Friday, September 4, 2009

Common sense ?

A thought I heard several time from friends from the Roussillon, Hervé Bizeul, Claude Gros or my partners Marie and Jean-Roger Calvet: How come so many professionals, self-proclaimed critics, well known journalists, wine enthusiasts, buyers, are so sensitive to some of today’s common speeches, trends, preventing self judgment, and that so few have had the curiosity to visit vineyards, at least during or before the harvest.

We’re constantly being talked about terroir, without the curiosity to come and visit, walk around, experience the life of the vineyard and the people working in it. Of course, it is not easy work, nor quick, nor comfortable. Outside, there could be too much wind, sun, even rain. And I am not even talking about insects, brambles and fear being felt when confronted by these wild or well tended sceneries, but so far from the comfort of beautiful chateaux, nice tasting rooms, attentive trade unions, or even the pleasure of being buttered up for a blurb in the local newspaper.

In fact, in my area, their area, they have little interest in terroir, vineyards and grapes which can provide more than claptrap, but, for who is able to read, a way to learn the truth concerning owners or consultant who claim being organic with a tremolo in their voice and weed-killer all over their fields, or those who claim to respect recycling and pour their waste in ditches, or the bio dynamic producers who doesn’t provide adequate working conditions to his employees and who will complain, without even blinking an eye, that he is not understood when his cellar stinks with TCA and other junk. I don’t even talk about those who can make delicious wines, clean and transparent with rotten grapes, vineyards where odium and missing vines (dead and not replaced) are signs of failure.
Why mistake real organic wines, good bio dynamic, and good and easy drinking wine sold at attractive price, with wine full of brett, often acid or good valued easy drinking wine (what does it mean 30 Euros?) where time is their enemy – 5 minutes in the glass and they’re gone.

Why this trend for anything being anti Parker, against wine being too produced, a trend which implies that wine is of divine origin.
Is this trend in response to the current crisis in our society and its comportment? A response to existentialist anguishes? A good excuse to drink wine with alcohol in this world so hard to live in, or is cautiousness taking over and preventing us from having common sense.

About common sense, 2009 seems to be a great vintage. Jean Marc Quarin is already comparing it to 2005. We will know in a month.
In the meantime, Tuesday, I visited the vineyards in Pomerol and Saint Emilion and I can say that I rarely saw such beauty.
La Commanderie de Mazeyres and Prieurs de la Commanderie look so beautiful, which these 2 properties hadn’t seen for a very long time. Seeing such beautiful vineyards and grapes is a real pleasure. These properties will definitely count in Pomerol.
Vive the Right Bank and its grapes, dark like blackberries and already tasting so sweet.

In Maury, Marie and Jean Roger Calvet started the harvest with the first cuvees of white and rose, picked to produced “thirst” wines for stores (which means not too expensive).
Drinking a good bottle of Hugo 2005, still way too young, during dinner the other evening was our way to participate.

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