2015 Château d'Yquem

Friday, January 5, 2018 5:38 PM

2015 Chateau d'Yquem Bottles

The Top Of The Pyramid

Unquestionably, Château d'Yquem is in a league of its own when it comes to quality and notoriety.  Think about it.  If you've tasted any vintage of Château d'Yquem, chances are you remember when, where, and with whom.  If you've had enough Yquem that you've forgotten a few of these occasions, consider yourself lucky!

Here's an opportunity to get in on a legend in the making.  The 2015 vintage in Sauternes was a great one.  The botrytis was profound; the acidity levels healthy.  Here's a short excerpt from what The Wine Advocate's Neal Martin had to say about the 2015 vintage in Sauternes:  "The catalyst was a storm on August 31. The 9 millimeters of rain followed by warm sunny conditions was perfect for botrytis formation, the cool nights locking in the acidity. In some years, harvesters are at the beg and mercy of the capricious weather and hesitant botrytis development; but in 2015, the noble rot was so regular and even, that for once, vineyard managers could almost sashay into the vineyard and pick how they wanted."

Here's Mr. Martin's note from tasting the 2015 Yquem from barrel:
"It has a show-stopping bouquet that is beautifully defined and very complex and exuberant, infused with greater mineralité than recent vintages - intense but not as flamboyant as say the 2009 Yquem at this stage. The palate boasts absolutely stunning balance. This is a Yquem without a hair out of place: fantastically pure, botrytised fruit caressing the mouth. That is as per normal. What distinguishes this Yquem is the sense of electricity that is imbued by that razor-sharp acidity. There is just unbelievably tension here and to be frank, there is little point in me continuing to write this note, because it is simply an astonishing Yquem that will rank alongside the 2001 and 2009." 

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Thanksgiving 2015: Some Pairing Ideas

Tuesday, November 17, 2015 1:37 AM


All of us here at TWH were shocked to see and read the news of the tragic events that occurred in Paris on Friday. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of the victims and the French populace.


Not such a pleasant way to commence this week’s Sunday email. Somehow, the topic I’ve had in mind to write about is applicable. Seeing that this is my last Sunday email before Thanksgiving, I will continue the tradition of giving thanks. A good friend of mine summed his feelings up pretty well on his Facebook feed last night. “Very sad day indeed. Could have happened anywhere. Give your loved ones a hug and be grateful for what you have.” A sentiment that I share with many is that giving thanks is an every day activity, not something to be saved exclusively for the fourth Thursday of November.

 
I’ve written about my early perceptions of Thanksgiving before. Most of my life, it was a holiday that I didn’t really celebrate. If I wasn’t skiing, I was bored. I didn’t care for any of the traditional Thanksgiving dishes. It wasalways nice to get together with extended family and good friends, but that was it. Of course this all has changed now that I have lobster and Sauternes on Thanksgiving. I’m planning on doing this again, and the wine I’m choosing this year is the 2005 Château Clos Haut Peyraguey. Why? A pair of cosmic tumblersfalling into place.
 
 
Tumbler #1 – The property was purchased by Bordeaux chateaux mogul Bernard Magrez in 2012. TWH was just paid a visit by a Magrez’s export director last Monday, and he commented on our having a couple of back vintages of Clos Haut Peyraguey in stock. We spoke about Barsac and Sauternes at length, and I’m pretty black and white about my feelings for the wines. I think he got my drift.
 
Tumbler #2: It’s a 2005, a fantastic vintage for the wines of Barsac and Sauternes. I can recall John’s excitement about the quality of Bordeaux’s sweet wines when he returned from the region in the spring of 2006. Ben went so far as to purchase some ’05 Clos Haut Peyraguey futures citing its geographical proximity to Yquem.Then there was the tasting of 2005 Sauternes that I attended in 2008, leaving me with quite the impression, especially for Château Coutet. I last had 2005 Coutet on my birthday back in September and it was showing brilliantly! 10 years has worked its magic on the wine which was revealing some bottle bouquet and secondary characteristics. It was still fresh and youthful, yet layered and intellectual. We are trying to get more. I’ll get back to you on that.
 
