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Random ruminations…

gevrey 1er les varoilles - march 2004
March 2004

Nature intervened in the size of the spring report in the guise of two 3-4 periods of blocked noses and coughing – so I had to cancel some visits – only thing I could taste was my sore throat pastilles! Never mind, I’m sure the domaines will still be around in the summer…

At least in Europe, the 2002′s have been a hit, and that’s despite (in many cases) price increases to make you wince; in their en-primeur campaigns the merchants have quickly sold out of the ‘top wines’. Of course in Europe, we’ve only seen prices increase 10-25%, those who’s sales are denominated in US dollars – unless the merchant did a lot of forward currency buying – will see even higher pricing. I guess the US administration’s boost to the export economy will be less of a hit with the followers of ‘foreign’ wines. It remains to be seen whether the 2002′s will quickly find homes – especially as the very different, but very good 2001′s will be relative bargains, and in comparison the 2003′s will certainly be no bargains…

Just for a short time, maybe it’s worth focusing on these prices. Around this time last year many of the (2002) pre-shipment prices in Europe were the same price as for 2001′s, and some were 5-10% more – I know, I bought some. Then came the very short 2003 harvest; in some cellars the growers produced only 50% of their normal crop – though you can be sure the less diligent made ‘plenty’ of wine – then pricing policies changed. It seems likely that prices will go up again this time next year to cover this short-fall – and with some justification – problem is, will the market accept this? and what happens next? The top wines will always sell but Burgundy has built a big following in recent years, no small part due the tremendous run of vintages, but also because of the ‘value’ the wines offer. Value? – of course! Despite their costly reputation, Burgundies vs Californian Cabernets you never heard of, vs ‘classed growth’ Bordeaux and any number of ‘luxury cuvées’, have, for a number of years been ‘relative’ bargains. For the price of any of the above-mentioned wines you could by a bottle of Musigny or Corton-Charlemagne – a bottle of (easy to find) ‘off-vintage’ Mouton or Lafite would cost you much more. The problem for 2002′s and 2003′s will be that the gap – if there still is one – will be much narrower, right now, many markets are soft, and those that do not follow the true way ;-)

And news of the 2003′s? All that I can say is that the limited number of reds and whites that I’ve so-far tasted have been very interesting! The reds are under malo at the moment, but are concentrated, very darkly coloured like the 1993′s were and don’t seem to offering-up any cooked fruit notes – not at this stage anyway. The whites are full and concentrated, but don’t have ‘cool-climate’ aromatics. Of course it’s only been a small sample…

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