Unsung? Perhaps, but well done!

The Salon des Vignerons Indépendants 

By Panos Kakaviatos for wine-chronicles.com

Some great values from the Jura, the Côtes du Rhône, the Loire Valley, Saint Joseph and Champagne among others …  

19 February 2017

As I prepare my trip to cover Bordeaux en primeur in late March, I took time to taste through wines from lesser-known French regions with partner in wine crime Kevin Gagnon, who was a fellow student for the WSET diploma in Rust, Austria. Kevin is a professional opera singer and wine expert – and a great guy. So it was fun to discover less famous appellations that yield much pleasure – and sometimes superb quality/price ratios.

The occasion was the Salon des Vignerons Indépendants, a massive grouping of often lesser known producers throughout France. It is a traveling consumer trade show, that traverses French cities, and thus wise to get their early, as the crowds get quite thick. And best to keep your coat in the car, and even wear a T-shirt as it gets hot. Read More

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Hockney graces Mouton

By Panos Kakaviatos for wine-chronicles.com

9 February 2017

What is it about Mouton Rothschild that makes it so appealing?

The wine in the bottle can be amazing.

Sure, it is far too expensive for most of us mere mortals. At least it has become so – like the other first growths. I still recall a time when one could have bought Mouton for about $150 en primeur. And that was too pricey for some older buyers at the time.

These days, a very good vintage fetches between $300 and $500 and a great vintage $600 and up. Too much for a single bottle of wine, I say. But if you have the money, I guess you have a different perspective.

And let’s hand it to the estate for its creative use of artists to change the label year in, year out.

Wine as art? Certainly chez Mouton. Read More

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Too varietal? Try it in the sky.

By Panos Kakaviatos for wine-chronicles.com

8 February 2017

Yesterday, I landed in Frankfurt after flying on business with Lufthansa from Washington Dulles Airport, and the welcome lounge was terrific: well worth the price of paying business.

Lufthansa offers competitive business pricing – sometimes nearly half the price of, say, Air France. And when you cross the Atlantic from a late afternoon in the U.S. to arrive at an early morning in Europe, the welcome lounge’s spacious, independent shower rooms are just the ticket. Not to mention plenty of breakfast and brunch items (as it is open until noon), a quiet area with reclining seats, and work stations with no less than three types of outlets (UK, US and European).

As usual, I enjoyed excellent service on board the 747-800 from Dulles International to Frankfurt. The stewards and stewardesses were kind and courteous. And when I mentioned that I write about wine and that I know Lufthansa wine buying consultant Markus Del Monego, they proposed two selections from the first-class wine list.

I once flew first class several years ago – a fluke upgrade, see video below – and recall seeing the Château Belgrave 2004 on the list. Today, the same wine is proposed, but it is the 2008 vintage. Personally, I would think that for an expensive first class ticket, the Bordeaux could be higher up on the totem poll. Not Latour, mind you, but why not Lynch Bages or Montrose? I digress. Read More

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On wine tasting and objectivity

Too oaky? Too green? Does it depend on the taster?

By Panos Kakavatos for wine-chronicles.com 

4 February 2017

At a tasting lunch in New York City recently organized by the Wine Media Guild and specifically by my dear friend in wine tasting Mark Golodetz, we went through various bottles of Grand Puy Lacoste, Branaire Ducru and Smith Haut Lafitte – the three guests for the luncheon.

I was caught admiring the 2005 Grand Puy Lacoste, somehow putting in the back of my mind a certain oak influence on the wine that was more prominent than the fruit. At this stage.

While discussing the attributes of how wonderful the Branaire Ducru was of the same vintage, a point on which both Mark and I agreed, Mark begged to differ about the GPL, as the … oak was far too prominent. Indeed, he was correct. But should one conclude that the wine is not as good? Perhaps at this stage, or perhaps for one’s personal tastes.

That was open to interpretation, to some extent.  Read More

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Price-worthy Bordeaux 2014: Live-Ex weighs in

Special Report: Bordeaux 2014 – where is the value?

Submitted by Liv-Ex in London

3 February 2017

As Bordeaux 2014 is released in bottle, Liv-ex takes a closer look at it in terms of price, quality and value compared to other vintages. 2014 is the first recent vintage that has not been reviewed by Robert Parker. It is being released in bottle following strong price gains by the Bordeaux market, albeit aided by a weaker Sterling. Liv-ex has applied its “fair value” methodology to help identify where wines might offer value relative to other vintages.

 Key findings Read More

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