News Article | May 5, 2017
The Concept: Founded in 2004 Obica is a cheese-laden chain of casual Italian eateries, which counts sites across Italy, the US, UK and Japan, and claims to have been the first to offer a mozzarella bar concept. Chef Nancy Silverton recently credited the chain with providing the inspiration behind her LA restaurant Osteria Mozza in the latest Chef’s Table series on Netflix. Most recently, the chain has brought Italian chef Alessandro Borghese on board as its creative chef, developing a new menu, which has coincided with the opening of its latest London outpost in Poland Street, joining sites in Charlotte Street, South Kensington, St Pauls and Canary Wharf. The décor: Located in the heart of Soho, Obica Poland Street is divided into a front bar area with stools facing the street, giving the option of a more casual setting, leading to a smaller, more intimate dining room at the back. Clean lines, wooden tables and candlelight combine to create a sophisticated, yet fast-casual vibe. Below decks, the restaurant boasts an even larger second dining room. The food: The foundation of the chain’s cheesy menu is based on eight varieties of mozzarella di bufala campana DOP, which are infused throughout a wider menu of small plates, pizzas, pastas and salads. Dishes include Crochette di Patate e Cime di Rapa, croquettes stuffed with turnip greens, anchovies and smoked mozzarella, and zucchine alla scapece, a pretty plate of courgettes and mozzarella di bufala scattered with pine nuts. We started our evening with a selection of small plates. A wooden board of bresaola della Valtellina IGP (£6) – aged air-dried beef – was a triumph, arriving piled high with thin slices packed with flavour. Likewise the burrata al tartufo (£10.50), the pinnacle of its mozzarella cheese selection at £10.50 a pop, was a truffle-lovers dream, generously garnished and suitably smelling of the prized fungi, oozy and gooey at its centre. The baccala mantecato (£6.50) amounted to two mounds of whipped salt cod on corn chips with smoked mozzarella. They were devoured, a bit too quickly, with a hunk of oregano and sea salt focaccina (£5). Sadly the suppli al telefono (£4.50) – croquettes of breadcrumbed rice with mozzarella di bufala, tomato, pecorino romano and basil – failed to live up to expectations. The two croquettes that arrived to our table were disappointingly dry and lacked any real flavour. Five small plates between two, including bread, proved sufficient and didn’t seem excessive. Our mains proved to be more solid, with a nduja burrata pizza (£14), slathered with the spicy sausage and strewn with dollops of stracciatella di burrata, tomato and basil, was pizza perfection. Deeply favoured with a sweet spice, it had a memorable kick, without being overpowering, set off by a perfectly crisped base. A portion of fresh taglioni (£15.50), a reassuringly eggy-yellow in colour, arrived in a neatly piled twist, topped with a generous helping of tiger prawns, courgettes, tomatoes and fresh thyme. We capped off the meal with a “piccola” sbrisolona (£3) – a traditional crunchy almond ‘cake’ (in fact more like a biscuit) with passito and lemon mascarpone. A larger “grande” portion was available for £5.50. The dessert trophy however was handed to the “grande” tirimisu (£5) – a comforting bowl of creamy, gooey indulgence to cap off an Italian feast. Signature dishes: Mozzarella is the star of the show at Obica, with its mozzarella bar its signature act. Obica’s mozzarella Bar experience (£30), intended for 2-4 people to share, offers two portions of mozzarella (with its burrata with black truffle options an extra £4) with a platter consisting of cured meats, tomato and basil pesto, caponata, sundried tomatoes and a helping of focaccini. The drinks: Obica’s exclusively Italian wine list is compact but well formed, offering a reasonable but rather generic selection. Bottles start from £24 for a bottle of Piemonte Barbera DOC, with the majority of wines on its list available by the glass. We quaffed a glass of the Sicilia Insolia Terre Siciliane IGT at £7 a glass, and a glass of the Sicilia Nero d’Avola IGT, also £7. La Collezione Obica is reserved for its better offerings, and comprises two whites, including a £74 IGT white blend from Jermann in Friuli, and three reds, topped by a £105 bottle of Barbaresco DOCG from Sottimano in Piedmonte. The cocktail menu is packed with reliable favourites, including the classically Italian Aperol/Campari Spritz (£8) and the Promesa (£9) – a twist on the whisky sour – a refreshingly light blend of whisky, Drambuie and lemon juice, walnut bitters and agave syrup. Who to know: The man of the moment, Alessandro Borghese, recently brought on board as the chain’s creative chef. Born in San Francisco, the Neapolitan chef is the son of Italian actress Barbara Bouchet and entrepreneur Luigi Borghese. A familiar face in Italy, Borghese is playfully referred to as the “rock’n social chef”. He judged the first Italian edition of Junior Masterchef on Sky TV, has hosted a number of his own TV shows; Alessandro Borghese 4 Ristoranti and Alessandro Borghese Kitchen Sound for Sky Italia, and published a number of cookery books. Last word: To call Obica an upmarket Pizza Express seems unfair – it’s more of a high-end Strada – far more polished and imaginative in its menu choices, which Borghese should be given full credit for, and offering a genuine point of difference in its mozzarella bar concept that will appeal and deliver to cheese purists. But those that enjoy the casual conviviality that comes with a Pollo Ad Astra or Sloppy Giuseppe will likely be first to be wooed through the door of Obica, and so the comparison is relevant. Obica is sophisticated, charming and approachable, and offers far more pizazz than its ubiquitous Italian pizza chain brethren. If you are looking for a generous, welcoming slice of Italian comfort food in the heart of Soho, then Obica fits the bill. Service by staff was impeccable, the location convenient and the menu creative, just don’t expect pizza chain prices. Three courses with wine costs around £50 per person.
