This is going to be a somewhat different ramble from previously, vis-à-vis the curious concept of buying claret while it still lies in a wooden barrel. Good thing, too – much too much repetition the last time around.
Let’s go back, if we may, to the morning of Sunday 29 March: I had planned my morning stop-off to be the tasting-rooms at Château Rauzan-Ségla, a stone’s throw from the great Château Margaux – it would have been abuzz with wine trade from all over the globe, opening sips and slurps to be taken of last year’s vintage. Well, obviously not: all bets had been called off a couple of weeks previously.
So, what were the Bordelais going to do? No tastings, so no international trade, no journalists… how to build a campaign? A shame when the outlook for the wines had been rather alluring: word on the street talked of excellent quality, possibly a nudge up on the 2018s, and initial feedback certainly appeared untainted by ‘vintage of the century’ hyperbole. One was (almost!) quite looking forward to the vinous onslaught.
There then came talk of bottles being sent to offices. Now, the immediate thought was that to taste a cask sample via DHL was not ideal – us wine bores like to pour fresh liquid into the glass in order to get some sort of handle on it. Conversely, it could be said that anything showing well after being Fedexed might have made us think that we were onto something.