lazy sunday at Lisson…

finaly the weather forecast is up to our hopes: dry, sunny, but with around 28 degrees Centigrade (82 Fahrenheit) no longer the canicule we had last week and which stressens the plants and makes every work in the vines a mere nightmare, and no new thunderstorms anounced for the next days – our grapes will be able to ripen slowly but surely, like this beautiful Mourvedre behind the house

mourvedre 19 july 09

mourvedre 19 july 09

So I took a lazy sunday off, to bouquine – which means to sit confortably in the shade of our wild vine pergola and read some of the books stocked in a pile for months or weeks and waiting for a closer look and comment. For this sunday, I choose three of them, all written by women – in different manners all about wine, two French, one American.

I had a look at all three, when they arrived (thanks to Amazon and Co, who made my valley less lonely), but I wanted to go through them pencil in hand, keep more than a “first glance, first sniff” impression, to see, whether there is some mouth-feeling, some longueur en bouche – whether they tell me something about the author behind the book which goes au del of the jacket blurb…

bouquiner

bouquiner is not simply to read...

One is about “The battle for love and wine”, the other one about “Les femmes et l’amour du vin” and the third a socio-ethnographic research about the market of excellence “Les grands crus a l’epreuve de la mondialisation” – so it will be funny, to find out, whether after savoring each separately, there will be a book-pairing possible in the end:-).

To start my tasting, I took the one, which arrived already before Christmas in my letter-box – as one of the presents, I gave to myself, sticking to the French saying: On n’est jamais aussi bien servi que par soi meme (for my French readers: wordpress doesn’t take any accents…, sorry!).

A good choice to stay awake in my cosy corner in the shade:-)! suivre…

much adoo about a well known German wineguide

Much adoo in the German wine blogging scene, as well among winery blogs as even more on blogs written by wine journalists, about the protest action of a bunch of renown German top wineries against the demand of the publisher of the most influent wine guide to German wines, who asked for the first time a participation fee, to help them, to edit their guide.

Even if it was underlined by the editor, that there would be no direct connection between mentions in the guide and the contribution of 195 Euros, which should also give the right to communicate about an eventual entry in the guide, this new practice arose a lot of protest and many colleagues were wondering, whether independence of the guides judgment would be really guarantied.

Lisson wines, which are French wines, were never concerned by this guide (neither by their French pendant, as we were never asked to send samples). So I can’t even tell, whether they practice the same policy in France – at least I’ve never heard about it, but that may simply mean, that my French colleagues are used to this kind of fee, as it seems to be normal, that you pay, when participating in one of the well known wine competitions, to get a gold, silver or bronze medal in your category, which you can stick to your bottles afterwards or announce proudly on your Website.

If you want to know more about the German storm in a glass of wine, you can go to the blog of Johner Estate, where Patrick Johner had the good idea to write in English about the trouble and translate also the protest letter of his German VDP colleagues. There is a kind of blog-press-condensation in English on the winerambler’s blog.

As I said, Lisson wines don’t figure in these main stream guides in France. Very few journalists or guide publishers seem to know, that they exist – which isn’t anomalous for a very small winery in an area beyond AOC Appellations (we are north of Saint Chinian and Faugère, further up in the mountains), and does deliver it’s rare wines under a Table Wine label.

So I’m always surprised, if somebody tells me, that he has found Lisson in a printed guide – and you can imagine, that I don’t hesitate, to buy it and look up, what they’ve written about us.

One of them was a guide about natural wines with special terroir expression, edited by Jean-Paul Barriolade, Carol Rouchès, François Morel et Marie-Christine Cogez-Marzani

Vin Vignobles et Vignerons

Guide on natural wines. Vin, Vignoblesaet Vignerons

Guide on natural wines. Vin, Vignobles et Vignerons

The other one is le Guide de l’amateur des vins naturels ( The natural wine lovers guide), author Dominique Lacout, edited at Paris by Jean Paul Rocher editors. Which is nt only a guide to natural wines, but also to winebars and restaurants all over France, where you can find their wines.

The natural wine lovers guide

The natural wine lovers guide

Neither of them asked for samples, to review them, but it seems, that the authors “came across” our wines by the recommendation of other wine-lovers – they didn’t ask for a “participation fee” neither, just some further information about the wines, once they had decided to include them into their guide.

