Thursday, 9 November 2006

France 2005

We rejoice with you, brothers-across-la-Manche, for your simply superb 2005s. For this is truly a 'year of dreams'. We have started to down them with glee, and look forward to the many pleasures lying in wait for the months, years and decades ahead.

A few extravagant prices in Bordeaux throw a highly flattering light on good producers, and even well-known producers, offering their claret at one fortieth of the price, or even less. Suddenly £100 a box (plus the duty and VAT of course) looks a complete steal for what may be the best wine in decades from the region that still, in spite of everything, holds the pole position in our national wine-drinking.

Nor is Bordeaux the only region to come home rejoicing after a near-model vintage in 2005. What pleasure we can anticipate from Burgundy as well, from Chablis in the north to the southern Maconnais and Beaujolais; the Loire is on spectacular form, the Rhône too.

In the south, sure-footed winemaking also means that mouthwatering opportunities for wine drinkers abound.

It never causes the same rush of blood, but the other European region that made some of its best wine ever (and irresistible right away; cellaring highly desirable but optional) is Germany's Moselle. In a way I hope the pfennig doesn't drop too soon, because I have designs on obscene amounts, starting with the most peachy, tingling-fresh Kabinett wines I've tasted in years.

There'll never be a shortage of reliable wines - ever again, it seems. Of truly magic ones, though, nobody knows. Best to fill your boots when you see a vintage like 2005 come in.

Hugh Johnson,
Club President

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