Vert & Blanc Salad

Vert & Blanc Salad

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The Vert & Blanc is one of our most famous appetizers at Wally’s Beverly Hills. This beautiful salad is composed of burrata cheese, smashed avocado, pencil asparagus, green chili, parsley, and served with wood oven toasted country bread. It has the perfect combination of refreshing flavors and textures that are ideal for Summer. The Vert & Blanc is a huge crowd pleaser and is the ultimate way to start a delicious dining experience at Wally’s.

This salad pairs very nicely with a bottle of 2014 The Hilt Chardonnay.

Serves 2-3 Guests

 

Best of the Best Robb Report Feature: Christian’s Top Wines of the Year

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I had the great honor of selecting the top international wines of the year for Robb Report’s annual “Best of the Best” issue. I have tasted many terrific wines this year making it hard to select only ten. However, as soon as I tasted each one of the wines listed below, they instantly caught my attention and I knew they were very special.

 

2000 Dom Perignon P2($400.00) Buy Now>

Dom Perignon’s 2000 P2 Brut is an incredible Champagne and represents the best of the craft. This is a true “Special Reserve” and a reflection of the great terroir of Champagne. Drink now or enjoy for the next twenty years. This is no doubt my top pick for wine of the year.

 

2013 Château Haut-Brion Blanc, Bordeaux 750ml ($1,300.00) Buy Now>

This wine is a harmonious blend of Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc that lends its way to mouth-watering acidity and vivacious flavors of apricots, white peach, and roasted almonds. It is so layered and complex that if you close your eyes it almost seems like a red wine. Love it.

 

2014 Château d’ Esclans, Rosé Les Clans, Provence 750ml ($80.00) Buy Now>

If you are looking for something to sip on during the warm summer months, this wine should be at the top of your shopping list. It is purely blissful and keeps you coming back for more. Enjoy now or stash away for the next decade.

 

2015 Dönnhoff Oberhauser Brucke Spätlese, Nahe 750ml ($45.00) Buy Now>

2015 has proven to be a legendary German vintage, and this wine is one of Dönnhoff’s finest to date. Round and luscious on the palate, and balanced by sharp acidity, this is a powerhouse Riesling that will please anyone’s taste.

 

2014 Fourrier Griotte-Chambertin Grand Cru Vieilles Vignes, Burgundy 750ml ($1,000.00) Buy Now>

This beauty takes the prize as my favorite red wine of the year. I had a special moment with it as soon as it touched my lips. There is a sophistication on the palate that radiates flavors of violets and blackberries. This wine is hard to come by – the vineyard is a mere 0.6 of an acre – but luckily your difficult search has ended.

 

2012 Château La Fleur-Petrus, Bordeaux 750ml ($180.00) Buy Now>

Edouard Moueix’s 2012 La Fleur-Petrus is pure pleasure in a bottle. It is very approachable, yet super age-worthy for young Bordeaux. Although I am a big fan of all of Moueix’s family’s work, Château La Fleur Petrus holds a special place in my heart.

 

2013 Vietti Barolo Ravera, Piedmont 750ml ($180.00)Buy Now>

The 2013 Ravera is hands-down the Barolo of the vintage and continues to represent the depth and artfulness of this historic winery. Mid-bodied, firm, and balanced, its focused precision and striking aromatics represent the true expression of Novello. It is built for aging and is a necessary addition to all wine cellars. This is truly an epiphany in a bottle.

 

2013 Tenuta San Guido Sassicaia, Tuscany 750ml ($185.00) Buy Now>

I have had the pleasure of enjoying almost fifty vintages of this legendary wine and have never tasted a better young bottling than the 2013.  When this wine hits maturity, it will easily rival the 1985 and 1988 – it may even surpass these vintages.

 

2013 Dominio de Pingus, Ribiera Del Duero 750ml ($1,050.00) Buy Now>

 The 2013 is a true victory over Mother Nature as it excelled in a bizarre, albeit fascinating, vintage. Delicious, fresh, and elegant, the 2013 has a charm to it that is irresistible. Pingus continues to be the benchmark for Spanish greatness and this wine is a must-have for your wine cellar.

 

By Christian Navarro, Wally’s President & Principal

 

 

Dispatches from Bordeaux – Vintage 2015: Part II

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It’s Tuesday morning and today we are heading to the right bank for a tasting at the offices of JP Moueix in Libourne.  This is always a thrilling tasting with all of the iconic properties in the Moueix family stable.

