The Wine Cellar Insider Bordeaux Wine Guide, Wine Blog, Wine Tasting Notes, Wine Reviews, Wine Food Pairings, Winery Profiles, Buying tips, Images Wed, 20 Aug 2014 21:11:32 +0000 en-US hourly 1 2011 Chateauneuf du Pape a Drinkers Vintage Tue, 19 Aug 2014 14:53:48 +0000 This post first appeared in The Wine Cellar Insider

Every vintage is unique. Fortunately, there are vintages that offer complexities and personality, that do not require cellar time which can be enjoyed in their youth, for their fresh, vibrant forward qualities.

The post 2011 Chateauneuf du Pape a Drinkers Vintage was originally published in The Wine Cellar Insider.

This post first appeared in The Wine Cellar Insider

Chateauneuf du Pape wines and Bottles

Variety is the spice of life. At least that’s how I see it. The variances in vintage signatures is proof of that. Each vintage carries its own unique character, personality and allure. Of course there are vintages that require time in the cellar for the tannins to meld and allow the wines to develop secondary characteristics. Those vintages are important and sought after by wine lovers and connoisseurs all over the world. Those years are also the most expensive vintages in the marketplace.

Fortunately, there are also vintages that offer complexities and personality, that do not require cellar time. They can be enjoyed in their youth, for their fresh, vibrant forward qualities. That is what you find in 2011 Chateauneuf du Pape wines. They are not the most concentrated vintages,

The wines were tasted in two sessions, in the morning and after lunch. The first session, which is the wines in this report are all Chateauneuf du Pape tradition, classique or regular cuvees. The following 2011 Chateauneuf du Pape wines were all tasted non blind in Chateauneuf du Pape in June, 2014.

2011 Chateauneuf du Pape Wine Tasting Notes.

2011 DOMAINE DE LA BARROCHE SIGNATURE – Licorice, garrigue and kirsch notes lead to a plush, polished, luscious blast of ripe, sweet, peppery fruits in the finish. 91 Pts

2011 CHATEAU BEAUCASTEL – Medium bodied, in lighter, early drinking style that focuses on fresh, sweet red fruits and spice, with a sweet, spicy, slightly dusty, garrigue and kirsch finish. There are some tannins remaining to resolve. This could definitely improve with a few years of bottle age.

2011 DOMAINE DE BEAURENARD – With an earthy quality, the dark cherry notes, forward personality and sweet kirsch in the finish leave a nice impression. 89 Pts

2011 MAISON LOUIS BERNARD – Medium bodied, with garrigue and strawberry in the forefront, the wine is ready for prime time drinking. 86 Pts

2011 MAISON LOUIS BERNARD LA CRAU DES PAPES – Opening with a blast of fresh herbs and cherries, this medium bodied effort leads to a soft red berry ending. 87 pts

2011 DOMAINE BOIS DE BOURSAN – Earthy notes complicated by strawberry and raspberries produced an elegant, clean and fresh wine for early consumption. 90 Pts

2011 BOSQUET DES PAPES TRADITION – Silky, lush, ripe peppery berries, freshness and a blast of kirsch in the end that really stays with you. 91 Pts

2011 MAISON BOUACHON LA TIARE DU PAPE – Fresh herbs, red fruits and a medium bodied soft wine with some dryness in the bright finish. 84 Pts

2011 CAVE SAINT PIERRE – Open and forward, medium bodied and focused on its red berry core. There is a touch of dryness in the fresh finish. 84 Pts

2011 LA CELESTIERE TRADITION – Red berries, earth and herbs, medium bodied with a light cherry note in the finish. 86 Pts

2011 CHAPOUTIER LA BERNADINE – Straight forward, open, medium bodied, pleasant, focused on its cherry core, but lacking in complexity. 87 Pts

2011 DOMAINE LA BISCARELLE – Spicy, jammy, black raspberries, the soft, sweet, ripe and spicy tones really shine all the way through. 89 Pts

2011 DOMAINE DES TROIS CELLIER ALCHIMIE – Fresh, ripe, sweet cherries and fennel open to polished textures and a wild strawberry and herb filled finish. 89 Pts

2011 DOMAINE DE LA CHARBONNIERE – Spicy berries, soft, lusty textures are topped by peppery, fresh, spicy red fruits and herbs in the finish. 90 Pts

2011 CLOS DES BRUSQUIERES – Polished and sweet, ample, sweet red plum, cherry and spice are found from start to finish. 89 Pts

2011 CLOS DES PAPES – Medium bodied, but not light, the nose kicks in with 5 spice, kirsch and peppery scents. The wine offers soft, round textures and a spicy, fresh, cherry, fennel and black raspberry finish that is further complicated by a hint of spearmint on the endnote. 94 Pts

2011 CLOS SAINT MICHEL – Silky, soft, spicy red fruits, earth and pepper start things off before your hit with a blast of spicy red cherries with hints of bright strawberries in the finish. 90 Pts

2011 CLOS DU MONT OLIVET – Fresh kirsch, silky textures and a sweet, soft, polished, peppery, red berry finish are found in this delicious wine. 91 Pts

2011 DOMAINE COMTE DE LAUZE – Medium bodied, spicy, fresh and serving up a tasty blast of sweet, peppery, black raspberry notes in the finish. 89 Pts

2011 DOMAINE DE CRISTIA – Truffles hide just behind the sweet kirsch sensations. This is followed by a plush, sensuous pop of ripe, spicy, black cherries to complete the experience. 91 Pts

