Bordeaux bargains 2014

Part 1 – Tasting wines from the Grand Cercle de Vins de Bordeaux

(To go to Part 2, click here)

By Panos Kakaviatos for 

5 January 2017

Like most of you, when I cannot actually do so, I sometimes dream of enjoying Haut Brion, Latour, Petrus and Le Pin. Or Leoville Las Cases, Palmer or Ducru Beaucaillou. To take some examples of very pricey Bordeaux.

But most of us mere mortals cannot afford these treasures too often if at all. Sky-scraping price tags in recent years have far surpassed the intrinsic qualities in bottle.

Tasting through mostly 2014s of the Grand Cercle

I still buy (some) classified growths, because they can constitute relative bargains in a given vintage (2014 is a good, recent example), but I understand why people get bored with the dough… when it comes to Bordeaux.

Late last year, I had the pleasure of tasting through many fine – and thoroughly affordable – Bordeaux wines from the 2014 vintage that was recently bottled: both red and white. Two tastings revealed excellent wines, with modest price tags. Read More


Randy McFarlane’s feast of wine at 1789

Haut Brion, Climens, Dom Ruinart, Dauvissat, Barolo – and so much more

By Panos Kakaviatos for

4 January 2017

Leave it to Randy McFarlane to organize such a great event. I have known Randy and his wife Caroline for over 10 years now, and we get together annually on several occasions to drink and eat. Drink great wine, eat great food. Life is too short. Yes indeed.


A gorgeous private room and setting, thanks to Randy McFarlane (right side, third from the front) and wife Caroline (right side, second from the front).

And thanks to Randy, I re-discovered 1789: a traditional American restaurant which takes you back in time, with decor that seems 18th century like indeed. Read More

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Bordeaux 1966: 50 years on

By Panos Kakaviatos for

9 December 2016

Wine is a drink for civilized discourse, as I found out yet again, close to my 50th birthday, over dinner with friends and family, with a horizontal of mostly 1966 Bordeaux.

Host Olivier Bernard of Domaine de Chevalier has a justified reputation as being savvy, gentlemanly, suave, fun loving and truly passionate about wine. Over dinner, he enjoys serving older wines blind that end in the same number of the current year, and asks dinner guests to make educated guesses.


Olivier Bernard pouring 1966 Bordeaux. But which is which? With – from left to right – Shaun Bishop of JJ Buckley, Konstantina Kakaviatos Zaras (my sister) and Alexandre de Bethmann of Château Olivier

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Curious about Qvevri

Understanding Georgian wine

By Taste Georgia’s Sarah May Grunwald 

In the very heart of the Caucasus, the Republic of Georgia is a distinctively special country with deep and warranted claims as the actual birthplace of wine. Both archeological and biological evidence confirm this claim. Georgia has the oldest known grape pips ever found and Neolithic pottery, dating back over 9,000 years, that have residue from wine. While the entire Trans-Caucasus area is well established as the most ancient center of wine production, Georgia can declare the longest unbroken tradition of viticulture in the world.

Wine is written literally in the genetic code that distinguishes one as a Georgian.

Even more unique than the Kartvelian language and alphabet – with letters written in the fashion of grape vines – wine is Georgia’s identity. Georgia’s wine and ancient wine vessel known as the qvevri are the direct links that we, as modern wine lovers, have to our Neolithic ancestors. Read More

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“Prenatal Bourgogne” 2016: reds seem better than whites

By Panos Kakaviatos for Wine-Chronicles.Com

23 November 2016

Now the that the Hospices de Beaune auction is behind us (you can read my report on that here) – with a very good result overall for important charities – we can talk about some very, very early assessments of the quality of the vintage.

Having visited the domain back in late September, and now having tasted many of the 45 cuvées red and white from barrel, on location at the Hospices de Beaune (with some reassuring comments and opinions from fellow wine loving writers Amanda Regan and Michael Apstein), I suppose it could be safe to say that the reds from this vintage will turn out better overall than the whites.

And you know what? I’ll leave it at that …

Indeed, for some people, tasting 2016 at such an absurdly early stage is “simply useless”. That’s how one prominent wine author put it over lunch in Burgundy, but then again, that person recently wrote an article on … the quality of the wines. LOL!  Read More

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