Christmas Trees are decorated, crystal glasses are polished and Champagnes are chilled. Christmas is always a special time for family and friends to gather and celebrate. This year, The Fine Wine Experience prepare a 5-week Celebration Series featuring different themes during the festive season. So stay tuned with us every Monday for the latest Christmas offer!
An exciting haul of fine wine has just landed. Everything in the attached list is new stock — just the sort of list that rewards those who look early before things get snapped up.
So, what’s new? Here are some highlights…
As usual for us the list is very strong in Burgundy. 1990 La Romanee Conti if you’d like the very best. There are juicy selections from Hudelot-Noellat and Leflaive, as well as highly sought after rarities like ’70 Laguiche Montrachet, and ’92/’93 magnums of Roulot Mon Plaisir, and bottles of ’92/’95 Roulot Charmes. There’s also Montrachet and La Romanee from Bouchard (including some rare magnums), super rare 1990 Bachelet, 1988 Coche-Dury.
From Bordeaux, some 100-point 2003 Ch. Latour *ex-chateau*. I last tasted this in April and it is drinking well. Also, fully mature Bordeaux, we have something for all tastes and budgets. Try for example, some 1983 Ch. Lafite, 1982 Ch Leoville-Las-Cases, 1979 Ch. Petrus, or 1990 Tertre Roteboeuf.
For those who like vintage port of the very finest quality, properly mature of course, we have a full dozen bottles of 1945 Ferreira Vintage Port.
It’s a really great update to our list, both for drinking now, and for the cellar. Astute buyers will be quick to browse the attached list of new arrivals.
Last Chance - our final stock of impeccable provenance classic Domaine Huet has just arrived.
Last year we hosted a very successful Shangainese dinner with mature vintages from Domaine Huet – classic chenin blanc from the Loire Valley. These are amongst the greatest vinous treasures of France, so the opportunity to acquire pristine bottles with impeccable provenance (“ex-chateau”) is quite extraordinary. Final stocks were released in 2014 and we have just acquired our last parcel – just landed in Hong Kong.
These are rare, very long lived, lively, deliciously unctuous wines with tangy grapefruity flavour, good concentration and great acidity. They go well with Cantonese and even Shanghainese food. My suggestion – buy some, serve them blind to your wine friends.
The estate is the most famous in Vouvray, established by Victor Huet in 1928. Pre-War quality was high, but it was Victor’s son Gaston who brought the estate to the height of its fame in the ‘40s, ‘50s and ‘60s. His son-in-law Noel Pinguet joined in 1971, took the lead in 1976. Gaston Huet passed away in 2002 and Noel Pingeut resigned in 2012, bringing this long illustrious chapter in the domaine’s history to an end.
How to choose?
Firstly, don’t think of the sweeter wines as problematic with savoury food. The wines have lovely acid balance, and make them surprisingly good partners to a lot of seafood dishes. The richer wines (‘moelleux’ and ‘moelleux 1er trie’) will also work well with spicy dishes, or richly sauced dishes, or cheeses.
‘Sec’ means dry, and indeed, these are the driest wines, but they were made in vintages that suited this style and shouldn’t be thought of as inferior. The ‘demi-sec’ are off-dry with a little residual sugar rounding out the crisp refreshing finish.
The most idiosyncratic choice would be the handful of ancient vintages we have of ‘perlant’. This is the older term for ‘petillant’ - or fizzy. Yes, Domaine Huet long made some bottles in the Champagne style. Are you a lover of old Champagne? You will find these very interesting, and very reasonably priced.
Le Haut Lieu is the original single vineyard of the estate. It has deep limestone-clay producing a powerful style. Le Mont is poorer soil, less clay, more stones, producing wines of elegance and finesse. Clos du Bourg is the third vineyard, and expresses something in between the other two. But in my view the differences are subtle – vintage and richness level will have more impact on the wine than which of these three vineyards produced the wine.
My colleague Kat and I are a couple of days in to a week long visit to the Mosel (don’t you wish you had our jobs?!), and already we have tasted two trockenbeerenauslese (“TBA”) rieslings. It’s easy to think of this as just some top-of-the-pyramid sweet wine category, but at least as far as the Mosel is concerned, it really isn’t. It’s ultra ultra rare, and for reasons.
TBA is made all over Germany from the most desiccated super concentrated ‘raisined’ grapes, hand picked individual berries, not bunches, that either concentrated in the wind and sun, or more commonly through a beneficial mould called botrytis cinerea.
This week has been a pretty indulgent one for wine. At the Chateau Lafleur dinner on Wednesday the 1955 stood out and was the second favourite wine of the night amongst the dinner participants. While Mouton and La Mission Haut-Brion are renowned stars in ’55, this is largely a forgotten vintage, and seldom features in the “pantheon of great vintages” like ’45, ’59 and ’61…
But I had a quiet smile to myself when this ’55 Lafleur showed so well. In over 12 years of organising ‘deep verticals’, for Bordeaux, 1955 has proven itself particularly reliable, and quite archetypically classic in expression. The perfect representation of the chateau, in a mature but still lively expression. It has become, in a way, a vintage I am disappointed to leave out of any Bordeaux vertical, if I can help it.
