Since taking over as Burgundy critic for The Wine Advocate, William Kelley has quickly established a reputation as one of the world's present and future leading authorities on the region. I recently arranged with William to do a 20-minute "interview" for a piece I was working on, but shortly into the call I set my notes aside and we ended up simply chatting Burgundy for the better part of an hour-and-a-half. We will soon be releasing the entirety of that conversation as a podcast once we edit out the "off-the-record" pieces, but in the meantime, we wanted to release a partial transcript in advance of William's 2018 Part II Burgundy Report set to be released tomorrow morning.
WHWC: As a Burgundy critic, you've entered a much different landscape than Allen Meadows did 20 years ago when he released his first issue of Burghound. Not only is there a plethora of new critics, but the Internet has somewhat democratized wine in that anybody with a computer can be a wine critic. How has that affected the role of somebody like yourself as a professional critic? How has the role of the professional critic changed?
WK: I think about it quite a lot, what does it mean to be a professional critic, beyond the fact that you get paid to do it, which is an interesting question in fact. From my point of view, I regard it more as an obligation that it imposes on me to try to do things very seriously, which for me means spending the better part of the year in the region. It means really getting to know the vineyards, spending time in the vineyards. We can find out from the cadastral maps [which is not otherwise public information anymore since the 1990s] who actually owns each plot of vines in all the vineyards and follow that throughout the year. It's very interesting. You find maybe there are fewer surprises when you taste the wine in the barrel if you've seen the grapes throughout the growing season, so that's one aspect of it. Then I think it's incumbent on me to try to taste more and more of the wines in bottle as well as from barrel, not just sort of one hit-and-run wine criticism, but really following up, which is about correcting mistakes as well as simply thoroughness, because it's a tricky thing really, drinking wine from barrel. And then, as I think you know, I also make a bit of wine and I’ve worked harvests both in California and in Burgundy. So the idea there is to really enter into the production side of it and understand the technical dimensions of how wine is produced, why it tastes the way it does, the influence of different factors, all with a view to being a better taster, a better judge of the wines, coming up with a more reliable judgment. So that's sort of how I see it. And I think that I'm in a very lucky position where I have access to pretty much any domaine in Burgundy. There are very few people who can taste at Leroy, DRC, Coche-Dury, Ramonet, everywhere. We get to spend so much time in the regions, it gives you a huge advantage. I take that as more of a responsibility than something to just sit back and enjoy.
WHWC: You talk about tasting more wines out of bottle, which I think is a great thing. In your most recent report you revisit the 2017's out of bottle and commented that many significantly exceeded your expectations since tasting from barrel only a year earlier. The tendency nowadays among most critics is to “stick to their guns”, so speak, and seldom adjust their original barrel tasting scores and/or vintage assessment no matter how much wines may have changed or evolved since bottling. As someone like myself who's tasted countless wines from barrel over the years, I'm well aware of just how much vintages can and often do, evolve over time - for better or worse, So I very much appreciated reading that. And I think that that's a unique aspect to your writing in that there seems to be a real genuine honesty and integrity there, which is quite refreshing.
WK: Well, thank you. I think I would maybe attribute that, if it can be accounted to humility, I'd say it comes from the winemaking side of it. As someone who makes wine and, in fact, now we start to export and sell the Chenin Blanc I make in California, the roles are reversed. I have to present wines to people who are contemplating buying them and there are days when the wine just doesn't show well. You know how the wine is inherently, but when it's not showing itself at its best, you of course can't say that because it looks like you're making excuses. So, you just have to sort of grin and bear it. I suddenly can sometimes see hints of a similar emotion on the faces of people I'm tasting with when I go to their cellar and everything's reduced or it's the first cold day of the winter and temperatures just plunged by five degrees and all the wines became so much more tannic than the wines I tasted at the other domaines the day before and so on and so forth. So, I don't think there's any shame in correcting or revising, let's say, previous judgment. I think it's important to justify that these are very expensive wines and a subscription to The Wine Advocate is $99, and that’s not nothing. So, I think we need to do due diligence, let's say. That's how I regard it.
WHWC: You’re also now making a bit of Chambolle from an old-vine parcel in Les Fouchères. As you know, Burgundy is not formulaic, to say the least. When you're making your own wine, are there any producers whose styles or techniques you try to emulate?
