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Showing posts from February, 2008

Calon-Ségur 1988 and Thévenet’s Cuvée Tradition 1995

One of my favourite ways to spend the evening is to open a special bottle with one or more friends. Actually the fun starts earlier, when thinking about which wine to open. Then: the pulling out of the old cork, the contemplating about one's age when the wine was mis en bouteille, the pouring out of the wine in the large Riedel glasses... then the sniffing, the tasting, the exploring... the writing, the talking...

It even gets better when the wines do stand supreme. And that is exactly what happened on the regular Thursday of 21 February 2008. Witnesses are Noraneath Phlek, a Bordeaux-lover from Paris who visited Amsterdam and was in for a drink, and Jan van Roekel, Burgundy-lover living in Amsterdam and never not in for a drink.


The first wine was of the type Shock and Awe. The Cuvée Tradition 1995 from Jean Thévenet’s Domaine de la Bongran (Mâconnais). This more than 12 years old white wine was of an extraordinary beauty. It was a rare experience to drink a – more or less dry – wh…

I can’t believe it. I am in shock.

I went away this week, to Montpellier for VINISUD, the 'Mediterranean wine trade fair' is what they call themselves for 'wines of the south', and it was great.

Almost every wine I tasted a) tasted good b) was organic or biodynamic and c) was affordable – in the 5 to 15 euro retail price range. Now maybe I was just lucky but I got the impression that as long as I avoided the fruit lozenge coloured ones, the shimmery pinks and bright yellows lined up all over the place, I could not go wrong.

Corbières and Minervois were my two favourite areas – not to be too romantic about it but they actually have a dry taste that I associate with the winds I have seen blowing over the vines, forcing them half flat. Plus the best ever tasting red organic wine I have ever encountered from Domaine de Clairac, a Vin de Pays de l'Hérault. It will become my house red after Château Fonroque (Saint-Emilion biodynamic red which is wonderful but 22 euro a bottle so not an every night wine).

But…

Unofficial scoop: Charmail sold

In this posting I combine a Mini Scoop with some Old News, say to compensate the poorness of the one with the age of the other. The unofficial news is that Château Charmail is sold. As soon as I know more I will come back to this. Provided it is interesting.


Charmail's (old?) owner is Olivier Sèze. He bought the château in 1980 when it was in a very bad condition. And ever since it has been his life's work to have Charmail's star shine again, as it had done a long long time ago. Anyway, a change of ownership is not the first thing that comes up when thinking about Château Charmail. But then again, maybe it is just a rumour.

A year ago, to be precise on 9 February 2007, I tasted the Charmail 2004. And if you're interested, this was my impression: "Dark and concentrated looks. Unless some sweetness in the nose this wine (still) shows some hard edges, seems somewhat locked up. Palate with much concentration, firm acids and grainy tannins. Young, and difficult at this m…

Stephen Brook laughing at the Dutch

At this moment I am reading the Introduction of The Complete Bordeaux, the new book by the English wine writer Stephen Brook. Very interesting stuff. And quite serious, most of it. Therefore I was surprised - and amused - when I encountered the following passage in a paragraph about the history of the brokers - the courtiers - in Bordeaux: "The Dutch and the British were to prove complementary masters of Bordeaux commerce: the former favoured wines that were as cheap as could be compatible with drinkability, whereas the British market went for quality even if the price was considerably higher. The British preference was not just a reflection of intrinsic good taste, compared to the Dutch predilection for soapy cheese, stewed eels, caravanning, and cheap, sweet wine."


Especially the "caravanning" strikes home as a fatal judgement. OK, it is somewhat out of place in this text about 18th century history, but it is true, unfortunately. When I happen to drive South durin…

Set Wine Free

Such a busy month in Bordeaux, this January, just when everything should have been so quiet. The primeur polemic has already started - it gets earlier every year - the Chinese have bought their first château – Disney like and a bargain to boot – and left bank Poujeaux was sold to the owners of right bank Clos Fourtet.

The primeur polemic usually kicks off in February with négociants calling for, in recent years, a 40% reduction, minimum, on last year's prices. Then the châteaux owners all say it is way too early to talk about prices, before anyone has even tasted the wine, and then the négociants fling up their hands and say, more or less, that taste doesn't matter given the dollar/the market/the prices last year etc. etc. And so it goes. This year however, it all started in early January and it's gotten a bit personal with two heavyweights, both French and one from the very heart of Bordeaux, calling the primeurs, respectively, mad and immoral.

The mad comment came from for…

Clos du Jaugueyron on spectacular Japanese cover

Recently I came across a cover of the Japanese wine magazine "Real Wine Guide". It shows one of the wines that I wrote about earlier, the Haut-Médoc Clos du Jaugueyron (see my 29/12 posting). "Real Wine Guide" doesn't sound very Japanese, but it neither does sound very English. It belongs to the same kind of Far-East sort of English as does, for example, the "China Wines Information Website". But well, I shouldn't say anything: an English-speaking reader of this blog has pointed out to me that my English is not completely without mistakes...

CLOS DU JAUGUEYRON ON THE COVER OF JAPANESE REAL WINE GUIDE.

But let's look at the cover! Personally I think it is incredibly beautiful. I showed it to my artist friend Kim Holleman and see here her reaction "I totally love it (totally!)". I do not know where graphic design ends and Art commences, but to me - with my European eyes - this is Art. Just compare this to the ordinary glossy covers of De…