Domaine A. et P. de Villaine visiting

Domaine A. et P. de Villaine

On a cloudy day in the middle January of 2015, we visited Domaine A. et P. de Villaine.

The domaine is located in the small village Bouzeron. It was created by Mr. de Villaine, the co-director of the Domaine de la Romanee-Conti. Aligoté doré (different from the normal Aligoté) is the special grape from Bouzeron.  Domaine de Villaine is well-known for producing high quality wine with this grape variety. The wine maker told us their domaine have been recognized as the best domaine in Cote Chalonnaise for ten years.

Now the domaine owns 23 hectare vineyard, in which 10 hectare is to produce Bouzeron Aligote. Most vineyards are located on the nice slopes around Bouzeron. Due to the different soils on the slopes, Aligote is normally planted on the top of the slopes, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir are planted on the middle of the slopes. Rully 1er Cru Gresigny is an old vineyard that bought by the domaine in the recent years, and 2012 is the first vintage. Now 5 white and 4 red wine is produced each year. Except what have been listed on their site, about 1000-2000 bottles Santenay red is also produced each year.

Tasting at Domaine A. et P. de Villaine

We tasted 3 whites and 1 red at the domaine.
1st white: Bouzeron 2013: this year the yield is very low, about 28 hectoliter/hectare, almost the half of the normal year. The average age for the vines are 65 years old (20-100+ years old). The wine is very nicely made, much more complex and creaminess than the normal Aligoté, less citrus characteristics but still very aromatic. The French word “Gras” means “fat” in English can best describe the specialty of this wine.

2nd white: Bourgogne Cote Chalonnaise “Les Clous Aime” 2013: this wine is produced since 2011, high acidity with some aromas of ripen stone fruits and citrus, fine and mellow.

3rd white: Rully “Les St-Jacques” 2013: this wine has some peachy aromas as well as some floral characteristics. The aroma is very differently styled with the first 2 wines. Middle plus body, also fine and mellow.

Colour of Cote Chalonnaise "La Dignoine" 2013

One red: Bourgogne Cote Chalonnaise “La Dignoine” 2013: Very nice ruby color instead of dark red. Comparing to other wine from the same appellation, this wine is very fine and elegant. The nice cherry aromas, smooth tannin and the fine structure make you think it is from Cote de nuits. However, this nice red wine is produced on the slope in Bouzeron.

Question to the wine maker: Can Aligoté age? What is the taste of old Aligoté?

Wine maker of Domaine A. et P. de Villaine
The wine maker told us he had a bottle of unfiltered 2007 Aligoté few days ago, it was very nice. For him, when Aligoté wines aged, it is like the taste of old Riesling, the aromatic features from the grape will be replaced by the mineral and creamy characteristics.


Bodegas Emilio Moro Ribera del Duero 2006

Vines & Wines by Gregg Smith

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Versión en español

Evidence of ancient viticulture in the areas surrounding Ribera del Duero was confirmed by the 1972 discovery in Baños de Valdearados of a 66 square meter (710 square foot) Roman mosaic featuring a Bacchanalian theme; however, “modern” viticulture as we know it today was likely brought to the region in the twelfth century by Benedictine monks from the Abbey of Cluny in Burgundy, France.  Viticulture continued growing in importance in the Middle Ages, and in the fifteenth century the Ordinances of Castille and Leon were established to control production and commerce in the face of foreign wines.  Vega Sicilia, the emblematic winery of the region, was established in 1864, but the region remained relatively unknown in the following one hundred years.  In 1972 the winery Pesquera was founded, and its wines began to draw attention to the region.  On 21 July 1982 the D. O. (Denomination…

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Great wine tasting last weekend in Dijon

We went to a wine bar last Saturday evening in Dijon, and had some nice bottles, very interesting do compare the Vosne and Chambolle 2009.

The first wine we had:  Chambolle Musigny 2009 G.Roumier Chambolle Musigny 2009 G.Roumier
A soft elegant wine, with a lot of feminine characters  the floral aromas were very attractive, and this strong aromas kept about 15-20mins, after it was still very persisting with the good acidity and the fine body.

