France is pink and green
Fans of the south of France will be in the pink this year as the region's producers are making a major showing at the London wine fair, many with brand new rosés in their ranges. And if it's not pink, it's green, with plenty of exhibitors releasing new eco-friendly packaging and turning their focus to organics. For those who want to be even more responsible, look out for some newly launched lower alcohol ranges.
Castel will be showing off newly launched brand Famille Castel, a three-tier range of AOC, Vin de Pays and varietal wines - of which it says the highlight is single-vineyard Bordeaux Merlot made by John Worontschak and Castel winemaker Isabelle Coustou. AOCs in the new range include Côtes du Rhône, a Côteaux du Languedoc Syrah, a Côtes de Provence rosé and a sweet Jurançon. The entry-level Vins de Pays selection features a
red, white and rosé.
Castel will also show 2007 wines from
its varietal Vin de Pays d'Oc range Virginie and the latest vintages of Cachet, which was created with input from British wine consultants to appeal to UK consumers. Stand J30
Château de Sours is launching a new-look label and telling visitors to its stand all about its three-year vine replanting programme and winery upgrade. The new label aims to evoke the style of the refurbished and renovated Bordeaux château where the wines are made, which is currently being developed as an exclusive travel destination. Thirty-three-year-old chief winemaker Sebastien Lamothe and oenologist Florent Dumeau will be on hand to take visitors through the château's range. Stand J70
Languedoc wine company Val d'Orbieu is launching Promesse, a low-alcohol range of Vins de Table. The three-strong range of 10% abv wines - red, white and rosé - is to retail at £4.99. It is also showing Mythique Vineyards, a new premium range of AOC wines targeted at independents and multiple specialists. The range has started with two wines - 2004 AOC Minervois Château de Pouzols and 2004 Château de Fabrezan Corbières (£9.99). Val d'Orbieu has also extended its Cuvée Mythique brand with a tier of Languedoc AOC wines called Mythique Languedoc, and including a Syrah/Grenache/Carignan and a rosé (£5.99).
Rhône producer Vignerons des 4 Chemins is appearing at the LIWF for the first time to launch Côtes du Rhône duo Bonnie & Clyde - red and white blends of Grenache/Syrah/Carignan and Grenache/Viognier. "We concentrated on selecting grapes from an unusual terroir and carefully blending them to create the ultimate Côtes du Rhône red and white wines, aiming at the top end of the market," says commercial and marketing director Nadine Cattanea. Stand H70/6
Buckingham Vintners has been appointed UK agent for HKR - a joint venture between Hugh Ryman, Kevin Shaw and Robert Joseph, whose brands include The Rhoning Stones and Le Grand Noir. BVI calls it an "innovative and subversive take on the new wave of winemaking sweeping across the Languedoc-Roussillon". Stand T42
Chamarré is launching a bag-in-box range in a bid to be more environmentally friendly. The brand will still produce glass bottles but is making them slightly lighter and converting all wines in the Réserve Spéciale range to screwcap. Chamarré will also be holding a brief seminar on the future of French wine and the story of Vins de Pays Vignobles de France at 12pm on May 20, on the first floor of Thierry's stand. Stand C42
The Blason Group has signed up Burgundy cooperative Hautes Côtes and added a Hautes Côtes de Beaune 2006 to its range. It has also launched Clairet, a light-bodied dry Pinot Noir rosé grown in the Chablis region and made using the saignée method (£7.99). New vintages of Aligoté 2007 and Beaune Premier Cru 2004 will be on taste. HwCg is also showing wines from Languedoc-based Laurent Miquel, including new addition Syrah Générations 2005 (£9.99); new 2007 release Vérité, a varietal Viognier (£11.99); and new vintages of the Nord Sud range. New vintages from the Rhône's Caves de Rasteau, including Domaine du Chêne 2007 AOC Condrieu and La Domelière 2007 Rasteau, AOC Côtes du Rhône Villages, will also be on taste. Progressive Luberon-based cooperative Celliers de Marrenon will be showing off-trade range Rue de France as well as a range of varietal Vins de Pays in 25cl screwcap bottles. Stand S30
Jean-Claude Mas from Languedoc estate
Les Domaines Paul Mas will be at Stratford's Wine Agencies' stand showing the latest additions to the Arrogant Frog brand, including Organic Ribet Red Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot, Organic Chardonnay/Viognier and a Shiraz/Viognier, and introducing a range of entry-level blends under the new Arrogant Frog Tutti Frutti label.
