Wine Leads, Football Follows

Fellow Wine Lovers,

So, here’s a thing…

In 1955, 23 Provençal wine estates proclaimed themselves Crus Classés based on an evaluation of their history, winemaking/cellar reputation and overall vineyard quality.  This classification has never been revisited or modified, except for the fact that 5 of the original estates no longer make wine.  Then in the early noughties, to further elevate their status, 14 of the remaining estates created the Club des Crus Classés de Cotes de Provence with a view to promotion and protection.  Membership of this club is fixed ad vitam aeternam, no new estates can be added and they cannot lose the Cru Classé status. This means the owners of these estates will always benefit from their classification, no matter how good or bad their wines are!

Now, let’s go back to 100 years before this Provençal model. 

In order for visitors at the 1855 Exposition Universelle de Paris to better understand the Bordeaux wines on display, Napoleon demanded a classification system from the wine brokers.  The brokers ranked the wines according to an estate’s reputation and trading price, which was how they gauged quality back then.  Interestingly, in their assessment, the top 4 wines were: Château Lafite, Château Latour, Château Margaux and Haut-Brion…. I wonder whatever happened to any of them?

And now we leap to the present day, where 12 football clubs, following the Provençal model, attempted to create a breakaway Super League this week, membership of which was to be fixed ad vitam aeternam, no new clubs would be added and they couldn’t lose their membership. This would have meant that the owners of these clubs would always benefit from their classification, no matter how good or bad their teams are!

If you want to know what’s going to happen in football next, best look at what was going on in wine 100 years ago! (Ok, this statement possibly doesn’t deserve too much scrutiny but it was fun to write…)

As an aside, highly regarded fine wine database Liv-ex has, since 2009, produced a biennial re-evaluation of the global fine wine market, ‘based on the transactional activity of the world’s largest pool of fine wine merchants, it reflects the changing buying patterns of the trade’.  Their most recent edition (2019) has the following rankings for left bank Bordeaux, in value order: Lafite Rothschild, Latour, Margaux, Haut Brion, Mouton Rothschild – recognise anyone!

Elsewhere, outside the high-stakes worlds of wine and football, a real world is carrying about its daily business.

Another week, another MP, another text message.  It would seem that whilst Dyson-gate isn’t going to run far, there is still the question of access… should a billionaire re-pat ex-pat have our Prime Minister’s mobile phone number?  Not sure.

Everyone’s favourite app, TikTok is in trouble again for how it uses the data it collects from all the children that are addicted to it.  In a moment of no sh*#, Sherlock, sorry, profound clarity, the lady leading the legal challenge said that TikTok is ‘a data collection service that is thinly veiled as a social network’.  Whatever next, targeted ads on Facebook?  Doorbells that film you, owned by Amazon?    Sometimes the mind boggles.

Today is the feast day of St George, cheers all round for England’s Patron Saint.  In our quest to unearth interesting facts about him, we seem to have opened a bit of a can of worms.  According to English Heritage not only was George not English, he didn’t even visit England.  He wasn’t a knight either and he never fought a dragon.  He was, however, a Roman soldier who died as a martyr for his Christian faith and as a consequence, he is a Saint.  Phew.  Also in the middle ages, many believed that he was one of the ‘Fourteen Holy Helpers’ – a group of saints who could help during epidemic diseases.  Now, we’re not sure if membership of this group of helpers was fixed ad vitam aeternam, or whether new helpers could be added to this select group but we imagine it was probably run a little more inclusively than the world of Provencal wine…. anyway, St George’s protection was invoked against several nasty diseases, including the Plague and leprosy so his role today is as important as ever!

We also know, not through the English Heritage website but from the research undertaken by Theodore Logan & Bill S. Preston, that his favourite tipple was Piquepoul Rosé 2020, Coteaux D’Ensérune, France – £13.99 – which is the palest of pinks with a delicate nose of cherry blossom, strawberries and peaches and a palate that is bone dry and fresh, with summer berry flavours and notes of crushed rose petals. 

So, if you want to celebrate George properly today and this weekend then grab yourself a bottle or perhaps treat yourself to 6 bottles for £72 whilst the sun is still shining!

Finally, an acknowledgement of The Special One, Jose Mourinho, as he exits English football.  Forget the Premier League wins, the Europa League, the Champions League et al, what he will be most remembered for is being the first and only manager to be sacked in the ESL – a unique and historical achievement, chapeau – now go!

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