Tuesday, May 3, 2011



John Salvi-Master of Wine

Chris Low-Vintage Assets


There are growers and producers who, now that the wines are safely in the vats and/or barrels, are claiming that their wines are even finer than the 2009s, for which the market paid astronomical prices for classed and famous growths. Is this really so, can we believe it and of so then why?


One of the reasons, and perhaps the main and most easily understandable reasons why this might indeed be so was the quality of the grapes. Most great winemakers agree today that 80% of the wine is made in the vineyards. Also that you can make great wine with great grapes (you can also unfortunately make terrible wine with great grapes!!), but there is no way that you can make great wine with anything short of great grapes. We will look at the details of the weather later, as weather structures the wine of the year, but the grapes this year were magnificent.

Why were they magnificent? A very dry summer meant that we did not have any significant pressure from mildew and other fungus diseases. This is rare in the humid climate of Bordeaux where many winemakers who have tried making BIO wine here have given up and declared that it is an excellent way of committing suicide!

Fine, ripe, not over-ripe, healthy grapes mean that growers can take their time and practice highly detailed par cellar selection, picking each plot of grapes without haste and exactly when they feel that it has reached its optimum perfection of ripeness, without being in any way over-ripe. In the USA they talk about “hang time”, which we rarely have in Bordeaux, the window of perfect ripeness being very narrow indeed, especially with Merlot. This is a MAJOR factor.

Chris Low: This is confirmed when we tasted the wines ( from 11th -16th April 2011), we found out both left and right banks wines have dense but fine tannins with a purity of fruit not often found in such young wines. We could actually taste the sweetness from the wine and mark presence of fresh fruit on our palate and after taste.

Another reason for fine wine in 2010 is the complexity of the aromas and flavours. We had surprisingly cool nights in August and September and a lot of October (details below), and although we had warm to hot days we had none of the searing, blistering, grape-burning heat of 2003. A large variation of temperature between night and day has been proved to be excellent for the development of fine, complex and elegant bouquets and flavour compounds. This year was perfect for such development and we now have two major and very important reasons why 2010 produced those perfect grapes with the ability to make great wine.

Chris Low: The cools night from September to October has actually enabled the grapes to develop lots of refreshing acidity. The 2010 Bordeaux actually have higher alcohol then the 2009 but the wine do not taste flabby as it is balanced by lovely refreshing acidity.

A third reason is the highly sophisticated technical equipment that major properties, who sell their wine at expensive prices and can afford such luxuries, have installed in their chais today. With perfect temperature control, cooling systems, perfect control of oxygen supply, stainless steel everywhere, perfect hygiene etc. there is simply no excuse at all for a competent winemaker not to transform great grapes into great wine. Today the winemaker has total control. This was not the case in times gone by and is not the case today for the struggling smaller and lesser properties. It must never be forgotten that these are luxuries not enjoyed by all - far from it! Dry white wines can be made reductively without effort and red wines given exactly the right amount of oxygen, exactly when and as required.

Chris Low: From my observation from the past few years tasting barrel samples in Bordeaux. The main contribution from technology is the accuracy of the weather forecast, it enables most of the Chateaux to be extremely calculated during harvest, especially for 2010. This has resulted in many 1st Growths and Grand Cru’s harvesting a very high percentage of excellent quality Cabernet Sauvignon in 2010!

A fourth reason, perhaps more debatable, is that many great oenologists, particularly Emile Peynaud, have said that the greatest wines are made in the driest years rather than the hottest. This year was particularly dry, as we shall see, and not particularly hot. We have seen the faults in the wines and the mistakes that were made with the ultra-hot vintage of 2003.

Chris Low: We observe most of the wines developing wonderful tannins with little evidence of over extraction as originally feared. Though higher in alcohol, the wonderful acids this year enabled the wines to be almost “drinkable” even from barrel samples!

