Archive for September, 2015

Ask Sid: Burgundy Regions

September 30th, 2015
Ask your question here The International Wine & Food Society

Ask Sid: Burgundy Regions

Question: I am a bit confused about how far north and south Burgundy actually goes. I usually get different answers to my question. What is the correct one Sid?

Answer: Yes many people speak about Burgundy as just the Cote d’Or (“Golden Hillside”) the two regions from just south of Dijon to north of Beaune comprising the Cote de Nuits & from there south to Santenay being the Cote de Beaune. These vineyards are now much in demand for the small quantities produced and are very expensive. However in addition to those 2 main districts there is also 4 other ones from furthest north of all Chablis, and three most southerly ones Cote Chalonnaise, Cote Maconnaise, & Beaujolais – some wines from which are of outstanding quality and still excellent value for the price. Check out the Burgundies – red & white – from all 6 regions!

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Château Haut-Bailly Update

September 28th, 2015

Château Haut-Bailly

The knowledgeable charming Veronique Sanders -van Beek Managing Director of Château Haut-Bailly ( was just briefly in Montreal for a dinner and in Vancouver for an update tasting. She was conscientiously monitoring the start mid-September of the very promising early “vendange” 2015 harvest in Bordeaux from afar. I have been a fan of the classy elegance of this property for a long time. Remember a visit back in May 1983 trying their 1982 in barrel – 50% new oak from Demptos was used for it as they were one of the owners of the property at that time whereas each year previously they had used 40%. The then cellar master’s thinking at the time on the 1982 was that the yields were rather high (65 hectolitres/hectare) as were the pHs and the vintage wouldn’t age long. As you know many 1982 Bordeaux have aged very well indeed. The chateau has been in better hands since 1998 owned by the Wilmers and is going from strength to strength. This blog over 2 years ago on May 6, 2013 highlighted 15 vintages from then to 2012. I really like how Veronique aptly tries to summarize each year by one word or so. It naturally focuses on their own wine but has application to many other neighbouring properties as well. They have changed 2004 from “A rare perfection” to “A great precision”; 2009 from “A truly great vintage ” to “Mythic”; and 2010 from “A double triumph” to “Best Ever”. Interesting that they name 2010 “best ever” when 2009 got the Robert Parker perfect 100 score but he also likes 2010 giving it a 97+/98 range. Veronique says the smaller grapes in 2010 gave a higher phenolic content than 2009 resulting in a preferred very good balanced freshness. Here is her update on the two latest vintages:

2013: “A Miracle” – 64% Cab Sauv 34 Merlot 2 Cab Franc – “Full of finesse both lively & supple retaining freshness and a harmonious structure”

2014: “Vibrant” – 66% Cab Sauv 34 Merlot – “Dry perfect weather for picking 12 days over a 22 day period Sept. 24-Oct. 15 gave a vibrant vintage of great style”

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The #Brosé Effect

September 25th, 2015

the #Brosé effect

By Joseph Temple

Once considered to be a wine exclusively for women, rosé is currently enjoying a massive resurgence across America, which is now the second largest market after France for this lovely pink drink. According to Nielsen research, sales of rosé are growing ten times faster than overall table wine sales.  Imports from Provence, considered the gold standard for rosé, have shot up from less than half a million liters in 2006 to nearly five million in 2014. And here’s the thing: it’s men that are largely responsible for this phenomenal growth, representing approximately 45% of all rosé sales in the United States!

Call it the #Brosé effect.

Unlike the White Zinfandel and Mateus Rosé brands that were enormously popular—and utterly despised by many wine aficionados during the 1970s, this new era for rosé is clearly breaking free from its sordid past. With vintners using different grape varieties that include everything from Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon to Pinot Noir and Touriga Nacional, more complex flavors with greater depth are now being offered to consumers. The demand has become so big, especially in places like New York City and Miami, that retailers are now signing up pre-sale orders, something inconceivable only a decade ago for this blushing wine.

