Oeno-File, the Wine & Gastronomy Column

by Frank Ward

Posts Tagged ‘Emile Peynaud’

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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Finesse – What is it?

Posted by Frank Ward on March 31, 2016

AvatarMarch 2016. Finesse is as rare and elusive as truffles. It is also extremely difficult to define, yet the word is absolutely the mot juste when it comes to certain wines. And those wines, I would argue, are as perfect as humans – and nature – can make them. Dictionary definitions of finesse are imprecise, especially when it comes to finesse in wine: “delicacy” and “subtlety” crop up often but that’s only part of the picture. The great Emile Peynaud defined it as follows: “Finesse is the sum total of qualities which go to make up a fine wine; it is distinguished by the delicacy of its aromatic savour, the appeal of its bouquet, its clarity of taste and colour and its overall perfection” [….]

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A Fresh Look at Some Top Bordeaux Estates III – Pontet Canet and Pichon Baron

Posted by Frank Ward on January 26, 2015

AvatarJanuary 2015. I first visited Château Pontet Canet, the Pauillac Fifth Growth, in the early 1980s (for more details, see below). It was then undergoing yet another of the many upheavals it had been through since it was first “pieced together” (in David Peppercorn’s words) by Jean-Francois Pontet in the second quarter of the 18th century. He was eventually succeeded by Pierre-Bernard de Pontet, under whose stewardship the Château’s reputation grew markedly. After his death in 1836 it dipped again, which is the reason why, less than two decades later, this fine estate was accorded only Fifth Growth status in the 1855 classification. [….]

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Tasting 13 mature wines from Domaine de la Romanée Conti

Posted by Frank Ward on May 24, 2014

AvatarMay 2014. In vinous terms, the commune of Vosne-Romanée has often been described as the jewel in Burgundy’s crown. In particular, the wines from Domaine de la Romanée Conti (DRC), based in that commune, are possibly the most sought-after reds in the entire world. They are also astronomically expensive. This means that scarcely anybody who is not extremely wealthy ever gets a chance to taste them. Or even to sniff the cork. And that’s just the young vintages.

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Emile Peynaud (1912-2004) – Giant of Oenology

Posted by Frank Ward on April 8, 2008

Emile Peynaud, who died recently in Talence at the age of 93, wrought enormous changes in the world of wine. It is hard to think of any other discipline in which one man exerted so much influence. In 1987 I was commissioned by the New York based magazine Connoisseur to write an article on Emile Peynaud. My two long meetings with him – facilitated by Michel Delon, the late proprietor of Château Léoville Las Cases – took place in his study in the Bordeaux suburb of Talence and at Las Cases itself. 

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