A fifth reason was that the grapes were extremely small (a natural result of the dryness) and had thick skins. This had the already mentioned advantage of a lot of pigments and minerals in those skins, and it also gave a different and lowered ratio of pulp (and therefore juice) to skin. Fine for complexity, depth of flavour and colour, but with the one signal drawback of the vintage – a small crop!

Chris Low: The thick skins help give the wines a wonderful aroma. This year, there wasn’t any trace of vegetal notes and tones. Ripe pips as well, gave the wines some nice hazel nut tasting tones.


Saint Emilion produced an excellent technical report in October, saying why THEY thought they had a fine vintage on their hands. They cited a very dry winter with a rain deficit from the beginning of the year and a daily minimum-to-maximum temperature difference of around 14°C throughout the summer. These two features coincide with what I have just said. They say that these weather conditions, which continued right up to harvest time, stopped the vine’s growth early, before the initial colour change (véraison) that heralds the onset of fruit ripening, leading to a substantial build-up of sugar in the pulp and of pigments in the grape skins. They say that the same conditions also helped to preserve the aromas in the fruit and, above all and vitally importantly, to preserve excellent acidity levels and thus perfect balance. In the dry white wines weak acidities were one of the problems in 2009 and the same problem was not unknown in some red wines. Here, succinctly put, are more reasons why 2010 had perfect grapes. It also shows that there WAS stoppage (hydric stress) due to the dryness around end July-begin August, and this should not be forgotten. It was not obvious this year as the leaves did not show shrivel or stress as they did in 2003, when even the grapes were burned if fully exposed to the sun. This hydric stress did, in some cases, slow down phenolic ripening and also helped keep those acidity levels up where they were wanted.


There was no rot at all. I am a cynic but for once I believe it because my son did the vintage at Brane Cantenac and other friends of his vintaged in different areas and all confirmed this unusual perfection!

Careful and meticulous control of grassing between vines in humid areas, leaf removal, green pruning and thinning, depending upon the needs of each and every vine, its age and its vigour, the terroir and the soil on which it was planted, all meticulously done at the correct time; all contributed to the perfection of those grapes.

Today people make up their own minds and no longer follow a leader like sheep as they used to do. The extremely heterogeneous conditions, leading to extremely heterogeneous ripening, led growers to start harvesting at widely differing times. The fine weather stayed with us until 20th October and by then nearly everybody had finished.

Alcohol levels were naturally high, but on the whole not excessively so. High alcohol levels are beginning to be a problem all over the world, which regretfully we do not have space to discuss here.

As shown above, along with the reasons for it, I repeat that, most importantly, acidity levels were perfect. This was one of the problems with dry white wines last year, where weak acidities rendered a number of wines somewhat plump and heavy and lacking the wonderful crispness, freshness and vitality of 2010.

It would be very wrong to omit talking about the sweet wines, especially those made with botrytis cinerea. In September growers started to worry as the dryness has prevented the development of noble rot. Then 10.4mm of rain fell from 21st-24th and, with a cry of joy, the botrytis invaded. It grew and flourished magnificently and enabled wonderful, fully botrytised grapes to be harvested with very little grey or acid rot. So rich did the grapes become that Rieussec, among others, picked some un-botrytised grapes to keep up the acidity levels.


A few vintage dates of various Châteaux to show how heterogeneous and individual were the picking dates of some of the great wines. The finishing date is perhaps more important than the start date as it was a stop-start vintage with waiting periods in between. Haut Brion, La Mission Haut Brion, Carbonnieux and a few others started picking their Sauvignon on 1st September, saying that there was no reason to wait longer. Château Olivier started on the Semillon on 8th as did Denis Dubourdieu. As the weather was perfect until 20th the white wines were almost all harvested under quasi perfect conditions. Haut Brion and La Mission had both finished completely by 10th.

