The storm clouds gather: Beaune yesterday…
It’s already a couple of weeks since we lost the 2021 St.Vincent, planned for Puligny-Montrachet, Blagny and Corpeau.
In our new reality it seems to be mainly the larger, event-style, tastings that are currently being cancelled. One major maison has cancelled it’s usual sit-down/tutored new vintage tasting and another, even larger event will not now take place – the Roi Chambertin. For the former, I have already been able to arrange a private visit but the Roi will be a loss to my calendar – it will also be an opportunity too.
An opportunity? Well, yes.
I wouldn’t have joined the tasting this year if they’d stuck to the usual format – over 120 bottles (in duplicate) in a cellar with over 100 tasters – in covid-time, no thanks. The opportunity for me will be to visit more Gevrey domaines in person – something that in recent years I had relatively restricted to domaines who didn’t show their wines at the Roi.
Of-course there are a few sought-after domaines that are also suggesting that tastings of their 2019s may be possible in Q1 next year but not in 2020 – or even not at all. Let’s see how that pans out too – there are always more domaines available than are possible to visit in the time available but some ‘losses’ seem inevitable this year, though for the moment I see only a modestly diminishing availability for my usual tastings.
There are other big events that are affected too: The wine auction of the Hospices de Beaune will have a much smaller tasting schedule – the buyers have to be included, of-course, but there will certainly be fewer spaces for journalists and other interested parties – including in the sale itself where they are planning alternate seating – occupied and not occupied. Outside of the sale-room, Beaune’s half-marathon (the same weekend) is currently still planned to happen, but with 3,000 participants versus the usual limit of 5,000. Then 2 days later there is the Paulée de Meursault; normally a gathering of over 700 souls in a place more comfortable for about 400! This year they plan just 250 places. Masks are mandatory for those serving their wines to the occupants of other tables – but if I know the people celebrating this event, maybe that detail will be forgotten after – hmm – maybe 15 minutes(?)
Nobody said that it would be easy, and of course, there are places that are much worse off. Indeed some of these truncated events may also be cancelled at short notice. Luckily for the region, what they are potentially losing in not getting their message out has been partially compensated for in 2020, mainly by the Brits – who are drinking more than ever of their stuff. Apparently they bought early and extra to get them through brexit, but given covid, they drank all that, so now need to replenish early 🙂