James Bond and Bollinger...

Not only famous for its fine taste of women and cars, 007 has also a very fine palate when it comes to Champagne. And Bollinger has used this fantastic marketing tool to become the Champagne of choice of the most famous British spy and continue the dream of very men, to have a sip of Bollinger Grande Annee at a million dollars casino table with a license to kill and Sophie Marceau or Eva Green sitting next to you!



Where is the world of wine going... really?

A view of the wine world in a few years...



The Bordeaux 2008 En Primeur campain... Bargain?

For the top Chateaux, the 2005 vintage had set a new benchmark of pricing for the future. With demand going stronger than ever and the quality of the vintage being outstanding, the negociants knew they had to make the best out of it and prices started to climb up like a rocket in the sky! And in no time, a Chateau Ausone for example would sell at 6 times its price from the 2004 vintage!
For most buyers, 2006 en primeur was going to be hard, as most Chateaux produced excellent wines and prices were unlikely to go down, but on the days of release the negociants and producers lowered their prices as they new it would not be as easy as 2005.
Came 2007. A "bad" vintage for some, an "average" for others, many thought prices will go back to pre-2005's, but it only came down by 30% at most. Chateau Cheval Blanc for example, was 3 times more expensive in 2007 than it was in 2004!

It was in the 2008 En Primeur campain, that the real "bargain" would appear. Indeed, prices were not falling down as one would have liked, but they did hit a low unseen over the last 3 years and most of all, the vintage was pretty good!
Not to mention the obvious, the worldwide crisis was the main and probably the only responsible for this slow down. The usual buyers (Chinese, Americans, Russians, Japanese...) were very cautious and made things a lot harder for negociants.
As a result, everyone would beneficiate from this hit and I have listed below some of the wines that you should look for in the 2008 vintage, because of their decrease in value compare to 2005 vintage and their high quality:

Chateau La Conseillante 2008 (92-94+)
Chateau Lafite-Rothschild 2008 (RP98-100)
Chateau Cos d'Estournel 2008 (94-96+)
Chateau l'Evangile 2008 (RP93-95)
Chateau Haut-Brion 2008 (RP95-97)
Chateau Margaux 2008 (RP95-97)
Chateau Leoville Las-Cases (RP95-97+)
Chateau Mouton-Rothschild 2008 (RP94-96)

The most impressive of all, was Chateau Latour (RP96-98) at 2.8 times cheaper than 2005 and back almost to 2004 released price!

PS: In my opinion 2008 vintage will be a vintage to drink rather than invest.

Tasting Note : Louis Roederer Brut Cuvee Cristal 1999

Louis Roederer Brut Cuvee Cristal 1999

In one word : Woaw! The nose is full of toasted brioche, apples and roasted hazelnut. The bubbles are very "precise" and fine and give elegance and finesse to the well balanced structure. Incredible depth of flavours with a creamy roudness and just the right amount of acidity. What an impressive wine! The concentrated flavours continue through to the mid palate and are bursting into the mouth to an impressive 3 minutes finish. Superb!


Tasting Note : Joh Jos Prum Riesling Welhner Sonnernuhr Aulese 1983

Joh Jos Prum Riesling Welhner Sonnernuhr Aulese 1983

From the first smell in the glass, one could tell blind folded, this wine was outstanding! Joh Jos Rieslings are designed to age and I was lucky to witness how they can develop over a 27 years period! A wonderful nose of honey suckle and peach. The mouthfeel is luscious, with a very well integrated sweetness. The acidity is still there and gives even more depth on the back palate. Voluptuous and silky, the wine just keeps lasting in the mouth. The finish is mineral with hints of apricot flavours. Simply Gorgeous!
A must have if you can find it!