News Article | May 8, 2017
Those who love the breadth, perfume and generosity of the wines of the Southern Rhône are intimately familiar with the Rhône’s left bank. This is Provençale Rhône, if you like: the great honey-white bowl of stonefields, terraces and garden villages which arcs out to the east, corralled by the jagged Dentelles de Montmirail, by austere Mont Ventoux, by the western end of the Vaucluse Massif, and finally by the prettier Montagne de Luberon and the Alpilles to the south. You’ll find most of the Southern Rhône’s villages here, and most of its crus, too. What, though, of the right bank? There are just four named villages here, plus a couple of crus and some ancilliary appellations: a much less familiar wine landscape. I spent time at this year’s Découvertes en Vallée du Rhône trying to get to know them a bit better, and taste my way to understanding. The right bank’s problem, if you like, is that it has no bowl. There are terraces but, relatively swiftly, they clamber up into the first foothills of the Cévennes, followed by the pasture and forest associated with altitude. There are certainly points of interest, but no uniformity. Let’s take the zones one by one. We’re in the southeast of the Ardèche, here – a plumb line dropped down from St Joseph. The limestone and marl soils are good-looking, and there’s no shortage of slopes – but altitudes are high (between 150m and 500m) and nights are cool. The whites and rosé wines in this appellation are much more successful than the rather thin and strained reds. There are, in point of fact, some very fine white wines hereabouts – but most are IGP. (For more on this unique white-wine story, see here). Grower Raphaël Pommier of the leading organic domain Notre Dame de Cousignac confirmed that most growers preferred to make IGP than AOC wine here – because sales are buoyant, and permitted yields are higher. This may be one of those rare parts of wine-growing France where IGP will always have the upper hand over AOC – unless the appellation regulations are modified to permit varietal Chardonnay and Viognier. That looks unlikely. A blend of equal portions of Grenache Blanc, Clairette and Marsanne, and grown at 150m. Pretty scents of white almond, honeysuckle and pink grapefruit, with a fresh, pithy, cleanly defined palate. Acid structured, but with some vinous warmth, too. 87 These ‘named village’ wines both come from the relatively confined valley of the Cèze, but there was little wine on show which seemed to be using the names, and none of it impressive. I have, though, had tasty light reds from Chusclan in the past, and the terraces open out into the main Rhône valley at this point, so there is potential. Chusclan is for red and rosé only, whereas St Gervais includes white too. This is a ‘named village’ on the move, and a name worth looking out for, especially for white wines: in the Southern Rhône, only Châteauneuf produces more white wine than Laudun (7,282 hl in 2016 compared to Laudun’s 3,766 hl – but Châteauneuf is more than six times larger than Laudun). It was the whites of Laudun which the celebrated Ardechois writer and agricultural thinker Olivier de Serres picked out for praise in the early C17, and there’s lots more room for expansion here, considering that 81% of Laudun’s production is still red. Its slopes, benches and terraces open up on to the main Rhône valley from the little river Tave. The blend here is 70 per cent Grenache Blanc with the balance from Clairette, Viognier and Roussanne. Nettle-cream scents with a little exotic fruit, with ripe summer fruits on the palate and a pithy, sappy, lemony finish. 90 I had a chance to taste both this vintage and its predecessor, and both are excellent. It’s very southern: a Clairette Blanc/Grenache Blanc blend, but all the better for that: apple, cucumber and fennel scents, with mouthfilling, creamy, aniseed-rich flavours with just enough ‘stony’ edge and ripe acidity to keep it fresh and vibrant; the creamy anis steals back into the finish. 91 I can’t resist mentioning this wine since it is pure Clairette: one of the traditional glories of the South of France, yet hard to find on its own. It smells of fields of grain with a wild-herb drift behind, while the palate is clean, fresh and citrusy. At just 12.5% I suspect it’s been picked a little too early, before the switch is flipped on Clairette’s full resonance. Good all the same. 89 A complex blend (Clairette, Grenache, Marsanne, Roussanne, Viognier and Bourboulenc): perfume grass scents and a bright, focussed, fresh palate with plenty of drive and thrust to it. There’s nothing evident about the flavours, though – a fruit and meadowflower mix in which no variety has the upper hand. 89 These two crus are best considered together. The zones don’t overlap (Tavel lies south of Lirac), but since Tavel is for rosé alone, many producers have land in both areas and use Lirac for their reds and white, and Tavel for rosé. I will look at the ‘gastronomic rosé’ of Tavel (and the challenge posed to it by the success of Provence’s ultra-pale rosés) on another occasion. Lirac is unquestionably the finest site on the Southern Rhône’s right bank for red wines, and in many ways it’s a great red in hiding, lurking in the shadows of Châteauneuf just across the river. Lirac can’t quite match Châteauneuf’s finest sites for power, thrust and thunder – but you might not want that, preferring the softer and more velvety charms of Lirac, both concentrated and utterly beguiling on occasion. There is a little limestone plateau land, but most Lirac vineyards are planted on the familiar rolled pebble soils and sands which you’ll also find over to the east, though they tend to lie a little lower here. Pure perfumed finesse: thyme, fennel, lavender, pine and cistus play through the wine, which is both soft and tender yet sustained and resonant. 