10 GREAT WINE FAMILIES: A tour through Europe by Fiona Morrison MW

May 4th, 2020

Your scribe enjoyed an interview on Saturday May 2nd from Napa Valley Valley Academy on Facebook Live by Peter Marks MW of Fiona Morrison MW. My first connection to Fiona goes back decades to rather frequent wine meetings with her in London, Bordeaux, and America often in connection with my position as Chair of the IWFS Wines Committee. Always liked her outgoing personality plus respected her outstanding knowledge and reasoned analysis on all things vinous. Since then she has earned her Master of Wine in 1994, married in 1997 to Jacques Thienpoint of Chateau Le Pin in Pomerol, and gone on to become an award winning wine writer. It was a pleasure to connect with her again virtually. Pleased to learn she authored another interesting book titled 10 Great Wine Families A tour through Europe. Fiona had the remarkable experience of actually spending some days with each of these ten families and sets out her personal insights about them over four seasons listed in Contents as follows:

SUMMER:

1. Familia TORRES – Penedes, Spain: Regeneration in Catalonia

2. Marchesi de’ FRESCOBALDI – Florence Italy: Wine saves a medieval dynasty

3. Weingut Emmerich KNOLL – Wachau, Austria: A phoenix rising next to the Danube

AUTUMN:

4. Famille THIENPOINT – Bordeaux, France: Belgium colonizes the Right Bank of Bordeaux

5. Descendientes de J PALACIOS – Bierzo, Rioja, Priorat, Spain: Pilgrims, pioneers and matadors

6. NIEPOORT Ports & Wines – Douro Valley, Portugal: A varietal uprising in the Douro

WINTER:

7. GAJA -Barbaresco, Italy: Maestros and earth goddesses

8. EGON MULLER – Scharzhof, Moselle, Germany

SPRING:

9. LIGER-BELAIR – Burgundy, France: Restoring a Grand Cru heritage

10. Famille PERRIN – Rhone, France: Family collaboration

The interview highlighted many insights into all the families including the enormous hours they all worked with their drive to succeed. All focused on long term but problems because of succession laws and dependence on nature. Difficult to plan with climate change and your crop could be wiped out by frost. Two vintages no Le Pin was produced. Sounded like there was a future possibility of a second one including wineries in the world outside Europe that would certainly include Catena in Argentina and Henschke in Australia among others. Even more likely might be an update 10 years on as as to how these ten iconic wine families are doing. Fiona made some quips about these present unique family principals which I am sure must make this book a most interesting read. She stressed the importance of having her photographer next to her to capture her behind the scenes visits. This is not a book review but was inspired to buy and look forward to learning more from reading it.

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May 4th, 2020

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