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 Bordeaux Blog – Vintage 2014 Dispatches from Bordeaux – Part 5

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Thursday, April 16th 2015

Today is the last day of the trip and our morning is reserved for a comprehensive tasting at one of Bordeaux’s largest negociant firms. While we always try to make it to as many properties as we can, it’s just not possible to visit them all in person, so this sort of “cattle call” tasting is a necessity to get a full picture of the vintage. Prior to the tasting we’re able to request barrel samples from a list of hundreds of chateaux throughout the region. The day before our tasting the samples arrive fresh in 375ml half bottles, ready for our consideration. I usually try to schedule this at the end of the trip so we are able to form a general opinion of the vintage “on the ground” and then fill in the gaps, as it were.

Over the course of 2 ½ hours the parade of half bottles both confirms and fleshes out our early impressions of the vintage. Some of the top highlights include:

2014 Chateau Gazin
-Charming nose of earth and blueberries, firm and structured on the palate, medium bodied. A nicely balanced expression that should age well.

2014 Chateau Beychevelle
-51% Merlot this year, the nose is pure red fruit with hints of gravel and iron. Nice fruit on the attack, good ripeness and density. Long finish, this is an excellent Beychevelle, clearly their best since the 2010.

2014 Chateau Faugeres
-A very ripe, polished nose of chocolate covered cherries. Very modern on the palate with ripe dark fruit and espresso. Still there is a great sense of weight and density for the pricepoint. Once again this will be a very attractive QPR.

2014 Chateau Le Gay
-A pretty nose of cedar and perfumed berry fruit. Lithe and elegant on the palate. Medium bodied and very nicely balanced. A lighter expression of Le Gay but everything is in good proportion, the volume is just dialed back a bit. This will likely drink well relatively early.

2014 Chateau Larcis Ducasse
-As per usual, very flamboyant on the nose, kirsch, crème de cassis, strawberries. Sweet and ripe on the attack, medium bodied, doesn’t have the density of its big brothers but there’s no denying this is a hugely attractive wine and very well made. It will be interesting to see where the price lands, this could be one of the best QPRs of the vintage.

2014 Chateau Pavie Macquin
-Seductive nose of Mocha, earth and plums that is textbook Pavie Macq. Again ripe, round and sweet on the palate with excellent richness. A very good vintage for them if perhaps lacking the structure of the best vintages.

2014 Chateau Beausejour Duffau Lagarrosse
-Somewhat similar nose to the Pavie Macquin, mocha, earth, but more toward the cassis end of the spectrum. More complex and exotic with spice elements. Big and powerful on the palate with mocha, blueberry and animale flavors. This is a top notch terroir that has been firing on all cylinders under the watch of Nicolas Thienpont. Still one of the best values in Bordeaux, this could hold its own blind with Pavie, Angelus, Troplong, etc… and can still be had for a fraction of the price.

2014 Chateau Haut Bailly
-Nice ripe red fruit nose with herbal and mineral notes. Taut on the entry with mineral laced cherry and tobacco flavors. This is medium bodied but well-structured with a nice sense of tension. A precise Haut Bailly that should unfurl nicely in 5-10 years.

2014 Chateau Les Carmes Haut Brion
-50% Cabernet Franc. Deep, spicy, herbal berries and dark chocolate. Hints of violets. Lush and silky on the palate, ends with a drying persistent finish. Not a huge vintage but very elegant. This is one of the most exciting new projects in Bordeaux. Rhone inspired winemaking, stem inclusion, high percentage of Cabernet Franc in Pessac Leognan. What a strange and wonderful wine.

2014 Chateau Doisy Daene
-Very floral with white flowers and stone fruits. Rich, seductive and powerful, a decadent Doisy Daene. This is such a great value every year.

2014 Chateau Doisy Vedrines
-Honey, ginger and apricot jam on the nose. This is rich and sweet but has a nice line of acid running through it. Great quality for the price.

2014 Chateau Coutet
-Complex on the nose, mandarin orange, pineapple, honeysuckle, gingerbread. Strikingly sweet and intense on the palate, this is a monster Barsac. While one might wish for a bit more tension and finesse, the level of concentration and power on display here is impressive and frankly this is better that Rieussec and Suduiraut in this vintage. What a showing from this perennial value!