WK: Not especially. I think what I've at least extrapolated from observing the best producers is that there are a lot of different approaches to make great Burgundy. I mean, the classic example is to juxtapose Jayer and DRC or whatever. But there are a lot of different ways to do it. And they do tend to have one thing in common, which is that they are coherent systems. That is to say that all the different winemaking choices throughout the process, and there are many of those, many small choices. Those are all calibrated to be synergistic, to be mutually supporting, if you like. So, producers such as Ponsot picks a lot later than producers such as Dujac, but then they don't use stems and they didn't use any new oak at all. And those are all coherent choices. If Dujac were handed Ponsot’s grapes picked the better part of two weeks after when they would have normally harvested, I think you would find that the result was probably potentially rather disastrous. And so, the one thing I sort of have tried to avoid doing is what the French would call bricolage, like borrowing a bit of Coche-Dury's barrel program and Roumier's destemming, and cold maceration from de Vogüé, or whatever. I think that spells disaster, and that's actually been responsible for some mistakes arguably in some New World winemakers who have read about what different Burgundians are doing and tried to adopt different aspects of it. So, I've tried to come up with sort of a reasonably coherent approach of my own.
WHWC: And it's the culmination of these tiny choices throughout the process that could explain how two growers can share similar winemaking philosophies, yet maintain differing, unique "house styles". A classic example would be, say, Mugnier and Roumier who are literally next-door neighbors. They employ similar techniques for making wine. They own the same vineyards, yet their styles are miles apart. When judging wines, how do you approach that when presumably you must have a personal stylistic preference?
WK: Or styles, at least. It is tricky in the spirit of candor, which is the spirit in which I try to write about wine. If you look at Mugnier, on the one hand, it's a very delicate, ethereal style. But also, Frédéric does a very long élevage, so he won't be bottling his '18s until July. Whereas Roumier, the style is a bit more muscular, rigid, but also the wines have a shorter élevage. His '18's might even be in bottle around now. They've certainly been racked and tanked for bottling, I think, based on what he told me. And then the different phases the wine goes through in its élevage, Roumier's wines are in a very different state to taste from barrel compared to Mugnier's next door if you go on the same day. Let's put it that way. So really it is tricky to try and sort of do justice to these different styles and to make all the necessary allowances when you're assessing them from barrel, particularly from barrel.
WHWC: Are people tasting out of barrel too much?
WK: Oh, I think so. And I think clearly bad for the wine. You know, people have sometimes speculated - I think it was Clive Coates who speculated - that Ramonet's Montrachet didn't always realize its potential because it was such a small quantity and it was always being sampled from barrel. Perhaps it's no accident that Ramonet has stopped doing barrel tastings and now only show the wines from bottle. It's certainly no accident that Coche-Dury decided to do that. So no, I think that more and more people are wanting to taste from barrel. And aside from the fact that it's not easy to arrive at a very meaningful or useful judgment, tasting from barrel, without really being quite serious about it. And even then, sometimes it is simply impossible. A reduced wine is a reduced wine, and the best taster in the world is not going to be able to make much headway with it. You can tell some things, of course, but I mean, I think it'd be easier if one were coming at it from this perspective of a negotiation. Do I want to buy this barrel? You could say yes or no. It's a simple answer. Can you write a hundred-word tasting note that meaningfully describes the wine to a reader when it's in a condition like that? Well, I'm not sure, you're really dealing with intuitions derived from experience, but intuitions all the same. So no, I think aside from that point, however, I think it's bad for the wines to be disturbed so much and have these samples taken from them. We're hearing more and more talk about microbial spoilage, particularly Brettanomyces in these higher pH, riper vintages in Burgundy. And I'm sure you know that the higher the pH, the less free sulfur there is in the wine and the less protected the wine is and the more appealing of an environment for microbes it is. And if you have people taking samples with Brett, they go from one barrel to the next. Effectively, if there's Brett in one barrel, by the end of the tasting, they'll have Brett in all the barrels. It's cross-contamination. So, these things can actually be detrimental to the quality of the wine, and I think you're going to see over the next few years they will be more and more restricted. The only reason producers do it is for en primeur sales. But you know, some of these domaines have cash flows now where I don't think they really care whether they sell the wines en primeur or if they take a little bit of time and sell them finished. That's not going to be revolutionary for that is the business model of these top estates, you know, which is really where you're talking about excess barrel tasting being a problem.
