with Ted Sandbach - March 2014
Oh to be wise after the event. 12 bottles of my favourite wine, a 1978 La Tache Domaine de la Romanee Conti have just sold in Hong Kong for US $474,000. I remember that in a previous life we used to stock this wine and if only we knew then what would happen to wine prices in the future and that the Chinese would so easily part with their money now!!
Malbec is heavily associated with rich Argentine wine despite the fact that some of us older folk still enjoy the Malbec of Cahors in southern France, its spiritual home. But I now read that wine makers in Argentina feel that the Cabernet Franc grape is the future even though at the moment only 500 hectares of this grape are planted. The lesser known of the two Cabernets should do really well in the high altitude regions of the Uco Valley and may well be blended with the better known Cabernet Sauvignon to give the wine more tannic structure and backbone. The research is being led by the Catena winery and is supported by Zuccardi so keep your eye out for future developments and try our current Cabernet Franc from Trapiche which when last tasted was stunningly good and not outrageously expensive.
La Petite Syrah, a small café in Nice, is charging higher prices to rude customers on the basis of the old adage that manners cost nothing! At the café a coffee costs 7 euros but if you include the magic words "s'il vouz plait" you will get the same drink for only 4.25 euros but it comes down to only 1.40 euros if you prefix the order with a cheery "Bonjour". The owner said that it all started as a joke and the whole idea developed because so many lunch time customers wanted instant service and were so stressed and bad tempered. Apparently everyone is playing along and the pricing policy is creating plenty of amusement although the higher prices have never actually been charged! Of course we have no such problems with our Oxford Café customers - yet!!
French wine makers are embracing biodynamic viticulture - a mix of Astrology and Chinese medicine methods - to enrich their soil and wine. Whilst being organic can certainly be justified are we sure that the movements of the moon and stars as well as strange "treatments" of the land really help? Perhaps!