Petrus started on 27th September and finished on 2nd October, picking only in the afternoon (95% Merlot). Durfort finished picking Merlot on 7th October, started on Merlot but then stopped for greater maturity. As 11th – 18th October was totally dry everybody picked all out.Château Margaux went for bust, put 500 pickers on the job from 10th and finished on 13th. So did Lafite and Mouton was not far off the same. Château Palmer finished on 20th. Château Durfort, on the other hand, only finished Merlot on 13th and still had all the Cabernet to pick. Château d’Angludet finished on 15th. As for precocity, the malo-lactic fermentation was in full swing in Haut Brion and La Mission by 18th. Nearly all Saint Emilion had finished by 20th, but not Château Guadet who vintaged almost until the end of the month,as did some Châteaux in the north of the Médoc, particularly Château Rousseau de Sipian who did not START until 16th!! They said that when they picked the last grapes they had already had two frosts and there were no leaves left on the vines. In Sauternes Château d’Yquem finished on 26th, but Château Rieussec picked their last grapes on 4th November. I choose to finish, as I started, with Château Haut Brion and La Mission Haut Brion, which are both perfect examples of all that I have been saying about heterogeneity, hang time, stop and start picking and parcellar selection. They started their Red Wine vintaging on 8th September, which was really early and before almost anybody else. However they did not finish until 9th October, which although relatively early still meant that their vintage lasted for over a month, which is a very long time indeed!


A word of warning! When one analyses and writes about a vintage, as in this article, one inevitably writes about, and concentrates upon, the better wines – the successes. In a region as vast as Bordeaux, which produces some 700 Million litres in an abundant vintage (considerably less this year, but the official figures will only be known in February of next year), there are inevitably some less good wines and even some downright poor wines – some say far too much and many!! There are only a few great artists, more good to excellent artists, plenty of adequate artists and some poor to thoroughly poor artists. If you regard, as I do, winemaking as an art, then the same holds true for the wines. Never expect to find a vintage in any production area universally good. If I may give a final word of advice, never trust completely my judgement or anybody else’s, however famous. In the final analysis it all depends entirely on your own personal taste and judgement. You will get a lot of pleasure tasting the 2010 vintage in Bordeaux and will have some wonderful surprises assorted with a few disappointments.

Chris Low: In Short, 2010 is a great year for the wines of Bordeaux. The reds are ripe and powerful, with fine acidity, firm tannins and pure fruit; the dry whites are exotic but crisp and bright. The sweet white wines have good botrytis and balance – fresher and less exuberant than 2009. This vintage is a twin for the equally exceptional 2009 – but certainly not an identical twin! Everyone will now wait for Robert Parker to release his tasting score for 2010, however the En Primeur campaign has already started on the 17th April and we predict the 1st Growths will release the 1st Tranche price by end May till the middle of June, after the Vin Expo 2011.

And below are some of the outstanding wines from our list:

Wine to buy for 2010

Ch Lafite Rothschild ,Carruades de lafite & Ch Duhart-Milon

Ch Haut-Brion, Mission Haut-Brion, Clarence Haut-Brion.

Ch Latour & Fort de latour.

Ch Margaux & Pavilion Rouge de Margaux

Ch Mouton Rothschild, Petit Mouton, D’Armaillac.

Ch Pontet-Canet

Ch Lynch Bages

Ch Ducru Beaucaillou

Ch Beychevelle

Ch Leoville Poyferre

Ch Palmer

Vieux Chateau Certan( Pomerol)

Petrus-not tasted

Le Pin-not tasted

Friday, March 25, 2011

Bordeaux 2010: Expect Higher Prices?

Spring has arrived in Europe, and as late March drifts into April, thoughts turn to Bordeaux and the unveiling of the 2010 vintage.

I’m already packing my bags for Bordeaux. From 10th-17th April. I will be down on the left and right banks of Gironde for a busy week of tastings. Oh yes, this year both the Cork Brothers will be tasting the Bordeaux 2010.

We actually arrive Bordeaux one week later of the official UGC Primeur tasting. So that we can tasting ala carte, concentrate and focus on the IGW.