WHWC: You made a comment earlier about how New World producers have historically looked to Burgundy to help their winemaking techniques. Do you feel now that with global warming, that has reversed, and that Burgundians are looking toward New World producers and how they handle the hotter vintages where they really see the difference between physiological ripeness and phenolic ripeness are coming at different times?
WK: I certainly think that they should. Especially when it comes to cellar sanitation practices. We talked about cross-contamination already and how to successfully get very high pH wines into bottle without them spoiling or oxidizing during the élevage. When it comes to cleanliness, it's very hard to beat quite a lot of what's done in California. Having said that, Burgundians still top their wines up an awfully lot more frequently than a lot of wineries that I visited in California. I mean, I've visited wineries in Napa and Sonoma counties where they don't top the wines up more than once every month. I mean, in Burgundy the traditional thing was to do it after church on Sunday, you know. And there's a lot to be said. One of the best things you could do to keep wines clean and stable is to top them up regularly and make sure there's no head-space because something like Brettanomyces needs oxygen. So, a lot of problems, because some of this stuff required is very elementary. But I do think when it comes to the sterilization of equipment and that kind of cleanliness, there are a lot of things to be learned from the New World when it comes to mitigating the effects of climate change. It's an interesting one in that I think in some ways what you're seeing viticulturally from people like firstly, Leroy, but also now Charles Lachaux, Bernard Dugat-Py, people like Olivier Lamy are starting to train their canopies higher, to roll the canopies instead of hedging them. And these are ways to effectively try to get ... if you're getting sugar accumulation up to 13.5% of potential alcohol. Also, let's say in 90 days, now over 100. The aspiration with that sort of method is to accelerate phenolic ripening commensurately. So, let's get the tannins ripe when the sugars are there rather than having to wait and accept excess sugar in order to get ripe tannin. It's very hard to have to choose between unripe tannin or excessively high alcohol. So that's something you see that Burgundy is at the cutting edge of that. And it's very exciting to witness. You see Jean-Marc Vincent in Santenay is doing it now. There are some people, many of them friends, which is no coincidence. So that's thrilling to witness.
WHWC: Something that is being talked more and more about is the use of whole clusters. I've never been in more cellars than in this past year where everybody's trying to guess the percentage of whole clusters.
WK: It’s all so fashionable. I mean, let's be honest.
WHWC: The entire history of Burgundy has gone through fads that have come and gone over the years. We just mentioned whole clusters. What do you see as today's major current fad?
WK: Absolutely. Whole cluster. But there are some issues about doing whole cluster in very ripe vintages as well. The main one is that stems contain potassium, which precipitates out tartaric acid. So, you lose acidity and you have a higher pH wine making it more vulnerable suddenly to bloom with Brett and all sorts of other kinds of spoilage. And you're beginning to see people who do whole cluster in vintages like 2018 and pick late, getting pH's very close to 4.0, which is really, really pretty high for Burgundy. Historically, when you're looking at a lot of wines in the mid-20th century, you see the analysis at 3.2, 3.3 and this is a logarithmic scale. So, it should be, I think it needs to be handled sort of sensitively and it's also clear that it works much better with high quality pinot noir vine genetics than with some of the clonal selections and especially like Pinot Noir, some of the fatter berry selections that sometimes pre-date the clonal developments of the '80s. So, working with the fruit that Jayer had in the Cros Parantoux, you can see absolutely why you would use stems working with the old-vine massale that he had in the Brulées these days, you can see where you might be tempted to do whole cluster. There's not a recipe.
WHWC: With global warming, the conversation has focused mainly on the reds. What about the whites? Do you think they've suffered as a consequence?