But perhaps the biggest reason for this trend is social media.  It has played a huge part in removing the stigma that is often associated with men drinking rosé. On Twitter, #Brosé has become a popular hashtag for anyone wanting to illustrate the popular online slogan, “real men aren’t afraid to drink pink!” Add to the mix some clever internet meme’s and humorous YouTube videos and what you have is a blush wine whose popularity can be attributed to the power of new media.

“There used to be this perception that rose was a girly drink, but that’s just not true,” according to one Manhattan hotel director interviewed in Details.

“I like to say that real men drink pink.”


Malina, Joshua. (2015, May 21). 7 Maps & Charts That Explain The Incredible Rise Of Rosé In America. VinePair. Retrieved from
Teague, Lettie. (2014, June 20). Summer’s Rosés: Which Pink to Drink? The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved from
Wells, Jane. (2015, June 19). Rosé wine becomes popular…with men. CNBC. Retrieved from
Wyma, Chloe. (2015, June 12). Make Way for Brosé: Why More Men Are Drinking Pink. Details. Retrieved from

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Ask Sid: Hock Wine?

September 23rd, 2015
Ask your question here The International Wine & Food Society

What is a hock wine?

Question: What is a Hock Wine?

Answer: A German wine that is coming from the Rhine.

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Château Grand Puy Lacoste

September 21st, 2015

Château Grand-Puy-Lacoste

One Bordeaux property I have collected consistently over many vintages is Château Grand Puy Lacoste (GPL). It is a Fifth Growth Pauillac that has been underrated for decades and still doesn’t get the accolades of identical classified neighbours Pontet Canet, Lynch Bages, Clerc Milon, D’Armailhac, Haut-Batailley, Haut-Bages Liberal, and others. One of the earliest great wines I ever tried was the concentrated 1961 GPL during a visit to Bordeaux in 1970. There I was fortunate to spend some time with the knowledgeable Rene Barriere of negociant-eleveurs A & R Barriere Freres. They discovered treasures Château L’Arrosee St. Emilion & Château L’Eglise-Clinet Pomerol shipping them to the Belgium market long before they came to America. Rene told me then that the best value of all the Bordeaux he presently had in his inventory was the 1966 GPL so naturally I bought 3 cases which landed in Vancouver at $5.60/bottle. Enjoyed many bottles of this “long distance runner”1966 over the last 45 years. Before the property was sold in 1978 to the Borie family (of Ducru-Beaucaillou fame) it was owned by the legendary Raymond Dupin. Remember fondly our appointment with him at the château set for 4pm one Friday when he landed his helicopter at GPL right on time returning from Paris where he just had his gourmet lunch. So typical of him and his well known lifestyle. Know the vintages of this château quite well so I was excited to attend last week a vertical ranging over 40 years from that nostalgic 1966 up to 2006.

The exquisite 1966 showed complex tobacco and cigar box with style and delicacy. What a textbook example of Pauillac!

The 1970 is a wine I bought initially on release but acquired much more of it when discounted because Robert Parker marked it only at 74 points. I mentioned this to RMP at an event and in subsequent editions of his books he raised his score to 90 -92 but said it was bottle variable. Here it was lovely but I have enjoyed better bottles as this one though it still showed some freshness was drying out with age & too much acidity left. Needed food.

2006 has fruit but harsher young tannins and needs some more time.

2005 powerful seductive riper tannins with impressive balance. Sort of like a 1959 that you can drink younger but will improve over a very long time.

2000 very good but still hard & backward at 15 years.

1999 Open with a lovely mature bouquet has a lighter softer easy entry on an attractive plateau now. A very underrated vintage for this property.

1995 Good rich depth, elegant and quite delicious – the surprise of the tasting.

1990 Still shades of purple colour at 25 years old but presently a bit briary herbaceous and earthy in style.

1982 The star of this tasting yet again. The 1982 always seems to show so spectacular for me and I rate it as one of the very best GPL ever produced. Wonderful cedar and fruit intensity still on an amazing plateau of enjoyment. So pleased I bought cases of it in 1985 at $110/case.

This property GPL has brought me so much joy over the years at a brilliant quality for price value. I continue to highly recommend this property .

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