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Bye bye 2010

People take drinking to a higher level in December, hence I was a bit busy the last weeks. Now I'm relaxing, with Bach's Weihnachtskantaten and a lovely Bourgogne Roncevie 2008 from Domaine Arlaud. And the blog gets a little less attention...

I want to thank Doris Vroom from Winefields for the exciting tasting she organised this month, a welcome intermezzo. The Latour 1983 was impressive, in the first place. Fiery, as someone described it. I won't dive into my tasting notes here, but it was great to discover.

The most interesting aspect of this tasting for me was that weaker vintages should not be neglected. We were all surprised by a smokey and lean La Lagune 1991, a seductive La Fleur Pétrus 1992, and a pleasant Lynch Bages 1993.

Jadot's Musigny 1994 that I drank a few days later was good but it didn't have the (expected?) wow-factor. The wine that did have that factor was the Champagne Georges Laval Brut Nature (organic since 1971) which for me renders the essence …

Is Pomerol Pomerol?

Dwayne Perreault — To say x is x is being obvious, yet there is a deeper meaning. X is x is an affirmation of itself, that only x can be x. And so we get France is France, life is life, war is war, that is that. If I say George Bush is George Bush, you know what I mean.

But now try saying, wine is wine. Doesn’t work for me. And I’m not sure I’d say Pomerol is Pomerol either, since I’ve tasted a number of Pomerols now, and each time I seem to taste a different wine. I’ve had heavy, pensive, iron-rich Pomerol, autumnal Pomerol with wet forest and truffel smells, and Pomerol that was so purely neat in extraction that I thought it had something in common with elegant Burgundy.


It’s such a tiny area, so how is this possible? Is it because of the capricious Merlot grape, which offers so many different kinds of wines around the world? Is it because of the many small and different winemakers? Or is Pomerol so complex that it takes years of serious tasting to understand it?

Whatever the reason(s…

"Bordeaux 2010 probably even better than 2009"

This is not some French sales tiger who's talking, nor a random wine journalist who is trying to attract attention. No, it is the highly respected Kees van Leeuwen, professor in Bordeaux at ENITA (Ecole Nationale des Ingénieurs de Travaux Agricoles) and ISVV (Institut des Sciences de la Vigne et du Vin). Also, Van Leeuwen is the technical director at Château Cheval Blanc. In an article on Bordeaux 2010 in the Dutch magazine Perswijn he states: "2010 is without doubt a grand vintage in Bordeaux, probably even better than 2009."

the Chinese number ten

The story behind the high quality reminds me of 2009. All levels are high again: anthocyanins, tannins and sugars are all at record levels, even surpassing 2009. Combined with a good acidity (and ripeness) we are again looking at a year which is displaying harmony on the highest level—it's like arm wrestling musclemen keeping each other locked in strenuous balance.

Exciting of course... but what does that mean for the prices…

Various things written down on Sunday evening

For my last posting I tasted a ship load of wines, so this posting will be nothing more than a short hello. As I've said before, maintaining a blog takes a lot of work, and time, which I do not always have, especially not towards the end of the year. So this will be an 'easy' posting, mentioning some things that I think are worth mentioning.

WineLife Magazine. For those of you who read Dutch, the new WineLife is out. A special Champagne issue, with only one shortcoming, the great Champagnes that I import (Barnaut, Ulysse Collin and Georges Laval) are not listed. But one of the articles (about Champagne) is from me, and there's a very interesting article about cruising Burgundy by Jan van Roekel.

There was a bubbly party for the launch of this new WineLife issue, and for the presentation of the first book from Huib Edixhoven (sorry guys, again written in Dutch). I will see him tomorrow and I have to admit to him that I didn't start reading yet... But I hope his book w…

Bordeaux 2008 UGC tasting Brussels

The Bordeaux 2008 vintage is about to loom up on the horizon. The wines have all been bottled, and the bottles are resting quietly at the châteaux - read: stabilizing and maturing - before they will leave Bordeaux in the course of 2011.

