North America’s Six Top Wine Regions for a Cycling Getaway

For wine lovers who love the outdoors, combining the enjoyment of wine tasting with leisurely cycling through some of North America’s most picturesque vineyard regions offers a unique and wonderful experience.

Wine regions like Napa Valley, the Finger Lakes, and Niagara are not only renowned for their exquisite wines, but they also feature some of the most bicycle-friendly routes and amenities.

Here is a guide that takes you through these areas, promising lots of adventure, indulgence, and an appreciation of these wonderful wine regions: https://shorturl.at/zL08Z

Research Findings: High-Power Ultrasound Improves the Quality of Spanish Rosé Wine

A recent study by Spanish researchers concluded that ultrasound improves wine quality by shortening maceration time.

In 2019, The International Organization of Vine and Wine (OIV) approved the use of ultrasound to favor the extraction of grape compounds, its application in obtaining superior quality red wines has been widely studied.

Spanish researchers have turned their attention to rosé, a booming market that has experienced strong growth over the past 15 years. A research team from the University of Castilla-La Mancha, and the University of Murcia in Spain used high-powered ultrasound technology to treat crushed Monastrell grapes, a process known as sonication. They compared the resulting rosé with the wine obtained after a four-hour maceration period.

The research team described the improvements in color and sensory profile of the sonicated wine compared to the macerated sample, here are their findings: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/jsfa.12757

Professor Encarna Gómez Plaza, from the University of Murcia explained the importance of the research for the wine industry. He stated that “the ultrasonic application was primarily designed to reduce maceration time in red wine vinification. However, experiments with white wines have shown that the aromatic fraction can be increased by sonicating crushed grapes. Therefore, we decided to study the effect of ultrasound on rosé wines, something that had not been done before.”

Prolonged maceration can cause oxidation of certain compounds in the wine, leading to a bitter taste and other undesirable effects.. This is where ultrasounds come in. Ultrasonic sonication causes the cells in the skin of the grape to rupture, allowing the desirable compounds to be extracted in a significantly shorter steeping time, thus reducing the adverse effects of oxidation.

Sensory analysis of the wines by a panel revealed that the ultrasonic rosé had superior aromas

“Sonication resulted in wines with intense aromas of red fruits and flowers, with higher scores than wines from macerated grapes,” the authors note.

Analysis of the chemical composition supported this claim: ultrasonication improved the extraction of several volatile aroma-enhancing compounds, such as terpenes, which can give off a floral or citrus fragrance.

The team hopes that this study will draw attention to the potential of ultrasonic technology to produce high-quality rosé wines. Now they are studying other applications of high-power ultrasound in the wine industry.

French Rosé Rebounds in the U.S.

After three years of annual declines of rosé wine shipments from Provence, 2022 exports to the United States rose 4% to 1.9 million 9-liter cases, according to Impact Databank. Import volume is still below pre-pandemic levels, but Provence rosé’s shipment value is higher than in 2019, up to a new all-time high of €143.4 million ($151.1 million). French rosé remains one of the few bright spots in an otherwise sluggish U.S. wine market.

While rosé’s continued popularity can be credited primarily to Provence, brands from elsewhere are making inroads; some are doing so by emulating their Provençal counterparts, while others are capitalizing on varietals and styles different from those traditionally championed by the French. Aside from Provence, other areas which registered rosé wine growth in 2022 include Beaujolais (doubling its import value last year), Rosé of Cabernet d’Anjou from the Loire Valley (+5%) and French rosé not from a specific appellation or from a specific grape (+35%).

The top five French rosé brands combined for solid 5% growth in 2022, according to Impact Databank. Aside from the largest labels, impressive gains were also achieved by Diving into Hampton Water—made in partnership with Gérard Bertrand—which grew over 50% last year, and 90+ Cellars (+11.5%) from Latitude Beverages. Other double-digit gainers in French rosé last year included Maison No. 9 from E.&J. Gallo (+10%) and The Pale by Sacha Lichine from Shaw-Ross International (+13%).

Some rosé labels from outside France are also making headway in the U.S. market: Chile’s Natura Rosé (+18%) from Banfi Vintners, and from California, Woodbridge by Robert Mondavi Rosé (+15%) from Constellation Brands, and up-and-coming brand Angels & Cowboys (+51%) from Share a Splash Wine Co.

