Digital Wine Communications Conference Keynote Speakers

Hey there, the 6th Digital Wine Communications Conference is almost there and the keynote speakers are known : Clark & Arto !!!

CLARK has written his “The Postmodern Winemaker” column in Wines & Vines for many years, as well as having been directly involved in several controversial scientific innovations in the world of wine making. At the same time he is also Best Of Appellations Director at Appellation America, a proponent of both living soil and sulphite-free winemaking as well as the influence of music on wine. He brings a great deal of experience to the debate.

What struck me was Clark’s clarion call for openness and a re-examination of the weight of received wisdom that winemakers, as well as wine writers, labour under. Is micro-oxygenation bad? Is ageing in barrel good? Should wines always be protected from oxygen and Brett? Are these the marks of cheats, charlatans and industrial factories, or the tools of educated winemakers who care? Do you think you know the answer to that already?

Is our ongoing reliance on flavour-wheels, WSET standard notes and 100-point scales holding us back? If we can free ourselves from excess baggage, from having to repeat the same clichés in order to be taken seriously, might it also liberate the wine commentator to finally “think different”? Would it also allow winemakers to experiment more openly to create better wines and encourage a more open exchange between wineries and consumers?

Clark will come to present his view on this subject, and his call to develop a new, effective language of flavour and style.

Yet, Clark’s scientific approach, albeit a more open-minded one, is only one side of the story. Consumers may want more honesty, but they don’t want more technical detail. In fact, we already bamboozle them with too much. We need a new generation of communicators who can find new ways to speak about wine and its relationship to our lives.

ARTO is the Finnish Gary ;-) GaryVee did this through sheer exuberance and an ability to put wine in the context of US sports as well as its food and treats. It spoke to a huge number of young, web savvy consumers. He was a great success, no doubt, but a very US phenomenon. Where’s the UK Gary, the French Gary, the German Gary? Thankfully, we have found someone with the claim to be the Finnish Gary.

Arto Koskelo burst into our consciousness through the deliciously crazy, yet highly engaging Viini TV in partnership with Ilkka Sirén. Since then he has gone on to publish a book (his second coming out any minute) and now appears on Finnish TV.

Arto is what I imagined the new generation of wine communicators would look like. Young, funny, friendly, approachable, sporting tattoos rather than cravats, committed to his topic and able to move effortlessly between media for delivering his content – whether print, digital and video.

Arto will present his take on communicating the ‘flavour’ of wines, their styles and stories, to the world at large in the media landscape of 2013.

Maybe the new era of wine communications has finally arrived? Join us for the discussion at this year’s DWCC in Rioja.

Note : text is freely borrowed from the #dwcc website

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Clairet – when more is more..

Often confused with the term Claret, a term that has come to mean any red wine from Bordeaux, Clairet is a  halfway house between rose’ and red which is quite rightly belongs to a different category.

Clairet – much darker than a rose’

With longer maceration on the grape skins (2 days rather than a few hours) these wines have more colour, robust structure and usually juicier fruity aromas than the paler roses yet less tannins and complexity than the region’s powerful reds.

This is the type of wine Bordeaux producers were making in the Middle Ages when England’s thirst for something stronger than the local ale filled the pockets of the Aquitaine wine-makers. Back then, palates weren’t ready for the heavier, tannic and drier wines that would later be produced so came about the “clairet” from the French word claire meaning clear.

Nowadays, wine drinkers are hampering after lighter and lighter rose’s and as the contents of those bottles are fading under the spotlight of their recent popularity, so are the sales for their bolder brothers. Shunned for their vibrant colour, clairet suffers from an identification issue with few wine drinkers recognizing the fresh, fruity attributes of these wines.

Having discovered clairet on a recent trip to Bordeaux, I can’t understand why the trend is for lighter and lighter roses when these wines pack so much fruitness and character into the bottle. Though perfect for summer dining on the terrace with grilled goat’s cheese salad, pasta, home-made pizza and fruity deserts, they are also sure to match lightly spiced Asian foods even on a cold frosty night.

On a recent trip to Bordeaux to visit Bordeaux and Bordeaux Sup producers, I had chance to sample of few clairets – especially those available in Belgium which is one of the main market for producers of this type of wine. Here are a few of my favourites:

Chateau Penin – I love the wine-maker’s approach to making wines: “I think of a situation and then I make a wine to fit this”. I’m not sure what he had in mind with this but his clairet fits a whole host of situations. Fresh, fruity, and very expressive. In blind tastings with other wine makers regularly comes out on top and he’s known as one of contributors for having put clairet back on the map.

Chateau Fayau Clairet- Brambles, strawberries and green pepper. This clairet has more vegetal notes than others tasted on the trip but still nice and very pleasant. Light tannins, fresh, fruity with good acidity.

Chateau Lauduc Clairet- lovely vibrant raspberry colour. Bouquet full of red fruits, slightly bitter on the finish.

Chateau de Parenchere Clairet- delicious. A blockbuster at Delhaize and I can understand why..

So now my clairet shopping list is sorted for the summer, where’s the sun?..

 

 

 

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#frenchwinetrip with Matt Walls – Day 8

Matt Walls shares its views about French wines and makes a nice comparison with the world of music live from Burgundy ;-)

For more information, visit www.roadtripinfrance.com

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#frenchwinetrip with Matt Walls – Day 5

Matt Walls shares its views about Rhone wines live from Tain l’Hermitage.

For more information, visit www.roadtripinfrance.com

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#frenchwinetrip with Matt Walls – Day 3

Matt Walls shares some views about the Frenxch sweet wines live from the Bordeaux wine region.

For more info, visit www.roadtripinfrance.com

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