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Bols Blue to Bordeaux: Barde-Haut, Clos l’Église & Poesia

France: Bordeaux, Verticals & Retrospectives, featured

Neal Martin, Jun 2022

Patrice and Hélène Garçin-Lévêque preside over a small but very capable portfolio of Right Bank properties. This article takes a closer look at Barde-Haut, Clos l’Eglise and Poesia, the journey that each one has taken in recent years and (of course) verticals of each wine.

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Cellar Favorite: 2014 Domaine Denis Mortet Bonnes-Mares Grand Cru

cellar favorite, Cellar Favorites, France: Burgundy

Neal Martin, Jun 2022

The 2014 Bonnes-Mares Grand Cru, which is part of a métayage agreement like the Echézeaux here, was a surprise addition to dinner in Bordeaux last March.

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Vinous Table: The Ritz Restaurant, London, UK

Vinous Table, United Kingdom

Neal Martin, Jun 2022

If you are seeking old school glamour. If you want to dine in a place with historic legacy. If you are not on a diet. If you want to escape the humdrum and seek a slice of razzamatazz. If you can tie a Windsor knot, then I recommend The Ritz.

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Sicily: Welcome to the Revolution

Italy: Center & South, featured

Eric Guido, Jun 2022

Sicily is hot, and I don’t mean temperature-wise. A significant rise in quality across the island, not just from Etna, has finally broken down many of the old stereotypes that once plagued the producers here. Today we are witnessing a focus on variety and place that has seldom been seen from Sicilian winemakers, and the results come through in the bottle. That said, there’s still an ocean of wine to sort through to find the best.

Wynns hermitage 1981

Cellar Favorite: 1981 Wynns Coonawarra Estate Hermitage

Australia, cellar favorite, Cellar Favorites

Neal Martin, Jun 2022

I always loved the good old days when Australian winemakers “borrowed” the names of classic French wine regions to brand their cuvées. Cheeky? An homage? Theft? Well, the EU bureaucrats soon put a stop to all those Chablis and Hermitages made “Down Under”, but that doesn’t imply that some of them were not genuinely worthy of such noble appellations or even surpassed them.

Rousseau chambertin line up

The Wine Was Chambertin: Rousseau 1919-2017

France: Burgundy, Verticals & Retrospectives, featured

Neal Martin, Jun 2022

A vertical tasting of Armand Rousseau’s Chambertin is the stuff of dreams, a tasting that goes back to 1919, a once-in-a-lifetime experience. That should not preclude objectivity, especially not when these bottles tell the magical story of one of Burgundy’s legendary wines.

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Vinous Table: Royal China Club, London, UK

Vinous Table, United Kingdom

Neal Martin, Jun 2022

Overall, Royal China Club delivers high-class cuisine with minimal fuss and impressive execution. Despite its location in the heart of London, it manages to conjure the ambiance of a local restaurant.

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A Valle d’Aosta Interlude

featured, Italy: North

Eric Guido, Jun 2022

Italian by definition, yet more influenced by French and Swiss neighbors, Valle d’Aosta is quite unique relative to other regions in Italy. It’s precisely that diversity that makes Valle d’Aosta both fun and intriguing to explore.

Pavie 1978 bottle

Cellar Favorite: 1978 Pavie

cellar favorite, Cellar Favorites, France: Bordeaux

Neal Martin, Jun 2022

Meeting a friend for lunch at the bustling “Brutto” Italian restaurant near Farringdon Station last February, my generous host served a wine blind that epitomized everything great about “old school Bordeaux”. Ironically, it was from an estate that later became the paragon/pariah of modern winemaking depending on your views: Château Pavie.

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Vinous Table: Tristan, Horsham, UK

Vinous Table, United Kingdom

Neal Martin, Jun 2022

This was a suitable epic dinner. It was pleasing to see Tristan recovering from the pandemic and firing on all cylinders. God knows what fellow diners thought about the performance in the corner table. But hopefully they could see that we were enjoying ourselves, something that had been denied so many of us in previous months.