First the polemic: what value have the established wine-press versus the ‘blogosphere’? And just for the record I hate the word blog, so blogosphere hardly floats my boat either – web-based journalism seems a better description – if it wasn’t so ‘wordy’ and self-important…!
Anyway, I’d seen that there was to be a press tasting of the Gevrey 2010 vintage in Beaune to coincide with the weekend of the Hospices auction; I immediately asked if it would be possible to get a place; eventually I received an email from the Syndicat Viticole de Gevrey-Chambertin asking me to register and also enquiring who I would be writing for. I turned up on the day (Friday 18th November) and I was on the list!
There were three tasting tables; villages, premiers and grands – around 90 wines, all from 2010 – there were plenty of well known vignerons too who would join us for a nice lunch whilst pouring some of their 2000s (10 years on if you like). Unfortunately, where were the press? Michel Bettane arrived, and floated around the room, shaking hands, but how many wines did he taste, and will he post notes? Actually Michel Bettane did more than most: I sneaked a look at the list of ‘attendees’ – four pages of spreadsheet with about 30 names per page – many in the list were from the UK, US, Nordic (etc.) MWs and press – and let’s not forget the French, there were many French names too; people who apparently took the time to request a place – yet only about half a dozen bothered to attend and actually test all the bottles. There were more vignerons than press.
I started this entry with the word polemic. Myself, Patrick Essa and Patrick Maclart worked each table and every wine, I’m pretty sure you will get three different but equally valid impressions, but these three people put the time in for their audience – and for anyone that doesn’t understand what that means, that’s the best part of one hundred thousand visitors per month. But what value are the traditional press when they don’t have the time or inclination to attend after registering? John Gilman, to his credit, arrived with about an hour of official tasting time left and was working the three tables hard – probably not enough time to complete the set, but chapeau!
My notes will follow in the next couple of days, but in the meantime my congratulations are due to the Syndicat Viticole de Gevrey; despite an apparent lack of ‘traditional interest’ their 2010s shone like beacons and I hope that they will not be disheartened – it was clearly an investment on their part, but at least they have a potential audience of one hundred thousand visitors per month – I anyway suspect that’s more than the traditional press can muster. It seems that ‘tradition’ will continue to whither – it’s just surprising how much it’s driven by the indifference of those traditionalists…!
More: [notes moved to here…]