Drc 1999 bottle line up

Life Is Funny Like That: 1999 & 2015 DRC

featured, Verticals & Retrospectives, France: Burgundy

Neal Martin, Apr 2018

The first article that I ever published on the subject of wine was not some breathless puff on a 100-point Chilean Merlot discovered two-for-one down at my local Tesco. Embarrassingly, my first vinous words (not Vinous words) regaled a morning in the company of the recently bottled 1999s from Domaine de la Romanée-Conti at Corney & Barrow. In my mind, there was never any chance of a rerun through those 1999s. So I make do with the memories and remain grateful that I have tasted every release since the 1995 vintage. The latest, the 2015s, is one of the domaine’s best.

Heidseck dry monopole 1966

Cellar Favorite: 1966 Heidsieck & Co. Brut Rosé Dry Monopole

France: Champagne, Cellar Favorites, cellar favorite

Neal Martin, Apr 2018

AG will probably kill me if he reads this, so please don’t tell him, but I once wrote something along the lines: “if you want to drink mature Champagne then you might as well pour a prematurely oxidized Meursault into a Sodastream.”

Coverbeausejour becot family

A Beautiful Stay: Beau-Séjour Bécot 1970-2015

featured, Verticals & Retrospectives, France: Bordeaux

Neal Martin, Apr 2018

This is the story of Beau-Séjour Bécot’s genesis and traumatic loss of status from a human perspective. It is a story of how the estate regained classification as a Premier Grand Cru Classé “A” and how a new chapter is opening.

Cellar favourite 1973 petrus

Cellar Favorite: 1973 Pétrus

France: Bordeaux, Cellar Favorites, cellar favorite

Neal Martin, Apr 2018

Yet the quality of this 1973 was undeniable. I had encountered it once before, a bottle opened for my brother to celebrate his birth-year over a decade ago when such off-vintages, eschewed by all but the reckless, were affordable. But I could not remember it being this fine.

Latour tower triplicate

Cellar Favorite: Château Latour: Latest Releases

featured, France: Bordeaux, Cellar Favorites, cellar favorite

Neal Martin, Apr 2018

During my week of château visits to inspect the 2017s in barrel, there was of course one significant, recalcitrant property whose wines will not be released onto the Place de Bordeaux this late spring. Château Latour withdrew after the 2011 vintage, since when they have embarked upon a series of bi-annual mature vintage releases, commencing with stock held in reserve during their respective en primeur campaigns. The latest trio of releases is the 2006 Grand Vin, the 2012 Les Forts de Latour and the 2013 Pauillac.

Bordeaux 2014 southwold corks

Bordeaux 2014: The Southwold Tasting

featured, France: Bordeaux

Neal Martin, Mar 2018

Southwold, in case you are wondering, is a picturesque Suffolk coastal town famed for its pebble beaches, pastel-hued beach-huts, quaint shops and most importantly, the Adnams pubs serving some of the finest ale known to mankind. For many Januaries it was the venue for an annual Bordeaux tasting, to my mind the only one whereby practically all the major châteaux present bottles for blind comparison. I use the past tense, for recently the tasting had to relocate from Southwold, but the name and its ethos continue to thrive. Whilst the en primeur “circus” witnesses legions of journalists descending to dish out scores and basically gift Bordeaux free press for the coming primeur campaign, how many tasters will sit down later and redo the exercise blind and question those original assessments of unfinished samples?

D auvenay bonnes mares bottles

The Magic of d’Auvenay: 1989 – 2011

featured, France: Burgundy, Verticals & Retrospectives

Neal Martin, Mar 2018

It was like a thunderbolt hitting my senses: the tension, the complexity and intensity sent shivers down my spine. It was difficult to put down in words, yet this wine became instantly and indelibly etched onto my brain. Now I understood why oenophiles genuflected at the altar of white Burgundy.

Tracey thorne

Beyond Wine: Album Review of Record - Tracey Thorn

Beyond Wine

Neal Martin, Mar 2018

Tracey Thorn’s ascent to national treasure status is something that in retrospect was inevitable. After forming the Marine Girls in the 1980s, she is best known as the lead singer of duo “Everything But The Girl” and their chart-toppers “I Don’t Want To Talk About It” and ubiquitous mid-1990s anthem, the Todd Terry enhanced “Missing”. Together with partner/husband Ben Watt, they occupied a liminal point between fey indie band and unorthodox pop stars, loitering on the periphery of music as a niche act that stumbled upon fleeting fame every few years. Thorn herself was aesthetically the antithesis of what a pop star ought to look like: too tall and rangy, lacking the sex appeal, too intelligent to all but nerds who could imagine her stepping off the stage of Top of the Pops to cram for her upcoming English Lit exam in the university library.


Cellar Favorite: Blandy’s Madeira – Recent Releases

featured, Portugal, Cellar Favorites, cellar favorite

Neal Martin, Mar 2018

My love affair with Madeira began whilst holidaying on the namesake Atlantic volcanic island in 2003, where in a pique of curiosity I ordered a 1927 Bual. Afterwards I understood why those with good taste revere this profound, time-buckling, ethereal and enigmatic wine. Madeira is so unfashionable it is the epitome of cool. These are the latest releases from Blandy's.


Here We Go Again: Value Bordeaux 2015

featured, France: Bordeaux

Neal Martin, Mar 2018

This report, my first on the 2015 Bordeaux for Vinous, focuses on affordable wines. You could buy some of these with a twenty-dollar bill and still come home with change. I will offer my views on the Grand Cru Classé and First Growths in the coming weeks.