2011 DOMAINE LA CONSONNIERE – Fennel and garrigue bring you to a medium bodied, light, open styled cherry filled wine that needs to be consumed young. 87 Pts

2011 MAISON DELAS LA HAUTE PIERRE – Unadorned, simple, but correct, the wine is on the short and sweet side. 85 Pts

2011 DOMAINE ISABEL FERRANDO COLOMBIS – Medium bodied, flowery red berries, soft, open and forward, the wine is all about the elegant fresh, ripe cherry and garrigue character that carries through the finish. 91 Pts

2011 DOMAINE LA FAGOTIERE- Fresh, short and sweet, the wine is spicy with red plum and cherry tones. 86 Pts

2011 DOMAINE FINES ROCHES – Medium bodied with red fruits and spice, the wine is open already, ending with a soft, kirsch finish. 88 Pts

2011 DOMAINE DE FONTAVIN TRADITION – Elegant and soft, this medium bodied, lighter styled, red berry filled wine display’s some dryness in the finish. 87 Pts

2011 DOMAINE FONT DE MICHELLE – Spicy, peppery, soft, ripe fruits in a forward style that is already showing its stuff. 90 Pts

2011 CHATEAU DE LA FONT DU LOUP – Silky, ripe, round cherries, mint and peppery herbs get you going and keep you there from start to finish. 90 Pts

2011 CHATEAU FORTIA TRADITION – Light ruby in hue, this medium bodied, earthy, cherry dominated wine is already open and ready to drink. 88 Pts

2011 CHATEAU DE LA GARDINE TRADITION – Medium bodied, easy going, simple, peppery, red fruits are presented in a pleasant, straight forward manner. 87 Pts

2011 DOMAINE DU GRAND TINEL – Silky smooth, medium bodied with a kick of kirsch. That fresh, red berry sensation continues through to the fresh finish. 90 Pts

2011 LES GRANDES SERRES LA COUR DES PAPES – Forward and ready for drinking with its open, spicy, cherry and plum character. 88 Pts

2011 DOMAINE GIRAUD TRADITION – Kirsch, kirsch and more kirsch, coupled with spicy, peppery notes lead to an approachable, rich, sweet, silky finish. 92 Pts

2011 CHATEAU HUSSON – Medium bodied, open and accessible, there is a softness in the texture of the peppery, kirsch finish. 88 Pts

2011 DOMAINE ALBIN JACUMIN – Oak, black pepper, garrigue and black raspberries, this medium bodied, forward kirsch expression is already fun to taste. 88 Pts

2011 DOMAINE DE LA JANASSE – Sweet, ripe, silky red berries linger, until more, spicy, fresh fruits make their way into the long, seductive, fruit filled finish. 91 Pts

2011 CHATEAU JAS DE BRESSY – Round textured and supple, the wine has a plush, polished spicy personality with ample, fresh, sweet red fruits. 90 Pts

2011 DOMAINE LAFOND ROC EPINE – Soft textured, open and with good freshness in the sweet, ripe, black raspberries and kirsch flavors that are at the heart of this wine. 90 Pts

2011 DOMAINE DE MARCOUX – Floral in nature, with sweet cherries and silky textures, the essence of kirsch shines through to the peppery finish. 91 Pts

2011 DOMAINE MATHIEU – Light red berry notes, elegantly styled, this will drink best young. 87 Pts

2011 MAISON GABRIEL MEFFRE LAURUS – Sweet, spicy red fruits, soft, medium bodied, with fresh, spicy plum and fennel notes that stick with you through the finish. 88 Pts

2011 MAISON GABRIEL MEFFRE SAINT THEODRIC – Light in color and fruit, this correct, medium bodied, red fruit dominated wine is an easy drinking charmer that will be best young. 86 Pts

2011 DOMAINE DE LA MILLIERE VIEILLES VIGNES – Light red fruits with a hint of licorice in the short, clean finish. 87 Pts

2011 CHATEAU MONGIN – Oak dominates the nose in this early stage, the supple textures are a treat, but the oak carries through to the finish. Modern in style, some tasters will like this better than others. 86 Pts

2011 DOMAINE LA MONTAGNE VIEILLE – Medium bodied, on the light side of the style range, there is some dryness in the red fruit finish. 85 Pts

2011 CHATEAU MONT THABOR – Candied red berries, medium bodied and forward, this lighter styled wine should be best young. 87 Pts

2011 DOMAINE DE LA MORDOREE LA REINE DES BOIS – Licorice, vanilla and spice framboise couple with floral notes to create a smoky, sensuous, rich wine, finishing with ripe plum notes. A few years of age should add even more complexity to the wine. 93 Pts

2011 DOMAINE DE NALYS – Earthy dark cherries, polished textures and a spicy, peppery finish. 87 Pts

2011 CHATEAU LA NERTHE – Coffee bean, fresh, ripe red berries and spice on the nose carry through to the silky, smooth, creamy, kirsch filled finish. 90 Pts

2011 CHATEAU LA NERTHE LES GRANIERES – Light on the nose, medium bodied on the palate, the forward styled, easy to drink wine requires consumption in its youth to get the most from its red berry character. 85 Pts

2011 DOMAINE L’OR DE LINE – Medium bodied, finesse styled wine with an herbal quality in the red fruit finish. Drink young. 87 Pts

2011 DOMAINE DE PANISSE CONFIDENCE VIGNERONNE – Light in style, with a short, tart, fresh, red berry finish. Drink this young. 85 Pts

2011 DOMAINE DU PEGAU CUVEE RESERVEE – Earthy, barnyard and wild cherry scents lead to you to a rich, warm, full bodied, spicy wine that is filled with garrigue, pepper and jammy strawberries in the finish.

