The mouth is red plums, clementine and blood orange with a touch of pistachio.

    Piper-Heidsieck, by the way, just installed 50 steel vats, each contains 50 hectolitres, to keep their reserve wines. Nothing cool about them. They're just practical. As opposed to the way Viktor and Rolf communicate.

    Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin hit the same note in their pink campaign about a year ago.

    11 November, 2002


    This year we have decided to pre-prune the vines.

    The theory is, that you with a machine walk up and down the rows of vines and simply cut off everything above the upper iron thread.

    In December when we will begin the real pruning, it is supposed to make it a lot easier to set free the branches. Such is the idea anyway.

    Most winegrowers, that we know, are already pre-pruning, and I guess, since most people normally try to organise their work in as effective a way as they can, it may be worth trying it for us as well. Alain thinks it's waste of time.

    We shall see.

    09 November, 2002

    Do and dont's of bubbly

    Martha Stewart - the one and only - has a list of do and don'ts regarding sparkling wines as well. Of course. Since Martha doesn't know everything, I have added my comments too.

    • Choose a tall glass - flute or tulip - it preserves the bubbles longer, says Martha. It also lets you enjoy the spectacular buoyancy of the bubbles - this is what the French call train de bulles, I add.

      Martha continues, that, a tall glass is better to enjoy the bouquet of the champagne. I wonder. Since the aromas are more easy to recognize in a big glass, made for wine tasting. But then again, the bigger surface will make the bubbles leave faster. Forget about low and bowl-shaped glasses.

      Personally I prefer a tall but not too big glass, so I have a chance to empty it before it heats up too much, since I'm not a fast drinker. Hold around the stem instead of the glass to avoid warming up the content with your fingers.

    • Sparkling wine must be served chilled, Martha goes on. Cool the bottle(s) in the fridge some hours - well, I'd say 24 hours, but not days - before serving. The rest of the food in the fridge may have aromas, that can enter through the cork, if the bottle stays too long.

      A faster and more spectacular possibility is to cool in a cooler with water and ice. 20 minutes should do the job.

      Serve the champagne between 8 and 10 degrees Celsius. Old vintage champagnes between 10 and 12 degrees Celsius. Be careful that your wine has an appropriate temperature. It will for instance not stay cool if you leave it on the table for an hour.

    • Now we have choosen the glasses, cooled the bottle, and it's time to open it. Remove the gold foil and loosen the metal thread that keeps the cork in place. Place a finger over the cork to prevent from leaving the bottle at the wrong moment, is the advice from Martha.

      This could happen, if the bottle has been shaked too much. One way you can calm it down is to put it in the freezer a little while (my idea, not Martha's). But don't forget it. And remember it's a way to calm the bubbles not to cool them fast. This you obtain even faster in a bucket with water and ice.

      To open. Hold the bottle where it does not point at anyone in an angle of not more than 45 degrees. Twist the bottle - not the cork - with the other hand, until the cork leaves the bottle with a quiet sigh, as it's described somewhere in the literature.

    Rillettes with fish

    After a holiday in La Vendée on the French Atlantic coast I brought back four glasses with different versions of fish rilletes, and discovered how easy they are to prepare and how well they marry with champagne as a starter or with the aperitif.

    200 grammes of fish, cod, maquerel, salmon and so on.
    1-2 decilitres of creme fraiche, fat version
    1 clove of chopped garlic,
    1 coffee spoon of chopped lemon peel (eco lemon)
    1-2 big spoons of chopped parsley, dill or other herbs at your choice and taste
    Maybe some chopped olives or dried tomatoes
    Good salt, grinded pebber
    Olive oil

  • Steam fresh fish. Wrap it in suitable paper and put it in an ovenproof dish at 200 degrees Celsius until the meat is just ready.

  • Chop the herbs, garlic.

  • When the fish is cold - leftovers are perfect for this dish - mix the herbs, creme fraiche and fish, grate the lemon peel straight into the bowl. Add salt and pebber. The consistency must not be liquid, but also not very solid. Creme fraiche may have a sour taste, this you adjust with the herbs.

  • Serve the rillettes with bread as a starter or snack with the aperitif.
  • Fiskerillettes

    Rillettes er vist mest kendt i versioner med kød. Jeg købte fire glas med forskellige former for fisk på en ferie i La Vendée ved den franske Atlanterhavskyst, og da vi havde spist dem, begyndte jeg at lave den selv. Det er let og godt som forret eller snack til aperitiffen, og desuden fisk uden fiskeben.

