Tuesday, October 1, 2013

The Oceanside Cellar Part 1 Highlights

Over the next two weeks, Spectrum Wine Auctions will unveil The Oceanside Cellar — a pristine collection of some of the world's finest wines. This discerning Southern Californian collector searched high and low for all the top producers, and secured a wide selection of amazing, ultra-high scoring wines from around the world. This positively pristine collection boasts many full-case lots in OWCs and all bottles are in excellent condition, if not every bit as perfect as they were when leaving their wineries years ago. You will notice a heavy selection of top tier, high-scoring producers from California and Washington, as well as treasures from Bordeaux, Rhône, and Italy featured in this week's sale. Be sure to watch out for top producers of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from both California and Burgundy in the upcoming week.

All bottles were stored since purchase and removed by our specialists from professional temperature and humidity-controlled storage in Southern California.


The October Internet-Only Auction Part 1 closes 
Thursday, October 3 at 6:00pm PT


California Highlights

Lot 1. Harlan Estate 2007. 3 Bottles. OWC.
Score: 100RP

Estimate: $1,800.00, Opening Bid: $1,700.00

Lot 2. Harlan Estate 2009. 1 Magnum. OWC.
Score: 97+ST

Estimate: $950.00, Opening Bid: $900.00

Lot 3. Harlan Estate The Maiden 2004. 3 Bottles. OWC.
Score: 95RP

Estimate: $425.00, Opening Bid: $400.00

Lot 4. Harlan Estate The Maiden 2006. 3 Bottles. OWC.
Score: 93WS

Estimate: $475.00, Opening Bid: $450.00

Lot 5. Harlan Estate The Maiden 2008. 3 Bottles. OWC.
Score: 92WA

Estimate: $425.00, Opening Bid: $400.00

Lot 6. Harlan Estate The Maiden 2009. 3 Bottles. OWC.
Score: 93WA

Estimate: $425.00, Opening Bid: $400.00

Lot 10. Joseph Phelps Insignia 2006. 5 Bottles.
Score: 95+RP

Estimate: $550.00, Opening Bid: $500.00

Lot 12. Joseph Phelps Insignia 2008. 6 Bottles. OWC.
Score: 97RP

Estimate: $750.00, Opening Bid: $700.00

Lot 19. Dominus Estate 2006. 6 Bottles. OWC.
Score: 96WA

Estimate: $650.00, Opening Bid: $600.00

Lot 20. Dominus Estate 2007. 3 Bottles.
Score: 98RP

Estimate: $425.00, Opening Bid: $400.00

Lot 21. Dominus Estate 2008. 3 Bottles.
Score: 99RP

Estimate: $425.00, Opening Bid: $400.00

Lot 22. Peter Michael Les Pavots 2006. 6 Bottles.
Score: 96RP

Estimate: $1,100.00, Opening Bid: $1,000.00

Lot 29. Shafer Cabernet Sauvignon Hillside Select 2005. 6 Bottles. OWC.
Score: 97RP

Estimate: $1,300.00, Opening Bid: $1,200.00

Lot 32. Shafer Cabernet Sauvignon Hillside Select 2007. 6 Bottles. OWC.
Score: 98+RP

Estimate: $1,500.00, Opening Bid: $1,400.00

Lot 33. Shafer Cabernet Sauvignon Hillside Select 2007. 6 Bottles. OWC.
Score: 98+RP