Highlights of the morning’s tasting:

2015 Clos St Martin
This has a very exotic, flamboyant nose of kirsch, ripe and candied.  Despite the ripeness of the nose, the palate is all business, nicely firm and well-structured, nicely polished.  The quality of this microscopic terroir really shines in the top vintages and this is one of those years.  Less than 500 cases produced, a great buy if you can find it.

2015 Chateau Plince
A nice blend of red fruit and earthy, mocha notes on the streamlined nose.  This has more depth and density than usual, lots of dark fruit tones and a hint of walnut on the palate.  An excellent vintage for Plince.

2015 Chateau Hosanna
The nose is a bit shy at first but with a little time in the glass there’s some beautiful complexity here, a mélange of dark fruits mixed with a spicy, savory olive note.  Nice weight with a rock solid midpalate and lots of substance.  Sexy and polished with a big round core of fruit.  This is going to be a benchmark vintage for Hosanna, reminiscent of the 2005, but I think this may be even better, this property is really hitting its stride.

2015 Chateau La Fleur Petrus
Luxurious and nicely complex with a very pretty Merlot driven nose, plums, spice and perfume.  Elegant and medium bodied on the palate with a nice long finish.  This is clearly highly pedigreed, understated with lots in reserve.  An exemplary top-flight Pomerol.

2015 Chateau Trotanoy
Gorgeous nose.  Masculine and very complex with sandalwood, turned earth, plum compote and dried herbs.  I usually say perfume to describe a complex feminine/floral character, but this is decidedly masculine, cologne?  Dense, rich and powerful on the palate, this is an absolute knockout, one of the top wines of the vintage and one of the best ever from here.

2015 Chateau Belair-Monange
A rich, ripe and dense nose of coffee, earth, plums and cigarbox.  This is a muscular Saint Emilion, showing the heat and concentration of the vintage but there’s a towering structure supporting it all.  The finish goes on and on.  It’s very impressive what they’ve been able to accomplish here over the last five years and this is clearly the greatest Belair-Monange to date.  Powerful and assertive.

Christian Moueix joins us after the tasting to offer some insight into the vintage.  Surprisingly he tells us that looking at the lab numbers the 2015s have one of the highest tannin levels in history, higher than 2005 and 2010 in many cases.  You’d never guess that from tasting the wines which have been very plush, ripe and effortless.  These barrel samples remind me more of a riper vintage like 2009, where you almost feel like you can drink them already.  I’ll have to track down the secret to this paradox.

Leaving JP Moueix, we head to the inimitable Chateau Cheval Blanc for a tasting and lunch.  Situated on the border between Saint Emilion and Pomerol, this historic property is actually closer to the plateau of Pomerol than the town of Saint Emilion.  Standing on the roof garden of Cheval Blanc’s new chai, you get a beautiful panoramic view of their illustrious neighbors: Petrus, Le Pin, Vieux Chateau Certan, L’Evangile and La Conseillante.

Shockingly, there is only one wine to taste in 2015.  The quality of the fruit in this vintage was of such excellent uniform quality that the chateau made the decision to produce no second wine.

2015 Chateau Cheval Blanc
A powerful, deeply pitched, polished nose.  Fresh coffee, dark chocolate, ripe blueberries.  The essence of perfectly ripe Cabernet Franc is really on display here.  Velvet textured, medium plus volume, supple with good concentration and intense flavors.  Lots of tannin on the end, this will age very well.  This has more stuffing than the excellent 2014, riper and denser.  Substantial but understated.  Muscular and intellectual.  A brilliant Cheval, this will be stunning after it fills out during elevage and will rank alongside ’05, ’09 and ’10 as a modern classic for this estate.

Over lunch we have the pleasure of sampling some back vintages:

2006 Chateau Cheval Blanc
Coffee, olives and licorice on the nose.  Savory, pure, harmonious, toasty flavors of dark fruit and café crème.  Nice medium plus volume and seamless texture.  This is drinking beautifully right now.

2000 Chateau Cheval Blanc
Deep and dark with notes of olives and licorice.  This is still youthful but beginning to drink quite well.  Rich, polished and opulent.  Perfectly judged acidity that keeps this fresh amidst all the density.  Amazing and will only get better over the next several decades.

After lunch we head the short distance over to Pomerol for a tasting at one of my favorite properties in all of Bordeaux: Vieux Chateau Certan.  Our old friend Alexandre Thienpont is waiting for us to sample the 2015.