    200 gram fisk, f.eks. torsk, torskerogn, makrel osv.
    1-2 dl creme fraiche, den fede
    1 fed hk hvidløg
    1 tsk hk citronskal (ubehandlet citron)
    1-2 spsk hk persille, dild eller andre urter efter smag og behag
    Eventuelt lidt hk oliven eller soltørret tomat
    Havsalt, peber

  • Frisk fisk dampes. F.eks. pakket ind i bagepapir i et ildfast fad med lidt vand i ved 200 grader, til kødet akkurat er færdigt.

  • Urter, hvidløg med videre hakkes.

  • Når fisken er kold - rester er perfekt - røres urter, creme fraiche og fisk sammen, citronskal rives direkte over, og det hele smages til med salt og peber. Konsistensen må ikke være flydende, men heller ikke så fast, at den kan skæres i skiver. Fransk creme fraiche er mindre syrlig end den danske, det justerer man med urterne.

  • Rillettes serveres med brød som forret eller som en lille ret til aperitiffen.
  • Modern manners, my darling

    Okay, I have said these things too. Several times, in one single entry and scattered around in several of the posts of these last three years. But I don't pretend to posess true British punch, and I am certainly not the guide of The Times in modern manners.

    Philip Howard is, and he goes: Remember to enjoy your champagne, don't spill it and don't just opt for the well known brands, go try some of the supermarket champagnes as well.

    Since it's good. In England anyway, because the big supermarkets send their own and good buyers to the right places in Champagne to trade. I'm not quite convinced, that's the case in Denmark. That is, I'm quite convinced, it's not, since the choice in most places even wineshops is rather poor.

    Read the rest at The Times Online.

    The one and only Martha Stewart has also devoted some time to the etiquette of bubbly. Read her advice complemented by mine (since Martha actually doesn't know everything, did you know that?) here. If you want to open your bottle the cool way, you do
    like this.

    And maybe you should go else where than just The Times for your wine critis. It's also great to check out more than just one source. It goes for champagne as well ;-)

    04 November, 2002

    Bubbly blogs

    French winegrowers follow the wake of the global blog fever. Writing, taking photoes in their vineyards and caves. Lots of them explains and tells happily and even frequently in width as well as depth about the passion, they share with their customers: Great wines.

    In Rome, do as the Romans, in France the French speak French, winegrowers too:

  • Franck Pascal: website, blog

  • Francis Boulard: website, blog

  • Laherte: website, blog

  • Benoit Tarlant: website, blog

  • Cyril Janisson: website, blog

    Some has taken advantage of the translation tool of Google. The resultats does not always make a lot of sense, but maybe it's better than nothing, should your French be a little rusty.

    Outsinde Champagne, there are lots and lots of French wineblogs to dig into here. This blog won a trophy as best wineblog in the Salon des Vins in Loire in 2007.

    To buy champagne, try www.1855.com. It's French, and the selection of bubbly is impressive. To find tastings in Enlgish, try Jancis Robinson or the Wineanorak.
  • 02 November, 2002

    Salty cake with red pebber and fetacheese

    One red pebber
    1/2 green pebber
    150 grams of feta-cheese
    50 grams of black olives without stones
    Three big eggs
    150 grams of flour
    10 grams of baking powder
    Six tablespoons of olive oil
    Six tablespoons of whole milk
    100 grams of grated cheese, for instance emmentaler
    Salt, pebber

  • Remove seeds from the pebbers and slice them in very small pieces.
  • Fry the pebbers 10 minutes in one tablespoon of olive oil, add salt and pebber.
  • Let them cool on kitchen roll paper.
  • Slice the feta in small pieces.
  • Turn the oven on, 180 degrees Celsius.
  • Beat the eggs in a bowl. Add flour, baking powder, salt and pebber. Mix.
  • Add five tablespoons of olive oil, milk and grated cheese. Stir.
  • Add olives, pebbers and feta-cheese. Mix again.
  • Pour the dough into a mould for cake and bake it about 45 minutes.
  • Take the cake out of the mould and cool it on a cooling tray 10 minutes.
  • Cut the cake in nice pieces, for instance cubes and serve them.
  • Salt kage med peber og feta

    En rød peber
    1/2 grøn peber
    150 gram feta
    50 gram sorte oliven uden sten
    Tre store æg
    150 gram mel
    10 gram bagepulver
    Seks spsk olivenolie
    Seks spsk sødmælk
    100 gram revet ost, f.eks. emmentaler
    Salt, peber