Estimate: $1,500.00, Opening Bid: $1,400.00

Lot 52. Quilceda Creek Cabernet Sauvignon 2005. 12 Bottles.
Score: 100WA

Estimate: $2,750.00, Opening Bid: $2,500.00

Lot 53. Quilceda Creek Cabernet Sauvignon 2005. 12 Bottles.
Score: 100WA

Estimate: $2,750.00, Opening Bid: $2,500.00

Lot 55. Quilceda Creek Cabernet Sauvignon 2007. 6 Bottles.
Score: 100WA

Estimate: $1,300.00, Opening Bid: $1,200.00

Lot 56. Quilceda Creek Cabernet Sauvignon 2007. 6 Bottles.
Score: 100WA

Estimate: $1,300.00, Opening Bid: $1,200.00

Lot 57. Quilceda Creek Cabernet Sauvignon 2008. 6 Bottles.
Score: 99WA

Estimate: $1,100.00, Opening Bid: $1,000.00

Lot 58. Quilceda Creek Cabernet Sauvignon 2008. 6 Bottles.
Score: 99WA

Estimate: $1,100.00, Opening Bid: $1,400.00

Lot 59. Quilceda Creek Cabernet Sauvignon 2009. 6 Bottles.
Score: 99WA

Estimate: $800.00, Opening Bid: $750.00

Lot 60. Quilceda Creek Cabernet Sauvignon 2009. 6 Bottles.
Score: 99WA

Estimate: $800.00, Opening Bid: $750.00

Lot 64. Quilceda Creek Palengat 2008. 4 Bottles.
Score: 97WA

Estimate: $350.00, Opening Bid: $325.00

Lot 65. Quilceda Creek Galitzine Vineyard 2008. 4 Bottles.
Score: 98WA

Estimate: $550.00, Opening Bid: $500.00

Lot 66. Pahlmeyer Proprietary Red 2005. 6 Bottles.
Score: 96RP

Estimate: $600.00, Opening Bid: $550.00

Lot 70. Pahlmeyer Proprietary Red 2007. 6 Bottles.
Score: 96+RP

Estimate: $600.00, Opening Bid: $550.00

Lot 91. Lewis Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve 2006. 4 Bottles.
Score: 95WS

Estimate: $425.00, Opening Bid: $400.00





Lot 125. Ramey Cabernet Sauvignon Pedregal Vineyard 2007. 6 Bottles.
Score: 96RP

Estimate: $650.00, Opening Bid: $600.00

Lot 126. Ramey Cabernet Sauvignon Pedregal Vineyard 2007. 2 Bottles.
Score: 96RP

Estimate: $200.00, Opening Bid: $190.00


Bordeaux, Italy, and Rhône Highlights





Lot 239. Il Poggione Brunello di Montalcino 2004. 6 Bottles.
Score: 95WA

Estimate: $275.00, Opening Bid: $250.00

Lot 242. Poggio Antico Brunello di Montalcino Altero 2007. 6 Bottles.
Score: 95WA

Estimate: $300.00, Opening Bid: $275.00
Lot 244. Valdicava Brunello di Montalcino 2004. 6 Bottles.
Score: 95WS

Estimate: $550.00, Opening Bid: $500.00

Lot 246. Fontodi Flaccianello della Pieve 2006. 12 Bottles.
Score: 99WS

Estimate: $1,100.00, Opening Bid: $1,000.00

Lot 251. Petrolo Galatrona 2004. 2 Bottles.
Score: 97WS

Estimate: $275.00, Opening Bid: $250.00

Lot 253. G. Mascarello Barolo Monprivato 2006. 2 Bottles.
Score: 96WA

Estimate: $170.00, Opening Bid: $160.00
Lot 254. P. Scavino Barolo Bric dël Fiasc 2004. 4 Bottles.
Score: 96WA

Estimate: $350.00, Opening Bid: $325.00

Lot 255. D. Clerico Barolo Ciabot Mentin 2005. 4 Bottles.
Score: 96WA

Estimate: $275.00, Opening Bid: $250.00

Lot 259. Manzone Barolo Le Gramolere 2004. 4 Bottles.
Score: 94WA

Estimate: $400.00, Opening Bid: $375.00

Lot 263. Pontet-Canet 2005. 12 Bottles.
Score: 96+RP

Estimate: $1,600.00, Opening Bid: $1,500.00
Lot 264. Pichon Baron 2008. 4 Bottles.
Score: 95RP

