While we patiently await the results of the ongoing harvest all across the northern hemisphere, it’s a good time to remember the vintages past. All of them. The interesting ones. The underrated ones. The classic ones. And, of course, the legendary ones. Looking back upon the past decade of red Bordeaux vintages, it has become a given that 2009 and 2010 have etched their places among the latter two. Before we knew of the power and structure the 2010 vintage gave us, 2009 was eye-opening for its precocious expression and charm.Though, let us not dismiss its potential for aging. We are speaking of red Bordeaux after all. For the classified growths, well, discipline is in order. You’re going to want to hold onto those. Savvy Bordeaux enthusiasts well know that in these type of years, the weather blessed everyone, therefore bargains abound. We could go back and count them, but who has the time? There is a 2009 red Bordeaux that we thought enough of out of barrel, that we bought a modest amount of. We sold about half our allocation as futures, but when it landed here at TWH, the balance was swept up before I could get my hands on a single bottle after taking off a poorly timed three day weekend. Somehow, some way, we were able to get a little more 2009 Château Larrivaux, Haut-Médoc!
 
For those who know this wine, not much more needs to be said. As I stated, our first drop was gone in a heartbeat. We bought another pallet. Gone. Then another. Gone. Oh well, time moves on, and there are new wines waiting to be discovered. Hold on a second. When we receive new stock lists from our suppliers in Bordeaux, I usually look them over pretty thoroughly. What? 2009 Larrivaux? Really? “David, you’ll never believe what XYZ negoce is offering!” We bought what was left (not much). And now it’s here, back in stock.
 
 
 
Briefly – Château Larrivaux is in the commune of Cissac in the northern sector of Bordeaux’s Haut-Médoc. It is really a 3-wood west of Saint-Estèphe. The property is run by Bérengère Tesseron, and she has been cranking out some impressive wines for quite some time, a bit under the radar. We’re not talking about big, extracted, over-oaked monsters. Her wines are nuanced, elegant, and complex. The 2009 has what it takes to lay down for another decade or more, but it’s so enjoyable now, why not indulge? Seriously, for the price, it’s easy to imagine a Wednesday evening’s slow roasted beef ribs with the fixin’s, a bottle of this, and who cares if you can’t get a reservation at (insert fancy resto name here). It just makes sense; from a flavor standpoint and a budget one, it just makes sense.
 
We’ve written a blog post, or two (scroll down), or three,about this wine. After this email lands in our inboxes, this too, will live as another one. There’s really not much more to say. 2009 Château Larrivaux is back in stock; most likely, for a short time.
 
 
Speaking of harvest, I have spent the past week, and will spend the next on assignment in Slovenia, where the harvest is in full motion. From one perspective, it’s not optimal, as everyone is so busy, it’s difficult to grab the attention of any winemakers around here. That being said, it’s a beautiful country, and it’s almost enough to be stomping around the vineyards, observing the hard work which they undergo, gathering their fruit from the vines. They make time to explain things to us when they can, and it has been a great learning experience.Heck, when all is said and done, I look forward to stashing some 2016 Slovenian wines in my cellar. I probably have some time to achieve that. As far as the 2009 Château Larrivaux goes, I will have to act now. There might not be anything left by the time I return. Na Zdravje! – Peter Zavialoff
 
Please feel free to email me with any questions or comments about 2009 red Bordeaux, Bordeaux in general, European Football, the six Bay Area Wilco shows, or anything Slovenia: peter@wineSF.com

2009 Chateau Larrivaux: The Victory Lap

Thursday, September 19, 2013 7:36 PM

“She say, ‘you can’t repeat the past.’ I say, ‘You can’t? What do you mean you can’t, of course you can.'” More wise words courtesy of Bob Dylan. Looking upon the bright side of his quote, we ask the rhetorical question, aren’t great moments worth reliving? More to the point, aren’t great wines worth re-tasting?  Well, sure. Great wines are always worth re-tasting, but great wines are expensive, right? Yes and no. There’s no doubt that the world’s most famous wines are indeed highly sought after, ergo expensive. We’re NOT talking about them today. Today, we are happy to announce the return of what very well was TWH’s Wine Of The Year in 2012, the 2009 Chateau Larrivaux. When we compile our Top Ten Wines of the Year list, we don’t necessarily rank them 1-10, but it is not coincidence that in the write-up, we might save the best for last. In addition, we seldom list wines that the critics gush over, preferring to factor in important things like affordability and drinkability. You see, here at TWH, we love wine, and show no label bias; it’s what’s inside the bottle that counts. That’s how we found the 2009 Château Larrivaux.

