Latest from Westgarth

Bordeaux’s Most Expensive Wines

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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… Read more »

Do you think you are a wine expert?

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Do you know your Cornas from your Albariño? 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… Read more »

Spotlight On: 2005 Palmer

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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.

Get to Know the Grand Crus of Alsace

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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… Read more »

Michelin Guide Purchases 40% of Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate

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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,… Read more »

Madame Lalou Bize-Leroy, Burgundy’s Most Powerful Woman

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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… Read more »

Angelus Expands Second Label, Le Carillon d’Angelus

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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…. Read more »

Vinexpo Bordeaux Kicks Off This Week

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For the first six months of every second year, whispers circulate around the wine community of Bordeaux—will you be going to Vinexpo? Winemakers and merchants begin preparing for this sizable professional event weeks and sometimes months in advance. This year Vinexpo Bordeaux kicks off on the 18th of June and lasts through the 21st. Close to 50,000 visitors from 150 countries will mingle, swirl, taste, dine, attend conferences and swap business cards within 15 covered acres (6 hectares) where more than 2,300… Read more »

Only 10% Price Increase for Haut-Brion, Mouton Rothschild 2016

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Chateau Haut-Brion, a Bordeaux wine estate on the southern edge of the city, and Chateau Mouton-Rothschild, further north up the Gironde estuary, held price increases to less than 10 percent for their 2016 vintage, compared with double-digit jumps set by rival growers, according to Liv-ex data. Haut-Brion boosted the price of its 2016 wine from Bordeaux merchants by 9.1 percent from 2015 levels, while Mouton raised its price 9.4 percent, according to Liv-ex. The moves took the prices of both… Read more »

Buy These Bordeaux 2016 Wines Now, Guarantee Provenance

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I sat next to a Chinese wine collector at a dinner in Hong Kong last week and he showed me six emails from different wine merchants–from London, New York and Hong Kong–urging him to buy Bordeaux 2016 en primeur. He smiled and shook his head, “Why should I buy a wine in barrel that I have to wait 20 years to drink at a price that is more expensive than delicious mature vintages that I can enjoy now? Do they think… Read more »

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