Friday, April 26, 2013

Terroirs et Talents Champagne 2013

So many good champagnes...So little time...

All photos by Paige Donner c. 2013 - See FULL SLIDESHOW HERE

It's hard knowing that I'm the envy of all my wine enthusiast friends and colleagues Stateside and in Canada. My only response is, It's a tough job [continually tasting great grower champagnes] but somebody's got to do it... ; )

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♥Chérie Du Vin

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Panda Bears And The Climactic Re-zoning of Wine Regions

by Paige Donner
What do panda bears and wine have to do one another? Now that's a question I never imagined I'd be posing here on my Local Food And Wine blog. But, according to the recently released (April 8th, 2013) study from the Proceedings of The National Academy of Sciences (Lee Hannah, lead scientist) panda bears will be one more species that is affected by adaptations humans likely will undertake in response to global climate change impacting wine-producing regions.

In the study of 4/8/'13, Wine, Climate Change and Conservation, several scenarios are outlined as to how our current trajectory of global warming i.e. climate change is impacting the earth's wine regions by 2050. In one scenario they state that the, 

Area suitable for viticulture decreases 25% to 73% in major wine producing regions by 2050.

Alarming? They seem to think so. The 6-page report further reports that the areas most affected will be wine regions in a Mediterranean or Mediterranean-like climate zone. That means parts of southern Europe, Australia, parts of Chile and Northern California.  The study does state that the areas that will suffer least, at least by 2050, will be higher elevation zones, coastal zones, and more Northern latitude areas - areas like New Zealand, Northern Europe and Canada's British Columbia.
OK... so what about the Panda Bears? 
This PNAS report includes discussion of how adaptation can mitigate some of these climate change effects on wine regions. Adaptation can take the form of tailored viticultural practices, adaptive irrigation techniques, and also planting at higher elevations to name a few.
In China, where viticulture and the planting of vineyards are firmly in a development phase, this could mean rapid adaptation so as to anticipate regional climate change. In plain English what this means is that some of the areas that are most suitable for high-quality wine grape cultivation in China are the same areas that are the natural habitat for giant panda bears.
... China is not known for its European-style wines, but it
is among the fastest growing wine-producing regions in the
world. It has significant areas suitable for viticulture (Fig. 1), and these areas are in the same mountains that are habitat for the giant panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca). Future conservation efforts for the giant panda need to incorporate consideration of viticulture as a potential land use and viticultural suitability trends in response to climate change. - April 8, '13 Hannah
It seems that we may be seeing pictures of Giant Panda Bears popping up everywhere in the coming decades as the new poster child of climate change, just as we've seen polar bears and melting ice caps in the past decade.
For more information about this topic go to or take a look at this short (3') doc film preview. You can also LIKE 

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Friday, April 5, 2013

What's In A Label?


by Paige Donner

I want to talk a little bit today about wine labels. In particular, French wine labels.

Now, as an American, we all know that unspeakable little secret that we women wine drinkers in the U.S. buy our wine based primarily on the design of the wine label. It follows the same axiom of truth that all women are bad drivers.

Ok. Yeah.You caught me out. I am being facetious... Exponentially facetious.

All good-humored kidding aside, however, I will admit that one of the more daunting challenges I have faced in learning about French wines is how to read these deliciously complex wine labels. When I first started out, I was convinced I would have to go back to school to get a PhD in French wine-labelology. You know what I mean?


The more time I spend in the country, however, exploring the wine regions - and drinking the wines! - the labels have become increasingly demystified. It helps significantly when you can associate a place - Batard Montrachet, for example, or Puisseguin-St. Emilion or St. Joseph - with people you've met, events you've attended and collegial friendships you've made over shared meals and spitting buckets.

But not many people can take/make the opportunity to delve so deeply into a singular country's terroir and sojourn for copious amounts of time in backcountry vineyard territory.

So when I was presented the other day with the genius label design of the Barons De Rothschild "new" champagne brand, I nearly did an uncharacteristic squeal of delight.

Now here's a label I could understand, no matter what language I speak! "Champagne Barons de Rothschild."

The entire label, printed in silver (for Rosé and Blanc de Blancs cuvées) or gold (for Brut) with royal blue accents on a clear background, is the simple and elegant family crest.

Read Entire Post ON... Chérie Du Vin. You will LOVE my wine picks!


Chérie Du Vin. You will LOVE my wine picks!

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♥Chérie Du Vin