Daily Archives: January 27, 2010

Gideon Rachman

Jesus drove the money-changers out of the temple. Now the World Economic Forum has driven the wine-tasters out of Davos. In previous years, one of the highlights of the forum was a small but spectacular tasting of fine wines. But last year Klaus Schwab, the forum’s mastermind, decided that guzzling first-growth clarets was an inappropriate way of celebrating the global economic meltdown - and the wine-tasting was cancelled. We all hoped that this was a temporary abberation, but apparently not. The new Puritanism is here to stay – Davos wine-tastings are off the menu until further notice.

But you cannot deter dedicated wine-tasters that easily. Last night a wine-tasting was organised by former Davos employees who have formed a new organisation called the Wine Forum. It took place in a conference room in an airport hotel in Zurich at 6pm – a time and a location that was specifically designed to intercept delegates en route to Davos.

Jancis Robinson of the FT was mistress-of-ceremonies and the wines were provided by Krug, and Chateaus Cheval Blanc and Yquem. One of the malign results of globalisation is that these wines, which were once affordable to the likes of me, are now global brands cherished by the super-rich and so mesmerisingly expensive. I’ve never understood why the anti-globalisation movement doesn’t make more of this issue. The 1959 Chateau Yquem that we tasted last night now sells for about £1600 a bottle – each gulp that I took would have made a small contribution to paying off my mortgage. The Cheval Blanc 1998 is about £400 a bottle. Read more >>