Estimate: $325.00, Opening Bid: $300.00

Lot 265. Pichon Baron 2009. 3 Bottles.
Score: 98RP

Estimate: $475.00, Opening Bid: $450.00

Lot 268. Malescot St. Exupery 2009. 3 Bottles.
Score: 96RP

Estimate: $250.00, Opening Bid: $225.00

Lot 269. Rauzan-Ségla 2005. 6 Bottles.
Score: 97WS

Estimate: $650.00, Opening Bid: $600.00

Lot 270. Rauzan-Ségla 2005. 2 Bottles.
Score: 97WS

Estimate: $225.00, Current Bid: $200.00

Lot 273. Léoville-Las Cases 2004. 12 Bottles. OWC.
Score: 95WS

Estimate: $1,500.00, Opening Bid: $1,400.00

Lot 275. Haut-Bailly 2009. 3 Bottles.
Score: 98+RP

Estimate: $375.00, Opening Bid: $350.00
Lot 281. Pavie 2008. 6 Bottles.
Score: 95RP

Estimate: $950.00, Opening Bid: $900.00
Lot 282. Troplong Mondot 2009. 3 Bottles.
Score: 99RP

Estimate: $475.00, Opening Bid: $450.00
Lot 283. Pavie-Macquin 2005. 12 Bottles.
Score: 98RP

Estimate: $1,600.00, Opening Bid: $1,500.00
Lot 285. Larcis Ducasse 2005. 12 Bottles.
Score: 98RP

Estimate: $1,600.00, Opening Bid: $1,500.00

Lot 295. Guiraud 2005. 4 Bottles.
Score: 97WS

Estimate: $130.00, Opening Bid: $120.00


Lot 299. Château de Beaucastel Châteauneuf-du-Pape 2007. 1 Magnum.
Score: 96RP

Estimate: $110.00, Current Bid: $100.00

Lot 300. Clos des Papes Châteauneuf-du-Pape 2007. 4 Bottles.
Score: 99+RP

Estimate: $550.00, Opening Bid: $500.00

Lot 303. Clos des Papes Châteauneuf-du-Pape 2007. 1 Double Magnum.
Score: 99+RP

Estimate: $750.00, Opening Bid: $700.00





Lot 312. E. Guigal Saint-Joseph Vignes de l'Hospice 2003. 2 Bottles.
Score: 96WA

Estimate: $25.00, Current Bid: $55.00

Lot 314. Catena Zapata Malbec Argentino 2005. 3 Bottles.
Score: 97+WA

Estimate: $160.00, Opening Bid: $150.00

Lot 315. Catena Zapata Nicolás Catena Zapata 2005. 6 Bottles.
Score: 98WA

Estimate: $325.00, Opening Bid: $300.00

Lot 316. Catena Zapata Malbec Adrianna Vineyard Gualtallary 2005. 3 Bottles.
Score: 97WA

Estimate: $160.00, Opening Bid: $150.00

Lot 317. Mollydooker Shiraz Velvet Glove 2007. 3 Bottles.
Score: 96WS

Estimate: $400.00, Opening Bid: $375.00

Friday, September 27, 2013

September Auction Tasting at Wine Cellar Club





We recently hosted a Pop-Up Tasting at the Wine Cellar Club in Irvine, CA. The theme of the tasting was to highlight our September Internet-Only Auction Part 4, specifically, A Midwest Gentleman's Century Cellar. Ten different wines representative of this collection were poured over the course of the evening. The combination of exceptional wine, guests, and atmosphere made for one of our best tasting yet!
Château Latour 1971, Château Chevalier Pessac-Léognan Blanc 2010, Perillo Taurasi Riserva 2001, Dominique Laurent Vosne-Romanée 1er Cru Aux Reignots Vieilles Vignes 2009

