Most read wine news stories of 2020
Story number 10 shows how a wine’s eco-credentials are becoming a more important consideration. UK-based company FrugalPac launched a ‘paper’ wine bottle, stating its overall carbon footprint was up to six times lower than a glass bottle. We tried using it in June 2020.
Always a story that drives keen interest, new Masters of Wine were announced in February and August. The world total of MWs is currently 409, and 2020 was the first time a Master Distiller also became a Master of Wine. Final-year students completed their research papers in the pandemic, despite some disruption to other parts of the MW programme.
It’s an issue that we’re unfortunately becoming all-too-familiar with. Lightning strikes had caused wildfires across California in August, but the ‘Glass Fire’ that ignited on 27 September damaged several Napa wineries, including Cain and Burgess Cellars, plus the Meadowood luxury resort and also many homes across Napa and Sonoma Counties. Despite smoke taint concerns, Napa Valley Vintners said the 2020 vintage ‘is not lost’.
Tributes were paid across the wine world to Taras Ochota, the much-loved and highly respected winemaker of Australia’s Adelaide Hills region, who died in October 2020.
News about Château Miraval – the Provence winery owned by Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt, and the winemaking Perrin family – always proves popular. Following a five year ‘secret’ project, a new rosé Champagne was announced in 2020, in partnership with the Péters family. Decanter.com also got an early tasting of the new wine.
Champagne and oysters make a great pairing, and scientists at the University of Copenhagen revealed that ‘umami synergy’ might be the reason for our craving. They found umami flavour in some types of Champagnes and oysters, which comes to the fore when both are combined.
First Growth Château Latour released its 2012 wine for the first time, and Decanter’s Jane Anson gave it 97 points. It is the youngest Latour grand vin on the market and was initially priced at £350 / $380 per bottle ex-Bordeaux, although the release was delayed by around two months due to Covid-19.
Former wine distributor Joseph Falcone was sentenced to 24 months in prison by a New York court after pleading guilty to stealing more than $500,000 from investors. Falcone, 60, of Rockledge, Florida, told investors his ‘3G’s Vino LLC’ company would use the money to buy and distribute a wine product featured on TV show ‘Shark Tank’.
In a campaign delayed due to Covid-19, several top châteaux cut their prices on the still-in-barrel 2019 vintage by between 20% and 30% versus the 2018 releases, prompting a wave of enthusiasm among those still in a position to buy. The traditional tasting week in April was cancelled, but Bordeaux-based Jane Anson still managed to sample 900 of the 2019-vintage wines for Decanter Premium.
The most popular story of the year was the tale from Balthazar restaurant owner Keith McNally, who described how a mix-up at the New York restaurant had once seen a young couple served a bottle of Château Mouton Rothschild instead of a house Pinot Noir. McNally shared the story on his Instagram page this year, but a spokesperson for the restaurateur said the mishap took place back in 2002.
Plus, a bonus story – Wine and cheese may help protect your brain, says study
Despite being published just over a week ago, this story on new study from the University of Copenhagen, suggesting that ‘responsible’ consumption of wine and cheese could help to protect brain function as you age, has also become one of our most read of the year.