Fools rush in where angels fear to tread
 September 17 2011, 11:00

Last night I opened two old Christmas presents from Werner Näkel, his 2004 Campo Ardosa (with Bernard Breuer and Bernd Philippi) from Portugal and his 2003 Zwalu (with Neil Ellis) from South Africa, both in magnums. Although I much preferred the 'authenticity' of the former from the Douro, it was more the thought of joint ventures, of egos and of globalisation that ran through my mind as I tasted first the one, then the other. Although these sorts of projects work well with the media, and at least for a few vintages with consumers (or better collectors), I wonder which if any of them will have long term viability. Robert Mondavi set - at the behest of Philippe de Rothschild - this ball rolling, but many of his projects have either taken on a life of their own, disintegrated or been sold. The first projects of this ilk, like Opus One, were between European (French) producers and their brethren in California, thereafter followed Chile, Argentina and South Africa. None today, in spite of their quality, have really established themselves as the icons of their respective regions, much less countries. Now the Bordelais, and at their head Lafite-Rothschild, are pointing their guns at China. Although I will only visit that project later this fall, my gut level feeling is that after a generation this will also prove to be no more than a shot in the dark. Fools rush in where angels fear to tread. Comments


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