The second wine had: Vosne-romanee 1er cru les beaumonts 2009 Emmanuel ROUGET
vosne-romanee 1er cru les beaumonts 2009 Emmanuel ROUGET

Quiet interesting to have this bottle after the Chambolle, for the same vintage from different villages and all top producers. This bottle has a clearly masculine style. It is more structured, more powerful. The oak was quiet clearly mixed with well ripen fruit such as black currant, which was just the aroma I wanted to taste that night. We drunk, ate and talked for another hour, it was still vibrantly developing its aromas with more and more complexity.

The 3rd wine we had was Gevery-Chambertin Coeur de roy 2001 Bernard Dugat- PY, a glass exchanged from the nearby table (it’s interesting to have a little talk like this with good wines, isn’t it? )
Gevery-Chambertin Coeur de roy 2001 Bernard Dugat- PY
This bottle was not filtered before bottling. There were an obvious notes of old wines, such as mushrooms, yeast. It was quiet rich and complex, not super concentrated but still have a good structure with the fine tannin and good acidity. However, on that rainy evening, I preferred the powerful well-ripen vibrant les beaumonts.

The last bottle we had that evening was Nuits-Saint- Georges 1er Cru La Richemone 2011 Perrot-Minot.
Nuits-Saint- Georges 1er Cru La Richemone 2011 Perrot-Minot
Very young bottle as stated on the label, still a hint of reduction after we opened it a while, Very fresh with the fleshy red fruits.

It was nice to finish with this bottle, it fresh us up before we go back to Beaune.

Unknown Burgundy Domaine with Great Value — France DESSAUGE

  Domaine France DESSAUGE

  1. Family domaine with 5 generations meticulously growing grapes, came into serious wine making in 2005. (Wine making consultant are hired to monitor the quality).Every year the estate’s wines are honored and rewards (Wine Competition of the Côte Chalonnaise, Concours Général de Macon).
  2. Only use well-ripen grapes mostly from old vines to produce their wine.
  3. Use handmade oak barrels from Tonnellerie Claude Gillet, aging in ancient underground cellar of more than 500 years.
  4. 22 hectares, producing more each year. 20,000 bottles are produced for 2013 will be available from September of 2014.
  5. All the wines are above the average quality level of the appellations with a good price:

5.1 All the red wine is deep colored with an intense aromas of fruit and well balanced oak aromas, round in mouth.

5.2 All the white wine are nicely oaked (except Bouzeron), well balanced with the good acidity and mineral characters as well as fresh fruit aromas.

France dessauge

Tasting note:

  1. Bouzeron village Blanc (Aligoté) 2012: Fresh and very easy to drink, bit neutral but I didn’t think it was bland or too acidic.
  2. Bourgogne Hautes-Cotes-de-Beaune Blanc 2012: This is the wine lead me to this domaine, the first time I had it in one friend’s home, and I found it surprisingly good. This bottles is well-made, slightly oaked, fresh citron and apple aromas and some mineral taste in the palate, hint of spices, very pleasant wine, with reasonable complexity and still easy to understand.
  3. Santenay “Comme-Dessus” village Blanc 2012: Comparing to the previous wine, this wine is more oaked and has higher acidity. More creamy taste in the mouth but it balanced well with the higher acidity, finer, also very pleasant to drink.
  4. Bourgogne Pinot Noir “Rubis” Rouges 2011: This wine is declassified from the Hautes-Cotes-de-Beaune appellation, deep color, very fruity, has aromas of cherry and strawberry, reasonable acidity, soft tannin. Even with a little vegetal aromas, I didn’t think this wine is “green”. Easy drinking fruity wines much better (or much more ripen) than many other Bourgogne Rouges I found in the same price level.
  5. Bourgogne Hautes-Cotes-de-Beaune “La Comme” Rouges 2012: Deep color, very fruity, has aromas of well-ripen fruits, such as black cherry and blackcurrant. A hint of vegetal aromas also some species, may from the old vines. Stronger tannin than the Bourgogne Pinot Noir, suggesting its aging potential. Pleasant well-made wine.
  6. Maranges “Sur le Chene” village Rouges 2012: Same with the previous wine that is deep colored and has black fruit aromas, also some floral aromas, as well as more spices and mineral characters. Finer tannin with good acidity. Mr. Philippe describe this wine as”rustic”, which is typical for Maranges area, I found the most charming part is the well ripen fruits and floral aromas.
  7. Santenay “Comme-Dessus” village Rouges 2012: This wine is more elegant, and more persisting, longer and finer in the mouth. My favorite red wine among the 4 wines, very good quality for a village wine, and for the price, this is a top quality wine.

