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Showing posts from April, 2011

In defence of the Languedoc: musings from Roquebrun

Dwayne Perreault - I’m house sitting in the Languedoc, and I can’t help but feel a bit jealous. Wouldn’t it be nice to have this for myself – a four bedroom villa with a heated swimming pool and a garden with olive and orange trees? From the balcony, the view looks out onto a field with 20 year old Syrah vines, single Guyot-trained, stretching in perfect rows to the village of Roquebrun with its thousand year old tower perched on the mountain. In the pale moonlight, the vines look like dark tombstones and it is as if I am looking at some monumental battlefield where soldiers are buried. Instead, these are the vines which produced the very wine I am drinking, the Saint-Chinian, Prieuré Saint-André “Cuvée Andréus” from Michel Claparède. A Syrah/Carignan blend, and I am crazy about old Carignan, since Carignan is crazy. I know of no other grape which has such outspoken wild berry flavours which stab you in the nose and palate. It needs to be tempered with the more serious Syrah, but toge…

Bordeaux 2010, my first impressions

Bordeaux 2010. People keep on asking me “And, is it better than 2009?” It is a notion that has clearly become planted in many heads: Bordeaux 2010 is a monumental vintage. Well done, Bordeaux marketeers, you did it again. But perhaps it’s true. Jan van Roekel and I tasted hundreds of wines, and, if I may speak for myself, I was impressed more than once.

Aurélien Valance, Château Margaux's Commercial Director: "For us the best Pavillon Rouge ever." The words sounded somewhat familiar to me...

About the “better” I wouldn’t know. Bordeaux 2010 is different from 2009. It's a vigorous and well-structured vintage. And yes, my feeling is that I found more balanced wines this year than the year before. I also encountered things that were not so nice, like crazy alcohol levels, and mouth torturing tannins. But there are definitely many exciting wines this year.

I hardly saw last year’s difficulties with respect to ripeness (too ripe, or on the other hand not enough, for details …

Winefields’ Five Year Anniversary Auction

Dwayne Perreault — Winefields Auctioneers’ first auction of 2011 was held on Sunday April 3rd in the Oranjekerk in Amsterdam. Started exactly five years ago by Milan Veld and Martin Derksen, Winefields has grown into Amsterdam’s second largest wine auction house, regularly holding auctions specifically for wine in both Amsterdam and Singapore.

This was the most successful auction to date, with over 90% of all 522 lots being sold. There were of course wines in almost every style and price class available, but here are the top 10 lots purchased, rated by price per bottle (all lots are for 12 bottles, unless otherwise noted):

1. Château Lafite Rothschild 1986, €18,000
2. Château Lafite Rothschild 1988 (3 bottles), €3,840
3. Château Lafite Rothschild 2008, €13,440
4. Château Clinet 1989, €4,800
5. Château Mouton Rothschild 1995, €3,840
6. Château Latour 1989, €3,840
7. Château Mouton Rothschild 2002, €3,600
8. Château Mouton Rothschild 2001 (6 bottles), €1,740
9. Château Mouton Rothschild 1990 (6 b…

Bordeaux 2010 tastings: follow us real-time

Jan van Roekel and I just arrived at Château Giscours, where we stay in “Ferme Suzanne”, a beautiful guest house from 1877 overlooking the newly trellised vines of this Dutch-owned Margaux cru classé. A fun fact from Benjamin Lewin MW’s great book “What Price Bordeaux?”: at the time the 1855 classification was drawn up Giscours was the most expensive 3rd growth, so it had almost become a 2nd growth... Well, that makes it probably more affordable now.

I’m publishing this short posting while drinking a Château Duthil 2004, very pleasant supple Haut-Médoc (from the Giscours stable) that sets the right mood for this evening. And tomorrow it all starts: tastings, tastings, and more tastings. To give you an idea: we start at nine at Mouton, and then follow Pontet-Canet, Lynch-Bages, Lafite, Latour, and (after a lunch at Rauzan-Ségla), Margaux and Palmer. Plus we’ll taste Sauternes at Château Desmirail. And that’s only day 1, out of five.

After this week I will summarize everything on this blo…