This article was originally published in September 2020.
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.