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Saint-Julien’s Proudest

DOMAINE de Leoville from the Saint-Julien appellation of Bordeaux was not only one of the oldest wine estates in Medoc, but it also used to be its largest estate way back in the 18th century with over 200 hectares of prime vineyards. By 1826, part of the estate was purchased by Hugh Barton, which gave birth to Chateau Leoville Barton. And by 1840, the estate was further split into Chateau Leoville Las-Cases and Chateau Leoville Poyferre. All these three Leoville estates made the still much revered Medoc Bordeaux Official Wine Classification of 1855. All three were classified as Deuxièmes Crus (Second Growths) — just a notch below the First Growths.

Shunned by purists, hybrid wines are now ready for your glass

THANKS to a crop of renegade, pioneering wine makers making stellar wines in New York, Vermont, Minnesota, famously frigid Quebec, and even Portugal, hybrid grapes are beginning to get the respect they deserve.

Wine makers open new African frontier with Dragon Mountain vines

SOUTH AFRICA’s wine industry is centered around Cape Town. But pioneers far to the northeast are forging a new frontier in unlikely surroundings as changing weather patterns test long-held conventions.

Classic 2015 Barolos on their way

THE highlight of Nebbiolo Prima has always been the preview of the Barolos, the flagship wine of Piedmont. In the 2019 edition of Nebbiolo Prima, a vast majority or approximately two-thirds of all the wines blind-tasted were from the Barolo region.

Wine Made Easy: It’s time to pay attention to the other...

QUICK: when you hear a wine is Cabernet, do you automatically think cabernet sauvignon? Of course you do. It’s the world’s most widely planted red grape, noted for big, rich, power-packed wines you can swoon over and even invest in.

2016 Barbarescos shine in blind tasting

BARBARESCO is often perceived as the little brother of the Barolo. Both DOCGs are Piedmont’s most cherished wine treasures, made from the versatile nebbiolo grapes. Barbaresco is, however, roughly just a third of the size of Barolo in terms of vineyard hectarage (734 hectares vs. 2,073 hectares) and bottle production (4.8 million vs. 14.1 million). While both Barbaresco and Barolo have obvious similarities brought about by using the same varietal, there are also distinct differences that can at times be subtle, but also at times be quite glaring.

No stopping Burgundy and Bordeaux in annual wine market report

REMEMBER the legendary 1945 Romanée-Conti Burgundy that sold for $558,000 at a Sotheby’s auction last fall? Turns out it’s part of a larger overall boom in the wine auction market, one driven by voracious demand for Burgundy and the appeal of single-owner cellars.

Best of Piedmontese wines in full display

GRANDI LANGHE is a very important regional bi-annual event in Italy that is exclusively for wine trade professionals, made up of wine buyers, wine press people, sommeliers, and wine business owners, both local and international. It is organized by the Consorzio di Tutela Barolo Barbaresco Langhe e Dogliani and the Consorzio di Tutela del Roero with its fourth edition just recently concluded — showcasing once more the best of Piedmontese wines. This year, just like its previous staging in 2017, the event was also prearranged in association with Albeisa, the organizer of the Nebbiolo Prima, to ensure that the Grandi Langhe come right after the Nebbiolo Prima.

Bottling the character of Piedmont

PIEDMONT is an Italian region soaked in history — and wine. It was here that the House of Savoy held court, the royal house that waged wars to unite the fragmented Italian states into one, the basis of Italy as we know it today. Piedmont is also home to the Nebbiolo grape, which goes into the production of one of Italy’s most famed wines, the Barolo.

Revisiting Chateau Lagrange with Matthieu Bordes

CHATEAU LAGRANGE of the Saint-Julien Medoc appellation is one of 14 Troisièmes Crus (Third Growths) in the much revered Official Bordeaux Wine Classification of 1855. Like many of its Grand Cru counterparts, Chateau Lagrange also has an illustrious history dating back several centuries, with vineyard activities for Lagrange traced all the way back to the Gallo-Roman times, pre-Middle Ages. What is, however, more fascinating is how Chateau Lagrange evolved in modern times.