1

Leaving the negociant’s offices we hop in the car and head to Saint Emilion. First stop is the imposing new compound at the newly anointed “Premier Grand Cru Classe A” Chateau Pavie. Gerard Perse has shepherded this estate’s rise from relative obscurity to become one of the jewels of the appellation. As of 2012 it joins Ausone, Cheval Blanc and Angelus as the only “A” designated wines in Saint Emilion. There are two obvious standouts from their stable of wines:

2014 Chateau Monbousquet
-Funky nose with truffles, turned earth and coffee grounds. The palate turns more red fruit driven than usual here with a lovely underpinning of acidity running through. This is polished but well balanced. Shows the high level of winemaking of the Perse stable and should be a top value.

2014 Chateau Pavie
-A classic Pavie nose, ripe, plush and sexy but fresh. Nice balance on the velvety palate, powerful with no holes. Rock solid midpalate. The overall sense is still medium bodied, this is a dialed back Pavie that shows a bit more sinew and tension than usual. Quite good.

Leaving Pavie we head to Chateau Troplong Mondot where we will taste the first vintage since the passing of the incomparable Christine Valette. There is only one wine to taste:

2014 Chateau Troplong Mondot
-Rich, ripe, powerful nose full of espresso and macerated black cherry. Deep, rich, powerful, suave and round. 85% new oak this year. Very good volume, a beautiful Troplong.

In addition to being one of the great terroirs of Saint Emilion, Troplong Mondot is also home to a charming on-site boutique resort called Les Belles Perdrix which happens to have one of the best restaurants in the Right Bank. We settle in for a delicious 3 course prix-fixe lunch. The cooking is market driven, creative and at a very high level. If you find yourself in Saint Emilion make sure you make a reservation here, it is a must. Our lunch is paired with the excellent 2006 Chateau Troplong Mondot

Leaving lunch it’s a full afternoon of appointments in Pomerol and Saint Emilion. Highlights of the afternoon:

3

2014 Chateau Ausone
-60% Cabernet Franc. Framboise, lovely red fruit, ripe tannins and very long. This feels so effortless on the palate but you really sense the power on the end. Sneaky good structure. Excellent acid balance, a very elegant Ausone.

2014 La Fleur de Bouard
-A ripe, deep jammy nose. This is big and round on the palate but fresh with a nice underpinning of acid and good volume. Well done.

2014 Chateau Angelus
-Plush, round floral infused dark chocolate on the nose. Very concentrated chocolate and berry compote on the palate. Excellent freshness and very tannic as this usually is at this stage.

2014 Chateau Cheval Blanc
-55% Merlot, 45% Cabernet Franc. A markedly complex, deep, luxurious herbal nose with considerable fruit and charm. Lovely silky texture, medium bodied with zen-like balance. Elegant, long and aromatic, there’s something Burgundian about the sense of inner perfume here. A tour de force, this is likely one of the top wines of the vintage.

cht figeac

2014 Chateau Figeac
-Dark chocolate, berry fruit, somewhat herbal. The Cabernet Sauvignon is ripe and lends nice muscle. Good freshness. A masculine, sinewy Figeac reminiscent of the 1995 or the 1988.

l eglish clinet
2014 Chateau L’Eglise Clinet
-Dazzling, knockout aromas of boysenberry, kirsch, wild flowers and cherry heering. Just stunning. Rich, ripe, sexy berry fruit on the palate. All of this exoticism is buttressed by a huge structure with good volume and muscle. This is a fabulous, pure L’Eglise Clinet that will likely be rather affordable. Highly recommended.

Dinner tonight is at a local negociant’s home where we enjoy a laid back meal among friends. Our good friend Thomas Duroux of Chateau Palmer (who will be in LA for our Palmer Vertical Dinner this fall) has come to join us and we start off the evening with the 2011 Vin Blanc de Chateau Palmer, a rare bird indeed. Not commercially released and limited to just 100 cases per year, this is an odd blend of Muscadelle, Loset and Sauvignon Gris. Very fresh and full of white orchard fruit on the nose. The palate is rounded and airy with nice acidity. As dinner unfolds we open spectacular bottles of 2000 Chateau Cheval Blanc and 1998 L’Evangile. Wonderful conversation on Bordeaux, Hollywood and Jazz end the trip on a high note.