Below is the preview of what are the Chateaux that we will be going. The Cork brothers will try the best to post our tasting notes and our thoughts of Bordeaux 2010.

Monday, April 11th


Dinner + visit + tasting at Ch D'Issan

Tuesday, April 12th:






CH BEYCHEVELLE (visit-tasting-dinner)

Wednesday, April 13th:








Thursday, April 14th





Friday, April 15th

CH Montrose


Lunch + visit + tasting CH Leoville-Poyferre


CH LEOVILLE Las Case AND Ducru-Beaucaillou

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Bordeaux 2009: The day Before…

Arrive Bordeaux on the 27th March and was welcome warmly by my friend Bruno from Vignoble Aubert who family owns Chateau La Couspaude and Chateau Haut-Gravet in St Emilion. This year I am lucky as I received my baggage without delay. According to Bruno, It was great weather last week and he was enjoying the sunny day but was windy like Chicago.
Dinner on the first day in Bordeaux in Bruno’s House and the chef, Cecile. Bruno’s wife or the duck specialise. Why? Cecile’s weekly balance diet must include duck at least 3 meals in a week.
Duck breat+liver pie with prunes and goat cheese for starter. Tasty and we down it with Chteau Haut -Gravet 2000. Main course is duck fillet back with maple syrup +balsamic and went sexy with Chateau La Couspaude 2006.

On Sunday. I ask Bruno his view regarding the hype 2009 vintage. And he says in 2009, his wine from Cotes de Castillon, Bordeaux Superior( generic Bordeaux) till his premium St Emilion Grand Classe is well balance with good acid, good tannin and lush alcohol. “ We did not do a lot of treatment to the grapes in the cellar for 2009 as compare to 2007. Emily(his sister in-law and the cellarmaster of the family wineries) is happy that the grape is in perfect condition during harvest and the ripeness of the tannin.” I am comfortable with his views after series tasting of his wine the next day in my apartment in Bordeaux centre. Together in the tasting is my friend from Singapore Peter and his wife.
Bruno giving a wine presentation of Domaine de Aubert

That night, Bruno’s parents in-law Alain and Benedict host a dinner in Chateau de Ribebon one of their property in Libourne . Alain and Benedict in total owns and manage in total 6 families vineyard in right bank of Bordeaux which includes Chateau La Couspaude. Lovely dinner starts with warm pan fried of duck liver with spring pear and green plum; main course is duck breast grill on the Chateau fireplace( Benedict secret is using the vine from winter pruning as wood fire)
Vertical tasting of Chteau Haut Gravet. The 2000 vintage
is serve from Magnum and decanted for 1 hour.

Highlight of the evening is the vertical tasting of Chateau Haut-Gravet 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006 and the 2000 Vintage in Magnum. It is very interesting as I compare the wine of 2009 with the 2000 and find a similarity: subtleness and ripe tannin. Alain later elaborate that the 2009(gift from the god) for him is as good if not better than his 2000, he is very happy that they did not have to do many treatment for the vintage, though he was equally anxious during the harvest as everything is perfect from winter till autumn and he can’t afford any mistake in the winemaking process.
My opinion for the 2009 wine from Domaine Aubert: we have a lots of fruits, red and black synchronise with balance acid, sweet tannin cover with big alcohol. Even the basic range is well made. Good effort and well done to Alain and Emily!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Bordeaux 2009: The Official Tasting, day 1

Today tasting was not so pack and quite relax. In our entourage, we have Peter my friend from Singapore. Gary and his wife from Hong Kong and a few new friends from Shanghai and Beijing as well. For the next three days, we are all hosted by Michel Martell. Our friendly Bordeaux negotiant.
Michel Martel and Chris Low @ Cos

