I'd like to whet your appetite for what is to come next week. Our Italian specialist Walter Speller (and see An Italian first) has been hard at work in Tuscany tasting all the latest releases and various other wines on the side. The result is that next week will be Walter Week, with extensive coverage of Chianti Classico 2011–2007, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano 2009–2006, Brunello di Montalcino 2007 and Brunello Riserva 2006.
But there will be much to titillate those immune to Tuscan reds' undoubted charms. I'm planning an account of an attempt to match Indian food to grand wine, for example. I will also be reporting from Asia, where Nick and I will be in Singapore for Tuesday's Room to Read fundraising wine dinner and in Hong Kong for events for this admirable literacy charity on both Thursday and Saturday nights. And I expect to publish tasting notes on a wide range of fine Rieslings, too.
I'll also be reporting on Johnny Goedhuis's extraordinary charity Wine Dinner last night at the renovated Savoy hotel in London, where I had a chance to revisit 30 top 2001 bordeaux, and had the pleasure of sitting next to Anthony Barton of St-Julien, who had been put, temporarily I hope, on the wagon by his doctor.
There were many wine luminaries there, including Sophia Bergqvist of Quinta de la Rosa in the Douro Valley, who had donated one of the auction lots. We both regretted yesterday's news that François Lurton of Bordeaux (see The wines of the brothers Lurton) had decided to sell his holdings in the Douro, his share in Quinta do Malho and Quinta Beira (pictured), back to his Portuguese partners Capvin. The official statement may imply that this sale, and that of 70 ha of Finca Barrancas in Mendoza, Argentina, is simply to free up capital for another investment, but it does not exactly express confidence in port country. Sophia observed that the Douro Valley is a very unusual environment that takes arguably more commitment than most. Christian Seely of AXA, including Quinta do Noval, is one Bordelais who has proved his deep love of this extraordinary northern Portuguese region, but its challenges may have proved too much for J&F Lurton.
Incidentally, talking of content on this site, I'd also like to pass on the news that our development team have made a breakthrough with our general search function, the box top right when you choose the Rest of site option, which ranges over all our nearly 9,000 articles. For ages we have been puzzled why the search could not find some phrases which we knew to be in certain articles. We have now worked out why and from later today our searches should be much more accurate and less tantalising - though we are also working on how to make it easier for you to navigate your way through the mass of information and opinion that has been published here since 2000.
Onwards and, we hope, upwards...