Now off to bed. And tomorrow on to Paris for a bit of fun before the flight home. Looking back on the trip this is a truly excellent vintage and given the outlook on prices and the currency exchange rate, this should be a very exciting campaign indeed.

-Written by Geoff Pattison, Director of Imports

Read up on previous dispatches from Bordeaux:
Dispatches from Bordeaux – Part 4

Manuel’s Wine Travels – Burgundy and Champagne Part 1

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Editors Note – The following entry was submitted by Wally’s Burgundy and Champagne buyer, Manuel Bronson, who is currently abroad in France. 

photo4I am headed off to France to see how the current vintages of Burgundy and Champagne are doing. First, a stop in Paris to see friends and enjoy some of the cities best cuisine. On Friday night I meet our import director/Bordeaux buyer Geoff Pattison, who is heading home from a week of previewing the 2013 vintage. Per Geoff’s suggestion, we decide to try L’ami Jean, a “nouveau” bistro with gastronomic twists. The chef’s tasting menu is classic yet playful. The poached fish in mushroom broth is perfectly cooked and subtle. The sweetbreads with morels are some of the best I’ve ever had. We select a 2010 Arbois Pupillin from Renardiere as our opening wine; a bright, balanced white from the Jura. We follow with a 2010 Antonin Guyon Chambolle Musigny, which rewards us with bright red fruit, balance and great acidity…. another fantastic wine for the flavorful, impeccably-prepared food.

On Saturday I wake up to another glorious sorting day in Paris. We are headed to lunch to see our old friend Eric Beaumard, the wine director at the George V, located in the Four Seasons. We are treated to a phenomenal 6 course lunch paired with wines. The George V has really stepped up its game in the last few years. photo1Geoff and I have little doubt it is getting very close to reaching its lofty Michelin goals. After a leisurely stroll though Paris and a small repose, we head to the incoming L’ami Louis for to enjoy some incredible classic French bistro dishes for dinner. Stepping into L’ami Louis is a step into the past. Although difficult to secure reservations, it is well worth the effort.

On Sunday morning Geoff headed home while I was off to Burgundy. It has been two years since my last visit, and ten years since I worked at Domaine de La Romanee Conti.  I am always excited to see old friends and visit new people when I  am in Burgundy. This trip I have decided to focus on specific villages to gauge how the 2012 has developed in bottle and the 2013 in barrel.

As many people know Burgundy has gone through a few difficult vintages of late. For the most part quantities have steadily been declining since 2009, thus, with a worldwide appetite for Burgundies on the rise,  it has become a paradoxical situation: demand is far exceeding supply.The good news is, there seems to be a new generation of grower/producers that are emerging, making very intriguing wines.

For this trip, I have decided to stay at Le Montrachet hotel in Puligny-Montrachet.  This wonderful hotel – with a great restaurant – is owned by Jean-Pierre Faraut, who is a great friend of Wally’s.  I highly recommend those planning a visit to Burgundy to book a room at Le Montrachet!

Day one will focus on the villages of Chambolle, Gevrey and Marsannay. I have set up appointments to visit both classic producers as well as some “up and comers.”

My first tasting is at Domaine Duroche in Gevrey Chambertin. In recent vintages I have heard the wines of this domaine have steadily improved to the point where they have become one of the most talked about producers in the area. I was met by Pierre Duroche, Managing Director of the domaine. Pierre has implemented his vision for the winery since 2005. I must say, after tasting the wines, the hype is true. I was taken aback by the purity and preciseness of the wines. We taste the full range from the winery – from its Bourgogne to its Gevrey 1er cru and finally Duroche’s grand cru, Clos de Beze, Latricieres Chambertin and Charmes- Chambertin. The 2013s in barrel are going through malolactic fermentation (as are most wines in Burgundy), and therefore are difficult to taste, yet the underlying core of pure fruit, soft tannins and structure is highly evident. Duroche is not to be missed,  I am very confident that consumers will be very happy with Côte d’Or 2012 and 2013.