Chris Weed pouring Giacomo Conterno Barolo Riserva Monfortino 1993


Henri Boillot Montrachet 1999
         Kerry Everett pouring Dominique Laurent, Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Echézeaux 2001
Château Moulin Saint Georges 2000
Dan Rhodes
Giacomo Conterno Barolo Riserva Monfortino 1993
Jason Boland pouring Château Gruaud Larose 2000




Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Highlights from The August Part 4 Internet Auction Pop-Up Tasting



Last night we hosted an incredible Pop-Up Tasting at Legend Cellars (legendcellars.net) here in Irvine. We highlighted wines featured in our current auction including selections from The Sacramento Collection and The Cellar of a Classic Italian Restaurant. Here are a few pictures from a night of great wine and great company.

 
The Bordeaux Lineup

Château Margaux 1989 & Château Pontet-Canet 2000

Romano Dal Forno Valpolicella Supiore 2000

Gaja Barbaresco 1996

Tenuta delle Terre Nere Etna Rosso Feudo di Mezzo il Quadro delle Rose 2009

Château La Mission Haut-Brion 1994 & Château Léoville-Barton 1998
Blanc de Lynch-Bages 1998 & 2001






Friday, July 12, 2013

2011 Ports … Land of the Giants!

By: Dan Rhodes

As many wine collectors and aficionados already know, the 2011 vintage has been “declared” in Portugal by many, if not most, of this Iberian nation’s top houses including Fonseca, Taylor Fladgate, Croft and Quinta do Noval. In conjunction with the celebration and promotion of this spectacular Port scenario, I was able to attend a special “sneak –preview” tasting recently in Los Angeles at the Beverly Hills Hotel.

This gala event, co-sponsored by the Fladgate Partnership and Quinta do Noval in conjunction with Kobrand and Young’s Market, was a tour de force tasting of the “best-of-the-best” and afforded me the opportunity to not only confirm all of the hype associated with this superlative harvest but also take a small trip down memory lane and explore any number of recent releases and library selections from these renowned estates.

The scene was literally a “who’s-who” of the southern California wine world and trade with well-known critics in attendance  tasting alongside representatives and buyers from many of the Southland’s most prestigious retail shops, restaurants and hotels. Several luminaries from the world of Port were in attendance including David Guimaraens, winemaker for the venerable house of Fonseca.

For Port lovers, the 2011 vintage is both magical and historical. The wines are rich, concentrated and full-bodied with long-lived potential. Yet they are incredibly focused and complex with balanced components capable of providing a refined and elegant port experience for years to come. To use an old expression, they are the quintessential “iron fist in the velvet glove” combining power and finesse.

Most retailers should be offering these high-scoring gems on a pre-arrival basis and I would urge all wine collectors who are serious about a compiling a well-rounded cellar to look into procuring an assorted case or two for future consumption. And while you’re at it, don’t neglect purchasing Ports at auction. They are usually available for a very reasonable bid and offer the sophisticated and wise collector the opportunity to procure one of the wine-auction world’s most under-valued and enjoyable treasures.
Here are some of my notes and highlights from this “once-in-a-lifetime” event:

2011
As described by Adrian Bridge (Fladgate Partnership) and Christian Seely (Quinta do Noval), the 2011 harvest was preceded by a cold, wet winter providing ground water reserves which allowed a balanced ripening of the grapes during the hot, dry summer. This textbook viticultural year, which culminated in perfect picking conditions at harvest time, produced wines which combine wonderful purity and complexity of aroma and flavor underpinned by firm, well-integrated tannins.

Croft
This could, quite possibly, be the best vintage Croft ever! It’s just that good! Soft red and black fruits for the palate redolent of cherry/black cherry with hints of espresso and coffee bean, the 2011 Croft is even-keeled and pleasant with well-integrated components and strong depth of flavor.

