2000 Bordeaux In Magnum – Chateau Cap de Faugeres

Wednesday, November 16, 2016 5:23 PM

Q. What’s better than a bottle of wine? A. A magnum of wine! So true, so true; though enjoying a magnum requires a little assistance. Funny, we are steamrolling into the time of year where group affairs are likely to occur. Wouldn’t it be cool to have a fine magnum of mature red Bordeaux from an excellent vintage to take to ________’s house this year? Sure, but magnums of mature red Bordeaux from excellent vintages are expensive, man. Not today they’re not. Just in time for November’s festivities and beyond, we’ve got a small cache of 2000 Château Cap de Faugères, Côtes de Castillon in magnums. The price: $48.98.

Château Cap de Faugères is located in the village of Sainte-Colombe, which sits just across the border between Saint-Émilion and Castillon. In fact, the Saint-Émilion Chateau Faugères is just a stone’s throw west of the property. The vines grow on the gentle slopes rich with clay soils and limestone deposits. It was acquired by the Esquissaud family in 1823 and remained in the family when it was inherited by cousin Pierre-Bernard (Péby) Guisez in 1987. Along with his wife Corinne, Guisez went about making some improvements. In 1992 he sought out the architects responsible for the renovation of Pichon Longueville in Pauillac, and built a new, state of the art fermenting and storage cellar.

The vintages of the early 1990’s were challenging for many in Bordeaux, though things improved by 1995. So when the classic 2000 vintage came along, Cap de Faugères was in the right place at the right time. Speaking after tasting his last barrel sample of 2000 Cap de Faugères, Robert Parker had this to say,

“The finest Cap de Faugeres I have tasted, the full-bodied, dense 2000 is unquestionably a sleeper of the vintage. It possesses impressive extraction, a dense ruby/purple color, and notes of fudge, black currants, toast, and spice box. Enjoy it over the next decade.”

When our staff tasted it a few months ago, we were all impressed by its sturdiness. Fully mature, it showed some classic secondary characteristics that come from bottle age: herbs, tobacco, and forest floor, and the fruit is very much alive and kicking. It’s well structured and complex, and will likely benefit if decanted for 30 minutes or so. This wine has entered its drinking plateau, ready to be enjoyed. You can most likely hold on to it for another 5 years or so, but its so dang good now, why risk forgetting about it? In the scheme of things, the 2000 Cap de Faugères is a perfect example of why it’s a good practice to check out some of Bordeaux’s off-the-radar wines in great vintages.

What’s better than a bottle of wine? There you go. Believe it or not, a magnum of mature Bordeaux from a great vintage can be had for less than $50! Supplies are limited, and we apologize in advance when this wine sells out. With the holidays in the not too distant future, it makes a lot of sense to pick up a mag or two, ’cause everything tastes better out of magnum!

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2011 Domaine L’Aurage (Pre-Arrival)

Monday, January 13, 2014 8:03 PM

aurageHappy New Year! Well, it worked. The reaction to my last write-up of the year resulted in brisk sales and heaps of praise for our new Chablis producer, Sébastien Dampt. The Premier Cru Côtes de Léchet is almost sold out, but do not fear; this past week our staff got to taste the full line of wines from this exciting young producer. Let me just say one thing: Wow!!! From bottom to top, the wines are impeccable, and to quote Burghound’s Allen Meadows one more time, “They are screaming bargains.” If you even remotely fancy a nice, crisp Chablis every now and then, you need to come speak with anyone on our staff about these wonderful wines.


2013 was an exciting year here at TWH, David having signed up a handful of new producers who now sport “Imported by Wine House Limited” on their respective back labels. But, to translate a quote from Karl Lagerfeld in the film La Doublure“I am never satisfied. On to the next.” And so we move on to the next. A new year means new wine tasting experiences, both here and abroad. The Union des Grands Crus de Bordeaux traveling junket will be passing through the states at the end of the month, and I’m all set to fly to LA to taste the newly bottled 2011’s. The vintage didn’t receive as much fanfare as 2009 or 2010, but I was able to find some outstanding 2011 samples when I tasted them in the spring of 2012.

One of the more memorable 2011 tastings occurred on day one of the frantic week. I began on the Right Bank in 2012. I prefer to spend the first Monday in the Médoc, but that’s another story, and that’s just how it worked out in 2012. Appointment #2 was with François Mitjavile at his Tertre Roteboeuf in St. Emilion. I was welcomed into his home, declined his offer for some coffee, and we sat and discussed the vintage. I’ve always thought of François as a renaissance man, and chuckled when I spied Keith Richards’ autobiography on the table. Call me a kool-aid drinker all you want, but I not only believe that every vintage has something to offer, I appreciate the individuality of each vintage, especially in Bordeaux. François finished up his coffee, the conversation concluded, and it was off to the cellar. I had been there about 30 minutes at this point, and I was puzzled as to why no one else was there yet. I tasted through François’ 3 wines, and he explained that he was a bit miffed by the early development of them, as they were not “in their proper place” to present to the press and trade. Well, this was like an overprotective father with his shy child. We were tasting barrel samples, so no one should be looking for a fine glass of wine here. The samples were all fine, they were just tightly wound. Time and oxygen usually sort that out, so I wasn’t worried, but then again, I wasn’t the winemaker.


