Thursday, September 17, 2009

Selling Brunello when Mercury is in Retrograde

All week the wine has been dogging me. There it is, like the omnipresent character in a Twilight Zone episode. Every corner you turn, he is waiting with that silly little smirk on his face. Taunting, laughing, obstructing.

“You need to sell my 2003 Brunello so I can send you then 2004. I would hate for you to miss out and go from the 2003 to the 2005.”

I took a look at the Brunellos we have in the market. In one store yesterday they had on the shelf 1999, 2000 and 2001. All considered good to great vintages. Sitting on the shelves from $50-75. Good producers, no flies. Not like some end of the world rations that sat in the bomb shelters waiting for someone to climb on down and wait it out, while the rest of humanity sweated it out on the beach.

Waiting. Waiting.

What to do? I need an idea that works. I really need to come up with something, pull something out of my repertoire. Show the rookies this is just a cycle. Make it to the 26th mile. Again.

This is a singular moment for me. In thirty plus years I cannot remember this pattern happening quite like this. Down economy, trying to recover. Wine, tainted by a hot vintage and a scandal. Lousy exchange rate caused by a government trying to discourage foreign trade by weakening the dollar. And a stellar vintage, waiting in the wings for a window of opportunity that isn’t quite now.

The 2004 Brunello is Cinderella. But while the planets move backwards what can one person do?

This is like having to eat tainted meat while the perfect pie is cooling on the window sill. This is torture. Not like Abu or Gitmo, but for slaves to the wine god, this is a perfect storm debacle for the ’04 Brunello. More like Mars in retrograde than Mercury.

Two visitors, like passing planets across the skies, light up the screen with their brief candles. Let’s hear what they have to say about the bright light in the Montalcino skies, the 2004 vintage.

Artwork from The Chinati Foundation in Marfa, Texas


Mark Norman said...

Its just not Brunello...its everything from Italian to French to high end US wines...and few seem to get that it will be a while before things return to even a level near where we were...eventually wine lovers will "inch" up the price ladder but those wonderful brunellos very well might be truly aged by that point..for those who tell you that by the end of next year things will be better kindly suggest for them to take another course in economics. Many wine producers around the whole will need to take a new approach (for better or for worse).

Unknown said...

You could give the older ones to me. They will be safe, I can assure you of that!

Marco Fuscaldo said...

OR to me...

OR close them out (words that are music to those of us who have to buy wine), cut your losses and move on.
e.g. Rapitala Hugonis $65 for $17.

Marco Bisacquino said...

Revise my comment to say that you may send those closeouts to BK and me. Thank you father Alfonso for all you have done for the poor in wine.

Peter @ italyMONDO! said...

What are some of the best years for Brunello?

Unknown said...

Just sent in a request for a tasting at Altesino for one of our Tuscany tour groups in October. I hope he's there when we go! Nancy K

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