No Greek myth: Assyrtiko can be really great

By Panos Kakaviatos for

28 June 2015

Wines in bold, I liked in particular. When red and bold, even more. When underlined, too, that means top of the pops!

It was great to meet with a dear friend in Frankfurt, who loves Greek wine. Spyros is a #winelover who is half German and half Greek. He grew up in Greece before studying and then working in investment banking in London. Since 2013, he has been working in Frankfurt. Obviously, the current situation in Greece was a subject of conversation as we met with some of his friends over dinner with plenty of Greek wines, mainly Assyrtiko from Santorini.

Spyros and his Taiwanese wife organize wine dinners with friends on a monthly basis, and it was a great pleasure to join them. Our dinner party included a couple from Beijing who live and work between Beijing and London and a Greek doctor based in Frankfurt.

Assyrtiko is a famous white wine grape indigenous to the gorgeous and volcanic island of Santorini, which is known for its amazing sunsets, among other things. Spyros has traveled to the island and knows some of the top winemakers there. Read More

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Domaine Mugneret-Gibourg Les Chaignots Nuits-Saint-Georges 1er Cru 2009

By Panos Kakaviatos for

2 June 2015

I have been to Domaine Mugneret-Gibourg on several occasions and the wines from this estate are terrific.

Sisters Marie Andrée and Marie-Christine run the estate, which was once run by their father the late Dr. Georges Mugneret. The style is suave yet with structure for aging. Friend and Burgundy lover Micheal Lux brought over not too long ago a magnificent Clos Vougeot 2002. I have purchased more recent vintages, mainly Vosne Romanée and Echezeaux but decided – somewhat foolishly – to crack open this my only bottle of their Les Chaignots Nuits-Saint-Georges 1er Cru 2009… As Jasper Morris describes it in his excellent book Inside Burgundy, this wine “shows the elegance and harmony of Vosne Romanée on top of a solid base of Nuits-Saint-Georges.” Read More

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Bordeaux 2014 in barrel: high acidity and high hopes

The best wines? Positively classic, full of vibrancy. And a more traditional balance of moderate alcohol levels, with ripeness – and plenty of zing. 2014? Generally very good. The most exciting wines? From the northern Médoc, even though gems exist throughout Bordeaux. For reds, after the “challenging” trio of 2011-2012-2013, 2014 is welcome news. For whites – both sticky and sweet – the vintage is very good. 

By Panos Kakaviatos for wine-chronicles

26 May 2015

Hard earned oysters after a morning tasting at negociant Ulysse Cazabonne

Many prices have come out for Bordeaux 2014 wines as futures, and I am feeling even more optimistic than about a month ago. I mean, Grand Puy Lacoste for 45 euros? What about Giscours for 30? #Winelovers who want to drink some lovely wines from a positively – and I stress the word positively – classical vintage will find happiness, especially younger buyers who may have more recently discovered Bordeaux. For many of these wines, I say “go for it.” 

Even more famous brands like Mouton Rothschild, which was the first of the First Growths to be released, came out at 240 euros ex-Bordeaux, around 11% higher than its 2013 en primeur wine but closer to the 2012 release price – and 2012 is an inferior vintage.

As Decanter reported on 28 April: Château Mouton Rothschild, which I found to be one of the top wines of the vintage, has helped to “breathe life into a slow burning Bordeaux 2014 en primeur campaign by releasing at a price that several merchants believe offers a good deal to consumers.”

But let’s look at other higher-end releases. Château Lynch Bages – my favorite in a blind tasting of Pauillacs from barrel – is now available in the United States for under $80: just take a look at An excellent price for fans of this fine estate as available bottles from previous vintages cost more.

All the more reason to buy futures of this wine.

Some estates have outdone themselves. Château Sociando Mallet has come out at the same price as 2013. A great gesture.

To the tasting notes 

MargauxSaint JulienPauillacSaint Estephe – Cru Bourgeois and Haut Médoc

Saint EmilionPomerol – Lalande de Pomerol

Graves (reds and whites)

Sauternes and Barsac Read More


Bordeaux 2014 in barrel: Bargains from Lalande de Pomerol

By Panos Kakaviatos for Wine-Chronicles.Com

26 May 2015


Faves? Well these are all Lalande de Pomerol, which can represent bargains for savvy Bordeaux fans. The better ones include an excellent Château L’Ambroisie du Château La Croix des Moines plus some pretty darn good ones, such as La Sergue and Château Tournefeuille

Wines in bold I liked particularly, when red and bold even more and when underlined, too, wine nirvana.

Lalande de Pomerol tasted blind at Grande Cercle des Vins de Bordeaux Read More

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Bordeaux 2014 in barrel: successful Sauternes

By Panos Kakaviatos for Wine-Chronicles.Com

25 May 2015


Faves? I loved Suduiraut most as an upper level Sauternes that is fairly expensive, among some other well-known brands. Yquem as superb, but that was expected. The good news for sticky lovers: some lesser known wines did very well in 2014, based on barrel samples that I tried at two trade tastings. 

Alas! I actually… lost some notes, which explains the absence of Guiraud and others. I mean, I recall liking Guiraud, but I lost the specific notes. Sorry!

The plan is to taste Sauternes again at Vinexpo next month and add notes.

For the notes I did not lose, it can be said that although high acidities sometimes made me feel like Sauternes barrel samples I tried were more like Loire Valley late harvest wines, the appellation was – by and large – uniformly successful.

Steve Webb of Bordeaux Gold almost every year says that a given vintage is the best ever. You’ve got to hand it to him! But there was “a bit of emotion” tasting these wines, he said. “At the top level, it was sublime, as the vintage had such a cool summer, which is great for white wine grapes, bringing that bright, fresh acidity.” Read More

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