Let me first say that issue number 1 of ‘European Fine Wine Magazine’ is quite a coffee-table magazine, the photography is really something – not just the composition but the saturated, slightly underexposed processing too – never-mind black and white, even in colour it looks almost Gothic! Whilst I’m far from an expert in this area, the photographer (Pekka Nuikki) seems to be carving-out his own genre. In the end though I must come clean – it’s not a magazine for me.
I am an egalitarian when it comes to wine; there was a time when even a modest pocket-book could accommodate an occasional bottle of the grandest of burgundian grand crus – Armand Rousseau’s Chambertin could be had for £60 throughout the 1996-1999 vintages – though unfortunately those times seem but a memory… Anyway back to my point; this publication has nothing to do with the egalitarian – adverts for Maybach, open-top Bentleys, yachts, power-boats, 8-page Dom Pérignon advertorials (the Pol Roger thing looks suspiciously advertorial-ish too) and €6,000 mobile phones etc., etc., accurately reflect the publisher’s target audience – this is the bling of wine-publishing. Articles covering Bordeaux, Bordeaux, Bordeaux and ‘investing in wine’ hammer in another nail despite the next issue offering me an olive-branch in the form of a piece on Louis Jadot(!) The final nail is what I consider the inaccuracies in the investing in burgundy section; interesting that 1971 and 1962 are vintages that you should primarily invest in whites, that you should look out for de Vogüé’s Bonnes-Mares, Musigny Vieilles Vignes and apparently their Musigny too and that one of Rousseau’s ‘top three’ is his Charmes-Chambertin.
At least then, they have taken time to think about their audience: As this publication is only about conspicuous consumption, they have come up with a new wine-scoring system too: in with Robert Parker’s 100 points, but out with his methodology. The wine is scored only on how it tastes today, with no reference to future potential. I assume, then, that their scores on 2005 Bordeaux will all be around 75 to accurately reflect their current drinkability. Come to think of it, they will anyway only be drinking 1928, 1945 and 1961 Bordeaux – oh and 1962 Puligny-Montrachet of-course!
I’m surprised then, that I got my complimentary copy courtesy of ‘The World of Fine Wine‘; editor Neil Beckett extolling its virtues and urging a subscription. That magazine whilst positioned firmly in the ‘up-market’ is essentially a magazine of writing. The pretty bunny (sorry, hare) does little to disguise that this is only a vehicle for positioning ‘luxury brands’ like Petrus and Mouton. I shall not be investing, despite the often evocative and haunting images. Hopefully, though, this will bring Pekka Nuikki’s work to a deserved wider audience, despite his surreal website.
I rightly consider myself to be ‘too nice’ ever to be a real critic – but sometimes it just flows…