92 Translucent in colour, with soft, ripe, savoury aromas and a deep-dropping flavour which combines plummy fruits and the complexities of laurel, thyme and lavender; softly and gracefully structured, too. 92 By the time I got to the Mordorée stand, samples of its outstanding Reine des Bois cuvée, an appellation benchmark, had been exhausted, but the ‘classique’ is impressive in the fine 2015 vintage, too: softly spiced mulberry and blackberry scents, with a palate of teased, nuanced ripeness, with tar, stone and resin behind those softly spicy fruits. 91 Regular readers may recall my recent blog about ‘the other Châteauneuf’ – Châteauneuf de Gadagne (http://www.decanter.com/wine-news/opinion/jefford-on-monday/gadagne-the-other-chateauneuf-354772/). If there is a right-bank echo of Gadagne, it is probably Signargues, which is yet another set of rolled-pebble vineyards and sands linking four villages just a few kilometres west of Avignon. The name (which is a plateau, not a village as such), I fear, will be a handicap; the easier-to-pronounce Saze or Rochefort might have been a better bet. The quality potential for reds here looks good for those prepared to invest in quality. Ripeness seemed to be an issue for some of the Signargues reds, but not this wine, which has ample cherry-plum fruit in juicy, lip-smacking style. There’s fresh acidity and relatively brisk tannins, so after Lirac you’d guess that the site has a little more elevation. Plenty of classic Rhône spiciness to finsh. 90 My hunt around the right-bank appellations concluded with a look at this intriguing appellation, awarded after many years’ efforts in 2012. Is it Rhône? Is it Languedoc? We’ve retreated well back from the river here, up into the Cévennes – and having tasted the wines, it seems to me that the Cévenol foothill identity might well be the most appropriate. The words chosen, after all, by the growers themselves to describe their wines are ‘ciselés, aériens’ (chiselled and aerial). Whites can work very well here (Mathilde Chapoutier has selected one such for her range), but only the most ambitious reds seem to get beyond a faintly green pepperiness at present. Blended principally from Roussanne and Viognier and given barrel-fermentation, this white deftly combined freshness and richness, while the perfumed summer-fruit notes were achieved with great subtlety. 89 Blended principally from Syrah (which looks happy here) and just 20% Grenache, both grown at over 300m, this has real mountain-fresh qualities with cola, coal and peppery notes. Nonetheless there are some firm, structuring tannins, and the fruit has a mouth-coating quality. 88
News Article | May 18, 2017
Lately, the Italian bulk market has changed significantly in terms of purchase timing, negotiation, and final destination markets. It is no longer about simply moving it from the South to the North of Italy, where the main Italian bulk merchants and bottlers are set, nor to the traditional European markets. Nowadays, markets are more linked to one another and what happens in this single ‘unknown market’ – as I like to call it – shall determine the movement of the whole chain, to the final price of the bottle on the supermarket shelf. Container transport has become the best way chosen for shipping wine all around the world, not only in Italy. More than 40% of all wine produced in the world gets exported. Moreover, according to our data, about 30% of this gets shipped in bulk, an increasing trend. In some foreign countries, more than 60% of its production gets shipped in bulk. Much of this wine will be sent to Germany, The United Kingdom and other European nations where big bottling plants are located. Some European bottlers are so efficient, that it costs less for a South American country to bottle their wine in Germany or in the UK and then send it back, than to bottle it in their native countries. In my opinion, you can have two well-defined and distinct Italian bulk wine markets right now. The first is the commodity market for entry-level red, white and rosé bulk wine, where Italian producers have to win over several fierce wine competitors such as Spain, South Africa, Argentina, Chile and the eastern European countries. In the commodity market, any decision to close a contract of thousands of liters of wine plays out in a few cents. The second market belongs to IGT/IGP, DOC/DOP and DOCG wines, whereas each wine gets its own value and its success is due to its