Back on Wednesday evening, I was invited to the home of a very good friend to celebrate the end of his six year quest for a particular certification. To celebrate he picked up a USDA Prime Tri-Tip, marinated it, and slow cooked it for hours. He finished it off in a pan and popped a1993 Penfolds Grange. It was my very first taste of what is considered Australia’s finest wine. It was a great experience, and along with another good friend we discussed many of the finest food and wine pairings we’ve enjoyed over the years. He humbly dismissed the tri-tip/Grange pairing from being among the best (it belongs in the argument), and poured full praise for “The year you brought that magnum of Fleurie to Thanksgiving dinner.” There’s a lot to say in support for Cru Beaujolais at the Thanksgiving table. It’s light. It’s complex. It’s versatile. It smells like fall. As the holiday approaches, we have helped many customers with their “Beaujolais for Thanksgiving” orders.
 
 
As I stated above, giving thanks is something that should be done daily, and I have reason to be grateful for many people and things these days. 2015 has been a very challenging year for me personally, and I wouldn’t be in the state I’m in without the tremendous support that I have received from so very many. Giving thanks, BIG TIME! Happy Thanksgiving!!! – Peter Zavialoff
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2005 Chateau de Malle: Priced to Move!

Tuesday, March 4, 2014 3:31 PM


05demalleThere is not much else I need to write other than this: 2005 Chateau de Malle on sale for $24.95 … and no, that is not for the half bottle!  Unbelievable, right? No wonder Pete keeps telling customers that our Moving Sale has wines at “never-to-be-seen-again” prices. The 2005 Chateau de Malle is delicious. Not a super rich or particularly unctuous Sauternes, it does, however, glide lightly over the palate with charming flavors of butterscotch, browned sweet butter and graham cracker crust. The 2005 de Malle is an elegant example of a medium-weight sticky that at this price will be making its way into my fridge often and regularly. Look here, there’s already a bottle waiting for me when I get home tonight. This makes me so happy!

chdemalleChateau de Malle is a stunning estate with manicured gardens and a museum open to the public. The estate dates back to the 16th Century and has remained in the same family the entire time. In the 1950’s the estate was taken over by Pierre de Bournazel, a man who would become an important figure in the viticultural world of Bordeaux. Pierre renovated the Chateau, replanted the vineyards and brought de Malle into recognition. Interestingly, Chateau de Malle straddles two appellations, Sauternes and Graves (about half of their production is for Sauternes). The composition is classic with 70% Semillon and the balance Sauvignon Blanc and a small trace of Muscadelle. The vineyards are grown on undulating slopes upon a plateau of gravelly clay soil. The wine is aged in barrel between 20-24 months in a third new French oak after which the wine rests in bottle at the Chateau for 2 to 3 years before release.
Our Moving Sale is on!  Prices are slashed on wines ranging from everyday quaffers to top-tiered trophy wines with the caveat that they must leave our premises before we move! I will be moving some of the 2005 Chateau de Malle into my cellar to lighten TWH’s load. I can guarantee you that each time I pop the cork on this honeyed wine with its lingering flavors of melted brown sugar and sweet vanilla cream, I’ll be patting myself on the back for being such a clever, savvy wine buyer. A combo plate from Taqueria San Jose with an enchilada and a house-made chile relleno – pop open a bottle of 2005 Chateau de Malle! After a big meal with friends, no one wants dessert but a plate of crispy, buttery cookies served with a glass of 2005 Chateau de Malle- no one will pass on that! Your neighbor brings back a terrine of foie gras from Paris as payment for taking care of their cat – 2005 Chateau de Malle is a perfect, albeit conventional, pairing! At $24.95 per bottle, you can be as adventurous as you want with the 2005 Chateau de Malle. It’s a guilt-free, slam-dunk, smile-inducing, happy-making wine purchase. 
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Spring Cleaning Sale: 2005 Sauternes