2015 Vieux Chateau Certan
A ripe, deep, dark fruit nose.  Blackcurrant pastille.  Polished with hints of mint.  Dense and well defined on the supple palate.  Very serious and deep.  Wow, this is beautifully ripe and full of stuffing but without any sense of heaviness.  Lots of tannins, but they’re of the ripe and silky variety.  Very long on the finish.  An extraordinary, benchmark VCC that is a hypothetical mix of the 2009 and 2010.  This will once again be one of the top 5 wines of the vintage and, while not inexpensive, it remains a great value given the top-tier quality.

Alexandre says that this vintage reminded him of vintages like 1983, 1988 and 1996 where old vines were the star of the vintage.  According to him, 2015 had the rare quality of having both the Merlot and Cabernet Franc exhibit top quality, not favoring one or the other.  July was too hot, but this was mitigated by the August storms which revived the vines.  The autumn’s “Indian summer” allowed a long, relaxed harvest with optimal ripeness.  The 2015 has the highest alcohol percentage ever at VCC and very high tannin.  But both of those elements are deceptively hidden by the ripeness of the fruit.

Alexandre is a bit of a historian, with a great memory of old vintages, so it was interesting to hear him struggle to find a good comparison for the vintage.  “2009 was like 1945, ’10 was like 1950…but 2015 is unique” he says.

Heading back across the Gironde, we finish the day with an appointment at Chateau Haut Brion which early reports suggest is excellent this year.  Heading into their third story tasting room, I prepare for what are always some of the finest reds (and whites) of the trip.  Highlights of the tasting:

2015 Le Dragon de Quintus
A ripe, attractive nose leads into very pretty berry fruit flavors that display nice ripeness without great weight.  A very well made second wine in a great vintage.

2015 Chateau Quintus
Pretty, sweet red fruit and mocha on the nose with good precision.  Elegant with satin texture, nice ripeness and formidable structure.  This is the first great vintage since Haut Brion took over this property and we are really starting to see what this property is be capable of.  A strong showing for Quintus.

2015 Chateau La Mission Haut Brion
Deeply pitched, black fruits, slightly closed today but with some time in the glass you get hints of soft vanilla and tobacco.  Lovely texture with cashmere tannins.  Supple and polished with big (but ripe) tannins.  A very impressive La Mission, reminiscent of the 2005.

2015 Chateau Haut Brion
Ripe blackcurrant pastille, smoky earth, mocha, and cigarbox.  This is a big, forward Haut Brion.  Grand scaled, supple and velvety on the palate.  The frame is massive but everything is in perfect proportion.  Near perfect, this is similar to the 2005 but with softer, riper tannins.  Incredible.

2015 Chateau La Mission Haut Brion Blanc
Coconut, lime, white flowers, white mineral, gravel and smoke on the highly complex nose.  This has great energy on the mineral driven and leaves your palate very fresh.  Excellent.

2015 Chateau Haut Brion
An understated nose with vanilla, coconut and kiwi.  Big and sweet on the palate which builds and builds to a massive intense searing finish that fills your mouth and stays on the palate for over a minute.  A great vintage for one of the world’s greatest white wines.  Stunning.

Dispatches from Bordeaux: 2015 Vintage – Part I

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by Geoff Pattison, Wally’s Bordeaux Buyer

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There’s something distinctly different about the feeling in Bordeaux during the good vintages.  There’s a sense of anticipation as you step off the plane.  Coming into the city everything feels a bit more vibrant. There’s a spring in the step of the people you meet.  Even when it rains, people are smiling.  Having read the early weather reports I already had a sense that the wines would be special.  There were whispers from negociants and vignerons in the months after harvest.  These insiders are usually in the business of having to “sell” a vintage so when they stop spouting superlatives and say “just wait til you taste the wines,” you know they’ve got the goods.

It’s Monday morning and once again Wally’s President Christian Navarro and I are here to taste another new vintage.  It’s a special year for both of us as this is my tenth year tasting en primeur and for Christian his 25th.  And what a year it looks to be.  The early reports have been extremely promising.  Beginning in April, a warm, even spring allowed perfect flowering across the region.  As the summer arrived, June and July were extremely hot and dry which accelerated ripening and stressed the vines.  By August, many vignerons were starting to worry that they would face drought conditions, but then, at just the right time, the rain came and provided just what the vines needed to be refreshed.  At this point things were looking very good and all that was needed was a dry harvest to make the vintage.  In Margaux, Pessac-Leognan and the right bank appellations of Saint Emilion and Pomerol, they got exactly that.  A long, even September and October that allowed a relaxed harvest under ideal conditions.  In the Northern Medoc, the rain came at just the wrong time, mid to late September.  Pauillac and Saint Julien were hit with it in spots and the well drained terroirs fared much better than others.  Saint Estephe got the worst of it, double the rainfall of Pauillac, leading to inevitable dilution at harvest and making it the lone rough spot in this otherwise excellent vintage.

