Food & Wine

Decanter January 2020

Published by TI Media Limited The world’s best wine magazine. It is simply the “wine bible”. Every month it provides recommendations on the world’s finest wines and tells you where you can find them. From top Bordeaux to the best value wine on the shelf, Decanter guides you through a maze of wine to help you find the right wine for you. It also offers interviews with leading wine personalities, in-depth guides to the wine regions and the latest wine news.

United Kingdom
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12 Issues

in this issue

5 min.
month in wine

Sonoma wineries deal with fire aftermath Mass evacuations in northern Sonoma County affected winemakers, alongside other residents, as firefighters battled to protect lives and property by containing the Kincade fire at the end of October 2019. Soda Rock Winery described the ‘tremendous heartbreak’ of losing its winery building in Alexander Valley, northeast of Healdsburg. Less than 7% of Sonoma County was scorched by the fire and two out of 50 Alexander Valley wineries were destroyed, according to a press statement from Jordan Winery. While the immediate concern was for the safety of people and communities, the threat to tourism looms large over a wine region that relies heavily on its visitors. Understandably, many Sonoma wineries have been keen to put the post-fire situation in context for the public. ‘We’re working hard to tell everybody that things…

1 min.
in brief

Thieves stole about £65,000 worth of wine from the Lime Wood Hotel in the New Forest, which is owned by British billionaire Sir Jim Ratcliffe. The culprits raided the cellar at 3:38am on 11 November and made off with approximately 80 ‘high value’ wines. No particular bottles were specified, but the hotel’s wine list includes world-famous names, from Romanée-Conti to Screaming Eagle. Iron Age Celts drank wine in Germany’s Baden-Württemberg region long before the Romans arrived, according to a study published in scientific journal PLOS One. On the site of Heuneburg, a fifth-century hill fort, researchers found 24 vessels that contained tartaric acid, signalling the presence of wine. Imported from the Mediterranean, the wine was enjoyed by both rich and poor Celts, said the study. Packets of ‘Proseccoflavoured’ Pringles were…

3 min.
your letters

Time to act How does Decanter concern itself with the environmentally conscious wine consumer? I see very little in your articles to suggest any concern at all. Admittedly there was a recent report about the March 2019 Porto Climate Change conference (July 2019 issue), but the speakers there considered mainly the effects of climate change on the global wine sector. That is now old hat, very old. I have been writing and speaking about it since the 1990s. What matters is what the industry can do to help mitigate climate change, due primarily to rising CO2 levels in the atmosphere. And here the sector’s record is abysmally poor! Analyses flag two major issues where the environmental impact of wine is far from small. The first is the continued use of round, tapered…

3 min.
andrew jefford

We’re at the cusp of the year – and the decade. What lies ahead for the wine world? Conceptual trouble, first of all, in assuming that ‘the wine world’ is somehow separate from other worlds as a happy little pleasure bubble of its own. Perhaps this was once true in the politically dull, climatically quiet times in which the older readers (and writers) of this magazine grew up. That’s finished. During the next decade, all worlds collide – as the unruly politics of an age of populism crash haplessly into a force greater than any of us. We don’t yet know how climate change and the Holocene (or Anthropocene) extinction episode will affect the lives we have become used to living, but a series of sharp shocks seems likely. Perhaps those…

3 min.
elin mccoy

A Harvard Business School study estimated that 70% of family businesses are sold before the second generation takes over. Only 12% survive to the third. In the wine world, the causes are usually family squabbles, financial problems or, especially in France, taxes. Does it matter? I think it does. The people behind what we drink, be it wine or spirits, are part of the terroir and authenticity of the liquid in the glass. Most families view themselves as guardians of the land, which puts them in the best spot to respond to long-term challenges such as climate change. One way they can survive today is by banding together to exchange ideas and impress family spirit on the next generation. That was the message at a recent lunch in New York hosted by…

3 min.
caroline henry

At the end of last year, Jean-Marie Barillère, president of the Union des Maisons de Champagnes (UMC) and co-president of the Comité Champagne, made a commitment on behalf of the whole region to eradicate the use of herbicides by 2025. While the idea itself is applaudable and bold – Champagne remains the only wine region in the world to have made this commitment – it seems that the practicalities have not been fully thought through. In many ways, the zero-herbicides movement is Champagne’s Brexit, and the extraction of herbicides from the region’s patchwork vineyards may hold similar economic challenges as the UK’s extraction from the European Union. Champagne’s 34,380ha is made up of 280,000 vineyards with an average surface area of 0.12ha, but many plots are a tenth of this size.…