 We head to St-Estephe and start our first ever Bordeaux 2009 primeur tasting with Chateau Cos D’ Estournel and was great by the owner Mr. Bruno Prats.
Pagoda De Cos 2009. Primary aroma of casis couple with smoke and spice. Refreshing acidity and accessible.
Chateau Cos D’Eastournel 2009. I found freshness, intense black fruits, warm mouth feel and sweet tannin from this Grand Vin. Actually drinkable at this stage.
Also tasted was Goulee. A wine made by Cos in Medoc.
We ask Mr. Parts impressions on 2009. “the wine are full-bodied, thick but not aggressive. The big tannin matching well with the freshness and spice typical of the Cos soil. 2009 Cos d’ Estournal has an original and unusual “Chalky” character. According to the Chateau, 2009 is the best vintage so far.
2009 Goulee, Pagoda and Ch Cos D,Estournel

 Next, we taste the “king” . Ch. Lafite is under renovation, so part of the visitor has to do the primeur tasting at Ch. Duhart-Milon.
Carruades de Lafite 2009. Blend of 50.6% Cabernet Sauvignon, 42.2% Merlot, 2.2% Petit Verdot and 5% Cabernet Franc. Fresh and with purple fruits, hint of white pepper, easy to drink actually with bitter sweet aftertaste.
Ch Duhart-Milon 2009. 63% Cabernet Sauvignon and 27% Merlot. I think I prefer Duhart then Carruades 2009? Lovely fruits though tannic and hint of savoury, minor herbaceous.
Chateau Lafite Rothschild 2009. 82.5% Cabernet Sauvignon, 17% Merlot and 0.5% Petit Verdot.
Typical Lafite cigar box and led .Red,Black and Purple fruit swim together with refreshing acidity. I can chew the sweet tannin and feel the warm alcohol with lovely after taste. What happen to 2009, they are all drinkable at this stage?
Carruades de lafite, duhart Milon and Ch Lafite 2009Vintage 2007 of Lafite that already bottle..what left is the barrel
Chateau Lafite impressions on 2009:
“ A joyful harvest. Although was difficult at beginning. Warm weather with long dry spell since june with light but welcoming rain in July. Harvest went wonderfully with no worries of rot. .
Cabernet remained comparatively small with thick skin, with excellent ripeness and expression of tannins.

Emmanuel Cruise and Chris Low

 We are in Margaux and stop at Ch D’Issan and tasting their 2009 with owner Mr. Emmanuel Cruse.
Lovely lunch hosted by Mr. Cruse too.
Blosson D’Issan 2009. 40% Merlot and the balance Cabernet Sauvignon. Primary aromas of plum and prunes, fresh crash pepper. Casis, prune and cholate appear on the palate with warm alcohol and subtle tannin.
Ch D’Issan 2009
60%Cabernet and the rest is Merlot. According to Mr. Cruse. 2009 is neither 1989 nor 1990. Close if not better than his 2005 vintage. Tannin is ripe due to perfect pneumatic ripeness of the grapes. At a stage he was afraid with the high alcohol content of the wine, thanks to great level of acidity, he hope The 2009 Grand Vin will upbeat his 2005. On the nose I had plum, casis and vanilla( though Mr. Cruse said he reducing new oak in his wine)subtle and balance wine with almost sweet tannin and warm alcohol and milk chocolate after taste.
Over lunch, we had white wine from Ch Lagrange-Les Arums de Lagrange 2008. Fresh juice of Sauvignon Blanc just nice with the Salmon Tartare. Blason d’Issan 2004, classical Margaux nose and silky finish, went well with the Lamb loin au jus. And Ch D’Issan 1999 with cheese, whoever have this vintage( also 2006) you are lucky…great stuff.

 We continue journey to Ch Latour after great meal from D’Issan.

