April 29th, 2011
In his preview of 2009 Red and White Burgundy, Wine Spectator’s Bruce Sanderson found that a near-perfect summer resulted in ripe, charming Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays. Domaine de la Romanée-Conti codirector Aubert de Villaine likened 2009 to 1959, one of Burgundy’s notable older vintages, while Lucien Le Moine’s Mounir Saouma said the 2009s tended to have two distinct personalities:
“The first went through malolactic conversion by Christmas 2009 and were racked early. These are gentle wines that will be pleasant to drink over the next 10 years. Indeed, I have already tasted some 2009s in bottle here in the United States.
The second are wines with density and purity that are capable of long aging. In the cellars at Le Moine, the malolactic occurred from June to July 2010, and when I visited at the end of January 2011, the wines had not yet been racked. Most of the growers I visited in late January were just beginning to bottle, or will bottle over the next few months.
Saouma described 2009 as “a vintage of details, with a lot of small pieces to put together.” The vintage is very transparent, he added, but doesn’t favor any specific terroir.”
According to Bruce Sanderson, “the style of 2009 will have broad appeal for wine lovers because of their ripe, pure fruit flavors and fleshy textures. Unfortunately, they will be expensive because of the exchange rate and strong worldwide demand. Importers I contacted quoted price increases of 5 to 20 percent over the 2008s. The good news is that I tasted several excellent ripe, fruit-filled bottlings at the basic Bourgogne level, which will provide some value and relief from the sticker shock of the ’09 crus. Burgundy lovers should also buy some 2008s, which in retrospect, will look like bargains compared to 2009.”
April 28th, 2011
Really nice review from The Wine Advocate’s Neal Martin of La Serre 2010, tasted en-primeur. This wine was gorgeous when we tasted it in mid-March with Christian Moueix’ wines.
2010 Chateau La Serre: A limpid ruby colour, the La Serre ’10 has a rounded, sensual nose with black cherries, redcurrant and plum. Always one of the most generous bouquets at this early stage, it offers commendable purity and lift. The palate is very feminine and pure with black cherries, cassis and dark plum, harmonious and silky towards the finish. One of my favourite wines with the J-P Moueix portfolio, this comes highly recommended. Tasted April 2011.
April 27th, 2011
Wine Spectator Rhône critic James Molesworth recently paid a visit to E. Guigal and tasted through recent vintages of Côte-Rôtie, St.-Joseph, Châteauneuf and more with Marcel and Philippe. Here is a quote from Molesworth’s recent blog post on the visit:
“Though Côte-Rôtie is the spiritual home for the Guigals, most impressive these days at chez Guigal are the efforts in St.-Joseph. Towering above the town of Tournon, and sprouting from the ruins on the slopes, are the Guigal’s Vignes de l’Hospice vineyards. The established parts are drawn from vines that came with the purchases of the de Vallouit and JL Grippat estates a decade ago, along with newer planting by the Guigals.”
“If you had told us 10 years ago that we would be as serious in St.-Joseph as Côte-Rôtie, I would have said ‘No way,’ said Philippe Guigal, as we scrambled up the steep slopes, where a team or workers is rebuilding the terraces that hold the vines in place. “When Grippat called us to say he was selling his estate, I remember my dad thought it would be better to go see him in person, rather than just decline over the phone. We really weren’t that interested. But Grippat was smart. We spent three hours—outside in the vineyards. We never saw the cellar. At the end of the three hours, the deal was done. We are now big believers in St.-Joseph.”
See below for a video link of Philippe Guigal tasting in his cellar in Ampuis.
April 26th, 2011
Snooth’s Spirit blog, The Spirit, had a fabulous piece a month ago on some Noval BLACK cocktail recipes developed by Jim Meehan of Manhattan’s PDT titled, “Port is the New BLACK: 3 premium port-based cocktails”. It lists the recipes for 3 cocktails Jim developed, instructions for making the cocktails, and has some great commentary about how port can work with various flavor elements in cocktails. As the article states, Jim was inspired by Noval BLACK’s complexity and balance, which lend it perfectly to blending, to create these three cocktails. The intro to the article is also great, and as follows:
“We all have our tried-and-true drinks that we turn to, but sometimes you just want a little something different in your glass. A desire for something different is what drives fickle fashions and leads to the next big thing being described as “the new black.” Well, we recently discovered the literal drinking equivalent: a port wine, Noval BLACK, that makes a surprisingly good base for cocktails.”
Read the whole piece after the jump, or here.
Read the rest of this entry »
April 22nd, 2011
James Molesworth posted a retrospective of the 2001 vintage in Côte-Rôtie on the Wine Spectator site. There are some good observations on how the vintage has aged, and the assessment that, “While the vintage doesn’t measure up to the great ’99, which I tasted retrospectively a few years ago, it has nonetheless earned its stripes after aging.” As anyone who has tasted Guigal’s lovely 2001s might guess, the three top wines of the tasting were La Landonne, La Turque and La Mouline. Molesworth writes:
“Leading the way in this tasting were the trio of “La La” wines from famed house E. Guigal. Always close to each other qualitatively, with 10 years of age they begin to express their different personas even more than in youth, with the Côte-Rôtie La Mouline (95 points, non-blind) the most approachable of the three, with its flashy raspberry fruit and velvety feel. In comparison, the Côte-Rôtie La Turque (96 points, non-blind), with its dark, tarry grip, and Côte-Rôtie La Landonne (96 points, non-blind), with its smoldering iron and tannic backbone, still have a ways to go to shed their formidable structure.”
