Blog de blogs

Our latest round-up of the world of drinks blogging offers advice on Bordeaux 2010 investment, examines the threat of water stress and finds a very excited beer blogger doing his bit for US-Russian relations.

Peter Brown’s Beer Blog

2009 Beer Writer of the Year Peter Brown begins his post in rather ominous fashion before going on to describe a night he won’t forget in a long time.

“I went drinking strong beer with Russians last night,” he begins, setting the tone. “Don’t do this. It’s not a good idea if you fancy living. They look at high abv’s and laugh contemptuously, necking them almost scornfully.”

Sat in the newly opened Craft Beer Co in Leather Lane, Clerkenwell, London, Brown counted 42 taps on the bar, with roughly half of them being cask ale.

It wasn’t long before his night perked up. “The Russians were gamely attempting to chug their way through the entire range when in walked a legend, an immortal, a god in little bald beardy man-shaped form,” he writes. “Ladies and gentlemen, White House communications chief Mr Toby Ziegler! In a pub! In London!

“OK, not the real White House Comms chief, the one in The West Wing, which is even better than the real thing in all respects. And not him of course, because he doesn’t really exist, but the actor who plays him, Mr Richard Schiff. But Still. Toby Ziegler!”

You can almost feel his palms getting sweaty as he continues: “I was either too chicken or too sane to rush up to him and take a photo, or have my photo taken with him. I wish I had been more courageous/sad.”

You fear Brown might then be set to combust as he adds: “As he got his beers, he glanced across the bar at me – or rather in front of me – and saw that I was eating one of the Craft Beer Co’s excellent pork pies. I saw him mouth the words, ‘Hey what’s that? I’ll have one of those too.’ Toby Ziegler saw me eating a pork pie and then he ordered one as well!”

“I tried explaining how cool all this was to the Russians. You’ll be amazed to hear they don’t really get The West Wing. But here we were: the former mortal enemies of the Cold War, brought together by craft beer. It was a beautiful moment.”


European Fine Wines

The European Fine Wines team returned from Vinexpo a few weeks back with the debate over the release of the Bordeaux 2010 vintage still ringing in their ears.

Writing about the various discussions held with merchants and negociants at the trade fair, EFW concluded that it was difficult to justify the astronomical prices being quoted for 2010.

“En primeur campaigns attract a lot of attention, and for the 2010 vintage there has been a lot of anticipation and people clamouring to get involved at the point of release, which can result in inflated prices,” the blog says.

“A recent example shows how even the most prestigious chateau are affected – Lafite 2010 just last week was selling at up to £14,800 per case, but is now available at £12,300 a case.

“Early buyers are therefore carrying a loss of 17%, and while the market is expected to recover due to the strength of long-term demand, we would not like to have to rely on that for our clients.

“So in conclusion, our recommendation is for investors to wait for the dust to settle on the 2010s.


Water stress in Bordeaux

Consultant oenologist, Stephan Toutoundji, is worried about the levels of water stress in the Right Bank in his latest blog post.

He predicts that, with the way things are going so far, 2011 will be largely heterogeneous. The Médoc, Bourg and Blaye have had a number of storms and the state of the vineyards there is “more than adequate”.

However, in parts of Pomerol and Saint Emilion he notes that there are “vines completely blocked with enormous water stress and impressive lack of water. In many regions they are lacking half a year’s worth of rainfall.”

Furthermore, he says that because of this situation many winemakers are beginning to think of harvesting very early this year and he cautions that this would not be wise in certain areas where the stress is not as pronounced.


Matching food with wine

As the results of the first What Food What Wine? competition came out this week, senior judge Fiona Beckett offered her thoughts on some surprise winners and conspicuous absentees thrown up by the blind tasting format.

Beckett’s first surprise was that “there were no Italian wines among the winners which surprised me as I regard them as particularly food-friendly.” Instead she reports that the best matches for both the lasagna and mushroom risotto were provided by Rioja and New Zealand.

Although France performed well on the trophy rankings, Beckett was disappointed to see “no Germany, Austria, Portugal or South Africa” emerging victorious.

In terms of stylistic surprises, Beckett lamented the failure of Sherry to live up to its food matching reputation, but picked out the Gallo Summer Red, “which is so sweet that it turned out to be an original and delicious match for apple crumble!”

With so many results challenging the position of classic food and wine matches, Beckett also observed it was “Interesting too how a number of the wines had a couple of years of bottle age.”

Summing up the value of these results for consumers, Beckett concluded: “The best thing about this competition though is that it’s flagged up some new and original wine matches. And even though you might not easily be able to get your hands on the particular wines that were singled out it should give you an insight into the type of wine that could work with a particular dish.”

4 Responses to “Blog de blogs”

  1. Niall Blunden says:

    European Fine Wines: Lafite 2010 was never trading at GBP 14.8k. It started at GBP 12k. Perhaps they’re just trying to price up so they can sell at a premium, given they don’t get chateau allocations?

  2. EFW says:

    European Fine Wines would like to point out that the Lafite 2010 was traded with another well known UK merchant at £14,800.00 (we stress not ourselves as we have not offered it at any price) European Fine Wines were offered generous allocations of the 2010s from many well known négociants. We declined as in our view there was no value to be had for our clients, this has so far shown to be the correct decision. The 2010s have reduced in value according to Liv ex 100, and the Lafite itself which at the end of June saw the last trade at £12,505 was seen on 22nd July down to £10,076.

  3. Niall Blunden says:

    Just to point out your “inaccuracy”: Sent on 5 July: Lafite at £ 11,500. Millesima was also offering at £10,116 (in 6-packs), not that the trade have access to that.

  4. Niall Blunden says:

    Also, Lafite 2010 has just traded at £11,000 on Liv-ex – better get your facts straight!

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