Our schedule this year begins in Margaux which from the early reports appears to be one of the most gifted appellations in 2015.  In a twist of fate, the September rains which ensnared the northern Medoc completely missed the southern appellations.  It seems this year has the makings of a modern day 1983, where similar weather patterns produced benchmark Margauxs that in most instances outpace the vaunted 1982s.

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We begin the morning at Chateau Rauzan Segla, which has to be one of the most beautiful properties in all of Bordeaux.  This year marks the first vintage under Rauzan’s new technical director Nicolas Audebert, who was formerly the winemaker at Cheval des Andes.  As we arrive we’re welcomed into the barrel room to taste several components directly from barrel.  While I’ve done this in many other regions around the world, it’s somewhat unorthodox in Bordeaux where we’re usually presented with a pre-drawn assemblage in a lab or tasting room.  It’s a small tell as to the new direction of the new regime here which is looking to shake things up a bit.

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Barrel tasting notes from Rauzan Segla:

New Oak Barrel #1 – Cooper: Demptos
-A pretty nose with fresh violets, primary red fruit and a good dose of polished vanillary oak.  There’s good concentrated fruit here with power.  Linear and focused.

New Oak Barrel #2 – Cooper: Sylvain
-This barrel is deeper and richer on the nose, bursting with blackcurrants.  There’s more freshness compared to the Demptos barrel and more structure too.  Excellent balance.

New Oak Barrel #3 – Cooper: San Martin
-Toasty, earthy aromas dominate the nose here.  This one is the most touched by oak, but again the balance is beautiful and there’s a great deal of power.

Neutral Barrel #1
-This is the most expressive barrel of the four.  Explosive red and dark berry fruit mixed with a kaleidoscopic array of spices.  Let’s call it spice rack.  Silky with really nice persistence on the finish, freshness melded with power.

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And now on to the full assemblage sample:

2015 Chateau Rauzan Segla
-The nose is tight and focused with blue/purple fruit (blueberries and blackcurrants).  Powerful and structured on the palate.  Linear and medium to full bodied.  Great freshness on the end.  This is a firm and serious Rauzan Segla that is more masculine than usual.  Very reminiscent of the excellent 2005.

Leaving Rauzan Segla we head to Chateau Margaux, the legendary First Growth.  This is a bittersweet vintage at the property as longtime Director Paul Pontallier just recently passed away in March at the age of 59 after a battle with cancer.  Before he passed, Paul was able to see the birth of the 2015 which looks to be very special indeed.

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2015 Chateau Margaux
-A gorgeous perfume of red fruit and milk chocolate, fine polished leather and blackberry leaf.  The texture is pure cashmere on the effortless entry.  This is absolutely seamless with beautiful, generous volume and expert balance.  Ripe and soft with very fine tannins.  Deep flavors, the spicy Cabernet character comes through more on the palate.  This is so integrated that you want to drink it already.  Extraordinarily elegant, an understated freshness carries through on the long finish.  Beautiful and pure.

I’ve been lucky enough to have tried all of the greatest modern vintages of Margaux and I think this may just be their best ever.  Talk about starting the trip off with a bang.  This is going to be very hard to beat, we’re only on our second stop and this is clearly a top candidate for wine of the vintage.

Presenting the wine is Paul’s son Thibault Pontallier.  Thibault remarks that his father described the infant 2015 as a mix of the ripeness of 2009 and the power of 2010 with the elegance of 2005.  In this vintage it seems you really can have it all.

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After leaving Margaux we head to some other top properties in Margaux and Pessac-Leognan.  Highlights of the afternoon’s tastings:

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2015 Chateau Palmer
-Lots of blackberry leaf and white mineral, this is somewhat closed on the nose today.  But the palate displays a towering frame.  This is extremely muscular and will be long lived.  There’s a strong vein of minerality underpinning the fruit here.  An intellectual Palmer that really shows more Cabernet character than usual.  I’d imagine that this will be compared to the 2010 for years as they’re rather similar in character, a true vin de garde with a 40-50 year lifespan easily.

