There have been years when I could have cut and pasted the vintage report from previous years; a warm, consistent growing season, with no heat spikes and a very easy harvest. The world has changed and continues to change, and the regularity of wild fires and greater weather irregularities are of great concern. The most stark example being the terrible fires in Northern California, which started in August of 2020. The mild spring and temperate summer resulted in the stirrings of great optimism and those who managed to get their fruit in prior to the fires were saved from any smoke damage, producing excellent wines. Others were not so lucky; from 2020, there will be no Continuum.
Nevertheless, there is much to be thankful for. Southern California has been spared the woes of the north and following on from the exceptional 2019s, the 2020s are superb. Moreover, the price-quality ratio of US Pinots and Chardonnays has never looked more appealing. Looking back at the price rises of the past ten years, Burgundy price increases have been between steady and astronomical whilst, in places, California’s have been negligible. This, during a period when vines have gotten older and many of the great names, who we have been working with for ten or more years, have further honed their craft, making a better and better wine with each vintage.
With this in mind, Stannary have invested further in the US part of the business with the recruitment of Californian Rachel Dixon. Rachel’s enthusiasm for US Pinot and Chardonnay took her to Littorai, where she has been working for the past eight years. Rachel joins Stannary to bring fun and to educate, and there will be a number of interesting US events over the coming months.
Sam Clarke • USA Buyer