Inhaling the soft enticing aromas of this Californian Vinters Reserve Chardonnay, produced by Kendall-Jackson, I can’t help reflecting that this is possibly the most surreal year of my life.
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The lockdown, the death, the survival, the mean spirit of British and American incumbent governments (we have just had our freedom of movement in Europe taken away in order to assert that very freedom over our borders!), and, of course, the fact the Arctic circle is melting out in an incredible never-before-seen heatwave.
Methane is the new CO2
The methane emissions from thawing permafrost will accelerate the climate crisis by creating a self-reinforcing feedback of more melting and more warming. Very recent science suggests the Earth-system is taking over and our ability to reverse the heat-trend is becoming much more difficult.
As bleak as it all sounds there is a curvature of hope in the air. This existential pause imposed on the global population has forced many of us to take a fresh look at our value systems. It is not a moment too soon.
The world is changing. Wine is changing. It is being produced in new places and those producers in the old places are nervously monitoring that change. Weather extremes are becoming more extreme and people everywhere are learning to understand what the words resilience, adapt, and mitigate, really mean. We are in a flux and it will intensify.
Still... on terra firma
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This is a lovely wine at a fair price. I feel good about toasting with it because I know that the family behind the production of this wine care deeply about the world in which they operate. Last year I was in the audience in Porto at the climate change and wine conference when Katie Jackson gave an impassioned presentation of what sustainability means to their business.
We are moving to a consumer and producer relationship in which people care more about who makes their products and what their values are. We hear in Katie Jackson’s voice the sense of urgency and action when she alludes to the future her children are facing in an era of climate disruption. Conference host, Adrian Bridge, of The Fladgate Partnership, made the point that wine businesses are very often intergenerational businesses. Producers make decisions today and the consequence is felt for decades, even centuries.
It is not about vague slogans around sustainability. It is about rigorously looking at the whole process of production, consumption and dealing with waste. Carbon neutrality is a stepping stone to becoming carbon negative.
With the attitudes of people changing across a swathe of issues that include equality, racism and climate change, there is hope that we can all take responsibility for the future that our decisions and actions help shape. That includes as much introspection as the judgement of others.
From the glass to the heavens... optimism reigns
With half of this bottle still smiling back at us on this blustery but warm July day… that in itself is a cause for optimism… Happy Independence Day, American friends!
Kendall-Jackson Vintner's Reserve Chardonnay 2018 - nicely buttery, floral, with pineapple notes. When fully open there are lingering scents of butter and popcorn lingering in the glass. Very good value at £16.79 from Drinks Direct.
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Watch Katie Jackon in Porto 2019:
An aperitif by the coliseum
As COVID-19 conspires with the grimmest of winds and rain to force a societal retreat behind our own front doors, the word ennui springs to mind. The muddle of displeasure is pierced when Natalia hands me a large bulbous glass of a liquid I do not recognise.
Artichoke pasta and very fine Pigato
Britain’s lamentable exit
On the eve of Britain’s official departure from the EU, my partner and I decided to explore a small town on the Italian Riviera where thewintry cold doesn’t feel so much like cold war bite.
I had warned my significant other that I would be having an inverse departure party, a release of the sanity valve if you like!
Soave: volcanic wines with elegance and longevity
Sitting inside the ancient castle walls inside the town of Soave, a short drive from Verona in northern Italy, the unique slightly almond aroma of the indigenous grape, Garganega, rises gently from my glass. The castle sprawls up the side of an extinct volcano that gives the region its variant soil structures that mark out the better quality of Soave wines.
An American In Paris; Tanisha Townsend (@GirlMeetsGlass) discusses podcasts, Paris wine bars, & what she's drinking at the moment
Tanisha Townsend decided to move to Paris 4 years ago after regularly passing through the city en route to the world’s most famous vineyards. In fact, it was about 2 years ago at the Printemps de Champagne Bouzy Rouge tasting in Reims that I saw (who we shall now refer to as) GirlMeetsGlass chirpily speaking to her web followers on Snapchat.
Wine tasting in Galicia: The pilgrims search for Albarino
The cathedral in Santiago de Compostela, the final resting place of Saint James, rises out of the landscape, infested with antiquity. The rambling steep streets give way to shafts of dramatic light, emblazoned chapels, and tightly packed tapas bars, dusty, as old novels pressed together in antiquarian bookshops.
Interview: (Re)Defining the Entre-Deux-Mers, climate change & tasting with Stephane Dupuch
Driving into the Entre-Deux-Mers region from the north, the vineyards roll out like a bright green deep-pile carpet across the undulating land. It’s hard not to be excited about tasting wines with so much heritage, as we head to Chateau-Sainte-Marie to meet with 5th generation owner, Stéphane Dupuch.