2015 Chateau Giscours
-70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Merlot and 5% Petit Verdot.  Deep, dark blackcurrant fruit on the nose, almost crème de cassis.  Beautifully ripe and very pure with excellent volume.  All of this gorgeous fruit is wrapped up in a perfectly proportioned frame with soft gossamer tannins…very precise, like a tailored suit.  Wow.  What a stunning Giscours.  This is without a doubt the finest wine I’ve ever tasted from this property.  This should be one of the top values of the vintage.

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2015 Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte Blanc
-Massive but with good precision, this shows notes of lemon, coconut and white mineral.  Fairly exotic without going in too tropical a direction.  There’s a lot of fruit on the palate but it’s nicely balanced.  This is soft, ripe and agreeable, and while it lacks the power of a great vintage, this is very well made and should drink deliciously on release.

2015 Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte Rouge
-This has a big, broad, polished dark fruit nose that’s just ravishing.  Extremely ripe on the attack, but it’s packed with tannin and acid too.  A very forward, modern style this year but the quality of the terroir comes through clearly.  Somewhat atypical for the vintage, this is almost as big and fruit forward as their 100 point 2009.  To quote Spinal Tap, “this one goes to eleven.”

Wally’s Bordeaux Blog – Vintage 2014 Dispatches from Bordeaux – Recap and Top Picks

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It’s been a few months since my last blog entry and, as the campaign wraps up, I thought I’d put together a review of the top wines of the vintage and best buys now that we know all of the pricing and can take a full view of the 2014 vintage. These are my insider recommendations based on my tastings in Bordeaux during En Primeur with an eye on the wines that provide the greatest value.

Let’s take a look at a few lists, beginning with the best of the best:

The Finest Wines of the 2014 Vintage

1) 2014 Chateau Cheval Blanc ($459.99, 96-99 WS)
2) 2014 Chateau Haut Brion ($319.99, 95-98 WS)
3) 2014 Chateau Mouton Rothschild ($319.99, 95-98 WS)
4) 2014 Vieux Chateau Certan ($137.99, 95-97 WA)
5) 2014 Chateau Montrose ($114.99, 95-97 WA)

Based purely on quality I believe these are the wines that reach the highest heights in 2014. Cheval Blanc really stands alone at the top, it is a stunning wine with a level of class and luxurious sophistication that even the firsts don’t quite reach. It’s effortlessly pure and balanced, with an incredibly silky texture and extraordinary complexity. Wine of the Vintage, full stop.

While Haut Brion and Mouton are no surprises here, the obvious standouts are VCC and Montrose which represent incredible values for top 5 level wines. Montrose in particular is a stunning wine at a shockingly good price. In my opinion, which is shared by most of the critics this year, the 2014 Montrose is better than honorable mentions Lafite, Margaux, La Mission Haut Brion, Ducru Beaucaillou, the list goes on… Because of the incredible value on offer here, it’s my number one pick for this vintage. If you buy only one wine, Montrose should be it.

For the value hunters…

Top 2014 Bordeaux Quality-to-Price Ratio

2014 Chateau Barde Haut $26.99 91-94 AG
2014 Chateau Faugeres $29.99 92-95 AG
2014 Chateau Lafleur Gazin $32.99 92-95 AG
2014 Chateau Larcis Ducasse $49.99 93-96 AG
2014 Chateau Grand Puy Lacoste $53.99 93-96 WS
2014 Chateau Pavie Macquin $55.99 93-96 WS
2014 Chateau Beausejour Duffau Lagarrosse $74.99 94-97 AG

These are the wines that really overachieve in the $25-75 sweet spot. Barde Haut, Faugeres and Lafleur Gazin are all stunningly good. At $25-35, these are wines that will easily drink comparably with wines in the $50 range when they arrive. For those with the foresight to buy them now, these are great candidates for house wines and should be bought by the case.

Grand Puy Lacoste is a star in the making. Long a connoisseur’s favorite, GPL exudes a purity and clarity of Paulliac terroir that is rare at its pricepoint. For those looking for the wine most likely to make the leap (ala Lynch Bages and Pontet Canet), this is the estate. It also doesn’t hurt that it is a personal favorite of new Wine Advocate critic Neal Martin.

I cannot say enough about the amazing work done by Nicolas Thienpont and Stephane Derenoncourt at the trio of Saint Emilion properties they manage: Larcis Ducasse, Pavie Macquin and Beausejour Duffau Lagarrosse. It’s beginning to sound like a broken record at this point, but the fact is no one else in Bordeaux comes close to making such consistently fantastic wines at very fair prices year in, year out. These wines are always incredibly exotic and expressive in their youth in an attractive modern style. What is baffling is the fact that they do so without any sense of overripeness or overt oak influence as so many modern styled wines do. They always clearly express their terroirs, show good balance and age extremely well. At $50-75 they deliver the quality of wines double their price and get my highest recommendation as the best bang for the buck wines in 2014 Bordeaux.