 

It was the spring of 2010. The weather in Bordeaux was gloomy and drizzly. On the first day, I found myself inside the offices of a negociant tasting through a multitude of barrel samples from the much heralded 2009 vintage. That is where the magic happens. That is where one can find a Picasso at a garage sale. The UGC tastings are fine to attend, but you’re not going to find anything that is off-the-radar at a UGC tasting. That is why I like to get to Bordeaux the week before the sanctioned trade tastings, to taste the wines from producers that are not part of the UGC. The 2009 Larrivaux was one of a handful of samples that I found to be outstanding, and knew would offer great value. After returning to SF, when the futures were released, we bought some. I wrote about it then, I mentioned it to my friends, and I talked it up with my colleagues here at the shop. It was a tough 2 1/2 year wait. I felt like I was sitting on a big secret … but one I could actually blab about. “Wait until you taste these 2009’s,” was all I could say to anyone who asked me about Bordeaux. I’ll never forget the day the first container landed. It is not uncommon for my colleague Chris and I to grab a bottle of something after work and taste it, comparing notes. When I grabbed the Larrivaux, I chuckled. I hadn’t tasted it from bottle either, but I kinda knew what to expect. He swirled, he took in the aromatics, he tasted.

“Wow! Are you kidding??!!”

“That’s what I’ve been talking about.”

How much is it??!!”

“I know. A steal, right?


The next day, Tom and David were in on it too. The following week, a customer walked into the shop looking for value 2009 Bordeaux. It was my day off and Chris helped him. He convinced this customer to try a bottle. When I came in the next day, I went out to the floor to grab a bottle of the 2009 Larrivaux, but it was all gone. This customer bought all of our remaining stock! We went back to our negociants looking for more. We bought a whole bunch more and waited for it to get here. Somehow, Anya missed out on the first go-around. When the second batch arrived, it took plenty of prodding and persistence (young Bordeaux isn’t her favorite) before Anya took a bottle home. See her synopsis at the very bottom of this blog post here. So we were all on board. We bought a lot, and we thought it would last, but even the second batch sold out quicker than we expected. It’s that good. Not expecting to find anything, I perused a different negoce’s catalog, and low and behold, there was more available! We bought their entire stock and had to wait again. Well, the waiting is over! Fresh off of our last container, it’s here and back in stock!!! We bought a bunch, so it should stay in stock for a while … but that’s what we thought last time.

– Peter Zavialoff

 

Some words from The Wine Advocate: “A blend of 64% Cabernet Sauvignon, 22% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc 3% Petit Verdot, this has a fine crisp dark brambly nose: good definition with hints of black olive tapenade and a touch of smoke. The palate is medium-bodied with a lovely, slightly “digestif” entry, good acidity, very well balanced with and fine, quite racy finish. Very fine.” – Neal Martin

“A tasty Haut-Medoc with notes of black currants, loamy soil, tobacco leaf and underbrush, this wine should drink nicely for 10 or more years.” – Robert Parker

The Wine House SF Top Ten Wines Of 2012

Wednesday, January 30, 2013 3:06 PM

Now that we’ve all settled into 2013, we have to say with excitement that this is going to be a great year! We are anxiously looking forward to all of the good things and the many great wines coming our way in 2013. But before we get too far into it, let’s have a look back as we reveal our Top Ten Wines of 2012!