After Duroche, I travel to one of my favorite producers in Burgundy, Domaine Armand Rousseau. As I walk into these half-full hollowed cellars it is obvious the yields in the last few years are significantly  down.  And, since the global appetite for Rousseau’s wines has skyrocketed, it’s easy to see why the prices for his wines over the last few vintages has followed suit.  Rousseau to me is the perfect example of a producer who is great year in and out. It is producers like him that affirm my belief to choose producer over vintage. The 2012 and 2013 are fantastic top to bottom. The 2012s are oddly approachable for a young vintage, yet the examples I tasted still maintain fantastic structure and aging potential. It will be great to follow these wines over many years!

Following the epic tasting at Rousseau, I head down the road to our good friend Jean-Marie Fourrier. In recent years Fourrier has become a producer whose demand has risen considerably. So much so, that JM decided to start a negociant branch just to satisfy demand. If you are lucky to find any of these wines outside of auctions, they are not to be missed.

After Fourrier I head to lunch with hyper charismatic Jacques Marchand of Domaine Marchand Grillot. I am treated to a fantastic repast prepared by Jacques himself.  We enjoy white asparagus, a rabbit terrine, and a selection of local cheeses accompanied by the 2012 wines. These are a set of fantastic Burgundies, especially from Grillot’s 100-year-old vineyard in Gevrey. In a word, the wines are awesome!

Continuing my day I head to Comte Vogue in Chambolle Musigny. Out of all the wines I have tasted, these seem to be the most reserved and difficult to assess.  Yet I sense intuitively that the underlying potential for development of these revered wines is beyond doubt.  I am certain these wines will evolve into modern days classics.
Upon finishing Vogue I head north to the town of Marsannay to visit Domaine Sylvan Pataille. I truly believe that Pataille and Bruno Clair will elevate certain appellations to premier cru level based on recent results. Both the reds and the whites are electric and still fairly priced. Definitely a winery to keep your eye on!

photo5After a long day of tasting I’m ready for a nice dinner. I am graciously invited to Domaine Bouchard with Luc  Bouchard. Walking through the old cellars under the medieval castle in Beaune is a walk into history. Bouchard has probably the deepest personal cellar in all of Burgundy, with wines going back to the 1850s. For dinner, Luc opens a few very special wines: a 2009 Chavalier Montracher and a 1961 Corton Grand Crus. Both wines are fantastic, but the 1961 steals the show, and shines the brightest.

That concludes Day 1. Stay tuned for the rest of my adventures in Burgundy and Champagne!

Manuel Bronson

Somm!

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SOMM1By now, you must have heard about Somm, the current independent film receiving rave reviews, which depicts the experiences of four young sommeliers as they attempt to pass the prestigious Master Sommelier exam, a notoriously terrifying test with one of the lowest pass rates in the world. Singer (and Wally’s customer!) Pink has tweeted that she was “in love” with the movie – and we think you will love it too once you see this wonderful film. It will most assuredly have you look at drinking wine in an entirely new light – and will elevate your interest in the particulars of wines in general. And you’ll also marvel at the awe-inspiring dedication and fearlessness of those studying for the exam, who combine a sanity-defying passion, and the structured training regimen of a top-collegiate athlete, medical or law student.

Some of the accolades include: “(T)he film is an exhilarating experience. It’s funny, eye-opening and emotional all at once”, CultureMap’s Food and Drink Editor, Jessica Dupuy, who recently reviewed the film through Texas Monthly online.

“(U)ltimately engaging documentary about the folks who not only become sommeliers but also expend the extraordinary effort necessary to become master sommeliers by passing an exam so rigorous it makes grown men weep.” Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times.

