Friday, March 14, 2014

James Suckling and Zachys put the great wines of Bordeaux on center stage

Story and photos gallery by Dwight Casimere

NEW YORK--City Winery in South Village was the scene of one of the most dramatic and notable wine events of the season; James Suckling and Zachys Present" Great Wines of Bordeaux." With 55 of Bordeaux's finest producers on hand to personally pour more than 100 bottles of their finest selections, it was an event not to be missed.

All of the great names were there; Clerc Millon, La Mission de Haut Brion, Mouton Rothschild and Smith-Haut Lafitte, to highlight a few. There were also wines from lesser known appellations, such as Cotesde Bordeaux Castillon and Fronsac, that commanded equal attention and represented great value and taste. According to Zachys' Andrew McMurray, this was the largest introduction of Bordeaux wines in the past several years. It was a welcome sign that Bordeaux is back!

"This is an opportunity for the Chateau owners to connect directly with the consumer," McMurray said.  "We're the intermediary here, bringing everyone together, and the reason the producers are here is that they want to connect with the next generation of wine drinkers. There are people here who have been collecting great Bordeauxs for decades, but we also have new wine lovers who are just getting into the game. That's why we have represented here the high end collectible wines, but we also have the everyday wines that are more affordable. That's why we came up with the idea of presenting the Great Wines of Bordeaux here at City Winery. All the Chateau that are here are not just presenting their great back vintages, they're also presenting their current vintages and wines that are drinkable now and that are reasonable in price.

"For example, 80% of the wines that are being poured here today are under a hundred dollars a bottle, and even 70% of that is below $60 a bottle. That's how the next generation of wine drinkers can find great wines that are reasonable and ready to drink now.

"The room is full, there's great music, terrific food and a great atmosphere. We partnered with James Suckling who helped us get everybody here through He helped us to create a fun atmosphere where people can enjoy the wines. It's a fun and eventful evening that's reengaging people with the Bordeaux market. That's what this event is all about!"

Among personal favorites was a surprise hit, Chateau De Lemarque 2009, which came in at a mere $29.99 but delivered a remarkably complex blend of dark fruit flavors, marked by cassis and baking spices with a long finish. This remarkable wine is produced on a estate dominated by a medieval castle on the left bank of the Gironde between Marguez and Saint-Julien. Produced entirely with organic grapes and revolutionary technologies, the wine is a revelation!

Chateau La Lagune 2009 of the Haut-Medoc was another hidden gem. Coming in at just $68, it is an exquisite blend of Cabernet, Merlot and a touch of Petit Verdot. It delivers a feminine style with aromatic complexity and elegant textures. Its ready to drink now!

No Bordeaux tasting would be complete without a visit to Haut-Brion. This wine has the distinction of being the subject of the first-ever wine review, with a notation by Samuel Pepys in 1663 (Pepys was the Robert Parker of his day),in  which he described the wine as having  "a good and most particular taste I never met with." Amen. The proprietor recognized me from past tastings in London and Miami and poured me almost a full glass of his Haut-Brion-Le Clarence de Haut Brion $150. It was the highlight of my tasting experience and a perfect way to end the evening.

Dwight The Wine Doctor with Andrew McMurray of Zachys

Pierre-Giles Gromand of the remarkable Chateau De Lamarque of the Left Bank

Maria Martinez Ojeda with her Chateau Brane-Cantenac of Margaux

Bordeaux lovers came out in numbers for this one-of-a-kind tasting extravanganza

Andrew McMurray of Zachys greeted many of the tasters at the door

Richard and Brigitte Mestreguilhern of Chateau Pipeau take a well-deserved reak

Lise Latrille with her Chateau Pierre Lichine
 The many faces of Bordeaux lovers

Emmanuel Cruse with his Chateau Pedesclaux Grand Cru Classe of Pauillac

Clerc Milon 2009, a steal at $100

Marie Pourquet and her Chateau Grand-Ponet Grand Cru Classe of Saint-Emillion  

A friendly face greeted fatigued tasters at the Champagne Bar with
a respite of Champagne

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