2011 DOMAINE DU PERE CABOCHE – Medium bodied and elegantly textured, there is good freshness in the spicy finish. 88 Pts

2011 DOMAINE PONTIFICAL – Light in the nose, the wine serves up delicate, tart fresh red plums in the spicy finish. 87 Pts

2011 PORTE ROUGE – Medium bodied, soft and forward, this easy drinking wine ends with a spicy, kirsch filled finish. 86 Pts

2011 MAISON RAVOIRE ET FILS OLIVIER RAVOIRE – Medium bodied early drinking wine with an herbaceous, cherry center. 86 Pts

2011 DOMAINE DE LA RONCIERE LOUIS GEOFFREY – Sweet and spicy, with an open, peppery, dark red berry, elegant personality. 89 Pts

2011 CHATEAU DE RUTH CUVEE EMILIE – Light in hue, light in fruit and flavor, drink this light wine young. 84 Pts

2011 DOMAINE SAINT PREFERT CUVEE CLASSIQUE – Licorice and kirsch notes to a soft, medium bodied, open, fresh core of spicy, fresh red and black plums. 90 Pts

2011 DOMAINE SAINT ROCHE – Fennel and garrigue, complicated by spearmint and red berries develop into a soft, medium bodied, spicy, red kirsch filled wine. 88 Pts

2011 DOMAINE DES SAUMADES – Light in color, floral in nature, this medium bodied wine will show its red berry charms best in its youth. 86 Pts

2011 DOMAINE SERGUIER – Fresh herbs and pepper couple with sweet kirsch, soft textures and a forward, medium bodied style. 87 Pts

2011 CHATEAU SIXTINE – Lush red fruits and spice, with a polished, black cherry personality with good character and a supple finish. 91 Pts

2011 CHATEAU SIXTINE MANUS DEI – Supple easy tasting and forward, some dryness is found in the spicy, cherry and wild strawberry finish. 87 Pts

2011 CUVEE DES SOMMELIERS – With a light cherry and garrigue nose, the wine offers soft textures, a medium body and freshness in the red berry finish. 87 Pts

2011 – DOMAINE PIERRE USSEGLIO – Black cherry liqueur, garrigue and fresh kirsch are on display in this , plush, open wine that is already drinking with pleasure. 91 Pts

2011 CUVEE DU VATICAN – Easy drinking and forward in style, enjoy this, bright, red berry focused wine young. 86 Pts

2011 CHATEAU DE VAUDIEU – Medium bodied, soft, forward and spicy, ample red berries and garrigue carry though from start to finish in this tasty wine. 91 Pts

2011 DOMAINE DE LA VIEILLE JULIENNE LES TROIS SOURCES – Sweet flowery cherries and red berries bring you to young, tannic wine that finishes with fresh, crisp raspberries in the end note. This will be better with a few years of age. 92 Pts

2011 DOMAINE DE LA VIEILLE JULIENNE LES HAUT LIEUX – Earthy, fresh, spicy fruits with a peppery, zippy personality, leaving you with an impression of sweet, ripe, black raspberries and kirsch in the lush finish. 93 Pts

The next report will focus on the 2011 Chateauneuf du Pape Cuvee Special wines. This should be published later this week. At least that is plan.

The post 2011 Chateauneuf du Pape a Drinkers Vintage was originally published in The Wine Cellar Insider.

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Annual First Growth Bordeaux Wine Tasting and Barbecue Dinner Tue, 12 Aug 2014 20:46:20 +0000 This post first appeared in The Wine Cellar Insider

Some of these winesare now so expensive, they are treated more like treasures than wine. Meaning, they are often relegated to being opened only on rare, special occasions. Or when other wine lovers congregate where everyone enjoys, and gets to taste some of these potentially majestic elixirs.

The post Annual First Growth Bordeaux Wine Tasting and Barbecue Dinner was originally published in The Wine Cellar Insider.

This post first appeared in The Wine Cellar Insider

FG Wine

Clearly I do not post enough about wine. I should write about it more often. I certainly drink enough. Or at least try to. On the other hand, can one really drink enough great wine? I am not sure about the limits some of my friends have, but we tried to find out last week at Chez Leve. The group, a blend of friends and members of 7 Blind Men were ready and so was I.

The occasion was simple. The annual First Growth, backyard barbecue tasting. I cannot afford, or at least can’t justify buying First Growth Bordeaux at today’s prices. But I am lucky enough to have purchased enough of these treasures in my youth, as well as in their youth, to last for quite a while. That is one downside to the recent price increase over the past few years. Another downside is, some of these wines have now become so expensive, they are treated more like treasures, and not wine. Meaning, they are often relegated to being opened only on rare, special occasions. Or when other wine lovers congregate to share an experience where everyone enjoys, and gets to taste some of these potentially majestic elixirs that are seen just about as often as unicorns these days.

FG CHicken

I am all for progress. I’m a Capitalist through and through. If the market wants to pay high prices for the world’s best wines, those wines should sell for a lot of money. It’s just life and part of the passion that comes with collecting.

Bottles of famous Bordeaux wine or other vinous treasures look great in the cellar. They are even more beautiful in the glass, when their ruby hues and complex aromatics are on full display. Better than that of course is when these wines move from the glass and caress your palate. Now, this is where the true, sensuous pleasure really starts to get going. While some of these famous 1855 Classified Growths of the Medoc, along with their Right Bank counterparts can cost an arm and a leg, at the end of the day, they are just wine. They serve no purpose except when they are opened, shared and enjoyed.

