Chateau Margaux has stunned the wine world by announcing that it is to start selling ‘first growth’ natural gas.
The revelation came following the discovery of large deposits of methane under one of its vineyards, which has since been ripped up to allow the installation of an industrial drill.
‘It was controversial,’ admits chateau owner, Ari Stocrate. ‘But what could we do? We were sitting on a fortune. And it was only Merlot so we figured nobody would really miss it.’
C’est le business
The move has not gone down well with locals, who object to a large flaring chimney in amongst their hallowed villages. But drinks analyst, Anna Lyst says that commercially the move makes sense,
‘In terms of costs per cubic litre compared to sale price, gas is currently one of the most profitable substances on the planet,’ she told Fake Booze.
‘Though it’s still some way behind premium tonic water.’
Safety fears, she said, were largely unjustified because ‘It’s a lot less explosive than the revelations that come out of St Emilion on a more or less monthly basis.’
Putting the gas into gastronomy
Margaux is selling its gas in one-litre ‘bouteilles gastronomique’, and Ari Stocrate was quick to defend the €150/bottle price tag.
‘You have to remember that gas has been absorbing our magnificent subterranean terroir for thousands of years before rising to the surface through our famous pebbly soils,’ he said.
‘So it’s probably underpriced if anything.’
The chateau, he said, was following the ‘Dom Perignon model’ with production ‘strictly limited’ to several million litres a year.
Flair with flare
Pierre Le Creuset, three-starred chef at ‘L’Imbecile Riche’ in Paris says that he has bought hundreds of bottles for his kitchen.
‘It is a very refined gas to cook with,’ he said. ‘It brings an inherent elegance and delicacy to roasted food that only the finest palates can appreciate.’
Experiments with marinating a haunch of venison in gas were, he said, abandoned after an unfortunate incident with a commis sommelier’s Gauloise.
‘It is a shame,’ he told Fake Booze, ‘the chargrilled effect was quite unique, but the attendant lawsuit made it prohibitively expensive.’
Several other chateaux have also begun prospecting for natural reserves, and there is already a groundswell of support for a PGI – a protected gaseous indication – on the left bank.
‘We should learn from wine and swiftly codify the gas fields,’ said Rose-Anne Segla of Chateau Croquet Mallet. ‘With luck, we have sufficient gas reserves that an arcane and illogical hierarchy will allow us to continue arguing amongst ourselves for at least the next two hundred years.
‘And if there is no problem with crude oil, then I don’t see why we can’t have cru’d gas…’