In France, it is now illegal to consume ortolan, a songbird near extinction. For those who have tasted it, if one is not blasé, he/she may hesitate to even admit it due to a sense of guilt. The ritual of eating the bird is shrouded in shame (for a dramatic depiction, watch Season 3, Episode 6 of Billions).
At Château de Chantegrive, the owners are songbird lovers. They named their property after songbird. Here, the songbirds are not fed grapes in confinement, nor are they fattened to be cooked as a delicacy. They merely sing among the vines and trees, and adorn the wine labels. This is a song bird one can love consuming without guilt or shame.
It's about time that you think of the best wines as liquid yet hard assets. Extraordinary times call for extraordinary insights. 2022 has been a tough year for investors. Bonds and stocks have sold off in tandem. Real estate is also starting to wobble. Have you got wine in your portfolio?
Last weekend (August 6 & 7), the Financial Times published an article on the front page highlighting that fine wine is passing the test as hedge against inflation. If you wonder how fine wine has performed over the past 20 years, here’s a chart by Liv-ex showing two indices: one is a basket of the top 100 wines, the other is a basket of the top 1000 wines. Both have performed positively.
Winemakers, by default, are in love with their land, and, by extension, everything that grows on it. We mean everything, even weeds, which is a byproduct and feature of the soil the biodynamic farming movement has come to embrace. But we can think of only one winemaker who loves his trees so much that he names every wine he makes after trees. Yes, we are talking about Jacques Thienpont, the legendary winemaker of Le Pin (“Pine”), L’If (“Yew”), and L’Hêtre (“Beech”).
You may have heard of Le Pin, one of the most coveted (ahem, expensive) wines from Bordeaux, and any wine-producing region in the world, for that matter. Le Pin is proof that sometimes the
Heat wave seems to be everywhere, the dog days of summer are upon us. There is always a good glass of wine to help you get through the season. Our first choice is Henri de Villamont's Auxey-Duresses La Canée 2015 - a crisp, un-oaky chardonnay from Côte de Beaune, Burgundy.
We also present Château La Lagune 2017, a softer and more expressive wine from Haut-Médoc, produced by the talented winemaker Caroline Frey, whose family also owns the legendary Jaboulet wines in the Rhône Valley. Its soft and feminine profile can sometimes lead consumers to mistaken La Lagune for wines from Margaux, not Haut Médoc – some even consider them “Burgundian.”
Our feature selection for the month of August 2022 is Château
This morning, we woke up to the jaw-dropping news that Château Angélus just announced it had withdrawn from the Saint-Emilion classification, to save itself from the unjust legal attacks for over a decade.
The legal case culminated in a recent court ruling against the former head of Angélus, Hubert de Bôuard. He was found guilty of "undue influence" while serving on the government appointed body which set the rules on promoting Saint-Emilion producers to various ranks. Under these rules, Château Angélus was promoted into the top rank - Premier Grand Cru Classé A of Saint-Emilion.
Until Château Angélus and Château Pavie were promoted in 2012, only Château Ausone and Château Cheval Blanc were recognized as Premier Grand Cru Classé A of Saint-Emilion. Unlike the Left Bank that has stuck with the original 1855 Classification
It's the season of New Year resolutions again. We support our clients' drive for better health. If necessary, January can be a drier month. Who needs the Prohibition if one can exercise self discipline? For those of us who only need a glass of wine on the weekend, here's our selection for January 2022:
- La Dame de Montrose 2018, Saint-Estèphe, rated 90-92 (Neal Martin). Made to the same rigorous standards as the First Wine, from grapes grown in the same vineyard, La Dame de Montrose is the second wine of Château Montrose, a heavy weight from Saint-Estèphe, just north of Pauillac. Supple and silky Merlot generally predominates in the varietal mix. Its very pronounced red fruit aromas and flavours reflect another expression of the terroir in a distinctive style which is less elaborately complex than
We have carried Château Siran year after year, believing our customers will be won over once they taste this unpretentious but well-made wine. It took a #1 ranking by a popular magazine to convince the buyers we haven't served before to clean out our cellar. By popular demand, we have restocked this wine in Bordeaux and will be shipping it into the states next spring. Pre-order yours now if you are curious what kind of top-ranked Bordeaux $45 can buy.
To the insiders, Château Siran has been a hidden gem for quite some time. As Bloomberg wine columnist Erin McCoy and Decanter Magazine previously reported, the 1955 vintage of Château Siran was used by convicted wine counterfeiter Rudy Kurniawan as a primary ingredient in the blend to fake old vintages of Château Lafite and Château Margaux. Even some of the auction house critics were fooled. Is that reason enough to cellar some Siran 2018 to taste
Sometimes, the best laid plan needs a rescue. In November, Château Pichon Baron released a limited edition of a custom-designed Collector's Case. Many of our customers bought it as a gift idea. Unfortunately, the chateau's production schedule did not allow enough time for these cases to be shipped into the US in time for this Christmas.
The rescue? Earlier in the year, Château Pichon Baron introduced Quatuor - a vertical tasting case of its second wine: Les Tourelles de Longueville from 2015 to 2018. Les Tourelles is made from a Merlot dominant plot at the estate, which allows the wine to be more approachable earlier than the grand vin. While we wait for the arrival of the vertical case of Pichon Baron, these second wines can be enjoyed this Christmas.
Laguna Cellar Wine of the Month Selection for December 2021
- Champagne Barons de Rothschild 2010, Champagne, Rated 94 (James Suckling) - It was in 2005 that five members of the Rothschild family, from Châteaux Mouton Rothschild, Clarke and Lafite Rothschild, started a project in Champagne. They purchased an established Champagne house, Maison Prieur in Vertus, and had their first harvest that year. They made their first Blanc de Blancs vintage in 2006 and set up shop in Reims in 2007. Their aim? To make an “exceptional Champagne bearing the hallmark of a great vintage, on a par with the wines produced by the family in its celebrated châteaux.” Frédéric Mairesse, the family’s representative in Reims, says: “This project is a kind of magical idea from the Rothschild family. It’s the first time that the three branches of the family come together and associate their know-how to give
Our selections for October 2021 are:
Le Petit Haut Lafitte Blanc 2018, Pessac-Léognan, Rated: 93 (Jeb Dunnuck) - Le Petit Haut Lafitte Blanc 2018 is the perfect choice for any oenophile in search of a crisp, honeyed expression of white Bordeaux. This thrilling mixture of Sauvignon Blanc, Sauvignon Gris and Semillon is from the top-rated Grand Crus Classé, Château Smith Haut Lafitte. The estate is currently owned by the Cathiard family, who made a series of sweeping changes to the vineyards and the vat room, placing it on the trajectory of one of the sought after properties within the Pessac-Léognan appellation. The talented Michel Rolland and Stephane Derenoncourt consult at Château Smith Haut Lafitte, ensuring that the final blend is nothing