Awards and citations:

1997: Le Prix du Champagne Lanson Noble Cuvée Award for investigations into Champagne for the Millennium investment scams

2001: Le Prix Champagne Lanson Ivory Award for

2011: Vindic d'Or MMXI – 'Meilleur blog anti-1855'

2011: Robert M. Parker, Jnr: ‘This blogger...’:

2012: Born Digital Wine Awards: No Pay No Jay – best investigative wine story

2012: International Wine Challenge – Personality of the Year Award

Saturday, 31 December 2011

Douglas Wregg's predictions for 2012

Newtonmore and Creag Dhubh – relatively mild even in the Scottish highlands

Douglas Wregg of Les Caves de Pyréne has some interesting predictions for 2012: 

Predictions for 2012
1. The natural wine debate will continue to stir strong emotions. The wines will, however, begin to be assessed on their individual merits and the notion that there is a highly co-ordinated movement and that wines are either labelled natural or non-natural will be scotched.

2. 2010 will be assessed as a sensational vintage in the northern hemisphere. 2011 will generally be perceived (despite attempts to hype it) as one of the poorer vintages in recent memory. Except in England, apparently.

3. The region? The Loire. Over-delivering year after year and now finally recognised for quality, diversity and personality. Every style of wine from sparkling to sweet, great value intensely drinkable wines with moderate alcohol and lovely acidity. The spiritual home of the biodynamics and with the greatest concentration of natural winemakers. A region of furious debate, grand passion, daft authoritarian regulations.

4. The trend? The move away from oak (specifically new oak) in fermentation. Cement vats seem to be increasingly favoured and the shape of the fermentation vessel is also being considered. Watch out for more eggs, amphorae, qvevri...

5. The grape? Cool climate Syrah for red. Chenin* for white.

Posting Doug's predictions has the great advantage that I don't have to think up my own predictions for 2012. Anyway I especially like Doug's third and fifth predictions. As for 2011 being 'one of the poorer vintages in recent memory' I think it is still too early to say for the Loire. Certainly I think there will be big variations in quality between producers – not only due to the quality of individual's work in the vineyard but also when they decided to pick. 

I look forward to tasting the young 2011s at the beginning of February but given the look of some of the Cabernet Franc and Chenin Blanc at the end of September and beginning of October it is hard to believe that the resulting wines will be poor.

* Noticeable that Jancis Robinson MW included a very fair sprinkling of Chenin Blancs among her 65 + Great Whites.

Jancis' take on Pancho Campo MW and and Jay Miller in her review of the year is here:

‘The wine topic of the year on blogs and online fora, at least among the wine writers who dominate them, has been wine writer ethics. Acres of cyberspace have been devoted to the sometimes jaw-dropping conduct of Spain's first Master of Wine and event organiser Pancho Campo. Allegations have been made that Campo asked for sums from producer associations for access to the (now ex) Spanish specialist wine reviewer for America's leading wine writer and supposed beacon of probity Robert Parker. The matter is now being investigated and Campo denies any wrongdoing. His last major event was WineFuture, an ambitious international wine conference in Hong Kong at which the three tastings, for 1,000 tasters, were led by me, Parker and Campo. In retrospect it does not look good that much of Campo's tasting was taken up with films of his arrival at various wineries in a Ferrari.’

Looking forward to 2012 the concern is that so far the Loire hasn't had a cold snap, so no chance yet to kill off unwanted bugs and vine maladies. Tomorrow's forecast for Epeigné-les-Bois is for a low of 11˚C and a high of 14˚C – extraordinarily mild!    

Creag Dhubh    


DermotMW said...

Hi Jim, just as a matter of interest, do you have the predictions from last year? So we can check the form, as it were LOL

Jim Budd said...

Dermot. Have just googled it and no sign of Doug's 2011 predictions.

DermotMW said...

Aha, perhaps the smart man has realised the advantage of predicting on the net - you can erase the records if they haven't worked out ;). Still it would be nice if chenin was recognised for its quality, but I doubt it; as for the natural wine "debate" I'm not sure there's much to debate - some are good and some aren't, just like whatever the opposite of natural wines are!

Anonymous said...

My prediction is increased awareness of Domaine de la Noblaie, an excellent up and coming Chinon producer!

Bob Alberta.

Jim Budd said...

Pretty safe prediction Bob!