I want to share with you good folk that this year has been the worst trading year that I can remember. Not just in the fine wine business but the whole attitude towards wine in general the wine trade (not the wine industry that everyone likes to talk about these days), wine tastings, these idiots in US who keep banging on about wine fraud (and making good money out of it at the same time). Now we also have storage difficulties, logistics problems & costs, ridiculous tramites within customs (not just in UK but all over the world, especially in south America), false internet wine orders that seem to come to nothing except time wasting (I still do not get that one at all), and in general this wonderful tool called the world wide web that seems to have chained people to it’s console in a way that has removed any sense of responsibility of what I can only term as, the shepherd now is Google, and we have all just become the sheep. MmerrrrrR.
I could not have imagined thirty years ago, (and this is not a nostalgia piece in anyway) the unrefined chaos that this wine business has become. Once, and let’s just go back to 2009/10, we were one of the oldest and most interesting trades in the world (friday lunchtime has disappeared) that has become no more than a hoover-salesman world of profit (and in my case loss), the general discounting of wines, especially fine Claret, that should be right up there with the some of the great works of art. If I have to see another offer that says ”cheapest on the market” Lafite or Petrus or Romanee-Conti or any of Grand Cru Classe wines for that matter, I am going to load my 12 bore head round to the office of the offender, and blast there freaking machine into space, with both barrels. These wines are NOT for discounting. My god whoever let our Asian friends rule the roost, whoever let the auction houses (except Bonhams) get away with near murder on wholesaling great wines, and pertaining to wave the provenance flag in everyones’s faces. The people that dealt with Rudy whatever his name is, and all his apparently innocent clients who should have known better. Finally some one please tell Señor Suckling-Pig to finally put his pen down (maybe it is a crayon), he writes total drivel (worst than me), sorry.
I reckon some of this began back in the last decade, maybe ‘en primeur’, I think it was 2009 vintage, when the big boys in the trade put an alert out to say ‘do not buy SHL09’ as it was too expensive. This really put a spanner in the works as it has absolutely nothing to do with anything except shooting oneself (the fine wine market) in the foot. Then there were those ‘en primeur’ boys who took everyones money and closed up shop. I don’t think any of us got a coin back from that one, we definitely did not see a drop and so the list goes on.
Well with all this negative drool, I do need to put something down in TreeHuggerBuggaBlogger that makes me feel better, so I tell you that out of nearly 2000+ wines tasted/drunk over the last 12 months, I have simply chosen (and to share with you) my most memorable red and white wine of the past year. This takes into consideration having tried just about everything in the Bordeaux grand cru class line up, some super top stuff from all over Italy, Burgundy to die for (red & white), a host of amazing Champagnes going back to 1960s.
And the red was from Rene Barbier’s winery in Priorat, 2010 Clos Magador. No tempranillo to be found here, just a lovely lovely blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Carignan, Grenache and Syrah.
The connection between these two wines is firstly, the minimal intervention that goes into making these wines, and I mean minimalist-minimalist that shows off pure expression of fruit and the skill to do less winemaking and show how a wine used to be made and should always be made. Name-wise, neither can contend with the hi-ranking super stars that are out there and that could also have been put in my top two. Secondly, to enjoy a wine as these, that when the bottle is finished, there is a sense of both sadness and joy, that I really do crave for more of both, but, alas, have no more in the cellar.
Why there is so much wine in the world that calls itself wine because it come in a wine bottle with a cork (sometimes) and a fancy label, I still cannot and do not want to bother with this question. I will leave it up to the supermarkets and the wine INDUSTRY alone to work on the theme of ‘life is definitely too short to drink crap wine’
Good luck everybody in 2017, we continue…