Chateau darche 1906

Cellar Favorite: 1906 Château d’Arche Crème de Tête

Cellar Favorites, cellar favorite, France: Bordeaux

Neal Martin, Aug 2018

It seems difficult to believe now given the current state of the market, but Sauternes was the most sought-after and most expensive Bordeaux at the turn of the 20th century. This Cellar Favorite hails from that era, testament to the greatness and unerring longevity of Sauternes...and it does not have to begin with the 25th letter of the alphabet.

Lets eat grandma 2

Beyond Wine: Album Review of I’m All Ears - Let’s Eat Grandma

Beyond Wine

Neal Martin, Aug 2018

Let’s Eat Grandma. To be honest, I presumed it was a particularly inspired gothic name for a band. It was only when my daughter piped up that it was in fact a commonly used example à la Eats Shoots and Leaves to teach pupils how grammar can warp the meaning of a sentence that I understood its origin. I first caught the duo, Rosa Walton and Jenny Hollingworth, who have been childhood friends since kindergarten, on Jools Holland a couple of years ago.

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Cellar Favorites: Château Lanzerac: 1961 – 1968

South Africa, Cellar Favorites, cellar favorite

Neal Martin, Aug 2018

During my recent visit to the Cape, I planned a lunch with Merchant Roland Peens. To my surprise, he munificently poured four bottles of Lanzerac Cabernet from the 1960s that he had recently acquired from a private cellar.

Chablis les clos

Mirror Image: 2016 & 2017 Chablis

featured, France: Burgundy

Neal Martin, Aug 2018

Chablis has born the brunt of frost and hail in recent vintages and yet it remains one of Burgundy’s most exciting regions. With the spotlight on 2016 and 2017, how did growers cope with the hurdles that Mother Nature threw in their way and how is Chablis changing as a region?

Haut condissas jean guyon nmwantsthisascover

Aiming High: Haut-Condissas 1997–2015

featured, Verticals & Retrospectives, France: Bordeaux

Neal Martin, Aug 2018

I rarely travel to the far northern reaches of the Médoc. Beyond Calon-Ségur, the Médoc is a Narnia...or north Essex. However, when Jean Guyon invited me for a complete vertical of Haut-Condissas back to 1997, I was intrigued to discover whether or not it fulfills its lofty ambitions.

Trompette lascases 1985

Vinous Table: La Trompette, London, UK

Vinous Table, United Kingdom

Neal Martin, Aug 2018

La Trompette, née 2001, used to be a good local restaurant but lagged behind others owned by Nigel Platts-Martin, such as Chez Bruce, The Ledbury, The Glasshouse and The Square (the latter since sold and frankly a pale imitation of what used to be one of the capitals finest restaurants.) Located in Chiswick in West London, it literally lies round the corner from Hedone that Antonio recently reviewed. Refurbishment in 2013 saw La Trompette shut its doors and reopen with more ambition. Rob Weston, who had worked at La Gavroche and subsequently as Phil Howard’s right hand man at The Square for 15-years, took the menu to a completely different level. I am probably not the only person opining that La Trompette is the most consistent, well-priced, Michelin-starred restaurant in London and I say that as someone who has eaten there 30 or 40 times.

Kamasi washington copy

Beyond Wine: Album Review of Heaven And Earth - Kamasi Washington

Beyond Wine

Neal Martin, Jul 2018

I keep on hearing Kamasi Washington on the radio. Like many I appreciated his work with the imperious Kendrick Lamar on his epochal To Pimp A Butterfly in 2015, which led me to the tenor saxophonist/band-leaders three-hour and appropriately titled triple album The Epic. He recently released a follow-up, Heaven and Earth that clocks in at a “brief” two-hours. And you know...I like it. OMG. I like jazz. What’s happening to me? Is it because I am now working with jazz aficionado Antonio Galloni? Did he put something in my wine? Why do I feel inclined to grow a goatee beard and don a beige roll-neck jumper? Why do I wish Rihanna sang her songs on 5/4 time with a three-hour triangle solo? Dr. Music...tell me what is happening?

Cf gevrey rousseau 1985 copy

Cellar Favorite: 1985 Domaine Armand Rousseau Gevrey-Chambertin

France: Burgundy, Cellar Favorites, cellar favorite

Neal Martin, Jul 2018

Recently, my friend Dan Keeling, co-owner of “Noble Rot” restaurant in London, called to ask whether he should take a punt on a bottle of Rousseau’s 1985 Gevrey-Chambertin that had been perfectly stored since release. He told me the price. No denying it was extortion for a village wine...but not insulting. In the back of mind, I contemplated how well some of those villages performed at Tour d’Argent back in January. Why not give it a go? A few weeks later I met up with Dan and he generously popped open that very bottle. Thankfully it confirmed my view that grower and in particular, provenance, can transcend vineyard site and thereby save you a lot of wallet heartache. It was so divine that we both agreed that it cast doubt on the benefits of trading up to a Premier or Grand Cru.

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The Marital Margaux: d’Issan 1945-2015

featured, Verticals & Retrospectives, France: Bordeaux

Neal Martin, Jul 2018

Château d’Issan is one of the most ancient estates in Bordeaux, and traces its history all the way back to the 12th century. D’Issan, at the time known as La Mothe-Cantenac, hosted the nuptials of the future King Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine in 1152. Amazingly, some 866 years later, visitors can still tour the château and imbibe the wine that Henry and Eleanor purportedly drank on their wedding day. This article focuses on a comprehensive vertical that I undertook with co-owner Emmanuel Cruse that spanned the entire postwar period.

Deuxieme vin margaux 1900

Cellar Favorite: 1900 Château Margaux Deuxième Vin

France: Bordeaux, Cellar Favorites, cellar favorite

Neal Martin, Jul 2018

The wine was astonishing in so many ways, not least, in prosaic terms, how damn delicious it remains. Tasting it blind, nobody had any inkling of its age until the bottle was revealed with its slightly torn Pillet-Will label, owners at the time. My mind began imagining what the Grand Vin must taste like. One day, I hope, one day...