WK: I think the solution is maybe harder with white, because Pinot Noir was genetically really very diverse. And by planting different kinds of different selections of Pinot Noir, you can get a three-week difference in ripening. And if we have problems in Burgundy today, a lot of it is a legacy of selections that were planted in the '80s and '90s to ripen rapidly in cool weather. What we need now is exactly the opposite of that. But that exists, so by planting the right selections of Pinot Noir, you know, sometimes you see this completely ridiculous article saying that Burgundy is going to be planted over to Syrah in 10 years, which I mean, I've made my view clear on that. There's no way and it's not necessary because there is such diversity within Pinot Noir. With viticulture adaptation, you can really accommodate quite a lot of climactic change that way. Also, let's not forget that Burgundy was buffered by chaptalization, so what you're seeing now is 13.5% natural alcohol instead of 11.5% plus 2% from sugar, which was the case in a lot of vintages into the '90s and beyond. So, Pinot Noir, I'm not as anxious about and would feel quite optimistic as a Burgundian producer. Depending on the extent of climate change, obviously, but if it gets incredibly extreme, I think we'll have more serious problems to worry about. If it's three degrees over the next hundred years, I think we can adapt to that in Burgundy. Chardonnay is difficult. Firstly, it has always produced higher sugar anyway historically, and there's much less genetic diversity. This is why, in fact, if you look at historic plantings, I'm sure you know about Corton Charlemagne being planted with Aligoté, and Pinot Blanc as well as Chardonnay. It's surprisingly common up and down the Côte to see in old-vine plantings and other things. Often people were planting a bit of Pinot Gris to get a bit more sugar. But I think there's a strong argument to be made to plant 5 or 10 percent of Pinot Blanc or Aligoté along with Chardonnay in new plantings in the Côte de Beaune to try to retain a bit of cut. That’s the thing, brightness in Chardonnay is great, but flaccid brightness is revolting, and that's dangerous. It is the lack of tension and acidity in the wines, not so much the sugar.
WHWC: Which brings me to my next question. Historically, hot vintages were the death of white Burgundy. However, the '17's and then '18's have managed to more or less avoid the pitfalls of the past and seem fresher today. In fact, many are outstanding.
WK: Let's take a slightly longer view of which vintages were considered great. People at the time, and I don't think they were wrong, loved 1990 and 1989 whites, they loved ‘82 whites. So, people have really enjoyed and celebrated the riper vintages. Those vintages also clearly still had a lot more acidity back then than super-ripe vintages today. But no, I agree. I think people have wizened up to needing to pick in a timely fashion. And this sort of discourse about freshness, which it seems almost as if it's become quite fashionable to be critical of these sorts of reductive, tangy, fresh wines.
WHWC: Agreed. There's definitely an aspect of reductive wine-making that is growing fashionable, bringing in more of the gun-flint aromatics and all that.
WK: I think people looking for freshness in white Burgundy is a good thing and I applaud that. And, to revert to what I said earlier about the viticulture, look at what Lamy is doing with his whites. He’s able to pick very early and pick grapes that are fully mature and have a lot of acidity. So, it's exciting. I think maybe the next frontier in terms of whites in this respect is going to be pressing. People are going to have to be a bit more thoughtful about how they press white grapes, too. You may know that the harder you press and the more you break the cake during the pressing, the higher the pH and the lower acidity your wine will be. So, I think you're going to see people looking at ways of how you still get some dry extract into the wine from pressing reasonably firmly while not losing too much acidity in the course of the pressing. So, I think the solution is maybe to press longer and pretty hard, but without breaking the cake. These bladder presses, some of them, you might find them doing like twenty-five rotations during a two-and-a-half-hour press cycle. And someone like Benoit Ente is already just doing two or three, and that's not stupid. So, I think there's a lot that can be done at the press to make fresher white Burgundies as well. And also, to bring in this sort of dry extract that gives a refreshing quality to the wines, even if the acidity is not incredibly low.
WHWC: Will we ever see a return to the glory days of the '70's? Do you envision such a scenario?
WK: Oh, I hope so, because for me, my desert island wine is mature white Burgundy. I remember my college in Oxford, we had huge amounts of '82 Leflaive, so I really cut my teeth on mature old white Burgundy with '82 Leflaive. I still think the '82 Leflaive Chevalier is probably the best white wine I ever tasted. And you know, '82 was very high yield and pretty high ripeness and a vintage not distinguished by pronounced acidity and then the pundits at the time said this is a vintage that should be drunk up young. So, I don't know. Whereas a vintage like 1996, which was supposed to last forever and had a pH close to 3.0 has quite famously failed to last very well at all. So, I think we need to go back to those first principles a little bit and look at the wines that we like from let's call it the glory days of white Burgundy, because I think it was. And try to sort of look at what we changed? Maybe try to go back to doing the old-fashioned way.
