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The Great Daëne | 1953 Château Doisy Daëne

by Stuart George

Six bottles of 1953 Château Doisy Daëne landed on the Arden list recently. A Sauternes-loving client took three bottles and very generously offered to open one with me at our office in Brook Street. No pressure… ???? Until the 1840s, Doisy was a single estate but was subsequently divided into three: Château Doisy Daëne, Château Doisy-Védrines, and Château Doisy-Dubroca. “Daëne” is apparently a French corruption of “Deane”, the English owner of the then undivided Château Doisy. Doisy Daëne is pure Sémillon – no Sauvignon or Muscadelle here – and is known for its “peaches and cream” character. This 1953 comes from a lovely, stylish Sauternes vintage. The nearly 70-year old cork came out without too much trouble, even if it came out in se...

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Celestial Pol | 1986 Cuvée Sir Winston Churchill

by Stuart George

Arden Fine Wines is based in Brook Street, opposite Claridge’s, which was a favourite bolthole of Sir Winston Churchill. Cuvée Sir Winston Churchill was created by Champagne Pol Roger in homage to its greatest fan. By comparison with most other deluxe champagnes, the volume is tiny – 25,000-50,000 bottles typically. We’ve drunk tasted three vintages of Sir Winston this year, most recently the 1986… This was the fifth vintage of Cuvée Sir Winston to be brought to life and is a very good effort for a rather mixed year in Champagne. We have three bottles left – if they’re not opened for inspection by the (self-appointed ????) Friends of Arden Champagne Tasting Panel in the meantime…...

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First Among Seconds | 1960 Château Mouton Rothschild

by Stuart George

The 1960 Bordeaux vintage was (I'm told by somebody who remembers ????) considered to be light, relatively inexpensive, and to be enjoyed while the superior 1959s matured. It was the biggest crop since the frost-bitten 1956 vintage. There was a shortage of wine so the 1960s were well-bought. Caught between the twin peaks of 1959 and 1961, Château Mouton Rothschild's 1960 – when the estate was still ranked as a “Deuxième Cru” (Second Growth) – was one of the best examples of this overlooked year. Our bottle of Mouton 1960 came from a cellar in deepest Sussex and is in as good a condition as could be expected for its age. The label for this Mouton vintage was by Jacques Villon (1875-1963), whose proper name was Gaston Duchamp. He was brother of the sculptor Duch...

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Barton Think | 1970 And 1992 Château Léoville Barton

by Stuart George

A recent VIP visitor to Arden’s Mayfair office was at Château Léoville Barton when its 1970 vintage was coming to life. I couldn’t find any 1970 and the best that I could come up with (vis-à-vis lunchtime budgets) was 1992. This was the least good vintage of the 90s. Frankly, it was shocker – the wettest Bordeaux summer for half a century. My colleague Madeline was underwhelmed – but she is very high-maintenance when it comes to food and wine ????. The ’92 Leoville Barton wasn’t quite as bad as I feared. We drank it with some cheese (and good company) and it was a pleasant aged claret. It’s probably one of the better wines of this tricky Bordeaux vintage. Fortuitously, the day after entertaining our VIP guest some 1970 Léoville Barton was offer...

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5 Questions To Ask When Gifting Croatian Wine

by Mirena Bagur, Croatian Premium Wine

By: Mirena Bagur, www.CroatianPremiumWine.com Boston, November 13, 2021 -- When asked about the best Croatian wine to gift to a person, the short answer is “it depends.” Whether you get the wine in your local store or via the online shop in the US or in Canada, with more than 80 indigenous Croatian wines on the continent, this can be confusing. Here is how to solve that dilemma before the holidays -- ask yourself these five questions about the “giftees”: 1) Have they visited or do they come from a specific area in Croatia? The best wine you can give to someone is the wine they are emotionally attached to – whether because of their ancestry or of a memory of vacation. So, pick Graševina for someone from Slavonia, or get a bottle of wine from Dalmatia to help them relive the...