The 2009 according to Ch Latour will be remembered thanks to the amazing hot and dry summers.
Merlot with great level of alcohol and very good level of acidity and the Cabernet Sauvignon has similar characteristics. Ch Latour with whooping 91.3% of Cabernet Sauvignon and 8.7% Merlot resulting only 38% of the production go into the Grand Vin. Majority grape went into production of Forts de Latour( 65.1% Cab Sauvignon, 32.3% Merlot and 1.9% Petit Verdot) and Pauillac de Latour( 53.8% Merlot and 46.2% Cabernet Sauvignon)

Pauillac 2009. Plums, very light vegetal and bell pepper. quite tannin but refreshing and easy to drink.

Forts de Latour 2009. Light intensity or rather mute nose for me. Presence of alcohol and black fruits on the palate.Fresh and elegance.

Ch Latour 2009. On the nose with presence of violet, casis and black fruits. What can I says with such high tannin(but almost sweet); starts with rather hollow mid pallet but later shows me good team work of fresh acidity and warm alcohol that promote to me some blackcurrant+medium rare steaks.
Solid efforts, I like!

Next we are in St Julien for the Lion. Ch Leoville Las Cases.
Which release a second wine just before the en-primeur with 2007 vintage:- Le Petit Lion
Ch Leoville las Case View on their 2009: “ perfectly healthy crop, resulting from their integrated viticulture methods, and very low risk of grey rot. Harvest took place in ideal conditions with evenly ripe for all grape varieties.

Le Petit Lion 2009. Light intensity on the nose. I had hash tannin and green on the palate. perhaps needs a few more years to impress us?

Clos du Marquis 2009. Been “promoted” to Grand Vin. But the Chateau claims Clos du marquis was never the second wine for Leoville Las Case. Fruity and white floral on the nose. Casis, milk cholate and bell pepper swim together and polish tannin in the palate. Interesting effort for 2009!

Ch Leoville Las Cases 2009. Mineral, soil, bell pepper and currants. Same on the palate plus milk cholate and hint of coconut on the finish. Did I mention the tannin is sweet?

 Our 1st day, end with my favourite Ch. Ducru Beaucaillou and we were warmly welcome by owner Mr. Bruno Borie who is passionate in Asia and learn to write Chinese. He stress that 2009 is a gift from the god but with a few challenging decision making. He is proud that this is his best effort since he takes over the operations of Ducru Beaucaillou in 2003. When I ask if this vintage is comparable to 2005 or even 1982. He mentioned 2 days of light rain just before the harvest perfected his 2009 with very ripe tannin, great alcohol strength and well balance acidty in the wine. “2009 will be great and it will rank side by side with Ducru Beaucaillou 1961. (we later have a tour in his private cellar and witness his impressive old vintage from 1920’s include handsome quantity of 1961 and 1982)

Chateau Lalande-Borie 2009. Crimson color with purple hue. Aromas of red fruit,s pretty mouth feel and easy drinking finish.

Croix de Beaucaillou 2009. Dark violet with presence of dark fruits, blackberries. Fruit and freshness is balance with round tannins.

Ducru Beaucaillou 2009. According to Mr.Borie boasts a beautiful deep violet. At this moment I find rice fruits, luscious structure, dense yet velvet, sweet and elegance tannins. Great effort wine, I like!

Over dinner, we tasted Ch Lalande Borie 2007 and Croix de Beaucaillou 2004. At start I like and feels it is subtle and easy drinking. But compare with the mini vertical of Ch Ducru Beaucaillou 2003, 2000 ( in magnums) and 1995 that display elegance and power. The earlier wine reminds me of new world cabernets.

During dinner, I question Mr. Borie the rising fear of global warming with hot summers and rapid rain. He said so far is good for the ripeness of the grape but he say if the heat is rising up with higher and higher alcohol content. We may see Syrah in Bordeaux. But he strongly addresses in English the word “winemakers” do not appear in France. Instead we have vineyard manager, cellar master etc, who the job is helping Mother Nature converting yearly weather and terrior conditions into the bottle and that is the word of wisdom for me of the day.


Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Bordeaux 2009-The Hype?

