2012: Bouchard kicks ass. Older vintages, too.

By Panos Kakaviatos for wine-chronicles

17 January 2015

Bouchard Père & Fils is the largest estate in Burgundy’s famous Côte d’Or. At least since 2003, I have been a regular taster of wines made by Bouchard and appreciate winemaking director Philippe Prost’s aim towards elegance and finesse as an overall style. Indeed, even in hot vintages like 2003 the wines can convey much poise and verve.


With Bouchard winemaking director Philippe Prost, French wine critic Bernard Burtschy and wine buyer Santa Zamuele

At a November 2014 dinner tasting at the gorgeous Chateau de Beaune headquarters – a formal royal fortress built in the 15th century – guests appreciated an exceptionally bright yet concentrated and thoroughly youthful Chevalier Montrachet La Cabotte. An example of a white wine from that torrid vintage that is doing very well. Read More

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The empire strikes back: Latour 59 and 62 and why I love Bordeaux

11 January 2015

By Panos Kakaviatos for wine-chronicles.com

Most of 2014 I spent visiting wine regions outside of Bordeaux, from Southern Styria to Nemea, Greece. Like many #wine lovers, I got tired of the escalating prices of top Bordeaux wines. And as much as I love Burgundy, there too, some domains have been jacking their prices up to high heaven. There are mitigating circumstances it is said, from bad weather to increasing demand. In some cases, these are valid explanations. And winelovers should seek out alternatives, from New to Old World, where terroir driven wines are not yet discovered.

Oldies but (really, really) goodies

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“Euro-Maidan” one year on: wine reflections from Kyiv

25 November 2014

By Panos Kakaviatos for Wine-Chronicles.com

Last Friday marked the one year anniversary of the “Euro-Maidan” uprising that led to the ouster of Russia-backed former president Viktor Yanukovych – and later to Russia’s Crimea annexation and continued conflict in Donetsk and Luhansk.

Underscoring the power of social media, the Associated Press reports that Ukraine’s revolution began with a status update on Facebook: “Angered by another high-handed move by an increasingly unpopular government, activist reporter Mustafa Nayyem called for a rally on the country’s most famous square, Maidan Nezalezhnosti — Independence Square.”

The rest, as is said, is history.


MIlitary vehicles in Kyiv


When I visited Kyiv this past August, I did not go on behalf of my employer the Council of Europe but for a commission from Meiningers Wine Business International to write about Ukraine’s wine market, following adoption of the EU Association Agreement.

Although a country still in conflict, the long term effects of this agreement should be both interesting and complex, as you can read in my article, Wine as a weapon of war, which was only possible because of the wonderful people I met in Kyiv and the warm welcome that they gave to me.

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No crystal balls: assessing prenatal 2014 Burgundy

16 November 2014

By Panos Kakaviatos for Wine-Chronicles.com

I always enjoy tasting the pre natal wines of the Hospices de Beaune with Michael Apstein, M.D., who is a frequent contributor to the San Francisco Chronicle, a wine educator for more than 20 years, a freelance contributor to many national magazines, James Beard Award winner for wine writing, former wine columnist for the Boston Globe, and a judge for numerous national and international wine competitions.


Tasting with Michael Apstein

For the third year in a row he provided measured and methodical comments on the pre malolactic fermentation Burgs, some with CO2, with others cloudier than a milkshake (OK, that is a bit of exaggeration). Also present was Amanda Regan, who provides no less valuable advice on how to taste these wines. I must say that after five years of tasting at this time period, I am getting a sense of how to evaluate them. No crystal balls, but a sense of where we are going with Burgundy 2014.

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Burgundy’s world famous auction kicks off

15 November 2014

By Panos Kakaviatos for Wine-Chronicles.Com

November in Burgundy is known for Beaujolais Nouveau and the Hospices de Beaune wine auction.

The latter is more interesting.

This year’s auction takes place in the midst of absurd prices for top Burgundies, so we should not be surprised if another sales record is broken. As I reported last year for decanter.com, last year’s Hospices de Beaune auction proved to be the biggest sale in the books – despite 2013 being a troubled and small harvest.

Some 150 journalists including your humble writer have traveled to Beaune from around the world to cover this event – which Christie’s estimates to include about 800 bidders, including a percentage online, from Hong Kong to London. Many bidders will be packed in the Beaune auction house for the ambiance.

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