the flowering beans retain their picture slot, but their coulure has been similar to that experienced by the Grenache in parts of the Rhône - when the flowers do not convert into fruit. Lack of sunshine hours has been a big problem in England this summer - August is about 97 hours versus an average of 165 hours. Down in the Rhône, growers are crossing their fingers for a good start to September, but have been boosted by a hot and fine second half of August. Please see Goings-On for some latest reports from the growers.
On a personal note, two visits to Moscow have marked my August, a Moscow that had a third week of heat around 25-33°C, high indeed. Wine exists in something of a desert in Russia, since taxes are punitive for those on a normal working wage. A typical Côtes du Rhône red sells for around £40 or US$73 in a restaurant. In good food shops, such as the one on the main avenue of Tverskaya, Guigal and Paul Jaboulet Aîné are on the shelves, with off vintages such as 2002 present, but also recent Beaumes-de-Venise sweet wines including the 2006 that bear the new Jaboulet labelling. Smaller Rhône domaines do not figure among the oceans of Bordeaux.
One small venue of note is Le Sommelier, address 5 Smolenskaya Street - opposite the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on the main Ring Road - one of the seven splendid Stalin era buildings. This is on the west side of the city. You can smoke a cigar and eat Jabugo Iberian ham, while sipping a domaine wine here, with a variety of choices. Côtes du Rhône red from Domaine Charvin and Condrieu from Yves Cuilleron are both available there. The telephone number is +7495 7826363, web http://www.lesommelier.ru/. Good hunting!
Another mention of dinners in the Rhône for April or May 2009. Let me know if this piques your interest - some have replied already, and this is restricted to subscribers. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, por favor.
In September, I will be in New York and Boston at the start of the month, and the next vineyard visit will be after the growers have harvested - some time in October, therefore.