Jefford on Monday: Drinking with Mammon
And now for the grubby business: money.
And now for the grubby business: money.
Here's the plot. A forex day-trader with a Ferrari and a diamond stud in each ear happens to sit next to a printer from Maryland in a Washington DC bar. They share a few beers and talk about life. The printer says he's not rich, but if he had some capital, he could be very rich by next week. "Oh yeah?" says the day trader, stroking his goatee.
Wine Australia’s abrupt decision to end its export approval panel tastings at the end of January was an intriguing sign of change in its wine culture.
The biggest change in my lifetime? That's an easy one: the advent first of the computer, and then of the internet. How would you explain this to Julius Caesar, Charlemagne or William Shakespeare?
It's been a long pregnancy, but the baby is, at last, almost with us. In the next few weeks, the European regulations regarding 'organic wine' (as opposed to 'wine made with organically grown grapes') are due to be published in the EU's Journal official.
Domaine Clarence Dillon announced last week that the classified St-Emilion estate bought in June 2011, Chateau Tertre Daugay, was to be renamed as Chateau Quintus. Jane Anson caught up with Chateau Haut-Brion estate manager Jean-Philippe Delmas to find out a little more about their plans.
We won't know for six weeks or so if damage has been caused to Europe's vineyards by the prodigiously cold weather of early February. It's only as spring's warmth returns that the difference between a dormant vine and a dead vine becomes apparent.
It was a grey, rainy start to a winter's day in Chablis: darkness was sliding from the long, sinewy shoulder of hillside outside Didier Defaix's tasting room in Milly.
January draws to a close. For a few of my friends, that means the end of an abstemious, alcohol-free month.
There were 923 ha of vineyards planted in England back in 2006. By 2010, the figure had reached 1,324 ha; it’s probably around 1,500 ha now.
Across the southern hemisphere’s winelands, harvesting machines are being fine-tuned in readiness for the three months of frenzied activity which redeems their nine months of idleness.
Wine quality is complex. Like most things in life, the creation of fine wine has elements which are easy to quantify, and others which are intangible. One of these intangibles has been nagging at me for a year or two; it became impossible to ignore as I was sitting in a busy Buenos Aires restaurant a few months ago. More of that in a moment.
Tasting great wines is a privilege. They gather light and warmth into the mouth, as well as offering a sensorial synopsis of distant places on earth; they mean time spent with beauty.
The mother of one of our village friends stopped me at the market a couple of Sundays ago. She and her partner have a wine domain in Fitou, about three hours from here – one of the few privately run domains, in fact, in what is an intensely cooperative-dominated area.
The bushfire which took place just under a month ago close to Prevelly, in the Wallcliffe sector of Margaret River, is a reminder that Christmas usually means the start of the 'bushfire season' in Australia. Only 5 ha of vines were actually singed in this case, but smoke taint is, as usual, as significant a threat. The chemical markers for this are guaiacol and 4-mythylguaiacol.
What’s going on in the Douro? While wine drinkers across the wintry north smile at the prospect of a decanter brimming with vintage or crusted port to illuminate Christmas, those who grew the grapes are fearful and anxious – and not simply because of the travails of the euro and the battered Portuguese economy.
Last week Robert Parker threatened legal action over the steady drip of allegations from bloggers, as well as some of Spain’s most senior wine critics, that Jay Miller’s representatives in Spain were effectively charging wineries, via their consejos reguladores – for tastings.
The USA, according to one report released earlier this year, has overtaken France to become the world’s biggest wine-consuming nation, with 330 million cases downed in 2010. Admittedly in per-capita consumption it ranks a rather weedy 57th, but if you have 312.6 million citizens, they don’t have to drink much more than a teaspoonful each to make a difference.
I'm just back from Alain Brumont's 'Rendez-Vous des Icônes' – an open weekend when, amidst a welter of vertical tastings, festive meals and cellar tours, Madiran's hyper-active master craftsman pits three of his own best wines against seven of the world's best. Twice.
The centennial tradition of a celebratory 11-course lunch with 11 wines served by 11 waiters to remember the liberation of Oporto in 1811, took place in November this year and was a memorable occasion says guest Peter Cobb
I spend more time thinking about terroir than is healthy. Alas, the obsession shows no sign of ending.
Over the last three years, I’ve spent a lot of time talking about tea with the wine producers I have met on my travels. Yes, it's a personal enthusiasm of mine, but that wasn’t the principal reason for raising the subject. So what was?
What’s the best way to taste wine? It’s a simple question – but the answer is as tangled as the root system in a mangrove swamp.
Provided French agriculture minister Bruno Le Maire signs on the dotted line, it looks as if there will soon be a new baby squealing and mewling in the illustrious maternity ward of France’s Grands Crus ('great growths'): Quarts de Chaume.
Parker won't be there; nor will Robinson. Suckling, Meadows and Bettane will all be giving it a miss. The contingent from Decanter will be invisible; zero interest from The Wine Spectator. From the media perspective, it's the pariah among international wine fairs.
A faint green stippling the urban trees. Sudden showers, heaping leaves, twigs and rubbish at the drainage junctions. Sulky tango dancers, pale in the bright spring sunlight, flicking their skirts as they wait their turn on the boards of an open-air restaurant in La Boca … Buenos Aires, a week ago, was slowly coming back to life.
Steven Spurrier celebrated his 70th birthday in a manner difficult to imagine a decade ago—with a picnic on a hillside in Dorset overlooking his vineyard (lovingly and sometimes arduously tended by his wife, Bella).
Last week the good and the great gathered to celebrate the 21st anniversary of the founding of Pol Roger UK at Vintners' Hall.
Calumny? Or was it apostasy? What I wrote about natural wines in August's edition of Decanter magazine harvested more personal communications to me that any other I have written.
You know how it is. The fight (or the degree course, or the work project) continues for years.