More information:

This domaine is located at Maranges, a small village in southern Côte de Beaune. I visited with Mr. Philippe on 30th of June 2014.

France dessauge

Since the late 19th century, the family have succeeded to develop a vineyard that now has 22 hectares of vines planted on clay-limestone soil. France and Noëlly transmitted their passion for wine to their children, Sandrine and Jean-Baptiste, who joined the operation in 1997.

Traditionally, the family grow grapes and sell grapes to big negotiations is Burgundy, all the work in vineyard are meticulously made ​​by the whole family, with the greatest respect for the natural balance of the soil. Since 2005, the family start select the best grapes from 8 produces 8 Controlled appellations. Wines, mainly from old vines are matured in oak barrels in the cellars where after regular tastings, they continue their maturation in the bottle.France dessauge

Useful links :

Quick Points on New Trends of Wine Tourism in China

The wine tourism industry started in China around the 1990s (Rui LUIm2011), but have been developing very slowly. Recent years, with the fast growing Chinese wine market and production of Chinese wine, more attentions are paid to the development of local wine tourism.

1. Wine tourism in China is often a part of the regional economy development plan of the local government.
Traditional regions are around Beijing, Miyun,Yantai. For example, Afip, wine tourism of Zhangyu (Shitai LEE,2005). With the fast development of inter-land China, many emerging regions of wine tourism came up : Western Liaoning Region:Gold Valley Winery Group in the City of Chaoyang (Xiyu BIN,2013); Qinhuangdao, Hebei province (Yang WANG, 2013); Eastern Helan Mountain: Ningxia (Yong LIANG, 2013); Penglai, Shandong province (Kejian ZHANG, 2012)
China wine region

2. Targeted tourist segments: Regional normal tourist, mostly from nearby province (ie: Liaoning tourist market is positioned as Shenyang, Dalian and western Liaoning), and the domestic tourist market, mainly from big cities. The international tourist market is positioned as Japan and Western Europe.

3. Activities: Vineyards sightseeing, the science of wine-making process(few), DIY experience, food and health, wine theme resorts, festival celebrations architecture appreciation.

4. Positioning and marketing:Positioned as high-end resorts, with France cultural image, for example: “Chaoyang Gold Valley, the Oriental Bordeaux”. New marketing tools are used (Xiaoxia CHEN, 2013), especially digital media promotion, not only through website, but also more and more us of SNS, O2O promotion based on the use of weibo and wechat.
weibo wechat

5.  New world activity & old world cultural image & domestic customization:
a) Music&wine: KTV in European style castle,
b) Private barrel: DIY wine, oak barrel with signature,
c) Wine theme resorts: Castle & Park, wine related activities, agricultural related activities (strawberry picking, horse riding, etc.), sports, spa, KTV.


  1. Rui LIU, The impact of differences between Chinese and Western wine history and culture on wine tourism[J] Tourism Culture,F590,2011,02-0043-05
  2. Shitai LEE, Qingquan WEI,Qingzhi LEE.etc ,STUDY ON DEVELOPMENT OF THE GRAPE WINE TOURISM–TAKING GRAPE WINE TOURISM IN YANTAI ZHANGYU AS AN EXAMPLE[J].economic geography,2005,25(1):139-142.DOI:10.3969/j.issn.1000-8462.2005.01.033.
  3. Xiyu BIN.Study on the Development of the Wine Tourism in Western Liaoning Region–Taking Gold Valley Winery Group in the City of Chaoyang as An Example[J].Territory & Natural Resources Study ,2013,(5):88-90.DOI:10.3969/j.issn.1003-7853.2013.05.032.
  4. Yang WANG.Creat wine tourism improve Qinghuangdao cultural power.[J].Hua Zhang,2013, (26):57-57.DOI:10.3969/j.issn.1009-5489.2013.26.048.
  5. Yong LIANG.Factors influencing the formation and evolution of the wine tourism corridor in eastern Helan Mountain, Ningxia [J].Journal of Arid Land Resources and Environment,2013,27(2):203-208.
  6. Kejian ZHANG.Opportunities and Challenges to develop wine tourism in Penglai[J].Consume Guide,2012,(5):19-20.
  7. Xiaoxia CHEN.Ningxia helan mountain foothill wine tourism new media marketing [J].,2013,(13):414-414,415.DOI:10.3969/j.issn.1674-1722.2013.13.363.

