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Is Now the Time to Buy a Case of Château Lafite?

One of the three bottles of the 1869 vintage that sold for a record $HK 1.8 million each at Sotheby's Oct. 29 auction in Hong Kong of wines sourced directly from Chateau Lafite-Rothschild. Each was expected to fetch between HK$40,000 and HK$60,000. Source: Sotheby's via Bloomberg

August 10, 2015 — In 2011, Château Lafite Rothschild’s wines were riding high, the darlings of Chinese buyers and the auction market.

The futures price in London for the great 2010 vintage, released in July 2011, created shock waves. The wine was one of my top picks of the year, deep and rich, with classic tastes of cigar smoke and cassis and the texture of cashmere.

But it was priced at £12,000 a case (then $19,400) … and the wine hadn’t even been bottled yet.

 Almost immediately that price began to slip, and it’s been declining ever since. Last month, Liv-ex reported that a case of the 2010 had traded for £5,390 ($8,350), nearly 55 percent less than it cost four years ago.

My question: Should you scoop up a case—or three—now?

Read on….


How to Help the Greek Economy by Drinking


July 29, 2015 — At the beach, I’m doing my bit to boost the Greek economy by sipping a refreshing Domaine Sigalas Assyrtiko, a salty, smoky white wine from the romantic, volcanic island of Santorini. Just so you know, this is not just altruism—Greek wines have been on an upward quality trajectory for years, and they’re better than ever despite the debt-ridden country’s financial woes.

Luckily, now that the banks have reopened, wineries may be able to pay for the bottles, corks, and equipment they need for the 2015 harvest, which starts next month. Because of capital controls imposed in June, though, that will be complicated. Suppliers are demanding cash upfront.

So boost sales and drink up.

Not a Greek wine fan? You should be….

Bordeaux is in the Midst of a Dazzling Building Boom


July 17, 2015 — Last month, 400 people in black tie trooped through the new cellars and renovations at first-growth Château Margaux’s official unveiling. The map of the buildings, handed out on a small card, looked like a museum floor plan.

That was the prelude to a dinner of truffled artichoke soup and guinea fowl with chanterelle mushrooms, orchestrated by Michelin-starred chef Guy Savoy.

The architecture got as many oohs and aahs as the food and wine that followed.

Margaux’s new winemaking facility, visitors center, and vinotheque, designed by prize-winning British architect Norman Foster, is just one example of Bordeaux’s ongoing glamorous building boom….


How to Buy a Bordeaux Chateau


July 7, 2015 — Over lunch on the stone terrace at Château Fonplégade in St. Emilion, France, owners Stephen and Denise Adams took in the sweeping views of their neat rows of organic vines.

The American couple bought the estate in 2004 and spent millions to restore it, including $1 million just to rebuild a critical vineyard retaining wall.

Maybe you’re one of those wine lovers who think people like the Adamses are living the ultimate wine fantasy. You’re not alone.

Two packed seminars on how to buy a Bordeaux château, held at wine trade fair VinExpo three weeks ago, show just how widespread the fantasy is…..


Sex and the Sommelier: Make Way for Women



July 2, 2015 — When Élyse Lambert ascended to the rank of master sommelier at a ceremony last May in Aspen, Colo., the first thing she did was pop the cork on a bottle of Krug Grande Cuvée champagne.

She had a lot to celebrate.  A wine consultant to Montreal’s Maison Boulud, she was one of 63 candidates who took the tough final master sommelier exam this year, the last step in a long, grueling, four-part process.

Of the mere seven who passed, she was one of just two women.

 “There were very few female somms when I started out 15 years ago,” Lambert says.  “I began as a waitress. An MS after my name is important to me—and it helps change the image of women and wine in the restaurant world.”

In this enlightened era, only 32 of the world’s 229 master sommeliers—that’s just under 14 percent—are women. Canada has two. Three-quarters of them ply their trade in the U.S….





Boom Time in the Vineyards


March 30, 2015 — After golf ball–sized hailstones battered vines at Château d’Issan in Bordeaux for two years in a row, managing director Emmanuel Cruse was in the market for something—anything—that might protect his grapes. That’s when he decided to try a device that promises to prevent hailstones from forming, Bloomberg Markets reports in its April 2015 issue. Different types of hail cannons, as they’re known, have been around for more than a century in France, even though it’s far from clear they do what they’re supposed to do.

“We had to do something,” Cruse recalls. “Storms destroyed 70 percent of our grapes in 2008 and 2009. Each of those years, we produced less than 6,000 cases of wine,” compared with the typical 19,000 cases. The total financial loss to this third-growth estate in the Margaux appel­lation was almost €3 million ($3.4 million), Cruse says. Insurance paid out just one-fifth of that.

So Cruse invested €150,000 in two cannons that are now permanently installed in his vineyards….



How I Learned to Love Australian Wine

awesome-australian-wines-10005024March 3, 2015 — Australia’s thick, jammy Shirazes, cheap fruity/oaky blends from industrial producers, and cellar-wizard winemaker philosophy have long shaped that country’s wine image abroad – and never appealed to me.

So what turned me into an Aussie wine fan? The stunning new wave reds and whites I tasted not long ago on visits to two cool-climate valleys. They reminded me once again how diverse a wine country Australia is and showed me what I hope is the face of its vinous future.

I found dozens of ambitious young-gun winemakers, who are ignoring fruit-bomb styles and lashings of oak for leaner, subtler wines. And instead of blending grapes from different regions, they’re embracing single vineyards….

from The World of Fine Wine:

Romancing the Grape


Issue 47 – 2015 — I admit it: I’m a wine romantic. I respond to those special landscapes in wine country, the rows of gnarled vines tended by passionate families attached to their land for generations, the ever-repeated miracle of clusters of grapes being transformed into a drink that reflects their patch of ground, the dark cellars of cobwebbed barrels that hold history in liquid form. The wines that most capture my imagination seem imbued with a kind of meaning that no other beverage can match, their tastes conjuring cultural values that often tap into deep emotions.

My first visit to a California winery, several decades ago, was just the type of wine experience that fosters that kind of romantic view…



© 2002-2015 Elin McCoy. All Rights Reserved. No reproduction of images or texts in this site without written permission.

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