The concept may sound simple … the top wines, right? Well, not so fast. We could tap into the multitude of reviews from wine writers and critics and fashion a list of highly rated, don’t drink until 2025, keep in a bank vault wines, butthat’s not how we roll here at TWH. In years past, our Top Ten lists are comprised of wines we all love. Wines that deliver. Wines that outshine their respective price points. Wines that provide pleasure, because really, isn’t that what wine is all about? We taste a whole lot of wine throughout the year, both here and abroad, and only bring in the ones we deem worthy to be on our shelves for you, our customers. Choosing a Top Ten out of all of the wines we’ve said yes to is a fun albeit difficult exercise. It’s fun because we get to relive our tasting experiences, remembering the meals, the ambiance, and the company that went along with each wine. Remember, some of the wines have sold out, but we list them here based on their merits … So without further ado, here is The Wine House San Francisco’s Top Ten wines of 2012!!!

Please use these links to view our Top Ten from last year, 2010, or 2009.

20NV Pascal Doquet Extra Brut Premier Crus Blancs de Blanc

With New Year’s memories slowly fading, let’s begin with some bubbles. TWH mainstay Pascal Doquet makes some of the best Grower Champagne that we’ve encountered. He sure has been garnering praise recently from the likes of James Molesworth of The Wine Spectator and The Wine Advocate’s Antonio Galloni. Why wouldn’t he? His artisanal Champagnes have been wowing our staff for over a decade! When this Extra Brut landed here in our shop this year, it instantly became a favorite of our staff and all customers who have tried it.Here’s what Mr. Galloni had to say about it, “Doquet’s NV Extra Brut Premier Crus Blanc de Blancs is pretty, soft and enveloping. Dried pears, spices, crushed flowers and almonds wrap around the palate in this expressive, layered Champagne. This is one of the more open Extra Brut Champagnes readers will come across, likely because of the high presence of 2005 juice and full malolactic fermentation. Technical details aside, the wine is flat out delicious. 91 points”
NV Pascal Doquet Premiers Crus Extra Brut Blanc de Blancs

Sparkling; Champagne Blend; Champagne;
$54.98
  Add to Cart

 

19Michel-Andreotti Montagny les Guignottes

White Burgundy. Honestly, we don’t really have to say much more than that. It is special wine. Unfortunately, supply and demand do what they do, and a great amount of it is priced in the ‘special wine’ echelon. Well, David’s trips to Burgundy have paid off yet again, as we are now importing the Montagny “Les Guignottes” from Michel-Andreotti. From the slightly off-the-beaten-path appellation of Montagny in Côte Chalonnaise, “Les Guignottes” outperforms its price point by far and reminds us that there is good White Burgundy out there for a fair price. First came the 2010. It’s an understatement to say that it sold out quickly. Then along came the 2011, it sold out too, but we just re-loaded and it’s back in stock. Which one made our Top Ten of 2012? It’s a dead heat. They both belong!
2011 Domaine Michel-Andreotti Montagny Les Guignottes

White Wine; Chardonnay; Burgundy;
$19.99
  Add to Cart

 

182011 Juicy Villages From Juicy Rebound

Now for some local representation. You’ve got to love old-vine Mourvèdre. It’s rare to find a blend from California that showcases the grape in the leading role. Winemaker and hockey fanatic Douglas Danielak took 120+ year old Mourvèdre from the Evanghelo Vineyard in Contra Costa where the vines look like “little trees” and blended it with Syrah and Grenache to create a mouth-filling berry bomb bestowing it with the catchy name, Juicy Villages. There’s plenty of grip and tang to give Juicy Villages a well-balanced flavor experience. A whopping 100 cases were produced of this unique and delicious Côtes du Rhône-esque red. All that for a price that’s more than fair on your pocketbook. Bravo!
2011 Juicy Rebound Juicy Villages California

Red Wine; Rhone Blend; Other California;
$19.98
  Add to Cart

 

172009 Domaine Martin Bart Marsannay

2012 was the year of containers. It seemed all throughout the year, we were simultaneously in the process of consolidating one overseas, anticipating the arrival of the one already on the water, and unloading the container at our dock! That just means we found lots of goodies on our trips overseas. The 2009 vintage was a phenomenal one in France (more on that later), and we tasted a lot of great wines that now have “Imported by Wine House Limited” on their labels.So 2009 was great in Burgundy, especially for the red wines. So again, we’re sure the top names of the region produced formidable wines, but we like to kick tires and look under rocks to find value! David is on a roll bringing some amazing, new-for-us, high-quality producers to join TWH family! Another feather in his cap in 2012 were the wines from Domaine Bart in Marsannay. Their Les Champs Salomon was a home run of a Red Burgundy. It smelled fancy. It tasted fancy. Its price tag? Not so fancy. That all explains its sold out status. Welcome to TWH top 10, Domaine Bart!