Trends in the US Wine Industry in 2013 – Cautiously Optimistic

Details about US wine trend! price, packaging, varietals…..

Dr. Liz Thach, MW

Liz Thach2 Each year in January we are blessed with multiple reports on the state of the wine industry from such esteemed research bodies as Shanken’s Impact Databank , the Wine Marketing Council , Nielson, Silicon Valley Bank , and Unified .  This year the news is similar to 2012 in that most experts are cautiously optimistic of numbers and trends that continue to skew positive but without any large changes.  In general, the economy is better, but people are still cautious.

Wine Sales in the US

  • For the 19th year in a row wine sales have continued to grow in the US market, at a rate of 2.9% in 2012
  • The US is the largest wine consuming nation in the world with more than 100 million people now drinking wine, out of a total population of 316 million.
  • Per capita wine consumption in the US hit 3.08 gallons in 2012.

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Burgundy Cooper Visiting: Tonnellerie Cadus

“Tonnellerie” is the French word for cooperage, a factory that makes wine Barrels.
Tonnellerie Cadus is a traditional Burgundy cooperage founded in 1996. All the barrels are hand-made,and the factory hires around 30 professional coopers. They make a turnover of around €9 million per year ( the biggest cooper in France makes around €50-60 million), and it is a medium size cooperage among the 14 cooperages in Burgundy. 
We arrived at the factory around 9 am, on a cold and wet morning on 7th.Feb. There were oak battens stacked outdoors. They are usually kept there for 30 months before being used. The rain can wash off the rough tannin, leaving a brown dust on the floor (see the picture on the right).When it’s wet, the oak battens look darker.
The workshop had a very pleasant smell of oak everywhere. They said this was because they use very high quality oaks. Before they start making the barrels, it’s very important to check if there are any problems with the oak battens that will cause leaks.This procedure has to be done by hand. The problems with the battens can include: big cracks, different wood textures, or maybe just a burl. The last two problems affect the rate and the amount of wood expansion,which will result in the shape changes of the barrels and cause leaks. The unusable oak battens are separated and will be returned to their supplier later. Next, the selected oak battens are polished and cut by two machines.
The whole procedure of making a barrel takes about 2 hours. This includs the last procedure that guarantees the quality by checking for the leaks with an expensive machine. To do this, they put steam into the barrel, and then they apply high pressure into the barrel, and if there are any leaking parts they will be wet, which would be obvious to see on the surface of the barrel. The leaking barrels will be repaired and go through the whole checking procedure again.Click to see the 2 mins video of the whole barrel making procedure in Tonnellerie Cadus

recycle system Tonnellerie Cadus is specially known for its extensive recycling system. Big pipes are in every room collecting sawdust automatically, and the collected sawdust are used to heat up the factory. The off-cuts are used as fuel in the toasting procedure, and the ashes are collected to make an adhesive for sticking together the bottoms of the barrels.  

All the barrels are produced to order: the size, toast degree, and holes on the barrels are all customized.You can also put your own logos on the barrel. The advantage for hand-making the barrels is high flexibility– we even saw a few barrels there that were made to use as big flowerpots.
70% of the total sales of Tonnellerie Cadus are from exporting, this is very typical among French cooperages. Their barrels are selling in almost all the major wine producing countries. In 2013, sales in the US for Tonnellerie Cadus have grown 25% comparing to the previous year. Although the US market is accelerating, they have found it very difficult to do business with China, but they are still trying hard to open this promising market.

Some useful links to learn more about cooperage:
1.Tonnellerie Cadus
2.Associated Cooperage Industries of America
3.French Cooperage Federation