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Letters: How great wine is made

Published:  18 January, 2007

This year, as in every other since I retired from the wine trade, I summered in the Mcon, surely the most delightful of all of France's myriad wine regions. At the beginning of July,
I began what has become my customary walking tour of the patchwork of vineyards that make up this charming area, and I enjoyed many a fine lunch on the way!

It is to one of those lunches in particular that I wish to draw the attention of Harpers readers, for it was here, at the vineyard of Bernard Henri-Levy, that I was privy to the most philosophical of observations - one that I sincerely hope will inform the working practices of those aspiring to vinous greatness henceforth. Dusting the chvre from his lvres, Monsieur Henri-Levy took me to one side and whispered to me in that charmingly pungent Gallic way of his: You know, Monsieur Montague-Blythe, the reason that our wines are how they are, the reason they have le got de terroir, is that, since time immemorial, we have borne but one thing in mind: great wine is made in the winery, not the vineyard.'

Tristram Montague-Blythe

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