Monday, November 2, 2009

2009 Riesling, and The Origins of French Wine

As a bit of a follow-up to the Mosel Riesling tasting video from last week, a brief report on the 2009 harvest. is reporting that “Germany's 2009 vintage will be as fine as the excellent 2007 – but with less wine, vintners say.”

The piece continued, “Ideal weather in the summer and early autumn means quality will be very high but yields will be down because of uneven flowering in June…Helmut Dönnhoff of the Dönnhoff estate in the Nahe region said 2009 would be ‘another great vintage, on par with 2007,’ potential alcohol between 12.5% and 13.5%.”

This is good news for the ever-growing number of German Riesling fans, as it marks yet another in an already exceptional string of good years. (Take a look at the vintage chart on Robert Parker’s web site: Germany’s major wine regions, according to his assessment, have not had less-than-stellar vintages since 2000.) This just seems to reinforce the fact that German Riesling provides one of the most reliable, affordable, and food-friendly wine experiences available today.

Moving further West in Europe and on a more academic note, British newspaper The Telegraph is reporting that, contrary to popular belief, it was likely the Greeks who brought winemaking to France, and not the Romans or Etruscans.

The article notes, “The original makers of Côtes-du-Rhône are said to have descended from Greek explorers who settled in southern France about 2500 years ago, [the report] claimed.”

It continued: “The study, by Prof Paul Cartledge, suggested the world's biggest wine industry might never have developed had it not been for a ‘band of pioneering Greek explorers’ who settled in southern France around 600 BC.”

And while this may not have any real impact on your experience of whatever wine you pour into your glass tonight with dinner, it is yet another reminder of our ancient ties to the beverage. Really, every time you take a sip, you’re re-enacting a ritual that has gone on for thousands of years. No matter how you look at it, that’s an amazing thing.


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