Now that sartorially speaking the 80s revival is so over and the world’s now arguably ready to embrace the 90s again. Are we?
What were you doing 15 years ago, around this time in 1995? Think about it for a minute!
It’s 1995. Bosnian war is in full swing and deathtolls reaches 250 000. President Clinton’s government intervenes. Paris mayor Jacques Chirac is elected French president. ECU is a virtual currency and EURO-sceptics probably outnumber the rest of us. A 5000-pound car bomb blows up a federal office building in Oklahoma. The Islamic State of Afghanistan comes under attack by the Taliban. Meanwhile in Europe, Oasis and Blur fight the battle of Britpop. Sziget Fesztivál’s daily ticket price almost doubles to HUF 500 (today HUF 12 000). Tricky’s Maxinquaye is elected best album of the year by The Face (other short listed bands include Oasis, Pulp, Radiohead and Portishead, among others). We rent VHS cassettes to watch Seven and Usual Suspects, many others watch Toy Story and Braveheart. A Harvard graduate writes a memoire with the title “Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance”.
In continental Europe, in a small, mostly harmless Central European country the outlook for an exceptionally good vintage sees the emerging dominance of the “Villány 5″. Winmakers abuse oak in their wines, even Kékfrankos is being “barriqued” (we used the term as a verb back then). Their growing obsession for oak is a lasting romance (well into the new millennium) and tannin establishes itself as the official measurement unit of quality for years. A forest engineer also bets heavily on toasted barrels and blends Cabernet Sauvignon and Kékfrankos. 15 years on one of the bottles will land in the hands of an amateur wine enthousiast.
The Gere flagship wine from 1995 is a real time capsule, it captures the very essence of the Villány wine of the last decade. I finished off my modest collection of Royal Cuvées and other treasures years ago and they were not very good wines by then. This Gere wine isn’t particularily good either but I must admit I kind of miss those times a little. Oak is now out of fashion, Cabernet Sauvignon’s become Villány’s fallen angel (Cabernet Franc rules today with Merlot and inumerous blends) but Attila Gere is still the biggest brand in Hungary’s winemaking. And who knows, the 90s revival may be just around the corner.
I listened to Tricky’s Maxinquaye the other day on vinyl and it still sounds terrific. And so do Oasis, Pulp, Radiohead and all the other britpop bands too. I’m not so sure I’m ready for grunge and the party scene of the 90s though.
Few wineries are selling their young wines from the barrel to the masses. As long as buying en primeur is concerned, the 4 key factors in my decision are: inflation rate, en primeur discount (price), year of harvest and risk. The latter is the only unpredictable. Attila Gere himself made less well-done Kopár in rather good year (2003) and good wine in well, average year (2004). Especially with the recent change in the cuvée’s composition (now it’s 50% merlot and 50% cabernet franc), so no cabernet sauvignon which had been so characteristic in the past’s Kopárs (around 40%), our risk-taking appetite must be increased to consider buying en primeur this year. So what about the price then? HUF5800 (EUR 23) gross is slightly more than 4% more than the en primeur price 2 years ago. Inflation’s exceeding it by 3-4 percentage points this year. So fair enough, from this point of view. The said 2004 item’s now on sale at wine&arts for 10500 (EUR 41) a bottle, which is an 88% increase in 2 years compared to HUF 5568 (EUR 22). Fair enough even for us who underestimated the inflation 2 years ago. If you’re a fan or simply have a big wine-lover family or friends, you shoud go for the 2xdozens and get a Magnum free. Provided that the 88% return on your investment is sufficient to cover the risk of Gere repeating his under-performance of 2003 and the replacement of CS by Merlot and CF. You still have 2 weeks to decide, a lot more than in an afternoon after a Central Bank interest rate committee meeting like today .