There is also a nice review for the Côte-Rôtie Brune et Blonde, as follows “A textbook version, with roasted sage, sweet tapenade, sandalwood, mulled cherry and black currant fruit notes all melded together. The solid finish is juicy and nicely rounded.” He rates the wine 90 Points. We have library stock of 750mls and (pretty cool!) 375mls of the Brune et Blonde 2001 available…perhaps we will have to pull a bottle and judge for ourselves this weekend. A backup bottle might be needed, as well, just to make sure everything goes smoothly. And maybe two bottles of the 375mls to compare evolution in these different formats. It’s a party!
April 19th, 2011
Can wines made to be approachable soon after release actually reward extended cellaring, or is this simply a case of trying to have it all?
This was the subject of a recent winemaker roundtable discussion on Stephen Tankzer’s blog, Winophilia.com. Several different winemakers, ranging from Rupert Symington to Olivier Humbrecht, weighted in on the debate. Here is Lucien Le Moine’s take on the subject:
“I feel that there are two categories of consumers today: people who want everything NOW and people who would like to play the game and wait.
After 20 years of winemaking and 11 years of making the Lucien Le Moine wines, I can say that Burgundy and specifically our style here at Le Moine is enjoyable in the first two years in bottle and then the wines need five or six years of rest before we can enjoy them again. In other words, the wines provide two different experiences—fresh and fruity early, more soft and spicy later.
I am against making wine to satisfy a certain category of wine drinker. We do it our own way and with our own convictions, and then we help people to understand these crus of Burgundy that are made in this way. We know that we can never satisfy everyone; that’s why we make 30,000 bottles a year and not more.
Normally Burgundy is a place where great wines are great from the beginning. I never buy a Burgundy that’s not enjoyable during the two years after the bottling. Ageability is another matter. If we let our wines deal with oxygen early on, and during long barrel aging, they will be more fine and elegant and they will age better. I don’t believe that tannic wines age better than elegant wines. To us, classic Burgundy means light extraction, fine vinification, and more than 18 months of aging on the lees, with a late malolactic fermentation, no early sulfuring and gentle bottling without fining or filtration. All of these techniques produce wines that can be very sexy young and will sometimes age forever. Our 2002, 2006 and now the 2009 vintage are perfect examples of this style.”
Read the rest of the roundtable discussion here
April 18th, 2011
Der Feinschmecker, the leading German food and wine publication, granted the title of “2011 Winemaker of the Year” to Champagne producer Bruno Paillard. Paillard officially received the recognition at the 2011 Wine Awards on March 26, which took place at the Bensberg castle near Cologne. More than 100 guests attended the ceremony.
In his acceptance speech, Paillard stated:
“Receiving awards is not something I am used to, neither is it the purpose of my work. But I take it as an honour in consideration of the high quality of the other nominees and of that of Feinschmecker magazine. But above all as an encouragement to continue developing with passion and in a totally independent way, the creation of the highest quality Champagne wines, and a wonderful occasion to thank my team and my loyal customers, among the greatest Chefs of the world.”
Read more about the awards here
April 17th, 2011
We’ve posted a number of photos on Facebook and now have some nice albums of Guigal, Errazuriz, Finca Decero (including photos our recent trip), Quinta do Noval, Telmo Rodriguez and Mitolo. Cool!
Frank Mitolo and Ben Glaetzer walking in the Lopresti vineyard, in the Willunga Hills section of McLaren Vale
April 15th, 2011
Chateau Boutisse was among six wines featured in a massive photo spread on 2008 Bordeaux in the just-released issue of the Wine Spectator. Despite a difficult growing season in Bordeaux, Wine Spectator critic James Molesworth found that there are some excellent wines to be had at attractive prices. Molesworth gave the ’08 Boutisse a score of 91 points, on par with renowned estates like Chateau Clinet and Leoville-Barton.
Wine Spectator, May Issue, p.45
April 13th, 2011
Winemaker Philippe Guigal is leading a series of guided tastings and wine seminars for key trade accounts in five different cities this week: New York, Chicago, LA, Houston and Miami.
Among the 14 wines being poured are the 2009 Condrieu La Doriane, 2008 St Joseph Vignes de l’Hospice, and 2007 Ermitage Ex-Voto Rouge, as well as a couple of unexpected surprises, like the 1996 Cote Rotie Chateau d’Ampuis and 1996 La Landonne.
Here are some photos of Philippe along his grand US city tour:
Seminar at SOHO House in Miami on April 15
Seminar at SOHO Beach House in Miami on April 15
Seminar at Pappas Brothers in Houston on April 14
Seminar at Louis XIV in LA on April 13
Seminar at the Waldorf=Astoria in NYC on April 11
Seminar at the Trump Hotel in Chicago on April 12