Wine writers should do less listing and more campaigning

Might I be allowed to suggest that the wine trade and its customers

may be better served if many of our illustrious wine writers gave up producing lists of wine and concentrated on some pungent criticism. I know that many of the ladies and gentlem en who write on wine feel

there are more than sufficient good ones to write about without bothering about the others -

I have long subscribed to that theory. But, frankly, the shelves of our supermarkets and high street multiples are becoming filled with so much cheap dross

that far outsells anything remotely decent,

it is high-time someone said "stop".

Like him or loathe him (there appears to be no middle way) Jeremy Clarkson is a fearless car critic, and when in September 2004 he declared, and I quote, the BMW 1-series is "crap", did the manufacturer refuse to let him have cars for road testing? No way.

How different from the time a few years ago when Oz Clarke suggested that, for the majority of occasions, New World sparklers were just as suitable, and a lot less expensive, than Champagne.

What happened then? The Champagne industry's PR man in London made an awful fuss and suggested to his clients that they should in future refuse to send this eminent wine critic any samples or offer him their hospitality.

It cost the PR man his job, but the damage was done.

Again, where, for example, are the articles defending wine against the attacks of the insidious who insist on bundling all alcohols together in their fight against the stupid minority of ignorant youths who abuse themselves with alcopops?

Indeed, what - if anything - is the Circle of Wine Writers doing to protect the beverage from which its members earn their living? I can't imagine Jeremy Clarkson lying down while self-appointed do-gooders set about lobbying for our national speed limit to be reduced to 20mph .

Yours in vino veritas

Philippe Boucheron

Contact details supplied

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