Sake, vegans and cannabis: Seven ways wine will change in 2019

THE WINE world can change faster than you’d think. Upended by turbulent politics, 2018 was beset with trade wars, ongoing Brexit instability, and more climate-change-driven chaotic weather events. All this made some wine regions winners, others losers, while investors scored big time: Fine vino outperformed stocks and bonds, according to Liv-Ex.

When three hens get together, expect wine to flow

THREE HENS are going to try to get your tongue buzzing and your lips moving with a wine brand called, well, Three Hens.

The road to Grand Cru Classe A

CHATEAU ANGELUS never got into the elusive and exclusive Premier Grands Crus Classés level until in 1996. But in less than two decades, Chateau Angelus made history of sorts by being the only Saint-Emilion chateau to jump from being one of 63 Grand Cru Classé wines at the start of the inaugural 1955 Saint-Emilion Classification, to one of only 13 Premier Grand Cru Classé B when promoted in 1996, and now to the ultimate pinnacle level in the latest 2012 classification — equivalent to the first growths, the Premier Grands Crus Classés A, joining erstwhile Saint-Emilion A-listers Chateau Cheval Blanc and Chateau Ausone, and fellow newly promoted Chateau Pavie.

Thanksgiving Barolo dinner

NOV. 22 was Thanksgiving Day, a huge American holiday that is celebrated every year on the fourth Thursday of November. The huge annual celebration, along with Christmas and New Year, is part of the official US holiday season. While there were some establishments locally, including some restaurants, that rode along with this American tradition, we Filipinos normally don’t bother with this. Actually in Philippines, the “Christmas holiday feel” commences much earlier and you start hearing Jose Mari Chan songs being played on the airwaves just after All Saints Day, Nov. 2.

There’s more to Italian sparkling wine than Prosecco

THE PROSECCO boom is real: Sales are projected to reach 412 million bottles annually by 2020, up from 150 million a decade ago.

Stop trying to pair wine with your turkey

IN 2015, a Survey Monkey poll carved the US into regional Thanksgiving food factions. Call it the terroir of Thanksgiving: The Southeast is the home of canned cranberry sauce and mac and cheese, while New England embraces squash.

The backstory behind the Grand Wine Experience

LAST FRIDAY I was among the large contingent of oenophiles that trooped to the Marriott Grand Ballroom in Newport City amidst the usual insane pay-day weekend traffic mayhem, to take part in the Philippines’ only annual large-scale wine gathering, also popularly known as the Grand Wine Experience. It is by far the country’s most prestigious annual wine event, and already ranks as one of Asia’s most important wine spectacles as well.

Tasting France in a glass

WITHIN EVERY bottle of wine is a summary of time and space in which a wine was made: from every drop of sunlight and rain, to the air and the soil from which the vines absorb life.

Why would anyone ever pay $558,000 for a bottle of Burgundy?

WHEN A private Asian collector bid an eye-popping $558,000 for a single bottle of 1945 Romanée-Conti at Sotheby’s sale this past Saturday in New York, a world record was smashed. This was not just the highest price ever reached for a 750 ml bottle of Burgundy, but also the highest for any bottle of wine ever at auction.

NYC sale of 172-year-old wine has surprise: It’s still drinkable

IN A chilly wine warehouse in the Bronx two weeks ago, a famous Portuguese wine maker pried ancient corks from five-gallon glass demijohns of 19th century Madeira. Was the wine inside still drinkable? Madeira ages longer than other wines, but 150-plus years?

Cava: More than just Spanish Champagne

THE SPANISH took a page from the French when it came to their sparkling wines. The invention of the bubbly drink known as champagne, the first recorded sparkling wine, was credited to an abbot priest from Hautvillers named Dom Perignon in the 17th century in the Champagne region, France.