export markets – although a small positive trend is emerging in the domestic business, which grew 1.2% last year, after several years of decreasing. Inside Europe itself, it is important to highlight that the total consumption of wine within three traditional markets such as Germany, Switzerland and the Netherlands has been slightly suffering, i.e. around -1.8% regarding to the first two and about -2.3% regarding to Holland. In 2016, Italy produced about 50m hl altogether. Spain reported a smaller crop of about 39 m hl, which is more or less the same as the previous two years, while France produced around 43.5m hl, according to OIV. According to proper figures currently available, the whole world produced about 267m hl of wine in 2016, which stands for a decrease of approximately 3% over 2015. World consumption is about 242 m hl as a standard, therefore if we consider the approximately 20m hl of material needed for juices, concentrates, distillation and food sector, we can undoubtedly assert that the world is almost in balance. Many reports predicted Italian firms would lead that market, thanks to their higher production, and by December 2016 the forecast had been borne out, thanks to the acceptable quality of the entry level wine there produced. That situation allowed indeed Italian producers to recoup their market shares, particularly from traditional countries such as Germany and France, alongside some eastern countries as Czech and Slovak Republics, Hungary and so forth. Spanish prices have got to be more competitive, in order to keep their market shares, since the end of January and the beginning of February 2017. Spanish generic white wine and some varieties like Cabernet Sauvignon are sold at especially good costs. The southern hemisphere harvests have almost finished and the picture is mixed: Australia, New Zealand and South Africa seem to have standard crops, while Argentina and Chile had smaller crops for the second successive year. Up until the middle of April, European markets have been very calm. That is why key bottlers and merchants had searched for their wine on a monthly basis. They did not see any risk of a lack of supply from Italy, especially for generic red wine, even if generic white wine and sparkling bases had already been on a slightly limited provision. At the end of April, bad weather hit many European countries, with temperatures going below zero in Austria, France, Germany, Italy, Eastern countries and some areas in the North of Spain. Frost was strong and persistent not only there, but also in some areas of Italy – i.e. Region Veneto, Prosecco DOC and DOCG area, the South of Piedmont, Modena, Franciacorta and some parts of central Italy. We will need to wait for a more fastidious framework of any loss caused by frost. The feeling is that 2017’s crop will not be that large. For this reason, the market has been currently very active in Italy, as many companies are really afraid of a dangerous price increase. They are moving to cover their needs at least until either the end of 2017 or their selling contracts. From January to December 2016, Italy exported about 20.6 m hl of wine, with an uptrend of about 4.4%, of which about 5,473 m hl was bulk wine with an average price of €0.70 per litre, according to ISTAT. In general, exchanges have been working quite well, so that bulk wine has been well purchased and it is loading quite fast, leaving sellers gratified. On the overall, bulk producers achieved good sales up to December 2016, benefiting from wine good availability, while the first two months of 2017 was a steady time both for bulk and bottled wine. On the whole, Italian wine exports are being driven by sparkling wines in general – Prosecco wine in particular. Beside Italian Prosecco phenomenon, other kinds of wine just follow their regular sales trends. After vintage 2017, there will be two important changes: Pinot Grigio IGT/IGP delle Venezie/Veneto, and Nero d’Avola and Grillo IGT/IGP Terre Siciliane will become DOC only. Some major buyers are already demanding some alternatives, such as Pinot Grigio from Sicily or other regions, in order to continue selling Pinot Grigio blends like Garganega-Pinot Grigio IGT/IGP, which is not going to be allowed any longer under the new DOC Delle Venezie. Italy has had the biggest production in the world for two harvests in a row. That fact helped the fake belief of getting high-quality wine easily at a very cheap price. Competition between private bottling companies and big production cooperatives – which started bottling too – together with major foreign bottling companies, has pushed bottling over capacity – in fact, final bottle prices and profits to the limit so much that some players had to close their contracts with very small gain margins. If the market keeps its stability with a good global production, consumers will enjoy another year of equilibrium and stable prices. On the other hand, if the damage caused by the frost badly affects European production, the price of many types of wine – e.g. white ones – will likely increase. Under that circumstance, companies without covered needs will have to face tough times.
