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Welcome to the BKWine Brief nr 87, October 2010

>> Monday, November 01, 2010

Harvest is soon over, but not quite yet. Some wine regions are still picking grapes and will continue into November. And even later for some sweet wines and of course for eiswein in Germany and Austria. In the South West of France the producers Les Vignerons de Plaimont tries every year to pick a few hectares of their Pacherenc de Vic-Bihl on December 31. Using various ruses they manage to save a few grapes from starving birds (that seems to be the biggest danger). The New Year’s Eve harvest gives grapes with a potential alcohol level of 19%. Not bad! They only get 5 hectolitres per hectare but the wine is silky smooth and honeyed.

Yes, it is a bit of a show, this New Year harvest, but so what? Let’s not take wine too seriously. A producer we met last week said “wine is a serious beverage that you should not take too seriously”. Quite right. Keep that in mind when you meet dreary wine snobs.

2010 is an interesting year in France. they seem to have had virtually every conceivable unpleasant thing in the vineyards: cold weather, frost, heavy rain (and perhaps even cats and dogs), grey rot, coulure, oidium and mildew. Sorting tables have made good service and is an investment that will have paid off this year. Yields are often below average. But in most cases the quality is excellent, at least when the wine maker is competent. They will have to work a bit harder in the wine cellar perhaps. It is not every year that “the wine is only made in the vineyard”.

We have also had a new chapter in the French classification chaos. (In French they have an expression that is “C’est un bordel”, which does not mean what you think but rather that something is completely confused, or confusing, and disorganised.) The old Cru Bourgeois classification has resurfaced. Only this time it is not a classification but a “selection”. Unfortunately many people in France, and sometimes elsewhere, seem to think that if they create a new classification (or appellation) their wines will magically sell better. All too often it results in something that is incomprehensible for the consumers and that more seems to be designed to reinforce the positions of the established producers, or is a war of words with the neighbours. Other examples: the classification in Saint Emilion, the proposed Grand Cru (or was it Grand Vin? No, both!) in Languedoc, various obscure micro-appellations that no-one has heard about and never will, Chaume Premier Cru in the Loire Valley (do you remember? No, I didn’t think so) etc. We wish that the wine producers spent more effort making better wines and communicating with consumers, and less on hoping to sell more by creating smokescreens or word magic.

And finally, do take a look at next seasons wine tours. We will soon launch the program, but already in this Brief we give you a sneak peek on the “public” tour to Bordeaux trip that we have planned for the spring. (Do keep in mind that we also do private and custom made tours. This year we will have organised around 30 wine tours in total.) More info below.

And as a very last thing we cannot help mentioning that we will have something very exciting to tell you in the next Brief. Don’t miss it!

Britt & Per

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