Fine Wine Writing by Jonathon Alsop

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The Year In Advance
by Jonathon Alsop
January 1998

After slogging through a great outpouring of The Best (your niche here) of '97! and endless versions of What's In And Who's Out (Ellen!) in both print and broadcast format, I've decided to forget about the year that was and focus on the year that will be.

Look at it this way: the northern hemisphere harvest is all over except for the hyping while the southern hemisphere harvest is a couple of months away, and we won't see any of those wines till next year anyhow. In this new global wine economy, forget about the past and the present because the future's apparently the only thing we have in common.

As Long As We Don't Fall To Earth, 1998 Should Be A Good Year
During a break in their work keeping the Mir space station aloft with rubber bands, duct tape, and hamster cage shavings, cosmonauts greeted the new year with "a large, soft plastic bottle of champagne (sic)." Looking into it a bit, it seems no Champagne producer bottles in soft plastic. Considering the atmospheric pressure inside a Champagne bottle, it would need to be anything but. I'm assuming they either made the "champagne" themselves, or finally found that big bottle of pineapple juice they'd misplaced during the last catastrophe. It's my firm belief 1998 will be the year NASA finally approves funds for my super-scientific research grant on The Effects of Weightlessness On All My Favorite Wines.

Mining The Past For The Future
Things aren't looking too good for wine celebrations in honor of those born in 1968, 1958, and so on until you get back to 1928. Luckily for America's burgeoning elder class, both 1928 and 1929 were outstanding years for wine throughout France. A bottle of 1928 Haut Brion will set you back about $900, and the 1928 Lafite Rothschild is going for about $1300. For the unimpressed, there's always the 1928 Krug Champagne, which -- if you could even find it -- would run anywhere from $3000 to $6000, depending on how much desperation the seller perceived.

1998: Vintage Of The Decade?
Although I'm not predicting that 1998 will be the vintage of the decade, I am predicting that at least one wine magazine will before the year is out. In fact, I predict that few of the years slated to be Vintage of the Decade-Century-Millenium will ever pan out, and future generations will laugh at our obsession with calling the race before it's even run.

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