Category Archives: International Wine Experiences

Château Clerc Milon Sets The Stage | 2018 Prix de la Danse

Château Clerc Milon Sets The Stage | 2018 Prix Clerc Milon de la Danse 

Prix de la Danse

Have you ever noticed the dancers adorning each label of Château Clerc Milon?

The Rothschild family, who owns Château Clerc Milon, has long been a patron of the arts. In fact, it was Bordeaux visionary Baron Philippe de Rothschild who rather shockingly broke from long-standing tradition by commissioning artists to create his own labels from original artwork.

Today, the Rothschild Foundation continues to build on that tradition with the semi-annual Prix Clerc Milon de la Danse, a ceremony which recognizes and celebrates the talents of the prestigious  Bordeaux Opera Ballet and honors the memory of the late Baroness Philippine de Rothschild, who had forged a deep connection to the Ballet during her lifetime.

Prix de la Danse

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Bordeaux 2017 | Impressions From A Challenged Vintage

Bordeaux 2017 | Impressions From A Challenged Vintage

Bordeaux 2017While my affinity for the wines from picturesque Northern California has been well-documented, it was actually Bordeaux that first stirred the soul of the budding oenophile within me. I devoured the pages of books like Noble Rot and Billionaires Vinegar, which shed a glimmer of light on this prominent yet mysterious region that’s been cloaked in tradition for hundreds of years.

Despite being a geographic challenge for a young wine lover, it was one of the first wine regions I visited. When my spouse and I took the opportunity to tour Europe, Bordeaux was an absolute must – and our short stay there, consisting of just a few days, was one of the highlights of our trip.

We explored the unexpectedly cosmopolitan city center and booked a tour which afforded us visits to Château Lynch-Bages, Château Ferrière and a stellar lunch at Château Camensac, paired with beautiful, mature wines from their cellar. I quickly realized we should have budgeted more time, but the visit still managed to cement my appreciation for Bordeaux’s compelling, age-worthy wines.

And so after ten long years, I write this having just returned from attending en primeur in Bordeaux  as the recipient of the Millésima Wine Reporting Award for 2018. I am deeply grateful to Millesima for the nomination, and to my incredible readers who rallied behind it in support of me. It was incredible to get back to this region that I love so much, and I want to share some impressions from the challenging 2017 vintage.

Bordeaux 2017

Tasting through Marguax at Chateau Siran | Photo Credit: Frederic Lot

What is En Primeur?

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Caballo Loco | The Still Valdivieso Wine You’ll Go Crazy For

Caballo Loco | The Still Valdivieso Wine You’ll Go Crazy For

Caballo Loco

To say that Valdivieso Winery is an iconic Chilean wine producer would be an understatement. It was all the way back in 1879 when Alberto Valdivieso founded Champagne Valdivieso, Chile’s first sparkling wine house; predating the laws in Champagne that would now prohibit such controversial nomenclature today.

I recently had the pleasure of meeting winemaker Brett Jackson, who had made wine all over the world (including France, California and South Africa) before arriving at Valdivieso, where he has been for an impressive 16 years now.

Caballo Loco

Winemaker Brett Jackson Eveluating A Wine | Photo Credit: Valdivieso Winery

Brett explained that  it wasn’t until the 1980’s that Valdivieso began to focus their efforts on producing still wines in addition to the sparkling wines that had been a runaway success for the winery.

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Bodegas Valdemar | A Legacy of Innovation in La Rioja

Bodegas Valdemar | A Legacy of Innovation in La Rioja

Bodegas Valdemar

My incredibly loyal readers know just how fond I am of Spanish wines. They often seriously over-deliver for the price and have an endearing ability to combine the best aspects of old-world wines (balanced, food-friendly and terroir-driven) with those of new world wines (more fruit-forward).

As a Sommelier friend was recently explaining to me, if he is looking to introduce a new world wine drinker to the old-world wine scene, he always starts in Spain. And if he were introducing them to the wines of Bodegas Valdemar, he would have both modern and old-world options to choose from within the same portfolio!

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Chateau Cantenac Brown | Making It’s Mark in Margaux

Chateau Cantenac Brown | Making It’s Mark in Margaux

Cantenac Brown

A Grand Tasting in The Big Apple

Recently I had the incredible honor of being invited to attend the Union des Grands Crus de Bordeaux 2012 vintage release tasting at Cipriani’s in New York. The weather outside was frightful – they were calling for 3 feet of snow on that 26th day of January, and it was quickly accumulating outside.

But inside members of the wine media, restauranteurs and wine buyers from all over were warm with excitement. Why? Over 100 of the most prestigious Chateau in Bordeaux were on site to showcase their newly released 2012 vintage wines, either represented by their Chateau owners themselves or their representatives. Amongst the representatives in attendance was Mr. Jose Sanfins, the accomplished and passionate Technical Director of Chateau Cantenac Brown.

A Successful Vintage and a Great Find

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Fattoria Casabianca | A Taste of Fattoria Casabianca’s Wine

Fattoria Casabianca | A Taste of Fattoria Casabianca’s Wine

Fattoria Casabianca

A few weeks ago the friendly folks at Fattoria Casabianca reached out to me and asked if I might be interested in tasting their wines. It seemed like a serendipitous coincidence as I have really been enjoying Italian wines lately, like the Amarone I recently discovered in the Trader Joe’s Wine Section. They were kind enough to send over some samples of their wines for me to taste.

The Fattoria Casabianca resort is located in Murlo, Italy, approximately two hours south of Tuscany. They offer nightly accommodations (converted from a farmhouse), tennis, swimming, dining as well as wine tastings to showcase their wines produced under their Fattoria Casabianca label.

If the Trip Advisor reviews are any indication then whatever this ostensibly charming and quaint resort lacks in flash it more than makes up for in soul. Many described it as an excellent, laid-back getaway just far enough outside of all of the hustle and bustle. Now I hope that soul translates to Fattoria Casabianca’s wines!

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Wine in Korea

WineGallery

When I began this blog my intention was to share as many exciting wine experiences as possible with a focus on value. Few things are more exciting to me than finding an extraordinary wine with a merely ordinary price. With that being said: When I encountered the complete opposite end of the value spectrum while shopping for wine in Korea, I felt compelled to share that experience as well.

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