Letter: Claret in retreat

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The Independent Culture
Sir: Peter Alexander (letter, 6 September), leaping to defend his beloved claret from the twin assaults of Anthony Rose and Which?, does not seem to be aware that the human brain is capable of remembering not just facts and figures, but sensations too: sights, sounds, tastes and smells.

Some people have this ability to an extraordinary degree. Masters of Wine carry in their heads an astonishing library of the wines they have tasted, to which they can refer at any time when assessing wines put before them.

It is only we lesser mortals who need to put New World wines alongside clarets in order to make the judgement that, in the under-pounds 10 price range and since the 1990 vintage, Bordeaux red wines are less attractive to a majority of wine-drinkers than those at a comparable price level from many other regions, both inside France itself and in Spain, Italy, California and the southern hemisphere.

Fifteen years ago, our 18-page price list used to carry three pages of Bordeaux wines; now they do not even fill one - reflecting the tastes of our customers. Instead, we have more than one page of Midi wine, nearly two from Australasia, and one from the Americas, North and South. There are still some good clarets to be found, but there are far too many that would be better left for the chauvinistic French.


Managing Director, Wines of Interest