Let’s party like its 1999: Ga ga over the La La’s

It’s 2014. Just about 15 years since the 1999 harvest. I remember listening to Prince singing “Let’s Party Like its 1999” back in the day. So, yes, time flies. In the Northern Rhône harvested Syrah grapes were among the healthiest and ripest ever seen, observers noted, leading to voluptuous, deeply colored wines with finely structured tannins and opulent fruit.

Wine writer Christine Havens

Christine Havens: wine writer, former winemaker and sometimes fine artist

So with both visceral and vicarious pleasure, I read these fine notes by Christine Havens, who is now the #1 wine reviewer on Vivino, the most downloaded and used wine app in the world. I first got to know Christine when she worked for Grands Vin Wine Merchants in Olympia, as marketing specialist and “social media songbird”. Christine also was winemaker and marketing director of Wawawai Canyon Winery in Pullman, Washington from 2003 to 2011. She is now devoting herself to wine writing and – my goodness – she has been experiencing great wines. Like these, for example 🙂

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Is it mainly silky versus earthy?

Comparing Morey-Saint-Denis with Chambolle Musigny can be treacherous

By Panos Kakaviatos for wine-chronicles.com 

To accompany an order of Kobe beef, a customer at the Chanticleer Restaurant on Nantucket Island took my advice back in 2008 and ordered a Domaine Pierre Amiot et Fils Morey-Saint-Denis Aux Charmes Premier Cru 2003, which I had recommended as full-bodied.

He knew his Burgundy, and remarked that it was also earthy: “It reflects Morey-Saint-Denis,” he said.

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Bouchard Père & Fils in profile – and recalling a magnificent 1961

Gently sloping vineyards, separated by some of the most charming villages that France has to offer, grace Burgundy’s myriad plots and micro climates, which yield such varied wines from the single grapes Pinot Noir for red and Chardonnay for white. Each time I go, I make it a point to discover a new domain, to meet the owner, to visit the cellar and the vineyard and to taste the wines.

With that in mind I am planning an #winelovers tour in September – stay tuned :-).

To get a bird’s eye view of a given vintage, visit a reputable maison de negoce, because they make wines covering many more appellations than most single domains can.

The ramparts of Château de Beaune

One of the very best maisons de negoce today is Bouchard Pere & Fils. Over time, by acquiring various terroirs, Bouchard Père & Fils boasts 130 hectares of vines, of which 12 are classed grand cru and 74 premier cru. Director Philippe Prost is as charming as he is informative. Over the years I have enjoyed tasting horizontals with him at the domain to get a sense of vintages from 2003 up to 2012 most recently, with wines from Montrachet, Corton-Charlemagne, Beaune Greves Vignes de l’Enfant Jésus, Bonnes-Mares, Meursault Perrières: names that “resonate with history” as the Bouchard website proclaims.

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In honor of Barolo: UNESCO World Heritage Site

By Panos Kakaviatos for wine-chronicles

In honor of Barolo being named a UNESCO world heritage site this year, I (finally) post notes from a special Barolo vertical tasting reaching back to vintages from the 1950s and guided by friend and Italian wine lover expert and author Ian d’Agata at the Merano Wine Festival 2013 from Marchesi di Barolo.

It was great to meet Anna Abbona, who is president of Marchesi di Barolo and her daughter Valentina Abbona who represents Marchesi di Barolo globally, and is currently based in Shanghai.

The World Heritage Committee of the United Nations last month added the “vineyard landscape of Piedmont: Langhe-Roero and Monferrato” to its over 1,000 cultural and natural sites and practices.

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Vineyards in commune of Serralunga d’Alba (from Wikipedia)

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REVISION: Burgundy producers request aid as over 3,000 hectares damaged, worth estimated 75m euros in lost revenues

By Panos Kakaviatos for wine-chronicles / 2 July 2014

REVISION: “damaged” not “destroyed” – plus details on over 2,000 hectares struck in the Nord Mâconnais and the Côte Chalonnaise. 

An earlier version of this posting used the word “destroyed” for some 3,000 hectares mainly in the Cote de Beaune but some also in the Cote de Nuits. After talking with a representative of the Burgundy Wine Council, a more accurate word is “damaged” – it is at this early stage still difficult to ascertain to what extent vines that were hit were damaged: completely destroyed or just partially.

In any case, the smaller sized hail – about the size of a euro coin – proved more deadly than the bigger stones as the smaller stones swept in like machine gun fire and severely damaged leaves, grapes and vines according to various French news reports.

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