The winery is also launching Paul Mas Estate, a range of single-vineyard wines including Marsanne, Sauvignon Blanc, Viognier, Mourvèdre, Carignan, Malbec, Pinot Noir and Syrah/Viognier, and showing off Mas de Mas, a collection from AOC Pézenas, Terrasses du Larzac and Grès de Montpellier. A new range of organic wines, Les Tannes, will feature a Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot under the Sud de France banner. Jean-Claude Mas says: "For me, organic wine is a philosophy, and eventually I aim to convert all my own vineyards into organic agriculture. Organic wine production involves farming the land the way our ancestors used to, at a time when being environmentally friendly came naturally, before the introduction of chemicals and pesticides in the 1960s." Stand F22
Bottle Green has extended its French Connection range with wines from Burgundy and the Rhône. Bourgogne Pinot Noir, Beaujolais Villages, Mâcon Villages Blanc, Côtes du Ventoux Rouge and Côtes du Luberon Blanc are among the new additions on taste. Bottle Green will
also be introducing one of its French Connection suppliers, Burgundy-based independent producer and merchant Collin Bourisset, which will be showing premium wines from the region. The agency hopes to boost its green credentials with a stronger focus on organic wines, and is releasing two French Connection wines - Merlot and Sauvignon Blanc - in 1-litre Tetra Pak cartons. It is also introducing Domaine du Joncier, which sits between Tavel and Lirac opposite Châteauneuf, and a new Lirac for its premium Rhône range Palais des Anciens. Stand D68
Burgundy's Louis Jadot is releasing Pinot Noir Rosé 2006 (£9.99) at Hatch Mansfield's stand. Company president Pierre Henry Gagey will be at the fair on the morning of May 20. Stand S60
Mont Tauch has made a film about the cooperative and its growers, and will be giving visitors the chance to watch it before meeting president Jean Marc Astruc on May 20 and 21 and tasting through its new South of France range of Picpoul de Pinet and Pic Saint Loup wines. Stand B51
Free Run Wines will be showing the latest vintages of its organic Minervois range L'Olivier (£5.99), which donates 15 euro cents from every bottle sold to the Tropical Forest Trust, a charity working to preserve tropical forests. The agency is also trying to cut its carbon footprint by repackaging Vins de Pays range Pieds Verts in 75cl Bordeaux-shaped PETs (£4.99). The wines are bottled in Monoxbar, which means they have a shelf life of over a year. Stand R55
Dourthe is celebrating the 20th anniversary of its Bordeaux brand Dourthe No 1, and will be showing 2007 barrel samples from its Bordeaux châteaux. The latest releases from Dourthe's Barrel Select and Terroirs d'Excéption range sourced from partner vineyards in Bordeaux will also be on taste, as will wines from Château de Sérame AOC. Stand H40/1
Piat d'Or winemaker Nicolas Prevost will be at Percy Fox's stand to show off the brand's 2007 vintages. Stand D62
Mentzendorff is showing new wines from Burgundy's Chanson Père & Fils and the Loire's Langlois-Château, plus a new pair of organically produced wines from the southern Rhône. Stand G72
Yvon Mau, a pioneer of the LEAF marque environmental standard for wine, is showing a new range of PET-packaged
wines - Jolie Terre -
as well as new packaging and blends for the Premius range and its Maison Mau Vins de Pays, two of which have been listed in this year's Top 100 Vins de Pays competition.
France pouring a broad range of opportunities
France's generic offering will be bigger than ever this year. Fast Track to France will host a generic tasting of 40 AOC wines, and the winners of the Top 100 Vins de Pays 2008 competition will be at the heart of the French zone. The stand features a new, more modern design and will have a VIP lounge for selected guests.
Sopexa UK managing director Charles Collard said: "The concept of Fast Track to France has evolved this year in order to provide time-pressured visitors with one unique stand showcasing a snapshot of the entire French offer at the LIWF. Our aim is also to provide them with a relaxed environment in which to taste French wines, away from the hustle and bustle of the fair." The trophies in this year's Top 100 Vins de Pays will be presented by competition chairman Tim Atkin MW at 3pm on May 20. Stand H40/2
The first wines made under the new Languedoc AOC will be on taste at the South of France stand, which will also show premium wines to trail the launch of two new categories: Grands Terroirs and Excellence. The banner, which sits in the French zone, also includes Roussillon and Vin de Pays d'Oc. Stand I50/7
Southwest France will be hosting seven producers and a generic tasting area of 40 wines and eaux de vie, where Dr Helen Savage of the Newcastle Journal will share her knowledge of the region's wines and producers, and guide visitors through a range of AOC and Vin de Pays wines. The body is also presenting a seminar by wine writer and broadcaster Andrew Jefford on south west France's indigenous grape varieties, including Malbec, Fer Servadou, Petit Manseng, Tannat and Negrette, which takes place at 11.30am on May 21 in seminar rooms 5 and 6. Stand I40/1
Provence Wines is hosting a tasting lounge where CIVP president Jean-Jacques Bréban and director François Millo will showcase producers from across Provence's three AOCs - Côtes de Provence, Coteaux d'Aix-en-Provence and Coteaux Varois en Provence - from boutique wineries to larger producers. Visitors to the stand can learn how Provence rosé partners foods from around the world and taste the 2007 vintage, plus organic offerings from producers such as Domaine de la Sauveuse, Château Sainte Marguerite and Domaine de la Grande Pallière. Stand I30/2
And Côtes du Rhône will be celebrating a bumper year of sales in the UK at stand I30/1.