 

16Ravan From Kabaj

We’ve got our eyes open for great wines from all corners of the wine world. Like Slovenia. Wines from Slovenia are catching favor with consumers and critics alike, popping up on restaurant wine lists and profiled in thoughtful wine publications. Just one whiff, just one taste was enough for us to throw caution to the wind and stack the Ravan from Kabaj high and proud. Were we concerned whether TWH customers would shy away from an unknown producer from an unfamiliar wine region? Not. The staff were all in for sure, but when a wine is this delightful, exotic and complex, we knew our adventurous clientele would embrace the Ravan from Kabaj just as passionately. The 2009 has sold out, but we find the 2010 a worthy successor!
2010 Kabaj Ravan White Wine Goriska Brda

White Wine; other white varietal; Slovenia;
$19.98
  Add to Cart

 

152009 Châteauneuf-du-Pape – Tour de l’Isle

Imagine attending a traveling French wine trade show in Chicago in the middle of January … brrrrr! Seriously, at some point you have to ask yourself why? Well, part of our service to you all is to indeed kick tires, look under rocks, kiss some toads, and every now and then, we get lucky. Here goes your proof. Last January David braved the elements and flew into 6 degree Farenheit Chi-town. He met a lot of people and tasted a lot of wine. When he met the folks representing the Tour de l’Isle brand,he was gaga over their Châteauneuf-du-Pape! A sample bottle was shipped to the shop the following week, and now we all sing the praises of this rich, powerful (yet friendly), stone mineral driven, Grenachey Grenache! The 2009 was already in the US, courtesy of another importer. Well, we all love it so much that we made ’em an offer they couldn’t refuse. We bought their entire stock and are now the proud importer of their wines! Boo Yah!
2009 Tour de l’Isle Chateauneuf-du-Pape

Red Wine; Rhone Blend; Rhone;
$34.99
  Add to Cart

 

142009 Spottswoode Cabernet Sauvignon

One of the advantages, and pleasures, of being in business for over 35 years (!) is the long-standing relationships we’ve forged with both customers and vendors. One of David’s first discoveries working at The Wine House was the debut vintage of Spottswoode’s estate grown 1982 Cabernet Sauvignon.The Wine House has been proudly offering their Cabernet Sauvignon every vintage thereafter.The 2009 Spottswoode Cabernet Sauvignon is a standout among a very long line of outstanding efforts; it has that unmistakable thread of Spottsberry fruit pushing through with the signature silky tannins wrapping around it. It is a true collectable California Cabernet and we are happy and proud to include this monumental effort among our Top Ten Wines of the year!
2009 Spottswoode Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon Estate Napa Valley

Red Wine; Cabernet Sauvignon; Napa;
$144.98
  Add to Cart

 

132011 Gavi di Gavi

We’ve been directly importing the Ernesto Picollo line of Gavi wines for 5 vintages now, and though we have always felt they smash the quality for price ratio, their 2011 Gavi di Gavi Roveretohas that extra umph that propels it into 2012’s Top Ten! Anya swears that it is the fact that Picollo’s top cuvée Rughe wasn’t made this year, so that special older-vine fruit made its way into the Rovereto. Whatever it was, there’s no denying the quality of this wine. Crisp, mineral driven, and precise, you would swear that the bottle cost would be twice or even three times as much as it is! It is that special. It’s very likely THE best white wine deal in the house!
2011 Picollo Ernesto Gavi di Gavi Roverto

White Wine; other white varietal; Piedmont;
$15.99
  Add to Cart

 

