• As fall the languorous leaves and the night abridges the day, so too does the Summer of Wine Crime transition to the Autumn of Wine Crime. Earlier this month, Weingut von Winning, in Germany's Pfalz region, was the first victim to it when thieves drove a mechanical harvester into the producer's Spätburgunder vineyards under the cover of night and yanked 5,500 pounds of grapes to make their own Kleptenbeerenauslese ("stolen select berry harvest"), or KBA, cuvée. The harvest henchmen, who are thought to be members of the industry themselves since they had, you know, a harvester, pulled an estimated $137,000 worth of the red grape. Von Winning's Stephen Attman, who has hosted the president of Germany and other luminaries for wine tastings, told a local news agency that the crime would be solved eventually, when "somewhere a super wine is produced by a winemaker who is otherwise not known for such high quality." Is that toasty oak barrels Unfiltered smells, or did someone just get burned?
• The Bordelais are running to New York. 14 Bordeaux vintners (and one critic), collectively known as the Bordeaux Grands Crus Runners, have been training to run in the New York Marathon this Nov. 6. Château Beau-Séjour Bécot's Julien Barthe, Clos Fourtet's Mathieu Cuvelier, Clerc Milon's Jean-Emmanueal Danjoy, Pape Clément's Cécile Daquin, Cheval-Blanc's Kees van Leeuwen, Brane Cantenac's Henri Lurton, Pichon Longueville's Marie-Louise Schyler and la Gaffelière's Gilles Rambeaud, as well as Bordeaux journalist Jean-Francis Pecresse, are running in this year's marathon, while supporting the women's rights charity Lysistrata, which supports women around the world focusing on defense against violence. The Bordeaux Grand Cru Runners are holding a benefit next week at the Villa Primrose tennis club in Bordeaux to raise money for the charity.
Some of Bordeaux's most prominent vintners will be hitting the asphalt for charity at this year's New York Marathon.
• Anyone gazing at the night sky over the vineyards of Sauternes might have been astonished to see a parade of a hundred paper lanterns floating toward the full harvest moon earlier this month. It was Bordeaux’s first Mid-Autumn Moon Festival, held at first-growth Château Guiraud for a select group of Chinese, Korean and Japanese expats and visitors. Many Asians in the wine trade find business takes them to Bordeaux at harvesttime and away from their family and friends during one of Asia’s most important holidays. “We want to show the Chinese that we want to integrate them into our culture. We didn’t want them to feel like orphans,” explained Xavier Planty, co-owner of Guiraud. The paper lanterns were a particular delight to the Chinese guests, as they have been phased out in Hong Kong Moon Festivals due to fire concerns. “I have not seen them since I was a child,” said one importer, smiling at the golden lanterns forming a trail reaching higher and higher into the sky. “It’s magical.”
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