Old Vines Celebrated
Credit: Jancis Robinson
|Dear wine lover |
We are having a ball reading the 136 entries in our 2021 wine writing competition (WWC21) and are hugely impressed by the general standard of writing about old vines. Nick, making a good recovery from his gut surgery, has been recruited to help us decide which ones to publish over the next few weeks, the process being hugely stimulating but usefully sedentary. On Tuesday we published a first report on the response to our writing competition.
Yesterday we published a pretty gloomy report on Burgundy 2021 so far, written by Burgundy expert Anthony Hanson MW, who has just come back from several weeks spent there, where summer has been exceptionally slow to arrive.
On Monday I published a very long-overdue set of tasting notes and updates on the glamorous properties owned by the French Pinault family’s wine arm, Artémis Domaines.They include, inter alia, Ch Latour, Clos de Tart, Ch Grillet and Eisele Vineyard in Napa Valley. The tasting on which my article was based took place just before the pandemic struck last year, and was designed to herald the launch of Ch Latour 2012, the first vintage to be released as part of Latour’s innovative plan to withdraw from the en primeur circus. The jury is still out on whether this brave move is profitable or foolish as (a) it’s too early to judge and (b) everything last year was exceptional.
But it was Thorman Hunt’s tasting of top California wines reported on later in the week that reminded me I still had some unpublished notes on the excellent wines of Eisele, the estate that used to be known by the name of the previous owners, Araujo. Elaine wrote a fine profile of it under new French management back in 2017. This week’s California line-up includes stalwarts such as Harlan Estate, Shafer and Turley as well as some exciting new names.
Our esteemed Spanish specialist Ferran Centelles profiled the Garnachas of Navarra on Tuesday. The region’s signature grape, for long rather despised, is enjoying its moment in the sun (for evidence, just put ‘Garnacha’ in our search box) and so Ferran went off to explore how it is doing this far north.
Yesterday I allowed myself to be wooed back to the charms of Sauvignon Blanc with a tasting mainly of cutting-edge Sancerre and Pouilly-Fumé, appellations I have been guilty of rather taking for granted. And in today’s tasting article, Andy Howard MW assesses whether the M&S buying team, to which he used to belong, has its mojo back. I was particularly fascinated by Max Allen’s column on Monday, about Australia’s swerve back to cork after its complete espousal of the screwcap. Read about the reasons for this.
From corks to bottles, with my Saturday article about the extent to which empty bottles are being shipped around the world (most of America’s wine bottles now come from China) and, yet again, my whinge about unnecessarily heavy bottles and their impact on wine’s carbon footprint. Also on Saturday, Nick managed to summon the energy to write about three veteran restaurant critics in the UK. We continued our series on applicants for Golden Vines Diversity Scholarships with a profile of Jai Singh, whose wine journey has taken him from India to London to Italy and who wants to open a wine school and winery back home in India. And today’s wine of the week is a superb sherry chosen by Richard. Santé!
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