Oeno-File, the Wine & Gastronomy Column

by Frank Ward

Archive for the ‘Tasting notes’ Category

A Tasting at Flint Wines

Posted by Frank Ward on December 3, 2019

November 2019. Some time ago the London-based Flint Wines held a tasting of an array fine Burgundies from the 2017 vintage. A confession: that tasting took place nearly a year ago. The notes were mislaid and only came to light two days ago. Given that the 2017s have now landed in the UK it strikes me that these descriptions might still be relevant – possibly even more so now than then […].

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GRANDS CRUS CLASSES CLARETS SHOW WINES FROM 2015-2018

Posted by Frank Ward on September 1, 2019

July 2019. It’s not news that Bordeaux no longer has bad vintages. They’re all good in their myriad ways. Not, at least, when it concerns châteaux that are either (1) well-financed and well-run; or (2) simply well-run even when not well-financed. The great Emile Peynaud taught them how to make the best possible wines; then a new generation of oenologists, many trained by him, carried on the good work. The results of that work showed at a recent tasting in London of a number of classed growth clarets from different parts of Bordeaux. Most showed three, even four of the last few vintages – a rare chance [….].

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CHALLENGE BURGUNDY

Posted by Frank Ward on March 20, 2019

March 2019. In 2018 Andrew Jefford, one of our leading wine writers, published an article in ”Decanter” expressing a general disappointment in the wines of Burgundy. He added: “I am in fact a big fan of Burgundies which work; it’s just that the failure rate is much higher than in Bordeaux or Piedmont, and the lustre of the region is such that this [factor] is too often overlooked.” Of bottles he had recently purchased (a number of them from me), he wrote that some of the whites were oxidized while a number of reds were “fair, but didn’t open the door to the magical kingdom of Burgundy bliss.” [….].

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Vincent LEFLAIVE – Passion & Humanity

Posted by Frank Ward on February 19, 2019

February 2019. PORTRAIT.The Chardonnay grape gives fine wines in many parts of the world, but for many it reaches the greatest heights on the Côte de Beaune segment of Burgundy. There, when conditions are ideal, it can achieve complete perfection, with Premiers and Grands cru wines of matchless poise, depth, and finesse. Even “Village” wines can show unexpected depth when from a top estate. The biggest and most esteemed source of these lovely white Burgundies is the village of Puligny-Montrachet, a community hemmed in by vineyards too precious to uproot (except for replanting).[….].

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Bordeaux Excels Itself in 2016 Vintage

Posted by Frank Ward on November 27, 2018

November 2018. A splendid range of clarets from the 2016 vintage was recently presented in London by the Union des Grands Crus de Bordeaux. What follows are my descriptions of some forty of the numerous wines on show. Colours were universally dark and lustrous; few wines were over-oaked or over-extracted. Harmony and refinement were the keynotes. [….].

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The Master of Montrachet

Posted by Frank Ward on September 30, 2018

September 2018. PORTRAIT. Pierre RAMONET of Burgundy, just short of eighty when I met him in the early 1980s, and one of the greatest wine makers in France, had dreamed all his life of owning a parcel of a small plot of land south of Beaune that happens to give the best dry white wine in the world. The grand cru vineyard called Montrachet. Ramonet had long owned parts of the adjoining vineyards Bâtard-Montrachet and Bienvenues-Bâtard-Montrachet, both grand cru vineyards too and able to yield great wines, so it cannot be said that he had ever played second fiddle. But when at Iong last, in his seventy-third year, he obtained a tiny segment of Montrachet in 1978, it was as if a virtuoso violinist had come into possession of a Stradivarius [….]. Sebastião Salgado

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Tasting of Classed Growth Clarets 2014-2017

Posted by Frank Ward on July 31, 2018

July 2018. An illuminating tasting of three vintages from several leading Bordeaux Châteaux was recently held in London. What it showed – or rather furnished further proof of – is that a majority of such estates are now making better wines than in their entire history. Why? Because (1) greater demand has pushed up prices, thus financing all manner of improvements and expansions; and (2) because of colossal advances in oenology and viticulture over the past few decades [….].

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Tasting of 2015 Burgundies from Top Estates

Posted by Frank Ward on April 22, 2018

April 2018. I recently attended a major tasting of 2015 Burgundies, hosted in Paris by the Domaines Familiaux de Bourgogne, a grouping of some 26 family-owned domaines of high repute. The venue: Le Pavillon Ledoyen, a three-star restaurant located beside Le Petit Palais just off the Champs Elysées. I already knew that 2015 was a great vintage in Burgundy. This memorable tasting confirmed it.[….].

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A few recent tastings

Posted by Frank Ward on April 10, 2018

April 2018. Our friends Philip and Cathy recently hosted another dinner, an evening of fine food and wine. It’s seldom that fewer than 8- 10 bottles are broached on these occasions, and all are tasted blind. The latest get-together took this form: As aperitif, a 1990 Riesling Rauenthaler Baiken Spatlese. Bigger than most Spatlesen, close to an Auslese in weight and body, it was medium dry (10.5 ABV) and smelled like apricot with a hint of barley sugar. The ample Riesling fruit was balanced by fine orangey acidity. Fine on its own, off-dry rather than sweet, it could easily have accompanied a fish dish too. [….].

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2013 Clarets – A Variable Vintage Part II

Posted by Frank Ward on February 26, 2018

February 2018. PART II : SAINT ESTÈPHE, SAINT JULIEN, PAUILLAC [….].

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