Fonseca
Powerful cherry/black cherry fruit for the palate is in keeping with the Fonseca style. Generous streams of plum and loganberry provide additional complexity in conjunction with sublime nuances of red licorice, allspice, coriander and white chocolate. This very sexy port should not to be missed by any self-respecting Port aficionado.

Quinta do Noval
The 2011 Quinta do Noval possesses a bright cherry/berry, maraschino cherry identity for both nose and palate along with an exotic, tropical red fruit, passion fruit character which is most unusual. Hints of brown spice and graham cracker round out the flavor profile for this enjoyable gem which is actually drinking quite well right now.

Quinta do Noval Nacional
This is a very serious effort. Layered, vinous and inordinately complex, the wine displays, even at this embryonic stage, all the characteristics of a classic. Deep, dark flavors of black cherry, plum and blackberry display sundry nuance of fig, anisette and bitter chocolate. It is, using the Bordeaux analogy, a wine of First Growth quality. Think Pauillac/Château Latour.

Quinta da Romaneiro
This is a lighter-styled, fairly forward production that is showing precociously well. Mixed red and black fruits abound nuanced nicely with hints of spice, clove and lavender. This should be available in the market place for a very reasonable price.

Taylor Fladgate
The 2011 Taylor Fladgate is an instant classic! It approaches perfection! Full-on, creamy vectors of dark cherry, blackberry, chocolate cherry fruit assault the palate in conjunction with scintillating hints of toffee, milk chocolate and candied truffles. As if that weren’t enough there are even more subtle nuances of fennel, anisette, espresso and black licorice that provide additional complexity to this tour de force. A must buy!

Taylor Fladgate Vargellas
In terms of quality, the Taylor Fladgate’s Vargellas is sort of a miniature version of the above-noted wine. It combines both a red and black fruit identity. Very even-keeled with a plush pleasing texture, the wine brings a mélange of red cherry, red raspberry and bright plum fruits to bear in conjunction with subtle hints of coriander, red licorice, nutmeg and allspice.

Library Selections and other Current Releases
Where does one start? While the 2011 releases were definitely the stars of the show, each participating estate provided additional bottlings representing library stock or other current release bottlings. Too many wines and so many highlights but here are a few faves that really caught my eye. Many of these are still available in the market.

Croft 2009 
sweet red raspberry, pomegranate and cherry compote fruit, drinks well now.

Fonseca 2009 
Superb wine that still needs time. Powerful blackberry, black cherry fruit abound with 
hints of chocolate fudge brownie, allspice and graham cracker. Complexity galore!

Fonseca 2007 
Another larger than life effort from Fonseca, it’s a bit softer than the 2009 with a more velvety, plush texture. Creamy with nice swirls of red raspberry, boysenberry and crème de cassis fruit.

Quinta do Noval 2007
On the whole, the 2007 vintage showed very well at this event and here’s another example. Drinking quite well, the wine showcased such flambéed fruits as plum and cherry in conjunction with pleasing streams of warm brown spices, nutmeg and pomegranate.

Taylor Fladgate 2007 
Ripe blueberry/blackberry fruit, this powerful Port is classic Taylor Fladgate with its nuanced mélange of  nutmeg, cardamom, coriander, candied cherry, lavender and herbs de Provence. Look for this in the market place! It’s worth the effort!

Quinta da Romaneira 2004
Very successful for the vintage. Robust, harder-styled texture that combines any number of black fruit flavors. Perfect for that late night bit of chocolate while watching TV.

Fonseca 2003 
Very ripe, very 2003! Very seductive texture that unites luxurious flavors of blackberry, plum, loganberry and black cherry along with regal swirls of brown sugar, cinnamon and cocoa. Drinking wonderfully right now!

Quinta do Noval 2003 
Another very ripe 2003 that’s quite appealing in the moment, the wine combines seductive dollops of ripe plum and sweet cherry fruit with hints of baker’s/bitter chocolate. Wonderful juxtaposition of flavor and texture that’s quite attractive.

