Seems like an unlikely pair doesn’t it? Well, the connection is sketchy but the unthinkable is happening. Perhaps not so unthinkable when fraud abounds (in Padova, Italy, 9,000 bottles of fake Moet & Chandon champagne were uncovered in a shed where they were being produced…I kid you not!
In Vol. 2 No.1, TB wrote on some books he had been reading. One of them, Vino Business, by Isabella Saporta, showed just how greedy Chateaux owners, thanks to the Chinese were among other things, forcing out smaller owners by changing regulations that were expensive to conform to…how about having a large parking lot??? But the main thing is the number of them that are owned by global conglomerates who will do anything to increase production especially now that they can bypass the chain and sell directly to the Chinese…who needs England and America…after all, they won’t pay the obscene prices for cru wines.
Not only that but they, who have claimed the exceptional ‘terroir’ of the Bordeaux appellations found a way to increase production by merely acquiring ‘adjacent’ properties – wait…isn’t that inferior wine? Not if you blend it…called assemblage. If the harvest is done in August or September, and the first tasting by the ‘eggspurts’ are in March (Parker is always the first and alone followed the next week by the rest of the critics. But wait: the wine is still in barrels awaiting the final blend. Parker loves his wines powerful…tannic, monster wines, while the Europeans prefer more balanced structured wines…a problem: simply take the samples from new barrels for Parker and the more mellow wines from used or neutral barrels…problem solved! Whatever it takes to get a 90+ score! Now do you see why TB says, never buy a wine on rating…especially a Bordeaux!
The above is simply a matter of preference. What is more significant is that not only are they forcing their less affluent owners out…by placing their men in charge of the INAO and the appellations, they are maximizing by over-spraying of pesticides and herbicides which is done by helicopter or mindless men driving tractors to the very edge of the property. Despite complaints by residents it persists. A local lab examined bottles of wine from every classified cru and guess what? They ALL contained chemicals, including some on the banned list! …and you, dear consumer are paying for that in your wine. A trade-off of either health benefits or health hazards, but in Bordeaux you can have both! Note that also, as mentioned in Saporta’s book, this extends to Champagne…quel horror! Pesticide Black List
Now, in closing, the mundane: we have all heard how great ‘wine in a box’ is and how it saves money (bottles and shipping), resulting in lower prices to the consumer. Sadly, there is no way of knowing if you are actually saving money or getting lesser quality mass-produced wine. But that is a small point when you figure if you open a bottle of wine, even with a Vac-u-Vin, it keeps for two days at most. But next time you buy it notice the expiration date…yes, an expiration date on wine! Be sure to buy well ahead of it and due to the plastic liners which ‘could’ contain BPA or other chemicals that could contaminate the wine. So IF you choose to buy wine in a box, make sure you are well within the expiration date (and if the retailer is putting the expiring stuff to the front buy elsewhere, and remember that BIG box which is cheaper per liter may not be the best value since you can’t drink it all within a week…unless you are with friends…and do you really want to serve them box wine? Note this is not an issue of oxidation as the bag creates a vacuum, just a health safety issue…possibly. Not trying to create a scare like the one on arsenic levels in wine, just make you aware.
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