Samuel Goldwyn films states: “The Court of Master Sommeliers is one of the world’s most prestigious, secretive, and exclusive organizations. Since its inception almost 40 years ago, less than 200 candidates have reached the exalted Master level. The exam covers literally every nuance of the world of wine, spirits and cigars. Those who have passed have put at risk their personal lives, their well- being, and often their sanity to pull it off. Shrouded in secrecy, access to the Court Of Master Sommeliers has always been strictly regulated and cameras have never been allowed anywhere near the exam, until now. How much do you think you know about wine? SOMM will make you think again. SOMM takes you on the ultimate insider’s tour into a world of obsession, hope, and friendship in red, blanc and sometimes rose.”

See the trailer here – and see you at the theatre!
http://trailers.apple.com/trailers/independent/somm/

And here is the buy/rental link from itunes:
http://www.itunes.com/Somm

Enjoying Burgundy wines, when not in Burgundy

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Sitting at a bistro table, dining in the fresh country air is how Burgundy wines are best enjoyed (if you ask me, and the French). But when you find yourself in less friendly air and with no bistro table in sight, the second best way to enjoy Burgundy wines, like the 2006 Bouchard Père & Fils Aloxe Corton, is with the right food.

Earthy Pinot Noir can be a culinary chameleon, and the wines of this renowned region in France have long been crafted for the table, not just the glass.  Enjoy red from Burgundy with roasted chicken or root vegetables, orange-scented Cornish hens, or even duck breast.  Oh yes, seared, succulent duck breast.

Even though the wines fall in the range of medium- to full-bodied, their acidity is the star, and the perfect complement for cutting through the richness of duck fat.  They balance the succulence of duck, but unlike more intense red wines, won’t render the delicate flavor of the meat tasteless.  When paired with subtler dishes, like ratatouille, the caramelized sugars from the vegetables allow the dark red fruit to shine on the finish.

In culinary geek speak, this is the practice of contrast – enjoying one particular food with a specific wine to bring out the hidden nuances of each.   Just the right move when you set out to enjoy Burgundy wines, when not in Burgundy.

Christina Bailey is one of Wally’s resident wine geeks, a graduate of
the Culinary Institute of America, has worked at Thomas Keller’s
flagship Bouchon Bistro and is a former broadcast news reporter. She’s
currently pursuing the second level of sommelier certification through
the Court of Master Sommeliers.

2009 UGC Union Des Grands Crus Bordeaux Tasting

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Last year, Wally’s was honored to welcome over 100 of the world’s greatest Chateaux owners and winemakers from Bordeaux — under the big top– at our store. Attendance to our inaugural hosting of the Union des Grands Crus was so great that we decided to stage our next UGC tasting at the spacious Hyatt Century City. A wise move, especially considering that our friends from France will be reprising the legendary 2005 vintage in addition to introducing the value-rich 2006s. This tasting is an unrivaled opportunity for you to explore the very best Bordeaux has to offer at a fraction of the cost of a single bottle of Grand Cru! The UGC event offers a wine tasting experience of a lifetime. Tickets are ideal gifts to obtain for your friends, whether their knowledge is fledgling or advanced. A sell-out is expected, so avoid disappointment and sign up early!Partial List of Expected Attendees:

Pessac-Léognan
Château Bouscaut
Château Carbonnieux
Domaine de Chevalier
Château de Fieuzal
Château de France
Château Haut – Bailly
Château Haut – Bergey
Château La Louvière
Château Larrivet – Haut – Brion
Château Latour – Martillac
Château Les Carmes Haut-Brion
Château Malartic – Lagravière
Château Olivier
Château Pape Clément
Château Picque Caillou

Graves
Château de Chantegrive
Château Ferrande
Château Rahoul

Saint-Émilion Grand Cru
Château Angélus
Château Balestard La Tonnelle
Château Beau – Séjour Bécot
Château Belair
Château Berliquet
Château Canon
Château Canon – La – Gaffelière
Château Cap de Mourlin
Château Cheval Blanc
Château Dassault
Château Figeac
Château Franc Mayne
Château Grand – Mayne
Château La Couspaude
Château La Dominique
Château La Gaffelière
Château La Tour Figeac
Château Larcis Ducasse
Château Larmande
Château Pavie
Château Pavie Decesse
Château Pavie – Macquin
Château Troplong Mondot
Château Trottevieille
Clos Fourtet