Look out for:
South west France cooperative Producteurs Plaimont is showing new vintages from its Rive Haute regional labels, targeted at the independent trade, plus Madiran brand 1907 and Vin de Pays range Florenbelle. Stands I40/1 & S30
François Lurton is launching Mas Janeil from Maury, a vin doux naturel made using the traditional mutage process. Stand P1
Moreno Wines has been appointed agent for Bordeaux negociant Ginestet, and will be showing Château Villepreux 2005 AOC Bordeaux Supérieur (£10), Château Moulin de Curat AOC Puisseguin St Emilion (£12), Château Sissan 2004 AOC Premières Côtes de Bordeaux (£13.50) and Bailly de Camensac 2004 AOC Haut Médoc (£18), alongside other clarets from Ginestet's portfolio. Stand H10
Female-targeted Sublimelle will be showing off some new additions to its portfolio at stand K98.
Arnaud Deville and Cedric Deniset from Domaine de Nizas in the Languedoc will be at Great Western Wine's stand D12.
Bordeaux producer Bernard Magrez will be at the fair to talk about his new 3ha estate in the Collioure appellation in southern Roussillon . Stand F77
Languedoc producer Domaine la Colombette will show three lower-alcohol (10% abv) Early Harvest wines - a Syrah/Grenache, Chardonnay and Grenache rosé - at D&D Wines International's stand L10
Hallgarten Druitt will be showing wines from Campuget from Costières de Nîmes and Beajolais producer Signe Vigneron. Stand J11
Languedoc Roussillon-based Bessière will show its range of rosés , all featuring revamped packaging. Daniel Bessière Collection is a range of AOC wines; Signature comprises four varietal Vins de Pays d'Oc including a new Grenache Gris; and a 3-litre bag-in-box range of three wines has been added to the range. Stand I60/13
Fells will be showing wines from Bouchard Père & Fils, William Fèvre Chablis and E Guigal, plus Janneau Armagnac. Stand E70
Sogrape's range will be at stand D70.
The world's favourite fizz will be popping corks all over this year's fair
Champagne Jacquart will host a Champagne bar at PLB's stand. Visitors can taste the latest additions to the range, including Cuvée Extra Brut NV and Cuvée Oenothéque Brut 2000, and find out about the second edition of Champagne Jacquart's Rising Stars trophy.
Champagne Philipponnat will be making its LIWF debut and launching the 2000 vintage of Cuvée 1522, which commemorates the first historical record of the Philipponnat family in Mareuil-sur-Ay. Stand I13
Champagne Bollinger is launching a non-vintage rosé and Champagne Ayala is showing Perle d'Ayala Nature 2002 and a prestige, zero-dosage cuvée at Mentzendorff's Seafood Restaurant.
Champagne Montaudon is launching its new vintage, Brut Millésime 2000 - a Chardonnay/Pinot Noir blend.
Champagne Taittinger will be showing off its range, including Comtes de Champagne, Blanc de Blancs and Les Folies de la Marquetterie - and is also celebrating the centenary of James Bond creator Ian Fleming, who made the brand 007's favourite. General director Pierre Emmanuel Taittinger will be at the stand on Tuesday morning with export director Ambroise Bobcheff. Stand S60
Percy Fox will show new additions to Vranken-Pommery Monopole's portfolio: Heidsieck & Co Monopole Silver Top 2002 and Charles Lafitte Grande Cuvée Brut NV. Charles Lafitte aims to follow up the launch of Grande Cuvée Brut with a Rosé NV, Demi-Sec NV and Vintage Champagne in the next 12 months. Stand D62
Berkmann Wine Cellars will be holding a masterclass with Deutz Champagne in the masterclass zone on May 20 at 3.30pm. Stand D60
Palmes d'Or Champagne is unveiling its latest 1998 vintage at stand D21
Hallgarten Druitt will show wines from Champagne Moutard. Stand J11