Wine of the Month - May 2020
This month, we present a few rare finds for you to broaden your perspective on how wine tastes differently across space (terroir) and time (vintage). Two of the wines are from the same banner year vintage, 2016. The other two are from vastly different space (a chardonnay from Burgundy, and a grand cru from Bordeaux):
- Château Berliquet 2016, Saint-Emilion, 93 pts
Olivier Morin Bourgogne Chitry Constance 2017, Burgundy, Not Rated.
L'Hêtre 2016, Castillon Côtes de Bordeaux, Not Rated
Château Pape Clement 2015, Pessac-Légnon, 96 pts.
L'Hêtre, according to Julia Harding MW who writes for JancisRobinson.com, is "a delicious and – currently – affordable wine from the Thienpont family responsible for Pomerol’s Le Pin and St-Émilion’s L’If." The Thienpont family has been a formidable force on the Right Bank of Bordeaux. They initially came from Belgium as a wine merchant and evolved over the last century to become the well-respected winemaking owners of Le Pin, one of the most expensive wines from Pomerol. Here is your chance to sample the winemaker's talent before forking over a larger sum for their other wines (Le Pin routinely sells for $2500-5000 a bottle, and L'If can approach $200).
Olivier Morin's family has been living on the same parcel of land since at least 1650 (the records do not go back any farther). He and his brother Christian have been working together since 1992. One quarter of the domaine is planted in Aligoté, one quarter in Pinot Noir, and the other half in Chardonnay. Chitry is located next to the village of Saint-Bris, right near Chablis. This location allows Morin's Bourgogne Blanc Chitry to gain their complexity from the kimmerigian soils of the region, high in calcaire component, that also form the subsoil in most of Chablis. Nicknamed a "Baby Chablis", Olivier Morin's Bourgogne Blanc Chitry is fermented all in tank to preserve its freshness and purity. The resulting wines are clear, precise and mineral.
Château Pape Clément is from the Pessac-Léognan appellation, ranked among the Grands Crus Classés in the Classification of Graves wine of 1959. With vines initially planted in 1252, it is argued by some to be the oldest wine estate in Bordeaux. The estate was presented to Bertrand de Goth, a member of a local noble family, upon his appointment as archbishop of Bordeaux, by his brother. In 1305, Bertrand de Goth was elected Pope (he was one of seventeen popes with French ancestry) and took up his papal name, Clement V. In French, pope is called “pape”, meaning the spiritual father. Pape Clement left his estate to the successor archbishop of Bordeaux, who renamed the property to demonstrate the papal linkage. Bertrand would later move the papacy to Avignon, which led to the development of the famed wine region known as Châteauneuf-du-Pape (Pope’s New Castle in English) today.
As the story of many Church-affiliated estates, Château Pape Clément remained in the possession of archbishops of Bordeaux until the French Revolution, when it was nationalized and sold. By the middle of the 19th century, the estate was widely regarded to be second only to Chateau Haut-Brion. Some regard Château Pape Clément as the most important vineyard of Pessac-Léognan behind Haut-Brion and La Mission Haut-Brion.
Château Berliquet 2016 - "Medium to deep garnet-purple in color, the 2016 Berliquet (blended of 75% Merlot and 25% Cabernet Franc) is a little mute to begin, opening out to expressive kirsch, black plums and black cherry compote scents plus nuances of unsmoked cigars and dried herbs. Medium to full-bodied, the palate has fantastic intensity and energy, with a firm frame of ripe, grainy tannins and a lively lift to the mineral-laced finish." - Lisa Perrotti-Brown, Robert Parker's Wine Advocate (11/30/2018, Interim Issue), Rating: 93, Drink: 2020-2034
L'Hêtre 2016 - "Rich in blackcurrant fruit with a savoury dark glow to make it more than just fruit. Just a touch of smoky char even though the oak is well in the background, a seductive fruit sweetness. On the palate, this is beautifully balanced, the alcohol perfectly integrated in the tannic structure and fruit core with a fresh tang that runs through the middle. There's a cool fluidity to it even with its depth and length. Fine, dry, lingering and savoury aftertaste. Impressive first vintage with a promising future in the bottle. I opened this on a Sunday evening and it was still tasting fresh and vibrant four days later. This is a very classy wine, and the tannins tell you everything: fine, definite, building in the mouth but in perfect balance with the fruit and freshness. Blue-blooded Castillon. Catch it while you can." - Julia Harding MW, jancisrobinson.com, (10/12/2018)
Château Pape Clement 2015 - "The 2015 Pape Clement is blended of 56% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Merlot and 4% Cabernet Franc, matured in 80% new and 20% one-year-old French oak barrels for 18 months. Medium to deep garnet-purple, it opens with profound notes of crushed red and black currants, black cherries and cassis with touches of mocha, baking spices, menthol and lavender plus a hint of new leather. Medium-bodied, firm and concentrated with tons of tightly wound black fruit and earth layers, it has a grainy frame and refreshing lift on the long finish." - Lisa Perrotti-Brown, Robert Parker's Wine Advocate (2/21/2018, Interim Issue), Ratings: 96, Drink: 2022-2042
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.