24th Aug 2023
24th Aug 2023
The list of wines from outside Bordeaux being sold via the Place de Bordeaux (negociant global sales network) continues to grow each year. Late August and throughout September are significant sales periods for these wines. Bordeaux negociant’s are given tight instructions on where they can and can’t distribute the wines, depending on the countries where exclusive agent relationships exist. But by and large, consumers worldwide can expect to start receiving offers on these wines soon.
In July, I tasted nearly a hundred wines at one of the largest and most reputable Bordeaux negociants: Joanne. These included well-known labels from Italy, Spain, France, Chile, Argentina, the USA, Australia, Austria, and South Africa. This year’s notable newcomers included Chappellet, Favia, and Paul Hobbs from Napa Valley and Domaine Chapuis from Burgundy’s Côte de Beaune. Another newcomer to the place with a somewhat surprising name change is Jaboulet’s Hermitage La Chapelle, henceforth known as Domaine de la Chapelle (dropping the “Paul Jaboulet Aîné” name). The Frey family still owns the estate but has isolated it from the extensive Paul Jaboulet Aîné portfolio of wines to stand on its own as a separate domain.
I also tasted a smaller collection of wines from Oregon, Spain, New Zealand, and Australia with Emma Thienpont, director of Australian First Growths, a Bordeaux-based courtier/agent for wineries from Australia and beyond. Originally from Australia, Emma now lives in Bordeaux. (As readers may guess from her name, she married a Thienpont—Guillaume Thienpont from Vieux Château Certan.) Emma presented an eclectic mix of impressive wines, including those featured from J. Christopher (Oregon), CVNE (Rioja), Yalumba (South Australia), Cloudburst (Margaret River), Craggy Range (Hawkes Bay, NZ), and Destiny Bay (Waiheke Island, NZ).
2020 Sette Ponti Sette – This is a relatively new 100% Merlot label from Sette Ponti in Tuscany, further confirming this region’s potential for crafting epic examples of this challenging grape. Given the ex-cellars price tag last year of just 66 euros, this is set to be one of the bargains of the tasting. Merlot lovers, keep your eyes peeled for offers coming out soon!
2020 Marchesi Antinori’s Solaia – The 2020 is a stunning Solaia delivering power and richness with jaw-dropping tension and energy. Lovers of this label are in for a treat this vintage.
2020 Masseto – Possessing that epic concentration and opulence of Merlot at its finest, this is bound to excite followers of the Masseto cult. While an incredible wine, it certainly won’t come cheap.
2021 Bibi Graetz Colore – This was my top wine of the whole tasting. Fragrant, intense, vivacious, and shimmery—it’s an exercise in elegance that will blow your mind. It’s made from 100% Sangiovese, but this sensuous, silken textured ballerina is not Sangiovese as we usually know it. Having done vertical tastings of this label before, this is the finest vintage I’ve had so far.
2019 Giordo Brunello di Montalcino – Bursting with cherries, minerals, and savory sparks, this is vibrant yet fine-boned Brunello with a real skip in its step that is sure to satisfy when those Brunello cravings hit. (I get those a lot.)
2021 Chateau de Beaucastel, Hommage à Jacques Perrin – I’ve long been a fan of this singular wine that showcases the very best of Mourvèdre. A savory, earthy, meaty meal in a glass, who doesn’t need more of this in their cellar?
2014 La Violeta Malbec – A wine that’s held back a few years prior to release, the single-varietal 2014 La Violeta Malbec is made by the owner of La Violette in Pomerol. This is complex, tertiary, and ready to drink now, yet still has the stamina for a couple more decades in cellar. Pure hedonism.
2019 Chappellet, Pritchard Hill Cabernet Sauvignon – A stunning Napa Cab from a great vintage, this flagship from Chappellet (the pioneer of Pritchard Hill) maintains that typical Pritchard Hill savoriness that keeps you reaching for another glass.
2020 Maya – Composed of 60% Cabernet Sauvignon and 40% Cabernet Franc, I’ve tasted the 2020 several times and never fail to be impressed with the quality this estate managed to produce in such a challenging Napa vintage. Brava to the mother/daughter team, Naoko and Maya!
The Beyond Bordeaux autumn releases season begins on the 30th of August, so be ready to pounce on offers of your must-buys throughout September. Happy wine hunting!
Article & Reviews by Lisa Perrotti-Brown MW
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