Happy New Year!!! We hope you all had a healthy, happy holiday season. We sure did. Nothing over the top, but let’s just say that some very nice bottles were popped and shared. Of course the air is always rife with New Year’s resolutions this time of year, and why not? Clicking reset on the calendar gives many of us hope for better things.We beverage industry professionals need resolve as well, as there is much to do, and it’s so, so easy to get sidetracked. One of my favorite sayings is, “That’s the beauty of the world; we all have different tastes. If we didn’t, all the good stuff would have been gone long ago.” Resolutions are as individual as tastes.

 
This whole train of thought began with a minor inconvenience that occurred on New Year’s Eve. I love my corkscrew. Seriously. I know it well. It knows me well. I keep it in the same drawer as my spoons, forks, and knives at home. We also have one just like it here at TWH. With that corkscrew, I can take the capsule and cork out of even the trickiest bottle in record time. Throughout the year, I find myself in places tasked with opening bottles with foreign corkscrews. Sometimes the results are fine, sometimes not. So on NYE, a very good friend invited me to dinner with his family and shared a very special bottle of Burgundy. As I snapped the foil cutter out of his wine key, I grimaced with disappointment. I asked for and we eventually found another, and then it came to me. Moments like this, and there are plenty each year, wouldn’t happen if I just started to carry my trusted corkscrew around with me. It’s not much of a New Year’s resolution, but it’s what got the idea going this year. Wine-wise, here’s what I’d like to do in 2015:
 
 
#1 Expand My Horizons
 
There’s a whole lot of wine from all over the world with new vintages each year. Try some.
 
#2 Push The Boundaries
 
This year I will learn at least 12 new things about what I thought I already knew well.
 
#3 Monthly Splurge
 
Life’s too short to not enjoy something a little special at least once a month. “Splurge” means to spend more than usual, which again, means different things for different people. It doesn’t have to be on a grand scale. In reality, it’s a small sacrifice for pleasure.
 
#4 More Wine Events
 
Get out there! Arranging tastings or dinners with visiting winemakers or dignitaries can be challenging, but the results are well worth it. Look for the announcement of a dinner with a 2nd Growth Bordeaux Chateau very soon!
 
#5 Drink More Merlot
 
Yep. I re-watched Sideways this past year, and stand behind my statement that if that film were to take place 10 years later, Miles’ famous line would have began with, “If she orders Pinot …”
Merlot is the base of some of the finest and most famous wines in the world.
 
 
So there they are, my five wine resolutions for 2015.As the year progresses, I promise to reflect back upon this list and hopefully, it will keep me on track. Now about that Merlot …

We recently received a new container from Francewhich included in it a handful of well-priced Bordeaux I thought well enough of last April to ask David to import. Our staff has tried a few of them already, and you’ll be hearing more about these wines as we head further into the New Year.

vcurelabel

I made more negociant appointments than usual in 2014 in order to taste past vintages, as I knew that there would be opportunities to find more diamonds in the rough from 2009 and 2010. Little did I know that one of these negoce’s had something up his sleeve when I visited. In addition to several wines from the vaunted 2009 and 2010 vintages, he opened a mini-vertical of Chateau Vieille Cure, Fronsac. We had a field day with the 2005 several years ago, so the detailed, old-school label was immediately familiar to me. The wine that stuck out at that tasting? The 2004 Vieille Cure. For sure. The other wines from this chateau were more recent, yet this 2004 had what it takes. Already 10 years old, it still held youthful charm and structure, yet it was beginning to reveal the secondary characteristics Bordeaux emits after some bottle age. I would have to say that though it seems to have the stuffing to last another decade, it is officially open for business! This wine will provide pleasure tonight or on a Saturday night 10 years from now. Here’s Robert Parker’s note written in 2007:
 
“As was the 2003, this is another big time sleeper of the vintage. The dense ruby/purple-tinged 2004 offers a sweet perfume of framboise, black cherry liqueur, cedar, and spice. Supple-textured, medium to full-bodied, expansive, and savory with superb purity and texture, it can be drunk now and over the next 10-12 years. This property has been on a qualitative roll and still remains one of Bordeaux’s finest values. 90 points.”
 
With Merlot like the 2004 La Vieille Cure, #5 will be a piece of cake to uphold, we’ll see about the others … As mentioned, there are several new bottlings from France and Italy hitting our sales floor as we begin 2015. We’ll be telling you all about them soon! In the meantime,here’s to a Happy, Healthy, and Prosperous 2015! A Santé!

Peter Zavialoff

0 Comments | Posted in 0 1 2 3

1999 Chateau Fontenil, Fronsac

Friday, October 25, 2013 8:33 PM

Every now and again, it pays to skim through catalogues and price lists supplied by our negociant friends in Bordeaux.  Generally, it’s a widely accepted theory that the opening En Primeur price represents each châteaux’s lowest price … ever. Of course, it’s a widely accepted theory because it’s true. However, after enough time passes, and several “Vintages of the Century” occur, we find tremendous value in older wines that are still for sale. That’s exactly what we have here! One of the hidden expenses of aging Bordeaux is the cost of storage. Keep 20 cases at a storage facility for 15 years, and that puts a bit more cost on each bottle in those cases. Build your own cellar and you have to factor in the cost of parts, labor, and electricity to everything inside it. Do you see what we’re getting at here? How about we take a 14 year old wine that has been stored for you at its chateau in Bordeaux and import it over here in refrigerated container, and put it on the shelf with a user-friendly price lower than $35? 
The 1999 Château Fontenil is that wine. Owned by famed consultant Michel Rolland and his wife Dany, it is consistently one of the more polished offerings to come from this often overlooked appellation vintage after vintage. 1999 was not exactly a blockbuster vintage; it also had the distinction of being immediately succeeded by a “Vintage of the Century” (and 3 more since). Here at TWH, we often gravitate to vintages like 1999 because that’s where you’re going to find the best values. We popped a bottle when it first arrived and absolutely loved it. It has all those wonderful secondary and tertiary complexities one finds in aged claret, but it is holding on to an air of youthful exuberance! With its structure completely intact, its fruit, tannins, and acid are still firing fresh. It’s just gained in complexity. Served blind by TWH intern Stefan Jakoby at a private party, he was amazed just how “right” this wine was; plenty of fruit, plenty of tannin, yet sporting the elegance of aged claret. When Robert Parker tasted the newly bottled 1999 Fontenil in 2002, he had this to say, “Fontenil’s 1999 is once again one of the stars of the appellation. It reveals a deep ruby/purple color along with a sweet perfume of raspberries, black currants, licorice, and subtle smoke. The wine is medium-bodied, with attractive ripe fruit in the attack, mid-palate, and finish, and melted tannin. It will drink well for a decade.”
0 Comments | Posted in 0

2 Item(s)