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Every columnist runs the risk of elevating his own view and experience to the "standard" of the world. I am not immune to that. Especially when it comes to my favorite wine, Bordeaux.

Peter visits Pétus in Pomerol
For almost twenty years, I have been crawling through the 100,000 hectares of vineyards in the Gironde, past the more than 12,000 wine producers who make 6.5 million hectoliters of wine a year, through the 57 different appellations..... And suddenly all this is to be over, it's "goodbye to the Bordelais".

Farewell? Why? Has the "most famous wine region in the world" been taken from me? Taken away? No, much, much worse: they have robbed me of my joy, my faith, my confidence and my insight. So I've been cheated!

Of course, it is always the others who cheat. But that is not the case here. I've cheated myself. I cheated myself out of hundreds of hours I'd invested in getting closer to the Bordeaux myth. For nothing The myth has dissolved, it has suffocated in the material values that have accumulated in the cellar.

In the wine cellar of Château Pétrus: tasting a wine dream
"Your own fault", say my friends, or:, "late insight!" In fact, the excellent Bordeaux year 2005 is not a fateful year per se. The wine business has not suddenly changed. It is still the same as all the years before, maybe a little more brutal, maybe!

No, it's me who has changed. I don't like playing in that league anymore. It's no longer about wine, about the pleasures of an unforgettable pleasure; about the uniqueness of a product "wrested" from nature by man. It's all about money, lots of money, lots of money.

I find myself asking, what is the value of my wine cellar? How can I "market" my Bordeaux knowledge? How much, when and where do I need to invest to make a profit from the wine exchange business? How do I succeed at blind booking and futures trading (read subscriptions)?

Suddenly I also understand all those who are incredibly annoyed because a bad cork gives them a high value abgussreif. And I ask myself - which I have never done before - is it worth the investment, is it especially worth the immense time I have invested in the "Bordeaux myth"?

On the prowl through St-Emilion

Yes, it takes the naked speculative prices of the "great" Bordeaux year of 2005 to say goodbye. Just a few years ago, in the super-myth year of 2000, I wasn't ready: I let the excellent Bordeaux year and the turn of the millennium cost me quite a bit, in an unshakable belief in good wine and their producers in the Bordelais.

I also appreciated the many acquaintances and conversations with top winemakers, I was proud to have discussed with Bernard Magrez and dined with Gérard Bécot, to have been invited to the house of Cathiard and to have been welcomed by Christian Moueix..... And always believing in the myth of wine.

At the gateway to "wine happiness" Ausone

My best friends told me long ago, "You're crazy". I didn't want to hear it and I certainly didn't want to believe it. I don't want to hear it or believe it now either.

There's no conversion going on, no transformation from Saul to Paul. I stand by my wine life so far, by my wine past. But it is no longer as it was before. I said goodbye: grateful for the beautiful hours, the high pleasures, the unique projection surface for a worldly belief.

A bottle of "Haut Brion" 2005 costs around 400 euro

But now the merciless laws of the market, which do not show any humanity, have taken hold of me. They have crept into my wine thinking. At first casually, hardly noticeable. High and highest prices were never an issue for me, just a hard limit in the realization of wine dreams.

I suddenly discovered how "wine happiness" is marketed, to believers like me.....

And that's where I just said goodbye, because as soon as you start doing the math as a wine connoisseur and realize that a single sip of "wine happiness" is now supposed to cost ten euros or more, that's when wine starts to change. Not as in the bible to a higher good, no into disdainful money, into mere commodity values.

Goodbye beautiful Bordelais, I have to go. Where to? To a place where wine is still wine and not just a luxury good.


Yours/Yours, Peter

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