The AWE Blog

The AWE blog is a collection of posts from AWE members.
  1. Laura Clay

    Olivier Dauga – Le Faiseur de Vin

    By Laura Clay
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    Winemaker, consultant and wearer of natty shirts, Olivier Dauga, is a firm believer and advocate of sustainability and organic farming. Much of his work is based in and around Bordeaux with Univitis although his own property, Foncadaure, is further south in Roussillon and he consults for Vignerons Catalans, too. I have always been impressed with the wines in which Olivier has had a hand – A recent tasting with Olivier focussing particularly on the sustainability side of his work confirmed and vindicated my opinion. Even when not making organic wines, Olivier uses as little sulphur as possible and concentrates on producing wines in keeping with nature and protecting the environment. It’s the way forward, he maintains, and certainly the St Emilion Wine Council seems to agree, stipulating that any wine produced within 4 of their appellations will be downgraded to Bordeaux AOC if it is not certified in one of the state-approved programmes, such as organic or HVE 3 by 2020. A bold move but one which has Olivier’s full support.  In 2010, Olivier launched his own ‘Green Charter’ for his consultancy work to produce wines as far as possible in accordance with nature and the environment. He says,...
  2. Laura Clay

    The Drinking Woman’s Diet by Wendy Narby

    By Laura Clay
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    I don’t do self-help books but when I find my will-power has sunk to an all-time low, my weight risen to an all-time high, and that the self-help book which landed on my doormat was written for people who like to drink alcohol (too) frequently and written by a dear friend and AWE member into the bargain, it’s time to put aside my prejudices. The friend in question is, fittingly, infuriatingly, the picture of gorgeous good health – slim, toned, bright-eyed and shiny-haired. She works as a wine guide in Bordeaux and travels the world as a wine educator. Her name is Wendy Narby and her book is The Drinking Woman’s Diet, A Liver-Friendly Lifestyle Guide. This is a book written with women like me in mind, who work in the wine trade and are exposed to far too many multi-course dinners, daily wine tastings and who spend much of their time in between sitting at their desk. It is equally suitable for women who do that wine o’clock thing, for women who find they’ve become  Prosecco junkies, for women who have developed a (regular) taste for wine, gin, whisky, beer, cocktails and sake. It’s also perfect for men. Easy...
  3. Pippa Hayward

    Magical Montfaucon – AWE visit to Lirac

    By Pippa Hayward
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    Our  AWE visit to Château de Montfaucon in Lirac (once thought of as poor man’s Châteauneuf du Pape 30 years ago when I first listed a Lirac from Domaine Maby through Yapp Brothers) was one that I anticipated with great pleasure – I’ve known some of the wines through The Good Wine Shop and so I was delighted to see a visit on our itinerary that included seeing the oldest vineyard with  Julien Thorn the winemaker and a fine selection of the estate’s white and red wines tasted in the original cellar complete with 16th century press. Although the Château can trace its heritage back to the 14th century , for most of the last  century the grapes were sold to the local co-op . Then with the return of Rudolph Les Pins as  winemaker in 1995  ,after studying at UC Davis and stages  at  Henschke and Vieux Telegraphe,  Montfaucon  started to make and bottle its own wines once more. The estate now has 60 hectares including the vineyard we visited . It is the oldest vineyard on the estate ,with a field blend of vines averaging over 125 years old . So keen were they to get their hands on this...
  4. Heather Dougherty

    Educators go back to school

    By Heather Dougherty
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    Wine educators like nothing better than going back to school, so our session at the Ecole des Vins in Avignon on our first morning made for a fine start to our trip to the southern Rhône. Oenologist Mathilde Ficty led us through a wealth of information about the region that we were to explore over the following three days. There were some quickfire numbers to take in – 48 appellations, 5,300 producers, 70,000 hectares etc. One figure that Mathilde was keen we retain is that 10.5% of Rhône wine production is organic. The tasting which followed provided a snapshot of current trends in the region, which we were to find echoed in the vineyard visits to follow, namely : organic, low-sulphur and biodynamic winemaking is increasing in the region and some of the most successful wines we tried were following these methods. The southern Rhône especially, with its warm climate and low humidity clearly make a good home for this less interventionist style of winemaking. Rosé may not be what you associate most with the Rhône, but it is 13% of sales (more than white at 6%). And there are increasingly some really successful rosés to be found. What a...