Tag Archives: France

Extraordinary vintage Dom Ruinart 2007

2007 is an extraordinary vintage, and one of the very few in Champagne when the harvest began in August. After a sunny and very warm spring, the months of June, July and August brought rather gloomy weather and heavy rainfall. The blend is 100% Chardonnay exclusively from Grand Cru vineyards.

The blend is 100% Chardonnay exclusively from Grand Cru vineyards: 75% from the Côte des Blancs (Chouilly, Le Mesnil, Oger and Avize) and 25% from the northern slopes of Montagne de Reims (predominantly Sillery and Verzenay).

The attack is a hit of chalk, then flint and oyster shell notes mingle with the smoky aromas of blond tobacco. The nose continues into springtime notes, underscored with light aromas of sap, linden, acacia, extremely fresh yellow and green citrus fruit (lime, yuzu) and green fruit (plum). The subtle notes of fig leaf, liquorice and fine Chinese tea enhance the complexity of its aromatic bouquet.
The palate, which begins smoothly, quickly reveals a thrilling, stony liveliness and a deep intensity structured by notes of green citrus and grapefruit. The sap-infused and chalky finish is framed with an elegant bitter flavour. Dom Ruinart 2007 is a dynamic, sculpted wine that expresses the full purity of fine Chardonnay.

For a starter, Dom Ruinart is a wonderful match for a carpaccio of scallops millefeuille and black radish with a marinade of first press organic olive oil and green citrus fruit. Its elegance and texture partners perfectly with steamed cod in champagne, Zhegiang powder tea and a seawater consommé.
Dom Ruinart Blanc de Blancs 2007 has to be kept in a cool place, away from any light. Serving this vintage at a temperature between 10 and 12°C in large tasting glasses will accentuate the sublime nature of its aromatic complexity.

Franco-German €500bn recovery plan

Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron propose a major financial recovery fund worth €500 billion.

Both leaders have proposed that the EU borrows on the financial markets in order to disperse some €500bn through grants to European economies hit hardest by the coronavirus pandemic.

Under the Franco-German proposal the member states receiving the funds would not need to repay the cash.

Liability for the debt would instead be added to the EU budget, to which member states contributions vary according to the size and prosperity of their economies.

Should the proposal receive the endorsement of the 25 other member states, it would amount to a significant move towards a level of burden-sharing and fiscal transfers firmly opposed during past crises. The European commission would borrow the money under the EU’s name.

It would come on top of the bloc’s next budget — the Multiannual Financial Framework — and the €540 billion of loans already announced by the Eurogroup.

The money raised by the Commission would be used “in a targeted manner” to support sectors and regions particularly impacted by the pandemic.

Speaking during a virtual press conference with France’s president, Merkel said: “We are convinced that it is not only fair but also necessary to now make available the funds … that we will then gradually repay through several future European budgets”.

COVID19: Viticulture counts on EU aid

Sales at British liquor stores leapt a third in March, while those for alcohol at U.S. retailers shot up more than 50% in the week after the country entered a state of national emergency.

But the drinks industry isn’t celebrating.

The surge in demand came as sales through bars, clubs and restaurants fell to zero as they were closed to contain the COVID-19 virus. And even as countries start to ease restrictions, these venues are likely to be re-opened in the very end of lock down.

There are various estimates that in Europe, the closure of this important distribution channel could lead to a 35% reduction in sales volume, which could reach more than 50% loss in sales value”, said Pau Roca, managing director of the International Wine Organization (OIV) during an audio conference.

Pau Roca estimated that the impact of these containment measures would not be the same in all regions and, for example, that the Mediterranean countries would be “probably more affected than the others”. He puts forward two reasons to support this forecast:

First, the highest incidence of bars, restaurants and sidewalk cafes, and second, the radical suppression of the highly developed tourism industry, which will be severely limited, even a once containment has ended ”.

The top three global wine producers in 2019, Italy, France and Spain, alone accounted for 25% of global wine consumption last year, according to data released at the press conference.

If the OIV mentions an increase in sales in grocery stores and supermarkets, “this good news does not compensate for all the losses caused” by the reduction in sales in hotels, cafes and restaurants, underlines Pau Roca. The characteristics of the retail commercial distribution channel “limit purchasing capacity”, he says, referring to an offer more geared “towards low and homogeneous prices”.

Finally, it plans to develop distance selling or electronic commerce offered by various virtual stores. “Via this third distribution channel, orders could not always be guaranteed” due to a saturation of logistics and delivery services, said the OIV manager.

