Top (non-Bordeaux) releases from Bordeaux: Solaia, Clos Apalta, Mondavi, Opus One

by Charles Lea

Did you hear the one about the Californian, the Chilean and the Italian…?


The Bordeaux ‘place‘ has become the market of choice for the release of a few top wines from Italy, Chile and California, largely because of many of these wines’ French connections, and early September is the moment when a number of them are released on the market. Here are three of the best:

Solaia 2012

2012 SOLAIA Marchesi Antinori

£635 per six bottles in bond


75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Sangiovese 5% Cabernet Franc. Desperately youthful for now, blue-edged colour, distinctly oaky, but all the way through there’s character here. Still taut, smoky on the back of the palate, this wine’s distinctive very tightly-wound black fruit and density of flavour, even if this is not terribly expressive for now. Satisfying finish shows real class and excitement.’ L&S

Extremely impressive97/100 – James Suckling

all about grace and finesse94/100 Antonio Galloni

Clos Apalta

2012 CLOS APALTA Casa Lapostolle

£262.50 per six bottles in bond


Very full – a suave warm glow of quite oaky velvet-dark fruit. The entry is all mouthfilling texture, a very complete and seamless feel. Yes there is toasty oak, but there’s enormous fruit depth too. Opulent, but the tannins are huge, even if very fine, and any sense of overripeness is reigned in. One of the more impressive top Chileans, and a a price which makes some of the others look mad. You could arguably drink this now but there’s a long life ahead. It is made of 70% Carmenere.‘  L&S

Clos Apalta is the flagship of this French-owned winery, had its first vintage 1997. It has been five times in the Wine Spectator Top 100, three times in the Top 3. It is the only South American wine which has been number one of the Wine Spectator Top 100. Since the creation of the Top 100 only two wines of the South hemisphere have been number one: Clos Apalta 2005 and Penfolds Grange 1995.


2012 OPUS ONE Mondavi-Rothschild

£885 per six bottles in bond.


(Very limited quantity)

Glorious purity of fruit here with black currants, blueberries, dark chocolate, fresh herbs and forest floor. Hints of mint too, plus hazelnut and chocolate. Full body with seamless tannins and balance. Tight and compacted tannins with beautiful fruit and great length. Goes on for minutes. One of the best Opus’ in years. Hard not to drink now but better in 2018. October 2015 release. This is 79% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Cabernet Franc, 6% Merlot, 6% Petit Verdot and 2% Malbec‘  97/100 James Suckling.

I expect the 2012 will offer a long and broad drinking window of pure pleasure.‘  96 /100 Antonio Galloni

We also have a tiny quantity of Massetto available – please see our website for details.

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