I’ve been trying to get to the Burgundy harvest for years.
There must surely be some way to tweak the stuffy Bordeaux model, though; to have a bit more fun and informality; to change the message and re-draw all the visuals; to lift the shutters, and let a little more human sunlight in.
The idea was to promenade some key New Zealand Pinot Noir producers on a series of wine dinners, showing off their Pinots and Chardonnays to French diners as they did so, and fetching up in Burgundy.
Should tasting notes not, in fact, be seen as the shame of the wine world? Shouldn’t we ‘just say no to notes’, and settle for a score?
In the same week that Decanter announced its Asia Wine Awards (I’m looking forward to tasting in Hong Kong in September), I found myself having an email conversation with a winemaker from Inner Mongolia.
This may be the cleverest piece of vineyard sourcing I’ve ever come across, and it led to the creation of one of France’s most enduringly successful Vin de Pays (now IGP) wines.
It’s a classic start: anthropology student turns cellar-rat, and goes tank-cleaning his way around France, Hungary, Romania and South Africa...
Maturation potential: is this the difference between ‘good wine’ and ‘fine wine’? Not simple endurance, in other words, but the way in which a wine’s infant beauty is able to modulate, to deepen and to blossom as the years eddy by.
The mood in Burgundy in the final week of June was as luminous as the skies.
On and on they roll, the hills, one after another, combed to perfection, retreating grandly into the heat haze, frilled and filled out with copses of trees, threaded with pale tracks, and crowned with farmhouses and towers.