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January 8, 2007

Greed and Good Weather Make for Bad Bedfellows

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The December issue of Wallpaper* had a piece called “Hot Cities”, a visual and numerical rundown of 2006 summer high temperatures, compared to the historical average: (for our American friends, multiply the degrees C by 9/5 and add 32, [ You can do it in your head after a while] :-)

Stockholm: 32.3C vs. 21.3C
London 34.5C vs. 34.5C
Kiev 31.7C vs. 24.0C
Madrid 40C vs. 31.0C
Berlin 36.6C vs. 23.0C

At this rate, they'll be planting pinot noir in Stockholm soon.


It reminded me of a post that I wrote in the middle of the sweltering European summer, but sat in drafts:

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It’s ironic that what makes Bordeaux so valuable is not that it is so fantastic, but that historically, it is infrequently so fantastic. A couple of times a decade, “the vintage of the century” rolls around and the wine pundits go into their frenzied, frothing at the mouth state of jubilation about how amazing the wines are.

The language and currency of Bordeaux is about scarcity. The wines are released to the market in an archaic way that is designed to maximize the value of each case and allow the brokers to leverage the bad vintages with the good scarce stuff.

We can count the great vintages of the second half of the 20th century on two hands and a couple of toes.

So what happens when, the weather ‘improves’ and instead of two or three great vintages a decade, there are 8?

Well then, its becomes much harder to play the scarcity card.

Good wine becomes the norm, instead of the exception. The Bordeaux model starts to falter. There is more wine than there is demand at high prices and prices for the best stuff drift downward.

'More and better' probably isn't good news for the Bordelaise.

Posted by Jason at January 8, 2007 3:01 AM

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