Now a look at some familiar names with not too familiar pricing…

Best-Selling Favorites at Their Lowest Prices in Years

2014 Chateau Calon Segur $57.99 93-96 AG
2014 Chateau Haut Bailly $59.99 93-96 AG
2014 Chateau Leoville Barton $60.99 92-95 WS
2014 Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte $62.99 93-96 WS
2014 Chateau Lynch Bages $83.99 93-96 WS
2014 Chateau Pichon Lalande $88.99 93-96 AG
2014 Chateau Pichon Baron $89.99 95-96 WCI
2014 Chateau Pontet Canet $89.99 93-96 AG
2014 Chateau Ducru Beaucaillou $107.99 94-97 AG
2014 Chateau Cos d’Estournel $114.99 95-96 WCI
2014 Chateau Leoville Las Cases $129.99 94-97 WS
2014 Chateau La Mission Haut Brion $194.99 95-97 WA
2014 Chateau Palmer $214.99 93-96 WS
2014 Chateau Margaux $319.99 94-97 WS
2014 Chateau Lafite Rothschild $414.99 94-97 WS

For those who have followed the prices of these wines from the heights of 2009 and 2010 (vintages where these wines are easily double or triple these prices), you can see just how striking the value of this vintage is. The scores are high, not far off the quality of those blockbuster vintages. And the prices are the lowest of any vintage currently available on the market. For so long it has been impossible to find Lynch Bages below $100, Leoville Las Cases below $200. And First Growths below $350. Yet here they are, and with incredible quality to boot.

Take Smith Haut Lafitte, a perennial favorite that usually lands around the $75-100 range. A pedigreed, single estate Cabernet blend with the highest level of winemaking. The wine is excellent this year and it’s available at $63. Try to get that sort of value from Napa Valley, it’s impossible. More and more, Bordeaux is producing excellent values that outpace the rest of the world.

For those with an eye on investment, I’ve grouped my targets into three categories providing the greatest opportunity for appreciation:

Limited Quantities on First Tranche
Lynch Bages
Margaux
Mouton Rothschild
Pichon Lalande

Undervalued/Room to Appreciate
Grand Puy Lacoste
Smith Haut Lafitte
Calon Segur
Beausejour Duffau Lagarrosse

Great Wines and Underpriced Compared to Other Vintages on the Market
Ducru Beaucaillou
La Mission Haut Brion
Leoville Las Cases

My top three investment targets are Lynch Bages, Margaux and Ducru Beaucaillou. Lynch and Margaux are major, in-demand labels that are fairly priced and in more limited supply than their peers. Both wines will go up as stocks are exhausted, these two are can’t miss buys. Ducru Beaucaillou is a spectacular wine this year and likely a candidate for an upgraded score from bottle. At $107.99 it’s just criminally underpriced compared to other good vintages of Ducru. I could easily see it selling for double the current price within 5 years.

Looking at the lower end of the spectrum. Grand Puy Lacoste, Smith Haut Lafitte and Calon Segur are interesting investment plays in volume. Their combination of name-recognition, low prices and high upside make them clear candidates to double in value in a 5-7 year window.

Buying well-known Bordeaux labels from a great vintage at bargain prices is always a strong investment and the opportunity is there this year. If you have the ability to put these away now, they will repay you in spades when they are ready to drink.

As always, please feel free to reach out to me personally if you have any questions about Futures or are seeking advice.

Geoff Pattison
Wally’s Wine & Spirits
Director of Imports
(310) 475-0606 Ext. 131
geoff@wallywine.com

Read up on previous dispatches from Bordeaux:
Dispatches from Bordeaux – Part 5

Wally’s Grande Marque XXII Champagne Tasting

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Wally’s kicked off the month of June in style this past Sunday, with our 22nd annual Grande Marque Champagne Tasting, held at the scenic, beachfront courtyard of the Le Merigot hotel in Santa Monica, CA. Guests began pouring in around 5pm and instantly gravitated towards the plethora of champagne tables from the finest Houses in France and the delectable offerings from renowned L.A. area restaurants such as Michael’s and Angelini Osteria. It was a perfect day for an outdoor tasting, as Bob Marley once said, “The sun was shining and the weather was sweet.”