However, some bottles left earlier. They were opened at one of the Union des Grands Crus tastings that are traveling around the world. Yesterday the royal procession halted in Brussels.


It was an interesting tasting, and my intention was to taste all reds. I almost succeeded, but towards the end of the tasting an unexpected turn of events had the effect that I missed some important wines. Among these are favourites like the two Bartons, the two Pichons, Pontet-Canet and Lynch Bages, and all Saint-Estèphes...

The result: this posting cannot be complete. But luckily there are plenty of accounts of these UGC 2008 tastings, e.g. you might check out Neal Martin's stories on the 2008s (login required).

Let's start with a general impression. The picture i…

Tasting weekend in pictures

Last weekend was the biggest Bolomey Wijnimport tasting ever. Preparation took a lot of time, but the result was great. Sunday 31 October some 175 to 200 visitors came to a beautiful penthouse overlooking the IJ to taste 40 wines, and meet the winemakers Coralie Delecheneau (Amboise), Hubert Montigny-Piel (Orléans) and Olivier Collin (Champagne).

Hubert Montigny-Piel with his colleague Eleonore presenting his popular Orléans rouge (pinot meunier, Wijnalmanak 3 stars), his blanc (unoaked, pure chardonnay) and his Orléans Cléry cabernet franc.

Some serious tasting is going on here; thanks to Saskia Bongaerts (left) from Saskia's Huiskamerrestaurant catering was perfect

Coralie Delecheneau is pouring her lovely Montlouis Pétillant Naturel 'Nouveau Nez' (organic)

We ended the day with about 25 people in Saskia's Huiskamerrestaurant where we had a great French dinner. I mean: where in Holland do you start with a Salade de Gésiers...?

This is me saying something to Helen at the d…

Beware of pine nuts!

Dwayne Perreault - As David mentioned in his next to last posting, the weekend of October 10th brought beautiful weather to Holland, and we also decided to go “sailing” on my own small boat (a sloep, as the Dutch call it) through the canals of Amsterdam.

It was a beautiful day on board with some delicious snacks and a couple of delicious wines, a white Bordeaux called Grand Bateau and my favourite rosé from Domaine de la Fourmi.

It was later the next evening when I first noticed something was not right. My girlfriend had bought a bottle of Vermentino from Tuscany which she wanted me to try and it tasted horrible. The more I tried to drink it, the more I was assaulted with an extremely bitter, metallic aftertaste.

Figuring it was the wine, I opened a different bottle, a white wine I sell and know well. The effect was the same: it was like I was drinking heavy metals.

The next day was even worse: coffee, juice, water, food and even cigarettes: everything I put in my mouth had a foul taste t…

Burgundy trip in pictures

Last thursday Jan van Roekel and I entered an empty freeway at 04h00 at night. The navigation said we would arrive in Meursault at 12h30. So we would have some time to have lunch and relax a bit before our first visit to Arnaud Ente.

All went fine. And around two we sat at Ente's kitchen table to taste all his 2008s. What an impressive range. After the tasting we toured the vineyards.

Arnaud Ente in his 1er cru vineyard La Goutte d'Or, the village of Meursault is on the background

Finally there is a name batch on Ente's door

Next visit that day: our fellow Dutchman and Ente's almost neighbour Richard Bos from Domaine JanotsBos. With his business partner Thierry Janots Richard vinifies grapes that are bought from several local growers. I was especially enthusiastic about the Santenay 1er cru and both Chassagnes (villages and 1er cru, all wines from 2008).

Tasting the JanotsBos 2008s with Richard Bos

In the evening we ate at Le comptoir des Tontons ,and had a very good pick wi…

Silver Award for Bolomey Wijnimport (and some other facts)

The weekend of 10-10-10 brought extremely good weather in the Netherlands, and the coincidence was that we had planned to spend the weekend with friends on the lakes called De Kaag, between Amsterdam and The Hague. We haven't seen a single cloud this weekend. So we sailed, and drank wine the night long.