 What was impressive, was the barrel sample of 2011 Domaine l’Aurage, made by François’ son, Louis. I was first introduced to Domaine l’Aurage via Louis’ 2009 vintage, and it was a huge hit with both staff and customers alike. What wasn’t to like? It had it all: charm, finesse, balance, and that silky, almost Burgundian mouthfeel. Apples don’t fall far from their trees, that’s for sure. The Mitjavile family style of winemaking has been passed to the next generation. When I tasted the 2011 sample of l’Aurage, it didn’t come with a “proceed with caution” warning. The 2011 was very reminiscent of the 2009: fresh purple fruit sitting atop soft, silky structure. It had power, but it had balance. It was indeed impressive. Somewhere in the middle of this visit, the bell rang. François and I were joined by Jeannie Cho Lee MW! I was introduced to her by François as “an old friend”, and Jeannie smiled and replied, “He doesn’t look so old.” Wow. Was she flirting with me? François excused himself for a moment, and ran upstairs for something, and Jeannie turned to me and asked, “It’s a little reductive, don’t you think?” I then explained what François told me before we tasted. When she tasted the sample of the 2011 l’Aurage, she didn’t say anything. I looked at her with raised eyebrows. She nodded. I nodded. She smiled.

We didn’t buy the 2010 l’Aurage. In retrospect, that was probably a mistake. (See? It’s not just customers who regret not purchasing something). But the currency situation was less favorable when the time came to buy the 2010, so it wouldn’t have been priced so well. But guess what? While it is still on pre-arrival, the 2011 Domaine l’Aurage is available at the same price that we sold the 2009 for, $29 per bottle. For all of the Mitjavile magic in that bottle, that folks, is a steal!

Yes, a new year means new wine tasting experiences. I’m looking forward to the UGC Bordeaux tasting, yes, that will be interesting. For me, Bordeaux is still the benchmark, as Bordeaux delivers. Prices for the famous chateaux are certainly in the stratosphere, but hey, when you’ve got winemakers like Louis Mitjavile and wines like the 2011 Domaine l’Aurage coming in at $29 on pre-arrival, it’s good to be right here on Earth. – Peter Zavialoff

Please feel free to contact me with any questions or comments about 2011 Bordeaux, Domaine l’Aurage, or English Football: peter.winehouse@sbcglobal.net

2009 Domaine L’Aurage, Castillon

Sunday, March 24, 2013 10:08 PM

In the world of Bordeaux, there’s been a lot of fuss about the 2010’s lately. Well, why not? It’s a super vintage, and after the bottled wines made their way through North America earlier this year, they proved to be more charming than originally perceived. It’s part II of back-to-back legendary vintages for the region. The 2009’s were all about charm from the get-go. What a pleasure it has given me to put the many 2009’s in your collective hands and to hear about the joy and pleasure the wines have already provided you! There’s a pretty long list of the various 2009 red Bordeaux that I’ve recommended since I tasted them out of barrel 3 years ago. Your responses to those reco’s are what makes it all worth while!


I love hearing about your experiences with 2009 Bordeaux, but even when I’m not hearing it, I’m seeing it! Case in point: the 2009 Domaine L’Aurage, Castillon. As far as I know, since June of 2010, we’ve been the only US wine merchant with this wine!!! That’s way cool. That’s what I’m supposed to be doing when I go to Bordeaux each spring. Searching for, and finding wines just like this one. Many of you bought this wine on pre-arrival, and I’ve not only heard, but I’ve seen evidence that you’re all lovin’ it.It would take more than one hand to count how many customers have purchased a bottle or 2, and then have come back in and loaded up! The story’s a great one, as winemaker Louis Mitjavile is the son of François who owns and makes the wines of Tertre Roteboeuf. Apples don’t fall far from their trees, so if one wants to taste right-bank Bordeaux made in the Mitjavile style, and doesn’t want to pony up the $200+ that Tertre Roteboeuf can command, here’s a savvy way to do so. For more info, click here. Note: We don’t have a whole lot of it left, our apologies when it sells out.