Reliable. Not as sexy an idea as a super star vintage. But sometimes the attributes that make the super star vintages stand out include some form of excess. The ‘45s and ‘61s were crops reduced by nature, followed by hot summers. They are rich and intense. They are impressive. 1955 in comparison has no special feature. It is more of an actuarial success.
2013 Weingut Keller Kabinett “H” Auction
It is very unusual to see a mere ‘kabinett’ at the acution, but this is something very special. This special riesling was actually set aside by the Keller family to celebrate the birth of HRH Prince George in 2013. Mike and I tasted this at the auction, and thought it one of the best kabinett wines we have ever tasted.
Still so fresh and vibrant, like it was in November 2014. A fresh nose of grapefruit; fresh, lovely and long on the palate. Quite tangy, with orange citrus flavours and a touch of pithy bitter-sweetness. Great poise, balance and length. Really, as kabinett, this is perfection.
HK$980 per bottle – only 16 available
2013 Dr. Thanisch Berncasteler Doctor Spaetlese Auction
Full gold. Quite an expressive nose already, and this is appealing. Apple notes, slate/mineral notes, complex. This is quite forward on the palate for so young a wine, both the nose and the palate show apples and cream, with a hint of pie crust. It’s a very appetising expression. Broad and palate-filling. An earthy minerality on the finish. Long. This is very appealing, and quite complex. Will age, but already delicious now.
HK$450 per bottle – 83 available
HK$1,100 per magnum – only 4 available
2013 Karthausferhof Eitelsbacher Karthauserhofberg Spaetlese Auction
Fresh, lightness and florals on the nose – very pretty; this has a gorgeous freshness, airiness and lift. So elegant. Floral – sweet blossoms – on the nose. Sleek, expressive, zesty, with a nice, tight zesty finish. Great structure, and ‘bite’ for ageing, but this is lovely to experience now too.
HK$450 per bottle – 58 available
HK$1,100 per magnum – only 4 available
2012 Zilliken Saarburger Rausch Spaetlese Auction
Already delicious two years ago, this goes from strength to strength. The 2012 vintage style is a little ‘cuddlier’ than the taut, mineral 2013s, but that suits this Saar wine especially well. Slatey and pure on the nose, deep minerality and lovely fruit. The nose is now open and expressive – orangey citrus and a touch of stone fruit; on the palate there is a broad attack, some depth and intensity, peaches and cream noted on the palate, but then it tightens up nicely on the fresh, creamy-textured finish. Drinking well. You could enjoy this now, but not rush to drink.
HK$580 per bottle – 171 available
HK$1,300 per magnum – only 2 available
2013 Willi Schaefer Graacher Domprobst Spaetlese Auction
A connoisseur’s choice within this selection. There is an electric energy to this, it tastes more like a 2010. Intense, with high (ripe) acidity, and lots of energy. Gorgeous nose, and concentrated, focused palate. There’s a lot going on here, but it is clear this is an example for cellaring. You will be greatly rewarded if you do. One of the very best wines of the vintage for spaetlese.
HK$600 per bottle – 114 available
2012 Fritz Haag Brauneberger-Juffer-Sonnenuhr Spaetlese Auction
A little fermentation aroma/SO2 to blow off still. If you drink this now (and why not?) I’d recommend decanting two or three hours in advance to allow this to blow off a bit. It’s worth doing because the wine is already delicious to drink now. The style is gentle elegant, honeysuckle and toffee apple – very true to the house and the vineyard. This is sot, creamy, melting, yet fresh and delicious.
HK$680 per bottle – 120 available
HK$1,580 per magnum – only 3 available
2013 Weingut Joh. Jos. Pruem Spaetlese Auction
2013 was an ‘all auslese’ vintage for Pruem. The only spaetlese made in 2013 was this one, and it went to auction. It epitomises spaetlese’s elegant and freshness, and that particular Mosel spaetlese ‘airiness’. Super elegant, racy in structure, sleek, mineral-laden. It’s so elegant, yet it is complex and lingering. Amazingly slatey. There is a real feeling of ripe but plentiful phenolics. Lots of texture, though it is velvet. For mineral depth it is auslese level, but in style it is a true spaetlese. This is one of the finest spaetlese I have tasted from Pruem. A real delight.
HK$980 per bottle – 237 available
HK$2,400 per magnum – 24 available
2012 Egon Mueller Scharzhofberger Spaetlese Auction
What a nose! Grapefruit, spice, peach, it is so complex! Wow! The palate doesn’t disappoint either – slate, peach, even a touch of passionfruit. This has the most compelling nose – so fresh and fruity, yet complex, and ‘light’. Touch of nettle and herb on the palate too – very Scharzhofberg. Textbook Mueller. You should try this!
