Musings of a Wine Maven

Musings of a Wine Maven

“Has a Good Beat … Easy to Dance to”

Raise your hand if you immediately recognize this title as coming from Dick Clark’s American Bandstand “Rate a Record” segment. Hmm, not as many hands went up as I thought would. Perhaps, readers of this blog were busy watching Julia Child’s The French Chef or Graham Kerr on The Galloping Gourmet or, as I think about it, perhaps many readers were not yet born. Dick Clark’s legendary TV show, on the air from 1952 to 1989, showcased at least one band and played the Top 40’s songs to which gaggles of teenagers danced the hour away.

I am reminded of Dick Clark as I walk down the overstocked aisles in wine superstores these days and note the liberal use of “shelf talkers,” touting this wine and that wine
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Musings of a Wine Maven

HENRI BONNEAU, le DERNIER ADIEU

I arrived at No. 35 Rue Joseph Ducos just in time to watch five men, led by son Marcel Bonneau, carry the casket of legendary winemaker Henri Bonneau (1938 - 2016) from his long-time home to the 11th-century church Nôtre-Dame-de-l’Assomption, across the street. In moments, it seemed, the casket had been carefully placed in the center aisle in front of the altar. That was March 26th.

Just five days earlier, I had been in Châteauneuf-du-Pape with business associate Jacques Navarre; it was one of the stops on our ten-day visit to wine producers in Burgundy and the Rhône Valley. I had not anticipated returning to Châteauneuf-du-Pape, yet when I heard the news that Monsieur Bonneau had died, I immediately
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Musings of a Wine Maven

FRANCE WINS THE PLONK TROPHY WITH A LITTLE HELP FROM THE CAVES COOPÉRATIVES

Let us now continue with our little satire on the transmogrification of The Judgment of Paris into the imagined competition for the best of the lesser wines, The Plonk Trophy, and explain how the French victory, as detailed in "Two Buck Chuck Loses Plonk Trophy to the French," came to pass. It is best summarized in the Provence WineZine (PWZ) interview with French team captain Aimé de Bontemps, conducted shortly after the arbitrator upheld the decision declaring the French as winners.
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Musings of a Wine Maven

TWO BUCK CHUCK LOSES PLONK TROPHY TO THE FRENCH

In 1976, Englishman Steven Spurrier stunned the wine world when the results were announced of a blind tasting he organized in Paris. In the competition of top French red and white wines with California wines Spurrier had, a Cabernet and a Chardonnay from Napa landed on top of the red and white groupings. And, this phenomenal result came from principally French tasters, who comprised seven on the nine person panel. Sacrebleu! I doubt Steven Spurrier, though as deserving as Robert Parker, will ever be inducted into la Légion d'Honneur.
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Musings of a Wine Maven

HO-HUM, MILLÉSIME BIO EXPO ENDS IN FRANCE

From January 25-27 over 800 wine producers from around the globe had their bio-dynamically influenced wines on display in Montpellier. Learning of it several months ago I gave consideration to taking it in, as the subject appeals, and nothing of this scope has been put together over here. My eyes had been more fully opened to sustainability two years ago while attending a packaging conference on the subject for a consulting client. Listening to the various presenters it became clear that the interest had now gone well past tree huggers and deeper into the general population. I began to believe that product recyclability and improved food product wholesomeness
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Musings of a Wine Maven

BARREL TASTING CONTINUES IN FRANCE NOTWITHSTANDING THE ENTENTE CORDIALE

It’s funny how one can misconstrue history, imagining the raison d’être of certain events to be one thing, and then being surprised to learn that reality is quite different. Such was the case when I moved to France in 1988. At that time, I was vaguely aware of some sort of official agreement between the French and the English termed the Entente Cordiale. At the time I did not realize it was originally a alliance pertaining to political and military relations, rather assuming the document was drafted and accepted (in 1904) to signal a new era of conviviality between two nations that shared a 1,000 year history of dislike, bordering
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Musings of a Wine Maven

ON THE PASSING OF JOSEPH PHELPS (1927-2015)

In April of this year, the California wine industry lost Joseph Phelps. Vineyards bearing his name line the famed Silverado Trail that winds its way past many well regarded Napa Valley vineyards that, for the most part, did not exist when he opened in 1973. He leaves behind his son Bill to continue the family commitment to the creation of outstanding
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