Every year notable French wine critics Michel Bettane and Thierry Desseauve put on a showpiece event that attracts the trade and the general public in their droves to come and taste a terrific selection of wines from across the globe. Some producers are well known, others are new to many.
Below we pick out some of the highlights of the tasting.
Chateau Branaire Ducru
One of our favourite Bordeaux estates, Branaire Ducru is a client favourite of ours as it obtains high Parker scores and is available at fractions of the price of the First Growths. As a Fourth Growth situated in the St Julien appellation, it is just across the road from another Capital Vintners favourite, Chateau Beychevelle. On show was a vertical tasting from the 2005-2011 vintages. The 2005 is an absolute corker, already drinking well. Parker gave it 95 Parker points and called it a classic. Another standout vintage from the tasting was the 2009 – always a terrific Bordeaux vintage to taste – which lived up to expectations (Parker – “a dazzling effort, 96 points”).
Just up the road from Cos D’Estournel in Bordeaux’s St-Estephe appellation, lies Lafon-Rochet, a Fourth Growth wine with a growing reputation. The 2009 and 2010 vintages both scored 90 points from Parker, and both of these dazzling wines were on display here at the Saatchi Gallery. Owned by the Tesseron family (who also run Pontet Canet), Lafon-Rochet is an affordable Bordeaux of the highest quality.
Now to the Right Bank of Bordeaux, with a Grand Cru Classe wine in the shape of Chateau Villemaurine. With a tiny production of 15,000 bottles per vintage, Parker is beginning to take notice of this St Emilion wine, with scores of 90+ in the last 4 vintages. We were delighted to taste the newly bottled 2012 vintage, a highlight of the event for Capital Vintners. No surprise that Parker said that this is “a wine that clearly announces the renaissance of Villemaurine.”
One of our favourite champagnes, Taittinger is a behemoth of the wine world. Fortunately the wines on display at the event covered the whole spectrum of Taittinger’s stable: the Brut Reserve, the Prestige Rose and the incredible Comtes 2005. Capital Vintners regularly offers parcels of this Taittinger Comtes 2005 out to clients, so make sure you snap up the next opportunity you get from your broker for this elite champagne.
As the oldest established champagne house, Ruinart is a prestigious label that attracts attention world-wide. The estate has been producing champagne since 1729, so it has a long and established history of producing wines at the highest level. The blanc de blancs was a highlight of the tasting and was the best bubbly of the event. The blanc de blancs is richer and more buttery than the basic Ruinart, which is a lighter wine, more basic in structure.
Cloudy Bay is owned by LVMH and has become the most famous New Zealand brand, producing fantastic Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir and Sparkling wine. Here at the wine tasting, we had the privilege to get a first sight of the 2014 Sauvignon Blanc, which did not fail to impress.