Bordeaux opens doors to journalists and merchants next week to taste and evaluate the 2009 vintage already touted as one of the best vintage in decades. The main point of interest isthe pricing which if increased from the last year, might be counter-productive especially due to the slow US market, despite the growing Hong Kong aka China thirst for Bordeaux wines. (Altough my Bordeaux negotiants told me this year Primeur campagin already flooded with merchants from US that did not turn up for the last two years)

During my last September visits to France. I met a couple of winemakers. They shared their Bordeaux expert’s view that 2009 is the best vintage in decades.
Even my best Friends Bruno Macarez from St Emilion who runs 5 family vinyards at the right bank of Bordeaux claims it is the best vintage in 27 years.

A similar buzz was in the air wherever the En Primeur came up for discussion. It seemed that few doubted the excellent quality of the vintage- the main point of discussion being whether it was better than 2005. This motivated many of us plan to be there for the exceptional vintage at month-end although there was a minority who would rather wait for the prices to be announced, the ‘last mile’ in the Bordeaux En Primeur tastings.

Well, I will find out soon as I will be in Bordeaux from 26th March till 4th April for the 2009 Primeur tasting. But before that, i have sort out a few interview of few prestiges chateaux done by other media and journalist.

Château Cheval Blanc is the Premier Grand Cru Classé Class ‘A’ property in Saint Emilion and is managed by Pierre Lurton who divides his time also at Chateau d’Yquem. He formed a team to look after the details at Cheval recently. Pierre Olivier Clouet is a member of the team and was responsible for four wines. He says, ‘Cheval is always a balanced wine but this year it is
richer and has added natural concentration, not more extraction. It has been good beyond our expectation and I am sure it will surprise the visitors. I am well aware that Bordeaux often hypes its new vintages. But I can assure them that the Cheval Blanc is one of the all timegreats.’

‘Awesome,’ exclaims Pauline Vauthier Technical Director of the only other Premier Grand Cru Classé ‘A’, Chateau Ausone owned by her family for 400 years, about the vintage. She adds, ‘it is showing very well right now; it has an excellent backbone, it’s powerful with a long ageing potential, it’s complete with very well balance with layers of ripe fruit and great aromatic length.’

Gildas d’Ollone, Director of the Second Growth Pauillac producer Château Pichon-Longueville Comtesse de Lalande says this ‘sumptuous’ vintage is less angular than 2005 and has more acid and alcohol than ’05. He expects the visitors to be surprised by the immediate appeal and charm of this wine in which Pichon has used 75% Cabernet Sauvignon as it was a great year for Cabernets.
‘Out of the ordinary but not classic,’ says Stéphane Derenoncourt of the 2009 vintage. The French enologist who, like Michel Rolland , works as an international consultant to several wineries including Château Pavie-Macquin, Château Canon-la-Gaffelière, Château Smith Haut Lafitte, Château Brown and Château Prieuré-Lichine, says this vintage will offer a wonderful opportunity for Bordeaux to improve its reputation which has seen a considerable damage in the recent times. He will be present again with the producers he works with, in Chateau Gaffelière in Saint Emilion under the group name of ‘La Grappe.’

Peter Sisseck of the Spanish top winery Pingus warns against raising the prices as he has heard some people talk about. He feels it may be a bit too adventurous although the 2009 is a complete vintage with ripe tannins and could be a ‘once in a lifetime’ vintage.

Bernard Magrez, owner of Chateau Pape-Clement in Pessac Léognan feels that the producers should not get carried away with the pricing for 2009 although the quality is better than 2005. He expects to keep his Chateau wine less than €75.

Chateau Angelus the Premier Grand Cru
Classé of Saint Emilion expects the price between €130 and €50, those of 2005 and 2008.

Do check out our blog again for update on the hype of Bordeaux 2009.

Monday, November 9, 2009

A selections of good old Bordeaux, great Bubbly and a CDP.

