Pleasing all senses

Lunch at Le Chapon Fin

By Panos Kakaviatos for

25 June 2017

I recently revisited Le Chapon Fin, a legendary restaurant in Bordeaux. A few years back, I had attended a Vinexpo dinner with some fine wines, and loved the food. But during the week of this year’s Vinexpo, I was invited to lunch with a dear friend who works in wine tourism: Diana Verneau, of Secrets de Châteaux in Bordeaux.

Many thanks to Sylvie Cazes of Bordeaux Saveurs for the invitation to lunch.

The overall ambiance is sumptuous, with a unique touch, which I will explain later. The names of some famous former regulars are on medallions in the restaurant, including painter Toulouse-Lautrec and actress Sarah Bernhardt, politicians Georges Clémenceau and Aristide Briand.  Read More

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Vinexpo 2017 ends, with strong Chinese and US presence

Press Release – 22 June 2017 Read More

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“Fine flowering” cause for hope in Bourgogne

News from the BIVB – 20 June 2017

No two years are the same in the Bourgogne winegrowing region. After fast flowering, which was over by mid-June, even in those areas that tend to tardiness, any fears about springtime frosts were soon a “distant memory” according to a press release from the Bourgogne Wine Council today.

Now hopes are high for a fabulous harvest. Even the Chablis region, which suffered the effects of frost at the end of April, is in a much better place than it was at this time in 2016.

Flowering is finished across the Bourgogne region, with only a few days required for the vines to move from first flowers to producing fruit. With favorable weather conditions, sunshine and heat alternating with short spring showers, the vines were left to follow their growth cycle at a good pace, without hindrance.

On average, flowering reached mid-point by the first week in June. Read More

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Saint Emilion Multiplex 2016

By Panos Kakaviatos for 

14 June 2017

Saint Emilion tends to be rather heterogenous in quality in any vintage. Given its size, variations in terroir and in style. Sure, a recent trend towards high alcohol and high extraction of tannin is (thankfully) dissipating.

Estates like Pavie Macquin and Larcis Ducasse, for example, are being made in somewhat fresher styles, and I liked both as nothing short of excellent in 2016. Seek them out!

It was a superb year for Cabernets – both Franc and Sauvignon. So, naturally, many Right Bank wines with Cabernet Franc tended to do well: see Figeac for example as one of the top wines of the vintage.

But the vintage is not so simply explained. Many Merlot-dominated blends are downright delicious from barrel.

Gorgeous photo of Saint Emilion evening shot as featured photo: by Miguel Lecuona.

Wines I like in bold. When red and bold, even more. When underlined, too? A kind of barrel tasting nirvana.

Favorites for price/quality ratios? Berliquet, Grand Mayne, Sansonnet, Yon-Figeac

Château Berliquet – Lovely cool blueberry and blackberry fruit. The tannins are foreboding, and the finish a bit tight, but this is promising. Give it time in barrel. The price should not be too onerous. 90-93 Read More

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Celebrating Georgian wine

News from the 8th annual New Wine Festival

By Sarah May Grunwald for 

(Opening of qvevri photo, above, by Bruno Almeida, sommelier)

12 June 2017

The eighth New Wine Festival, annually held by The Georgian Wine Club, took place on Saturday, May 13th at the Mtatsminda Park, a famous landscaped park located at the top of Mount Mtatsminda overlooking the Georgian capital of Tbilisi.

The occasion? A yearly celebration of local wine and culture, with local musicians, and nearly 200 wine producers pouring 2016 vintage wines.

The festival is much more a cultural event, despite its wine roots. I attended with a group of journalists and wine professionals. We decided to arrive as early as possible because we were warned that, as the day went on, the festival would turn more into a big, crowded party rather than a wine tasting event. We were greeted by the always-professional Iago Bitarishvili, who gave us a short description of the event, glasses and a booklet with information on the many participating producers. Read More

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