Not just organic, but vegan too

A BOTTLE of wine holds within its confines time and space, for a wine maker has distilled into a liquid the soil, the sunshine, and the care that went into making it. An Australian wine maker is proud to say that he has done that, all while embracing nature and minimizing Man’s touch.

Wine Made Easy: Nine cheap Pinot Grigios actually worth drinking

HERE’S a sad truth. Most pinot grigio is so watery, bland, and just plain dull that wine snobs scorn it and sommeliers at top restaurants won’t list it. Asking for “just a glass of pinot grigio” has almost become an admission that you don’t pay attention to what you swallow.

Urban vineyards

GRAPE PICKERS at the Clos des Morillons look like thousands of others at work in vineyards across France at this time of year. But behind them looms a high-rise housing estate and a short walk away is the noisy Paris ring road.

A look at the Jakarta wine scene

I travel to Jakarta, Indonesia, twice a year for business, and it is customary for me to drop by their wine bars. The two most popular wine bar chains I came across were Vin+ (as in “Vin-plus”), and Cork & Screw. Vin+ is owned by PT Jaddi, one of the dozen or so direct wine importers in the country. Vin+ has three strategic branches in Jakarta, and a few more outside of the Indonesian capital. PT Jaddi also uses the Vin+ wine bars as wine retail stores, as easily a third of the space of their venues have wine racks dedicated to displaying wine brands they import directly.

Tasting rooms for the Millennial Era sprout in Napa and Sonoma

OVER THE last decade, wineries have begun to rethink the whole tasting experience and investing in upscale settings, with prices to match.

French Champagne makers see stars aligned for record harvest

REIMS, FRANCE — In the hilly region of Champagne in eastern France, winegrowers are bringing in grapes early this year for a harvest they expect to be one of the best in a decade.

Wannabe wine connoisseurs can now buy instant cellars

DREAMING of being a wine collector with a killer cellar but don’t know how to turn your fantasy into reality? I understand. The whole prospect of assembling the wines can be a shopping hassle requiring time-consuming research and way too many picky decisions. But you’re in luck.

More Bordeaux labels to discover — 2

CLOS FOURTET, previously known as Chateau Clos Fourtet or even its most archived name Camfourtet (Camp Fourtet), has been an original Premier Grand Cru Saint-Emilion classified wine since the Bordeaux right bank initial classification in the mid 1950s. Clos Fourtet was one of only 12 original Premiers Grand Cru Classés, and one of the eight Classe B in the first Saint-Emilion Grand Cru classification. Clos Fourtet has also been spared from any form of controversy brought about by the 2006 classification, which was eventually junked for the latest 2012 version.

Sacre bleu! Blue wine makes a splash in southern France

SETE, FRANCE — A glass of blue, sir? It is a question that may dismay purist wine makers in France, where wine is a way of life rather than simply a drink, but in the southern town of Sete consumers cannot get enough.

Dessert wine will be the new Scotch if sommeliers have their...

BANKING ON the upswell of interest in digestifs such as amaro and sherry, a growing number of sommeliers in the US — both in fine-dining and more casual restaurants — are hoping to tap into today’s taste for after-dinner drinks with dessert wines.

More Bordeaux labels to discover

I HAVE to hand it to Wine Story for being the runaway choice for the best and most compelling Bordeaux wine selection in the country. Bordeaux will always be the preeminent wine region of wine lovers. But Bordeaux is not as easy to approach, especially for the non-hardcore enthusiasts, as any New World wine region, either it be Napa Valley, Barossa, or Marlborough. For one, Bordeaux has over 120,000 hectares of vineyards, this is just 80,000 hectares less than the vineyards in California (which contributes 90%+ of US Wines). Bordeaux has over 8,500 wine producers, compared to California’s much fewer 400+ wineries. Bordeaux is also four times the size of fellow French wine region Burgundy and 1.5 times bigger than Rhone.

