The Big Spill

A glut of wines from Brazil to New Zealand is forcing BORDEAUX'S winemakers to cope with a newcrop of competitors

The sun is setting behind Château Pontet-Canet as Alfred Tesseron finishes his tour of the property, perched above the legendary Bordeaux wine village of Pauillac. He has talked proudly about how his father bought the château 30 years ago, but points out some of his recent investments: a water-recycling system, the new storage and bottling barn, and the twin rows of conical fermentation vats. Now comes the moment of truth.

Standing in his refurbished tasting room, he picks up a glass of the 2005 vintage, sniffs, sips and sucks the wine noisily through his teeth before spitting it out into a...

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