deVine Thoughts

July 7, 2011

Bordeaux 2010 Futures Offering

Filed under: deVine's Daily Blog Article — Dirk @ 10:14 am

grand_puy_lacosteAuthor: Dirk Chan

The 2010 Bordeaux vintage follows the great 2000, 2005 and 2009 as the vintages of the century. Great weather and even better winemaking know-how has made one of the greatest vintage ever for Bordeaux in 2010, whispered in the same breath as the 1961, 1982, 1990 and those four in the new millennium. Patience will be a virtue for the 2010’s – they are true vin-de-garde wines for cellaring wines showing great balance, freshness, finesse, power and extremely long-aging potential (some are 30-40 year wines). You will be drinking your charismatic and explosive 2009’s long before 2010’s hit prime time. However, the pricing has continued a disturbing trend upward, and even though we in the retail business keep saying it is not sustainable, the Bordelais seem to get away with price increases that no other wine region in the world can.

The Cabernet Sauvignon of the Left Bank will be shown to be the star in 2010 and in particular the Pauillac appellation is what the buyers want – thus the highest increases are seen here. I was fortunate to be at VinExpo in Bordeaux to taste samples from Pichon Baron, Lynch Bages, Grand Puy Lacoste, Haut Batailley, Haut-Bages-Liberal and they were all stunning, ranking with the very best they’ve ever done (unfortunately, none of the First Growths nor Pontet-Canet were at VinExpo). I enjoyed also the St. Juliens for their typicity, the Margaux for their delicacy and I must note that there were some great wines from the Right Bank of Pomerol that were mind-blowing. Note that the 2010 White Bordeaux were captivating and merit serious attention, right up there with the great 2001’s.

It was certainly interesting to go into a room and have all these great chateaux there pouring for you. Your palate is assaulted in a two hour period, but I found that although the tannins were all there for long-aging potential, they were fresh and inviting, ripe and smooth, all good signs. Our 2010 Futures Offering reflects the great quality and consistency of this vintage – we picked wines with good quality for the price and scored highly with critics – many of the wines offered have been purchased for a number of years for the consistency and relative value.

I certainly strongly recommend finding a Bordeaux in your price range and purchasing some 2010, it is without doubt a legendary vintage – people will be comparing 2009 and 2010 like they have (and still are) comparing 1989 and 1990. If 2010 was a significant year for you (marriage, children birth years), then you’ve hit on a goldmine vintage. As usual, we require 75% up front, and the remaining 25% to be paid when the wines arrive in late 2013. First come first served for the Futures and quantities are very limited.

Here is our 2010 Bordeaux Offering..


July 4, 2011

The Champagne House Taittinger

Filed under: deVine's Daily Blog Article — Dirk @ 11:11 am

comte_storageAuthor: Dirk Chan

The folks at Taittinger are engaging and fully prepared and experienced in giving tours. A tiny group of us got the special tour in the afternoon at 2:20pm, and they started right on time. A brief movie was played before the guide took us through the Champagne making process in the cellars.

The flagship Comte de Champagne is made from 100% Chardonnay from Grand Cru vineyards and usually aged in the cellar for ten years or more prior to release (pictured is one vintage of Comte – we were told out of 170,000 stacked here for aging, about 70 of them will break before release for unknown reasons – too much pressure, a week point in the bottle etc). Note the shape of Comte is the classically shaped bottle reminiscent of when Champagne was bottled back in the 14th Century during the time of Louis XIV.

As I said, these folks are prepared for hosting, there are many extremely ornate tasting rooms (see the one below pictured in its leather and black motif). The cellars are labeled in secret codes, so the guides don’t even know the vintage of which Comte is being stored (a security feature). The caves are naturally cool and stays around the defacto standard of 13C or 55F year-round.

We tasted the NV Brut Reserve and the slightly more expensive NV Prelude which sees more bottle age. Finally, they gave us each a bottle of the 2004 Vintage Brut (only made in superb years) to take home with us – nice!

This is the final edition of Dirk’s French Travel blog, hoped you enjoyed it. Lookout next for Ed and Annabelle’s three month travel blogs to start shortly as they venture throughout Europe – Germany, Portugal, Burgundy and the Piedmonte.

In the meantime, deVine’s 2010 Bordeaux Futures offering is now out, as well, look out for a blog with my personal remarks and assessment of the wines of this superb vintage upcoming shortly..