News Article | May 17, 2017
Researchers make conductive paper by coating it with an ionic gel. Credit: American Chemical Society Roll-up computer screens and other flexible electronics are getting closer to reality as scientists improve upon a growing number of components that can bend and stretch. One team now reports in the journal ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces another development that can contribute to this evolution: a low-cost conductive paper that would be easy to manufacture on a large scale. Current flexible electronic prototypes are commonly built using polymer thin films. But the cost of these films becomes a factor when they are scaled up. To address this issue, scientists have turned to paper, which is renewable, biodegradable and a fraction of the cost of polymer thin films. The downside of paper is that it's not conductive, and efforts so far to infuse it with this property have been hindered by scalability and expense. Bin Su, Junfei Tian and colleagues wanted to come up with a new approach. Using a conventional roller process that's easy to scale up, the researchers coated paper with soft ionic gels to make it conductive. They sandwiched an emissive film between two layers of the ionic gel paper. When they applied a voltage, the device glowed blue, indicating that electricity was being conducted. It also showed electrical durability, withstanding more than 5,000 cycles of bending and unbending with negligible changes in performance and lasting for more than two months. The researchers say their conductive paper, which costs about $1.30 per square meter and could be fabricated at a rate of 30 meters per minute, could become an integral part of future flexible electronics. Explore further: New hybrid inks for printed, flexible electronics without sintering More information: Minghui He et al. Ionic Gel Paper with Long-Term Bendable Electrical Robustness for Use in Flexible Electroluminescent Devices, ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces (2017). DOI: 10.1021/acsami.7b02433 Abstract Conductive paper has low-cost, lightweight, sustainability, easy scale-up, and tailorable advantages, allowing for its promising potential in flexible electronics, such as bendable supercapacitors, solar cells, electromagnetic shields, and actuators. Ionic gels, exhibiting a lower Young's modulus together with facile manufacturing, can fully serve as the conductive component to prepare conductive paper. Herein we report a low-cost (∼1.3 dollars/m2), continuous, and high-throughput (up to ∼30 m/min) fabrication of reliable and long-term (stable for more than two months) conductive paper. As-prepared conductive paper shows a high electrical durability with negligible bending–recovering signal changes over 5000 cycles. Using this ionic gel paper (IGP) as a key component, we build a variety of proof-of-principle demonstrations to show the capacity of IGP in constructing flexible electroluminescent devices with diverse patterns, including a square, an alphabetic string, and a laughing face. Our methodology has the potential to open a new powerful route to fabricate bendable conductive paper for a myriad of applications in future flexible electronics.
News Article | May 22, 2017
Every wine region needs its star properties. Not, of course, to dominate, but to draw attention to what can be done, to open up distant markets, and to inspire and encourage smaller and newer competitors. It’s most useful if the stars strive for different forms of excellence rather than apeing or cloning each other. Languedoc is lucky in this respect. Mas de Daumas Gassac and Grange des Pères explore varietal non-conformism in different ways, the former with a fresh-edged classicism and the latter in a richer, more indigenous style. Mas Jullien’s modulations have drawn it ever nearer to the finesse and ability to age which is the hallmark of most fine European reds; the baroque Peyre Rose tests the limits of the possible on many fronts; La Pèira’s sensuality, sumptuousness and purity would be remarkable in any region; Didier Barral holds the torch for a ‘natural’ approach with inconsistent but sometimes magnificent results. There are many others, of course, and newer entrants (including Gérard Bertrand’s Clos d’Ora) are adding to the region’s interest. There is, though, a dark horse in this increasingly crowded field: Puech-Haut. It’s celebrated and successful, but I’ve often struggled to understand its wine. I had the chance to take a closer look when new co-owners Marc and Olga Escassut recently suggested a visit. The holdings are significant: 200 ha all told, split between the historical zones of St Drézéry and St Christol, and the newer appellation of Pic St Loup (La Closerie du Pic). Visitors are welcomed. There’s the world largest barrique, to start with; you can’t miss it as you drive down the olive-lined drive, not least because it’s painted red. Its theoretical contents of 300,000 litres make it larger than Mercier’s giant barrel in Reims (at 160,000 litres) and the historical Heidelberg tun (at 219,000 litres). Walk on in: the giant barrique contains a shop where the world’s most expensive bag-in-box wines are sold. These take the form of miniature limited-edition ‘barriques’ (or ‘Bib’art’) which commemorate and reproduce the collection of artist-painted barriques which Puech-Haut’s founder and now co-owner, Gérard Bru, has commissioned down the years ; the bag-in-box blend inside them, called Le Benjamin, is an IGP Oc based on the young vines of the three domaines plus some bought fruit. They’re hugely popular with collectors; Puech-Haut sells 100,000 of them every year. There’s also a museum of olive presses and a château – which, like the barrel, isn’t exactly what it seems. It is, in fact, the old annexe to Montpellier’s prefecture. Gérard Bru had it moved out to Puech-Haut stone by stone, and extended with some other bits and pieces (including some fine pillars from the former railway station in Grenoble). As you’re probably guessing by now, M.Bru is a character. He has winegrowing roots, and remembers his grandfather swopping wine for potatoes with ‘the people from the mountains’, and putting stones into his wine tanks as he sold their contents in order to keep them topped up. Gérard Bru began by founding an electical business which he eventually sold to Alstom, buying Puech-Haut in his middle years. He also bought a Camargue ranch where he raises 360 wagyu cattle for kobe-style beef production. When lunch time beckoned, out came steaks the size of small cushions which he whacked down onto the open grill flames in his kitchen. It was ‘the art of living’ and ‘the work of pleasure’, he explained, that had been the leitmotiv of his second career — hence the beef and the wine. “I know nothing, other than how to surround myself with competent people,” he claims, though that may be an exaggeration. The estate was celebrated for being one advised for a decade (until 2008) by Michel Rolland and (after a brief period with Claude Gros and Jean Natoli) now by Philippe Cambie; its wines have been enthusiastically reviewed by Robert Parker and his collaborators David Schildknecht and Jeb Dunnuck, and are sold in large quantities in the UK by Farr Vintners, not least thanks to a unique points-to-price ratio. The Puech-Haut wines as they’ve been made so far seem to me to be the epitome of that ‘New World Languedoc’ style which appealed so strongly to outsiders in the 1990s, with deep, fleshy profiles, prominent acidity and lavish oak (some of the special cuvée wines have 24 months in new oak), but with discreet tannin profiles and hence smooth textures. The range includes a large number of occasional parcellaires. There are some successful whites, and a recent addition to the Puech-Haut offer is some of Languedoc’s best (and most attractively packaged) rosés. Will there be a change of direction now that the Escassuts are involved? They’re both winemakers, Marc having formerly owned and run a wine-sourcing enterprise called Vignobles du Soleil. When Vignobles du Soleil became part of the Invivo agricultural co-operative group (which also owns Cordier and Mestrezat), Marc Escassut decided to invest in Puech-Haut. I asked Marc Escassut whether he might ease back on the lavish oaking profiles. He pointed out that these had always been a key element of the Puech-Haut style, and the aim was not to make a sudden change of direction. The giant barrique and the ‘Bib’art’ bag-in-box series, of course, all underlines the estate’s historical affection for wood. A more delicate approach to elevage might help the wines of the fine, high-potential Pic St Loup vineyards, for example, differentiate themselves more clearly from those produced in St Drézéry. More structure and density in the red wines (and a less prominent acid balance) would be welcome, too, at least by me – but we’ll see what the future brings. The point about locomotives, after all, is that they should never stand still. This steel-fermented blend of 60% Roussanne with 40% Marsanne has fresh, sweet floral aromas with some creamy lemon; the palate is lively and bright, sappy, with more lemon and nougatine richness in deftly judged balance. 90 A barrel-fermented blend of Viognier with Marsanne and Roussanne, this is both aromatically and texturally lush and extravagant, with generous summer fruits, attractive vanilla and a mellow, marrowy vegetal backdrop to it. Drink soon before its weight begins to obtrude. 91 This is a barrel-fermented blend (in new barriques) of 60 per cent old-vine Grenache Blanc with the balance from Viognier. The scents are soft, haunting and attractive, a blend of green malt, plant sap and a little crushed aniseed, while the palate is bright and tangy with yellow-plum sweetness and a forceful acid balance, too. 90 Bottled with a glass stopper and blended from 90 per cent Mourvèdre with just 10 per cent Grenache, this is a characterful though still pale rosé with scents of soft summer fruit and ripe peach, apricot and quince flavours with some sappiness. 91 This Grenache/Syrah blend is a pale salmon-peach in colour with enticing scents combining creaminess with almondy freshness. It’s vinous, firm and elegant on the palate, every inch a meal-time rosé, but with enough softness and charm for a glassful to seduce first, too. An outstanding effort for Languedoc. 