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This week’s round-up of the drinks blogosphere looks at allegations and denials, the availability of affordable fine wines and early reactions to Burgundy 2010.

Jim’s Loire

Jim’s Loire blog has been causing waves in the blogosphere this week as Budd investigates allegations that Pancho Campo MW offered DO Vinos de Madrid a €20,000 “deal” in return for a two day visit from The Wine Advocate’s critic Jay Miller.

The post provoked a statement from Robert Parker, denying the allegation that the magazine was involved in charging for tastings and criticising the blog post as “a reckless and malicious disregard for the truth and clearly aimed at damaging Miller, Campo, and TWA.”

Clarifying his own position, Jim Budd’s latest post insists “I have no interest whatsoever in attacking Jay Miller, The Wine Advocate or Robert Parker.”

However, he maintains: “I find it extraordinary that Campo, who was convicted and sentenced for fleecing his business partner in Dubai, has now been put in a position to fleece the Spanish wine industry and trash the reputations of Jay Miller, Robert Parker and The Wine Advocate.

“Was this really what Parker intended when Campo was given responsibility to manage Miller’s agenda and visits in Spain? I very much doubt it.”

Wine Anorak

Having enjoyed a piece by Eric Asimov in the New York Times recently, Goode took up his argument that there are still some great wines at affordable prices for people who fear they are being priced out of the fine wine market.

“It’s easy to look at the prices of top Bordeaux and the best Burgundies and feel a sense of sadness that we’ll never again be able to afford to buy them,” said Goode. “It’s also a little upsetting to see price rises on wines we’ve had a nice relationship with, taking them into the special purchase only category. Take Cote Rotie, for example. I used to buy these wines quite regularly when they were in the £20-30 range; now they’re £40+ it makes me think twice.

“But overall, would we put the wine clock back 20 years? I don’t think so. All things considered, there has never been a better time to be a wine lover than now. There are far more interesting wines being made now than there were 20 years ago.

“Look at the progress made by New Zealand Pinot Noir and Syrah. Look at the revolution in Portugal over this period. Look at the interesting new wines emerging from South Africa. Look at the progress of the natural wine movement. Australian fine wine has never been better.

“As long as you can live without top Bordeaux and the sexiest producers from Burgundy, and are prepared to try something new, then, in Eric’s words:  ’We live in the greatest time ever to be wine lovers, with access to more high-quality wine in more different styles from a greater diversity of places than ever before’.”

Berry Brothers

Berry Bros has been among the many fine wine merchants in Burgundy last month getting a feel for the 2010 vintage, which is being presented to the trade in January.

BBR’s Joss Fowler had this to say of what is, potentially, a great vintage: “Poor flowering and an indifferent summer made for small bunches of small grapes and at the end of August well, things didn’t look too bright.

“A beautiful September, however, came to the rescue and the berries, aided by their small size, ripened perfectly. Ironically the poor flowering at the beginning of the season is what has made this vintage a good (and potentially great in some cases) vintage.”

The white wines he describes as “edgier, tauter than their flamboyant 2009 counterparts” and notes that Chassagne-Montrachet and Corton-Charlemagne “seemed to do particularly well.

The reds “are rather special” with the wines having “some of the juiciness of 2009, though with a more classic structure and perhaps more finesse and poise.”

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