  • Fjern kerner fra peberfrugterne og skær dem i meget små stykker.
  • Steg peberstykker 10 minutter i en spsk olivenolie, tilsæt salt og peber.
  • Lad dem afkøle på fedtsugende papir.
  • Skær fetaen i små stykker.
  • Tænd ovnen, 180 grader Celsius.
  • Pisk æggene i en skål Tilsæt mel, bagepulver, salt og peber. Bland igen.
  • Tilsæt fem spsk olivenolie, tempereret mælk og den revne ost. Rør.
  • Tilsæt oliven, peber og feta. Rør igen.
  • Hæld dejen i en aflang kageform og bag den i cirka 45 minutter.
  • Tag kagen ud af formen og lad den afkøle på en bagerist i 10 minutter.
  • Skær kagen i pæne stykker, for eksempel kuber og servér.
  • 31 October, 2002

    Learned it from the virgin vine

    Posted by Picasa
    The blackbirds have been busy. Most berries of our virgin vine have been eaten. The leaves are going too.

    "2008 will be a bad year for the vines," a friend said the other day. Her voice sombre as a day of doom. She elaborated:

    "There are no grapes on the virgin vine this year, and that's a bad sign for the real grapes the following year."

    According to representatives of third age winegrowers of Vertus in the Côte des Blancs and brought to us by our friend, who is bookkeeper for loads of other winegrowers, daughter of a father who used to educate winegrowers, and married to one herself. Shouldn't she know what is worth mentioning?

    Heritage of observations
    Personally I find these old sayings very interesting. Even they may not be scientifically proved and approved, these people have several decades of experiences and observations to draw from. Some of them even stand on the shoulders of a grandfather, who intelligently has passed on such valuable heritage of observations.

    If they are right, next year should be fine in the Montagne de Reims. In our yard we've had lots of birds around these last weeks. Busy eating the berries of our virgin vine, that has been full of them. Better ask the opinion of one of the grey-beards of Verzy.

    30 October, 2002

    Leaves falling in the Côte des Blancs

    A very wet drive on monday through the Côte des Blancs revealed, that nature is moving back to normality, when it comes to the grapes.

    The Chardonnay-vines are close to the end of their autumn-strip. Not many withered leaves still manage to hang on to the plants along the road between villages Oiry and Vertus. The slopes above Vertus a bit less advanced, more protected from the weather than the flat and open lands along the road, I guess. In the Montagne de Reims most of the Pinot Noir-vines are still dressed up with the last reds and oranges of autumn. The difference is striking.

    The funny thing is that all through 2007 the development of red grape vines - Pinot Noir and Meunier - has quite unusually been earlier than that of the white Chardonnay. Now it seems the normal order of nature has been restored.

    This means, that the pruning of winter has begun in the Côte des Blancs. Not yet busy, but much bigger than what I've seen so far in the Montagne de Reims.

    29 October, 2002

    We need a clos as well

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    Lanson in downtown Reims wants to make the most of the one and only hectare of vines, it controls completely: Another clos on its way.

    The house of Krug will introduce a new clos champagne next spring. The house of Lanson are working on the same exercise with one hectare of vines, that grow within its walls downtown Reims. Bollinger has its Vieilles Vignes, and amongst others Billecart-Salmon, Duval-Leroy and Philiponnat have their own clos too. Headline: Trend with capital T.

    At the moment it is not easy to increase your number of bottles in Champagne - the houses have difficulties to find more grapes to meet demand. Instead they focus more on better bottles than before. The philosophy behind the clos is a simply perfect match. The word means enclosure, the vines grow in a delimited area, typically behind walls.

    A matter of legislation
    Now, the problem is, you cannot just let yourself be carried away by the spirit of the times: Raise some walls, plant some vines and double the price. A clos is only a clos with a significant amount of age: That is, it must be a clos historically. Whether it meets these criteria, is the decision of INAO (the authority, that amongst others controls the AOC's). The clos of Krug for instance dates back to the middle of the 18th century. The concept goes hand in hand with an exclusive imange and the wish of more special and expensive bottles.

    Funny to think, that a clos-champagne has been made of grapes from one single vineyard, which is the exact opposite of the normal philosophy behind champagnes, where you normally mix your cuvée from a number of basewines from different vineyards.

    Posted by Picasa
    Philiponnat in the village of Mareuil-sur-Aÿ was first to introduce the idea of a clos.

