11 April 2014 - Matthew Hemming MW (no relation to our Richard Hemming) of Averys tells me that they are planning a tasting of 2013s for their customers on 8 May.
10 April 2014 - Our Throwback Thursday re-publication today serves to demonstrate how things have changed in terms of Bordeaux courting consumers. (Bordeaux en primeur tastings for the public such as the one illustrated here at Lord's cricket ground have become run of the mill here in London - although I note that none seems to be planned for this year, presumably because merchants sense there is little consumer demand for the 2013s at the moment.) The layout below may also remind very longstanding me⁞mbers of our Purple Pages of what the precursor of our forum looked like. I had to individually edit, publish and reply to every post, as below, which was originally published on 3 April 2004. I have also included a link in my reply below to my first overview of the controversial 2003 vintage.
Geneviève Samson, UK:
I see you are off to Bordeaux to taste the 2003 vintage. Enjoy it, as you are only one of a few who are able to do so. I am referring to the absence of annual Bordeaux tastings for the consumer, here in the UK. I believe that Bordeaux is shooting itself in the foot by not exposing their wines regularly to the consumer. Take Burgundy, as a comparison. Every year, I get to taste en primeur wines from generic Burgundy to Grand Cru (Bibendum, Morris & Verdin) and tantalised, I buy some wine. Year after year I get to know a little better this most difficult and fascinating region because the chance is given to me to do so.
Bordeaux, in my wine drinker's life, is non-existent (well, almost). Perhaps it is the nature of the trade of that region, where most domaines are owned by large companies, and also the prestige of the Grands Crus Classés, who probably sell all of their wines before release and feel no need for consumer tastings, who are to be held responsible for this lack of direct representation with the consumer. But what about the smaller châteaux who I am sure could use the push of the Crus to sell their wines. How about the image of the whole region? And how about us, the consumer?
If you can put in a good word for us (and for them) Jancis, that would be much appreciated.
Very interesting point, Geneviève, and one that is particularly timely in view of the article I have just written for the FT this Saturday 10 April about the widening economic disparity between the best-known estates and the rest (see Bordeaux 2003 - such mixed fortunes), and the economic difficulties in which the rest find themselves because they are so little known to the wine-buying public. I will forward your email to some specific addresses and hope that it is read by many more interested parties. I don't think Château Latour actively needs to make friends with you, but Château La Tour Blanche in St Christoly-Médoc, for example, probably does.