I bought this, because it’s about Chablis, and Chablis is my day-job! For €20 there’s virtually no advertising across Cuvée Magazine’s 120 pages of content, though the text is large and the pictures are page-filling. You could certainly buy a more in-depth book for that.
There is much about this magazine that reminds me of my dear and departed TONG. The concept seems very similar here; a premium-priced magazine with no advertising – or in Cuvée’s case, virtually no advertising. Where Cuvée differs, is that there seems just one writer/photographer behind this magazine – Épernay-based Stefanie Köhler. TONG had specialists/MWs for the writing though I was never sure about their images – but TONG’s was obviously a more expensive approach than the one taken by Stefanie’s Cuvée.
TONG lasted about 5-6 years in its hard-copy format before seemingly imploding / dying on the vine. I hope that Cuvée does a little better; some of the explanatory pieces are certainly bite-sized soundbites rather than offering much depth, but the domaine profiles – and there are 14 of them in this issue – are as good as you will find anywhere, as there is insight into the characters of the wine-makers themselves, not just their roots. I could complain that some of the tasting notes are too ‘adjectivey/flowery’ but others resonate.
I assume that, in the end, TONG failed because it couldn’t hold onto enough people willing to pay about €25 an issue – a premium price – with generalist content. Indeed, that was what finished me; I stopped subscribing after about 3 years as the content went further and further away from my zones of interest. I don’t know how long Cuvée/Stefanie can keep it up – Issue 1 was about Champagne, where Stefanie is based, and it seems that there is a ‘special’ in December about …Champagne – but it’s not issue number 3… I’m sure I will eventually understand what’s happening.
As a standalone issue, I would whole-heartily recommend this. And before people get on their high-horses about the price – it costs the same as a decent bottle of Chablis – which is 25% of the cost of a decent bottle of Burgundy these days! Just pay and enjoy…