Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Some Tidbits in Lieu of a Coherent Post

--BrooklynLady and I celebrated our anniversary last week, thrilled to be here and basically intact after the first five months of our second daughter. The President and his wife aren't the only ones who travel for date night. BrooklynLady and I went to Tokyo for dinner, or the closest thing to it in Manhattan, anyway. But before we went out, when she arrived home from work, BrooklynLady brought with her as a surprise an utterly beautiful bottle of Champagne, the Cédric Bouchard Inflourescence Brut Blanc de Noirs. Bouchard is the new superstar of the Aube who makes wine as if he were in the Côte de Nuits - all single vintage, single vineyard wines, with no dosage. The bottle BrooklynLady so wonderfully donated to our anniversary imbibement programme was all 2006, and it was more wine than Champagne, the bubbles merely incidental. Elegant and intense with drippy red fruit encased in a sheer layer of delicate chalk. Just gorgeous wine, worth seeking out and cellaring.

--And speaking of our second daughter, whereas the first one barely eats, this one is already a foodie. She eats sweet potato and now mushed avocado with élan. She gets upset if I take even a moment between spoonfuls. I think I'm going to skip squash and move directly to duck confit.

--Lyle Fass suggested that I try the Bernard Baudry 2008 Chinon Rosé in a comment on my recent rosé post. Not that I need a whole lot of prodding to drink Baudry's wines. We drank this wine the other night and it was outstanding, the spicy and floral essence of Cabernet Franc, and with super prickly acidity. A bowl of fresh berries on a worn wooden table sitting outside of a barn. An entirely different animal from the Provence rosés I've been drinking, but delicious nonetheless.

--I love finding a great blog that becomes part of my daily scan. This one might may not be new to you, but as of about a month ago it was to me. Alfonso Cevola is smart, experienced, soulful, and very down-to-earth, and his blog is really great. Just check out this post in which he discusses the utter frivolity of obsessing over organic peaches, when forcing them into a "perverse ménage à trois with blood oranges and jalapeño chutney."

--I've heard about how wine prices should be coming down amidst the global recession. But I have to tell you, I have't really seen it. Yes, there have been "moving of inventory" sales, but I still see the wines at $18 that cost $14 or $15 just a few years ago. And $27 is the new $22. Perhaps the downward pricing will hit more expensive wine, like 2004 and 2006 Burgundy that's still on shelves, or 2007 Bordeaux? Am I missing something, or have prices on wines in the $15-$30 range not really budged?


Weston said...

Speaking of wine prices. I was at the big Liquor store run by the government and in their "Signature section" [where the expensive rare/only bring in so many cases section] They had some 30-40% maybe like 10-20 bottles out of 200. most of them being Burgundy reds some tuscans. but the aussie/usa/baraolo barely knocked down.

Lyle Fass said...

Glad you liked the Baudry.

As for wine pricing a market correction takes a whie to actually happen. It starts with the producer and "trickles" down to us, the consumer in around a year. High end wines are low now but not low enough for people to be buying again. 2007 Bordeaux is a light vintage and will be discounted heavily but many people will feel the pain on it as it was bought with a crappy exchange rate and was ridiculously overpriced. The wines will stagnate if they are not moved below cost. Good luck NJ on that one! And the market is very thirsty for the '08's especially after Parker;s high praise.

Tracie P. said...

so do you still need some prodding to come over to the produttori del barbaresco camp?

do we need lyle's help on this one?

glad to hear BL brought home such a yummy surprise...and thank god for at least one baby foodie! they are a rare breed indeed...

Joe Manekin said...

Happy anniversary, Neil.

Baudry rosé sounds great, I need to buy some.

As it relates to wine pricing, I second Lyle's observation that time is necessary for lower pricing to 'trickle down' from producer to broker and/or importer and then to retailer, and then will add an observation of my own: terrific producers, from either obscure or underappreciated apellations, who don't offer cheap wine (or conversely overpriced plonk) tend to have steady pricing. In good times, their prices generally go up slowly, and in bad times their prices are rarely drastically reduced. In other words, the Chinon, cru beaujolais, muscadet, good burg producers, and other wines that savvy buyers such as yourself tend to favor have very steady pricing. You get a lot for your money as far as quality vs price. However, you will rarely see the pricing of these wines decrease, even in tough economic times.

Just my observations...would be curious to hear the opinions of others, though.

Word verification: ciali. Like 'Cali' as in 'Cali Joe' but with an Italian twist....

Alfonso Cevola said...

thanks for the props, BG
come to Tx and let's empty Dr. P's wine cellar in ATX

Vinotas said...

Happy Anniversary Neil!

What others have said is correct, pricing is taking its time filtering through the system. What is also happening is all the distributors are seeking out really cheap wines everywhere they can to buff up the lower-end portion of their portfolio (which is great for me, as you can imagine). Some of the stuff is absolutely horrid, but there are some interesting wines being brought in. Again, it takes time for them to get to the stores, and the NYC market is the most expensive in the country, so something that retails $10 one place might be $18 in the city.


ned said...


Advisors have but busy advising their clients not to lower prices. That will cheapen the brand and as soon all is well it will be difficult to regain the lost ground.
The advisor feels savvy and sharp being contrarian in this way but it is the producer (importer, retailer) who has to try and stick it out.

Just like no one wants to hear they have an ugly baby, no one wants to hear they need to drop their price to sell their wine. After all, this downturn is temporary right? I'll just hang on till then right?
Up and down the line, they're all gonna see it through, give up no ground and be all good when it
all rebounds. Good luck with that!
The wise will drop prices to what would have been the pre bubble price, and not look back. Those about to be forced out of business will hopefully see the light in time to avert disaster. As to just how many diehards will be left remains to be seen.
There's a lot of overpriced, undersold "premium" wine waiting to be "appreciated".

Let's hope wine can gain acceptance as a normal part of the the dinner table and life, and move away from aspirational marketing, status symbolism, scores, resale value, etc. It will probably take the
downturn lasting two more years to really change
the status quo.

Cliff said...

Right, but let's cut to the chase: When will my Fourrier CSJ cost $75 again (2001), so I can afford it again? I'm afraid I don't see that one coming back.

Brooklynguy said...

Tracie - I am in the PdB camp already, but moreso for the Barbarescos than for the basic Lange wine. I have yet to have a good bottle of that wine.

Hey Old Skool - i think you;re right on the 'quality producer' analysis.

Ned - interesting thoughts. Is there one part of the world you are thinking of in particular, of do you mean wine from everywhere?

Cliff - never, and you know it, and it;s more of a function of the cache of Fourrier than it is of the market. Fourrier is top notch now.

ned said...

I'm thinking primarily about the US whether it's domestic producers or US importers of European wines.