The contents of another new container arrived in our warehouse this week, and it was full of goodies from France! Our 2016 Rosé selections have arrived, and you will be hearing all about them in the coming weeks. Of course, there were other wines on that container; wines from the Loire Valley, Alsace, Burgundy, and Bordeaux. Actually, quite a few different 2014 red Bordeaux wines have made their way to our sales floor, so if you haven’t been here in a while, we strongly recommend checking it out. The 2014 vintage in Bordeaux was a very good one, particularly on the Left Bank, and pricing was very reasonable. One of these reasonably priced wines, which I have enjoyed over the years, turned out a stellar 2014 – Château d’Armailhac, Pauillac.
Twas the night before Christmas … and the first night of Hanukkah too! Pretty cool, if you ask me, as I’m all for celebrations. Considering the timing of my fortnightly ramble, I’m not expecting as wide an audience to be reading this evening. That takes all the pressure off, as there’s really no need to speak of any specific wine tonight. I figure that we’ve all got our wines for the holiday weekend in place, ready to be shared and enjoyed. So, for the sake of exercise, and since it’s the time of year to break out the good stuff, I will reminisce about some of my very favorite wines.
Well, if you made it this far, I thank you. Without reason to flog a wine, I thought it fun to remember some of the great wines I’ve tasted. I don’t mean this to appear as a brag of any sort; but in writing this, I’ve come to remember the people and occasions which got these bottles open in the first place. For me, the most important thing about a good bottle of wine is sharing it. 2016 has been a tumultuous year; we can all agree with that. As I grow older, I become painfully aware that life is short. Some of the people with whom I shared the above wines are no longer with us. Well, we’ve all still got each other, so let me raise a glass and toast: To all of us, may we enjoy the company of friends and loved ones, share some good times, wonderful meals and fine wine, may we live in good health and in peace. Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah! – Peter Zavialoff
Please feel free to email me with any questions or comments about Favorite Wines, Bordeaux, Holidays, or English Football: peter@wineSF.com
So despite not being in Bordeaux personally, Robert Parker’s presence was felt, as word of his upcoming synopsis of 2012 Bordeaux in bottle was all the buzz on both sides of the Gironde. We’ve received many inquiries from customers about the wines of Pomerol and Pessac-Léognan (and Graves), as those were the first two appellations he mentioned in his bulletin board post; but quality is quality, and Pontet Canet has quality in spades. Pass at your own peril. – Peter Zavialoff
Please feel free to contact me with any questions or comments about 2012 Bordeaux, 2014 Bordeaux, or English Football: peter@wineSF.com
It’s always exciting around here when new Bordeaux containers arrive. As we wrote last week, we are in a fortunate position as direct-importers to bring over only the wines that suit our standards. A couple of our suppliers in Bordeaux have begun the practice of sending sample packs with up to 24 bottles for us to taste. We like to go about tasting these samples five or six at a time, and it usually takes a few weeks before we’re finished. Back in the spring, we were at it again, and as reported, of the 24, we chose five red wines. Quality and price are THE two determining factors. Four of these petits chateaux wines fall into the “everyday quaffer” price range of $10-$25, but there was a sample a little beyond this price range ($38.98) that swept us all off of our feet. We were still talking about it a week later, citing its honesty, authenticity, and elegance. What was this pearl of a wine? The 2010 Château Tour du Roc Milon, Pauillac.
– Peter Zavialoff
| Why a “synthetic First Growth?” I’ll try to spare you all the long story, but in a past life, I toiled on the Pacific Exchange Options Floor. For us math geeks, there were a myriad of interesting positions one could trade into using calls, puts, and the underlying stock. Using the right combination of 2 components, one can create a long or short position in the third. Those are known as “synthetic” positions; they are every bit as profitable (or losing) as it would be if you had a position in the real thing … blah, blah, blah. Sorry.
I’m not rebellious by nature, but when I see something one way, and the “official source” declares it otherwise, I usually stick with my observation. I have plenty of baseball scoresheets marking hits that were “officially” scored errors, and vice-versa. I’ll tip my cap to, and continue to try to memorize the 1855 classification, but let’s face it, that was 1855, man. I’m not building a case ready to reclassify the Médoc, I just want to point out that there is still First Growth quality Bordeaux out there for less than $100.
The reason for Pontet Canet’s climb to the upper echelon of Paulliac producers is Alfred Tesseron. Since he took over the château in 1994, they have been making better and better wine every year. They have certainly been regularly outperforming their archaic 5th Growth ranking for well over a decade. I’ve written about Pontet Canet before, they’re essentially across the street, just south of Mouton Rothschild. Their respective terroir is similar. When I first visited the château in 2008, it was quickly pointed out that there were horses working the vineyard. At the time, they were working towards the Agence Bio organic certification. They earned it beginning with the 2010 vintage.
After attending the En Primeur tastings in 2008, and the subsequent UGC tasting in January 2010, it was apparent that the 2007 Pontet Canet was a huge standout from what seems to be an under appreciated vintage. The wine press (and many a Bordeaux lover) has had much praise for the 2007 Pontet Canet. Here’s what The Wine Advocate’s Neal Martin had to say:
“Tasted at Bordeaux Index’s Pontet-Canet dinner at The Ledbury. The 2007 continues to be a great Pauillac considering the vintage. Here the nose closed at first back opens up nicely with blackberry and graphite, less of the Margaux element that I noticed a few months ago. The palate has volume so atypical for the vintage with soft caressing tannins and a very harmonious blackcurrant, mulberry and vanilla tinged finish. Tasted February 2011. 93 points.”
There you have it. Day one of our 35th Anniversary Sale has been a doozy. I probably heard the customer quote of my entire tenure here at TWH today. Seriously. Anya, Tom, and I were running around crazy all day helping many customers wrestle away some trophy bottles for crazy good prices. 3 liter bottles of 2005 Bordeaux, some fancy Burgundy, and many a bargain case, all made their way out of here today. But hey, that’s what the sale is all about. Somehow, I (barely) found a few minutes to tell you all about a wine that I think should not be missed. The “synthetic First Growth”, 2007 Château Pontet Cantet. The official scorekeeper’s ruling? A hit! – Peter Zavialoff
Please note: The 2007 Pontet Canet was purchased by The Wine House as usual: directly from La Place in Bordeaux, and shipped to our warehouse in refrigerated container. The wine has always been in pristine condition throughout its trip to our shop.
Please feel free to email me with any questions or comments about the 1855 Bordeaux classification, options trading, or English Football: firstname.lastname@example.org