The year of living dangerously

We have been through quite a roller coaster. When I wrote this introduction at the same time last year, we were preparing for the 2021 wine harvest, unsure as to whether we would have much of a crop after the biblical storms of hail, frost and rain that are vines had endured. It was not until the beginning of 2022 after the third omicron wave of Covid had hit us face on, that we took time in our cellars to assess the vintage. To our great surprise, the wines were lovely and fresh; classic in style with a coolness and a minerality which suited the autumn fruit flavours. It is a vintage which will grow in stature as the wines age.

Inspite of, or perhaps because of, the last three challenging years, we have had our three best years in terms of sales ever recorded. Those who were looking for delicious everyday drinking wines were surprised by the exciting tastes and reasonable prices of our selection; while those looking for a little vinous treat, scoured our bin ends and our ready to drink domains in Burgundy and Bordeaux. We must also acknowledge that the time and money that we have invested in our website has really paid off with up to date tasting notes in all of the wines we sell, news and blogs, the ever growing Wine Club and in-depth profiles of our producers – we have all spent much time on-line in the last few years; a habit which is set to remain with us.

Our business continues to grow and this year we were appointed as Ambassador in Belgium for Petrus, to match the same role that we play for Lafleur and for Le Pin. We are therefore the only merchant in Belgium to handle the three top wines of Pomerol. By the time you read this, the new Saint Emilion classification will have been published and we can only hope that it will not be as controversial as in the past, with so many of the Class A, first growths resigning. That being said, if you are looking for the top wines of Saint Emilion from Ausone to Figeac, come to us – we have our own personal classification of the best estates which naturally includes our own L’If, whose reputation is growing fast.

We cannot finish a review of the past year without addressing the hardships that are facing the world: First of all, if there is anybody on this planet who still ignores the perils of climate change, they should jump off. This is urgent and we can all act is so many small ways to help. In our vineyards, we like most winegrowers are using the most natural, local products to help grow and treat our vines. We salute the large wineries who have already achieved carbon neutrality – not buy planting a few trees in the Amazon but capturing and collecting their CO2 emissions. In our wine merchant business, we have banned styrofoam and plastic as packaging and plead with our wine producers to eschew heavy glass bottles. Everything from electric vehicles, solar panels, water management is up for discussion. The war in Ukraine has highlighted the fragility of our geopolitical situation as the shortages and the price rises that we are all facing, begin to hit us hard. Yes, we all have to adapt to these difficulties but we hope that there will still be a place for a beautiful glass of Thienpont wine to give you comfort in the months ahead.

© Fiona Morrison M.W.