It's not often that an SOS arrives by email, but that was what I found in my inbox in early December. A 'death warrant', apparently, had been drafted for the wines of Sauternes and Barsac; a 'terrible menace' was thus hanging over Yquem, Rieussec, Suduiraut and their like. Cripes! This looks serious.
Some wines please; others both please and inform. The wines below are some of those which taught me most this year. I've quoted vintage and producer's name, but it's not always the named wine itself which matters so much as what that wine represents.
The wine was bright and translucent, despite its walnut hue. Vapoury and perfumed, as we all hoped, though the notes varied by taster: crystallised violets, dried fruits, citrus. Rue, for me (that shrubby herb Ruta graveolens, so powerfully scented as to asphyxiate its garden neighbours; here, happily, just a hint).
My home département of Hérault has had a short crop this year. Normally it produces twice as much wine as the entire nation of New Zealand, but this year it’s a mere 4.5 million hl (or 1.8 times New Zealand’s large 2013 crop).
You may have heard of a new wine gadget selling for just under US$300 called 'Coravin' which claims to allow wine to be tasted multiple times from the same bottle without ever removing the cork. Are you...
Intrigued. It sounds like a great idea and I would be interested in buying one (1263 vote, 29%)
Cautious, I would have to see it in action before I made my mind up (1239 vote, 28%)
Sceptical, I wouldn't risk it with my old and rare vintages (687 vote, 16%)
Not interested - if I want a glass of wine I'll just open the bottle (1179 vote, 27%)