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April 27, 2021 0


The French language is usually where we turn for precise (and typically ingenious) expressions to describe almost any situation. In the case of the historic April frosts that severely impacted vineyards from Champagne to Provence, the French might borrow one from the English language.  A perfect storm.

Defined as an unusual convergence of events or circumstances that, together, leads to a particularly bad or catastrophic situation, “a perfect storm” is the most fitting descriptive that can be used in polite company. Most readers will recall the phrase from a 1997 non-fiction book with the same title, written by Sebastian Junger, about the tragedy met by the crew of a fishing boat from Gloucester, Massachusetts in October 1991.  The best-selling book was turned into a popular movie, and the phrase was quickly adopted into our lexicon.

It does not translate well in French. The direct translation, “une tempête parfait,” according to French friends, simply does not resonate in the same way that “a perfect storm” does in English.   When the movie opened in France, the title chosen was “En Pleine Tempête,” meaning “at the height of a storm,” clearly not applicable for the April 7-8 frosts across the country that will be recorded as historic, long past the height... [...]
April 14, 2021 6


Vineyards across France were exposed to plummeting temperatures and severe frosts last week, causing massive damage to the vines as well as other crops.  The storied regions of Burgundy and Bordeaux may have captured more of the attention from mainstream journalists, but virtually every part of France was affected by temperatures that dipped as low as -8֯ Celsius (17.6֯ Fahrenheit) on as many as three nights. This historic spell of frigid temperatures gripped Champagne, Alsace, Loire, South-West, Languedoc, Rhône Valley, and even sunny Provence.  In some vineyards across the country, damage appears to be upwards of 90%.

To say that the impact is catastrophic is not an exaggeration. Agricultural Minister Julien Denormandie has promised the support of the French government for farmers whose crops were adversely affected by this destructive frost. The cost will be staggering. As one winemaker told Provence WineZine, “It will be up to Macron to get his checkbook.”... [...]

Provençal Pairings: Wine with Food

April 3, 2021 1

Provençal Pairings: Wine with Food

A Twenty-Nineteen Treat

Elizabeth David’s book, An Omelette and A Glass of Wine, gave me an idea: pair this week’s rosé with a simple frittata. Nothing fancy. Sometimes the simplest combinations are the best. Let me just say that it was, indeed, a good idea. I made a very simple frittata, using the onion tops of fresh spring onions, and paired it with the... [...]

Off the Via Domitia

Tara Gomez
March 8, 2020 8


By the time Tara Gomez graduated from high school in 1991, she knew she wanted to be a winemaker.  In many ways, she had been preparing for that role her whole life.  But, she probably never imagined she would be making wine for her tribe, the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians in the American Viticultural Area (AVA) of Santa Barbara, California, or that she would also co-own a nearby winery, Camins 2 Dreams, with her wife Mireia Taribó, a winemaker, that specializes in natural wines. Dreams do... [...]

Wine Snoops

March 14, 2021 0

Save the Date: Sharing Wine and Food at the Table to Benefit The Alex Manfull Memorial Fund

Sharing Wine & Food at the Table Thursday, April 1st 7:00 p.m. (ET)

Zhuzh up your cheese and charcuterie board to pair with Château Barbebelle Cuvée Madeleine Rouge and benefit The Alex Manfull Memorial Fund Supporting Research, Education, and Treatment of PANDAS.

Please join Susan and William “Towny” Manfull, founders of The Alex Manfull Memorial Fund, and David Scott Allen, editor of Cocoa & Lavender, at the Urban Wine Club for a fun and informative webinar about an excellent ... [...]

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