Well, I seem to have done the unthinkable. I rang up a wine merchant to do a quick interview about the grimness of the 2007 primeur campaign and ended up spending nearly 700 euro.
I am shocked. How did it happen? I was never planning to buy any 2007 primeurs. And he was not trying to sell, just answer a few questions.
Then, the issue of biodynamics came up, and bingo, a case of 2007 Château Pontet-Canet was mine. Well, mine when I send over the cheque. And mine in two years time when I pay the bits and pieces left over and it actually arrives. I've not told my husband – you know how it is with shopping – or anyone actually. It all seems a bit not quite the right thing to be talking about. So I just thought I would write about it quietly in my blog. Thank god he never reads it. My husband that is.
I was supposed to buy a new computer.
Now if we had been talking about an organic wine, I doubt I would have flipped like that. But say biodynamic and I get a bit irrational. It ticks all the boxes for me. Moon, homeopathy, care and attention, understanding cycles of things like life. And it is good for the planet. And I feel better drinking it. Never get hangovers either. That of course might be the fact that I drink less of it, but either way, it works. Please God I never find an organic whiskey.
In fact I have now gone so far down the anti agri-chemical road I only buy things if they are organic. And I mean things like jeans and vegetables and shampoo and bread and face cream. Yes, for those of you who don't know, there is such a thing as biodynamic skin cream. It is more expensive and harder to find but that also means I buy less and spend less time choosing it. Where there are 100 different kinds of face cream and shampoo there is usually one or two organic/biodynamic ones. Easy.
Having agreed to buy the stuff, the wine, I then of course had to finish my article all about how 2007 was not worth buying, and would be in the shops in two years time for half nothing and all that.
But still. Buying cheaper is only one half the primeur equation – one that does not for the most part function in relation to 2007. But the other half of the logic still works – that if you want something you probably won't find in the shops in two years time, buy it en primeur.
It could be, of course, that there will be bottles of Pontet-Canet in the shops in 2009. But I am prepared to take that risk. Anyway, it never, ever seems to be in the shops I am in at the moment. The second wine, yes, Les Hauts de Pontet-Canet, but not the grand vin.
Having finished the article and stopped thinking about the whole 'I just bought a case of primeurs' thing, I was comforted to see that the June edition of La Revue du Vin de France (RVF) is full of comments on biodynamics.
Back page interview: biodynamics, page 32 on the issue of terroir, Michel Chapoutier saying real terroir only exists in biodynamic vineyards, and a few other references here and there. Plus Pontet-Canet got a RVF score of 18.5 so that was encouraging.
As to the broader subject of primeurs the whole thing continues lacklustre, possibly now downgraded to washed out. The only bit of upcoming interest is to see whether any of the stars, right or left bank, manage to actually lower their prices in any meaningful way. Well, meaningful to the consumer that is.
Or if they actually dare put their prices up. Now that will be testing the law of demand exceeding supply given that UK merchants have been heard to say they may not be buying the premier crus – can they mean it? – and US ones have said nothing at all.
A further, future bit of interest, might also come from the rumours that the 2007 campaign might in fact damage Bordeaux's share of the fine wine market long term. I have only actually heard one négociant say it – and he is not a French native, though he's been here 20 years selling primeurs – but I have heard mutterings of the kind all over the place.
What they are saying is that 2007 might mean Bordeaux cedes market share to Spain, Rhône and the new world in general. Unthinkable surely. As much as me buying a 2007 primeur?