Needing a moderate crowd, a group of 10 intrepid souls willingly submitted to eat my cooking and enjoy a perfect Los Angeles, hot summer night. This was paired with great wines of course and killer classic rock and blues tracks. We’re talking Hendrix, The Beatles, The Stones, Led Zeppelin, BB King and more.

FG Dinner

I missed taking notes on one of the whites and the 95 Dom Perignon which started off the night. I might have another bottle of bubbly as well. They were busy pouring while I was in the kitchen. The 1996 Ausone was slightly corked. Sadly, the magnum of 1998 d’Yquem was horribly corked. I was surprised to find others did not agree. But it was not up to me to spoil their fun.

The wines…

2009 Marcassin Vineyard Chardonnay – Terrific expression of great California Chardonnay. It’s ripe, tinged with vanilla bean, citrus and spice, the concentrated wine offers lush textures and the finish shows off its ripe, apple, pear, citrus and vanilla bean character. 95 Pts

1990 Angelus – This is so sexy, it deserves an XXX rating. Opulent, sensuous and silky, the wine slips and slide all over your palate with its decadent textures. Complex and concentrated, this is ready for prime time drinking. 98 Pts

1995 Ausone – Quite nice, with air. Mineral driven, plum, earth, tobacco and spicy red and black fruits were in abundance. Other bottles have felt softer. There was depth, flavor and character, but this specific bottle was not quite as good as the previous bottle I last tasted. Once again, there are only great bottles, not great wines after 15 years of age. 93 Pts

1989 Cheval Blanc – Really nice charmer, with silky, soft, textures, sweet, plum, earth and chocolate that is perfect for drinking today and for at least the next decade. 93 Pts

2000 Haut Brion – his is all about the potential as this is so young and primary. It’s fresh, vibrant, concentrated and deep. Clearly, there is the structure to age for at least 50 years or more! There is length, texture and balance, but it demands another 5-10 more years of age before it shows what it’s really made of. 97 Pts

1990 Haut Brion – Now we’re talking. Edging close to its 25th birthday, the wine is clearly expressive. Smokey, tar, cigar box, forest floor, cassis and blackberry, with hints of dried cherry make up the nose. Sweet, soft and velvety, the wine personifies grace and elegance. 98 Pts

Tomato bread salad

1986 Margaux – This is a very good wine, but it’s always going to have this tannic spine that even with 4 hours of decanting, remains part of its character. The fruit is there, as are complex aromatics and concentration of flavor, but it lacks the soft, sensuous side of Margaux at its best. This is a good wine, in a more classic style that has the potential to become one of the better 1986 wines with more age. 95 Pts

1989 Margaux – Medium bodied, lighter style of Margaux that is drinking nicely today. The texture is soft, the fruit is close to crispy, finishing with some dryness in the tannins coupled with herbal notes and cassis. This is not worth the money it trades for today. 90 Pts

1990 Margaux – Wow, what a sublime example of Bordeaux. Rich, sensuous, ripe, plush, polished and silky, the fruit stay with you long after the wine has left your glass. You drink this now, as it’s just showing so much charm and complexity. You can drink it in 10 years, or if you have kids, in 20 years, it will be even better. This is pricey, but it’s Margaux at its best. 98 Pts

1982 Latour – Great wines are going to be different in character, but they are not going to get better than this. The wave of fruit that drenches your palate is packed with polished, elegant, lush berries. The nose is a turn on and the finish last over 60 seconds. To use a quote from one of my favorite movies; “This is the stuff dreams are made of.” 100 Pts

All I can say is, thanks to all my friends for helping make this another perfect night. Only 3 days to go until the next 7 Blind Men dinner. Thank God, I was able to get in some training for what’s coming next.

The post Annual First Growth Bordeaux Wine Tasting and Barbecue Dinner was originally published in The Wine Cellar Insider.

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Rudy Kurniawan Sentence 10 Years in Prison From Wine Bars to Jail Bars Thu, 07 Aug 2014 22:02:08 +0000 This post first appeared in The Wine Cellar Insider

The case of Rudy Kurniawan has changed the collectible wine market for generations. There is no way to know how many wines were sold, and then resold are real.

The post Rudy Kurniawan Sentence 10 Years in Prison From Wine Bars to Jail Bars was originally published in The Wine Cellar Insider.

This post first appeared in The Wine Cellar Insider

jail cell hands

Loud cheers were heard all over the world-wide wine community the moment Rudy Kurniawan was handed a ten year prison sentence. And why not? Rudy Kurniawan is responsible for changing the face of collecting wine for decades. How much time will Rudy Kurniawan actually serve? With time served of 29 months, with good behavior, perhaps Rudy Kurniawan will get out of prison in about six and half to 7 years. In addition to prison time, Rudy Kurniawan was also ordered to forfeit $20 million dollars and was further ordered to pay $28 million dollars more in restitution. Where he is going to get the 48 million dollars is beyond me.

This is less than the prosecution sought. They demanded 14 years in prison, coupled with only a small fine of $175,000. The prosecution stated Rudy Kurniawan was responsible for no less than $20.7 Million dollars in fraudulent sales. However, other parties have stated Rudy Kurniawan could have sold as much as $100 Million dollars in fraudulent wine. I imagine the truth is somewhere in the middle.

