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Published:  23 July, 2008

Views at the Harpers seminar

Sharply opposing views of Chardonnay's future were expressed at the Harpers "Anything But Chardonnay?" seminar and tasting held in London on 25 July. Mike Paul, md of The Destination Wine Company, painted the gloomiest scenario, in which a global surplus will result in discounted and over-promoted wines, which will "demean the image of Chardonnay. It is an image issue," he said; "it's not about winemaking." His fellow panellists were more sanguine. James Herrick, md of Wine Prophet, "begged to differ" with Paul's suggestion that the ABC movement might become mainstream, not least because "ordinary Chardonnay is less ordinary than ordinary anything else". Bill Baker, md of Reid Wines, agreed. He anticipated two kinds of Chardonnay - "baked beans Chardonnay and proper wines, vins de terroir". Pierre-Henry Gagey, president of Maison Jadot, predicted that the divide would be between "well made wines and terroir wines", but that Chardonnay would disappear from the labels of the latter. See Harpers' Chardonnay supplement and our next two issues.