Les 5 du Vin

5 journalistes parlent du vin

Nearly the midnight hour…!

11 Commentaires



I bet you think writing blogs is easy – just tap out whatever first comes into your head and that’s it! Nothing could be further from the truth, especially in a shared blog. If you are the sole blogger you can be relaxed but on a shared blog, especially with four very distinguished colleagues I can assure you the pressure is on.

The pressure increases through Monday as the midnight deadline approaches, especially today which has been busy – a Circle of Wine Writers committee meeting this afternoon followed by the the CWW’s annual party held with great panache this year at the Swiss Ambassador’s residence in a swanky part of London.


The Swiss wine producers who presented their wines in London on Monday evening.

There was some excellent Swiss wine to try this evening – fine Pinot Noirs and some intriguing Syrahs. Colleagues told me I should have tasted the whites mainly Chasselas and Petite Arvine. I did, however, taste a very attractive and nicely balanced sweet wine from Jean-René Germainer (www.jrgermanier.ch) called Mitis-Amigne de Vétroz (Réserve) 2009 and made from 100% Amigne. Too many foolish UK wine merchants would probably insist on calling this a dessert wine or nearly as bad a sticky and then wonder why it is difficult to sell sweet wine in the UK!  The 2009 Mitis-Amigne would make a fine aperitif, would be good with cheese and a range of other dishes – perhaps pork in a rich sauce – but I would be amazed if it works well with most desserts, whose sweetness would be likely to emphasise the wine’s acidity and hide the sugar.

After an absence of a number of years from the British market, Swiss wine appears to be making a new push in the UK. Switzerland will also be hosting next year’s Digital Wine Communicators Conference in Montreux.


Wine writer Chandra Kurt (centre), who played a major role
in organising the event with Gilles Besse (left – Swiss Wine Promotion)


Steven Spurrier, president of the Circle of Wine Writers, with His Excellency Mr Dominik Furgler, the Swiss Ambassador


Dr José – ‘the special one’ – Vouillamoz (left)

José Vouillamoz – one of the co-authors of the award winning Wine Grapes brings me neatly onto the petition to preserve the collection of grape varieties at the Domaine de Vassal. Signatures to the petition have now topped 4000 and will, I hope continue to grow. José is fairly relaxed about the collection feeling that it will have to move at some point due to the damage of rising sea levels and the area being flooded with sea water – something that hasn’t happened since 1949 but may do at some point. Nor does he think that grafting the collection onto American rootstock would be very disadvantageous. He does, however, agree that it is important to show concern, which is why he and Jancis Robinson MW signed the petition. I trust that his fairly optimistic view is well founded. Certainly if you haven’t yet signed the petition (http://www.petitions24.net/defense_vassal) then please do so.

We have now passed the midnight hour with more pressure building by the half minute and me still wondering what I am going to write about this week…


Auteur : Les 5 du Vin

Journalistes en vin

11 réflexions sur “Nearly the midnight hour…!

  1. Jim, just listen to this… it might help next time 😉


  2. Jim, as I hinted in the intro to my article yesterday, I find that I agree with Vouillamoz on this one. With flobal warming and rising sea levels, bad and very damaging flooding is very much on the cards, so yes, the Vassal collection needs to move. Therefore grafting is inevitable. So what? What is perhaps cause for concern is the specific choice of site for the relocation. I am sure that l’INRA will take care of the move, which is due to be spread over some time, but it appears that they want it in their site in la Clape, which is very limestone I believe, I also signed the petition by the way.


  3. Michel, Maybe we should always write while listening to Wilson Pickett or Seal? Thanks for this!


  4. Michel and David thank you.

    David. I hope that you and José will be proved correct that the INRA will manage any move of the collection properly. The proposed site Pech Rouge may be problematic.: Savoie Brc on André Deyrieux’s Facebook page has said:

    ‘Pech Rouge, lieu de vents violents immondes à plusieurs reprises dont celle de 2004
    Le dernier coup de mer étant monté à 1m45,la Municipalité de Gruissan consciente de la priorité de prévention contre les risques d’inondation a présenté un plan d’aménagement et de travaux conséquents avec une protection à 2m du niveau de la mer concernant les zones à risques: le vieux Port de pêche au village,le chenal du Grazel et le tour du village.’

    José fears that a move might be that as an opportunity to this down the collection to weed out less successful clones etc. This would surely be a mistake.

    Also in both the video on the work of Domaine de Vassal and in Vranken’s Green Book the importance of a phylloxera-free and nematode environment is stressed.

    As you say the petition has raised awareness and brought the issues out into the open.

    Michel – many thanks for the music, although I think it may well be counter-productive as time will be taken up trying to decide which version I prefer. Jim


  5. Michel, Seal has done a good job on some other classics though. Try his version of  » I can’t stand the rain », for example. I agree about Pickett’s being the best verson of « In the Midnight Hour ». The original is often the best, though not always. I remember seeing him live at the RamJam Club in Brixton back in the late 60’s.

    Jim, the other problem of the INRA’s choice of site is that it complicates the access of other interested parties, such as l’Institut Technique de la Vigne. I don’t think that J-M Boursicot, for example, is too happy about it. Phylloxera is a reality though and one cannot prentend that it doesn’t exist. It may be amusing, anecdotally, to experiment with ungrafted vines, but I cannot see any real future in this.


  6. Wilson Pickett for me.


  7. David. Ungrafted vines: I don’t think the intention is to try to introduce ungrafted vines elsewhere rather than have the opportunity to study the intrinsic character of the variety without the complication of the American rootstock. Vassal is also nematode free. Jim


  8. Fair enough, but I am sure that l’INRA will take the necessary precautions as to nematodes


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