Top Five French Rosé Brands in the U.S.
(thousands of 9-liter case depletions)
RankBrandCompany20212022Percent
Change
1
1Whispering AngelMoët Hennessy USA5655711.1%
2La Vieille Ferme2Vineyard Brands3974144.3%
3Gérard BertrandGérard Bertrand USA34539013.0%
4MiravalVineyard Brands1581643.8%
5The Beach
by Whispering Angel
Moët Hennessy USA1501628.0%
Total Top Five31,6161,7015.3%

Source: Impact Databank

Pays d’Oc Hosts the 2023 Rosé Wine Session of Concours Mondial de Bruxelles

The 2023 Rosé Wine Session of Concours Mondial de Bruxelles is due to take place in Montpellier, in the heart of Pays d’Oc.  This year there will be over 50 international judges who will get the opportunity to discover the region’s incredible range of wines, from 8 to 10 March 2023.

For the past 30 years, Pays d’Oc winegrowers have been instrumental in the success of varietal wines and the reputation of this Protected Geographical Indication. To express their creative spirit, they can draw on a vast array of 58 grape varieties and 120,000 hectares of vineyards set between the sea and the mountains, soaking up the multiple influences of a temperate Mediterranean climate. A significant 30% of Pays d’Oc production is now rosé, equating to nearly 300 million bottles of wine annually. This is France’s leading IGP rosé producer region, focusing primarily on the Grenache noir, Cinsault and Syrah grape varieties.

The Pays d’Oc wine region embraces four departments in Languedoc-Roussillon which is part of the broader Occitanie region: Pyrénées-Orientales, Aude, Hérault, Gard and six localities in southern Lozère. Forming an arch along the Mediterranean, it stretches from the Spanish border to the Rhone delta. Its 120,000 hectares of vineyards are home to myriad landscapes and contrasting weather patterns. The land is shaped in terraces facing the Mediterranean and combines mountains, high-level plateaux, mountain foothills, mid-level plateaux and coastal plains. The climate in Pays d’Oc is Mediterranean, with Atlantic influences to the West and continental influences to the East. Four prevailing winds sweep across the region – the Mistral, Tramontane, Marin and Autan. These weather conditions ensure the vines stay healthy and the fruit ripens naturally. A mosaic of soils – clay-limestone, limestone, gneiss, schist and gravel at the foot of the hills – instils Pays d’Oc wines with their inimitable character.

Varietal Wines

92% of the IGP Pays d’Oc range of wines are single varietals, which means they come from just one grape variety. Varietal wine is the cornerstone of the designation and production specifications feature a whopping 58 different grapes to choose from. The range embraces both world famous ‘star’ grapes like Merlot, Cabernet-Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Sauvignon and Viognier, but also lesser known varieties, some of which have a distinct Mediterranean accent, like Grenache, Rolle, Syrah and Carignan. This extensive array of varieties promotes an endless range of aromatic characters. In terms of output, IGP Pays d’Oc production volumes are consistent from year to year, with each vintage producing between 5.5 and 6 million hectolitres of wine across all three colours.

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2023 Concours Mondial de Bruxelles [Rosé Wine Session] Montpellier

I’m thrilled to be participating in as a judge in the upcoming Concours Mondial de Bruxelles [Rosé Wine Session] in Montpellier, France!

In 2022, over 1,200 wines from 23 countries were entered in the rosé-only session designed for still, sparkling, semi-sparkling and fortified rosé wines.

I’m looking forward to this year’s entries!

Pays d’Oc is the official host of the 2023 Rosé Wine Session.

For 30 years, Pays d’Oc winegrowers have helped ensure the success of varietal wines and awareness of this Protected Geographical Indication, championing its ethics and values. Their creative mindset is expressed through 58 different grape varieties and 120,000 hectares of vineyards set between the mountains and the sea which soak in the many influences of the temperate Mediterranean climate. From the Camargue to the Pyrenees, the sun-drenched wine routes that were once trodden by the Greeks and the Romans 26 centuries ago, are now home to 20,000 Pays d’Oc winegrowers, who farm both independently and as part of co-operatives. With annual production of over 2 million hectolitres of rosé wines, IGP Pays d’Oc is France’s leading GI producer region of rosé.

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