Should we challenge rosé orthodoxy?

Ian_Cauble_interview

 

Master Sommelier Ian Cauble wrote in one of his newsletters in February that while all the trade are focused on selecting the new vintage of rosés, some 2014 rosés are tasting even better after 1 year in bottle. I have often complained that rosé (especially from Provence) has to comply with an increasingly narrow definition of colour, taste profile and age. In other words, it must

a) be a very pale pink, with a hue that is neither too violet nor orange

b) must have less than 14% alc, minimal tannin, maximum fruit and not much of anything else and be very quaffable.

 

Why is it that with red and white wines we celebrate a vast range of diverse styles while rose is treated like a classical ballerina who is only allowed to perform certain steps and must comply with a strict morphology? I shouldn’t complain really, rosé sales have never been better and I enjoy our style of rosé as I enjoy classical ballet; however as a wine maker I feel like our creativity is being stifled / curtailed / censored.

 

I wonder who is driving this – is it the trade or consumers? Is it the trade that has over-simplified rosé to make life easier for consumers? Or is it the collective wisdom of consumers who over time have figured out that rosés that generally fit the above criteria taste better?

 

I find it interesting that those willing to challenge this rosé orthodoxy are more likely not going to be from Provence as is evidenced by Ian’s newsletter (Ian is American). This year I am launching a new rosé “Aurelia”, named after my first child born during the last harvest, which is in clear breach of the rosé orthodoxy. Nearly all 6000 bottles produced have been pre-sold but not one of them in France!

Here is a transcript of Ian’s newsletter:

“It feels as if Spring is upon us and the 2015 rosés will soon descend on the market, but the truth is, the most serious rosés from Provence need more than a year to blossom. The 2014 rosés are just now starting to soften and reach their ideal window of drinkability. Today’s 2014 L’esprit de Provence Rosé from Le Grand Cros has structure, texture, minerality and perfect freshness—this wine is everything we look for in a great rosé and is hitting a sweet spot that will continue for next few years. For less than $25 a bottle, this is everything we seek in the best examples of Rosé in the world.”

harvest 2015 update

Quick update on the harvest and prospective 2015 vintage in the making.
It started early with everyone thinking it was going to be an early harvest, indeed we had very high sugar levels early on, however malic acid also remained stubbornly high. We also got hit by a hail storm a couple weeks before the start of harvest which affected about a third of our vineyard, most severely our Viognier and Chardonnay. The risk of botrytis germinating on open wounds of berries had made us anxious but we delayed as much we could and we are now pleased that we waited as hot dry weather followed. This vintage is looking quite magnificent in quality which somewhat makes up for the shortfall in volume.

pigeage 2015

 

 

I am particularly excited by an experimental cuvée of Syrah which I am plunging by foot.

cave team 2015

cave team 2015

Full credit to the team this year: from left to right, Aziz tractor driver and mechanic, me Julian owner, Lucie Oenologist and assistant wine-maker, Said vineyard manager superhero, James biotechnologist, programmer and fellow geek who came and helped out for the experience. Richard our winemaker had to pull out of the harvest because of medical problem and we wish him a full recovery.

2014 in review

This year started precariously with the launch of the challenging 2013 vintage but we are immensely proud to wrap it up in Decanter Magazine’s top 50 wines of the year: the only rosé to make the cut!Screenshot 2014-12-09 08.57.38Screenshot 2014-12-09 08.56.32Screenshot 2014-12-09 08.55.53

As you might remember the 2013 vintage suffered unprecedented rain and hail in Provence as well as other parts of France. To a great degree, it is thanks to our policy of manual harvesting and intransigent blending that we were able to produce wines that received great recognition. L’Esprit de Provence rosé got the highest rosé score in Stephen Tanzer’s Wine Access, followed by a glowing review by Matthew Jukes in the Daily Mail in the UK and a star in the Guide Hachette. However, the most gratifying recognition for the team came with the top score in Decanter magazine’s rosé panel this summer. Every single one of the wines that we produced in 2014 received at least one medal – 14 medals for 9 wines!

This spotlight has enabled us to open up new markets – 20 countries to date with new ones in the works for 2015. We try to keep our retail locator map up to date.