122001 La Rioja Alta Viña Ardanza Reserva Especial

Chances are if you’ve been in our shop in the latter part of 2012, and perhaps overheard a customer request for a “special wine” or a “gift wine”, you would have heard a member of TWH staff gush over the merits of the 2001 Reserva Especial Rioja Viña Ardanza by La Rioja Alta.Whew, that’s a mouthful; but so is the wine! This well known Rioja producer has only thought it appropriate to make this special bottling in two other vintages: 1964 and 1973! Space limitations will keep us from gushing too much over this in writing, but let’s just say that if it were twice the price, it would still be a bargain. With 11 years of age, it can be enjoyed anytime from now until your 3 year old graduates from college … and then some!
2001 La Rioja Alta Vina Ardanza Reserva Especial Rioja

Red Wine; Red Blend; Rioja;
$29.98
  Add to Cart

 

11Bet you didn’t see this one coming. Of course it had to be a 2009 Bordeaux. I only wrote about this vintage and its wines umpteen times. But which one? Seriously, this was the toughest point of this exercise. But when you take everything into consideration, we’ve got to give the big tip of the cap to the 2009 Château Larrivaux, Haut-Médoc. I loved it out of barrel. Then, when the first 2009’s arrived in early 2012, it was on the first container. Chris and I grabbed a few of the new arrivals and taste tested them. His overwhelming favorite of the bunch was the Larrivaux. We opened another bottle the following week for Anya, Tom, and David to taste, and it was unanimous! Now that everyone was on board, we went back to the marketplace and loaded up. It is certainly not the only success story from the 2009 vintage, but that kind of quality for less than $25 resonates big time! Ignore at your own peril.
2009 Chateau Larrivaux Haut Medoc

Red Wine; Bordeaux Blend; Bordeaux;
$23.98
  Add to Cart

 

So there you have it, our Top Ten Wines of 2012! We’ve already begun tasting new wines in the new year, and we’re taking good notes, so we’ll have plenty of candidates for this list this time next year! Wishing you all the best in 2013!Anya Balistreri & Peter Zavialoff

The Right Answer & Ernesto Picollo 2011 Gavi di Gavi

Tuesday, October 16, 2012 7:23 PM

Greetings all. It’s been another banner week here at TWH! There was much excitement here Thursday morning/afternoon as our staff nervously huddled around an AM radio listening to those tortuous Giants hold off a myriad of base runners and a hungry Reds team pent on breaking San Francisco’s hearts. We also were incredibly happy and proud to be mentioned in Decanter.com’s recent article announcing the launch of Opalie de Château Coutet, and of our current US exclusivity! Speaking of Decanter magazine, they regularly have a feature called “Confessions of a sommelier”. It is always a fun read, and this October’s feature with Robert Smith MS of Picasso restaurant at the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas included a question we hear often, “What’s the best wine you’ve ever drunk and why?”It was Mr. Smith’s answer that had our staff abuzz in thought, praise, and delight.

A couple of months ago, I mentioned in a write-up that we, the staff of TWH, are like a little family. We love to share our experiences with food and wine, and we love to laugh. We don’t necessarily laugh at everything; when something profound makes its way past the humor filter, we can be awestruck. Like we were when we read Robert Smith’s answer to that question. You see, we (obviously) all love wine. Which wine you ask? Many wines is the answer to that question. Sure, we all have our favorite regions and vineyards, but if you take a survey, you’ll find our favorites are quite catholic. Chris recently divulged that if it all came down to one bottle, it would be Red Burgundy for him. Tom’spreference lies in Burgundy as well, but in the Chardonnay vineyards of Meursault. There is enough evidence pointing to my appreciation of Bordeaux, though it is Sauternes that I choose to drink each year on my birthday. For this exercise, I asked Anya what her preference would be, and though I know she loves White Burgundy, Champagne, and Zinfandel, she brought the conversation back to Robert Smith’s answer to that question. Touché!

rovereto



 We all like different things. As I’ve said many times before, the beauty of the world is that we all have different taste. If we didn’t, the good stuff would have been gone years ago. Also, that we alone are the experts as to what we, ourselves, like. Tom and I were discussing this concept today.Even if we may not fancy a particular wine, it is important to recognize the wine’s merits.One doesn’t need a Dujac Clos St. Denis, Château Haut Brion, or Vega Sicilia Unico to enjoy a special moment. Oops. I almost gave away the punch line. Take the 2011 Petite Cassagne Rosé, it is EVERYTHING I love about Rosé. No fancy price, but a stunning wine meant to be paired with happiness. No kidding, I’ve gone through 2 cases, one bottle at a time. Then there’s the Château Larrivaux that I wrote about two weeks ago. What joy! Something that I discovered two and a half years ago is finally here, and is it resonating with customers AND staff alike!?! (More on that later). 