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Why I Stopped Buying Everyday Wine

by Stephen Zocchi

This story starts many years ago when I first met my wife. She wasn’t a wine drinker, but decided to join me in one of my passions. I remember my excitement as I dashed to the wine cooler to get something special for our first bottle together. The next evening, when I casually grabbed a bottle from my everyday stash, she asked me why I wasn’t getting the wine from the same place. “That’s where I keep the best bottles,” I responded, “these are the ones I drink as everyday wine.” Then she said it… “Why do you ever drink anything beside the good bottles? What’s the point of everyday wine?” That was the day my wine world came crashing down. I had been making a monthly pilgrimage to my big wine retailer of choice armed with lists of best buys. Scouring the shelves, I...

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“so Life Was Never Better Than In 1963…” | Noval 1963 And Tissington Hall

by Stuart George

Philip Larkin’s poem “Annus Mirabilis” begins: Sexual intercourse began In nineteen sixty-three (which was rather late for me) – Between the end of the “Chatterley” ban And the Beatles’ first LP. (I quoted another line from the poem in this post’s title. We wouldn’t want anybody getting the wrong idea if they received an email with “sexual intercourse” as the subject…) Vintage Port didn’t begin in 1963 – but it sort of restarted… In 1963, a cold winter was followed by a wet spring, which delayed flowering and produced the latest véraison since 1946. Apart from two periods of hot weather in July and August, the summer was cool and the crop ripened very slowly. The harvest started on 7th October with perfect weather – hot days and c...

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“talbot And England’s Right” | 1982 Château Talbot

by Stuart George

In Shakespeare’s Henry VI Part 1, John Talbot, 1st Earl of Shrewsbury, says: Go to the gates of Bordeaux, trumpeter: Summon their general unto the wall… God and Saint George, Talbot and England’s right. Château Talbot in Saint-Julien was named after (the real) John Talbot, who apparently lived there in 1452-53 when he was “Connétable Talbot”, governor of the old province of Guyenne, which corresponded roughly to the Roman province of Aquitania Secunda (Aquitaine) and the archdiocese of Bordeaux. Talbot was defeated at the Battle of Castillon in 1453, which led to the English loss – after three centuries – of Aquitaine ????. (Never mind Brexit – even the French know that Aquitaine really belongs to England ???? ????????????????????????????) Historical...

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Coravin Review: Is It Really Worth It?

by Jennifer Evans

There are A LOT of options when it comes to preserving your wine, from bottle stoppers to air pumps to gas systems. There are pros and cons to each system, and really none is better or worse than another. They just have different purposes. A bottle stopper works perfectly well if you’re planning to finish the bottle the next day, while an air pump will keep your wine fresh for a few days. A gas system that displaces oxygen in the bottle will keep your wine good for a few weeks. Want a summary of the different preservation systems? We’ve got you covered. And then there is the granddaddy of wine preservation: The Coravin. This bad boy claims to make your wine taste like it’s never been opened, even if you pour a glass years after the first one. Sounds too good to be true, right? ...

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World Wine Reality Check.

by Lisa Graziano Csw, Cse

This just in from Vinepair.com, The 25 Best Rose Wines of 2021. I read this one in the middle of the night when I couldn't sleep. Big mistake. It just got me all fired up about the egregious disparities between the US and the rest of the world. Again. 12 of the "best" rosés in this lineup are American. Of those 12, 11 are from California. Biased? I am thinking so. Then there is the subject of price. "...over half of the bottles here clock in at under $25...making them great case-buys." LOL. Sounds expensive to me. Maybe that is because here in Portugal I can buy fabulous rosés for about $2-5 per bottle. If I want to seriously splurge, I can drop 24 euros on an outstanding single varietal Touriga Nacional rosé. I am sure it would compare favorably with the $40 Provence r...

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