    The house of Philipponat came first. It introduced its Clos des Goisses as early as the 1930'es. According to Charles Philiponnat the average temperature is one and a half degree Celsius warmer inside the walls. That is, I suppose, a sort of super microclimate within the walls compared to the other side. This is also the only real fact, I have seen, about the difference of a clos compared to any other vineyard without walls.

    With five hectares you can hardly call thee Clos des Goisses scarce. Certainly not when you compare with collegues like the two vineyards of nongrafted, old vines of Bollinger: All in all they cover a bit less than half a hectare. Billecart-Salmons clos-vineyard has enough vines to fill 5.500 bottles - numbered of course - r and the famous Clos du Ménil of Krug fills 12.000 bottles from a vineyard of 1,85 hectares.

    The new Krug is made from vines grown in the village of Ambonnay in the Montagne de Reims. It is a blanc de noirs-champagne - 100 percent Pinot Noir. A true contrast to the existing clos of Krug, which is a blanc de blancs from Le-Mesnil-sur-Oger in the Côte des Blancs. True to the philosophy of ultimate discretion of Krug - it adds to the expectations and may persuade your hand to dig a bit deeper in the pocket - they have revealed very little about such banalities as for instance price. The same philosophy as that of the Clos du Mésnil.

    Pricewise the clos-champagnes cover anything from between 30 and 50 euros for the cheaper ones - amongst them Cattier, Cazals and Vesselle - up to 500 euros for the most expensive ones - Krug and Bollinger.

    Posted by Picasa
    One of the Bollinger plots of Vieilles Vignes in Aÿ. This is what vineyards looked like all over Champagne before the phylloxera-epidemic wiped out allmost all ungrafted vines in Champagne.

    28 October, 2002

    2003 by Bollinger

    The house of Bollinger has introduced a quite unique vintage champagne. 2003 is the name. It is certainly the first time I have heard about a champagne of this type, even 2003 has been expected impatiently by several because of the special character of that particular year.

    Usually vintage champagnes are made with grapes, that have been extraordinarily well dealt with by simply wonderful weather. In 2003 the weather on the other hand played just about all the dirty tricks at hand plus most possible encores: Frost in spring, hailstorms and the violent heatwave followed by a grape harvest in haste.

    Bollinger too did not have enough grapes, so they may have chosen to make a virtue of necessity. Whatever.

    The 2003-champagne is a blend of 60 percent Pinot Noir from the villages of Verzenay in Montagne de Reims and Aÿ in Vallée de la Marne and 40 percent Chardonnay from the village of Cuis in the Côte des Blancs (More at Bollinger (PDF-file.))

    The website Enviedechamp sell the "2003" for a price of 70 euros, which is quite a step up from the - shall-we-call-it - normal Special Cuvée.

    27 October, 2002

    VITeff in 2009

    The biggest exhibition worldwide of anything, connected with sparkling wines and its production, just finished in Épernay. Big succes. 447 exhibitors, 20.000 visitors and 17 foreign delegations (*). None of them Danish (like me).

    Denmark is also not mentioned in a bubbly map of the world, where even Kenya has not been forgotten.

    Maybe the production in sites like Skærsøgaard is still too small to mention. Or maybe the Danish winegrowers just don't link up with the others at for instance VITeff? Despite free champagne and oysters one morning. Acquaintances of ours amongst the winegrowers in this area were going this particular time. Why shouldn't they anyway?.

    Next VITeff takes place in two years, from October 14th to 17th 2009.

    (*) Delegations from these countries dropped Épernay: Germany, England, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Bulgaria, Chile, Spain, USA, Hungary, Italy, Moldavia, New Zealand, Rumania, Slovenia, Tasmania and Ukraine.

    19 October, 2002

    Vite, VITEff

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    Heavy machinery is brought out for the annual VITeff-exhibition in the capital of Champagne, Épernay.

    The biggest exhibition of bubbles in the world - the VITeff -takes place in Épernay these days. 450 stands with champagne, sparkling wines and all kinds of equipment.

    Oysters and champagne for free. Hmm, that was yesterday. But I wonder if it shouldn't be possible to get hold of one or two glasses of champs for free anyway?

    Bubbly from the world
    Delegations from 16 out of 50 countries in the world, that produces sparkling wines, can be found in Épernay these days. Amongst them Slovakia, that according to our rather well informed teacher in winetasting produces quite good bubbly.

    Most of the worlds sparklers are still French though. Apart from Champagne, you'll find crémants from different regions and natural sparklers from mountainous regions such as the Blanquette de Limoux and Clairette
    de Die (check the list). 27 percent of the sparklers of the world are made in France (check out a tasting of some here).