WHWC: Getting back up to the Côte as a whole, which villages or vineyards do you think have benefited the most from global warming? A lot of people talk about Gevrey because of the old vines, or vineyards higher up the slope such as Les Cras in Chambolle or Clos de Chênes in Volnay or the entirety of the Côte-St-Jacques in Gevrey, where the elevation.is quite high...
WK: For sure, any village with a preponderance of old vines is going to have an advantage in overall selections, but also deep root systems are going to be at an advantage. But I really think of what the largest denominator is, if you will, of terroir in Burgundy. People talk a lot about villages, and there are a lot of things that unify villages, but many of them are cultural and economic and historical rather than purely coming from the soil. So, I tend to think of the climate, the individual geological entity, the individual expositions as being sort of units of terroir. So, I would be more inclined to answer that question in terms of what sorts of terroirs have been favored and which have been disadvantaged. So one thing you hear people saying is that the quality is moving up the slope, and you have to be careful about that, because in some cases it's true, but the higher up the slope you go, also you tend to be in sites with much thinner soils. And since hot vintages are often dry vintages, you have situations where the vines go into hydric stress because they don't have enough water to continue their metabolic functions. They're not ripening the grapes, and the canopies get burnt off. The leaves go yellow very early and the grapes start to get desiccated. So, you get sugar accumulation through desiccation, but not through ripening. And you produce some terrible wines from some of these high-altitude sites, especially if you have younger vines with immature root systems. In a year like '19 that's a disastrous place to be. In a vintage like 2019, for example, look at sites where there's interesting soil hydrology firstly, so that actually the vines have access to water. They don't shut down. And then look, if possible, for cooling breezes, and places like that would include Vosne-Romanée Les Suchots, Lavaux-St-Jacques, Pommard Les Saussilles, and so on. By looking at sites where there's a gap in the hills of sorts, but also a certain thickness and depth of soil to mean that the root systems are able to drink during the vintage.
WHWC: You mention Lavaux-St-Jacques, which part of the greater Côte-St-Jacques, another region people are talking about as benefiting from global warming.
WK: I think that the soils are still pretty deep, even when you're at the top of Lavaux St Jacques and Estournelles-St-Jacques and some of those. Once you get up higher in the Combe in places like Boissière, you're dealing with thinner soils, but they're also quite a lot cooler. So really you have to sort of go down on a vineyard by vineyard basis. That’s why I shied away from answering the question in terms of which village.
WHWC: Or Cazetiers where not only do you have 300 meters of rise in the vineyard, but you also have four distinct soil types.
WK: Yes, and different exposition as well. It's very tricky. My view tends to be that a lot of these communal identities did have substance in them in that, say a village like Volnay, to range widely, there was a community of guys in Volnay and they tended to share vine selections, and a lot of them took vine selections from d'Angerville, and there were often figures who were your go-to resource in the days before calling the consulting enologist when you had a problem. In Puligny, in the '60s, that was the Virot family. In Gevrey, that was Joseph Roty. There were figures like that helped to bring along shared genetic material in the vineyards, you had shared ideas and practices within the village, but today all of those sorts of factors are breaking down. So, all you're left with are these sorts of stereotypes which are kind of useful to help sell the wines more as a brand. Perhaps to give people something to sort of hang onto when they're buying the wines.
WHWC: What's the future of Burgundy looking like? With pricing of land going up, the Napoleonic Code fragmenting things, do you see large corporations coming in, or can we maintain the history of Burgundy?
WK: Absolutely. Taking the long historical view, we see at the moment it's almost the reversal of the right-hand reforms of 1790. Prior to the revolution, the lands of Burgundy were divided between nobility and the clergy. The clergy, you know, effectively, let's think of it as a corporation that never dies. Right. And so, what you're seeing now is the clergy, the base of the clergy, let's say, is being taken by French insurance companies and other big investors. Then corporate investment and then on the side of the nobility is being taken by very rich individuals. So, I think we're going to inevitably see consolidation. And there's a lot of stuff going on below the surface in that people from the outside come in and they buy a vineyard and then they give it to Ramonet or Christophe Roumier en fermage to produce the wine. And to our eyes, it looks like Ramonet has, let's say, the Clos du Caillerets, but Ramonet doesn't own the vineyard. So, there's a lot of that been going on and I see no reason for it to stop. Every time it happens, it pushes up the tax assessment on the existing producers. And as far as inheritances, it's very, very serious.