Well, it’s that time of year again. All my bags are packed, I’m ready to go. My next Sunday ramble will come from a hotel room in Bordeaux. From the looks of things, I have a fuller, yet manageable schedule to work with. There’s a new bridge across the Garonne, that should help with the traffic. It should go without saying that it’s a treat to visit the famous chateaux, and tasting while visiting them is educational for my palate. But I will continue to keep my eyes open for the lesser known producers whose wines offer great value. My itinerary tells me that I will taste the 2012 L’Aurage on Friday afternoon, 12 April. My schedule also, as always, has room for the serendipitous:) – Peter Zavialoff


Please feel free to email me any questions or comments about your experiences with 2009 Bordeaux, the upcoming 2012 En Primeurs tastings, the disruption of football season due to International play, or serendipity: peter.winehouse@sbcglobal.net


2009 Domaine l’Aurage: Mitjavile Magic

Monday, April 9, 2012 5:24 PM


Ah Bordeaux.
We’ve gone down this trail a gazillion times, but pardon me, here I go again. First of all, I’m here. In Bordeaux. Just had a great dinner, looking forward to all the upcoming week has in store. I’ve already hadseveral meetings with negociants, and if there is one thing that’s clear, they’re all saying that 2009’s are either out of stock, or that what they can offer now costs much more than we initially paid. Well, that makes sense. It is a great vintage, no question. So how do we “profiter”, as the French say? Easy, find the wines that we still have for sale at the opening price. Here’s one that very well may be overlooked. Domaine l’Aurage. What? Never heard of it? You should. You will.  

Domaine l’Aurage is the property that belongs to Caroline and Louis Mitjavile in what used to be called “Côtes de Castillon”. Nowadays, its appellation is “Côtes de Bordeaux”, yet it still carries the “Castillon” moniker. Confusing? Pardon me for making it more so. Do you see this picture of Louis? Some of his vines are on both his right and left. The vines behind the tree with ivy on it? Those don’t belong to him. But they are in St. Emilion. Yes, that is the border. Caroline and Louis’ driveway effectively, is the border between St. Emilion and Castillon.

Louis is the son of François Mitjavile of Château Tertre Roteboeuf fame. The wines of Tertre Roteboeuf are highly celebrated amongst Bordeaux buffs in the know. I can go on and on about François and, not only Tertre Roteboeuf, but his Roc de Cambes as well, but not tonight. 2 years ago this week, I found myself in the cellar at Tertre Roteboeuf with François, and I was re-introduced to his son, Louis, or Loulou, as he is affectionately known by his loved ones. Louis is a strong spirit, who has worked in and around St. Emilion, Fronsac, and elsewhere. He knows far more about winemaking than a multitude of wine people that I know. So when I visited Tertre Roteboeuf 2 years ago, I was so happy to have been re-acquainted with Louis, and when I tasted HIS wine, my mind was certainly cast into the realm of thinking that, yet again, apples don’t fall far from their respective trees. Coming from Castillon, the 2009 Domaine l’Aurage benefited from the perfect growing season that the vintage stamped on all of the wines from Bordeaux. Taking that into consideration, it also had that “Mitjavile signature” of opulence, great weight, texture, expression, and balance. I do not want to dampen the allure of François’ wines (Tertre Roteboeuf and Roc de Cambes), as they are well worth the cost, and then some, but here’s a chance to get in on the Mitjavile magic at a phenomenal price that quite simply, you’re not going to see again. That’s right, the 2009 Domaine l’Aurage is available, on pre-arrival, at the amazing price of $29. Get out! You’re not serious. Oh yes, we are. This is pure, silky magic in a bottle. When I tasted it out of barrel, I was thinking, “Okay, yep, this is the stuff. It’s got the verve, it’s got the style. But, sigh, probably going to be high 40’s, low 50’s?” Ahhhnttt! Wrong. How about $29??!!?? Seriously, you cannot find better Right Bank Bordeaux under $30 than the 2009 Domaine l’Aurage. Nope. I challenge you. Think juicy, ripe dark red/purple fruit, a hint of cola, earth, tobacco, allspice, and a hint of vanilla. On the palate, it enters so silky, then intensifies with all of those components firing in full-on fashion. The acid/tannin tandem, is so harmonious, you just have to take another sip to believe it. Yes, $29 (on pre-arrival). Oh, did I mention? We are the ONLY merchant in the USA with this wine. We’ve been around almost 35 years, we’ve got connections! You will not see Domaine l’Aurage for sale under $30 again. I strongly urge you to secure your allocations now. Scout’s honor, you will not be disappointed.

Pardon me for banging the table yet again, but taking in the weather here in Bordeaux, and just settling in to the pace of the place has rekindled my passion for it (like it was ever extinguished). I hope to discover many new things this year while here, and you can count on me to fill you in on them when I do! Until then.Peter Zavialoff

Please feel free to email me with any questions or comments about Bordeaux, especially if you would like to hear my impressions of any particular 2011 barrel samples: peter.winehouse@sbcglobal.net

I will try to reply as best I can.

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