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France

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Ban du Millesime de la Commanderie Du Bontemps April 2, 2014

It was so much fun to see my friend Aline Baly of Chateau Coutet all decked out in a yellow robe for the Ban du Millesime de Commanderie Du Bontemps on April 2, 2014 in Bordeaux. This celebration, first held in 2000, is the Vintage Proclamation and the newest event of the Commaderie du Bontemps. […]



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En Primeur: Checking in With Smith Haut Lafitte

It was great to see SHL Technical director Fabien Teitgen, and owners Florence and Daniel Cathiard at Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte last Wednesday at the Chateau for the tasting of wines from Graves and Pessac-Leognan. I always taste “blind” (meaning that this group does not know what they are tasting until a sheet of wine, […]



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Professor Dubourdieu & Olivier Bernard Discuss the 2013 Vintage

On April 1st, 2013 Professor Denis Dubourdieu from the Institute of Vine and Wine Sciences of Bordeaux University (Oenological Research Unit) gave a presentation to journalists who have gathered to taste the wine of En Primeur about the challenging 2013 vintage. The talk began with a recap of the five prerequisites for a great red […]



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En Primeur: Experiencing Chateau Fourcas Hosten

“Welcome!” is the greeting from the charming Mommeja brothers, Renaud and Laurent, as they welcome me into their incredibly restored chateau that dates from the 18th century, and is designed to replicate the period … yet the original owners, I am sure, never had such incredible luxuries! If you have ever been in the Louvre […]



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Tasting the 2013 Vintage at Cheval Blanc

  The tasting at Cheval Blanc on April 1st was extremely well-attended, drawing journalists from all over the world as well as key figures in Bordeaux such as Kees Van Leeuwn, a celebrated author and professor at Bordeaux Agro. What was different this year, however, was the headline in the little red information book which […]



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En Primeur Welcoming dinner at Chateau Pavie Saint Emilion

Fabulous evening at Chateau Pavie on March 31, 2014, as journalists from all over the world gathered to embark on a week of tasting the 2013 vintage. After a gorgeous outdoor reeption overlooking the vines (including neighbors Chateau Pavie-Macquin and Chateau Troplong=Mondot) guests ventured to their tables. I was lucky to be seated with some […]



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Bordeaux En Primeur 2013: Experiencing Chateau LaFaurie-Peyraguey

“Welcome!” says amiable, dark-haired Eric Larramona, appearing beside the magical gate of Chateau Lafaurie-Peyraguey. M. Larramona oversees the vineyards at this magical first growth Sauternes estate with its varietal of terroirs. It is my third visit to this historic estate, and my first time with a room that has a bathtub overlooking the vineyards. The […]



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Bordeaux 2013: Tasting Listrac, Moulis, Medoc, and Margaux

So here I am on April 3, 2014 at Chateau Labegorce tasting the 2013 vintage of wines from Listrac, Moulis. Medoc, and Margaux. The good news is this: the majority of your favorite wines, despite the challenging vintage, are showing very well at the moment. Though extremely young at this point in time, the majority […]



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En Primeur 2014: Visiting Chateau Carbonnieux

  On Tuesday night I spent a pleasant evening with Madame Perrin and her daughter Christine at Chateau Carbonnieux, a large castle-like wine estate that dates back to the 13th century.  As one arrives it looks like a medieval fortress, with a large gate and several buildings surrounding a beautifully manicured courtyard. I had met […]



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Celebrating Grands Jours de Bourgogne 2014

“So what do you think will happen to the 2014 Vintage?” I asked every producer I came across at the Les Grand Jours de Bourgogne, created in 1992 by the BIVB and held ever other year in March. The reason I asked with such urgency at this early stage was because the gorgeous golden sun […]



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Visiting Haut Bailly: Expression of Terroir

  The buzzword today in all the wine publications is “terroir” … yet does terroir really matter? After a week spent at the Bordeaux National School for agriculture engineering (Bordeaux Agro) and listening to the “best of the best” in the field speak about terroir, one easily understands that terroir is central to quality wine. […]



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Pasternak Prestige Event: Why Terroir Matters

Okay, so here’s the key question.  Does terroir matter? Pasternak wine imports held a stellar tutored tasting today which included six of their top producers explaining the importance of terroir. Since I just returned from a one week conference at the Bordeaux National School for agriculture engineering (Bordeaux Agro)  all about terroir (and its counterparts, […]



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Provence Rules! Say Yes to Red, White, Rose

So interesting to see the progression of rosé wine over the years … right now, Provence exports more rosé wine than any other country … with “dry, white, and pale” being the key descriptors. What’s so interesting is that the styles, and composition of grapes, vary from region to region. Some of the bottles look, […]



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Interview with Veronique Sanders of Chateau Haut-Bailly

In a challenging vintage, chateaux with the most resources and the willingness to deploy them are able to make quality wine. That point was brought home to me in the tasting room of Chateau Haut-Bailly during En Primeur 2012. Unlike some other chateaux, the Haut-Bailly Grand Vin was very vibrant and well concentrated, with firm […]



2005 Domaine Pierre Gelin Fixin

Drinking well this moment. Nose ripe with concentrated morello red cherry and earthy minerality, palate very structured with rich ripe red fruit and some blackcurrant in the background, acidity racy medium and tannin grippy and medium, very refined. finish long and mineral with a focus of red concentrated fruit.



2006 Monier de la Chaptoutier Sizeanne

Tasting Colour : deep garnet red, with purplish lights. Nose : red fruit (rapberry, blackcurrant), with a hint of liquorice. Mouth : good attack, round and elegant wine with concentrated and gentle tannins. The final is on blackcurrant, raspberry and spicy (pepper) aromas when it is you Grape variety Syrah. Soil Our Hermitage “Monier de […]



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Annual Wine Media Guild Champagne Lunch

Always the high point of the year, Ed McCarthy, author of “Champagne for Dummies,” pulled out all the stops for a fabulous tasting of vintage treasures and brand icons. The 2002 Nicolas Feuillatte Palmes d’Or was exquisite … I had just visited the property. The Charles Heidsieck Blanc des Millenaires 1995 was just as delicious […]



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Visiting Nicolas Feuillatte in Champagne

Very excited to have visited this incredible brand in Champagne recently! In fashionable New York circles, Champagne Nicolas Feuillatte is considered one of the best. When I was active in the “JA” group at MoMA in New York (the Museum of Modern Art), after every walk through of a new exhibition participants were treated to […]



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Visiting Ruinart in Champagne

“Welcome to Ruinart,” says Helga Barroso, an energetic young woman who speaks excellent English and turns out to be quite the enologist (as well as a brilliant historian). Ruinart is the last, yet certainly not least, visit in a week of visits to many of the Grand Maisons, and I am very excited to see […]



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Salute to Beaujolais Nouveau 2013

It’s that time of year again … November is the time to celebrate Beaujolais Noveau. What started as a competition among French wine distributors to deliver the first Beaujolais Nouveau to Paris has grown into a worldwide celebration. Released after the stroke of midnight on the third Thursday in November per French law, Beaujolais Nouveau […]