So which wine am I going to recommend this weekend? What’s the best white wine value in the shop right now? Hands down. No brainer. It’s the 2011 Gavi di Gavi Rovereto from Ernesto Picollo. We’re now working with our 5th vintage of wines from Gavi producer Ernesto Picollo, and his 2011’s may be the best of the bunch. At least this year’s Rovereto has me smitten! Complex aromas of white peach, stones, and lemon blossom head the zingy palate of refined, zesty fruit and mineral; leading to a crisp, lipsmacking finish with all components firing. This is classy juice, and it’s an incredible deal! Hat’s off to direct importation! What to pair it with? All the usual suspects; but the moral of tonight’s email leads us back to Decanter magazine and “Confessions of a sommelier”

What’s the best wine you’ve ever drunk and why?” Here’s Robert Smith MS’s answer, “It’s not a wine, it’s a moment: like enjoying rosé on the beach in Tahiti or having empanadas and Malbec while on horseback in Argentina.” How true. How profound. How perfectly unpretentious. That pretty much sums it all up. The most perfect pairing for any wine is the right moment. Cheers to you, Robert Smith MS! Thank you for that.

So here at TWH, we’re sure to be huddled around the AM radio this week awaiting further Giants’ torture. We’ll all be tasting different wines this weekend, that will surely lead to some great conversation come Monday. Hopefully we’ll all have had some great moments to make those wines all the more special!Peter Zavialoff

Please feel free to email me with any thoughts about wine pairing moments or the frustration of international football breaks: peter.winehouse@sbcglobal.net

2011 Picollo Ernesto Gavi di Gavi Roverto

White Wine; other white varietal; Piedmont;
$15.99
  Add to Cart

$13.59 per bottle by the case!!! Note: Website will not calculate discount. It will be applied when we process your order here in our shop. This is about as good a deal that exists for a pedigreed Italian white!

 

anyalarrivaux 



To conclude this weekend’s write-up, I asked Anya to express her thoughts after recently tasting the 2009 Château Larrivaux.Here is her kind reply:

 

“I could no longer resist the glowing reviews, my colleagues’ endorsements, nor the enthusiastic customer feedback for2009 Larrivaux, so I bought a bottle last Saturday night and promptly opened it when I got home. Why resist you wonder? Well, I am not a big fan of young Bordeaux. I buy Bordeaux, yes, but I can be patient when in comes to cellaring wine, so I prefer to wait a few years before imbibing. Young Bordeaux can be astringent and disjointed to me or just all fruit and wood with no nuance. Then came along 2009 Larrivaux. Wow, what a nose! With no audience within earshot, I nevertheless exclaimed aloud “that nose, that beautiful nose!” just like Santa in the animated Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer movie. It was several minutes before I even took a sip as I relished the pencil shaving aromas and deep black cassis notes that wafted way out of the glass. I wasn’t expecting to like this wine as much as I did even though everything pointed to the contrary. I immediately got very concerned (because now she wants to buy them-PZ) as I now knew firsthand what Pete has been writing about since tasting the ’09s out of barrel. I am a believer. What impressed me about the ’09 Larrivaux, along with the classical aromatic notes, was the seamless integration of fruit, wood and acidity. The wine has lift and elegance without a hint of astringency.I can see myself drinking this wine over and over and never tiring of it. 

So there you have it. A great wine. A great price. Waiting for a great moment.

