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Cellar Favorite: 2005 Larcis Ducasse

cellar favorite, Cellar Favorites, France: Bordeaux

Antonio Galloni, Jan 2019

Larcis Ducasse remains one of the truly great, reasonably priced wines of Bordeaux. I was once again reminded of that when I tasted the 2005 recently. Almost shockingly young, tannic and tightly wound for a wine of its age, the 2005 is positively stellar.

Saintemilion copy

2016 Bordeaux…It’s All In The Bottle

featured, France: Bordeaux

Antonio Galloni, Jan 2019

The bottled 2016s capture every bit of the potential I sensed when I started tasting the wines from barrel, prior to en primeur, in January 2017. I found many 2016s to be even better from bottle than they were during the spring futures campaign. The best 2016s are powerful, richly layered, vibrant and stunningly beautiful, not to mention incredibly delicious and alluring. For so many wines and estates, 2016 is an epic vintage.

Brane cantenac bottle l

Long Distance Runner: Brane-Cantenac 1924-2015

Verticals & Retrospectives, featured, France: Bordeaux

Neal Martin, Jan 2019

True, Brane-Cantenac has had its ups and downs over the years, but it is now creating some of its best ever wines. In one of the most comprehensive verticals ever written, I examine the estate from its formation to the present day and what influences the character of this singular Margaux.

Coutet madame1990 bottle

Cellar Favorites: Coutet Cuvée Madame

cellar favorite, Cellar Favorites, France: Bordeaux

Neal Martin, Jan 2019

An unexpected message pops up on my Smartphone. It is from Aline Baly, daughter of co-proprietor Dominique Baly, enquiring whether I can meet for an impromptu tasting of eight vintages of Coutet’s Cuvée Madame. The odds are slim. I am flying back to Blighty at some ungodly hour the following morning and I am midway through a marathon tasting. Then again, this is not just any Sauternes, but an elusive and fascinating bottling.

1945

Cellar Favorites: 1945, 1966 & 1982 Gruaud Larose

cellar favorite, Cellar Favorites, France: Bordeaux

Neal Martin, Dec 2018

I recently participated in two tastings connected with one of the most famous dynasties in Bordeaux: the Cordier family. Désiré Cordier embarked on a shopping spree for Bordeaux estates in that era, when real estate prices were depressed by a run of poor vintages and World War I. Amongst Cordier’s acquisitions, the other famous property purchased is Gruaud Larose, which came into their hands in 1917 and 1935, since back then, the estate was divided.

Fieuzal 1970 bottle

Cellar Favorite: 1970 Château de Fieuzal Rouge

cellar favorite, Cellar Favorites, France: Bordeaux

Neal Martin, Dec 2018

Old bottles of Graves have been regrettably few and far between. When I do encounter mature Graves from the 1940s and the 1970s, they always remind me how well they age, how their qualities are overlooked vis-à-vis other Bordeaux appellations.

Lafleur bottle line up

Enigma Variations: Lafleur 1955-2015

featured, France: Bordeaux

Neal Martin, Nov 2018

Lafleur is a property that I have researched and written about extensively over the years. And yet something enigmatic remains about this Pomerol château. This article lifts the lid on its history, the vineyard, its winemaker, and the Robin and Guinaudeau families, charting the progress of its wines over several decades courtesy of two extraordinary verticals and some spellbinding wines.

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Cellar Favorite: 1956 Château Léoville Barton

cellar favorite, France: Bordeaux

Neal Martin, Oct 2018

I have a soft spot for off-vintage Claret – the more “off,” the better. There must be a masochistic side to my personality that draws me inexorably toward vintages that should come with a government health warning. They don’t come riskier than the annus horribilis 1956, when Bordeaux infamously turned into the Arctic for a prolonged spell in February and vast swaths of vines perished in a mass execution by frost.

Cru bourgeois 2018 room

Where Value Lies: First Look At 2016 Bordeaux

featured, France: Bordeaux

Neal Martin, Oct 2018

Given the price of its elite, it seems absurd to claim that Bordeaux is one of the best value regions in the world. But it is true. In my first look at the 2016s in bottle, I examine what I call the “real Bordeaux”. Away from the glitz and glamour lies an ocean of Cru Bourgeois and Bordeaux Supérieur that can offer quality at exceptional value. All you need to know is what to look for.

Henri jayer cros parantoux 1987 copy

Cellar Favorite: Domaine Henri Jayer Vosne-Romanée Cros-Parantoux 1er Cru

cellar favorite, Cellar Favorites, France: Bordeaux

Neal Martin, Oct 2018

It is now almost impossible to separate myth from reality with respect to Henri Jayer. It has almost become an existential domaine, as if Jayer never made mortal fermented grape juice. Prices are irrational, and yet the wealthiest wave blank chequebooks in the air at auction, feverish demand fuelled by the fact that fewer and fewer bottles will come onto market as time goes by. Domaine Henri Jayer is rarely seen. It is even more rarely consumed.