jamie goode's wine blog: Off to Portugal on the 0640

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Off to Portugal on the 0640

Busy day yesterday. First, the Tesco press tasting, held at a new venue on Grosvenor Place, opposite the gardens of Buckingham Palace. Some very good wines, but a disappointing show from France and Italy. It's not the fault of the buyers; it's just that sourcing good quality wines from the well-known regions that have to be represented, at tight price points, is hard.

Look at Chianti, or Barolo, for example. Some cracking wines at the high end, but mostly dross at the commercial end. Compare Tesco's wines from these big name regions with those from Sicily, for example, and the Sicilian wines win easily: the Tesco Fiano and Nero d'Avola are both excellent wines for c. 6.

Then it was off to Lords, for the Portuguese annual tasting. Because of the Tesco tasting (which is pretty much compulsory because of my newspaper column), I couldn't give Portugal as much time as I needed to.

After this, I had to run home to change into my DJ for the Caballeros dinner - it's an annual Spanish wine dinner, and this year was held at the Dorchester, which, for some reason, had the thermostat set to about 90 degrees, and we all sweated. The dinner was really good, with some super wines, including three sherries. Note to self: must drink more sherry.

I left relatively early and got home just after midnight. I had to pack and set the alarm for 0430, in order to get to the airport for my 0640 flight to Porto. The company who booked my tickets thoughtfully spelled my surname 'Goodie', so we'll see if I get on the plane...



At 4:11 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"It's not the fault of the buyers; it's just that sourcing good quality wines from the well-known regions that have to be represented, at tight price points, is hard"

I think there may be a looseness of logic here. It can only be the buyers' fault if it's *impossible*....

At 4:13 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

sorry, that should read

"It can only not be the buyers' fault if it's *impossible*...."

At 9:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

eh? what are you going on about?

At 11:47 PM, Blogger Nerval said...

There is no doubt appellations like Chianti or Chablis charge a premium for their name alone, and that their price tag is often unjustified.
However it is unfair to compare zones like Chianti or Barolo to Sicilian Nero d'Avola or most of the New World varietals at given price points.
While the latter are produced with generous yields with any winemaking technique that seems suitable, Chianti or Barolo have to observe lower yields by law (and reason, given the nature of their terroirs) and be aged in wood and bottle for a required amount of time. They cannot and should not compete at 'price points' with fruit-driven generic regional wine styles.
These wines can and should remain an expression of terroir. Perhaps it's better if supermarkets just give them a miss instead of trying to source the cheapest possible Barolo to squeeze into a 10.99 price tag.
Happy drinking in Portugal, Jamie!

At 6:42 AM, Anonymous Anders said...

Good trip to Porto. Looking forward to read about Portugals latest achievements.

At 8:31 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Stupid first comment above.

Not really adding value to this site, are you?

At 10:43 AM, Anonymous Alex Lake said...

It's an interesting problem. I think many consumers are thinking about what the recipient/consumers of the wine are going to think. Many people will think "Oooh, Chablis - there's posh" even if the wine tastes like ditchwater. And many/most purchasers will think Chablis is Chablis, so why pay 15 when you can get one at 6.99 ("reduced" from 9.99)?

So "good" buyers (in the context of a supermarket) must put price, volume availability, reliability and other supply-chain factors ahead of quality. If it weren't for the fact that they'd like to get positive critical acclaim to put on the shelf tag, one might be tempted to say that quality hardly mattered at all...


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