Whose are better?

EVERYBODY LOVES a wine bargain. Retail chains reflect the zeitgeist, so they’re rushing to cash in by creating house brands to keep their costs down and customers buying. The latest is US giant Walmart Inc., which rolled out its new Winemakers Selection collection in 1,100 of its nearly 4,000 stores in May.

A little bit of honesty from wines

THE SOUTHWESTERN region of France has played host to many films, from the classic Grace Kelly-starrer To Catch a Thief, to the comedy Dirty Rotten Scoundrels. But while they like to use it as a setting for movies about swindlers and con men, Thomas Dassé, Export Manager of Lionel Osmin & Cie, describes the people there as “more than honest.”

Aussie winemaker blending in fiery Chinese liquor

NOTHING IS sacred at Treasury Wine Estates Ltd. in the pursuit of profit.

Heaven for oenophiles

I was enthralled no end gazing at unopened bottles of some of my dream wines to taste — Chateau Latour 1936, Chateau Petrus 1961, Domaine de Romanee Conti La Tache 1978, Chateau Mouton Rothschild 1982, and Screaming Eagle Napa Cabernet Sauvignon 1999 — all in one room. These five bottles are worth over P4,000,000 (... yup, not a typo), and are some of the most outstanding wines ever made, not to mention, their rarity given the old vintages. But there is much more as these wines are just five among the over 2,000 wine labels the uberly luxurious Okada Manila Casino Hotel carries in its wine list.

French discover new pleasure… adult comics about wine

PARIS — It is no secret that the French love wine. But they are also the world’s second biggest consumers of graphic novels after the Japanese.

Hidden luxury from pantry: wine and tuna pairings

FEELING A little stressed out but unable to take the weekend off for a vacation? Pamper yourself at home with good bottle of wine, a couple of cans of tuna in the pantry, and a few odds and ends in your refrigerator.

WineGame app brings the Master Sommelier experience to the masses

LAST WEEK, Rob Wilder, the co-founder of ThinkFoodGroup, announced the release of WineGame, a simple app that instantly turns any bottle into a fun, multiple-choice blind tasting game. Even if you don’t know Wilder’s name, you certainly know his partner’s: star chef and humanitarian Jose Andrés. The game began as a late-night lark between Wilder and Andrés who would challenge each other to blindly taste and then correctly name the wine hidden inside a paper bag.

Drinking the Pope’s wine

POPE FRANCIS is a popular Pope, and while he answers ostensibly to God, he is like a normal celebrity: he has pictures taken with other famous people, people pay attention to what he wears, and he has to deal with some of the intricacies that other celebrities face. When he visited the Philippines in January of 2015, crowds swelled to the thousands to greet him. Like most celebrities too, what wine he consumes is of some interest, and on June 12, guests at Chef Jessie’s in Rockwell were treated to glasses of the very same wine that Pope Francis drank during his visit.

Now’s the time: 3 bottles of 1774 vintage wine on sale...

STRASBOURG, France — Tucked away in a vaulted cellar of eastern France for eight generations, they may be the oldest bottles of wine available...

These bad new pink wines prove that Rosé has gone too...

By Elin McCoy, Bloomberg NO MATTER what you do or where you go this summer, you won’t escape rosé. The pink boom just keeps expanding....

The very best (and worst) wines from the 2017 Bordeaux vintage

By Elin McCoy, Bloomberg WHEN I headed to Bordeaux to taste barrel samples from the region’s 2017 vintage, I was not hopeful. I’d followed reports of...

South Africa wine production drying up in water crisis

PARIS — South Africa is set for a steep decline in wine production in 2018 as the country grapples with a water crisis ravaging...

French Crémants are a delicious, sparkling alternative for Champagne

MADE BY the same method as Champagne, French crémants are the latest buzz-grabbers in the expanding bubbly universe — and a wise choice if...