It is difficult to keep track of all the press and events in these distant markets that work in foreign languages but here are a few dispatches sent by our partners in two of the new markets we opened this year:

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Rio de Janeiro are into rosé where in the hip neighbourhood of Leblon we were featured in their rosé festival.

Rio de Janeiro are into rosé where in the hip neighbourhood of Leblon we were featured in their rosé festival

Our wines also got reviewed by a blogger in Barbados: another new market for us.

Our wines also got reviewed by a blogger in Barbados: another new market for us.

In October, Gaelle was pouring our wines in Holland with our new importer there

In October, Gaelle was pouring our wines in Holland with our new importer there

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We also opened up Taiwan and Serbia and have plans to open up Sweden and Norway next year!


On behalf of the whole team and the Faulkner family we wish everyone a wonderful Christmas holiday and more happy times times in 2015 in the company of Le Grand Cros & Jules wines!

 

Olive harvest 2014

After the grape harvest, we have the olive harvest which we recently completed. A big harvest is usually followed by a small one the following year and that certainly was the case this year: with 700kg of olives we only produced 26 litres of olive oil!

As far as we know, all the producers in the region had very small or no production and we believe there will also be a shortfall for our mediterranean neighbours. There definitely won’t be enough oil for everyone next year!

However, we still have some bottles of 2013 left so we encourage you to buy what remains at the 2014 price as long as there is stock available by clicking here or emailing us.

Said uses a shaker to make the olives fall into the nets

Said uses a shaker to make the olives fall into the nets

From the nets they are transferred into buckets

From the nets they are transferred into buckets

Then into mesh bags weighing 25kg each

Then into mesh bags weighing 25kg each

As soon as we have at least 500kg, we take the batch to the mill to be pressed without delay, never more than 24 hours in order to preserve an optimal quality

As soon as we have at least 500kg, we take the batch to the mill to be pressed without delay, never more than 24 hours in order to preserve an optimal quality

 

  dns settings scottrade site down .

Staff training in Manila

Julian’s SE Asia tour

Having spent the last 2 weeks living out of a carry-on bag and from restaurant food, this morning I can enjoy my first lazy breakfast at home and reflect on the 2 weeks spent in Singapore, Malaysia and Philippines. When I first explored those markets 10 years ago, there was the usual young market demand for the top Grand Crus for the tiny population of uber wealthy and for everyone else you could find the cheapest editions available of recognizable names such as Bordeaux, Chablis, Chianti, merlot etc. Basically the antithesis of what I aim to offer with Jules – I steer clear of names that command premiums and look for the best value in grapes and styles but never the cheapest.

Fortunately much has changed since then, following the typical pattern of maturing wine markets. I found a wide selection of wines from all over the world, with most expansion happening in the middle range as wealthy consumers become more discerning and value driven and middle classes drinking more.

Staff training in Manila

Staff training in Manila

I also found the most regular drinkers were rating wines on mobile apps such as vivino which plays to men’s competitive nature of rating more wines than their peers. I think the old days where wine was shrouded in mystery and snobbery propped up by men with fancy titles are kind of gone. Consumers are confident and curious and see through the old smoking mirror tricks.

shop tasting in Straits Wine store Manila

shop tasting in Straits Wine store Manila

I look forward to the challenge of engaging with these consumers in ways that are relevant to them. However the local trade has not really risen to the challenge and is not innovating. A big part of the problem is that the hospitality sector does not attract these same consumers. This is mostly because jobs in restaurants and wine stores are poorly paid and wine taxes are high so waiting staff cannot afford to be regular wine drinkers. I spent most of my time there doing staff trainings and while I found their level of knowledge low, they were interested and asked lots of smart questions so I think the situation will improve with time as more producers invest their time in the market.

shop tasting in Kuala Lumpur  with chinese food

shop tasting in Kuala Lumpur with chinese food

Many thanks to our Jules wines partner in the region Straits Wine Company who have been pushing the envelope notably with their events and who won the Award of Excellence / wine distributor of the year at the World Gourmet Summit this year – Congratulations.

