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are sommeliers really responsible for global warming?

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Weekend bottles: My first thought when I picked up the Jadot was ‘Wow! That’s heavy.’

For my second thought, ‘wow’ had already been replaced by sorrow for the people who have to deliver these wines into retailers and cellars. The bottle of the Bouchard wine is maybe less than half the weight, and certainly of less ‘thick’ glass, I assume, or at least hope, that this is out of their respect for the environment, a wish for modest use of raw materials, or indeed Bouchard’s general wish to keep their CO2 burden of modest proportions. Even Bouchard’s Montrachet is similarly modestly packaged. Jadot, on the other hand are moving in the other direction – more and more of their ‘labels’ are beginning to receive the ‘luxury packaging’ attention.

And that’s the thing; burgundy, as the prices have spiraled, has apparently become a luxury item, so evidently ‘requires’ luxury packaging.

Is the world falling into environmental chaos, simply because marketing departments in Beaune want bottles that weight one kilogram, or more, before there’s actually any wine in said bottle? Why is everyone heading in the direction of these ‘sommelier’ bottles? That’s what everyone here calls them – ‘sommelier bottles’ – wait, it’s not the marketers of Beaune that are sending us into hail, flooding, and damnation by the fire of global climate change – it’s the sommeliers!!! And it seems that it’s their own personal fetish; people at table only get shown the bottles, they don’t get to handle them…

2013 Domaine des Heritiers Louis Jadot, Beaune 1er Clos des Ursules
Once a little bit of warm-up weights was completed and I had a small sheen of sweat, I knew that I was (eventually) ready to try to lift this bottle from its case. A wide, fresh and complex palate of aromas, if, initially, rather tight. Slowly, an elegant and pretty red fruit note starts to show amongst the oak spice. Over the tongue there’s weight and an impression of volume. Wood tannin is all around, coating the flavours, but with only a hint of textural drag. Fine finishing fruit flavour, of really brilliant complexity – super! – once it eventually works its way through the slowly melting wood tannin. Such a baby, today it’s clearly a less than modestly oaked wine, but one with excellent potential. Past precedent shows this wine comes around fabulously – the 2000 has already been a super drink for a few years, and the 1993 is now approaching 7th heaven…
Rebuy – Yes

2013 Domaine Bouchard Père et Fils, Meursault 1er Les Genevrières
A wide and faintly ginger-spiced nose, though underneath there’s a discreet note of reduction too. Slowly the nose opens with more and more sweetness. A large, modestly opulent texture but showing good acidity and a ginger-infused mid-palate flavour of utter deliciousness. Very yum!
Rebuy – Yes

8 responses to “are sommeliers really responsible for global warming?”

  1. winemaker01

    Completely agree. I went with vin ordinaire cheap punted burgundy bottles for that reason. Is this love of heavy bottles driven by US market? I suspect so. Its also good to see people drink local and supplement with a little from outside their region, just for bench marking.

  2. jonwyand

    Bill,
    I’m sure you are not short of the empties required to do a weight survey and so “name and shame”
    Surely you are well placed to go to the worst “offenders” and just ask why they do it….

  3. Mike Beltran

    Heavy glass infers that the product is superior to others. That is the visual clue that most people get when they see and feel heavy glass. Perhaps a return to when hand blown glass was the norm in the early 1900’s. They were beautiful bottles- I still have a handful of those and often look to refill them and have a story to tell when they are served.

  4. Chris L.

    Heavy bottles, and bottles that don’t fit in decently spaced wine racks! I’m an American, and I’m opposed! Burgundy should be better than all this. Elitism is why so many fled Bordeaux! I do my best to avoid these bottles. I don’t believe I am alone.

  5. Nick Peay

    To Chris L.: You are not alone!
    Bill N: That is so last year, or maybe, last decade. I thought we’d gotten beyond that. You remember that old Monty Python chestnut – ‘good for hand-to-hand combat!’

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