This is a guest post, or may be rather a last minute guest announcement from Invaluable, the company wich runs wine auctions. This is truly a last minute, as the auction starts tomorrow. But – if you got some spare change, you can use it to get that bottle of Pétrus…
Invaluable teaming up with Waddington’s, a fine wine auction house in Canada, over the next week to auction off almost 700 exceptional lots from an international collection. Waddington’s experience in auctioning dates back to 1841. There are three different auctions in the upcoming week: Fine & Rare Wine, Fine Spirits, and Fine wine.
These three auctions by Waddington’s take place on February 25 and the 28th. We’ll be auctioning off nearly 700 wine and rare wines and spirits. Saturday’s auction begins at Toronto’s Nota Bene Restaurant where Chef David Lee will prepare an exquisite three-course lunch before we launch into the auction. This auction is followed by two auctions on the 28th; the first offers fine spirits and the second offers fine wines.
Here are a few noteworthy lots from the upcoming events:
Lot 87: CHÂTEAU PÉTRUS 2009
Estimated Price: $19,900 – $23,100
Quantity: 6, Size: 750ml
Notes: This 100% Merlot has a dense plum/purple color and a sweet nose of mulberries, black cherries, some subtle toast and licorice as well as a floral element. A wine of great intensity, a multidimensional mouthfeel and full-bodied, stunning concentration, the 2009 Petrus is everything one would expect of it.
Lot 1: Armagnac Chateau de Laubade
Estimated Price: $1,100 – $1,300
Quantity: 1, Size: 750ml
Notes: Bottled in 1948, in original wooden box
Lot 76: Screaming Eagle Cabernet Sauvignon
Estimated Price: $7,300 – $8,500
Notes: The blend of 88% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Merlot, and 2% Cabernet Franc was bottled in 1999. It boasts an opaque purple color along with a gorgeously pure nose of creme de cassis, charcoal, and floral characteristics. The wine is opulent, dense, and rich, with exceptional purity, a viscous texture, and impressive underlying tannin that frames its large but elegant personality.
I was asked to help promote a live wine auction which will take place online, hosted by the company called Invaluable, so text below is simply an information about this Holiday Auction. Whether you are planning to bid or not, I think it is fun to scroll through the offering of some of the most coveted wines in the world. And by the way, if anyone is still thinking what to get me for the holidays, I’m telling you right now – I’m not very picky, so anything from this collection will do… Deal?
This two day auction, Zachys Early Fall Auction NYC, starts at 9:30 AM EST on December 4th and 5th. We will be auctioning off over 1,800 exceptional lots from an international collection. Collecting wine has been a labor of love for this dedicated connoisseur. He has lived in Germany and Thailand, and has bought selectively in each country. He then painstakingly air-shipped his wines to New York under temperature-controlled conditions. In New York, the wines were stored in a custom-built temperature-controlled home cellar.
Here are a few noteworthy lots from the event:
Lot 245 – Petrus 2000
Estimated Price: $36,000-$55,000
Quantity: 12, Size: 750ml
Notes: Three lightly scuffed labels, one scuffed label, two 6-pack original wood cases
Lot 334 – Chateau Mouton Rothschild 2000
Estimated Price: $24,000-$36,000
Quantity: 1, Size: 15L
Notes: This 15L bottle was bought by Mr. Hudson at the 2008 South Beach Wine and Food Festival Auction, at which Baroness de Rothschild was the donor.
Lot 112 – Chateau Haut Brion 1989
Estimated Price: $12,000-$18,000
Quantity: 12, Size: 750ml
Notes: Producer:Haut Brion. 1.5cm or better, one lightly damp-stained label, one lightly marked label
Finally, don’t forget the two charitable consignments in this sale. The first is Lot 263, a 19th-century shipwrecked bottle of Château Gruaud Larose from the “Marie Therese”, bottled with the ’00 vintage and sold to benefit les Jardins du Monde with an estimated price of $2,000 – $3,000. There is also a section of fine Burgundy consigned by Bob Dickinson, a meticulous and generous collector, sold to benefit Camillus House in Miami (Lots 1259-1309).
Happy [Fine Wine] hunting! Cheers!
Wednesday’s Meritage – Wine Quiz Answer, Cost of Everyday Wine, National Chardonnay Day, What the MS Do?
Let’s start with the answer to the wine quiz #103, Grape Trivia – Blends, Part 3.