Orléans rouge 2009 (new label this vintage) with De Kaag on the background, early in the morning of 10-10-10

But what to drink two long nights (besides beer)? My hobbyhorse that I ride at many tastings is that light red wines are underrated, yet can be the best company throughout a long evening. A heavy wine might impress, but can be tiresome after one glass.

Many wines are simply too heavy, too sweet, or are wearing too much make-up to be pleasant for a full evening. So I brought one of my favourite reds, the Orléans rouge made from the Champagne grapes pinot meunier (80%) and pinot noir. I was curious to see how the wine would be picked up.

First a functional sidestep. October starte…

Château Giscours 2007

Where do classic vintages go? That was what I was wondering one day. You see grand vintages being auctioned all the time. Virginal OWC's from 1961, 1982 and 1990, but where did the Bordeaux's from 1968, 1972 and 1991 go? Sometimes I run into a forgotten bottle tucked away deep in an old cellar; however one doesn't see these wines very often in auction catalogues.


I recently read a story - unfortunately I do not remember where - that gave the answer to this question. The less grand vintages, or euphemistically the 'classic' ones, mostly remain in France. By and large the export markets are just interested in the best vintages, and the remaining vintages are drunk, often relatively young, in France. I.e. not only these bottles aren't exported, they're actually drunk! Many of these wines are enjoyed in French restaurants.

The sad thing about Bordeaux, and especially monumental Bordeaux, is that people forget to drink them. The wooden cases are cherished in impre…

Three Canadian wines

You don't see many Canadian wines in the Netherlands. Everyone knows by now that Canada makes wines, and a few years ago Jancis Robinson publicly praised the Canadian wine industry. (She recently did the same for Dutch wines, and that has left a few people here scratching their heads.)


There is a specialized importer here, Canada Food, and I know a couple places in Amsterdam that sell a few bottles, but I think Europeans still look to Canada chiefly for icewine.

I was back in Canada this summer and was able to taste the wines in bars and restaurants, and of course from bottles purchased in the government stores. Canadian wines feature prominently in bar and restaurant wine menus, and my experiences ranged from meager to good. At the Hilton Garden Inn restaurant in Halifax, for example, the wine menu featured Lindeman's Bin 65 Chardonnay and Sartori's Soave Biologico for $38 Cdn, ex taxes. The wines are available here in the supermarket or shop for six euros, including tax. O…

Bordeaux 2010 - about 1.5 week to go...

Bordeaux 2010. Finally there was rain this week. I understand that rain was the only thing people were waiting for in Bordeaux. For the rest the growing season was very good again. With plenty of sun, warmth and dryness. But for photosynthesis to take place, with CO2, water is required, and that was finally provided last Monday, Tuesday and - especially - Wednesday.

There is still about one and a half weeks to go before the harvest of the reds starts, so nothing is sure at this moment. Hence it makes sense that producers aren't too explicit already about the expected quality of the fruit.

And here's a difference with 2009: the tone of voice. In the previous year the excitement started very early, and kept on going for a long time, all the way in to the lengthy campaign with it's unparalleled prices. This year the facts seem exciting, but we do not see the excitement.

Consultant Eric Boissenot tells Decanter "At this stage, when tasting the berries, they seem easily of th…

Beating Canada's Wine Communists

Dwayne PERREAULT - To this day, most Canadian wine consumers go to the same place Soviet citizens went to get their wine: the government shop, monopoly and cash cow created for and by the state.

Growing up in Canada in the seventies and eighties, I remember the wine section was almost an afterthought in the Provincial Liquor Board shop in my town, one or two aisles filled with mostly Liebfraumilch, Mateus and Baby Duck, a Canadian sparkling sweet wine made from vitis labrusca varieties. It was extremely popular, so much so that Andrés, the company that made it, actually discouraged Canadian vintners from planting vitis vinifera varieties.

