"Buy my book about the Roussillon on Amazon UK in paperback or eBook or black & white version, and Amazon USA: paperback or eBook or black & white. OR BUY IT DIRECT FROM ME (UK & EU only). Also available in the US from Barnes & Noble in hardcover, paperback or eBook. For other countries, tap on the link above the cover (below)." Richard Mark James

09 December 2009

"Making dangerous predictions..."

This was the title of Tim Atkin MW's column in UK drinks retailing fortnightly Off Licence News on 20th November. In quick summary: sommelier, wine guide author and TV personality Matt Skinner appears to have got his fingers burnt in his just-released "the Juice 2010" by recommending "a number of New World wines from the 2009 vintage that he could not have seen before the book's deadline in May." His defence was "...some of the wines he included... are consistently good from year to year." I don't know Matt nor have I read any of his books, but Tim's quite right to point out that he's on rather dodgy ground here in retaining credibility with readers. But what grabbed my attention more is the "excuse" forwarded by the publisher: "this was a way to get around long lead times and potential public disappointment," as in the past apparently "several of Skinner's choices had sold out before the book hit the shelves." Indeed, talk about accidentally admitting this style of paper guide now seems more or less pointless, thanks to the traditional publishing process itself! As Tim concluded, "Why not put the whole thing online to make it more immediate and up to date?" Then again, if you're reading this and agreeing, you already know where the future / present lies for wine writing!

08 December 2009

Bordeaux: Côtes de Bourg and Listrac-Médoc

"Côtes de where? Not the favourite coastal or riverbank hang-out for Jean-Luc Picard's scariest enemy, but a lesser-known "Right Bank" Bordeaux appellation. Somehow, it's surprisingly easy to get your geography in a twist on this side of the river and forget you're actually opposite Margaux "just across" the water..." Notes on 40 wines overall including these favourites: Châteaux Fougas, Clos du Piat, Relais de la Poste, Coulée de Bayon, Améthyste de Génibon, Haut-Guiraud, Labadie... plus thoughts on image, tasting grapes, Malbec and wine travel tips..." "...And savour some of the imperial grandeur and wines of these four handsome properties in Listrac-Médoc: Château Fourcas-Dupré, Château Fonréaud, Château Lestage and Château Fourcas-Hosten..." Click here to find out more (goes to my big Bordeaux page)...

06 December 2009

Languedoc & Roussillon "Intersud" trade body

I recently noticed on French wine business website www.vitisphere.com that the French government has now stuck the boot in telling the far-too-many wine trade associations in the south to get their act together (they've been going through the motions for about 5 years). Most of them already agreed a few years ago it's a good idea and "Intersud" technically already exists, and they're mysteriously promoting the Sud de France "brand" regardless (no doubt by another separate and well-funded body). Yet it seems the CIVL (Languedoc wines), CIVR (Roussillon), Vins de Pays d'Oc and the other VDP, vin de table etc. wine producers all still prefer to keep their own little organisation totalling several directors, presidents, marketing, PR etc. doing their own little thing (gravy rather than wine train). They'll never conquer export markets unless they unite under one real banner, not just "a good idea" on paper, same goes for France too where producers are failing to get new wine drinkers on-board. I appreciate there are sensitive issues here as some people might lose their jobs in the amalgamation process. But why all the big fanfare all those years ago, yet since then nothing's really happened apart from a lot of meetings and expensive advertising campaigns for Sud de France etc! Lots more background on this on my other blog: frenchcataloniawine.

04 December 2009

"Updated regularly or occasionally as fits the mood...not exactly a wine of the week or month but could be...hopefully more spontaneous than that..."

I've just posted my latest Wines of the moment: click on that link and scroll down to Dec. 2009 for a few groovy winter finds: 2008 Rasiguères rosé - 2008 Pinot Noir Rotisserie - 2005 Carinyana Puig-Parahÿ. Anybody tasted these recently or anything similar?

Blog blast-off!

Check in here to stay updated on what's new on winewriting.com... and post your comments of course! Plus I'll be airing any intriguing winey news or goings-on that might or might not be worth discussing further, as and when I put my "Mr. Angry" hat on...

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