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Sunday, November 24, 2013

Follow me on Vivino : Seb C

Dear readers,
After thorough testing a numerous wine apps, I finally found an app that works pretty well : Vivino.
This app is very easy to use and has from my point of view the best wine label scan, key for a wine app.
I tried the free version and after quick validation, I signed-up for the Pro version (about 4€).
Added value of Pro version : if you scan a label that cannot be found in their database (automatically updated by Vivino community), your label is put in a waiting queue and after few minutes the label is updated with the relevant info.

Follow me on Vivino : Seb C

To be mentioned :
Their hotline is very pro and reactive.
I am so "in love" about this app that I sent them an email to congrat the team and got an answer from the COO, nice!
Finally, the more you scan the higher you get into the Vivino rankings, I am currently N°43 in Belgium!
You can also easily managed your wine cellar!
Android & Apple

C u on Vivino.


Sunday, May 5, 2013

Wine blind tasting : how to by WSJ and my own way!

Some advices by Wall Street Journal:

Personally, I recommend to make it easy, funny and straightforward :
10 persons
5 to 7 wines
1 color only (red or white usually)
Same range of prices to avoid discrepancies
Each participant brings one bottle or the host provides them all
Indicate where the wines are coming from (country or region). To make it a bit easier as we are not wine professionals !
Provide participant with an A4 paper with as many lines as wines: country/region of choice, tasting comments, ranking, right choice.
Hide all the bottles with socks from "head to toes" so that no one can guess by the shape of the bottle
Put a number on each bottle
Randomly poor wine from each bottle

The one who wins is the one that recognise all the wines!

I have organised several of them and so far no one got it all, so not as easy as you think!

Refer to one tasting we did for details and pictures:


Sunday, April 28, 2013

Champagne wine tasting : bubble yours!

Thanks to a very good friend of mine (Lore) we have spent a wonderful week-end discovering the Champagne "terroir" as well as it's worldwide recognized sparkling wines.

We have tasted several Champagnes from various "Maison" (nickname for champagne wineries): from the most well-known and bigger ones (e.g. Castellane, Perrier-Jouët), "underdogs" (e.g. Mandois) to lesser known winemakers (e.g. Serge Humbert). Thus, giving us a good benchmark.
One of the highlight of the week-end was certainly the visit+tasting of Champagne Mandois estate accompanied with its very kind and knowledgeable Sales Manager, Stéphane Dubois. Thank you so much Stéphane!

Personal comment : price doesn't mean quality. You can find very good Champagne from15€ (at the winery). So, try to put the branding aside of your decision factor when picking-up Champagne!

Few basics :
  • Location
Almost the most northern wine region of France
Almost the most northern wine growing region of France
+100 Champagne houses (big players), 19 000 winemakers32.000h, 323 bottles sold (2011)
  • Vines : Pinot Meunier (red), Chardonnay (red), Pinot Noir (red) / Champagne Blanc de Blanc : 100% chardonnay
  • Types : White, Rosé, Red
  • Sweetness : 0 sugar, Extra Dry, Brut, Sweet
  • Top markets : UK, USA, Germany, Japan, Belgium, Italy
  • Keeping/Drinking : Champagne should not be kept for long (max. 3 years)
  • food macthing : true champagne people often enjoy and recommend to serve Champagne throughout the diner. They use the wide choice of types and blend to get the best synergy with each meal. Did it myself!

Champagne Mandois wellcoming tasting lounge,  I ordered the full buket, just kiddin'!
Champagne Mandois wellcoming tasting lounge, I ordered the full bucket, just kiddin'!!

My pick, Cuvée Victor
My pick, Cuvée Victor from Mandois

Tasting session @Mandois (10am!): "Blanc de Blanc", "Brut", "Victor", "Brut Rosé"
Tasting session @Mandois (10am!): "Blanc de Blanc", "Brut", "Victor", "Brut Rosé"

The Guy that made this all possible : Dom Perignon (1638-1715)
Dom Perignon story : Champagne Creator!
Dom Perignon : main facts
Champagne wineyard : Côte des Blancs

Pupitre : an innovation allowing aging of Champagne
Pupitre : an innovation allowing aging of Champagne

Want to know more about Champagne wines :

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Latest wines tasting : Italy, India, France, South Africa...

