The tasting panel at the conference. From left to right, Jacques Lurton, Michel Rolland and the conference's leader, Pancho Campo. If I ever needed justification for Jonathan Nossiter's portrait of Michel Rolland, (other than when he spilled a glass of champagne all over my silk dress and didn't even offer me an apology or a napkin) I got it on the Friday evening wine tasting he co-ran with Lurton. The tasting was a blind one. Ten wines. Grape speculation was culled from the audience. The crowd was increasingly flummoxed. Lurton cajoled, "Come on, aren't there any MW's out there?" After the 4th wine and 4th strike out on the crowd's part, the audience grew reticent. Rolland said with (was that really a sneer?) that it was normal after making so many mistake that people remained silent. No one laughed. Frankly, I don't know how I got 5 correct out of 10. The most horrifying wine showed to us was the 2003 Domaine de la Perruche Saumur-Champigny, which because of the plastered on toasty oak, I took to be a new world Argentinian malbec. M. Rolland found it a happy result of Global Warming. I found it to be pre-fabbed for the 'important' wine critics. It was toasted and roasted and had none of the gorgeous natural textural velvet the grape can produce. I've had plenty of other Loire cabs from 2003, that were ripe but still true to themselves. When Rolland's own 2003 Bordeaux Fontanil from Fronsac was showed, so did his inner peacock. Rolland said, "For us, Bordeaux doesn't have any impact from Global Warming." The wine tasted like burnt meat painted with toast (I thought it was his merlot from Virginia). I had the feeling that his only use for something like gamay would be mouth wash. I did get my first sight of Belgium. This was the 2003 Genoels-Elderen, a chardonnay. It was minty but so leesy it was hard to tell anything about it except it was reaching for a style, and achieved it. That style would be an overoaked California chadonnay. However, if someone was working naturally there, I'd be curious to see more from the area. If they had taken questions or comments I would have said that it was no wonder the guesses was so off, except for the Zund Humbrecht gewurtz, the tasting was a grand one to show that the world was making wine without typicity. Beyond global warming, this was style choice. While the men on the panel (there were no women participating in the conference) were proud of their little tasting, the hour and a half left the audience scratching their heads.