Magazine article New Statesman (1996)

The Tax Dodge That Would Make Dr Johnson Proud

Magazine article New Statesman (1996)

The Tax Dodge That Would Make Dr Johnson Proud

Article excerpt

He's a small boy with a raised chin and an expression that is smug but not gloating: what I have, it conveys, is what' everybody wants. And he may well be right, though the two bottles he is carrying--surely magnums, unless the lad is even titchier than he appears--are unlabelled, so it's hard to know. The photograph was taken on Henri Cartier-Bresson's Leica 60 years ago. Leica is too this year and still going strong; the pride of the French wine purchaser does not appear to have weathered quite so well.

Recently, I have been contemplating suicide in Burgundy, an odd place for a wine lover to want to end it all, but then the shelves of the rural supermarkets here could drive me to it. At least, six feet under in one of the world's greatest wine-producing areas, I would be close to decent vines --not an accident likely to befall me at the local branch of Atac.

Of course, Burgundy has fabulous tasting rooms and wine shops in which to slaver over the many permutations of its principal grapes, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. It's extraordinary, the difference a slight variation in soil and pruning, picking or vinification can make, but in Burgundy, where ownership is often a matter of a couple of feet, research is as vital as it is pleasurable. Getting to know Burgundy wines well is a life's work, and most of us have to get home by dinnertime with something worth drinking. I don't expect a wine-producing area to offer the global range, of, say, Waitrose--England still benefits from our history of raging thirst in what was, for a long time, a grapeless land. And anyway I doubt there are many Waitroses in the English hinterland, either.

The oddity is that the French government is very helpful to wine buyers: excise duty is 0.33 [euro] for a nine-litre case of still wine. In England, the equivalent is 30 [euro] (24 [pounds sterling]). …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.