It has been a while you might say...and you are right, I am keeping on  experimenting new wines but do not take the time to share with you, blame on me!

So in this post, you'll get a bunch of good wines I recently enjoyed, to be more precise 12 of them!
4 countries are represented: Italy, India, France, South Africa

Personal note towards French wine makers : I am not happy (again)!
I am very frustrated for my non-french readers (80% of them) as most of the wine makers producing below french wines do not have a UK version of their website. Even worse, some do not even have website!.
I am deeply convinced that Export is key for a sustainable growth of the french wine industry. Some fully aknowledge this strategy and do a lot in this direction with great rewards. So, I am begging you to make some effort in getting a website with a UK version.
Otherwise, don't blame yourself nor the government for flat or worse weakening sales!

Next time, I will not display any info if I do not find the wine maker website in english!
A good benchmark : Boschendal (South Africa) website (see below), that's what I call wine marketing!

Wines can certainly help France Trade balance to become more healthier. French government, do not hide, that's also a question you must take care of.

Cascina Gilli winery, Malvasia (Grape) Di Castelnuovo Don Bosco, Monferrato
ITALY - RED : Cascina Gilli winery, Malvasia (Grape) Di Castelnuovo Don Bosco, Monferrato
Love Casale Monferrato village, love their wines, visiting again in May!

La Giribaldina Winery, Barbera d'Asti, Asti
ITALY - RED : La Giribaldina Winery, Barbera d'Asti, Asti
One of the best known wine producing region in Italy. Italian style!

Chêne Bleu Winery, Astralabe 2009, Ventoux
FRANCE - RED : Chêne Bleu Winery, Astralabe 2009, Ventoux
 (sorry only found french info)
What a wonderful surprise, felt like I was taking a sun bath in south of France!

Sula Winery, Sauvignon Blanc 2010 (grape), Nashik
INDIA - WHITE : Sula Winery, Sauvignon Blanc 2010 (grape), Nashik
Liked it a lot, coming from one of the most recognized Indian winery, if you get a chance to drink it, do it!

Fritz Winery, Riesling 2011, Alsace
FRANCE - WHITE : Fritz Winery, Riesling 2011, Alsace
(sorry only found french info)
I decided to start again from scratch about Alsace wines and put aside all my deep entranched stereotypes.
During an independant wine fair in France (Lille), we had the chance to discover excellent wines and low profile still very friendly wine makers, go for Alsace!

Larrivet Haut-Brion, Domaine de Larrivet 2000, Pessac-Leognan (Bordeaux)
FRANCE - RED : Larrivet Haut-Brion, Domaine de Larrivet 2000, Pessac-Leognan (Bordeaux)
Pessac-Leognan, whaoou, one of my favorite wine region in France. Perhaps some of the best balanced wines in the world.

Domaine de Vodanis, Vouvray, Loire Valley
FRANCE - SPARKLING WHITE : Domaine de Vodanis, Vouvray, Loire Valley
(no website)
In 2012, I decided to focus on Loire Valley sparkling wines (from Montlouis or Vouvray).
This wines are wonderful, Chenin Blanc (grape) amazing. Champagne are good but Loire Valley sparkling are as good and much cheaper, yet too much low profile. Your next pick for sure!

Zoeller winery, Riesling 2010, Alsace
FRANCE - WHITE : Zoeller winery, Riesling 2010, Alsace
(sorry only found french info)
Told you I tasted some of Alsace! Riesling, again please!

Vullien winery, Vullien, Savoie (France)
 FRANCE - SPARKLING WHITE : Vullien winery, Vullien, Savoie (France)
No more Loire Valley Sparkling in the wine shop. Shit!
Followed the advice from the shop owner. Result : very good!