The defense tried arguing that the loses to others through fraudulent sales were only $9 Million, thus, the judge would have to sentence Rudy Kurniawan to less time in jail. While it’s the responsibility of a defense attorney to mount the best defense possible, at the sentencing hearing, the defense attorney tried making the claim that because the victims of Rudy Kurniawan could easily afford the loses, the sentence should be less. When did it become OK to rob the rich? Didn’t that go out the door with Robin Hood? Fortunately the judge did not see it that way and recognized, theft is theft and fraud is fraud. When allowed to speak, Rudy Kurniawan told the Judge, “I am really sorry. I just want to go home and take care of my mother.” Judge Berman was unmoved by the pleadings of the defense or by the whispered apology of Rudy Kurniawan. A sentence of ten years in prison was handed out to Rudy Kurniawan before the gavel was pounded.

Ten years in prison is a long time. But when you think that as a minimum, Rudy Kurniawan profited by $50 Million dollars, that comes out to $5 Million dollars a year. I would have liked to have seen him receive 15 to 20 years in the hopes that it will set an example for other current and future forgers.

Rudy Kurniawan was being sued by the powerful Bill Koch. A few weeks ago, July 23, Bill Koch agreed to settle out of court with Rudy Kurniawan. Part of the settlement was that Rudy Kurniawan agreed to pay $3 Million dollars and cooperate fully with Bill Koch as the extent of the fraud committed by Rudy Kurniawan. What does cooperate fully with Bill Koch as the extent of the fraud committed by Rudy Kurniawan mean? Was Rudy Kurniawan actually able to commit his crimes on his own? Or did he need help in perpetrating his fraud, especially as it was massive in scope and scale? Were auction houses complicit? Did auction houses simply look the other way? Or did they just not want to know, as there was so much easy money to be made? If Rudy sold at least $50 Million dollars worth of wine at acution, that comes out to $10 Million dollars in commissions. That is a lot of money and unlike the wine, the money was real. Hopefully, these questions will be asked and answered.

I’m not great at math. But this comes out to $51 Million dollars owed by Rudy Kurniawan for fines and settlements. Rudy Kurniawan faces deportation back to Indonesia once he has finished his sentence.

Bill Koch might not get much good press. He does not seem like a nice guy. But the truth is, wine collectors for generations to come owe him a massive debt of gratitude. Thanks to the non stop efforts of Bill Koch, collectors are going to see a lot less fake and counterfeit wine sold at auction.

Goodbye and good riddance Rudy Kurniawan is being heard all over the fast moving Internet. A few years ago, Rudy Kurniawan was laughing all the way to the bank, over the all the money he made selling counterfeit wine. Today, the joke is on him, as people everywhere are all smiles that Rudy Kurniawan has traded in his Armani suits for orange colored jumpsuits. Rudy Kurniawan who was once known to drop more than $100,000 in a single night at wine bars in New York is for the next few years, spending time behind a different kind of bar. Standing behind his new type of bar, he won’t like the stemware. Instead of great Bordeaux, Petrus, the First Growths and all the other wines he has become used to, perhaps he’ll develop a taste for Pruno. Who knows? Jailhouse lawyers are in big demand, perhaps with his blending skill, Rudy Kurniawan could help make Pruno more palatable.

The sentencing of Rudy Kurniawan is going to be the main topic of conversation for wine collectors for quite a while. But conversation should really be about the depth of his crime and how it all happened in the first place.

Rudy Kurniawan Evidence

How much counterfeit wine did Rudy Kurniawan truly produce and sell? This is going to be debated for years. When you add up the massive amount of money earned from public sales that has to be more than $50 Million dollars. That is even giving some credence that a portion of the wines sold were real. Those wines were bought from legitimate sources and sales and later resold for profit. You also need to factor in the millions of dollars of wine sold in private sales, some of which we know about, and others which we don’t. We do not know all the sales because many people that are smart enough to earn enough money to think nothing of spending $250,000 to $1,000,000 or more on wine, are going to be embarrassed by their gullibility. The swindled wine buyers are in good company. In 1925, Victor Lustig sold the Eiffel Tower to investors believing it was going to quietly torn down and sold as scrap metal. If folks fell for that con, buying fake wine is not that hard to believe.

I know, you are saying to yourself, how could anyone believe that one person could have every great bottle of wine for sale? You add that there were so many countless treasures, no one could truly count them all. But that is in hindsight, which as you is know is always 20/20.

The case of Rudy Kurniawan has changed the collectible wine market for generations. There is no way to know how many wines were sold, and then resold are real. That fact has changed how people view the sales of old wine. On the bright side, today, sales at all the major auction houses have never been more secure. The vast majority of old wines are now scrutinized over again and again, looking for signs of fraud and potential forgery. Wines with true provenance, especially those that are being sold by the winery are going to sell at higher and higher premiums, as that is a true guarantee of provenance.

It’s important to note that Rudy Kurniawan focused on producing fraudulent wines of extremely high caliber, with the price to match. For example, old Pomerol like 1950 Lafleur in magnum, 1900 Margaux, 1947 Cheval Blanc, 1945 Haut Brion and other assorted, high end, famous gems. While auction houses today are exercising more due diligence than ever, there are numerous fakes and forgeries being offered by retailers all over the world, knowingly and unknowingly. Keep in mind the old saying, “If it’s too good to be true, it’s too good to be true.” Many, if not most of those great wines are impossible to find today, especially in large formats. When they do come up for sale, one should exercise extreme caution before buying as I imagine, the vast majority being offered are not going to be real.