Tasting Note : Domaine Vincent Girardin Charmes-Chambertin Grand Cru 2005

Domaine Vincent Girardin Charmes-Chambertin Grand Cru 2005

Opulent nose of strawberries and blueberries. On the palate delicate aromas of raspberries and more strawberries. Silky almost velvety structure with a great depth. A powerful but elegant wine that gives its full potential on the mid palate and finish. fantastic expression of the Pinot Noir grape with no sour flavours and a lingering ending. After tasting this kind of wine, we can understand why 2005 is such a great vintage. One of my nicest Pinot's I had in a while. Well done!


Tasting Note : Domaine Leflaive Batard-Montrachet Grand Cru 1999

Domaine Leflaive Batard-Montrachet Grand Cru 1999

A beautiful nose of hazelnut, toasted wood and vanila. A rich and luscious structure with flavours of pistachios and brioche. The acidity (even though it is a 1999) is lifting the wine on the mid palate giving it a wonderful mouthfeel. Well integrated wood aromas leading to a decadent finish tasting just like a glazed lemon tart... Wonderfully crafted wine!


Tasting Note : Chateau Cheval Blanc 1990

Chateau Cheval Blanc 1990

Deep ruby colour. The nose exhibits black cherries and herbs. On the palate the structure is nicely balanced with a rich but light mid palate and soft tannins. The wine was a little shy at first, but starts to open up after 15 minutes in the glass. Aromas of cocoa and raspberry come forward and the wine becomes silky... Cheval Blanc starts now to show is true side! The finish last for over 1 minute with plenty of rapsberry flavours.


Tasting Note : Domaine Rene Mure Gewurztraminer Clos St Landelin Vendanges Tardives 2002

Beautiful golden colour with shades of orange. On the nose, aromas of tropical fruits, lychees and pineapple with a distinctive spicyness. On the palate, it is a well balanced wine. The residual sugar and acidity are perfectly in line. Aromas of caramel, orange zest and candy on the mid palate. The luscious and delicate texture gives a beautiful roundness to the wine. A long finish with hints of citrus fruit.


Opening and keeping Vintage Port wine

Vintage Port wines are some of the most incredible wines I have ever drunk. Their aromas are unique, they can age for a very long time, they are good value (even 40 years after they have been made!) and even after opening a bottle, they can keep (in the right conditions) for a month or more in your cellar... I personnally don't know many wines with so many qualities. However, their reputation has slowly faded and they were almost forgotten in the 90's. But it seems, they are slowly making a come back and should you decide to open a bottle one day, here is how you can get the best out of it.

Opening the bottle: Before you decide to open the bottle, place it upright for a few hours in your cellar to help the sediment to settle at the bottom rather than the side. Do not shake or move the bottle too quickly in order to avoid the solids to mix too much in the wine.
Remove the foil entirely and assess the quality of the cork. Depending on the age of your bottle, they will be more or less damp. With very old Port (over 50 or 60 years old), the cork might drop in the bottle as you try to screw the bottle opener. Don't worry it is normal. (In this case, you will not be able to use the bottle for double decanting, unless you manage with water to catch the cork and push it out of the bottle)
If you can pull it, do it ever so slowly and re screw the pig's tail of the bottle opener to give some guidance to the fragile cork.

Filtering: Once the bottle is opened, you will need to filter the solids using a funnel and a fine metalic filter. (if you don't have one, a white paper napekin can also do the job. Try not to use a coffee filter as they remove too much colour and flavours)
Pour slowly the Port wine from the bottle to the decanter until all solids and liquid are out. The end of it is usually just a black paste, but it contains some very flavoursome wine.

Double Decanting: Once the wine is decanted, rinse the bottle with cold tap water. Do it a few times to ensure nothing is left in the bottle. Pour back the Port wine from the decanter to the bottle. The reason you want to keep it in the bottle and not the decanter, is that Port bottles are opaque and thick which keeps best the wine away from light. It also limits the air contact which starts oxidation.
For closure, I use plastic vaccum stopper. They allow you to pump the air out in a few seconds and seal perfectly the bottle.
With this technique, you can enjoy your Port up to 1 month or more!!!