Pierre marie clape in his element  presenting a rare%e2%80%a6family's cellar.jpg copy

Domaine A. Clape Cornas: 2012–1987

France: Rhône & Beaujolais, Verticals & Retrospectives, featured

Josh Raynolds, Dec 2020

One of the world’s iconic estates, Domaine Auguste Clape has long set the standard for the Cornas appellation and has featured on any Rhône aficionado’s short list of the region’s very best properties. With a mere eight hectares of vines spread across Cornas, Saint-Péray and Côtes-du-Rhône, the Clapes produce two different examples of Cornas, a Saint-Péray, a red Côtes-du-Rhône and a red Vin de France. All of the reds are made with whole clusters and fermented in concrete vats before being moved into ancient, traditional oval foudres for aging. Because of small production (roughly 2,500 cases per vintage, total) and longtime worldwide demand, especially for the flagship Cornas, the wines are not always easy to find. Unfortunately, the world has caught on, and prices have risen sharply as well. These are structured, long-lived wines that are definitely built for the patient consumer. As this retrospective shows, patience is consistently rewarded, even in tough vintages.

Burgundy line up 1959

The Year of Jazz & Wine: 1959

France, Germany, Spain, Verticals & Retrospectives, featured

Neal Martin, Nov 2020

Two extraordinary 1959-themed dinners at the end of last year presented a mouthwatering opportunity to examine this legendary vintage. This article looks at those wines and some of the stories that lie behind them.

Dourhin montrachet vineyard

Joseph Drouhin “Monty and Moose”

France: Burgundy, Verticals & Retrospectives, featured

Neal Martin, Oct 2020

Who doesn’t enjoy munching through a packet of M&Ms? But these M&M’s are different: Montrachet & Musigny from Domaine Drouhin. I examine these two wines via separate verticals from recent vintages back to the 1940s.

Larcis ducasse lineup (1)

Saturday Morning: Larcis Ducasse 1945-2017

France: Bordeaux, Verticals & Retrospectives, featured

Neal Martin, Oct 2020

Larcis Ducasse is now regarded as one of the leading Saint-Émilion estates, not surprising given its outstanding terroir. However, as this vertical back to 1945 proved, success came late compared to its peers.

Taupenot mazoyeres vineyard

Taupenot-Merme: Mazoyères-Chambertin 2002-2017

France: Burgundy, Verticals & Retrospectives, featured

Neal Martin, Aug 2020

Taupenot-Merme has become one of the leading Morey-based producers over the last decade. This article examines their crown jewel of Mazoyères-Chambertin from 2017 back to 2002.

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Southwold: 2016 Bordeaux Blind

France: Bordeaux, Verticals & Retrospectives, featured

Neal Martin, Aug 2020

The 2016 Bordeaux vintage might have been born with a halo above its cherubic head, but you cannot see a halo if blindfolded. This report sees the 2016s re-examined blind at the annual “Southwold” tasting.

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The Grand Vin of the North: San Leonardo

Italy: North, Verticals & Retrospectives, featured

Eric Guido, Jul 2020

When we think of Italy’s highly successful experiments with Bordeaux blends, it’s often the coast of Tuscany that comes to mind. But what if I told you that one of the country’s grandest wines hails from the north instead, in the region of Trentino? I invite you to explore the past, present and future of Tenuta San Leonardo through one of the most riveting verticals ever assembled.

Petrus full line up 2 copy

The Most and Least Important of Things: Petrus 1897–2011

France: Bordeaux, Verticals & Retrospectives, featured

Neal Martin, Jul 2020

What is the place for a retrospective on Petrus in a time of global pandemic and economic hardship? This article has been in suspended animation since January 2019, when London’s Hide restaurant witnessed one of the most unforgettable wine dinners in recent memory. But finally, after 18 months, I decided that these rare and precious wines should be written up. First of all, as the only journalist in attendance, I had a duty to formally record a tasting that might never happen again. Secondly, life goes on; you cannot put everything on hold forever.

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2017 Domaine de la Romanée-Conti: A Day’s Work

France: Burgundy, Verticals & Retrospectives, featured

Antonio Galloni, Jul 2020

The annual presentation of new releases from Domaine de la Romanée-Conti in early March was the last tasting I attended before lockdown. Initially I thought I would publish this article as a bookend, when things returned to normal. Back then, I could have never imagined where we would be today. After reading Neal Martin’s article Complex, Not Complicated: 2017 DRC in Bottle chronicling the London edition, I decided to shamelessly rip off his format. So, here you have my version…

Meyney facade

Delivering Where It Counts: Meyney 1971–2017

France: Bordeaux, Verticals & Retrospectives, featured

Neal Martin, Jul 2020

Continuing my focus on Bordeaux wines that offer both quality and value, my final château visit before lockdown was to Meyney in Saint-Estèphe. How has their wine improved so much in recent years?