93 This is Puech-Haut’s entry-level red (and you wouldn’t know it was a Puech-Haut wine from the label). It’s an exuberantly fruity blend of Syrah and Grenache with a soft, fleshy, voluptuous, burnt-blackberry character – and no oak at all. Lots of guzzling pleasure here. 89 Made from 70 per cent Syrah with the balance from Grenache and principally aged in large wood rather than small, this is ripe, mushroomy and almost pruney in aroma and flavour, soft in texture, with firm acidity playing more of a balancing role than tannin. 87 From a blend of 50% Syrah with 35% Grenache and a little Mourvèdre and Carignan, this has fig, prune, mushroom and menthol aromatic notes with mature ripe-fruit notes which mingle the dried fruits of the nose with a little dark raspberry. The oak dries the palate a little and makes it hard to see the skin tannins, though the overall style is generous and exuberant. 89 The 2014 cuvée of Tête de Belier has soft red fruits in a plummy style with a touch of tobacco-leaf savouriness. It has a smooth, oaky-acid palate without great depth or structure, though the black pastille-style fruit is enjoyable. 87 This is one of no fewer than seven occasional ‘parcellaires’ produced using the Puech-Haut label, even though this particular wine comes from the Pic St Loup vineyards (which are otherwise differently labelled) It’s a wine of tangy, gentle red-fruit style, but there is more breed to the Pic St Loup fruit than to the St Drezery fruit and a little more herbal allusion, too; some supporting tannins are palable, even though it is oak and acidity which creates the fundamental balance in this smooth-textured wine. 89 A 60/40 blend of Grenache and Syrah in new wood, this is certainly oaky but you can also pick out notes of thyme and scrub, and there is more of a fresh creaminess to the fruit compared to the St Drézery fruit. There are herb and spice notes to the fruit on the palate behind the oak. 88
News Article | May 24, 2017
Coming from the IGP vineyards of Ensérune, which are 80% owned by growers that work with Foncalieu and called ‘Ensédune’ which is the old Roman name for the area, the range covers six wines at present; three reds, a rosé and two whites. The wines include a Malbec, Marselan and Petit Verdot, a Cabernet Franc rosé and a Marsanne and dry Muscat. Each wine is a single variety and comes from the vineyards of a single grower whose photograph forms part of the front label. Speaking to the drinks business, Alexandra Ladeuil, export and marketing director for the co-operative, said it was “important for consumers looking for a story and a history.” The range is being aimed at leading UK supermarkets and while Marie-Annick Consola, UK sales and export director for Foncalieu, added that varieties such as Petit Verdot and Marselan were trickier propositions for retailers to work with and there was a need to raise their profile. That said, the range has already been listed by a leading Dutch supermarket chain. As Consola continued: “The aim was to be different. In the company we try to be forward thinking and innovative by proposing different things.” The company added that it has ‘refreshed’ the packaging for its leading on-trade range, ‘Le Versant’. The changes are subtle, admitted both Consola and Ladeuil (such as adopting a white rather than an off-white label) but it was hoped the slight tweaks made the range “more elegant” and would help drive further listings.
News Article | May 24, 2017
NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Imports of Languedoc AOP wines to the American market have seen astonishing growth over the last seven years. Since 2009 imports of these wines into the U.S. have grown +280% by volume and +403% by value. The 2016 import figures* show +29% volume growth and +43% value growth, 2016 over 2015, outpacing every major French AOP category except Provence. Leading the way, imports of AOP Languedoc Rouge/Rosé wines are up +62% by volume and +86% by value YOY and are a key driver of this growth for the category. “The rise of imports of rosé wines from the South of France is increasingly significant to our producers,” says Christine Molines, Marketing Director for the Conseil Interprofessionnel des Vins du Languedoc. She points to Languedoc wines’ diversity of styles on offer as a key driver, as well as their ability to deliver exceptional quality for approachable pricing. “Our Crus du Languedoc appellations offer the best values for French Crus wines on the market.” The CIVL continues their investment in the U.S. market in 2017 with a full schedule of retail promotion partnerships, trade education initiatives, public relations and digital media support. Benson Marketing Group has been retained for an additional two years as agency of record, building on work begun in the U.S. market by the CIVL and Benson starting in late 2008. Visit languedocadventure.com for updates on activities and enjoy Languedoc wines on May 26 – international #LanguedocDay. The Conseil Interprofessionnel des Vins du Languedoc (CIVL) is the trade council representing the entire AOP wine sector of Languedoc, as well as the IGP sector. It is responsible for organizing the promotion of Languedoc AOPs within France and in all export markets. The CIVL seeks to broaden the exposure of Languedoc wines in the United States to make the public aware of the quality, variety and incredible value they have to offer.