Not only was it a day for tantalizing consumption, the underlying purpose of Grande Marque is to benefit the UCLA Jonsson Cancer Center Foundation and Food on Foot. The Silent Auction items attracted much interest and sparked some very serious bidding. Wally’s has raised over $1 million for charities over the years via the Grande Marque event, and the Silent Auction is always an important source of revenue.

A huge thank you goes out to all who attended, our sponsors, participants and a BIG thanks to The David Arana Quartet for providing the smooth soundscape all evening. Until next time, au revoir.

Offerings from Wally's Cheesebox
Offerings from Wally’s Cheesebox
The Sweet Butter table was amazing.
The Sweet Butter table was amazing.
The Silent Auction room had some great items.
The Silent Auction room had some great items.
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Café del Rey returns with its sumptuous raw bar.
The Krug table was a crowd favorite
The Krug table was a crowd favorite

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The Moet Girls
The Moet Girls
The pool was cool
The pool was cool
The talented David Arana Quartet
The talented David Arana Quartet

A Pair Of 95+ Point Tuscan Gems – 2009 and 2010 Montepeloso Eneo

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Montepeloso‘s talented and old-school proprietor Fabio Chiarelotto is a leader of the “Tuscan New Wave” of winemaking for his amazing, off-the-beaten-path wines. Working in one of the hottest regions of Tuscany is both a gift and a curse: a unique sea-sloped, petrified clay dominated terroir comes at the cost of massive effort to maintain his vines. But its been worth it. Chiarelotto’s small collection of vibrant, refined reds has been wowing critics for close to a decade now. We find the ‘Eneo’ to be right in the sweetspot of his catalog. A massive step up from a table wine, the Eneo simply blows away most red wines in its price range. And we have two vintages available: the “sensual” 95 point 2009 and the “dazzling” 96 point 2010! The 2009 is drinking perfectly already whereas the 2010 will reward slightly more time in your cellar. But make no mistake, both of these wines will be wonderful for decades to come. Quantities are limited to 6 bottles of each wine per customer.

Montepeloso 20092009 Montepeloso Eneo – sale price $44.99 – Buy Here

Robert Parker: 95 points 

The 2009 Eneo is impressive for its sensual personality and overall finesse. Dark red cherries, flowers, licorice, tobacco and flowers all come together beautifully in the glass as this refined, elegant wine shows off its pedigree. Layers of flavor build to the textured, suave finish. This Sangiovese-based red has maintained considerable freshness and vibrancy. Sweet floral and spiced notes linger on the understated finish. The blend is 45% Sangiovese, 35% Montepulciano, 15% Marselan and 5% Alicante Bouschet. Anticipated maturity 2014-2029.

montepeloso 20102010 Montepeloso Eneo – sale price $44.99 – Buy Here

Antonio Galloni: 96 points

One of the great wines of this vintage, the 2010 Eneo is dazzling. Subtle hints of earthiness, new leather, smoke, bacon fat, tobacco and savory herbs meld into a core of expressive dark red/black fruit. Nuanced and delicate, yet immensely powerful, the 2010 Eneo has it all. The 2010 keeps getting better and better in the glass. I imagine it will be spectacular in another few years. Actually, it already is. Eneo is the largest production of Montepeloso’s three top reds, which will make it easier to find. Readers will not want to miss the superb wine. Montepulciano and Sangiovese are the core of Eneo, while dollops of Alicante and Marsellan round out the blend.

 

2012 Forman Estate Chardonnay: a 94-point Chardonnay that… jumps from the glass!

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Galloni 94-point Chardonnay that… jumps from the glass!

The 94-point 2012 Forman Chardonnay is the 29th vintage of this hard-to-find white. Made in Formansmall quantities from the Star Vineyard in the Rutherford Bench appellation, veteran winemaker Ric Formanproduces an austere, mineral-driven Chablis style that fans of great white Burgundy find irresistible. Ric achieves his signature style by employing minimal new oak and eschewing malolactic fermentation. A central figure in the development of classic Napa wines, Forman was the first winemaker at Sterling vineyards before founding Newton Vineyard. He then helped establish Duckhorn and Abreu Vineyards, before quietly starting his own hillside project just east of St. Helena in 1983.

Be forewarned: our limited allocation will likely sell out within hours of this offering, so you truly must act soon to obtain your bottles!

