I’ve just come back from Vinexpo, the big wine trade fair in Bordeaux, where I spent a surprisingly happy three days. Last time I went 6 years ago, I swore I wouldn’t go again because it was sweltering and the traffic was appalling, but this year I had a good reason to go, to present a seminar on Cahors and Argentinian malbec, and it was much better than I feared. Partly because the weather was good and the air-conditioning worked. Partly because I didn’t go to any of the fancy châteaux dinners, least of all the Château Lafite dinner on the Sunday night.
I'm at Vinexpo this week for the big Bordeaux wine fair, more of which in due course.
There’s a nice story at Bloomberg by the American wine journalist Elin McCoy (author of the excellent book about Robert Parker: The Emperor of Wine) about the 2007 vintage Ports. According to her and many of those who’ve tasted them, 2007 looks to be a great year for vintage port, which was unanimously declared a vintage year by Portugal’s port houses in April. Port is one of those curious anomalies in which, like champagne, it’s the producer who declares whether the year is a vintage year or not.
The South West stretches from the Atlantic to the vibrant city of Toulouse – the capital of the region – and from the sunny foothills of the Pyrenees to the majesty of the Massif Central. In between, there are vineyards on the plains of the Béarn, along the river valleys of the Garonne, Lot and Tarn and on the rolling hills of Gaillac. The South-West has a unique storehouse of indigenous grape varieties and a broad spectrum of wine styles to go with them. Red grapes of character include tannat, malbec, négrette and fer servadou, the latter also known as pinenc and braucol.
Last week I spent mostly sniffing corks. Well, two actually. They were from Isole e Olena’s 2001 Cepparello and Costanti’s 2001 Brunello di Montalcino, both 100% sangiovese reds I’d bought and already enjoyed, so the anticipation was eager. There was no notable difference in the smell of the corks, but according to those who make a living out of serving wine, pulling the cork and sniffing it to make sure the wine isn’t corked, there should have been. Why? Because the Cepparello was horribly corked, while the Brunello was absolutely fine, better than fine in fact.