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Showing posts from January, 2009

Bordeaux 2008 - what about the primeur campaign?

While Bordeaux is recuperating from a heavy storm, a real one, the big question is if there will be any storm in Bordeaux in April − I mean: any real fuss around Bordeaux 2008.

Yes, there will be a 'campaign week' at the start of April (Monday 30 March − Friday 3 April, invitations are sent out): there will be wines to taste, and there will be people to taste the wines. I guess I will be one of them (but I think I will mainly focus on older vintages...).

But then? Usually the rest of the campaign − the weeks after the tastings, in April and May − is not so much about the wines, but about prices, and business. What are the release prices, what are the most interesting buys etc. But wait... that's how it used to be. Is there much reason to think that buyers are eager to buy this year?

The idea behind buying en primeur is to have a better price now than in the future (and also to be certain about an allocation of a certain wine, but that only really matters in years of big deman…

Champagne Barnaut

For most drinkers (I hate the word consumers, one might consume margarine, but not wine) it is difficult to say which Champagnes are good, or great, and which Champagnes are not so good. The only classification available is the échelle des crus with 17 grand cru villages followed by 41 premier crus. But who knows the names of these villages − apart from the fact that today some of these classifieds fail to produce top quality.

BOUZY: ONE OF THE LEADING GRAND CRU VILLAGES IN CHAMPAGNE

For the region as a whole this is a strength. As a brand Champagne is France's strongest appellation. But it means that one will have to put some effort in finding the real treasures. Or make a safe bet by choosing for Moët's Brut Impériale − or a comparable well-known Champagne.

A VIEW TOWARDS THE VILLAGE OF BOUZY

This posting is about our visit last weekend to Champagne Barnaut in Bouzy, a leading Récoltant-Manipulant producing Champagne in one of the grandest grand crus, the commune of Bouzy in Mon…

Bordeaux 2008 vintage report − an update

This week I talked about the topic Bordeaux 2008 with John Kolasa, winemaker at Château Rauzan-Ségla and Château Canon, and with Arjen Pen from Château Richelieu (Fronsac).

Since my previous (and first) posting about Bordeaux 2008 (30 October 2008) the wines have evolved a bit further, most importantly the malolactic fermentation has ended. As I wrote before, one of the characteristics of Bordeaux 2008 is its acidity level, which is relatively high. With the "malo" finished, this level has come down. And according to Kolasa a little bit more than expected. The current acidity level is now slightly above that of 2006 and 2007. It gives freshness to the wines.

More in general, Bordeaux 2008 seems to be becoming a vin de garde. However irregular (for details see my previous posting), the growing season was long and relatively warm. As a result the natural alcohol level is quite high, and the wines have a solid structure and much colour. The low yields contribute to this − Bordeau…

Best Burgundy still made at home

It must have happened at least once to every wine lover: a particular vintage passes your lips and, just like that, you realize the wine you are drinking surpasses anything you have ever tasted. Though the word wine is used to describe so many vintages fermented from so many kinds of grapes and vinified in so many ways that imply sheer diversity and range, yet it is true: every wine you drink from now on will in some way be compared to this one. Because this is the best wine you have ever tasted.

THE NOBLET VINEYARD IN VOSNE-ROMANEE. THE N74 RUNS BETWEEN THE VINES AND THE BUILDINGS IN THE DISTANCE.

I am no millionaire, so I have never tasted La Tâche or Le Montrachet; no bottle of Romanée-Conti has ever graced my table. These remain only names to me which make me think of a higher purpose, that I should be earning more money.

But in July of 2007, while on a camping vacation in France, I pulled my old Renault 5 off the N74 into Vosne-Romanée and bought a single bottle of wine from the vil…