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.
2009 Beer Writer of the Year Peter Brown begins his post in rather ominous fashion before going on to describe a night he wonâ€™t forget in a long time.
â€œI went drinking strong beer with Russians last night,â€ he begins, setting the tone. â€œDon’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.â€
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 wasnâ€™t long before his night perked up. â€œThe 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,â€ he writes. â€œLadies and gentlemen, White House communications chief Mr Toby Ziegler! In a pub! In London!
â€œOK, 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!â€
You can almost feel his palms getting sweaty as he continues: â€œI 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.â€
You fear Brown might then be set to combust as he adds: â€œAs he got his beers, he glanced across the bar at me â€“ or rather in front of me â€“ and saw that I was eating one of the Craft Beer Co’s excellent pork pies. I saw him mouth the words, â€˜Hey what’s that? I’ll have one of those too.â€™ Toby Ziegler saw me eating a pork pie and then he ordered one as well!â€
â€œI 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.â€
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.
â€œEn 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,â€ the blog says.
â€œA recent example shows how even the most prestigious chateau are affected â€“ Lafite 2010 just last week was selling at up to Â£14,800 per case, but is now available at Â£12,300 a case.
â€œEarly 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.
â€œSo in conclusion, our recommendation is for investors to wait for the dust to settle on the 2010s.
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 MÃ©doc, Bourg and Blaye have had a number of storms and the state of the vineyards there is â€œmore than adequateâ€.
However, in parts of Pomerol and Saint Emilion he notes that there are â€œvines completely blocked with enormous water stress and impressive lack of water. In many regions they are lacking half a yearâ€™s worth of rainfall.â€
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.
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.
Beckettâ€™s first surprise was that â€œthere were no Italian wines among the winners which surprised me as I regard them as particularly food-friendly.â€ 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 â€œno Germany, Austria, Portugal or South Africaâ€ 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, â€œwhich is so sweet that it turned out to be an original and delicious match for apple crumble!â€
With so many results challenging the position of classic food and wine matches, Beckett also observed it was â€œInteresting too how a number of the wines had a couple of years of bottle age.â€
Summing up the value of these results for consumers, Beckett concluded: â€œThe 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.â€