2009 Chateau Larrivaux Haut Medoc

Red Wine; Bordeaux Blend; Bordeaux;
$23.98
  Add to Cart

 

2009 Château Larrivaux, Haut-Médoc

Monday, October 1, 2012 6:28 PM

2009larrivaux



Here at TWH, this has been quite the eventful week! I just got word that our next container from France is almost full and will be on the water shortly. On it will be some goodies from the Loire Valley and Burgundy as well as more 2009 Bordeaux. 2009 Bordeaux. Pinch me, I’m dreaming. They’re that good. As I’ve said recently, you don’t need a second mortgage to fill your cellar with high-quality 2009 Bordeaux. I’ve been excitedly writing about this subject ever since April 2010 when I returned from the En Primeur tastings. We sold healthy quantities of some of my recommendations as futures, and I’m grateful for those of you who participated in that. Things are different now. Today, as I write about yet another fabulous, budget-friendly 2009 Bordeaux, just know that the wine is here, ready to be tasted. Many customers have been picking up their 2009’s, and guess what? They’re loving it! No doubt they will be great in 15-20 years, but what’s simply amazing is that they’re already showing brilliantly. And this week, several customers have entered TWH elated at the quality of the 2009’s they’ve bought here, like longtime customer Ken, who was radiating about one that I recommended.

 

One of the reasons why it’s great to have an independent family-style wine shop staffed with folks who love wine at your beckon call is that we pay attention to what you buy, what you like, and just as important, what you don’t like. Many years ago, Ken and I had a conversation about modern styled wines versus old-school ones. He mentioned that he preferred the latter, and when he said that, I knew I had something for him! I told him that we just so happened to have an atavistic Bordeaux from the celebrated 2000 vintage. He tried a bottle. Then another. Then another. Eventually it sold out. Ken came in this past week, and when I saw him, I rose from my desk and put a bottle of 2009 Château Larrivaux, Haut-Médoc in his hands. He bought several other wines that day, but when he and his better half came in today, she exclaimed, “He’s so excited about this wine that he brought in the cork!” What was it? The 2009 Château Larrivaux, of course. He was so happily excited that he went back and emptied the bin. Using terms like “lean”, “mannered”, and “very adult”, he then went on about its “cheap price.” It’s always such a good feeling when we’re able to find something affordable that resonates so well with a customer that they can’t contain themselves when they come back to the shop! He went on to say, “Once upon a time, you found an atavistic Bordeaux, and I loved it. I bought bottle after bottle, and then it sold out and we cried. You kept prospecting, kept on tasting, and low and behold, you’ve found another winner; thank you!” No. Thank you, Ken.

 

berangere



A little research yields some interesting tidbits. First off, the château is run by Berangère Tesseron, the wife of Basile Tesseron of 4th Growth Château Lafon Rochet in nearby St. Estephe. Basile is the nephew of Pauillac high flyer Alfred Tesseron of Château Pontet Canet fame. Larrivaux has been in existence since the late 16th century, and has been run by the women of the family throughout the generations. The wine has a particular degree of finesse and elegance, which could lead some to call it feminine, which just makes sense, considering the château’s history. Though Ken argued this point with me, saying that Red Bordeaux is masculine by rule. Either way, it is a fantastic wine from a legendary vintage for a very fair price that will bring pleasure to all who taste it for years to come. I highly recommend that all you budget-friendly Bordeaux lovers jump on this opportunity to taste this delectable wine.

 

So yes, I get more and more excited every time I hear about any customer’s experience with any of our 2009 Bordeaux, and it has begun to happen with regularity! The Blues won a huge match this afternoon and last week’s Wilco shows were sensational! Good times! Even better, there’s budget-friendly 2009 Bordeaux here at TWH. Come and git it! – Peter Zavialoff

Neal Martin’s notes: “A blend of 64% Cabernet Sauvignon, 22% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc 3% Petit Verdot, this has a fine crisp dark brambly nose: good definition with hints of black olive tapenade and a touch of smoke. The palate is medium-bodied with a lovely, slightly “digestif” entry, good acidity, very well balanced with and fine, quite racy finish. Very fine. Tasted March 2010. (89-91 points)”

Above photo of Berangère and Basile Tesseron from efwines.com

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