WHWC: Every time we visit, we seem to discover three or four new producers popping up. And they're getting younger and younger too.
WK: Yeah. It is a huge moment of generational transition as well in Burgundy because the generation of Dominique Lafon, Christophe Roumier, Etienne Grivot, and so on are not going to be here forever.
WHWC: We were just talking about that. You had that big group who got together back in the '80s. They went to school together and now we're seeing a much stronger kind of re-emergence of that where everybody's close and they’re sharing ideas.
WK: Oh for sure. It's hard to imagine Burgundy without Roumier and Lafon. In fact, Dominique has officially with the 2019 vintage handed over to his daughter Léa. So, suddenly a lot of familiar names and faces are going to be gone. So who will be the equivalent superstars of the next 20 years? I think it's going to be people from my generation. I'm exactly the same age as Charles Lachaux, of Léa Lafon, I'm a year younger than Amélie Berthaut and so forth. And so, it's exciting for me to see my contemporaries sort of moving forward. It feels like an exciting generational moment. Jasper Morris is the same age as Eric Rousseau. It's sort of aligned with their generations like that. It's interesting.
WHWC: With the younger generation we're talking about, there seems to be two different types. There are the ones that are there taking over these already established domains. And then there are the ones who are taking over domains where the fruit had previously all been sold off that nobody has heard of before, and almost starting from scratch in a way, like Charles Magnien or someone like that.
WK: Or Emily's husband Nicolas Faure. I think taking over an established brand or domaine is very challenging in terms of inheritance and managing competing conflicting interests and then establishing something from scratch is incredibly hard because of the immense cost of entry into vineyard ownership. So they both come with their own sets of challenges, and I wouldn't say that one was easier than the other in some case, because I would hate to be in the position of having to manage a huge group of family shareholders, a lot of them absentees who just want high dividends. It's really challenging, but it's going to be exciting to see.
WHWC: You also notice with the younger generation, you go into these tasting rooms that are modernized, they’ve hired architects, they're traveling and flying around the world and so on. It's "cool" to be a winemaker now, where in the old days people couldn't wait to get out of town and see the world. And now, the best way to see a world is to stay at home.
WK: Absolutely, which is my only worry I can say, because they're predominantly people of my generation and they've had it too easy. They've come of age in an era when Burgundy commands very high prices, when the wines are scarce and allocated and also, good, regularly. So, they haven't known terrible vintages. They haven't known lack of demand for their wines. They have never lived through periods of high inflation and economic challenges like that. And then equally, the trade and the press are super hungry to find new talents and stars. And with the Internet that gets diffused instantaneously. So, you have people who produce their first vintage and they're already talked about as a rising star. I mean, look at Jean-Francois Coche...what was the first vintage he bottled at Coche when still under his father's label? I think it was '62. It took 30 years before Coche became an international star, of work, of real hard work. And nowadays it's in the click of a blog post and everyone's so enthusiastic to find something new to celebrate.
WHWC: Who do you personally think are going to going to be the future stars of Burgundy?
WK: Well, I'm probably going to omit people who deserve mention. But for me, in some ways, what I find really exciting is rather than people of my own generation, it's that slightly older generation - the generation between Dominique Lafon's generation and mine, where you have people like Olivier Lamy and those people who've put in already a good 15 or 20 years of solid work and have been ahead of their times in terms of viticulture. They've been pushing, I mean, there's one thing to stop using chemicals and go back to planning soil. There's another thing to really think seriously about pruning and planting density and clonal material and massale selection, and execute it; and above all, in places like Santenay and St-Aubin which no one cared about back when Lamy was doing his high-density plantings for the first time, you know. So, I'm really excited to see their work coming to fruition. Because you can taste it in the glass. It's really, really exciting. I think I'd prefer to wait and see with my own generation the people who are really just putting their first couple of vintages together just now. You can see a lot of promise in a lot of people. But how will progress be sustained - incremental, serious? Will it be real work in the vineyards, or will it simply be an expanded négociant operation, selling and making more and more wine and more and more vacations in Cannes and a faster car. It's still early to see how people will take the fame and prosperity that come with making wines from the top vineyards of the Côte d'Or. We'll see. It's a big challenge. How do you handle that sort of adulation and richness in what a remains a rather dirty, farming job?
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