    About 20.000 visitors are expected to check out the Millesium-buildings of Épernay these four days. Last day is tomorrow.

    18 October, 2002

    Noisy cloud of starlings

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    Brown ploughed field with green stribe of vineyards behind. From the road to the village of Puiseulx.

    This year we have not met any starlings in the Côte des Blancs. All the Chardonnay-grapes must have been picked to make champagne. In our vines we have the les Bouvreux - the grapes of second generation, that has matured since the grapeharvest - left on the plants. Chardonnay however usually supply less buds of second generation than Meunier.

    The starlings navigate in the hilly lands between the Montagne de Reims and Reims itself. The flocks are so big, that they are even noisy. An almost infernal chirping, despite the alluring acrobatics in the air, as the birds circle, rise and drop.

    As in our vines, the vineyards of the villages of Taissy and Sillery too have a new generation of mature grapes. On top of that these vineyards are next to ordinary farming land, that currently swell of winter crops. The birds scream, descend and eat.

    Later this week Météo France warns about the first frost. I suppose, that will send the birds further south, giving the rest of the winter wheat a break.

    17 October, 2002

    17 terroirs of Champagne

    At the moment Champagne includes 35.000 hectares, where the owners can plant vines and use the grapes to make champagne. Only 3.000 of these hectares are impossible to use, because they are covered by churchyards, villages and similar stuff.

    The area is divided into four main regions, that are divided into 17 different terroirs. A word, the French use to siginify a special combination of climate, soils, heighth and other factors, that influences the quality of grapes on the particular spot. Not all experts and/or vine countries operate with the notion, but it is an important one in France.

    Source: Maisons Champagnes

    Each of the four big vineareas of Champagne includes about 8.000 hectares.

    Our vines grow in the Val de Petit Morin. I just learned that. The last three years I've claimed we belong to the extremities of the Côte des Blancs. The cooperative names us Crus Périphériques de la Côte des Blancs, which means something like vines from the periphery of the Côte des Blancs.

    These are the areas that the next 10 years will be extended. New permissions to plant vines will be granted in some or all of these 40 villages. Read more about the regions of Champagne here.

    12 October, 2002

    Extension in Champagne expected

    Posted by Picasa
    Plots with vines in Champagne are very expensive. Now more will join in.

    More vines are on their way in Champagne. The first step forward has been made as 40 communes from four departments with suitable soils for vines have been listed on a paper due for the authorities in the INAO. Such was the cover story of our local paper l'Union earlier this week.

    The rumours of an extension ahead have been around for quite a while. And during the past summer pressure was a bit more up with articles here and there and in all languages about a time in near future without champagne for everybody, who is interested. As demand is high, and grapes too few.

    The article in l'Union is the first concrete description, I have seen in writing about the big work that is now about to begin.

    Long project
    The project will then be extended with opinions of experts, possibilities to appeal and presentations of the work for the authorities involved. Only in early 2009 the project can be offically started with the necessary decrees, and the areas involved split in plots for vines. This proces will include new hearings, presentations and so on.

    Only in 2017 this new big delimitation - such is the designation of the area of the AOC of champagne - will be finished. The vines can be planted from 2015 if the plan progresses as it should.

    The prices will skyrocket
    Prices of soils, where the status will change from agriculture to vines, will skyrocket, so the careful proces makes a lot of sense.

    Discussions - to use a very neutral word - must be expected, when some will become euro-millionaires overnight, whilst others have to continue with wheat, barley and sunflowers.

    In 2006 the average price for a hectare of champagne land was 665.000 euros. You buy ordinary farming land at 4.370 euro per hectare.

    The new land for vines will probably be priced in the low end from the start, the expensive end is at one million per hectare. There are only rarely publicly known purchases but about a month ago Just-Drinks.com said, that the house of Vranken-Pommery Monopole bought three hectars at this price.

    Land to grow vines for other French appellations are sold at an average of 76.580 euros per hectare.

    The communes in the game are:

      Marne: Baslieux-lès-Fismes, Blacy, Boissy-le-Repos, Bouvancourt, Breuil-sur-Vesle, Bussy-le-Repos, Champfleury, Courlandon, Courcy, Courdemanges, Fismes, Huiron,
      La Ville-sous-Orbais, Le Thoult-Trosnay, Loivre, Montmirail, Mont-sur-Courville, Péas, Romain, Saint-Loup, Soulanges, Ventelay.
      Aisne: Marchais-en-Brie.
      Aube: Arrelles, Balnot-la-Grange, Bossancourt, Bouilly, Etourvy, Fontvannes, Javernant, Laine-aux-Bois, Macey, Messon, Prugny, Saint-Germain-L'Epine, Souligny, Torvilliers, Villery.
      Haute-Marne: Champcourt, Harricourt.
    source: l'Union, October 10th.