They are not the kind of wine writers, who classify everything with stars or points, it’s not a competition, it’s just meant for the passionate wine lover, who is looking for wines made by vintners, „soucieux de leur terroir, attentives à la vinification, souvent en agriculture biologique, voire biodynamique prennent des risques en faisant des cuvées atypiques ou sans soufre…“ attentif at their terroir and during vinification, often involved in biological farming, even biodynamic farming methods in the vineyard, who take risks by elaborating atypical cuvées or without sulfur...

I was rather proud to find Lisson directly besides Didier Barral and other more well known natural vintners of the Languedoc…


Back from Vinexpo at Bordeaux – off and in

Three days of and away to Bordeaux at the beginning of this week – what a difference from our quiet valley of Lisson. Even if Bordeaux is a small provincial town compared to Paris or London, during VINEXPO, the most famous international wine trade fair pour professional buyers, it takes the air of a big city, with 40 000 visitors from all over the world, who come to see thousands of winemakers, who make their best to find new clients. Just have a look at the photos taken inside Vinexpo, which a fellow wine-blogger published two days ago, to see, that they deploy lots of pomp and circumstances, to attract attention and win the war of selling wines.

Bordeaux wine marketing at Vinexpo photo: Eric Bernardin

Bordeaux wine marketing at Vinexpo photo: Eric Bernardin

When I first saw that photo with the gleaming luxury car, I wondered, whether you would get it as first price of a lottery or if it would be given as an extra bonus to the most successful importer – but I think, like all the beautiful young girls in uniforms, it was just meant as an eye-catcher – sex sells, but sport-cars too:-)…

All around this official place, where black suits and ties are still a majority, even on a hot summer day and where you have to put on your smoking, when you are part of the VIP section, invited to one of the even more select evening receptions of the more famous Chteaux of the region.

I didn’t attend the official exposition halls, too much noise, too many people, too much choice, too much of everything for me, to be able to taste serenely and appreciate – I’ve noticed that often enough during my past years at PROWEIN, the other important European international wine trade fair at Duesseldorf, my home town, in Germany.

Place de la Bourse

Place de la Bourse

So I just discovered some of the impressing 19th century buildings of Bordeaux, which tell the story of it’s glory – with big avenues, huge squares, its impressing banks of the Garonne (which I called a river (riviere) by asking my way, to learn that this important flow is a fleuve).

banks of the Garonne

banks of the Garonne

But I also discovered the less glamorous off parts of the city, just turning around a corner or following one of the cours a little bit further on from the center.

quiet popular square away from the center

quiet popular square away from the center

closed restaurant in the center

closed restaurant in the center

Wine under all its form is omnipresent at Bordeaux, of course. Whether it is as vines as decoration in front of a wine bar or even to sell in a local flower shop (135 Euros – more expensive than a lot of bottles of wine)

vine in the midle of Bordeaux

vine in the middle of Bordeaux

Or if it is the special wine-books area of one of the last and biggest private book shops of France, la librairie Mollat, where I spend one hour lingering around their international choice of books about all subjects about and around wine.

Mollat: biggest independant bookshop in France

Mollat: biggest independant bookshop in France

I was allowed to run through the bookshelves and open all the books, without being bothered and even to take some pictures:

wine books at librairie Mollat, Bordeaux

wine books at librairie Mollat, Bordeaux

A readers and book collectors dream:-)!

As exciting as my discovery of Bordeaux was my first couchsurf experience, a volunteer-based worldwide network connecting travelers with members of local communities, who offer free accommodation and/or advice. Learning that there would be no bed at a hotel available under 230 Euros per night and having 3 nights to spend, I looked for an alternative solution – came across the couchsurfing web-page, dared to write to one of its Bordeaux members, a bit shy, because I could see, that the majority of the members could have easily been my sons or daughters, and was received with so much friendliness and warmth on two couches during my stay, that I immediately became an addict of the system!

Well I have not yet started to tell you about the main reason of my voyage: our first public OFF meeting of the European blogging winemakers at Chteau Luchey Halde – I think, I’ll have to leave that for my next post – my vines are waiting for me outside…

to be continued...soon

to be continued...soon

I just can reassure you, that we didn’t have any difficulties with the VINEXPO officials – we were far enough away from their main entrance and perhaps more considered as the usual inoffensive cannibals than as a real commercial concurrency.