Wine of the Month - March 2020

Wine of the Month - March 2020

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This month's selection is about comparison. We present two wines from vintage 2012, and two from vintage 2016.

Château Branon is managed by Helene Garcin-Leveque and her husband, the owner of Clos l'EgliseBarde-Haut, Haut-Bergey, Poesia (a Saint-Emilion Grand Cru), and Bodega Poesia (her new venture in Mendoza, Argentina). Helene is passionate about her wine.  If you have a chance to meet her in her cellar, be prepared to have extra time to hear her many stories.  Last time I met her at Barde-Haut, her engrossing tales made me late for my appointment at Cheval Blanc.

Château Faugeres is the property of Silvio Denz, a Swiss entrepreneur who bought the estate on the recommendation of his friend Count Stephan von Neipperg (Château Canon-la-Gaffelière and La Mondotte).  Mr. Denz is one of the top collectors of glass art by French glass artist René Lalique known for his Art Deco style glass work.  Starting 2016, all the wine produced by the Denz estates feature a glass art on each bottle.

This month's selection:

Tasting Notes

Château Branon 2012 - "A luxury cuvée from this tiny, 15-acre vineyard in the heart of Léognan owned by the Garcin family, the final blend on the 2012 Garcin is 25% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Cabernet Franc and the rest Merlot. A big, full-throttle, full-bodied, impressive Pessac-Leognan, with notes of charcoal fires, burning embers, blueberry and blackberry fruit, this full-bodied, rich, supple wine is very impressive, beautifully textured and quite pure and long. This is a star of the vintage and certainly one of the best Pessac-Léognans. Drink it over the next 10-15 years." - Robert Parker Jr., The Wine Advocate (4/29/2015, Issue 181), Rating: 94, Drink from: 2015-2030

Château Faugeres 2016 - "The 2016 Faugeres is a blend of 85% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Franc and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon matured in 60% new oak. It has a ripe black cherry and cassis scented bouquet, just a touch of volatility although that should disappear by the time it is in bottle. The palate is medium-bodied with a gentle grip on the entry. This has good backbone and fresh acidity, nicely focused with a taut, quite linear finish that feels more restrained and classic in style than previous vintages. Superb." - Neal Martin, Robert Parker's Wine Advocate (4/28/2017, Issue 230), Ratings: 92-94, Drink: 2023-2045

Château Fombrauge 2016 - "Medium garnet-purple colored, the 2016 Fombrauge sings of lively kirsch, baked black cherries and warm plums notes plus touches of potpourri, cigar box and garrigue. Medium to full-bodied, it fills the mouth with decadent red and black fruit preserves, structured by velvety tannins and finishing with fantastic length." - Lisa Perrotti-Brown, Robert Parker's Wine Advocate, (11/30/2018, Interim Issue), Ratings: 92, Drink: 2020-2031

Château Lafon-Rochet 2012 - "The opaque purple-hued 2012 Lafon Rochet reveals plenty of incense, blueberry, black raspberry and spring flower notes intermixed with a hint of forest floor. Rich and medium to full-bodied, it is a complete wine from beginning to end. It may tighten up once it’s in bottle, but this wine has 15 or more years of cellaring potential. This superb effort is a major sleeper of the vintage. Made from a final blend of 54% Cabernet Sauvignon, 41% Merlot and 5% Petit Verdot, it boasts 13.5% natural alcohol and was made by Basile Tesseron, whose family owns this chateau as well as the well-known Pontet Canet. Like his uncle Alfred, Basile has moved to biodynamic farming." - Robert Parker Jr., The Wine Advocate (4/24/2013, Issue 206), Rating: 90-92, Drink from: 2015-2023

Effective October 18, 2019, the US Trade Representative's Office imposed a new 25% value-added tax (i.e., import tariffs) on a wide range of European products (including French wine, Italian cheese and single malt Scotch whisky) to penalize EU subsidies for Airbus.  EU has made counter-claims agains the US subsidies for Boeing.  A ruling by WTO on EU's counter-claims is expected in the spring of 2020.

For any Futures (en primeur) and Pre-Arrival items, our current prices are shown before taxes and tariffs.  Prior to shipment, we may have to collect any tariffs levied by the US government at the time. Tariffs will be based on the date of importation and the rate of US tariffs in place at the time.  Current rules exempt wines with alcohol content above 14.5% from the newly imposed 25% tariffs. We will offer free storage in our professional wine cellar in Bordeaux in the event of any delay in importation caused by the uncertainties created by tariffs.

If you believe these tariffs are NOT in the best interest of US consumers like yourself, please consider writing to your congressional representatives to let them hear your voice.  You can find out how to contact your representatives here using this directory provided by the US Congress.


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