July 3, 2011

Lynch-Bages Visit

Filed under: deVine's Daily Blog Article — Dirk @ 12:56 am

lynch_bages_museumAuthor: Dirk Chan

With eager anticipation, we arrived at Chateau Lynch-Bages, one of the Bordeaux’s most recognizable names. This well respected 5th Growth in great years has done it again in 2010 – this is a superb wine (one of the wines of the vintage), and one to cellar for 20-25 years. Pitch black and oozing violets, yet there is a density of fruit that comes in waves. Another home-run from this estate (just wish it wasn’t so expensive, but then all the stunning Pauillac’s have risen 20-40% from 2009, outrageous but people are still buying) that ranks with their great 1982, 1989, 1990, 1996, 2000, 2009.

The Cazes have done extremely well in the Bages, with young Jean Charles taking the reigns from his retired father Jean-Michel and implementing new ideas. We visited the shops where the Cazes have built a series of quaint stores and cafe’s . At the winery, there is a museum (pictured above) that you can visit, where you can see the old archaic equipment that was last used in 1975 (pictured). The elder Cazes’ love for Oriental art is strewn all over the property (see picture on the next page).

The garden-feel tasting room is spacious with windows – we enjoyed the Echo of Lynch Bages 2010, and were even more impressed with the finest Lynch Bages Blanc I have ever tasted – judicious use of oak, citrus fruit, pineapple, grapefruit and star fruit – have to look into this one. I’ve been impressed with the white Bordeaux I’ve tasted on this trip.


July 2, 2011

Pichon Baron Tasting

Filed under: deVine's Daily Blog Article — Dirk @ 8:03 am

pichon_baron_chateauAuthor: Dirk Chan

An impromptu visit at the exquisitely managed estate of Pichon-Longueville Baron or Pichon Baron for short was the highlight of the day today. This has been one of my favourite Chateaux both to drink and to see – the draw-dropping looking chateau (pictured) is so grand in scale.

The 2010 Pichon Baron is without doubt one of the wines of the vintage and probably the best 2010 I tasted over the last week at VinExpo and various chateau visits (look out for a future blog on the VinExpo tasting of many 2010’s). Unfortunately, finding some Baron is going to be a difficult task as the whole world wants it, irrespective of the high price. Huge yet graceful, lithe yet light with a finish that goes on for minutes. This will easily compete with the First Growths – inky black, it has the guts and concentration to last for 50 years. The more provocative 2009 though will give interesting comparisons just as the 1989 and 1990 did – a racy, sexy wine that will be earlier drinking, but wow, so sumptuous.

Along with the great 2000, 2003, 2005, and now 2009 and 2010, Pichon Baron has had a hair-raising new millennium and on the big ascend under the ownership of French Insurance giant AXA and the guidance of first Jean-Michel Cazes (of Lynch Bages fame) and now Christian Seely (of Quinta do Noval, Suduiraut, Petit Village fame) since 2001.

Besides the two Grand Vins, we also tasted with senior tourism guide Nicolas Santier (pictured below) the 2010 Pibran – impressive and gaining in quality with each passing vintage. The 2nd wine Tourelles was less structured than the first wine, but it will still take a decade for it to come around.


July 1, 2011

Leoville Poyferre Visit

Filed under: deVine's Daily Blog Article — Dirk @ 5:48 am

poyferre_tasting_roomAuthor: Dirk Chan

A map of how the original Leoville estate that has separated into the three Leovilles as we know it today (Barton, Las Cases and Poyferre) is most intriguing. If one could be a fly on the wall when the division of the estate occurred would have been fun. The Poyferre holdings are spread wide and far in the St. Julien appellation (they say each plot gives extra dimension to the wine) but it must a be a lot of work for the vineyard staff and for consultant oenologist Michel Rolland to manage.

Proprietor Didier Cuvelier was not present but we tasted with his cousin Anne (pictured below), a very jolly and happy lady who welcomed us and told us that Didier’s work over the last 25 years at Poyferre has really seen the rise of the estate, no longer the last of the Leovilles. What a high tech tasting room we were escorted to, very clinical in its black and white. The spit bucket opens like a clothing drawer under the tasting table (pictured above), and there is a flush button per person to dismiss the spit. There is a dedicated wall with comments from famous wine personalities around the world.

Poyferre and Las Cases share one common vinification cellar, the left part of the cellar is Las Cases’ (windows painted white), the right part is Poyferre’s (painted vanilla yellow), the underground pumping system cris cross in an ‘X’ formation to the respective fermentation rooms across the street.

As for the tasting, I was very impressed with their estate called Le Crock, a tiny little known vineyard in St. Estephe that is surrounded by Cos d’Estournel on one side and Montrose on the right (how great is that?) – very impressive 2010 that I will have to try to hunt down, never seen it before. The 2010 Poyferre was refined, suave yet structured, not the biggest wine from the vintage, but balanced and a true vin de garde that reminds of a cross between 2003 and 2005 but with even more structure.


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