Once this problem is resolved and the sector adapts to this new demand, direct home sales will certainly continue to increase in the future,” he adds. Nevertheless, “even if we are witnessing a spectacular transfer between the distribution channels, the overall balance expected is a reduction in consumption, a reduction in average prices and therefore an overall decrease in the total value of sales of turnover, margins and ultimately the profitability of producers, vineyards and in particular SMEs which are linked to traditional distribution channels and which are located outside supermarket networks, ”says Pau Roca.

After the taxes of Trump, who planted part of the wine companies, today with the closing of restaurants, the closing of lounges, the closing of cellars, the closing of sales on farms, French wine growers are in the process of to be completely suffocated, “said French Minister of Agriculture Didier Guillaume on LCI TV Channel.

While Europe proposed new measures for other agricultural sectors in crisis, such as milk and meat, Pau Guillaume now hopes for a gesture for viticulture from the European Commission.

French, Italian and Spanish wine cooperatives, which claim a total of half of European production, asked the Commission “to open without delay a European crisis distillation of 10 million hectoliters with a budget exceptional European investment of 350 million euros ”.

A crucial measure to relieve producers, even if last year, world production fell by 12% compared to 2018, a record vintage, to 260 million hectoliters, according to the latest figures from the OIV.

While more than four out of ten bottles usually cross borders, “trade flows are and will continue to be seriously affected,” said Pau Roca. He believes that the two largest markets in the world, Europe and the United States, could reduce their imports, but hopes on the other hand that “other regions less affected by the pandemic or which could recover more quickly, such as the countries Asian ”, will provide“ short-term partial relief”.

COVID19: EU succumbs to China pressure

A report by the European External Action Service (EEAS) looking at the spread of disinformation about the COVID-19 outbreak was, according to unnamed European official, pulled from publication because of concerns about Chinese reaction.

The report, which had already been circulated to member states and leaked to media, was quioted saying that China was undertaking a global campaign to deflect blame for Covid-19 with the aim of improving the country’s international status and said there had been both overt and covert activity.

The EEAS denied a report was due to be published, saying an internal report was leaked.

Analysts underline they have seen a push from Chinese media to emphasise the country’s success and other’s failings in dealing with the virus, along with Russia also adopting the strategy on Western failures and errors.

Beijing’s messaging is believed to reflect fears of the Chinese leaders of a backlash once the crisis is over.

A New York Times report this week also claimed that Chinese “agents” had been pushing misinformation in March about a lockdown in the US.

The initial European Union report, obtained by The New York Times, was not particularly strident: a routine roundup of publicly available information and news reports.

It cited the Chinese leadership efforts to curtail mentions of the virus’s origins in Wuhan, in part by blaming the United States for spreading the disease

It also noted that Beijing had criticized France for its slow response to the pandemic and had pushed false accusations that French politicians used racist slurs against the head of the World Health Organization Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus (Ethiopian microbiologist and internationally recognized researcher).

The report also highlighted Russian efforts to circulate false information and sow distrust in Western institutions.

Western officials say China is keen to play up its success in combating the virus and minimise any fallout from its role as the origin of the COVID-19 and early failures to be open about the outbreak.

Image: Chinese “wet” market, source: social media

Normandy: wolf camera images

А large canine has been captured by an automatic camera in Normandy, northern France. Authorities believe the animal is a European gray wolf. If their hypothesis is correct, it would be the first wolf seen in this region of France for more than a century.

According to a local news report, the image of the lone canine was taken overnight on April 7-8 in Londinières, a village northeast of Normandy—on an infrared camera.

Authorities at the French Office for Biodiversity (OFB) say it is likely a gray wolf (Canis lupus lupus), but caution additional information is needed to confirm the sighting.

“Given the quality of the images provided and considering that many breeds of dogs can have a size and coat colors similar to that of a wolf, this expertise should be considered with some reservation,” the OFB, which was sent images of the suspected wolf on April 12, said in a press release.

“The photo was analyzed by several people experienced in the identification of the wolf and who concluded that there was a high probability,” a spokesperson from the OFB told Newsweek. “However, it cannot 100 percent be said it is a wolf… Only DNA analysis on biological material would remove doubts.”

#COVID19: France imposes new bans

At midnight France is shutting down all restaurants, cafes, cinemas, theatres and “non-essential” retail shops, as the coronavirus continues to spread, Prime Minister Edouard Philippe has announced. Grocery stores, pharmacies, and similar public services will remain open. The restrictions are entering force from March 15 onwards till further notice.

The transport system will also maintain functioning, however the Prime Minister called citizens to limit their travel to absolutely necessary. He also underlined that French failed to show “discipline” in respecting the previous warnings to restrain from public gatherings, including family celebrations.

