jeudi 29 mars 2012

Wine Revolution in 2012 : the omen of "Bordeaux vintage wine 2011" !

by Jean-Jacques COURTEY, Doctor in Economic Geography, Ph. D

Last week it was shortly announced on "Challenges" magazine that Mr. Parker was ready to declassify "Bordeaux primeurs 2011", as an uninteresting year. It was indicated he was considering this very year as no good, by intuition.
In fact, it probably meant his knowledge of wine was leading him to this conclusion. Perhaps, did he taste already some of them, before they would be on sale ? Or may be he disliked one and concluded by analogy for all of them. Anyhow it is appearing as an omen.
When we were living in Bordeaux, the heady "Lalande de Pomerol", always in the shadow of "Pomerol" but with a far little level, was not our taste. And we were not alone to feel this way.
So, if we would have been in his position at that time, we could also have reasoned by analogy. But as we tasted other Bordeaux wines, including the great "Pomerol" with its beautiful ruby dress, we obviously didn't reach such a conclusion.

Economically, "Bordeaux vintage wine 2011" down-classment wouldn't be a good news for all our wineyards. It can announce an unexpected change, if people don't pay attention to the warning.
As a matter of fact, Bordeaux wines had a terrible time at the start of the Irak war, launched by America and UK in 2003 . Our wines were bashed in the USA and in Anglo-Saxon countries as a reprisal for France's refusal to participate this war against Saddam Hussein (1937-2006). Of course, it was at the time of George Bush Jr. (born in 1946) and not Barack Obama's (born in 1961). After that, it took almost nine years to recover and develop a new fastly growing trade with China, more and more asking for our wine, and finally filling the room of the previously dominant Anglo-Saxon market.
Asia is "Bordeaux" wines chance, and singularly China - still more than Japan -, and also more surprisingly Gulf countries and Turkey. Again unexpectedly, in Europe this time, Italy is quite a good help with a lot of amateurs for Bordeaux wines. So the down-classment of "Bordeaux vintage wine 2011" shouldn't be normally as bad as the consequences of the Irak war.

But in 2012, the United Kingdom and America are not counting for nothing in the wine trade. And a down-classment of this famous appellation can still provoke a backlash, as the economic period is not really one of recovery - except in the fast words of certain politicians for the sake of a reelection they doubt.
Anyhow the Wine Revolution could be expanding this year. Since the Irak war (which ended only last year with American withdrawal), Italian wines gained a lot in international favour, and some of them are even now considered as the best in the world : the ones of Tuscany, like Montepulciano d'Abruzzo red wine for instance.
Above that, several other countries are now very competitive on the world market like the USA (with California and Texas wines it is now the 4th world producer behind Italy, France, and Spain), or Australia, Argentine, Chile and South Africa. They have all in common a strong French - or Italian - immigration root, established overthere in the past for a new and better life.
So France, and singularly Bordeaux area are competing with their successful descendants.

In the changing wine world landscape, marks for wine given by Mr. Robert Parker in his famous guidebook are like "Michelin stars" for Hotels and Restaurants in France.

A down-gradation for "Bordeaux vintage wine 2011" wouldn't be a good sign at all for French economy. Of course, it is equalilly true that since Roman time, when Burdigala's wines acquired their fame, there were always ups and downs.

But history learns also to be careful with omens, whatever we are calling the place with its Roman name (Burdigala) or with the modern one of Bordeaux.

Only Dyonysos (Bacchus), God of wine in the Greek-Roman mythology will have the last word : in vino veritas (the truth is in the wine) !

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