For the long time, the grape trivia series was focused on the single grapes. But now we are stirring things up, so all the questions in the quiz are about blends (well, even if it is a blend of one ), as most of the wines in the world are actually blends. This quiz’s focus was on the red grape blends, and as usual, it consisted of 5 questions.
Here are the questions, now with the answers:
Q1: As you know, Merlot is one of the Bordeaux stars. Below are some of the best Merlot wines Bordeaux can produce, but only some of them are made from 100% Merlot. Do you know what wines are those?
a. Château Le Pin, b. Château Petrus, c. Château Hossana, d. Château Certan Marzelle
A1: It really wasn’t a tricky question – I believe if you carefully read the question itself, it should be clear that more than one answer is possible. Another reason that this was not a tricky question is that two Châteaux from that list of four are growing only Merlot grapes thus they never produce a blended wine. So the correct answer is a and d – both Château Le Pin and Château Certan Marzelle grow only Merlot grapes thus their wines are always made out of 100% Merlot.
Q2: What is common between the following 3 Bordeaux producers: Château Trotte Vieille, Château Belle Assise, Château Le Bel
A2: While very unique and different for Bordeaux, all three of these Châteaux produce wines made from 100% Cabernet Franc grapes.
Q3: Wine lovers around the world are well familiar with so called GSM wines and their great range of expression, coming from Rhone valley in France, Australia, US and may other places. If we are to replace the Syrah in GSM blend with the Cinsault, which will produce powerful, dense, concentrated, long living red wines, where do you think such a wine most likely will come from? You need to name not just the country, but the exact region in order to get a full point here.
A3: Bandol! Mourvèdre grape is the star in Bandol, with Grenache and Cinsault often added to the blend, thus we can say that the abbreviation for the Bandol blend should’ve been MGC.
Q4: Sangiovese is a star grape of Italy, used in many regions and producing great range of wines. Montepulciano is another well known red Italian grape, most often associated with juicy, delicious and versatile wines made in the region of Abruzzo. If the wine is made as a blend of Montelpuciano and Sangiovese, often in 50/50 proportions (doesn’t have to be always 50/50), can you name the region where these wines would most likely come from?
A4: Rosso Piceno is the red wine from the Region Marche which is often made out of the 50/50 blend of Montepulciano and Sangiovese.
Q5: Below is the [partial] list of grapes which I personally call “Power Grapes” (I’m contemplating the blog post under the same name for a while). When used on their own (at a 100%, no blending), these typically black-skinned grapes produce powerful, dense, extremely concentrated wines, often with gripping tannins. For each grape below, can you identify the region(s) and the country(ies) making best known wines from those grapes? You don’t have to name all countries and the regions, one per grape is enough:
a. Alicante Bouschet – Alentejo in Portugal, Valencia in Spain
b. Sagrantino – Sagrantino is the unique grape in Montefalco DOCG in Umbria, Italy.
c. Saperavi – Georgia. Actually Saperavi has a wide range of expression, but it is very much capable of producing extremely dense and concentrated wines.
d. Tannat – Madiran in France and Uruguay
e. Vranec (or Vranac) – Macedonia and number of other Balkan countries.
When it comes to the results, all the respondents voiced their concern with the level of difficulty of the quiz. It was definitely unintentional, but I still can’t promise that “I wouldn’t do it again”. Anyway, the Wayward Wine came the closest to the winning with 4 correct answers out of 5, and I would like to acknowledge both asueba and vinoinlove for their great effort. Well done everyone!
Now, to the interesting stuff around the vine and the web!
First, I want to bring to your attention an interesting post and the poll at the Wine Curmudgeon blog, pondering at [almost] an eternal question – how much the everyday wine should cost? Yes, of course it all depends, but assuming that you drink wine as it gives you pleasure, what do you find to be a reasonable price of the bottle of wine? In this post, you will find both an analysis and the poll to share your opinion. The poll will be closed on May 22 and the results will be published on May 24th, so make sure to have your say before.
What kind of wine to you plan to open on Friday, May 23rd? Well, you can open any wine, with one condition – it have to be the Chardonnay! On Friday, May 23rd, we will be celebrating the National Chardonnay Day, so it is obvious that Chardonnay for Friday is in order. California, Virginia, Washington, New York, Chile, New Zealand or Burgundy – you got plenty of choice and no excuses not the celebrate the noble white grape.
[Updated after the original post date] It appears that it is Thursday, May 22nd that is an actual date for 5th Annual #ChardonnayDay celebration. As explained by Rick Backas, who started the celebration, the #ChardonnayDay is always celebrated on the last Thursday before the Memorial Day holiday in US, which this year is on the May 26th, thus #ChardonnayDay falls on the 22nd. My take? You get to drink Chardonnay for two days now. Yay!
