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October 15, 2017 5

2017 Harvest in Provence and Southern Rhône: Early and Small but with Great Expectations

If you live in the South of France, you would have to be living a cave not to know that the 2017 harvest was historically early and small. I was in Provence during harvest time – la vendange, in French – and heard directly from winemakers about their concerns for the future but also about their optimism that Mother Nature who, despite dealing drought conditions in some areas and severe frost in others, operates in cycles.

“It used to be that grapes were picked in mid-September,” said Romain Ott, great, great grandson of pioneer winemaker Marcel Ott and, today, the winemaker at Château Léoube, a sprawling estate located on the Mediterranean coast (next to Clos Mireille, one of Marcel Ott’s original three properties). “I never got to participate [in the harvest] because I had gone back to school,” Ott said.

“Now, we are finished by then,” he added.    “This year, our harvest began on August 17th,” Ott told me when I visited Château Léoube at the end of August.  He estimated the harvest would be complete on the 8th of September.  “Five years ago, the harvest began the last week in August,” he
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Provençal Pairings: Wine with Food

vermentino tuscany
October 7, 2017 3

Provençal Pairings: Wine with Food You Say Rolle, and I Say Vermentino…

There is no need to call the whole thing off, because we are both right; Rolle and Vermentino grapes are one and the same. The Italians make Vermentino, while those of you in Provence sip Rolle. I truly wish I had a bottle of each side-by-side to test, because I feel they are quite different. Basically, all that folderol about terroir really isn't folderol at all. (Now THAT should be a Cole Porter lyric, even though my nod to “Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off” is an Ira and George
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Musings and Memories of a Wine Maven: Notes Too Long for the Cellar Book

May 7, 2017 31

Musings of a Wine Maven

Alternative Facts and the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition

It would seem there is nothing unequivocal in the tag line to the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition (SFCWC) logo proclaiming it to be “The Largest Competition of American Wines in the World.” So you can imagine my surprise when I was reviewing its listing of medal winners of the 2017 event held in January and started noticing clearly foreign-sourced wines copping some
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Diary of a Master of Wine in Provence

May 22, 2017 5

Diary of a Master of Wine in Provence

Judging, Celebrating, Researching, Tasting

As with any business, living and working in Provence is not all sunshine lunches…. well, only a few…..

The past couple of weeks have been very busy. In late April, I was based in London, which, surprise, surprise, was cold grey and damp – although it did warm up a little by the end. I was there to judge in the Decanter World Wine Awards. This year the number of entries topped 17,000 wines
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Wine Snoops

June 4, 2017 6

Wine and Jazz in Provence

What is the perfect musical pairing for the wines of Provence and southern Rhône? Jazz! There are terrific jazz events held in and about wineries during the summer months throughout Provence and most include wine tasting as part of the festivities. Take a picnic, try the wine, and listen to some jazz--what could be better!
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