Prompted by my old buddy James Warren, I’ve just had a listened to the first ever Berry Bros. & Rudd podcast – sorry, podcask (a truly awful pun, for which I am a sucker).  As full disclosure, James has been involved in recent BBR PR activities, specifically related to new media-type stuff, so it’s not a huge surprise to see a podcast appear on the BBR website.

Inevitably, I guess, the company’s first podcast (which it also claims is the first by a wine merchant) spends a while explaining just what BBR is and does – in fact, it spends about the first half of its eight minutes or so doing just that.  But, as it’s the Chairman himself Simon Berry doing the chatting and you’ve been eased into it all with a nice piece of classical music, it doesn’t seem too blatant. 

Just as you are getting slightly concerned the whole thing’s going to be a BBR advertisement, however, Simon quickly gets into his thoughts on the Bordeaux 2006 vintage.  Very briefly (as we all suspected) it’s nowhere near as good as the 2005 (Simon reckons it could be a touch better than 2004, particularly on the Right Bank) but the worry is that prices won’t adjust accordingly.

But don’t take my word for it!  Have a listen.  It’s a decent length for a podcast and fairly engaging.  A good first effort which bodes well for the future.

Sadly, I have to end this post on a less positive note.  I opened the Reserve de la Comtesse 1988 this evening.  Corked.  Nasty.  I’m well and truly gutted.


03-01-07_0825.jpgI was down at Bordeaux airport on Saturday picking my folks up.  It’s a nice airport – not too big, light and airy and deathly quiet on a Saturday lunchtime.  It’s also got rows of vines planted outside the terminal building! 

Typical of most aiports, it’s got a selection of shops and cafes and, inevitably, there’s a shop that sells wine for those last-minute impulse purchases before jumping on the plane.  The wine shop’s also got a sale on at the moment – and it’s definitely worth a browse.

On the floor of the wine shop there are a load of cardboard wine carriers, each holding six bottles.  There are signs on top explaining that there’s currently 25% off the price of the wines in the boxes – and it’s only when you get closer that you notice the scribbled details on each box of what’s inside. 

03-01-07_0911.jpgMost were mixed cases and the example in the photo gives you an idea of the quality.  This one contained three bottles of Chateau Cheval Blanc 2002 (at 292,10 euros each), and single bottles of Chateau Figeac 1998 and 2000 (157 and 149,50 euros respectively) and Vieux Chateau Certan (276 euros).  So a quick bit of mental aritmetic and that little lot comes to nearly 1,500 euros (I’m not sure whether that was before or after the discount!)  I noticed other boxes containing bottles of Petrus, Ausone, Latour…remarkable.  Well worth a look if you’re ever passing through the airport – the shop’s upstairs between the two terminals (and is actually part of the newsagent’s!)

canon-de-brem.JPGA story from caught my eye this morning (it’s well worth subscribing to the news feed, by the way) relating, as it did, to a wine I bought a case of only last week – the Canon de Brem 2002 Canon-Fronsac. 

The owner of the chateau has decided to “declassify” the wine and turn it into the second wine of Chateau la Dauphine, which he also owns.  La Dauphine is in the Fronsac AC and, although obviously closely related, Canon-Fronsac is often regarded as the more prestigious of the two, so some might think it odd to declassify the Canon-Fronsac and make it the second wine of a Fronsac.

The simple answer seem to be that there’s greater awareness of La Dauphine amongst consumers.  In fact, the owner Guillaume Halley (just 29 years old) says that every year they sell out of La Dauphine but have a stock of Canon de Brem left, so it sounds like a pretty straightforward commercial decision to bring Canon de Brem under the La Dauphine banner.  He does also own supermarlets, after all, so knows how to shift stuff!

Still, after the 2006 vintage, Canon de Brem will cease to exist (as a name, at least) so there might be some rarity value in my small collection, if nothing else.

07-jan-07-small.jpgSo, after a successful Friday night’s tasting (see previous post), I decided I’d continue on Saturday evening.  Michelle was catching up with a bunch of her horse-riding friends, so I was on my own.  That being the case, I thought that just the one bottle would probably do.  I was keen to revisit one of the wine’s that James Warren had picked out over New Year, as I remember it being very good and had come to think that it was very good value.  It’s a Château Belgrave 2003, a Haut- Médoc “Left Banker” and, more than that, was classified in the 1855 official classification of Médoc and Graves as a “Cinquième Cru”, or “Fifth Growth” wine which, in theory, puts it within the 61 best Left Bank wine producers.  You can see a picture of the empty bottle to the right, which probably tells you more of the story than the following words!


etipontet.jpgGrapes are obviously quite important in the wine production process.  Like me, you might have grown up thinking that there were basically four types of grape: green seedless ones, green ones with pips and black ones (with and without).  Of course, we all know that there are loads of different types of grape used in wine production.  Thing is, unless you know your stuff, it’s very difficult (if not impossible) to know what type of grape has been used in the production of a French bottle of wine.  I mean, look at this label…yes, it’s got a pretty picture and a fancy name, but what the hell’s in the bottle?