ISSUE 69 2020 ISSN 1743-503X
THE WORLD OF
www.worldoffi newine.com Founder Laurence Orbach Editorial Adviser Hugh Johnson OBE Contributing Editor Andrew Jefford
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Neil Beckett T
he lockdown, in which so much was taken away, has also been an opportunity to get to the essence, or the heart, or even the soul of things,” reflects Harry Eyres in his searching and uplifting column. “What is the essence of wine?” he continues. “Many, perhaps most, critics would say place, or terroir [...]. Each of the wines I want to talk about has taken me to its place of origin. Wine is a way of traveling without having to travel. The traveling is in time, as well as space [...]. It has to do with heart and heartening, so needed in these times. Wine keeps us connected, to the earth and to ourselves and others both close and further off, the living and the dead” (p.16).
Andrew Jefford also expresses that latter sentiment in his heartfelt tribute to Denis Durantou and his final 2019 vintage: “Any winemaker is much more than his wines [...]. These stand in admirable testament, nonetheless, to their muchloved and much-missed creator” (p.168). Gerard Basset’s autobiography, poignantly reviewed by David Williams, does the same for the great sommelier (pp.50–51).
ancient wine cultures and wines enjoying a renaissance, in Georgia, Moldova, and Liebfraumilch; of new stylistic trends in Toro; of radical Swiss blends; and of new expressions of Xarel·lo (pp.44–46, 160–67, 144–51; 112–19; 120–27; 154–58). David Schildknecht examines the new definition of “natural wine” in France, while Roger Morris proposes a new way of thinking about it, as a “school” (pp.42; 100–02).
We also explore new ways of buying and communicating about wine. Jim Clarke raises the pressing question of whether the surge in online wine sales prompted by the Covid-19 crisis may spell the end for the three-tier system in the US (pp.18–21). Chloe Ashton highlights the remarkable recent rise in online auction sales, which bodes well for the first Cape Winemakers Guild auction to be held that way (pp.32–40; 72–73). Edward Ragg MW and Fongyee Walker MW reveal how smartphone culture is revolutionizing wine education in China. Elin McCoy looks forward to the first digital edition of La Fête du Champagne (pp.22–25), and I here invite you to the first virtual award ceremony for our World’s Best Wine Lists.
Michael Schuster shares Andrew’s excitement over 2019 Bordeaux, heading his magisterial introduction and notes, “Splendor in a Tragedy-Tinged Year,” and suggesting that it may well be “the apotheosis of Bordeaux’s recent, climatewarmed golden run” (pp.174–95).
Many other “new” vintages and wines are also greeted here—from the debut releases of new Champagne cuvées from Ayala, Bollinger, and Gosset, to the stillrecent Premium Vintage Ports (pp.58–59, 64–65, 68–71). We also have appraisals of
Amid all this novelty, Hugh Johnson cautions against it for its own sake and recalls another part of wine’s essence: “Why did the creator give us a fruit with the precise proportions of liquid, sugar, acids, and the rest that add up to an irresistible bev? Because he wanted to see us happy, not drugged, with a good appetite and all ready for more. It’s a reason that has satisfied our forebears for thousands of years. There is room for deviation from Plan A, but not much” (pp.30–31).
“Wine keeps us connected, to the earth and to ourselves and others both close and further off,
the living and the dead”
, Bouzeron ine illa
: Secateurs at Doma yand
THE WORLD OF FINE WINE | ISSUE 69 | 2020 | 3