Odd, sometimes wild weather ranging from floods to hailstorms has cut a swath across much of Europe this year, causing serious problems for vineyards and wineries in many regions (as reported in our Sept. 18 article, "When vintage matters").
But now there's news that - in Bordeaux at least - the combination of strange weather throughout the spring, summer and early autumn has culminated with optimism for many producers, including the fabled Chateau Haut-Brion.
One of the driest seasons in Bordeaux history culminated in a relatively mild autumn with very dry north winds, which decimated the region's mushroom harvest but was a blessing for the vineyards, reports Haut-Brion Directeur Général Adjoint, Jean-Bernard Delmas.
"We were all very worried at the beginning of September. Then suddenly we were able to benefit from the ideal weather conditions for a harvest time," Delmas said in a report for readers online. He added, with delightful understatement, "To summarise, I would say that today we have very many promising indicators that lead us to believe that this will be another very good vintage for our wines."
Haut-Brion has a first-rate harvest report on its Website, with detailed and frequently updated news from Delmas and other spokespersons, a gallery of photos, and even a downloadable sound recording of "Esprit d'une Equipe," the winery's Harvest Song, sung by a crowd of vineyard workers during Vintage 2000. You'll find it all online at
a Web-surfing trip worth taking.
For current reports from another great Bordeaux producer, Chateau Palmer, see Philippe Delfaut's 2002 Harvest Chronicle at
Do you work or live in one of the world's wine areas, particularly in weather-ravaged Europe? Send me your stories about how it's going in 2002 in your region, and I'll summarize them in another Vintage 2002 article soon. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The price of top, mature Bordeaux - and its need for long cellaring - makes it impractical for most of us to uncork an Haut-Brion or a Palmer for everyday enjoyment. But here's a very good buy from the Coteaux du Languedoc near Montpellier, a consistent source of wines of good value.Domaine de la Brune 2001 Coteaux du Languedoc ($8.99)
Very dark reddish-purple with the bright, almost violet edge typical of a young Syrah (actually it's 70 percent Syrah, 20 percent Grenache and 10 percent Carignan), this tasty value wine offers pleasant scents of black pepper and warm, plummy fruit with a hint of anise. Flavors are consistent with the nose, fresh if a bit simple at this point, plummy fruit and fragrant pepper over a ssharp acidic edge and abundant but palatable tannins. U.S. importer: J et D Selections Inc. (Kysela), Winchester, Va. (Oct. 9, 2002)
FOOD MATCH: Worked very well indeed with a cross-Mediterranean match, a moussaka featuring chopped veal, eggplant and a white Bechamel-type sauce.
VALUE: Very good buy.
WEB LINKS: The importer has a page about this wine, featuring the 1999 vintage (a slightly different blend of grapes) at
Have you ever dreamed of bailing out of the daily grind to start a new career in wine? This notion appeals to a lot of wine enthusiasts, in spite of evidence that the job market in the wine business is both poor and unpredictable in the current economy. And that work in the wine business is a daily grind of its own.
Should you be serious about such a dream, it's my pleasure to pass along information about an opportunity at Neocork Technologies,
a Napa-based company that makes and sells synthetic wine corks.
"I'm looking for someone to give up their day job and get into the wine business ... unless you're already in the wine business," says Neocork's Stuart Yaniger.
Specifically, Neocork is seeking an outside field sales representative for a job that may involve some inside sales as well. The ideal candidate will be "a talented self-starter with excellent references and work habits," the kind of person who's tenacious, persistent and good at follow-through, able to taste and discuss wine intelligently, and flexible enough to jump in and lend a hand when something comes up unexpectedly that's not in the job description. While wine industry knowledge from the supplier's perspective and general wine knowledge are a plus, intangibles such as positive attitude and tenacity are the critical attributes.
Yaniger says Neocork boasts "state-of-the-art products and a growing client base" and offers a "great compensation package, car allowance and benefits."
For information, E-mail in full confidence to email@example.com.Last Week's Wine Advisor Index
The Wine Advisor's daily edition is currently distributed on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays (and, for those who subscribe, the FoodLetter on Thursdays). Here's the index to last week's columns:
Gigondas (Oct. 18)
Another from Guigal (Oct. 16)
Bottles of size (Oct. 14)
Complete 30 Second Wine Advisor archive:
Last week's Wine Advisor Foodletter: Quick ragu Bolognese (Oct. 17)
Wine Advisor Foodletter archive:
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I welcome feedback, suggestions, and ideas for future columns. To contact me, send E-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
All the wine-tasting reports posted here are consumer-oriented. In order to maintain objectivity and avoid conflicts of interest, I purchase all the wines I rate at my own expense in retail stores and accept no samples, gifts or other gratuities from the wine industry.
Monday, Oct. 21, 2002
Copyright 2002 by Robin Garr. All rights reserved.