Saturday, June 1, 2013 7:58 PM

Whew! I hope everyone had a great long weekend last week. The thing about long weekends is that they lead right into short weeks. Toss in my fairly regular Wednesday off, and let’s just say that I had very little time to take care of all that was on my plate. I’m still going back and forth sending emails to negociants in Bordeaux; be on the look out for our 2012 Bordeaux futures offer very soon. This weekend’s Spring Cleaning Sale has got us all hopping around like crazy, but that’s one way to make some room here in our warehouse. When I arrived here at the shop Thursday morning, I immediately went into overdrive preparing for the sale. One of our favorite customers popped in Thursday morning and inquired, “What’s this weekend’s wine going to be?” Talk about a deer in the headlights moment! And then it occurred to me.  Sauternes on sale? No brainer here.

 

To update an old quote of mine: Not a day goes by when I don’t say – that not a day goes by when I don’t want to take home a bottle of Sauternes. Not a day. Seriously, it’s come to that. A young couple came in this morning exclaiming, “Last time we were here you helped us with some Sauternes recommendations.” Yep, that’s not difficult to imagine. I was recently looking over some of my earliest invoices as an employee of TWH, and they were dotted with both half and full bottles of various Sauternes. I caught the bug long ago in a past life, and my chef buddy Carsten still calls me “Raymond Lafon” or “Monsieur Lafon” as I once had a seemingly unlimited supply of their 1986. But afterattending a tasting of 2005 Sauternes, I fell hard. Hook, line, and sinker! John explained to me that the period of harvest was (in some cases) 4 times as long as usual. This gave the vignerons that much more to work with. Also, the botrytis in 2005 was profound. At the aforementioned tasting, the botrytis was unmistakable in every sample I tasted; my notes reflecting this fact.

So back to the couple that came in earlier today. They are expecting. This was the reason they were unable to join us back in January for our All-Sauternes (okay, Barsac) dinner at Restaurant Picco with Aline Baly of Château Coutet. Anya still proudly has her menu handy at her work station. She pulled it out and we showed it to them. Then we started talking about Sauternes and food pairings. If you ever want to kill an hour or two, bring that subject up with me. The myriad of plates that pair well with Sauternes is so numerous, that I can declare it the most versatile style of wine when it comes to food pairing. Anya regaled this couple with a historical perspective citing that Sauternes were the wines of choice for many a royal-type throughout history. Expounding on this topic, she also noted that the sweetness of botrytised wine leant an “honesty” to the flavors of the food it was paired with. A dry, austere wine might change a diner’s perception of what they’re eating whereas a Sauternes can enhance the food’s flavors. It makes sense if you think about it. Fois gras and Roquefort cheese are traditional pairings because the sweetness and balancing acidity of the wine frame the flavors and textures honestly. But we’re far beyond traditional pairings here. Or to quote Ms. Baly, “There are traditions, but no rules.”

 

Okay, so which one? Not so fast, I said I’m a huge fan of 2005, and when Sauternes go on sale, I think it is a good idea to grab any of them! I’ve gone on about half-bottles before, and I still believe they’re a great idea, because one can taste more wine when not having to pour out the “lucky drops” of a 750ml bottle. So I am recommending half-bottles of 2005 Sauternes. Seriously, Sauternes on sale? You’ve been good. You deserve it. 