Quinta do Noval Nacional 2003 
Just has that little bit of extra flavor complexity and dimension for which Nacional is known. This is a sublime effort, one of the top wines of the show and while purists may perhaps find the fruit a bit too ripe, there’s no denying the attraction of its layered red and black fruit identity which highlights plum, black cherry and wild berry fruit along with pleasing hints of truffles and terroir.

Taylor Fladgate 2003 
Filled to the brim with ripe fruit richness, the 2003 Taylor Fladgate still retains a nice backbone of well-honed acidity which functions as the spine of this fruit cornucopia that combines red fruits galore in conjunction with hints of brown sugar, maple and cinnamon. The wine’s finish is seemingly endless which bodes well for additional cellaring. This deceivingly complex effort defined one of the show’s top wines and, while drinking well now, it has a nice long life ahead of it for those so inclined.



Monday, June 17, 2013

The June 2013 Internet Auction


Dear Friends and Clients,

Welcome to the special Late Spring Internet Sale, stacked cellar floor to ceiling with incredible new wines! Even after our stellar LIVE sale in Beverly Hills, we found our warehouse full of top lots ranging from Screaming Eagle to The Domaine and we are thrilled to present it to you in this online extravaganza. Place your bids online before 6:00 pm on Thursday, June 20, 2013, or submit a bid sheet directly to our office.

There is something for everyone here, and we begin with the perennial auction touchstone of Bordeaux. From a Lady's cellar on the picturesque coast of California, The Countess of Montecito collection features a range of well cellared claret that would be a welcome complement to any dinner table. Further selections from our friend, A Midwest Gentleman's Century Cellar, are on offer, including rare California wines, top notch Burgundy, and, of course, well-cellared classic Bordeaux. You may notice that many lots come in several "sizes" ranging from one to six bottles with tiered reserve structures. One of the collections I'm most excited about, Classically Produced Treasures from Long-Lived Vintages, contains every wine geek's favorites from great, younger vintages built to go the distance.



Lot 210
From the new world we feature Wines from a Legendary New York City Restaurant, which has some of the smallest-production American wines available in cases with years of cellar aging. A pristine collection from Hong Kong, An Ambassador's Collection, is a small but focused consignment replete with auction regulars Domaine de la Romanée-Conti and first growth Bordeaux. For those that live La Dolce VitaThe Nevada Collection contains incredible wines for your cantina, from Monfortino to Sassicaia to Giacosa and beyond. We end with pristine, world-class Madeira from one of our regular consignors along with d'Yquem and other assorted sweets. Please review the Provenance headers for more complete descriptions of each exciting collection.

As always, the team is standing by to help with any questions you may have.

Happy Bidding!



Amanda Crawford
President 



Click HERE to download the Catalog PDF
Lot 933
Bid on These Highlights and Much More!

Lot 16. Lafite Rothschild 1985. 10 Bottles.
Score: 90RP
Estimate: $6,000.00, Opening Bid: $4,000.00

Lot 27. Latour 1990. 1 Imperial.
Score: 96RP

Estimate: $6,500.00, Opening Bid: $6,000.00

Lot 84. Margaux 1990. 9 Bottles.
Score: 100RP

Estimate: $7,000.00, Opening Bid: $5,000.00

Lot 163. Palmer 1983. 10 Bottles.
Score: 97RP

Estimate: $4,000.00, Opening Bid: $3,000.00

Lot 190. Cheval Blanc 1990. 9 Bottles.
Score: 98+RP

Estimate: $6,000.00, Opening Bid: $4,500.00

Lot 193. Cheval Blanc 1947. 1 Bottle.
Score: 100RP

Estimate: $6,500.00, Opening Bid: $6,000.00
Lot 193
Lot 297. Lafleur 1990. 2 Bottles.
Score: 97+RP

