The 2000 Latour (a relatively abundant 14,000 cases compared to what they produced in 2009, 2008, or 2005) is “packed and stacked.” The extremely rich, black/purple color to the rim is followed by a wine with some subtle smoke, loads of minerals, a hint of vanilla, and plenty of creme de cassis as well as roasted meat and a slight scorched earth character. Broad, savory, and rich, the wine seems to be about 5 years away from full maturity and should drink well for at least 40-50 more years. A great effort, probably eclipsed only by 2003 and 2009. My original ratings appear to have been dead on the money for both of these efforts from Chateau Latour.
Monthly Archives: July 2017
It’s not often “Bordeaux” crops up in the same sentence as “bargain” – especially in an article about expensive wines – but there is a case to be made that, when it comes to value, Bordeaux punches above its weight.
That’s not to say Bordeaux’s best wines are cheap – they aren’t. But a comparison with other regions suggests a certain level of parsimony among the good burghers of Bordeaux; after all, the average price for basic Bordeaux has remained pretty much unchanged for five years at $13; by contrast, Bourgogne Rouge sits at an average of $24.
But even when it comes to the big names, Bordeaux manages to to keep it respectably affordable, at least on a relative scale. The cost of a bottle of each of the 10 most expensive wines from Bordeaux adds up to a hefty $15,584, but the 10 most expensive Burgundies will set you back almost four times as much – $58,511. Even the Mosel ($30,474) and Champagne ($20,393) have higher aggregate price tags for the 10 most expensive wines. Continue Reading: Wine Searcher
photo: Liber-Pater Wine
Could you hold forth confidently on such diverse subjects as soil moisture levels, pest control and the effects of temperature on yeast? If so, you might the sort of person who can pass the wine world’s most stringent qualification exams – the Master of Wine.
More than 150 candidates tackled the Stage 2 section of the exam in London, San Francisco and Sydney last week, and faced a barrage of questions testing their technical and commercial acumen as well as their knowledge of some of the more esoteric wines and wine regions of the world.
The exam is broken into two parts, theory and practical. In turn, the theory section is split into five papers, the first three of which concern growing grapes and making wines. This includes questions on topics as diverse as water availability, labor supply, pest control, filtration, use of enzymes in winemaking, and the use of sulfites.
Theory paper 4 concerned the business aspects of wine, including questions about the separation of consumer and producer, social media and whether small, independent stores can compete with chains.
Another question asked: “As the owner of a Bordeaux Classified Growth from the Left Bank, what options are available to you today to present your wine to the market?” Presumably the correct answer was not “with a gargantuan price tag attached”. Continue reading: WinesearcherMasterofWineExam, WineExpert
Its bigger sister, the 2005 Château Palmer (53% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Merlot and 7% Petit Verdot), is one of the great efforts of this superlative vintage. Floral notes mixed with blackberry, cassis, plum, licorice and spring flowers soar from the glass of this dense ruby/purple wine. It is medium to full-bodied, surprisingly opulent (it has a big percentage of Merlot), long, multi-dimensional and textured. This wonderfully pure, stunning wine once again performs as a first-growth. It should drink well for the next 20-25 years.
The prerequisites for great wines often include cool climate, ample sunshine and unique soils. Add grape varieties that express those characteristics and winegrowers who aim for the highest quality, and greatness is within reach. All of those elements come together in Alsace.
The vineyards of Alsace lie within a narrow 75-mile strip of land that runs along the north-south spine of the Vosges Mountains in northeastern France. The 51 best parcels are designated grand cru—choice spots that dot the headlands and foothills of the wooded peaks, never on the plain.
These plots face east, southeast and, due to numerous lateral valleys, also south, which provides optimal sun exposure. The region’s complex geology, a function of the Upper Rhine rift, means that each grand cru boasts its own unique soils.
France’s appellation authorities named the first Alsace grand cru in 1975, and they added more sites in 1983, 1992 and 2007. Despite those expansions, the grand crus represent just eight percent of the region’s vineyard surface, and they contribute a mere four percent of Alsace’s production. Although a relatively modern creation, the grand crus are historic, and their wines have been prized for centuries.