Last for today, an interesting article by W. Blake Gray, conversing on the subject of the MS and what they do. As you can guess, considering that this is the wine blog, MS stands for Master Sommelier, one of the most educated group of people in the world of wine (at the moment, there are only 214 MS in the world). The blog post analyzes how many of the Master Sommeliers actually work the floor and help people to have best possible wine experiences in the restaurant. Take a look the post, it is an interesting read – and, as usual, don’t forget to read the comments section.
And we are done here. The glass is empty – but the refill is on its way! Cheers!
After publishing the first post about Must Try Wines, I had an extended dialog with @PeterZachar on Twitter, where Peter provided good suggestions as to more ”must try wines” to be added to the list. Then I thought about whole rationale of ”must try”, ”must do”, ”must see”, ”must experience”, and I believe it makes sense to talk about it first.
When it comes to ”must experience” in the wine world, I believe there are few deciding factors to get a given wine into that category. First one probably is a price. In the end of the day, this is how first known ”must try” classification came about – famous Bordeaux 1855 classification was made out solely on the price of the wines sold by various Chateaux. Of course price is just a consequence, an artificial showing of other, more fundamental factors, such as quality, reputation, demand and availability – but it is easy for us, humans to comprehend numbers, so the price serves as an aggregate measure instead of quantifying all other fundamentals independently. Looking at Chateau Petrus, Screaming Eagle or Seppeltsfield Port, each one faring at about $2500+ a bottle, it is easy to say ”if ever possible, I really really want to try it”.
Next factor is a reputation of the wine. Reputation in general is hard to assess, right? Well, when it comes to the wine world, one side of reputation also happened to be quantified for us – in the form of the infamous wine ratings. All over the wine blogosphere you can find beating and bantering of the various point rating systems – however, whether good or bad, consumers like to have some simple numerical indication of one ”thing” being better than another ”thing”. No, I’m not planning to divert into the 100-points scale discussion – what I’m alluding to is the fact that it is very easy to include wines rated 100 points into the ”must experience” category. Probably 98 to a 100 points will do just fine, as I can bet I would never be able to tell the difference between 98 and 99 rated wines, so 98 to a 100 is a good range. Should all 100 points rated wines be included into ”must try” list? I don’t think so, simply because you have to draw a line somewhere.
Another side of reputation shows up in the form of someone’s opinion – not a single person, but rather as a collective opinion. If the wine receives multiple [substantial] praises from multiple people, it is probably worth considering for the ”must try” subject – however, all these praises will most likely become reflected in the price, and almost certainly will affect one more ”must have” deciding factor – availability.
What do we usually want the most? That’s right – something we cannot have. In the industrial world, if we run out of something, we can make more of it. It doesn’t work the same way in the wine world. Deeply engrained in the concept of terroir, the most sought after wines are produced from the very specific vineyards – yes, you can plant more vineyards, but they will not bear the same fruit and you will not be able to produce the same wine. Therefore, you can’t address the increased demand by just making more – and your wine becomes less available (and its reputation most likely is increasing). The next step is for the wine to be sold only through the mailing lists thus injecting some sanity into that supply and demand equation. And in many cases price of wine goes up, completing the full connection between our three key ”must have” factors – price, reputation and availability.
I hope I gave you enough insight into my logic. To come up with the additions to the original ”must try” list, I did two things. First of all, I used the exact recommendations from Peter. Second approach was based on using the Wine Spectator online and searching for the wines with 98 to 100 ratings in particular regions and countries – then looking at the prices and styles to decide if I would be interested in experiencing that wine. The result can be found in the updated table which is available as a standalone page on this site (please click this link).
Few more comments, if I may. For most of the wines from France, actual vintage is not essential – all these wines show remarkable consistency in good years and in bad years. Also for Bordeaux, Burgundy and Sauternes the actual ”must try” wine is a flagship which usually goes under the same as the winery itself. Same is true for California ”cults” outside of Rhone Rangers. For all other wines, the exact wine is listed. Also for Port, Madeira and Spanish wines the exact vintage is listed and important.
I just want to repeat the same disclaimer as last time – this list is a personal reflection – feel free to criticize it or make it yours and change it. I’m sure there are plenty worthwhile wines which can be added to this list – this is why I’m sharing it with you. Yes, you are welcome.
Let’s raise the glass for the best experiences of our lives! Cheers!