Are the good old days gone forever?
Perhaps the wines were better before, in the good old days? If you want to go really far back in time, back to the 19th century you can long for the ungrafted vines that existed before the phylloxera came. Since then, almost all of the world’s vineyards have been planted with grafted vines. Or long for the past when they made really long-lived wines in Bordeaux and you still could afford to buy “classified” growths in Bordeaux. And for the time when they made more solid Burgundies.
Or is that not how it is? Is it perhaps better now?
We were recently in Chile and Argentina and there you can find – not seldom side by side – grafted and ungrafted vines. Did we notice any clear and distinctive difference between a wine made from grafted vines and the other wine made from ungrafted ones? No. In addition, the grafting can “adapt” the vine to specific soil and climate conditions. So has the wine world lost something big because of phylloxera? I do not think so.
The long-lived Bordeaux wines may have come about because at the time they did not have very good control over when the grapes were ripe and therefore harvested when the tannins were not quite ripe and the wines thus had to be aged longer. Today, growers know more about optimal harvest and maturity and make more well-balanced wines.
The classified growths have certainly become awfully expensive, but what does it matter? If you drink wine for the sake of its taste and not for the text on the label, there are many other, lesser known wines, which are just as good (yes, indeed) and cost a fraction. Marketing requires budget and celebrity has its price.
The full-bodied Burgundians of olden times might have had their might thanks to a little “reinforcement” with southerner wine, at a time when controls were not so strict.
No, wine lovers live today in a much better world than just a few decades ago.
The quality of wines today is on average a lot better.
We were recently in Chile and Argentina (one of our wine tours) and will soon be off to South Africa (another of the wine tours). Today in all these countries you can find wines of top quality. A few decades ago it was mostly bulk. The same goes for almost all other wine countries! Languedoc-Roussillon in France, or why not “simpler” Bordeaux, where you can find lots of good and not expensive wines today. Spain, Portugal, Italy and so on.
And above all, there are so many good wines to choose from at very good prices, as long as the contents is more important than the text on the label.
Wine enthusiasts today have much better times than before.
This Brief is a bit shorter than usual. It is hard to find time between South America, the Vinisud wine fair, a new book manuscript, South Africa, and more… But we give you a few things to read at least.
It is, of course, also time to mention something about our wine tours. There are a few places left on some of the spring wine tours. Spring is a lovely time to travel in wine districts. Book now!
Everything is also ready and set for the fall. Book your autumn wine tour now to be sure to get a place.
For the long-term planner, we will soon have the programs ready for Chile-Argentina and New Zealand (!)for winter 2019. See more below.
Britt & Per
PS: Recommend to your friends to read the Brief !
This post is also available in: Swedish