Talking Wine – January 2014

Beware fake wines. There have been a number of prosecutions recently in relation to ordinary wines – usually Bordeaux or Burgundy – relabelled as far superior quality with the average consumer being none the wiser. It is vital when buying wines to know the provenance. Be cautious when buying from auction or indeed from a private individual where the problem is more likely to be the issue of how the wine has been kept. A few cases lying under the stairs in a warm centrally heated house will age much faster than those kept in temperature controlled cellars and the corks are also likely to dry out if the wines have not been kept on their side. This might all sound alarming but also never be tempted by adverts from smart sounding companies unless you know them to be established and respected. A friend of mine tied up a substantial amount in an investment scheme which included storage of wine. It is a very clever scam because in most cases fine wine needs 5-15 years before it is ready to drink and with the promise of the wine being kept in perfect condition the actual product is never seen. An invoice is sent annually with a storage charge and estimates of value but no more. It was only when he tried to take delivery of the wine that he ran into difficulties. The wine had possibly never been bought or more likely bought but sold many times. He certainly never got his wine as the company folded but not before the owners had enjoyed a Champagne lifestyle and no doubt stashed away millions in offshore accounts. If you need advice we can steer you in the right direction. We do not really deal in en primeur wines so this is not a sales pitch but we do know who can be trusted!!

We have all heard about the success of sparkling wines from Sussex which regularly outperform Champagne in blind tastings but now Devon, the county of my birth, has won a bronze medal in one of Europe’s top competitions with Yearlstone’s Vintage 2009 sparkling wine. Roger White, the owner said: “We are delighted to have success at the first French Wine competition we have entered – especially when 2/3rds of the French entries failed to win anything”. The wine is also strongly recommended by Decanter Magazine – I am not sure where it is available but I just hope it does not find its way to the supermarket shelves!! Surely a solid Devonian has more sense?