BLOG

2009 VINTAGE PORTS

By on 14/06/2011

The 2009 vintage has caused some controversy in the Douro insofar that although some great wines have been made, not all the Shippers are in agreement that it should be declared as a 鈥榁intage鈥.

Read more

2010 Bordeaux – Grand Puy Lacoste, Lagrange and Fiefs…

By on 14/06/2011

We now have Grand Puy Lacoste. This is a property on a roll under the ebullient Francois-Xavier Borie, and like its stablemate Haut Batailley has produced one of its best ever results – maybe the best ever. You would certainly believe so reading the critics. This is selling fast even before I have got this offer out, so please respond asap.

We also have one of the most consistent of the Saint Juliens in Chateau Lagrange, and its absolute banker Fiefs de Lagrange. This second wine is one that is reasonably priced and can offer brilliant drinking from five years for another ten or more.  As I say every year, buy lots, buy it in magnums for big parties, buy it in double magnums for fun, buy it in halves to cheer up any sad evening when you are on your own!

Other releases are Canon la Gaffeliere, La Tour Figeac, La Couspaude.

Read more

2010 Bordeaux – Leoville Barton, Climens, Gloria, Moulin Saint Georges

By on 14/06/2011

This morning the Bordelais are back to work after the Pentecôte weekend, and another little deluge of new releases hits the market. The biggest release today is Léoville Barton, a fantastic wine to buy for yourself if you are optimistic and for your children if you are generous. Since all our customers are sunny optimists and generous to a fault, we expect this to fly.

Lilian Barton says of this year’s release "The wine is of excellent quality, quite different to 2009 with a firmer structure but the tannins are perfectly mature and we have purposely avoided over extraction. We have tried to keep our price reasonable in a very difficult year when some wines have increased by nearly 40%. We cannot completely ignore this market tread but have not followed these in the same proportion."

Read more

Sparkling Summer Offers from Lea & Sandeman

By on 13/06/2011

Our season of sparkling Summer offers continues with two great champagnes: non vintage TAITTINGER, and the ever popular RUINART in all three styles. We are also offering a 'great value copy of champagne' DENOIS' Methode Traditionelle'. TAITTINGER remains an independently owned champagne house and still produces wonderfully fine wines, based upon 40% Chardonnay, which is about double that used by most houses.

Read more

2010 Bordeaux – The Wines of Jonathan Maltus

By on 09/06/2011

I had a great visit to see our old neighbour Jonathan Maltus this year (he used to live in Limerston Street, round the corner from our Chelsea shop). One of the original ‘garagistes‘, Jonathan is now a major producer, and his well placed single vineyards are all exceptional wines and come recommended. – read my notes below, but do click the wine names to see the critics’ comments on the website. The winemaking here has been becoming increasingly refined, and these are exciting wines.

Read more

2010 Bordeaux – so much for being able to talk about it…

By on 09/06/2011

There have been so many new releases from Bordeaux that it has been completely impossible to keep up with them, and no chance to do justice to them. What a pity wines with a story like Pedesclaux, Marquis d’Alesme and Marquis de Terme could not have given us a chance to shine a light on them. Also out is Tour Carnet, at a level which seems reasonable amongst its peers, and Réserve de la Comtesse from the returning to form Pichon Lalande.

As it is after ten more releases yesterday and about twenty this morning, we also have Talbot – which I thought was showing the (positive) influence of consultant Stéphane Dérenencourt whose second vintage in charge this is, and is probably the best Talbot I have tasted en primeur. Langoa Barton, which goes from strength to strength and is one of the great Saint Juliens in a slightly more approachable style than its very grand brother Léoville Barton. And we also have the release of Jonathan Maltus’ Le Dome and other single vineyards wines and finally, (which feels like the last straw!) Léoville Poyferré, which will be offered first to last year’s buyers but get you orders in. Please also refer to the recent releases page which we try to keep as up to date as possible.

Read more

2010 Bordeaux – The avalanche starts – Pontet Canet, Calon Segur….

By on 08/06/2011

A raft of relatively minor releases – Grand Corbin, Blanc de Lynch Bages (described by Neal Martin a ‘very fine indeed’), Carbonnieux red and white, La Fleur Cardinale, and then getting more serious: Jean-Philippe Janoueix’s La Confession, a very well made saint Emilion which rates a score of 92-95 from Robert Parker. Malartic Lagraviere in Pessac-Leognan scores well in red (92-94 RP) and white (18.5 Steven Spurrier). Echo de Lynch Bages, the newly renamed (in 2009) second wine of Lynch Bages, which like its big brother gets better and better.

Then we start getting into the really big boys, Giscours, at £500 is certainly pushing up the level for its reputation here – it is a nicely fresh style and rates 17.5 from Jancis and 92-95 from Robert Parker.

Pontet Canet and Calon Segur are both also out, but with the amount released down both these hotly demanded wines are on allocation. If any stock remains after last years’ buyers we will go next to those who have wish-listed, so get you order in now.

The second wine of Cos d’Estournel Pagodes de Cos has also been released. As was remarked by Jean-Guillaume Prats when we tasted (and he obviously said the same thing to Robert Parker) this is a better wine than many examples of Cos from the ’70s and ’80s – which you can take as a way of preparing the market for this price.

This afternoon sees the arrival on the market of last year’s runaway sucess Haut Bergey, as well as Phelan Segur, Larrivet Haut Brion, and many more. It is very hard to do justice to them all when they all come out at once, but they should not have waited so long.

Read more

2010 Bordeaux – Haut Batailley

By on 07/06/2011

This afternoon sees the release of 2010 Château Haut Batailley, a really lovely wine this year, which in my view merits its premium on last year. Parker seemd to have been a bit iffy, but virtually every other taster (including me) rated it the best ever from this estate, which is run by François-Xavier Borie, (along with Grand Puy Lacoste).

Read more

2010 Bordeaux Primeurs – Gruaud Larose, Haut Bages Liberal, de Fieuzal

By on 07/06/2011

The morning’s big news is the release of 2010 Château Gruaud Larose at £530 per case in bond. This is up on 2009 (which looked a bargain at the end of the campaign by comparison to wines like Lynch and Pontet Canet), but it is also ‘the best Gruaud I have tasted en primeur’ (my note), and ‘the finest Gruaud Larose since the 2000 and the 1990’ according to Robert Parker.

Claire Villars’ Château Haut Bages Liberal is also out this morning. This is up around 12% on 2009, but as a top-performing ‘secondary’ Pauillac, it offers good value relative to its neighbours. "The finest Haut-Bages-Liberal I have tasted in many years" acording to Robert Parker. De Fieuzal red and white are also out. De Fieuzal Blanc is up around 18% on the 2009 release price. It has some cracking notes including an 18 from Jancis and the remark that it is ‘one of the great dry whites of the vintage’ from Robert Parker. Offered in six-bottle cases. De Fieuzal red is up around 10.5%. This makes it into Robert Parker’s list of the ‘Top Performers of the Vintage’, but he rather ruins the effect by saying the 2008 may be better.

Read more

2010 Bordeaux Primeurs – Beauregard, Hauts de Pontet, Parde Haut Bailly

By on 06/06/2011

The Château owners are rather boxing them selves into a corner by continuing to wait to release their wines. The reason today seems to be a holiday in China. A couple of second wines with good pedigrees have followed the Pomerol Château Beauregard (same price as last year) onto the market today. Les Hauts de Pontet Canet is up 33% on the 2009 release price, while Parde de Haut Bailly is up a more modest 7%.

Read more