Alliance des Vignerons du Beaujolais winery, Moulin à vent, Beaujolais
FRANCE - RED : Alliance des Vignerons du Beaujolais winery, Moulin à vent, Beaujolais
(sorry only found french info)
I am a big fan of Beaujolais wines, especially, Moulin à vent and Brouilly.
Each time there is one on the wine menu I got for it. Very good price/quality ratio.

Louis Jadot winery, Moulin à vent, Beaujolais
FRANCE - RED : Louis Jadot winery, Moulin à vent, Beaujolais
Like I said above, picked-up this wine in a restaurant in Amsterdam!
You may say that it's a Louis Jadot estate so, it's a safe pick!

Boschendal winery, Chenin Blanc 2012, Cape
SOUTH AFRICA - WHITE : Boschendal winery, Chenin Blanc 2012, Cape
Our darling Chenin Blanc (isn't Thomas!) stricked again.
I knew from my Wine Institute Wine class that Chenin also best express itself in South Africa.
Still, not that easy to find! So, in Amsterdam we did it and it match my expectation.
Loire Valley Chenin Blanc, you cousin is a tough competitor! 

Cascina Gilli, Malvasia, Casale Monferrato, La Giribaldina, Barbera d'Asti, Ventoux, Chêne bleu, Sula, Sauvignon blanc, Riesling, alsace, pessac leognan, Larrivet, Vouvray, Loire Valley, Vullien, Savoie, Beaujolais, moulin à vent, Louis Jadot, Boschendal, chenin blanc

Sunday, January 20, 2013

#WBIS (Wine Business Innovation Summit) - status of the wine industry + conference minutes :How to sell to 25-35 yr old wine consumers?

#WBIS - 19/01/2013


Summit program

#wbis Robert Joseph (Wine expert), Rich Tomko ( CEO)
#wbis Robert Joseph (Wine expert), Rich Tomko ( CEO)
Post content related to #WBIS
1. Status of the wine industry powered by Intotheminds excellent team!
Pierre-Nicolas Schwab and his associates blended together their insights about
The industry and put it into perspective with #WBIS key input. Very interesting.

2. My conference notes below.
Quite interesting conference with experienced wine experts (Robert Joseph, Rich Tomko from Snooth) and an international audience of wine lovers.
Take home : know who's your target audience first, original stories and marketing (importance of social media) to attract the Y generation (from 1978)
  • Wine ratings: consumer cares about benchmark, people like numbers => help people to make up their choice
  • Looking for value : quality/price ratio index launched
  • Reassurance on the bottle : awards drive incremental sales
  • Amazon : why should wine selling should be any different (community input/driven)
  • If you sell entry level wine : your challenge, how to make wine of an everyday idea
  • Diversification : Stella Artois does cider now
  • Wine called 'Cup Cake' targeting women making a blast=> All range developed since incl. 'Little Black Dress' targetting Sex and the City Crowd
  • 50% of women in France are none drinker, 37% of men
  • Pb with gate keepers screening what consumer wants (e.g. journalist).
  • Promote the wine in a different way: Be creative, still with silmple concept and branding. Do not use fency words. Be humorous.
  • Use their words, their world.
  • Consumers disconnected with professional writers (journalist), the latest do not talk about wine they do no like that could actually meet new consumers expectation
  • Do not tell people what to do : food wine pairing. Actually, you are embarrassing them. If they do not do right, they do wrong!. Let people experience, put several bottles and let the social aspect of wine unfold
  • Wine tasting: go on the other side of the table to be close to the ones testing. No barrier in between (table)
  • Stop being prescriptive
  • Millennials (from 2000, US market trend): make their own discovery via social media
  • Just tell internaut what are the top5 (community rating)
  • : 42 y average audience
  • How to make wine more inspirational, Champagne makes it very good (Veuve Clicquot in the box)
  • Wine consumers are spirit drinkers as well
  • QR code is the most obvious thing to do (at the back of the bootle), good but why people should scan it?
  • Biggest wine retailer in the uk : tesco (uk)

Wednesday, January 2, 2013