The vintners eventually did plant European vines, and the quality of Canadian wine increased dramatically, thereby not only creating a viable Canadian wine industry but also sparking consumer interest in wine in general. The selection in the government shops has grown better: I can buy Grand Cru Classés and even Dom Perignon in my Saskatchewan hometown…

Outpourings: how to sell a precious wine, or not

There's one wine in my collection that I do not often talk about. I'd rather drink it, and I'm afraid it sells out too soon. The last time that I mentioned the wine was in the beginning of March, just before the Bordeaux 2009 frenzy broke loose, so it is about time that I get back to the Burgundian jewels of… David Clark.


First, a sidestep. Over the years I have noticed that writing a posting about a certain wine does not necessarily spark sales. A safe feeling of course, but do I understand it? Not really, to be honest. Or perhaps I do, a bit. What do you think about the following assumptions:

1. Many readers of this blog do not live in the Netherlands (just a fact, but wait, there's more).
2. I have never made a strong commercial "call to action", as it is called officially. Something like: "Are you interested? Then try this wine now and get three bottles for the price of two!"
3. Most readers are wine geeks (or lovers si vous voulez) who decide for t…

Intermezzo on drugs

Last week I was confronted with a less pleasant part of wine: its weight. As a matter of fact, I did something very stupid: I lifted two six-packs, all the way from the floor, while chatting and not paying attention to what I was doing, making a bad move and *tsjak* is what my back said.

It's painful but moreover, it's annoying: I am very limited in what I can do all day.

And I even can't drink. The stuff I that got prescribed is called Tramadol, quite heavy stuff that gives a slightly intoxicated feeling, invokes hot flushes and - just as with smoking pot - gives a dry mouth. Altogether not even that bad with a glass of water within reach, but a refreshing wine would of course be better.

However, alcohol overrules the effect of the tramadolhydrochloride I was told, so I shouldn't do that.

What actually bothers me is that I hurt my back with a case of my favourite wine… Well, I know this is never going to happen to me again. Carrying cases is serious business, obviously.

No…

Clos de la Roche Cuvée Vieilles Vignes 1997 Domaine Ponsot

This is an experiment. Just tweeted that Jan van Roekel and I open a Clos de la Roche Cuvée Vieilles Vignes 1997 from Domaine Ponsot, and that we will blog about this (monumental) wine simultaneously. Perhaps an annoying experiment, because it is not the most relaxed way of drinking a great wine... we'll see.

Also posted a picture of the bottle on Twitpic, which I can reproduce here:



Stupid: I can rotate this photo in Twitpic, but not save the rotation...!

Anyhow, the wine: as said, the nose is impressive. Warm and a bit matured, round and a bit oaky. I would call this seductive. This is what I love about a good Burgundy: it combines richness with elegance: the wine is not heavy (and it shouldn't be).

For now we prefer the nose over what we taste in the mouth, and I decided to slightly chill the wine. Just a tiny little bit to give this old man a bit of freshness in the mouth. Nose is complex, taste lacks a bit of life now, is a bit austere... but what can we expect?

Jan says: also…

Michael Broadbent's influence

Despite the warm weather I just uncorked a Bordeaux. Normally I would have poured a slightly chilled red Loire or so, but it is Michael Broadbent who made me long for a Bordeaux today. He wrote in Decanter's Bordeaux issue 2010, the highly interesting special Bordeaux issue that appears once every year.

Let me quote the nestor of wine writing: "It [Bordeaux] is never overpowering; it refreshes the palate […]", and: "Claret gives pleasure; it is contemplative, companionable, subtle, mellow, hospitable. It is for drinking and thinking."