HK$1,500 per bottle – 82 available
2012 Dr. Loosen Erdener Praelat Auslese Long Goldcapsule Auction
Erni’s famous “mini TBA” auction wine, made from this very special, small vineyard site. It is always unctuous, exotic and rich. Honeyed / jellied and very intese, yet bouyant and creamy. Melon, orange and spice. Delicious, decadent, yet well composed.
HK$3,600 per bottle – 6 available
HK$1,800 per half-btl – 36 available
2013 Weingut Donnhoff Oberhauser Bruecke Eiswein Auction
Donnhoff is an eiswein master and you’d do well to find any of his eiswein, but when it really works, he sometimes makes a tiny portion of very special eiswein for the auction. Cream blossom and peach on the nose – that purity and lift that comes from this style (intense concentration but no botrytis). Creamy, fine, elegant, still very much about riesling’s elegance, despite the sheer intensity of expression here. This is really quite faultless – which cannot always be said for esiwein. This is very very special. (If we didn’t sell all of it on the day of the tasting, be very quick for any that is left).
HK$5,200 per bottle – SOLD OUT
HK$2,800 per half-btl – SOLD OUT
2011 Peter Lauer Piesporter Goldtrpchen Trockenbeerenauslese Auction
Mike and I were just so amazed by this at the auction, and the chaps at Mosel Wine Report gave it 100 points. I’m not surprised. This is spectacular TBA, and about 1/10th the price of Egon Mueller’s! It is a bright orange-gold and pours thick in the glass. Unctuous, and so rich and intense – a real ‘essence’ of a wine, laden with botrytis, perfectly poised and balanced between its fruit, intensity and acidity, it is lively, but with no unwanted ‘edges’. Incredibly intense, yet still very much a riesling. Has to be experienced to be believed. Like a Tokaji Eszencia.
HK$3,200 per half-btl – only 12 available
Domaine Leflaive was built up over the past century, and the reputation today for wines made back in the ‘80s is very high. I have tasted ‘85s and ‘86s here that have thrilled. But every so often there is a generation of extraordinary talent at the helm, and at this domaine that has been Anne-Claude Leflaive (1956-2015). The strength of the change she brought here was in viticulture. She trialed biodynamic viticulture from the early ‘90s and went entirely biodynamic in 1997. It was an approach others, such as Lafon, Lafarge and Dujac were to also emulate with success. Whatever one thinks of any individual tenet of biodynamism what seems obvious is that those estates that have focused relentlessly – obsessively perhaps? – on the health of the vineyard soils and ecosystem are almost invariably amongst those whose quality has risen. By the mid-90s Domaine Leflaive achieved its well-deserved super star status.
World stocks of super star whites – obviously – deplete much faster than world stocks of super star reds. Blink too long and many wines on the list below will simply pass into wine mythology and attract prices to match.
I’ve had (more than) my fair share of Leflaive wines over the past twenty years or so. I think of them as distinctly luxurious in style. By that I don’t mean ‘bling bling’ heavily ‘made up’, but rather as a style that exudes sheer quality at every level, stylish rather than fashionable perhaps? There always seems to be just the right balance between charm and reserve. The wines please, yet they can clearly age, and hold, in the cellar, including the entry level wines.
New Release: 2005 Dom Perignon
This is an ample yet subtle Dom Perignon, with classic bready/yeasty notes, and soda/chalk minerality both on the nose and the palate. There’s a wonderfully refreshing citrus flavour, and a pithy bittersweet edge. It shares some of the fruit intensity of ’04 and ’03 (with less intensity and more refined elegance than those two), but with more minerality – like the lovely 1975. It’s quite forward and accessible now (not always the case with DP), yet there is good underlying ageing potential. I don’t think this is a 50/60 year Dom like the 2002, but good for 20 to 30 years evolution, and with the advantage that it is lovely to drink already.
- 94/100, Linden Wilkie
'The 2005 Dom Pérignon opens with the classic Dom Pérignon bouquet. Warm toasty notes meld into expressive fruit in a supple, silky Champagne endowed with stunning depth, nuance and complexity. Sweet floral notes add lift as the wine opens up in the glass. Overall, the 2005 is a relatively delicate, gracious DP, but what it lacks in depth it more than makes up with persistence and its open, totally inviting personality. Today it's hard to see the 2005 making old bones, but it is a gorgeous wine to drink while the 2004 ages. In 2005, the release is scheduled to last about six months, which means production is down around 50% over normal levels. All I can say is the 2005 is fabulous, especially in a vintage that required considerable sorting to eliminate rampant rot in the Pinots.'
- 95/100, Antonio Galloni
*l’Oenotheque is gone. Dom Perignon is now released in three ‘plentidues’. P1 is the current release. P2 is a recently disgorged release of a vintage at about 17 years of age, showing some bottle age complexity (currently the 1998), and P3 is a recently disgorged vintage showing full aged complexity – currently vintages from 1990 and older. (The 1971 is as good as it gets in my view).
2005 Dom Perignon
HKD 980 per bottle (Special Offer HKD 950 for order of 24+ btls)