COVID19: chocolate Easter eggs

A baker has created coronavirus-themed Easter eggs, hoping to bring positivity to people as Covid-19 hits France.

French chocolatier Jean-Francois Pre found inspirtion in the novel virus 3D model.The ironic creator has sold dozens to customers in western France’s Finistere region over the last week – and he does it, he says, because “it makes them smile in these difficult times.”

€10M worth Romanian traffic gang arrest

An unprecedented law enforcement operation involving five countries has resulted in the takedown of one of the most active networks of cargo thieves operating across Europe. Composed of over 100 members, this organised crime group is believed to have committed over 150 acts of cargo theft for a total estimated damage worth in excess of €10 million. (Image: illustration).

The coordinated actions took place under the umbrella of a joint investigation, code-named ‘ARROW’, coordinated by Europol at the international level.

The latest phase of Operation ARROW has resulted in the arrest today in Romania of 37 members of this highly professional criminal syndicate. 73 house searches were carried out in the early hours of the morning across the country by the Romanian National Police (Poliția Română) and the French National Gendarmerie (Gendarmerie Nationale) with the support of Europol on-the-ground.

These arrests this week in Romania follow those in other European countries of other members of the same criminal group. 10 suspects were arrested in France earlier this year by the French National Gendarmerie as part of a parallel action. A further 10 suspects were arrested in Spain, 6 in the Netherlands and 5 in Sweden. European arrests warrants have been issued for the remaining members at large. 

The arrested individuals, who are originally from Romania, are suspected of carrying out thefts from moving lorries, even as the drivers continued to drive – obvious to the crimes – at high speed on motorways. 

Executing such thefts requires a high degree of sophistication. One car would start to drive slowly in front of the lorry while two other cars held up the other traffic. A fourth car would drive up close behind the lorry. One of the criminals would climb out of the car’s sunroof onto the bonnet and break open the lock on the lorry with an angle grinder. The valuable cargo would then either be transferred to their vehicle, or thrown on the side of the road to be picked up later. The driver of the lorry and other road-users were often completely unaware of what was going on.

Involved from the very onset of the investigation in December 2016, Europol brought together the different police forces involved to help them connect the dots between their own national investigations and provided analytical support before and during the action days. 

Macron agrees to Albania and N.Macedonia accession talks

French President Emmanuel Macron said he would agree North Macedonia and Albania to begin talks on joining the European Union if the bloc’s executive gave them a positive review next month.

Macron’s comments at the Munich Security Conference ended his opposition to the two Balkan countries’ engagement into talks towards EU membership and reassure other European leaders that France still backs expanding the bloc to new members.

“We are waiting for the (European Commission) report in March … depending on that, if the results are positive and confidence is established, then we should be in a position to open the negotiations,” Macron announced the conference.

Macron had refused to approve the start of so-called accession negotiations at a summit in October, saying the process of admitting new members needed to change. One French minister called the accession process an “endless soap opera“.

Concerned by Chinese and Russian influence in the six states that aspire to join the bloc – Serbia, Kosovo, Montenegro, Albania, Bosnia and North Macedonia – Germany and the European Commission said Macron was shortsighted to block them.

The announcement of President Macron provocked a wave of vivid reactions from entire political specturm: from laudit of European Liberals as Guy Verhofstad to condemnation by French Conservatives as Nicolas Bay, who used social media to express his indignation: “NO to MAFIA STATE!”

While #Macron put aside all negotiations with Albania and North Macedonia two months ago, it turns around and is about to lift the opposition of France! NO TO MAFIA STATES and ISLAMISTS STRONGHOLD!” – Member of European Parliament Bay wrote on his Twitter microblog.

Macron laments Brexit “shock”

Britain’s exit from the European Union was made possible by the “lies uttered” during the June 2016 referendum campaign but also because Europe has not changed enough, Emmanuel Macron said on January 31, this Brexit must constitute “a historic alarm signal” for the EU. (Image: archive).

This departure is a shock, it is a historic alarm signal which must resound in each of our countries”, declared the president of the Republic in a televised speech diffused less than six hours before the effective exit of the Great Brittany from the EU at midnight (23:00 GMT).

We must remember at all times what lies can lead to in our democracies,” he continued.

“This Brexit is possible, has been possible and will come into effect in a few hours because we have too often made Europe a scapegoat for our own difficulties, because also we have not changed our Europe enough. We need Europe more than ever “, said Emmanuel Macron.

I am aware that Europe can only continue to move forward if we reform it in depth, to make it more sovereign, more democratic, closer to our fellow citizens and therefore also simpler in its daily life and that we succeed in rebuilding a clearer European project for all of you.

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