Concours des vins de Côte de Gascogne goes international,
thanks to OIV MSc in Wine Management program students

January 28, 2015

Beginning late January and going through springtime, each French wine region has its Concours des Vins (“wine competitions”) to select wines that may eventually be sent to the Concours General Agricole Paris, France’s largest such competition with more than 15,000 wines submitted from over 4,000 French winemakers. I’ve never participated in this important wine event, […]

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A rare tasting of Didier Barral’s Languedoc wines

January 7, 2015

Didier Barral, of Domaine Lèon Barral in the Languedoc’s Faugères wine appellation, is known throughout France for his radical soil conservation techniques. Besides making biodynamic wine, he also allows a herd of cows to roam the vineyard after the grapes are harvested, fertilizing the soil and pre-pruning the grapevines. He’s also known for rarely offering […]

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Les Vignerons du Brulhois: In the ‘Land of Black Wines’

December 19, 2014

Halfway between Toulouse and Bordeaux lies the Pays du Vin Noir (“Land of Black Wines”). Before phylloxera destroyed most of France’s vineyards in the mid-19th century, these strong, full-bodied black Côtes du Brulhois wines were used to strengthen Bordeaux wines. The 280-ha (690-acre), sausage-shaped appellation sits on the banks of the Garonne River that runs […]

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A Thanksgiving among the militants

December 4, 2014

Having lived in France and Italy for most of the past 25 years, I’ve accepted the idea that I won’t be joining my father and my sisters and brother and their families for a typical American Thanksgiving feast. But my immediate family and I usually manage to organize a Thanksgiving-style meal in France on the […]

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Some excellent and some not-so-excellent natural wines

November 15, 2014

Going to the Roussillon region two-and-a-half hours south of my home in Toulouse is like visiting another world. The ruggedly arid, Sergio Léonesque landscape, with its scrub trees and twisted rock formations, is totally different from the green, rolling hills that surround the “Ville Rose,” as Toulouse is known because of its pink-brick buildings. The […]

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