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.