Jefford on Monday

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Gerard Bertrand

Forceful, ebullient, ruddy, hale, perhaps abrasive: that's what you'd expect of a former rugby international turned wine merchant.

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Jefford on Monday: France's No-Fly Zone

En Primeur 2013

Two words those who move to France quickly learn are interdire and interdiction: ‘to forbid’ and ‘ban’. I walked my 3- and 5-year-old sons across the playground of their maternity school when we first arrived here, and the first thing we saw was the list of ‘forbidden activities’ pinned to the wall. It seemed mildly depressing. Though I was -- after thinking it through -- in favour: we’d visited enough casualty departments already. Many French bans, by contrast, seem to me misguided. I’m tempted to include the ban on aerial vineyard treatments announced last month in France’s Journal Officiel.

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Languedoc floods

Bizarre is perhaps the word which best sums up the 2014 growing season in the Northern Hemisphere. Earthquake, hail, flood, fog, fungal diseases, exotic insect pests: this has been a summer rich in hazards.

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Cos towards Montrose

Most years, I take groups of wine students and enthusiasts around Bordeaux and Burgundy. We talk about why wines taste as they do, and explore the differences between them. That includes, of course, terroir. I then sigh gently and explain that of course the word 'terroir' means something very different in each region.

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DWWA judging images

I've never taken part in a true blind tasting. Have you? It would, I think, mean sitting in a cubicle in an anonymous research laboratory staffed by strangers. Wine samples would emerge through a hatch. We'd write a description of the wine, provide answers to a few questions, or score what we’d tasted according to a number of different parameters. Then go home. Hardly top fun, I know, but at least it would be objective.

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Jefford on Monday

jefford

Award-winning writer Andrew Jefford's Monday column on Decanter.com

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