All my interviews #4: Champagne Thienot


Stanislas Thienot is the handsome son of Alain Thienot, the founder of prestige maison Champagne Thienot. He came 14th with his sister Garance in the list of the 200 major personalities of wine in France, published a month ago by La Revue de Vins de France.
The video interview I made in 2016 is now sadly lost in the sands of time, brought down for some reasons by my old employer. Luckily I still have the transcript, which I am publishing here with some minor editing.

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Spanish wine ageing law


The Spanish wine law can be confusing at times: not only it includes the denomination of origin system (from Vinos de Pago down to Vinos de Mesa), but we also have to face the Crianza, Reserva and Gran Reserva categorization.

While preparing a seminar on Spanish still wine for WSET Diploma students, I have come across some contradictory informations about the length of ageing for each of these three levels. Eventually I decided to look by myself at the official legal documents (the “Pliego de Condiciones”, roughly equivalent to French “Cahier des Charges” and Italian “Disciplinare”)

I have summarized the results in the tables below, which I hope will be useful for someone else out there, especially since the Unit 3 exam of January is approaching fast.

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Franciacorta: “So what?” “Oh, well”


In my short time (6 years) in the business of wine I have had the chance to try many Champagnes, some of them outstanding in quality: my previous employer set up an online shop focused only on this wine, so I was able to take part in many seminars, to interview many producers and to taste lots of different cuvées.
On the other hand I am much less familiar with Franciacorta: I tasted my share at trade events or by myself, but I simply haven’t had the time to properly explore this area.

As a consequence, if you ask me my favorite between the two, that would be Champagne: I have drunk memorable bottles in the past and I am jealously storing a Extra Brut Philipponnat 2006 that I got as a farewell present from my ex-colleagues. I do not have such memories with Franciacorta (still?), nor I have ever found wines capable of rivaling the best Champagnes.

That said, I have found the words of Richard Hemming MW in his article from 16 October 2018 (“Franciacorta seeks a USP – still“) a bit too harsh and his criticism toward Franciacorta exaggerated.

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Corks, corks, corks

I am reading a book at the moment, well to be honest I am reading many books, but a very good one I am enjoying now is “To cork or not to cork” by George M. Taber.
The topic, wine closures, is catching me so much that now, when I open a bottle, I always check the cork. When I find something interesting I take a picture and gather informations on its production and technology.

It’s a very deep world and extremely important for wine enjoyment. Here are some of my shots, in chronological order.

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TWIL: this week I learned



“I know that I know nothing”

Not all the sparkling wine you drink has been refermented by the producer (both for traditional and tank method)
Many producers do not have the material means (the tanks or the space) or the know-how to carry the refermentation process on their own premises. Thus, in many cases the wine is loaded in tanks, put on trucks and sent to a contract company which will do the job for them.
Talking about Italy, it must be noticed that each denomination of origin has specific rules about where the production must take place, refermentation included. However, if you are making it outside the denomination system you can sent your wine everywhere in the Country.

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