Broadbent is not talking about modern style Bordeaux ("modern, opaque, sweet, fruity, full-frontal reds with a headache-making alcohol content" - Broadbent in the same article), but about the classics. Decanter asked him to list 10 favourite wines and these are the ones he picked, both top end wines and petits châteaux: Mouton-Rothschild (1945), Margaux (1953), Cheval Blanc (1947), Figeac (1949), La Conseillante (1966), Gr…

Bordeaux 2009 recommendations & top sellers

The long Bordeaux 2009 campaign train has passed. The dust has settled, and what remains is the summer calm.

Well, fortunately this is not entirely true: sales continue. Now that we have the complete picture for the 2009s we see people adding some extra wines, while others are only just now starting to make their pick. I can only say, if you want to buy 2009, do not wait too long as wines get sold out now. For example, yesterday the last Château Latour was sold, today the last Château Clinet.

In this posting I present 3 short-lists: the Bordeaux 2009 top sellers (from the Bolomey Wijnimport offers), and my personal Bordeaux 2009 recommendations, split in one list with affordable wines, and one list with - more expensive - grand classics.

Bordeaux 2009 sales top 15
1. Château Ormes de Pez 2009 (Saint-Estèphe)
2. Château Cantemerle 2009 (Haut-Médoc)
3. Clos du Jaugueyron 2009 (Haut-Médoc)
4. Château Poujeaux 2009 (Moulis-en-Médoc)
5. Château Cantenac-Brown 2009 (Margaux)
6. Château Chasse-Spleen…

Bordeaux 2009 - campaign ended with an explosion

Bordeaux 2009, the primeur campaign "Mit dem Paukenschlag". Or better: with annoying fireworks at the finale. I almost regret that I made a modest effort to write something less negative about the high prices (previous posting). Because this last week things simply exploded. There is this Disney image where eyes become dollar signs, and last week some châteaux owners must have looked like that.

The week before last week, just before I wrote my 'friendly' posting, we had seen more or less reasonable releases on Friday (18 June). Most of these wines also sell quite well.

- LEOVILLE-BARTON: +132% on 08, +26% on 05 and +113% on 00
- LANGOA-BARTON: +100% on 08
- DE CHEVALIER ROUGE: +94% on 08, +45% on 05 and +72% on 00
- DE CHEVALIER BLANC: +33% on 08, +25% on 07 and +28% on 05
- DE FIEUZAL ROUGE: +56% on 08, +33% on 05 and +6% on 00
- HAUT-BAILLY: +94% on 08, +71% on 05 and +171% on 00
- SMITH HAUT LAFITTE ROUGE: +121% on 08, +57% on 05 and +102% on 00
- SMITH HAUT LAFITTE BLANC:…

Bordeaux 2009 - slowly approaching the finish, finally

It's stupid: one gets accustomed to practically anything. Even Bordeaux prices that explode in a good vintage. We hear and read complaints everywhere, but the complaining is not surprising so we get used to it, and such is the fact with the prices themselves.

The next thing I am going to say is undoubtedly quite politically incorrect: the Bordeaux price level is actually becoming quite Burgundian. Take, for example, the brilliant Haut-Bailly 2009. This is one of the very best Bordeaux's to be found these days. It costs you about € 105 which is what you pay for a good Grand Cru in Burgundy, not even a brilliant one.

One reaction to this could be: in Burgundy prices are more constant. But that is also largely the result of the difference in commercial systems: the open Place de Bordeaux enables the Bordeaux market to function as a financial market. Wines become stocks, and even more so when drinkers become investors.

Needless to say, as a wine lover and merchant I am unhappy with t…

Bordeaux 2009, WINElife, and the lovely biodynamic low-alcohol Ze Bulle Zéro Pointé

The Bordeaux 2009 campaign is a long one. But these are fun weeks, with lots of talking about prices of course. Compared to 2008 this year is expensive, but compared to 2005 and also 2000 the difference isn't always so big. Actually, some châteaux present a relatively attractive price, and at the same time some are too expensive. Compare for example the average consumer prices of the the following two second wines of second cru's:

Sarget de Gruaud Larose 2009 @ ± € 17
+14% on 2008
+7% on 2005
+2% on 2000

Les Pagodes de Cos 2009 @ ± € 51 (3x Sarget)
+82% on 2008
+71% on 2005
+151% on 2000

Pagodes is perhaps meant to be a more serious wine for the long term, but at the same time we can say it comes from the less refined Saint-Estèphe terroir... whereas the Sarget is a true Saint-Julien. Also, Gruaud Larose is in very good shape this year. I think it is quite clear which of the two is the better buy...