Okay, this is going to be a memorable week! ALL KINDS of stuff going on. Let’s see, my sister’s birthday, our 2012 Bordeaux futures offer, (fingers crossed, touch wood) the homecoming of football’s finest manager, the release of Camera Obscura’s new album, the June Dirty Dozen, and my band has 3 gigs in the next 7 days … 2 of them in Hood River, Oregon! I’m taking home a half bottle of 2005 Sauternes. Cheers! – Peter Zavialoff

Please feel free to email me with any questions or comments about 2005 Sauternes, Sauternes pairing, 2012 Bordeaux futures, football, or my band’s upcoming gigs: peter.winehouse@sbcglobal.net

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Vintages, Verticals, And The Delectable Chateau Coutet

Thursday, February 9, 2012 4:47 PM

btls


One of the most interesting things about the world of wine is the fact thatwith each new vintage comes a swath of new bottles from all over the world. One will often hear critics and oenophiles compare newly released vintages with older ones that they perhaps have experienced enough to draw such comparisons. Well, in the scheme of things, we understand some folks’ need to label something in order to move on. However, just as 2011 was different from 2007, it’s exciting to experience different vintages because they are just that: different.Sure, there will always be similarities due to terroir, grape varieties, etc., but each vintage IS different. This is why the vintages are listed on the labels. You won’t see a bottle of 2009 Bordeaux that says parenthetically, (just like the 1982!). You just won’t.

With variety being the spice of life and all, many of us collect things. Much of the time these collections consist of different individual components with a common theme. A favorite novelist’s works for instance, can represent clear snapshots in time revealing where the writer was, mind and spirit, with each book. A catalog of a musical artist’s albums serves a similar purpose. With each read/listen, one gains a better and better understanding of the author/artist, and observes the changes that may occur over time.

Taking all this into consideration, we can make a strong point stating thattasting a single producer’s wine over several vintages reveals not only a history of vintages past, but an ever focusing understanding of the true essence of said producer and their terroir. It is common practice among customers (and staff!) to collect multiple vintages of a particular producer’s wines for these very reasons. In most circumstances, it takes patience and a concentrated effort to build a vertical, as it’s sometimes difficult to source several vintages all at once. By virtue of our connections in Bordeaux,we’ve been able to source and offer you a 6 bottle vertical from Château Coutet.

a&p


Granted 1st Growth status in the 1855 Sauternes Classification,Château Coutetis 1 of only 2 Premier Cru chateaux in the village of Barsac.The unique terroir is comprised of clay on a limestone subsoil which is ideal forproducing wines with fresh, lively acidity levels balancing harmoniously with the yummy botrytis-affected fruit. “Coutet” is not a family name, but a derivative of the Gascon word “couteau” or knife, as the wines’ fresh acidity “cuts” through the fruit in the finished product. We’re huge fans of Château Coutet, having co-hosted not 1, but 2 dinners last year with Aline Baly from the Château. It was a great honor last year, during the time of the En Primeur Bordeaux tastings, that I was able to visit Aline and Philippe at Château Coutet and see about their unique terroir firsthand! It was an experience I won’t be forgetting any time soon … if ever.
For the vertical, we have 3 vintages in stock and 3 vintages in France awaiting transport. To play it safe, we’ll say that the 3 pre-arrival vintages are expected to arrive in mid to late 2012.

This is a great way to observe what has been done with a focused effort by the Chateau to make no compromises in the vineyard and cellar, and by making the right investments to continue its tradition of producing fresh, lively First Growth wines reflective of each individual vintage. The proof’s in the pudding!Peter Zavialoff

Château Coutet In-Stock:

 

 