    The historical ace
    The extension project is the biggest in several decades. The latest extension of the delimitation in Champagne took place in 1990, where the commune of Fontaine-sur-Aÿ was granted the permission to plant vines referring to the fact that the commune historically - before the creation of the delimitation in 1927 - had had vines on its lands.

    This argumentation is no longer possible. Historically 56.000 hectares of land were planted with vines in Champagne when it peaked. Today 35.000 hectares are part of the delimitation and only land, occupied by churchyards or lawns, are not planted with vines today. We'll see what the extension to come will bring from 2017.

    10 October, 2002

    Most wellknown wine worldwide

    Bordeaux is the most famous wine area in the world. Followed by Champagne and Chianti as second and third, says Wine Intelligence after a survey amongst 11.000 consumers of wine from 11 key countries about which of 28 areas they know the best.

    This blog is more interested in champagne than red wine really. The free details of the survey don't reveal whether champagne was known enough to make it to become second. Who cares? Here is a completely non-scientific comparison anyway:

    Check the numbers, when you google the three mentioned wine regions:
    Bordeaux, Champagne og Chianti.

    Fun, isn't it? I guess I have to hurry up with the information, that Google of course doesn't distinguish between wine buyers, key markets and that sort of thing. It just performs a stupid search. You can read about the survey of Wine Intelligence here. But - I warn you - no conlusions, it's all commercial.

    04 October, 2002

    A long way from Pyongyang to Paris

    This morning I saw the unbelievable pictures of the two Corean stateleaders, Kim Jong-Il and Roh Moo-hyun, touch glasses on CNN. Glasses with champagne.

    The meeting took place in the capital of North Corea, Pyongyang. The South Corean president Roh had crossed no-mans-land as the first South Corean for 54 years. Since technically the two countries have been at war with each other all this time.

    Now the two stateleaders have signed a deal of reconciliation. The intention is to work towards a formal peace treaty. All the good work was celebrated with bubbly.

    Despite all the historical whirr of wings, champagne in this connection worked quite oppositely than probably intended on my mind. Since North Corea is one of the very poor nations in the world, with a population that has lived on the edge of starvation for years. I wonder, what kind of image is achieved from such pictures?

    Almost at the same time, in Paris, the sublime Italian dressmaker Valentino - you know, the guy with the red gowns - was sent off to retirement by a tremendous accompaniment of popping champagne corks. That kind of champagne celebration is sort of more comme il faut. In Denmark French Marie was toasted into her new job as future wife of prince Joachim.

    A big day for champagne.

    02 October, 2002

    Grape prices are growing

    Posted by Picasa
    Vores Meunier-druer gik for samme pris som sidste år, men sådan er det ikke overalt i Champagne.

    Grape prices are growing in Champagne.

    Here and there the price per kilo has passed six euros. Just two years ago it was less than five. Back then a winegrower explained me, how five euros is the traditional limit of crises: Whenever the kilo price pass this limit, the crises is at hand, just around the corner.

    But that was in the 1990'es apparently, in those days when champagne saw its latest crises in the years around the first Gulf-war. These days nothing implicates that the story is the same in 2007. The sale grows as the grape prices, and there are no signs of difficulties in breathing so far.

    In the first six months of this year, the export of champagne bottles has grown eight percent. About one out ot two bottles are sold in France, the rest all over the world.

    Growl of the big ones
    Some of the big champagnehouses have been growling about a future lack of grapes this some. In Champagne the winegrowers own 90 percent of the vineyards, and they keep rather than sell some of their grapes. Either in the caves, where the bottles wait higher prices. Or to produce champagne with their own name, often sold for half the price of a similar product from a big house. Some times the winegrower's champagne is also not worth more than half. Other times you get better champagne and cheaper.

    Winewriters refuse the talk about a lack of champagne in the near future. There are simply too many bottles in the caves of the area to make it reasonable to talk about close crises.

    Increasing prices must be rather realistic in the future. Since somebody has to pay for the more expensive grapes. Maybe that is also why many champagnehouses at the moment introduce one prestige bottle after the other, and for higher prices than the more traditional flagships.