2016 Bordeaux Report: why you might care, and why you might not
It is worth paying attention to 2016 for two reasons – first the quality is very high, in some cases on par with 2015, 2010, 2009 and 2005; second, because stylistically it is the most classical vintage in a decade – high freshness of fruit and acidity, and lower than normal alcohol. This style delivers something only Bordeaux really can. While 8 of my top 10 wines are perennially very expensive, 2 of them are not. I would be delighted to have any of my top ten value list wines as en primeur buys. Provided release prices are sensible, these make sense.
In Review: The Fine Wine Experience Château La Mission Haut-Brion Dinner
Tonight’s dinner was a long time in the making. We had acquired a vertical case at Sotheby’s that had been consigned by Château La Mission Haut-Brion directly from their cellars. Not only this, but as Jean Philippe Delmas noted, 4 specialists from Sotheby’s visited the estate prior to the sale and carefully inspected and approved each individual bottle prior to accepting the sealed original wooden cases. That fussiness was evident in the pristine bottles. Even all the corks were original – so none of these bottles had been ‘re-conditioned’, all the levels were base of neck or better. Added to our blessings, none of the bottles turned out to be marred by cork taint or other issues.
Château Latour – In search of lost time
Text & photos by Lucien Michel
Of all the mature Bordeaux first growths I’ve tasted, Latour is my favourite.
There is something peculiar I really enjoy and find every time I drink Latour, even in the lesser years.
Was this due to the legendary consistency of Latour I had heard about?
I was meditating about this with a glass of Château Latour 1959. Seldom had I felt this mysterious charm with other mature Bordeaux.
In Review: Domaine Denis Mortet Chambertin Dinner
This, our first event in the 2017 The Fine Wine Experience Burghound Sympsoium, proved to be an emotional one, with a few tears shed by the end of the evening. Faced with a wine from an exalted vineyard – the grand cru Chambertin – and an exalted domaine – Denis Mortet – those of us who have the pleasure to enjoy these wines are reminded when we taste a vertical like this – 15 vintages spanning four decades – that we are also bringing to our wine glasses three generations of effort in the life of a family.
Bollinger Vieilles Vignes Françaises - Vineyard is where everything is born
Text & photos by Tina Xie
As a Chevalier de Champagne, I am fortunate to visit a number of Houses in the region, exploring and learning about the complicated terroir and different wine styles. Among all the prestige cuvées I tasted, I couldn’t stop thinking of that beautiful sip of Bollinger Vieilles Vignes Françaises 2002 since our Burghound Gala Dinner in April this year. I love its expressive fruitiness and firm structure. What made it so unique? I decided to make a visit to the Maison in May and here are somewhat truly impressed me.
In Review: Domaine Claude Dugat Charmes-Chambertin & Griotte-Chambertin Dinner
My unabashed adoration for the wines of Claude Dugat began in the summer of 2002. I visited the cellars and tasted the 2001s from barrel and they just blew me away. Ever since then tasting a bottle from his domaine has felt like a treat. Any bottle from his domaine. When I visit Beaune each year his Bourgogne Rouge AOC is one of the few of that humble appellation level I have happily bought and drunk, and his village level Gevrey-Chambertin is a benchmark for the intensity, dark fruit and spice the appellation is capable of delivering.
So you can imagine my excitement at the chance not only to sample his two grands crus - Charmes-Chambertin and Griotte-Chambertin - side by side, but to do so down a vertical of 6 vintages, with 2 fully mature vintages of Charmes to finish. AND, to do so in Hong Kong, at a dinner tutored by Allen Meadows and Claude Dugat himself (his first visit to Hong Kong).
The wines lived up to the excitement. You must try a Claude Dugat grand cru at least one. Looking back at my notes, I would say, just pick anything and see for yourself. These sit on the top shelf.
Join us in a share of a Hospices de Beaune barrel of 2016 red Burgundy, which when bottled will have your name, your newborn's name, your company logo, or your favorite quote, etc, on the label.
The 2016 vintage in Burgundy was really a game of two halves. When we visited in June 2016 growers all seemed to have long faces. Some had been hit by hail, some by frost (or both), and many were now fighting moisture and heat-induced disease pressure in their vineyards. But the second half was a reminder why the Burgundians remain so stoic as they do. Perseverance through the difficulties of spring and early summer were repaid with clearer, fine weather in late summer and autumn.
The Hospices de Beaune tasting the morning before the auction in mid-November is for most (including us) the very first chance to try a new vintage – at just a few weeks of age. It’s a very difficult time to taste wines so young, but in doing this same tasting, of the same cuvées, every year on the same Saturday, you start to build up some experience in doing it.
In February this year I visited Central Otago. It was great to catch up with what has been happening in this dynamic cool climate Pinot Noir region. It seems that years are like dog years – such is the rate of progress. The Bannockburn sub-district is perhaps the one that has done the most to gain Central Otago its fame for bold, dark cherry intensely juicy-fruity Pinot Noir, with Felton Road leading the way there. But I think what has been particularly interesting is the development of the region just north of the township of Cromwell, along the Luggate-Cromwell Highway heading up towards Wanaka (and the likes of Rippon Vineyard). This Lowburn, and (further up) Mt Pisa sub-district is a little cooler than Bannockburn and is capable – I think – of making particularly refined, fresh, elegant and balanced Pinot Noirs of good intensity, balance and finesse. If you are a fan of Burgundy, I think you will agree that this description sounds interesting, no?
2015 Burgundy En Primeur
2015 was something of a textbook vintage for the reds. Tasting in Burgundy cellars in June and November 2016, the ‘15s were a real pleasure, often difficult to spit out, they offer so much pleasure. Stylistically I would say they are somewhere between the opulence of 2009, and the minerality, precision and freshness of the 2010. They are rather grand, fruit-laden wines, but their opulence has not tipped them over into simplicity. Their complexity – tasting in barrel – is generally open and fragrant. The reds will have broad appeal, to hardcore Burgundy enthusiasts and casual drinkers alike. This is a must year for laying down serious top level wines, but it is also a year to in which to stock up on lower level wines for everyday drinking.
Riesling crème de la crème - the auction wines
Imagine going to Burgundy, tasting from every barrel of your favourite top grower’s grand cru, and saying “okay, that one. It’s the best barrel of the lot. Bottle that one for me.” Let’s say in fact that it is just a half barrel, selected away for separate bottling – Roumier’s best little piece of Bonnes-Mares, made from a small patch of old vines that every year seem to yield something particularly special.
Would that appeal? How much more do you think that would cost you?