News - Laissez faire le guide : Histoire d’y boire clair ! - Les Grappes

Leave it to the guide: Just to drink it clear!

The festive season is approaching and your best friend has become a wine fanatic. For the past few months, he or she has been flirting with wine lover communities on the web. People are heckling and the emoticon is toasting the world. For a clearer drink, choose your guide.

Almost everything has already been said about wine guides. If Robert Parker was able to establish himself as the leader of the reference guides for Bordeaux wines, others have taken their place and taken over in France. And these are renewed every year with tricks. They redouble their comments, rankings and discoveries. This niche makes as many emulators as envious. Digital technology is not short of breath to compete with them. From the rather classic pillars to the more daring ones, the evaluation methods are diversifying.

The pillars

In France, three guides compete for the top of the bill. The guide of the Wines of France published by the eponymous monthly magazine. The famous green guide selects 6,500 wines in its 2019 edition. Launched in 1996, the guide of La Revue des Vins de France intends to present the cream of French wines. But still an inventory is provided of the organic and biodynamic vintages. Following the example of the red guide to gastronomy launched by the Michelin brothers in 1900, the estates are classified in starred families.

At Michel Bettane and Thierry Desseauve's, the 2019 edition, while listing the best wines of France, is a breakaway from the wines of the world. This is not stupid, since the share of foreign wines in supermarkets has now reached 7% in volume against 2% a few years ago (source IRI). Translated into Chinese, the guide serves as a support for the general public exhibitions of the Bettane + desseauve brand in France and Asia. In addition, the authors have developed a digital offer of 110,000 rated wines with the Grand Tasting application. The guide would reference 12,500 wines to date.

The publication of these two guides as well as the Hachette guide is scheduled for the end of August in view of the wine fairs. So many references imply a bit of consumerism. As for the Hachette guide, it gives a well-classified vision of the wines of France. Its selection is based on the tastings of 1500 tasters who award 500 "coups de coeur". And this with symbols rather than notes. Its selection amounts to 10,000 wines.

Currently, none of these guides no longer refrain from mentioning a choice of organic wines. However, few organic wines participate in the wine fairs of the big brands. Their distribution circuit being apart. It still publishes a guide of good wine deals at less than 15 euros for the most broke or relaxed among you.

Les audacieux

However, not all guides advocate taste, ranking and scoring. After all, winegrowers are no longer children. And neither are the wine consumers! If it is necessary to marry the criterion of excellence with that of transparency, the guide Wine and Health attracts the eye.

Unusually, it is published in April. Prefaced by François d'Haene, the winemaker and 2018 winner of the diagonal des fous in Reunion Island, the Wine and Health guide presents only 300 wines. It is therefore distinguished not by volume but by value.

Well aware that the wine lover wants to know more about the quality and drinkability of the wines, the selection is made on the basis of analyses. Thus all the wines in the guide display zero pesticides. The author of the biodynamic wine guide Evelyne Malnic participates in the selections with other tasters.

Conceived by Professor Christian Cabrol (1925-2017), a heart surgeon, this wine guide is today taken up by Adrien Tréchot. A totally modern version. Relooked, the guide indicates the nutritional value of the wines chosen. It has the advantage of a colourful, simple and playful reading, which is therefore educational. The selection is made according to three remarkable criteria :

  • the concentration of polyphenols
  • the sulphur dioxide content
  • absence of pesticide residues

In the guide Carité des vignerons bio et biodynamiques, attention is paid to French wines and those from neighbouring countries. The 2019/2020 edition mentions the total or free SO2 doses and specifies the type of harvest and the quality of the yeasts. Founded by Jean-Marc Carité, the guide is now co-written by his daughter Lilas Carité. It has the merit to argue the theme of organic wines, regulations and reflection in support.

On the side of the so-called live or natural wines, a little new nose. Signed Antonin Iommi-Amunategui and Jérémie Couston, the Glou Guide offers 150 natural wines at 15 euros max. Because wine is not just for the rich! An edition of only 200 pages, when the pillars of the genre total 900 to 1500 pages. And this time, we're talking about a new taste of wine with a good frankness!

While most are developing a digital offer, others do not bother with a paper edition to get started. On the web, another daring one is slumbering in the site With 31 million users, Vivino intends to become the world's wine guide. Translated into 7 languages, the participative site is also on the side of Anglo-Saxon and international critics with experts such as Jancis Robinson, Robert Parker, Decanter or Wine Enthusiast cited as references.

More information :

Christelle Zamora

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