Pomerol
Château Beauregard
Château Clinet
Château Gazin
Château L’ Évangile
Château La Croix de Gay
Château La Pointe
Château Petit-Village
Vieux Château Certan

Haut Médoc
Château Beaumont
Château Belgrave
Château Camensac
Château Citran
Château Coufran
Château de Lamarque
Château La Lagune
Château La Tour Carnet
Château Malescasse
Médoc
Château Greysac
Château La Tour de By

Margaux
Château Brane-Cantenac
Château Cantenac-Brown
Château d’Angludet
Château Dauzac
Château du Tertre
Château Durfort Vivens
Château Ferrière
Château Giscours
Château Kirwan
Château Lascombes
Château Malescot Saint-Exupéry
Château Marquis d’Alesme
Château Marquis de Terme
Château Monbrison
Château Prieuré – Lichine
Château Rauzan Gassies
Château Rauzan – Ségla
Château Siran

Saint Julien
Château Beychevelle
Château Branaire – Ducru
Château Gruaud Larose
Château Lagrange
Château Langoa Barton
Château Léoville Barton
Château Léoville Poyferré
Château Talbot

Pauillac
Château Batailley
Château Clerc Milon
Château Croizet-Bages
Château d’ Armailhac
Château Haut – Bages Libéral
Château Lynch – Bages
Château Lynch – Moussas
Château Mouton Rothschild
Château Pichon – Longueville
Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande
Château Pontet-Canet

Saint Estephe
Château Cos Labory
Château Lafon – Rochet
Château Ormes De Pez
Château Phélan Ségur

Sauternes et Barsac
Château Bastor-Lamontagne
Château Broustet
Château Climens
Château Coutet
Château d’ Yquem
Château de Malle
Château de Rayne Vigneau
Château Doisy Daëne
Château Doisy – Védrines
Château Guiraud
Château La Tour Blanche
Château Lafaurie-Peyraguey
Château Nairac
Château Sigalas – Rabaud
Château Suduiraut

Moulis en Médoc
Château Chasse – Spleen
Château Maucaillou
Château Poujeaux

Listrac Médoc
Château Clarke
Château Fonréaud
Château Fourcas-Dupré
Château Fourcas-Hosten

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Wally’s presents FETE DU BORDEAUX DINNER at SHUTTERS ON THE BEACH

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FETE DU BORDEAUX DINNER at SHUTTERS ON THE BEACH

One Pico Boulevard, Santa Monica

With Jean-Charles Cazes, Lilian Barton-Sartorius and Jean-Guillaume Prats

Tuesday, January 20th 2009  7pm

$275 per person  #103204

FEATURING THE “SURPRISINGLY GOOD” 2006 VINTAGE

Bordeaux fans are again in store for an exciting “first peek” of the new vintage.  This time it is the 2006s making their debut.  Fresh on the heels of the phenomenal 2005 vintage, Robert Parker reports that the 2006 vintage “appears to be a modern-day version of 1996 or 1986, [years that] in the best cases produced wines with impressive concentration.”  Parker’s conclusion:  “The 2006 vintage has produced many fine wines, and is a surprisingly good year for the finest terroirs.”

Our distinguished Guests of Honor will be Lilian Barton-Sartorius of Leoville and Langoa Barton, Jean-Charles Cazes, proprietor of Lynch-Bages, and Jean-Guillaume Prats, CEO of Cos d’Estournel.  Shutters Executive Chef Michael Reardon is presenting a magnificent five course dinner to match with a lineup of sensational wines.

Selection of Canapes

Pol Roger Brut, en magnum

First Course

Diver Scallop, Cauliflower, American Osetra, Garden Chives

2006 Blanc de Lynch-Bages

Second Course

Roasted Duck Breast, Chestnuts, Cabbage and Porcini Marmalade

2006 Chateau Marbuzet2006 Chateau Ormes de Pez2006 Chateau Langoa Barton   (90-92)2006 Chateau Lynch-Bages      (91-93)2006 Chateau Leoville Barton  (92-94)2006 Chateau Cos d’Estournel  (92-94+)