While Rudy Kurniawan was involved with forging the best of the best, as prices for young wines have risen to extreme levels, there have been numerous examples spotted for current forged, high end wines, for example DRC, First Growth Bordeaux and other in-demand wines. One should always exercise caution. With young wines, know your merchant. With older, high priced, rare wine, be more than careful. Today, those are often best bought at auction with today’s level of scrutiny.

With luck, one day, there will be a trial for Hardy Rodenstock. While Rudy Kurniawan was holding his breath when the judge was about to issue his sentence, I won’t be holding mine waiting for the Rodenstock case to come to trial.

The post Rudy Kurniawan Sentence 10 Years in Prison From Wine Bars to Jail Bars was originally published in The Wine Cellar Insider.

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2013 Bordeaux Wine Buying Guide With Tasting Notes on 400 Wines Thu, 05 Jun 2014 14:00:34 +0000 This post first appeared in The Wine Cellar Insider

Complete overview of the best 2013 Bordeaux wines with comments on the campaign and tasting notes for hundreds of wines from every appellation and price point.

The post 2013 Bordeaux Wine Buying Guide With Tasting Notes on 400 Wines was originally published in The Wine Cellar Insider.

This post first appeared in The Wine Cellar Insider

Bordeaux Glass

2013 Bordeaux is not the vintage of the century. The growing season, with its cold, damp character made sure of that. 30, 40 or 50 years ago, a year the quality of 2013 Bordeaux would have been a complete disaster.

But that is not what took place with 2013 Bordeaux. With the willingness to sacrifice quantity for quality, the best producers, with the financial ability to do what needed to be done made some fine wine. 2013 Bordeaux is not an exciting, sexy vintage. But having tasted close to 400 different 2013 Bordeaux wines, clearly, there are some nice wines worth drinking.

So, what’s the problem? When it comes to the wine, none. The average scores from the majority of wine writers and critics show the wines at an average of 89/90 Pts for perhaps the top 100 – 200 wines. Clearly, those are the not the scores for a bad vintage.

To get a good idea on all the best 2013 Bordeaux wines, click on any of the following links for an overview on an appellation by appellation basis. The wines were all tasted in Bordeaux in April, 2014.

2013 St. Estephe Wine
2013 Pauillac Wine
2013 St. Julien Wine
2013 Margaux Wine
2013 Pessac Leognan Wine
2013 Haut Medoc Wine
2013 St. Emilion Wine
2013 Pomerol Wine
2013 Bordeaux Petit Chateau Satellite Appellation Wines
2013 Sauternes and Barsac wine

Had the wines been priced in proportion to consumer demand, while 2013 Bordeaux was never going to be an easy sell, it would not have been an impossible sale. I am all for the open, free market when it comes to pricing. Producers can and should price their wine for what they think the market will bear. But 2013 Bordeaux wines remain unsold. Selling the wines to a negociant is not selling the wine. Merchants need to buy and consumers need to purchase as well for it to be a true sale. For some odd reason, in the great vintages, Bordeaux has a knack for pricing the wines correctly. They might seem expensive to mature collectors that are used to paying lower prices, but for the next generation of wine lovers, the wines seem fairly priced.

I get it. On the one hand, due to the excessive unflattering and at times, unfair press, 2013 Bordeaux was never going to receive a warm reception in the marketplace. Perhaps the price the market was actually willing to pay was unappetizing to the chateau owners. But it would have been nice to see an effort. It is difficult for 2013 Bordeaux to sell through to consumers when others recent, and more successful vintages are available in the market for less money.

On the other hand, there is always another vintage. While some bloggers, the press and wine consumers shout that Bordeaux is ruined for life, to paraphrase Mark Twain, the news about the premature death of Bordeaux has been greatly exaggerated.

You can take this to the bank. The next great vintage that is at the level of quality seen in years like 2000, 2005 or 2009, will make the prices we complained about with 2010 seem like the good old days when Bordeaux was still affordable. Something else you can count on. Bordeaux wine will continue gaining in popularity and sadly price as the wines improve and the customer base expands. Regardless of the increase of quality in the wine, if producers want to see successful futures campaigns take place, consumers need to be rewarded for their risk and faith. That means they want to see prices increase from the price point they paid by a reasonable amount.

In today’s world, futures buyers need to receive at least 20% return on their investment over the 2 year period for buying en primeur. If there is no reward for the risk, where is the incentive for buying early? If prices remain stable, which is fine, buyers should just wait and purchase the wines on release. Prior to the 1982 vintage and Robert Parker, there was no compelling reason for consumers to purchase en primeur. Perhaps a return to buying on release is where the market is headed over the next several years. If that happened, the focus of all the reports and the marketplace would return to the wine, instead of the price.

Speaking of returning to a focus on the wines. the style of the 2013 Bordeaux vintage is on the classic side. The wines are not for long term aging. The majority of the wines will be drinkable on, or close to release. Across the board, they are on the fresh, low alcohol, red berry side of the style range. There are some wine lovers that will prefer the style of 2013 Bordeaux, over more the widely heralded recent vintages like 2009 and 2010, due to its low alcohol, approachability and focus on freshness.

There are producers in every major appellation that made better wine than their peers, and perforce, chateaux that under performed, just like in every year. St. Julien is the most consistent appellation. However, in a year that clearly favored Cabernet Sauvignon, it’s interesting to note that the best 2013 Bordeaux wines came from Pomerol and St. Emilion. 2013 Sauternes produced exceptional wine. 2013 Bordeaux was also very strong for the dry white Bordeaux wines. But keep in mind, 2011 Bordeaux, also produced from a difficult vintage turned out much better in bottle than expected. Having tasted a few 2012 Bordeaux in bottle recently, you can expect some good surprises when those wines hit the store. Perhaps 2013 Bordeaux will also turn out better than expected. It will be interesting to see how the wines develop.

