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Jefford on Monday

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Philippe and Sandrine Gayral

If wines were animal species, Philippe Gayral’s range would include the kakapo, the Bactrian camel and Spix’s macaw. All are critically endangered. Perhaps, though, the rare African ass is a better analogy. Like the magical but shrinking wild ass’s skin of Balzac’s 1831 novel Peau de Chagrin, the more success Gayral has with his wines, the fewer remain for him to sell.

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Chateauneuf in spring

The different ways in which white wines can be structured is more various than most of us allow. And the fact that the cool-climate, northern European white has been the dominant aesthetic model worldwide over the last couple of decades is just silly.

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Emmanuel Giboulot

A selfless idealist, fighting for agricultural freedom and new solutions to vineyard challenges? Or a biodynamic fundamentalist making life difficult for his neighbours, friends and colleagues? Mention Emmanuel Giboulot in wine circles, and you tend to hear the sound of knees jerking en masse -- in opposite directions.

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Jefford on Monday: Grey's Anatomy

high spring vineyards in Brda - Jefford

Ask British wine drinkers what their favourite grape variety is, and almost a quarter of them will reply Pinot Grigio. Their wine of choice comes in a screwcapped bottle made of clear or faintly tinted glass, with a simple, graphic label featuring an ear-catching if ephemeral Italian brand, and costing maybe £5.99 or £6.99. The wine inside is colourless. That it is also odourless and flavourless (and the more odourless and flavourless, the more popular) is a now-venerable wine-trade quip.

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Jefford on Monday

jefford

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