Third Course

Dry Aged Rib Eye, Braised Oxtail, Celery, Reggiano

2003 Chateau Lynch-Bages2000 Chateau Cos d’Estournel  (92)1999 Chateau Langoa Barton

Fourth Course

Selection of Artisinal Cheeses, Fig Mustards

1998 Chateau Cos d’Estournel1996 Chateau Lynch-Bages      (94)1995 Chateau Leoville Barton  (91)

Dessert

Vanilla Roasted Pineapple, Caramalized Honey, Coconut  Panna Cotta

2002 Chateau Suduiraut     (90-93)

(Robert Parker scores)

Refunds for cancellation require one week notice

Amazing Bordeaux Tasting

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Wally’s is very proud to announce that it is joint-venturing with the prestigious Bordeaux society – Unions des Grands Crus – to stage one of  the largest Bordeaux wine tastings in the history of Los  Angeles! 100 of the worlds greatest Chateaux owners and winemakers will gather for the debut pouring and tasting of the 2006 vintage. An array of exotic French cheeses and hors d’oeuvres will accompany the comprehensive array of wines.  Reservations for this tasting will sell out quickly.   This wonderful event at the luxurious Hyatt Regency in Century City will be a celebration not to miss!

Below is a list of the attendees:

Pessac-Léognan

Château Bouscaut

Château Carbonnieux

Domaine de Chevalier

Château de Fieuzal

Château de France

Château Haut – Bailly

Château Haut – Bergey

Château La Louvière

Château Larrivet – Haut – Brion

Château Latour – Martillac

Château Les Carmes Haut-Brion

Château Malartic – Lagravière

Château Olivier

Château Pape Clément

Château Picque Caillou

Graves

Château de Chantegrive

Château Ferrande

Château Rahoul

Saint-Émilion Grand Cru

Château Angélus

Château Balestard La Tonnelle

Château Beau – Séjour Bécot

Château Belair

Château Berliquet

Château Canon

Château Canon – La – Gaffelière

Château Cap de Mourlin

Château Cheval Blanc

Château Dassault

Château Figeac

Château Franc Mayne

Château Grand – Mayne

Château La Couspaude

Château La Dominique

Château La Gaffelière

Château La Tour Figeac

Château Larcis Ducasse

Château Larmande

Château Pavie

Château Pavie Decesse

Château Pavie – Macquin

Château Troplong Mondot

Château Trottevieille

Clos Fourtet

Pomerol

Château Beauregard

Château Clinet

Château Gazin

Château L’ Évangile

Château La Croix de Gay

Château La Pointe

Château Petit-Village

Vieux Château Certan

Haut Médoc

Château Beaumont

Château Belgrave

Château Camensac

Château Citran

Château Coufran

Château de Lamarque

Château La Lagune

Château La Tour Carnet

Château Malescasse

Médoc

Château Greysac

Château La Tour de By

Margaux

Château Brane-Cantenac

Château Cantenac-Brown

Château d’Angludet

Château Dauzac

Château du Tertre

Château Durfort Vivens

Château Ferrière

Château Giscours

Château Kirwan

Château Lascombes

Château Malescot Saint-Exupéry

Château Marquis d’Alesme

Château Marquis de Terme

Château Monbrison

Château Prieuré – Lichine

Château Rauzan Gassies

Château Rauzan – Ségla

Château Siran

Saint Julien

Château Beychevelle

Château Branaire – Ducru

Château Gruaud Larose

Château Lagrange

Château Langoa Barton

Château Léoville Barton

Château Léoville Poyferré

Château Talbot

Pauillac

Château Batailley

Château Clerc Milon

Château Croizet-Bages

Château d’ Armailhac

Château Haut – Bages Libéral

Château Lynch – Bages

Château Lynch – Moussas

Château Mouton Rothschild

Château Pichon – Longueville

Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande

Château Pontet-Canet

Saint Estephe

Château Cos Labory

Château Lafon – Rochet

Château Ormes De Pez

Château Phélan Ségur

Sauternes et Barsac

Château Bastor-Lamontagne

Château Broustet

Château Climens

Château Coutet

Château d’ Yquem

Château de Malle

Château de Rayne Vigneau

Château Doisy Daëne

Château Doisy – Védrines

Château Guiraud

Château La Tour Blanche

Château Lafaurie-Peyraguey

Château Nairac

Château Sigalas – Rabaud

Château Suduiraut

Moulis en Médoc

Château Chasse – Spleen

Château Maucaillou

Château Poujeaux

Listrac Médoc

Château Clarke

Château Fonréaud

Château Fourcas-Dupré

Château Fourcas-Hosten

Bottle Shock!

