This year’s en primeur Burgundy tastings have gone ahead in London mostly as planned despite 80% of the country apparently having Covid.
‘It’s truly inspiring to see people who have been shielding all year turning up in such numbers,’ said PR Emma Longlunch. ‘Particularly when just three weeks ago they pulled out of my Marginslasher supermarket range tasting because they thought it was too risky.
‘They’re heroes, that’s what they are. Bloomin’ heroes.’
Even highly responsible drinks writers have been prepared to put self-interest to one side and show willing by drinking expensive wines for free.
‘Obviously I take my health and that of others incredibly seriously,’ said drinks writer, Boo Zhack. ‘But I was convinced they had all the right safety measures in place once they told me there were no spit buckets.’
Batard down the hatches
But despite higher than expected visitor numbers, this year’s Burgundy en primeur campaign has not been controversy free, with some tastings abandoned at the last minute.
Right wing enfant terrible Florence Lox said that Burgundy had ‘become the victim of cancel culture’ and in Beaune a statue of Aubert de Villaine was defaced with the words Bâtard Montrachet.
The organisers denied they were bowing to public pressure, and said they were simply ‘following up an incredibly short vintage with an equally short en primeur campaign.’
‘It’s important to keep a sense of perspective,’ they told Fake Booze. ‘You’re far more likely to die of a heart attack on seeing the release prices than you are of contracting Covid.’
Greeks bearing grifts
The virus, however, disagreed.
‘I couldn’t give one Iota what everyone thinks,’ said a new Covid variant, fresh off the Eurostar from France. ‘It’s Gamma, Zeta and match to me.
‘And anyone who thinks otherwise is taking the Psi.’
Typicité de finance
Feedback from tasters at the events that did go ahead was generally positive.
‘People say that sun-filled vintages like 2020 create non-typical wines,’ said Eton-Anne Oxford of merchant Barely Bothers and Crudd.
‘But in fact they are a perfect expression of the region because they are incredibly rich.’
Her customers, she said, were already queuing up to buy them.
‘They’re big, fruity and bright red,’ she said. ‘And so are the wines. ’
Pricing for the 2020s has been described by seasoned Burgundy watchers as ‘suicidal but fair’.
Though Anthony Bow-Tie of Burgundy specialists Corduroy and Boring told Fake Booze that he rejected the idea that the reds, in particular, were becoming the preserve of the super-wealthy.
‘There are still bargains to be had, provided you know where to look,’ he said.
‘I’d suggest Oregon.’