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Published:  23 July, 2008

'The Smart Guide to Drinking Wine by the Glass in London with Bordeaux and Bordeaux Suprieur' has been published by the Syndicat of the two appellations, which represent 58% of the region's wines. The glossy 55-page handbook lists more than 120 of 'the capital's most innovative, stylish restaurants and bars' where Bordeaux and other wines are sold by the glass. 32,500 copies will be distributed across London in November and December most in London, Food & Travel, Class, and Wine magazines. They will also be available in 25 London branches of Nicolas UK, in Selfridges, and in participating restaurants and wine bars. Speaking at the launch on 25 October, Allan Sichel, president of Bordeaux ngociant Maison Sichel and of Groupe Bordeaux, described the initiative as part of the region's 'response to the Australian onslaught'. He said that 'addressing new consumers [was] the only way to regain market share in important markets such as the UK'. There was a need to show consumers 'who have sometimes been afraid of Bordeaux' that Bordeaux can be 'very affordable wines, friendly wines, to be drunk in modern environments'. Sichel said that Bordeaux is not sacrificing what Bordeaux is: 'round, ripe, fruity wines but still with balance, elegance and length'. He went on to describe the new official measures to raise standards in viticulture and winemaking. The first such measures in France to gain ISO 9002 certification, they focus on the need for lower yields and riper fruit, more modern equipment and techniques, and more rigorous tasting. Sichel told Harpers that he would welcome stricter quality control before the award of the agrment, to supplement the downstream quality control afterwards. The number of producers (6,725) would make it difficult to organise, but he would like to see a sample taken for a certain volume of wine (as now practised in the Mdoc) rather than one sample for the total volume. He said there was still a need for further consolidation and greater vertical integration, and suggested that several of Bordeaux's biggest ngociants might collaborate on a brand big enough to compete with those from the New World.