News Article | December 8, 2016
Antibody-based immunotherapy is a new promising method to treat cancer. Unfortunately, today's treatments can result in adverse side effects. New findings from Uppsala University show an alternative way to administer the therapy, which has the same effect on the tumour but less impact other parts of the body. In antibody-based immunotherapy drugs are used to stimulate the body's own immune cells to attack and destroy the tumour cells. This method is presently used to treat certain types of metastasised cancer, such as melanoma and bladder cancer. However, a disadvantage of the therapy is that the drug is injected in the blood, which will lead to an exposure of the whole body and thereby possible adverse events. An alternative strategy would be to administer the drug directly in or close to the tumour, provided that this still leads to the desired immune cell stimulation. In the present study a group of researchers, led by Sara Mangsbo at Department of Immunology, Genetics and Pathology, IGP, has demonstrated that a local immune activation in the tumour area had the same tumour inhibiting capacity as when the drug was delivered in the blood. 'We found that the therapy that we tested in a model system of bladder cancer could stimulate the immune cells to find and attack the cancer cells, even if it was administered locally. These results are very promising since they indicate that it's not necessary to activate the body's whole immune system, but only the one that is relevant in the tumour. This way adverse events caused by the drug can be reduced,' says Sara Mangsbo. In the study immune activation was achieved by administering blocking antibodies close to the tumour. The results complement the researcher's previous findings where they found that a direct immune stimulatory antibody had superior anti-tumour capacity when used locally at the tumour, as compared to after injection into the blood. The hope is also that the immune cells, not the drug itself, can find potential metastases and eliminate them. To understand if and how this is happening, further research is required. The present results are based on studies in mice and to determine if drug administration to the tumour results in fewer adverse events in patients, as compared to injections into the blood stream, clinical studies are also needed. The study is a collaboration with researchers in Lund and in Canada and was recently published in European Journal of Immunology. Luuk van Hooren et al, Local checkpoint inhibition of CTLA-4 as a monotherapy or in combination with anti-PD1 prevents the growth of murine bladder cancer, European Journal of Immunology november 2016, http://onlinelibrary. Sara Mangsbo, associated Professor and researcher at Department of Immunology, Genetics and Pathology (IGP), Uppsala university, firstname.lastname@example.org, tel 070-425 08 78
News Article | February 21, 2017
UK solar developer Island Green Power has teamed up with local Australian renewable energy developer Overland Sun Farming to construct three large-scale solar projects in Victoria’s north, which together will total 320 megawatts. Located in the north of Victoria, in the southeast of Australia, Island Green Power (IGP) and Overland Sun Farming (Overland) will construct three separate large-scale solar projects near the towns of Wemen, Yatpool, and Iraak. The three projects will total 320 megawatts (MW) together, and are expected to deliver enough clean electricity to power more than 600,000 homes. The projects are currently listed as “Shovel ready” by IGP, and have been granted council approval, as well as agreements signed with Powercor Australia to connect each of the projects to the state electrical grid upon completion. Construction is expected to start soon, and will be completed within 12 months. ‘‘As the input prices fall and future energy and Large-scale Generation Certificates (LGC’s) prices continue to remain high, the conditions are in place for investment,” said Island Green Power managing director Ian Lawrie. “The Overland/IGP team has the experience in delivering utility-scale renewable energy projects from start to finish, which will finally realise Victoria’s potential.” ‘‘Solar is Australia’s next great energy opportunity,” added Brett Thomas, Overland’s managing director. “We could see that Victoria’s north-west region was a fantastic opportunity for solar farming — it has the best solar radiation in the state and there is plenty of clear flat land. Construction is set to get underway later this year.” This is one of the first renewable energy development announcements to land in Australia this year, a year which the country’s Clean Energy Council is expecting to be a “huge year” for large-scale renewable energy development. Earlier this month the Council suggested that there is up to 2,250 MW worth of large-scale renewable energy under development, generating up to $5 billion in investments and almost 3,000 construction jobs this year alone. Reports are also floating around that London-based solar developer Eco Energy World has plans to build a 280 MW solar farm in the north of the country, near Bouldercombe, Queensland. Construction is expected to start as early as the third quarter, and EEW chairman Svante Kumlin expects energy storage to be added to the project in its second phase, entirely replacing the need for fossil fuel energy generation. Buy a cool T-shirt or mug in the CleanTechnica store! Keep up to date with all the hottest cleantech news by subscribing to our (free) cleantech daily newsletter or weekly newsletter, or keep an eye on sector-specific news by getting our (also free) solar energy newsletter, electric vehicle newsletter, or wind energy newsletter.
News Article | December 23, 2016
IGP.com, the largest online gift store of India offers a wide range of gifts to celebrate New Year. It is now possible to send exciting to your dear ones online no matter where they live in the world with excellent services of IGP.com.