If you want to read detailed interviews on the 2013 Bordeaux vintage and harvest from the top Bordeaux chateaux 2013 Bordeaux Vintage Articles, Interviews, Images

The post 2013 Bordeaux Wine Buying Guide With Tasting Notes on 400 Wines was originally published in The Wine Cellar Insider.

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Philippe Cambie on 2013 Chateauneuf Southern Rhone Vintage and Harvest Thu, 22 May 2014 16:21:05 +0000 This post first appeared in The Wine Cellar Insider

Philippe Cambie discusses in detail, the 2013 Chateauneuf du Pape and Southern Rhone vintage, growing season, the harvest and the wines.

The post Philippe Cambie on 2013 Chateauneuf Southern Rhone Vintage and Harvest was originally published in The Wine Cellar Insider.

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Phlippe Cambie Chateauneuf du Pape

You remember the phrase Bo knows Football? Or was that Baseball? Well, Philippe Cambie knows Chateauneuf du Pape. It’s difficult to disagree with that statement. Philippe Cambie works with more growers and producers in the Southern Rhone Valley than any other consultant. He is involved in the vineyards and the cellars. Similar to what happens when EF Hutton speaks, when Philippe Cambie discusses the 2013 Chateauneuf du Pape vintage, everyone listens.

The 2013 Chateauneuf du Pape vintage is year that will be marked by its late maturity. That late maturity took place in vineyards throughout the Southern Rhone Valley. This is similar to what took place in previous vintages like 1970 and 1980.

The 2013 vintage in Chateauneuf du Pape experienced similar weather patterns that affected much of Europe. The year can be easily characterized by its very low yields and relatively atypical equilibria, where fresh fruit and freshness replace power.

In the 2013 Chateauneuf du Pape vintage, the spring was one of the coldest and wettest in recent years. To give an example, there were periods that averaged 1 degree Celsius and only 4.4 Celsius for the maximum temperatures during the months of April, and May. The 2013 Chateauneuf du Pape growing season was not just cold, it was also wet. For example, for the months of April, May and June, the Southern Rhone experienced 217 millimeters of rain. In 2012 during the same period, it rained 165 millimeters. 2011 was quite dry with only 17 millimeters and in 2010, the area received 107 millimeters of rain. Due to the combination of cool weather and damp air, this slowed down the vine growth causes high flowering in the Grenache. Grenache is naturally sensitive to this phenomenon which prevails in the encépagement in the Rhone Valley, especially with the old vine Greanche grapes.

The 2013 Chateauneuf du Pape vintage experienced an ideally placed storm at the end of a particularly hot July. The summer of 2013 brought good weather. But it was insufficient to help catch up from the spring weather. Because of these weather patterns, the 2013 Chateauneuf du Pape vintage was later. This broke the pattern of precocity experienced in recent years. Something else to consider, 2013 Chateauneuf du Pape, is a vintage that produced extremely low yields. Chateauneuf du Pape was not the only region with low yields, Bordeaux and most European wine growing areas all experienced low yields.

The 2013 Chateauneuf du Pape harvest was long. It started during the second half of September and was not completed until early November. The harvest was spread over a long period of time as you can see, taking place in the first days of September for the young vines. Many estates waited until the end of October for old vines.

The 2013 Chateauneuf du Pape vintage will also be known for its lateness. The vintage was three weeks later than what we have seen over the last decade, which marked a return to the types of harvest dates winemakers experienced much of the time during the 70s.

The vinification for 2013 was conducted quickly, paving the way for red wines with a balance reminiscent of wines from the mid-80s. The style of 2013 Chateauneuf du Pape wines show good acidity and moderate alcohol levels in the Grenache. The wines display a good balance in the mouth due to the natural vivacity of the 2013 Chateauneuf du Pape vintage.

The Syrah and Mourvedre are more powerful than the Grenache. They have deeper colors and will produce more concentrated wines. These two grape varieties, Syrah and Mourvedre were not susceptible to sagging. Yields were also higher for the Syrah and Mourvedre.

The white 2013 Chateauneuf du Pape wines deliver a nice aromatic freshness with citrus, white flowers and exotic fruits. By their physico- chemical equilibria, they show a beautiful potential. Similar to what took place with the Grenache based red wines, Grenache Blanc was also low in yields. This will allow the Roussanne and Clairette to shine with all their aromatic potential.

For me, the best wines of the vintage comes from Nimes, Lirac, Tavel and Gigondas. Vineyards in those appellations produced some very nice wines combining fruit with power.

The post Philippe Cambie on 2013 Chateauneuf Southern Rhone Vintage and Harvest was originally published in The Wine Cellar Insider.

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Jaboulet and La Lagune Combine Grapes Create New Bordeaux Rhone Wine Tue, 20 May 2014 17:31:24 +0000 This post first appeared in The Wine Cellar Insider

Caroline Frey of Chateau La Lagune and Paul Jaboulet Aine is producing a new wine combining grapes from the Rhone Valley and Bordeaux.

The post Jaboulet and La Lagune Combine Grapes Create New Bordeaux Rhone Wine was originally published in The Wine Cellar Insider.