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Bottle Shock!

It’s about time that the 1976 “Judgment of Paris” receives an ample pour of due respect in the movies. If “Sideways” serves as an appropriate apritif, “Bottle Shock”, with its worldwide historical significance, is certainly a main course for not just present and future wine lovers, but perhaps for anyone with a belief in the noble ideal of overcoming all odds.

From “The Little Engine That Could” that we read (or which was read to us) in our childhood, and Joe Namath leading the lowly New York Jets of the AFL to a victory in Super Bowl 3, to the “Karate Kid” of the 1980’s, we all love a story about the underdog – fighting an unappreciated, upward struggle, with nary a hope or chance in sight against a towering Goliath. In a way, what theme could be more “American”?

As such, the canvas for this comedic drama is the infamous Paris wine tasting of 1976,  which pitted numerous esteemed French wines, against wines from the upstart California, in a blind tasting to be judged by luminaries of the French wine world. How could the untested yet precocious wines of California stand a chance? Well, if you don’t already know the outcome, you’ll have to use your imagination – or better yet, come and see this inspiring movie with a friend.

Starring Bill Pullman, Chris Pine, Rachel Taylor, Dennis Farina, Eliza Dushku, Freddy Rodriguez, and Golden Globe winner Alan Rickman, this dramatic comedy focuses on the quest of Jim Barrett (Bill Pullman) and his son (Chris Pine) in producing a world-class Chardonnay at Napa’s Chateau Montelena. Set in the beautiful wine country of California, this film is also a feast for the eyes – and without a doubt, will awaken the inner oenophile in the multitudes.

Please have a look at the Bottle Shock website. And, for a nice dinner afterward, what would be more appropriate than a nice Chateau Montelena?

2007 Bordeaux Futures

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The summer of 2007 was not what anyone in Bordeaux wanted – cold, wet and gray. If not for a few hot late-summer months, the producers would have had more of an enormous challenge than what they already faced. In fact, crafting promising wines from this type of weather showed the skill of the Bordeaux producers, and James Suckling of Wine Spectator was impressed enough to write that “some producers managed to make very good wines against all odds”.

James also was especially taken with, in particular, the whites and sauternes: “There is one brilliant light shining through the gray of 2007: the white wines. Both sweet and dry whites appear to be excellent. I have only tasted about a dozen Sauternes so far, but they are racy, rich and long. They remind me of the excellent 1988s when they were young, or slightly more reserved versions of the 2001s. The dry whites are equally racy; the Sémillons are some of the richest yet liveliest I have ever tasted at this stage of their evolution”.

Robert M. Parker Jr. also had praise for the 2007’s: “The finest 2007s tend to be dark ruby-colored with purple highlights, sweet, ripe berry fruit similar to black cherries and black currants, medium body, silky tannins, low acidity, and pure, round, charming personalities with good equilibrium… Most will be drinkable as soon as they are bottled (actually, many are so precocious, they could have been gulped down as barrel samples), and should age surprisingly well for 10-15 years. Truthfully, most consumers will probably love the style of the vintage’s top wines because they are so flattering, seductive, and fruit-forward”.

Having just returned from Bordeaux, Wally’s tasting team is pleased to report that the 2007s are much better than anticipated. These are wines made for Bordeaux drinkers. They are not muscular, tannic wines meant to be cellared for decades. Rather, they are well crafted wines that will provide much pleasurable drinking over the next 5-10 years. And the prices are equally attractive; most of these 2007 futures are less than half the price of the 2005s that are currently arriving. Here’s to the 2007 vintage, a great selection of well-priced, ready-to-drink Bordeaux!  Please have a look at our 2007 Bordeaux Futures.