Before the wines were released I had listed the Pagodes as a possible buying tip, but wi…

Vos & Partners tasting

Dwayne Perreault - Not wanting to post about an event far too late, I will now report on the Vos & Partners tasting that was held at the beautiful Duin & Kruidberg estate on March 29th. Representatives from 33 reputable producers were assembled to present and discuss their wines. These are some of my more memorable impressions:

Les Domaines Barons de Rothschild (Lafite) – Eric Getten, Commercial Director

Unfortunately, Château Lafite Rothschild was not presented but we were treated to Duhart Milon Rothschild 2006. David posted recently that a combined western and particulary Asian demand with anything Lafite has driven the price of Duhart Milon 2009 up by 72.7% For what it’s worth, I found the 2006 pretty average.

Jean-Claude Boisset - Gregory Patriat, Winemaker

Gregory Patriat is the wunderkind of Burgundy who was making Romanée-Conti when he was 18 years old. And he has some pretty unorthodox ideas about the closures for his bottles. He’s mad about screwcaps. He points out t…

Vincent Mulliez of Belle-Vue dies

This evening I read the very sad news that the energetic owner of Belle-Vue, De Gironville and Bolaire died at the age of 44. Unbelievable. Mulliez has done an incredible job improving the quality of these wines over the last - more or less - six years.

I have been working with Château Belle-Vue since I started my import in 2008, and later also with Château Bolaire. In July 2009 I have visited Mulliez, about which I wrote on this blog. Jane Anson reports about Mulliez' death on Decanter.com.

Bordeaux 2009 - the calm before the storm

An event like Vinexpo Hong Kong (25-27 May)... they should do that every year during the futures campaign: what a bliss, this whole week without 2009 releases... finally time for other things!

I have the feeling that - later - we will be talking about pre-Vinexpo releases (part 1 of the campaign), and post-Vinexpo releases (part 2). Like last year we talked about the 2008s released before, and the ones released after Parker's verdict.

What I (and many others) fear is that the prices will get out of hand. If the expensive wines increase with the same percentage as the more affordable ones [have done until now - i.e. at an average increase of 27% compared to 2008] I think we should be quite happy. But the more likely scenario is: the more expensive the wine, the bigger the relative price raise. As we saw happen in 2005:

- Ausone 2005 * 400% above 2004
- Margaux 2005 * 330% above 2004
- Latour 2005 * 285% above 2004
- Larcis-Ducasse 2005 * 295% above 2004
- Troplong-Mondot 2005 * 290% above…

Bordeaux 2009 campaign in full swing

The afternoon of 20 May brings the first quiet hours after an avalanche of Bordeaux 2009 releases this week. Before the weekend it was dripping releases - some a bit interesting, some not at all - since last weekend it rained releases. To be more precise: the campaign seriously took off on Tuesday, and the most active day was yesterday (19 May).

And wow, price has really gone up. It's what we expected, but not hoped. In the end, more and more classics will get out of reach for most wine lovers. Furthermore, previous steep price raises did not quite precede good times. Pride goes before a fall... we have seen this happen in 1973 and in 1997.

But let's assume history will not repeat itself. For sure the owner of Raymond Lafon (Sauternes) is not going to be responsible for any trouble. Yesterday the Mesliers were the first and only to release their 2009 at a lower price than the year before (-12,3%). And that with very good notes, especially Jancis Robinson was ecstatic about the w…