KLM wine tragedy

Vincent Lignac, from Château Guadet, is the international judge at this year’s Diners Club Winemaker of the Year Competition which makes sense, as the category is Bordeaux-style blends and Vincent makes a Grand Cru Real McCoy from Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. He arrived at the Grande Roche at 10pm last night courtesy of KLM with his suitcase quietly seeping 1962 Guadet which retails at €350 a bottle. “I’ve travelled all around the world and this is the first time a bottle broke. I came back from the USA with 19 bottles and no problem.” Another casualty of airlines banning liquids in hand-luggage.

Vincent, Carrie Adams and Duimpie Bayly

Vincent, Carrie Adams and Duimpie Bayly

We’re judging 44 blends tomorrow, culled down from 110 by a trio of experienced screeners: Marc Friedrich, patron sommelier of Marc’s in Main Road, big game hunter Duimpie Bayly and Neil Ellis, whose 2009 Grenache (“the best we’ve ever made”) was unlucky not to get a high five in Platter, especially when the 2008 and 2007 vintages did. The failure to admit his Pinotage into the starry inner circle is nothing short of a scandal. As Vincent commented “blind tastings are the school of modesty for me.”

Neil called the presence of Shiraz in the blends “which corrects those thin and weedy mistakes” a problem, as the cultivar is expressly forbidden by the rules. Another problem is that too many winemakers concentrate on single cultivars like Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, making up Bordeaux-style blends from the left-overs, and it shows. As does the inappropriate use of new wood. “These winemakers are ripping-off their employers.”

This morning’s young winemaker tasting offered up a clear winner who will be acclaimed at a black tie bash on November 26.