94 points – Ric Forman’s 2012 Chardonnay jumps from the glass with bright lemon, mint, crushed rocks, citrus and slate. As always, the Forman style is all about cut, focus and energy. At times, the Chardonnay is Meursault inflected, with tons of white stone fruits, pears, crushed rocks and pure energy. Readers who enjoy bright, chiseled Chardonnays will adore the 2012. The 2012 spent seven months on its lees, and the malo was blocked, in classic Forman style.” —Antonio Galloni, VINOUS

2012 Forman Estate Chardonnay – Sale Price $44.99 – Buy Here

Spottswoode Winery to Pour at Wally’s Napa/Sonoma All Stars Event

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Spottswoode Winery to Pour at Wally’s Napa/Sonoma All Stars Event! This year’s Napa Sonoma All Stars event on Sunday, April 13, has all the makings of another classic: the opulent Hyatt Regency Century Plaza Hotel in Century City will allow us to spaciously showcase over 100 amazing wines – and the winery owners as well as winemakers will also be in attendance. Wally’s Cheese Box will provide cheese and bread, and for $75 in advance this is going to be a true deal for wine lovers with a list of favorites, and those without a “go-to” list letting them know where to queue up!  Every winery will pour two wines – giving everyone a chance to experience different flavor and texture profiles from the same winemaker. And yes – discounts will be offered for those who wish to purchase.

spottswoodeWe have always had great pride in the quality of our participating wineries in this yearly showing of California’s best,  as we’re proud to showcase them all – on our shelves as well as this event. One standout is the esteemed Spootswoode of Napa’s St. Helena – a certified organic producer of miniscule yet coveted amounts of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and Sauvignon Blanc from their 40 acres (they also bottle a Syrah which is grown in the Sonoma Coast AVA). Releasing their inaugural vintage in 1982, this family owned Estate was founded in 1882, and is home today to the beautiful Victorian Estate so elegantly depicted on the label.

Their 2011 Estate Cabernet Sauvignon and 2012 Sauvignon Blanc will be poured, and we expect nothing less than the usual excellence – their 2010 Spottswoode Cabernet Sauvignon (available in our store) received the ultimate endorsement, that of an insurmountable score of 100 points from Robert Parker himself. I personally can’t wait to taste the 2011 as the label defines the essence of a classic Napa Cabernet – rich with an elegant balance of depth, smoke and sweetness – and you can’t forget that these will blossom in the bottle – as it’s a mere infant! Take our word for it – if you love the wines offered at the All Stars – pick up a discounted case (or two) for the coming years – as they’ll be ready when you are.

You can taste wines from Spottswoode as well as wines from 100 other Napa/Sonoma producers at Wally’s All Stars Tasting Event. All for $75! Tickets at the event are $100 so save now! – Buy Here

 

A High-Demand Zinfandel From A Phenomenal Year

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“This family has been farming Zinfandel in Napa since 1937, and the wines consistently are among the highlights in my Zinfandel tastings.” Robert Parker 

BialeWe eagerly anticipate the arrival of Biale’s Black Chicken Zinfandel each spring. It consistently rates among the best expressions of the varietal… a real feather in Biale’s cap! As such, it is an annual “must-have” for both those who fancy great Zinfandel, as well as wine collectors in general. “Black Chicken” tops the pecking order of the Biale portfolio. And it emanates from “one of the two or three finest Zinfandel producers in California,” according to Robert Parker. 

The classic nature of this Zinfandel has spread worldwide, making it one of the most sought-after Zinfandels on the planet. And you might want to add a little extra to your basket this year, as the 2012 vintage is creating a whirlwind of hype. According to the winery: “this new 2012 may very well be acclaimed by its loyal followers as ‘the best chicken yet’ — we certainly think it is one of our best efforts.”

Gather ye Black Chickens, while ye may!

2012 Biale Zinfandel Black Chicken $44.99 – Buy Here

Winery Notes: “Plump, juicy, and firm, this is one irresistible bird – a Zinfandel brimming with fruit, spices, and an Oak Knoll District perfume of concentrated blackberry compote, bright raspberries, clove, five spice, black tea, toasted brioche, and notes of caramel and vanilla. Voluptuous, gentle, and yummy as it is, this freshly-bottled wonder has the stuffing for the long haul and is just getting started. The 2012 Black Chicken– if cellared well – will continue to improve for the next 5-8 years and likely well beyond.”

The wine’s name derives from the code word for the wine that the family used to have during prohibition. (Back then you’d place your order for Biale farm’s produce, and, if you were lucky enough to be an insider, ask that a ‘black chicken’ accompany your fruits and vegetables!) So historically important are the Biale’s to our country’s winemaking heritage that their original punch-down device hangs in the Smithsonian.