This post first appeared in The Wine Cellar Insider

Caroline Frey La Lagune

Starting with the 2010 vintage, Caroline Frey, the young, dynamic owner of multiple prestigious estates began producing a new wine made from grapes grown at Chateau La Lagune in the Haut Medoc appellation and from her Domaine Paul Jaboulet Aine vineyards in the Hermitage appellation of the Northern Rhone Valley. The wine will be sold under the name of Evidence.

As reported on Wine-Searcher on 20 May 2014 Bordeaux Rhone Blend Revived The article also offers exclusive quotes from Caroline Frey on the new wine.

The grapes used for the blend are an equal combination of vineyard sources with 50% of the fruit coming from Bordeaux blended with the remaining 50% from Hermitage. The blend of Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon duplicates a practice that was quite common in the 16th, 17th, 18th and even in the early part of the 19th century when merchants had the option of purchasing Bordeaux wine with the addition of Syrah added to the blend. The Syrah was added to give the wine more color, backbone and structure.

Evidence is not going to be a blend of Jaboulet La Chapelle and Chateau La Lagune. The grapes come from lots that would have been used to produce Jaboulet Thalabert Crozes Hermitage and Le Moulin de Lagune, the second wine of Chateau La Lagune. Interestingly, the fruit will not be co-fermented. Instead, the grapes will be vinified and barrel aged for 12 months at their respective sources. Following 12 months of barrel aging, the wine will be blended at Jaboulet in the Northern Rhone Valley for an additional 18 months. The final barrel aging took place in 15% new, French oak, which explains why the 2010 Evidence is such a late release.

Evidence is not the only Bordeaux wine currently being produced that blends in a bit of Syrah. In 2004, Chateau Palmer introduced their 19th Century Historic Blend. The Palmer 19th Century Historic Blend features fruit from their Margaux vines blended with about 15% Syrah. Since the debut vintage. The wine has had subsequent releases in 2006, 2007 and 2010. In Pomerol, Chateau Bon Pasteur, the Michel and Dany Rolland property made a one off wine that blended 50% Syrah with 50% Merlot that was made in small quantities in magnums and was sold for charity. A total of 50 magnums were produced.

Interestingly, this is also not the first time Caroline Frey has produced a wine blending Syrah with Bordeaux varieties. In 2006 Caroline Frey created the first vintage of Duo. Duo was aptly named as it was produced combining fruit from both her flagship properties, Chateau La Lagune in the Left Bank and Jaboulet La Chapelle in Hermitage. Since 2006, Duo has been produced in every vintage except 2008, as Jaboulet La Chapelle was not produced in that vintage.

Due to labeling laws, the Evidence wine will be sold as a generic Vin de France wine. Vin de France is the lowest level of classification in France. Wines sold under the designation of Vin de France do not list the region of origin or appellation for the vineyards, the vintage or the grape varieties. It is sold as simply a wine from France. This is the same designation for all the Bordeaux, Rhone blended wines that have been produced.

As reported on Wine-Searcher on 20 May 2014 Bordeaux Rhone Blend Revived The article also offers exclusive quotes from Caroline Frey on the new wine.

The post Jaboulet and La Lagune Combine Grapes Create New Bordeaux Rhone Wine was originally published in The Wine Cellar Insider.

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Sylvie Cazes of Lynch Bages buys Chateau Chauvin in St. Emilion Fri, 02 May 2014 22:40:35 +0000 This post first appeared in The Wine Cellar Insider

Sylvie Cazes of Chateau Lynch Bages buys Chateau Chauvin in St. Emilion, her first foray into the Right Bank

The post Sylvie Cazes of Lynch Bages buys Chateau Chauvin in St. Emilion was originally published in The Wine Cellar Insider.

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With the purchase of Chateau Chauvin, Sylvie Cazes buys her first vineyard in the Right Bank. According to Sylvie Cazes, the St. Emilion property was purchased for her family, which includes her three children, Pierre Regimbeau, Francois Regimbeau and Julie Regimbeau.

If the name Sylvie Cazes seems familiar, that is because Sylvie is also a part owner of her families’ famous estate in Pauillac, Chateau Lynch Bages along with Jean Michel Cazes, Jean Charles Cazes ad other family members. As an owner, Sylvie Cazes brings with her a wealth of experience. She was previously the director of Chateau Pichon Lalande, the president of the UGC, (Union of Grand Cru Bordeaux) and she has been active with the Bordeaux City Council. Sylvie Cazes was also a member of the committee that created and developed the Bordeaux Wine Cultural Center.

Chateau Chauvin is a well-known and respected, consistent producer of St. Emilion wine. The 15 hectare vineyard is located not too far from the border of the Pomerol appellation. It is close to Chateau Cheval Blanc and Chateau La Dominique. Prior to the sale, Chateau Chauvin had been the property of the Ondet family. The Ondet family, which was headed by Vincent Ondet at the time of the original purchase bought the property all the way back in 1891. The estate has remained in the same familiy hands since 1891.

Along with her three children, Sylvie Cazes is bringing in her own team to help manage and improve the wines at Chateau Chauvin. The team is headed by Philippe Moureau. Philipe Moreau and Sylvie Cazes last worked together at Chateau de Pez in St. Estephe and Chateau Pichon Lalande.

Chateau Chauvin is a popular St. Emilion estate that is well-known by consumers for producing consistently nice wines with character, that continue to sell for a fair price.

The post Sylvie Cazes of Lynch Bages buys Chateau Chauvin in St. Emilion was originally published in The Wine Cellar Insider.

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