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random ruminations

Friends.

As I write this, we are about 3-4 weeks away from the 2008 harvest. It’s been wetter than average and it’s also been colder than average, at this stage though, we can be thankful for the cold as not too much rot is to be seen – well, if we compare to the same period in 2004, 2006 and 2007 anyway. I’m keeping my fingers crossed!

I racked my brain long and hard for weighty statements to fill this page, but frankly the summer has been rather quiet – at least from a burgundy region perspective. Real work has clearly ‘got in the way’, hence the 1 month delay in publishing this ‘summer report’, but not much else. Perhaps the summer suffered from a post Grands Jours malaise? Anyway, fewer words here means you can get to content of the report all the faster!

And what of the market?

  • Pricing – I have to say that it’s been relatively quiet. After the hoopla and hyperbole of the previous year, sales of the 2006’s have been much steadier. Clearly the ‘name’ wines have a longer ‘waiting list’ each year, but sales have been steady despite economic drivers pushing up prices. I still hold to the belief that 2006 was never going to be that much of a problem sell for the region, the quality is fine at ‘nameplate’ domaines and despite higher prices and less good wines than 2005, those differences were not ‘game-changing’. 2007 is rather different. At contract levels, grape prices are much higher in 2007 than 2006, quality will be (yet again) rather good for whites, but the average quality of reds will be behind 2006. Sooner or later something will ‘break’ if pricing continues to move in the opposite direction to quality.
  • Packaging – If you’re looking for innovation, then look no further than that commercial powerhouse of burgundy – Boisset. Beaujolais in plastic cans probably won’t catch on in Puligny and Vosne, but for the right ‘beverage’ in the right market, why not?
  • Labeling for the long-haul – Laurent Ponsot had a few problems with his temperature indicating white spots on his labels – the theory was that higher temperatures would turn them grey – some tests in ovens showed this not to be the case. Laurent junked his supplier for the 2006 vintage and is confident all will be well again.
  • Closures – Boisset seem to lead the way in commercialising new closures too; Grégory Patriat has been bottling grand crus in screw-cap already for a couple of years, but their ‘sister’ company Jaffelin is no slouch either. Don’t like screw-caps? Then try Jaffelin’s glass closures – new on 2006 Rully Blanc and Rouge.  I’m sure the bottling regime requires yet another change for this as there is likely to be no gas (oxygen) transport mechanism so reduction (just like screw-caps) will need to be ‘managed’ – I’m hoping to get more details. This seems to be the Boisset and Ponsot show, but once again we meet Laurent Ponsot: It seems that Clive Coates’ comments that Laurent Ponsot would bottle everything with a plastic closure had the eBob world in convulsions. Laurent is much calmer about the situation and it seems will not be ‘rushing’ into any decision.

One response to “random ruminations”

  1. Will C

    Bill,

    Well done on this quarters report. A thoroughly enjoyable and informative read yet again.

    Many Thanks,
    Will

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