Estimate: $2,500.00, Opening Bid: $2,250.00

Lot 310. Petrus 2009. 3 Magnums. OWC.
Score: 100RP

Estimate: $25,000.00, Opening Bid: $21,000.00

Lot 318. Petrus 1986. 1 Bottle.
Score: 92WS

Estimate: $1,400.00, Opening Bid: $1,000.00

Lot 323. Petrus 1970. 2 Bottles.
Score: 98WA

Estimate: $3,500.00, Opening Bid: $2,700.00

Lot 327. Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Romanée-Conti 1978. 1 Bottle.
Score: 95AM

Estimate: $10,000.00, Opening Bid: $7,000.00

Lot 328. Domaine de la Romanée-Conti La Tâche 2005. 1 Bottle.
Score: 99AM

Estimate: $3,000.00, Opening Bid: $2,500.00

Lot 487. H. Bonneau Châteauneuf-du-Pape Réserve des Célestins 2005. 12 Bottles.
Score: 98RP

Estimate: $3,000.00, Opening Bid: $2,400.00

Lot 552. G. Conterno Barolo Riserva Monfortino 1995. 12 Bottles.
Score: 94WA

Estimate: $3,500.00, Opening Bid: $2,500.00

Lot 552
Lot 629. Vega Sicilia Unico 1970. 1 Magnum.
Score: 96RP

Estimate: $2,500.00, Opening Bid: $2,000.00

Lot 653. Screaming Eagle Cabernet Sauvignon 2007. 3 Bottles. OWC.
Score: 100RP

Estimate: $7,000.00, Opening Bid: $6,000.00

Lot 684. Opus One Vertical . 25 Bottles.
Estimate: $4,500.00, Opening Bid: $3,250.00

Lot 859. Bryant Family Cabernet Sauvignon 1997. 6 Bottles.
Score: 100RP

Estimate: $5,500.00, Opening Bid: $4,500.00

Lot 487

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Le Cercle Rive Droite…A Right Bank Extravaganza!

By Dan Rhodes




I recently had the great pleasure to attend a superb tasting and master class seminar in Beverly Hills at the Peninsula Hotel. Led by master impresario Robin Kelley O’Connor in conjunction with Dr. Alain Reynaud of Le Cercle Rive Droite and Ian Blackburn of Learn About Wine, a small but avid group of us were treated to an incredibly informative and interesting tour down such Right Bank “roads less travelled” as Lalande de Pomerol, Fronsac, Côtes de Castillon and Côtes de Bordeaux along with many of the lesser known and under-appreciated satellite appellations of St. Émilion.

The seminar was meticulously organized and impeccably presented. It was divided into three parts. The first part, accompanied by a representative flight of wines, focused on the various terroir of these sundry AOCs. While we, unfortunately, did not get to taste Château Petrus, the estate is a relevant landmark in any discussion of Right Bank terroir in that it holds a significant spot atop a prominent plateau in Pomerol from which emanate, in concentric circle fashion, the various soil types and terroirs of the region.  There is a great variety of soil composition here ranging from the noble blue clay of Petrus through to the limestone, gravel and sandier alluvial soil gradients which contribute so greatly to the stylistic differences of each and every one of the wines made at these, for the most part, family-owned and operated properties.

Cabernet Franc, in particular, does well throughout these appellations along with, of course, the noble Merlot grape which comprises the largest percentage, en cepage, of Right Bank wines.

The second part of the seminar focused on vintage. Dr. Alain Reynaud and Robin Kelley O’Connor spoke at great length and delivered a superb presentation. Their vintage overview summarized general weather conditions and patterns as well as the many other climatic anomalies which contributed to the overall quality and flavor/texture characteristics of each and every one of these harvests. Dr. Reynaud and Mr. O’Connor pulled no punches and to their credit honestly and empirically looked at every vintage from 2000-2012 in forthright manner correctly categorizing them in a proper qualitative hierarchy. At the end of this lecture, we looked at a flight of wines representing practically each and every one of these harvests with the goal of picking up and understanding the most salient characteristics of each. This included one separate flight, done blind, which gave us all the chance to utilize our newly acquired knowledge to try to identify the vintages of the various wines poured.