Some of the vineyard boundaries are controversial, like anywhere in the world where growers try to classify land. A legal change in 2011, however, allows each grand cru to have its own, specific set of regulations, which has encouraged growers to reassess each site.
Each of the 51 grand crus boasts a spirit and personality of its own, so it may seem unfair to highlight just seven of them. But these are truly la crème de la crème. Continue reading: Wine Enthusiast
photo: Jens JohnsonAlsace, Rangen Grand Cru, Reisling
A century ago, the Michelin tire company expanded into guidebooks to help motorists find hotels and restaurants on their travels. Its ratings (sometimes controversial, often attacked as stodgy) have since become an indispensable shorthand for ranking the world’s top restaurants.
To be sure, there are other systems, from the hyper-local Yelp to the ambitious San Pellegrino “Top 50” ratings. But Michelin, the oldest, carries a special cachet.
Point being, consumers needed guidance, advice, information. In the days before the internet, there were books and newsletters that told you where to stay, where to eat, what to drink. Continue reading: ForbesMichelin Guide, Robert Parker
The first time I met Madame Lalou Bize-Leroy about ten years ago, I was intimidated by this diminutive figure who was at least four inches shorter than me. Her snow-white, shoulder-length hair was pulled back in a low pony tail and her piercing blue eyes, the color of clear summer sky, seemed to look right into your soul.
It wasn’t just her reputation as the grand dame of Burgundy, one of the most powerful women in wine, formerly at the helm of Domaine de la Romanee-Conti and now Domaine Leroy, that intimidated me. Nor was it the fact that her wines are sublime and command the highest prices in Burgundy when they are released, usually later and in much smaller quantities than any other producer.
It was her intensity and clear love for her wines that both impressed and intimidated me at the same time. Many years ago I asked her how she manages to get so much intensity and energy in her wines, and she replied, “It is simple, I love my vines more than most people.” Continue reading: Forbes
photo: courtesy of Domaine-Leroy.comBurgundy, Chambertin, Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, Domaine Leroy, Lalou Bize-Leroy
Saint Emilion first growth wine estate Chateau Angelus is pressing ahead with expansion plans this year and keeping up its hopes for a high-quality 2017 vintage, even as it grapples with the loss of 20 percent of its crop from the worst frost in a quarter century to hit Bordeaux.
Construction of a new winery for its second label, Le Carillon d’Angelus, starts in September and is due for completion by July next year, in time for the 2018 harvest. That’s as Angelus is looking to buy vineyard land to more than double annual production of the second label to between 80,000 and 100,000 bottles from the current 40,000.
The chateau is still riding the wave from its promotion in 2012 along with nearby Chateau Pavie to the top rank of Premier Grand Cru Classe A in the Saint-Emilion of four estates. That has enabled it to increase prices for its flagship wine to more than $300 a bottle for the last 2016 vintage.
“I’m happy,” Stephanie de Bouard-Rivoal, eighth-generation owner of Angelus and co-manager of the estate with her cousin, Theirry Grenie de Bouard, said in an interview June 19 at the estate. 2012 was “the year I joined the management of Chateau Angelus. From that moment I was very much committed and involved in all the projects.
Angelus traces its origins back to 1782, when Jean de Bouard de Laforest settled in Saint Emilion. The current property took shape during the 20th century, when the family’s Chateau Mazerat estate absorbed a neighboring plot of vines known as l’Angelus. It was run for three decades until 2012 by Hubert de Bouard de Laforest, Stephanie’s father.
Angelus celebrated its landmark 2012 vintage with a commemorative black and gold bottle that helped boost the price and made it more attractive to collectors. At that time it also bough five hectares (12.4 acres) of vineyards on the plateau above Saint Emilion, between Cheval Blanc and Chateau Figeac.
“We’re still looking for more vines to buy and increase the production of Le Carillon d’Angelus,” de Bouard-Rivoal said. “It is difficult, and I think it’s one of our major ways to develop.”
Angelus has also moved to exert more direct control over its distribution chain, reducing the number of Bordeaux merchants through which it sells its wine from a total of more than 100 to a more focused group. Continue reading: Bloomberg
photo: Marlene AwaadBordeaux, Chateau Angelus, Le Carillon d'Angelus, Saint Emilion