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Showing posts from November, 2008

Arrived: David Clark

People who follow this blog might recognize the name: David Clark. The first time that I met David was in December 2007, when Jan van Roekel and I visited him in Morey-Saint-Denis. I wrote a posting about that visit, and so did Jan (you will have to scroll down a bit to find it).

DAVID CLARK'S IRRESISTIBLE PASSETOUTGRAINS 2006. ORGANIC OF COURSE. YIELD: ONLY 30 HL/HA − MORE OR LESS THE YIELD ONE SEES AT DOMAINE DE LA ROMANEE-CONTI

At our visit we tasted 2006 from tank, in which it was stabilizing prior to being bottled − the tank just an intermediate step between barrel and bottle. In barrel: 15 months, and then in bottle for most of the year 2008 at the domain. David insisted on waiting with the shipment, and I was only allowed to collect my share (6 cases) recently. Note that we are not dealing with some very special grand cru, but simply with a − very special − ordinary Bourgogne Rouge and Bourgogne Passetoutgrains. This is a good example of Slow Wine.

I was very curious to taste …

NY wine lover has Pétrus label tattooed

Nothing so frivolous as a champagne tasting, this week in Bordeaux. This week it was all about CO2, with the Bordeaux Wine Board (CIVB) announcing it will reduce emissions by 15% in the next five years. And by 75% by 2050.

The CIVB announced the reduction measures after it spent the last 10 months measuring total wine industry output, estimated to produce 200,000 tonnes of CO2 annually.

The most immediate CO2 culprits are glass bottles, which are to be made lighter, and road transport, which is to be reduced. How exactly all this is to be done, and enforced, is not yet clear, but another announcement is due in February next year.

Apart from that good news, foie gras and tattoos both made it to the top of the news list.

I went to Périgord to interview foie gras producers, checking if the credit crunch was rippling their way yet. It will, but not till after Christmas, they say.

The French can't imagine a Christmas or a New Year without either foie gras or oysters. I don't eat foie gr…

Avoiding Champagne breath

After two weeks in South Africa and many others spent agonising over whether to move to Peru or not, I finally had to face up to the pressing matter of discovering a champagne that doesn't make you stink.

Bordeaux wine merchant Millésima held its annual pre-Christmas wine tasting this week, and champagne was the theme. No one was drunk or disorderly, no one was even giggling. A few elegant chortles, one or two high pitched laughs, but no actual rowdiness.

Funny that, after South Africa where drinking and being drunk is all much more relaxed. The extreme downside is that Foetal Alcohol Levels in the Western Cape continue to be one of the highest in the world. Foetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS), is a form of physical and mental damage that happens when pregnant women drink too much. It is permanently disabling for the baby and the particularly high levels of FAS in the Cape are a hangover, literally, from the days when the dop system − paying a part of a vineyard labourer's wages in wi…

Tenuta Montanello: Barolo 2001

Yesterday I had a lucky hand in picking a wine from the cellar. A delicious discovery: the Barolo 2001 from Tenuta Montanello. My experience with Barolo's is very limited, but this is the finest I have tasted so far. I hardly dare to say, but it reminded me of a great Burgundy. Let's say Premier Cru level.


The wine has a lovely nose, reminiscent of a rich and ripe Burgundy, and clearly matured on oak. But not the new American type of oak. Some leather.

In the mouth, on the tongue: pure velvet. Intense and soft, hint of sweetness. And that combined with a beautiful line, slightly slender, vital. This makes the wine so drinkable: its relative lightness. The finish is tender, also. Hint of bay leaves there. This is a very harmonious and intelligent wine. A truly joyful discovery.

Château de Beaucastel 1969, 1970, etcetera

This week I received a very friendly invitation to join a special dinner at Christie's Amsterdam, a dinner featuring the renowned wines of Château de Beaucastel (Châteauneuf-du-Pape). Fifth generation winemaker Marc Perrin would be hosting the evening.


I didn't have to think very long about accepting this invitation or not.

So yesterday, surrounded by classic paintings, I tasted a flight of Beaucastels together with some twenty other lucky winelovers. Hence: this was yet another memorable wine evening to add to my list: extraordinary wines, great atmosphere, delicious food, and a unique place. The event was a warming-up for the auction to be held Tuesday 25 November, with an unusual number of wines from Château de Beaucastel, from the vintages 1962, 1966, 1967, 1969 (many), 1970 (also many), 1990, 1995 and 2005, all red - plus a small number of whites.

Before I return to the Beaucastels... I must say there are some pretty exciting lots that are going to be sold at this upcoming a…