After lunch, the third part of the seminar took place in which all of the individual winemakers had the opportunity to present and pour their wines for members of the trade, press and general public. With this, the triad was completed. Each of the three sides of the vinous triangle had now been properly presented: terroir, vintage and winemaker. The equation was balanced. Some highlights are noted below.
In conjunction with this superbly managed and skillfully presented event, I would like to give a special shout out to Ian Blackburn of Learn about Wine and his dedicated staff who poured wines skillfully and in a non-obtrusive manner enabling all to glean so much knowledge and wine expertise from this once-in-a-lifetime event.


Le Cercle Rive Droite Tasting…Highlight wines and scores
In conjunction with the seminar, all of the participating estates took part in a comprehensive tasting showcasing their current en primeur releases from the 2012 vintage as well as selections from the back-to-back championship seasons of 2009/2010. Listed below are some of my favorites from two superlative vintages. Most of these are still present in the market place and are worth seeking out. I am sure they are, for the most part, available at reasonable price. Many thanks to all of the vignerons who participated in this event while generously donating both of their time and wine.

A brief word or two on 2012 --- this is a very nice Right Bank vintage given the strength of the early ripening Merlot grape. Many of the wines I tasted were sinfully delicious with sublime nuances of sundry red and black fruits. The wines are clean and precocious. Nevertheless, they have solid short/mid-term ageing potential. In short, 2012 should not be ignored.

The bigger question at hand is the pricing policy and ongoing attitude of the Bordelais. As Mr. Parker recently pointed out, the region is at the crossroads. En primeur pricing is no longer sustainable at the current niveau. The history of Bordeaux is replete with “boom and bust” cycles dating back to the 18th and 19th centuries. We are clearly in a transitional phase with broad market implications for everyone in the trade.



Will the Bordelais act in a proactive manner and adjust their strategy to re-recognize the relevance of their historical and traditional markets in the US and UK or will they, in reactive fashion, continue to attempt to ride the Asian dragon despite the strong evidence of an imminent market correction? Only time will tell…

A Small List of Favorites

Château de Laussac 2009 (Côtes de Castillon)
Château La Dauphine 2010 (Fronsac)
Château Moulin Haut Laroque 2010 (Fronsac)
Château Villars 2010 (Fronsac)
Château Clos de Clocher 2010 (Pomerol)
Château Fayat 2010 (Pomerol)
Château Le Moulin 2009 (Pomerol)
Château Siurac 2009 (Lalande de Pomerol)
Château Boutisse 2010 (St. Emilion)
Château Grand Corbin Manuel 2009 (St. Emilion)
Château Magrez Fombrauge 2010 (St. Emilion)
Château Le Pressac 2010 (St. Emilion)
Château Rol Valentin 2009 (St. Emilion)
Château Fombrauge 2010 (St. Emilion)
Château Le Prieuré 2010 (St. Emilion)
Château Courlat 2010 “Jean-Baptiste” (Lussac- St Emilion)
Château La Rose Perriere 2009 (Lussac – St. Emilion)






Thursday, May 9, 2013

A Pre-Auction Brunch by the Sea

The Menu
Chef Mark Peel

The gang's all here!


NV Egly-Ouriet Brut Rosé Grand Cru / 100-year-aged "début-de-siècle" green Chartreuse / 1996 Bouchard Père & Fils Montrachet, 1993 Delagrange-Bachelet Montrachet

Chef Mark Peel


Cured foie gras in a champagne gelée with mache / Ragout of mussles, octopus, porcini and potato with kale and crisp basil / Roast saddle of veal stuffed with almonds, spinache and veal kidney on soubise / White cheddar ice cream with candied spiced pear and toasted fruit and nut bread