Wine dinner in Kuala Lumpur

Wine dinner in Kuala Lumpur

I would also like to thank the BERJAYA UNIVERSITY COLLEGE OF HOSPITALITY for kindly inviting me to speak in their splendid lecture theater to distinguished F&B professionals; it was an honor and I learnt a great deal from the challenging Q&A at the end. Their facilities were very impressive which I think is an indication of what we should expect from Malaysia as their F&B sector continue to raise their game.

Speaking at Berjaya University College in Kuala Lumpur

Speaking at Berjaya University College in Kuala Lumpur

In with the 2013 and out with the 2012

Last week we bottled our 2013 whites and rosés – a little later than usual due to the fact that the harvest finished much later last year.

Medaille d'or 2014Straight out of the starting-blocks, our l’Esprit de Provence rosé was awarded a gold medal in Paris over the weekend!

Now that new vintage is in, this is an opportunity for you to buy some of last years’ medalled wines at amazing discounts. Go to our online store to see the bin-end offers.

Announcing birth of our 2013 babies

 

assemblage jan 2014

Appropriately, the first post of the year is to announce the birth of our 2013 vintage. By birth I am referring to the blending where we carefully select how much of each tank will make up our different “cuvées”. Stéphane (cellar-master), Gaelle (Sales), Bernadette (Oenologist), Julian (me/photographer) spent hours debating the DNA of our children and ingest quite a lot of alcohol in the process, before we finally reached a consensus. We are now very proud of our new-born!

Mother nature served up some challenging weather for all of Europe in 2013 but it is in such difficult conditions that the best wine-makers stand out. We were not able to make as much Esprit de Provence rosé nor white as we would have liked and we chose not to make any red this year but what we did make, we hope stands out! Consequently we have had to increase our prices a little more than usual but not out of line with the market nor the French government who have increased both excise duty and VAT this year.

 

Jules fueling London’s startup scene

I am excited to see Jules become the tipple of choice for some of London’s hot startup launches. Jules wines are regularly served at events at the Innovation Warehouse, a co-working and event space for many great startups. A special mention to 2 great startups that share our social ethos:

Tutorfair.com who match students with tutors and use that income to finance tutors for families who can’t afford them.

Lawbite.com makes law affordable by enabling their users to download plain English legal documents and gain access to advice from top lawyers who can tweak them at a fraction of the cost of traditional law firms.

Viva la Revolucion!

Thank you to all those who participated in our summer photo contest!

We enjoyed looking at your shots and we would love to see more… always! If you are feeling inspired, keep sending us your best shots of our wines and we will select our favourite ones to share with all of you. If we chose to publish one of your photos, aside from the inherent glory 🙂 we will reward you with a 50€ voucher! To your glasses, crack open your bottles and start snapping!

It is time to declare the winners of the photo contest. I must admit to being disappointed with the results but we are to blame for not promoting the competition broadly enough.

Going forward, instead of conducting contests which are limited in time, we would like to invite our customers to submit photos at any time: if we like them and chose to use them on our website then we will reward you with a 50€ purchase voucher.

Here are the winners in the 4 different categories:

Most artistic picture of our products:

La Maitresse avec Fromage Blanc et fraise (Thomas from Germany)

La Maitresse avec Fromage Blanc et fraise (Thomas from Germany)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Most sexy summer Rosé shot:

The many shades of rosé! (Chrissie from south of France)

The many shades of rosé! (Chrissie from south of France)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Most idyllic place to enjoy Rosé or any of our wines:

Isla Holbox : une île mexicaine où aucune voiture ne passe et où les maisons sont très colorées (Stephanie from France)

Isla Holbox : une île mexicaine où aucune voiture ne passe et où les maisons sont très colorées (Stephanie from France)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Best food pairing with Rosé or any of our wines:

Un macaron citron est parfait avec le vin rosé de Jules (Gérard from France)

Un macaron citron est parfait avec le vin rosé de Jules (Gérard from France)

Knightsbridge Rocks

People often ask if we have had any trouble with certain jewelry brands that seem to have a similar logo to ours and I like to respond that we are cool about it, we don’t mind them riding on our coat-tails 🙂

But now we are going one step further and collaborating with a new player in the London jewelry market who sells some vintage pieces of said brands. They are generously offering a case of our with any purchase from their collection this summer. Click here for more details

Watch this space for further opportunities to sample our respective collections at future events in Knightsbridge.