This dinner that is long waited and planned for...it all started in Malaysia.
Lionel, Mike and me was having dinner in Kanichikan Yakiniku, PJ Malaysia. A magic question pop out by Mike which sounds like when is the last time the Cork Brothers went to Singapore.

Lionel said; Chris is the one who travels around Asia; i will only ritually visit Singapore every December to join our dear friend +business partner+ A professional race car driver's Christmas gathering. Well the main ingridient of the gathering is good food and great wines.

Here come Mike: Hmm. I wonder 1961 Chateau Margaux will be something interesting for you?

Here we were, in Absinthe Restaurant at Bukit Pasoh Road.
Menu 1
Duo of fines de Claire Oysters and Balik Salmon with Mirin Dressing
King Prawns Sautéed with Spicy Chorizo and Pine Nuts, Mushroom Foam
Pan Fried Foie Gras with Warm Blinis and Morello Cherries
Traditional Fish and Seafood Bouillabaisse with Saffron Aioli and Croutons
Roasted Rack of Welsh lamb with Braised Belgian Endive, Sweet Potato and Cumin Croquettes, thyme Jus
Cheese Selection
Vanilla Bourbon Crème Brûlée and Ginger Bread Ice Cream

Menu 2

Chilled Ravioli of Lobster with Lime Sabayon, Pink Guava Julienne and Shiso
Carpaccio of Venison Filet with Celery Remoulade and Black Truffle Dressing
Braised Kurobuta Pork Belly with Star Anis Jus, French Beans & Small Cress Salad
Rib of Beef “Black Angus”, Potato Gratin, Steamed Vegetables and Béarnaise Sauce
Warm Valhrona chocolate fondant, vanilla ice cream and strawberry chutney.

And the wines;

Champagne Lanson Brut 1996 and Champagne Lanson Rose 1996.
Troplong Mondot 1997, 1961 Chateau Margaux, Clinet 1995, Leoville las Cases 1995, Montrose 1995, Haut Brion 1995, Latour 2002, Paul Jaboulet CDP 1990 and A very nice Placito from Sicili.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Jalan jalan makan makan HCMC

dessert sample

Pan sear wagyu with spring vege and burgundy glaze.

Medallion of Chicken, cepe mushroom with cappuccino of parley and demi-glace

Sweet bread, cepe mushroom and beet

Pan Fried Foir Gras with caramelised onions and port reductions

warm fruit salad serve with crispy rice crackers

Various steam rice "custard" serve with crispy pork skin and dried shrimp, side with a tangy fish sauce.

Daily stable food in Vietnam "Pho"

This is the Chicken version

"Pho" Bu or Beef Noodle soap. like the raw herb and vege. the chili is fierce hot!
with happy Chris Low at the back ground.

Chris Low: Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam was a mystery country to me until June this year. Way before i step into this country, all i know about this communist country is from movie like "Good Morning Vietnam" and American TV series " Tour of Duty, Vietnam".

Until i visited the War Museum in HCMC, my view about the image of Vietnam totally changed and i wanted to know more about this country. And as what Cork Brothers always do, we discover the Vietnamese culture true the basic needs: Food!
Lionel and me visited HCMC in early June for 2 days. And i return to visit our business partner Mr.Thien in August with a bang...more wine and food encounters!
We were introduce to Southern Vietnamese food which includes various Spring rolls serve raw or deep fried. Fresh seafood from the river like fresh water prawns braised in thick soy and fish sauce; snails blanched and chopped with pork then braised with light broth; and "Pho"
Ultimately, the based is rice made product, fish sauce, fish sauce and better fish sauce + lots of healthy "unknown to me" raw salads, basils, bean sprouts and vegetables.
But what i like is "Huei" cuisine from the middle Vietnam. Slightly more intense from the Saigon styles. I need more visit to talk about this type of cooking. At this stage, all i can says is: "Unique and delicious!"
Street food to fine dining restaurant's...HCMC has lots to offer. And so wine friendly!
Will definitely sample more!