2007 Chateau Coutet Sauternes (Barsac)
Sweet Wine; Semillon; Bordeaux;
$58.98
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The overwhelming favorite from last year’s Bastille Day dinner at Range,tasting the 2007 Coutet is an ethereal experience indeed. – PZ
“This has a relatively simple but crisp nose with dried honey, apricot, quince and a touch of almond. The palate is well balanced with good acidity and botrytis, pure, quite linear with white peach, pear, a touch of mandarin and citrus acidity cutting through its viscous texture towards the finish. It improves the more it remains in the mouth, the nose seeming to absorb energy, the palate becoming ever more ‘pixilated’. This is another intellectual Sauternes that should age beautifully. Drink 2012-2030+ – 94 points” The Wine Advocate’s Neal Marin
2006 Chateau Coutet Sauternes (Barsac)
Sweet Wine; Semillon; Bordeaux;
$49.98
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The wine I drank on my birthday in 2010. The 2006 is perfect to be enjoyed now and will gain in complexity over the next 10-15 years. – PZ
“This is a little flatter on the nose than other ’06 Sauternes: marmalade, orange peel and tangerine, with less delineation that I would hope for, with petrol aromas developing with time. The palate is rounded on the entry, more sugary than botrytized fruit, viscous honeyed notes and a touch of barley sugar with a linear, quintessential Barsac finish. – 90 points” The Wine Advocate’s Neal Martin
2005 Chateau Coutet Sauternes (Barsac)
Sweet Wine; Semillon; Bordeaux;
$59.98
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It was back in ’08,at a 2005 Barsac/Sauternes tasting at Fort Mason, that I first tasted the delectable 2005 Coutet. Unforgettable. – PZ
“Passion fruit, white peach and nectarine, then a hint of white flowers. The palate has a good level of botrytis, quite minerally, nice tension with dried apricot and spicy, quince flavours coming through on the linear finish. Time should mellow this out. Excellent. Drink 2012-2025. Tasted January 2009. – 92 points” The Wine Advocate’s Neal Martin

 

Château Coutet On Pre-Arrival:
Please note: Pre-arrival wines are expected to arrive mid to late 2012. You will be contacted when the wines arrive.

 

 

2009 Chateau Coutet Sauternes (Barsac) (Pre-Arrival)
Sweet Wine; Semillon; Bordeaux;
$70.00
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Recently tasted at the 2009 UGC tasting in Santa Monica, this is a decadent Coutet, with all the bells and whistles firing as they should be! – PZ
“The Coutet 2009 is a sensational effort from Philippe Baly and his team. It has a fragrant nose of honey, vervain tea, pineapple, frangipane and apple-blossom, well defined if needing a little more vigour at the moment. The palate is vibrant on the entry, informed by touches of apricot and orange peel, very focused and tensile towards the long, sensuous, viscous finish. It has the same minerality exuded by Doisy-Daene and reminds me of a stellar ’62 tasted just a few weeks previously. A magnificent Coutet. – (96-98 points)” The Wine Advocate’s Neal Martin
2008 Chateau Coutet Sauternes (Barsac) (Pre-Arrival)
Sweet Wine; Semillon; Bordeaux;
$49.00
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Tasted January 2011 at 2008 UGC tasting at the Palace Hotel in San Francisco, I found it to be an aromatic masterpiece with complex layers upon layers. If it’s showing this well in its youth, it is sure going to be tough to wait and see what it will be like 10-15 years down the road! – PZ
“The 2008 Chateau Coutet has a very extroverted bouquet, with notes of tangerine, pink grapefruit, guava and pear drop, showing fine definition. The palate is well-balanced, with Coutet’s trademark citrus-driven entry segueing into a pure honeyed, mineral-rich finish that is linear, but very composed at this stage. This will need time, but it already displays that trademark race and tension that are the hallmarks of a great Coutet. Drink now-2040. – 92 points”The Wine Advocate’s Neal Martin
1999 Chateau Coutet Sauternes (Barsac) (Pre-Arrival)
Sweet Wine; Semillon; Bordeaux;
$39.00
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Believe it or not, I have not tasted the 1999 Coutet … yet! – PZ
“Quite candied on the nose without the floral aspect that makes the 2002 so much more charming. Chalk dust, almond and white flowers. The palate is cohesive with good weight, quite minerally but does not fan out on the finish as I would wish. Starts well, but does not quite fulfill its promise on the finish. Medium-term Coutet, but quietly impressive. Tasted July 2006. – (90-92 points)” The Wine Advocate’s Neal Martin

 

Château Coutet Vertical:
Chateau Coutet 6 Bottle Vertical: 10% Off!!!
$294.00
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Save 10% on this normally non-discountable wine! 1 bottle each of 2009 (pre-arrival), 2008 (pre-arrival), 2007, 2006, 2005, and 1999 (pre-arrival)!
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