Heard wine tasters referring to a wine ‘tasting green’ or ‘green flavours'? We ask the experts.
A wine tasting ‘green’ is not the same as having flavours from the ‘green fruit’ category, such as green apple, pear and grape.
It is also not the same as ‘Vinho Verde’ (or green wines) in Portugal.
A wine tasting ‘green’ commonly refers to underripe characteristics; suggesting that some grapes could have been picked slightly before full ripeness was achieved. The wine could smell or taste slightly green vegetables, like green bell pepper, for example.
‘All wines can display this character if the grapes are picked before they are ripe, just like with any other fruit.,’ said Julia Sewell, sommelier at Noble Rot and Decanter World Wine Awards judge.
‘In cooler climates or challenging vintages, this flavour character can be more likely to occur, as the winemaker can sometimes be forced by weather conditions to harvest earlier than is ideal, or indeed the grapes may never ripen fully if the cold part of autumn arrives early.’
This can be a problem with Cabernet Sauvignon, for example, which needs enough heat and time to ripen fully. It has also been associated with Carmenère, a well-known late ripener.
In Decanter’s tasting notes decoded series, it is explained that such green notes in some wines from certain vintages are believed to be caused by a chemical compound called pyrazine.Why does this matter?
There is some debate over the extent to which green flavours in wine should be seen as a serious problem.
Jane Anson addresses green flavours in her guide to tasting wines en primeur.
When examining the fruit, ‘it’s not just how much fruit there is, but what type of fruit’, she writes.
‘They might be slightly underripe, which means slight green flavours…. If you’ve got fruit that is underripe and green flavoured, then it might never get to the point that it tastes good to drink.’
Sewell added: ‘A ‘green’ wine tends to become even more green as it ages, perhaps indicating that it is not advisable to purchase if these characteristics are not appealing.’More wine questions answered
The post What does it mean when a wine ‘tastes green’? – ask Decanter appeared first on Decanter.
Bordeaux has this week seen the re-launch of a classification designed to give recognition to some of the smaller-scale wine producers beyond the Médoc's more famous names.Maxime Saint-Martin is the new president of the Cru Artisan ranking.
The Cru Artisans du Médoc, a grouping of small family run estates found in all appellations across the Médoc peninsula, has launched a new list where the number of estates has shrunk from 44 to 36 estates.
This is a reflection, according to the press release, of how many ‘Cru Artisan’ estates have been sold over the past 10 years since the previous ranking was compiled in 2006, as well as a number of producers who have retired.
These include Château Beheré in Pauillac that has now been incorporated into Château Pedesclaux and Château La Pèyre in St-Estèphe that was bought by Bernard Magrez and has become Clos Sanctus Perfectus.
There are however eight new estates: Châteaux Andron, Haut Brisey, Haut Couloumey in AOC Médoc, Pey Mallet in AOC Haut-Médoc, Ch Dacher de Delmonte in AOC Listrac-Médoc and Châteaux Marceline, Linot and Graves de Pez.
The average surface of the estates remains unchanged at 10ha but the ranking will be renewed every five years from now (so this holds up to 2021) instead of the previous ten.
Admission to Cru Artisan depends on visit of the estate (40% of mark) and a blind tasting (60% of the note) by a jury of brokers, merchants and oenologists.
Maxime Saint-Martin, president of Crus Artisans du Médoc and owner of Ch Graves de Pez, told Decanter.com at a recent tasting, ‘These are small-scale wineries where the owner is present at every stage of production, from the vineyard to the cellar.
‘There is no minimum or maximum size for membership, and it is a philosophical choice in many ways. These owners want to be close to their vineyards at every step of the process.’The full Cru Artisans list is: Médoc
Château Béjac Romelys,
Château Gadet Terrefort,
Château Garance Haut Grenat
Château Haut Blaignan
Château Haut Brisey
Château Haut Couloumey
Château Haut Gravat
Château La Tessonnière
Château Les Graves de Loirac
Château Vieux GadetHaut-Médoc
Château de Coudot
Château Moutte Blanc
Château Pey Mallet
Château de Lauga
Château du Hâ
Château Grand Brun
Château Grand Lafont
Château Le Bouscat
Château Tour Bel Air
Château Tour du Goua
Château Viallet Nouhant
Château Vieux GabareyListrac
Château Dacher de DelmonteMargaux
Château Clos de Bigos
Château des Graviers
Château Les Barraillots
Château Moutte BlancMoulis
Château Lagorce BernadasSt-Estèphe
Château Graves de PezSt-Julien
Château Fleur Lauga
The post ‘Cru Artisans’ wine classification re-launched in Médoc appeared first on Decanter.
Jane Anson's scores and tasting notes for the Sauternes 2017 wines, exclusive to Decanter Premium members...The Sauternes 2017 en primeur tastingSee all Sauternes 2017 wines
Some wonderfully rich and ripe Sauternes and Barsac wines can be found in the Bordeaux 2017 vintage, but unusually the brilliant dry white wine vintage does not quite so easily translate to a truly exceptional sweet wine one this year.
Back to the main Bordeaux en primeur page
To mark a certain Royal wedding between Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, this week's quiz is on wine with a regal link. See if you are fit to wear the crown...Queen Elizabeth II and Colombia's president Juan Manuel Santos at Buckingham Palace. Start the Royal wine quiz below
More wine quizzes here
Hugh Johnson considers those times when your highly anticipated bottles end up a disappointment...‘Two very prestigious Burgundies failed to light any fires.’
Oenogenius Len Evans (who kickstarted modern Australian wine) was so convinced of the importance of great wines that he endowed a course for young wine professionals that included tastings of the first growths, Domaine de la Romanée-Conti wines and the ultimate icons in each ‘style’, as Australians call them. The Len Evans Tutorials are still going strong 17 years later.
Writers sometimes feel a duty to genuflect in the direction of ‘the greats’. Perhaps Andrew Jefford expresses their achievements best: ‘Wines of outstanding beauty and resonance, leaving the drinker with a sense of wonder.’ These are our aspirational models; or are they? I’m not so sure anymore. The existence of Rembrandt doesn’t devalue less exalted painters, or detract from our enjoyment of them, or discourage us from having a little daub ourselves.
You can be so in awe of a first growth, though, waiting for a miraculous revelation, that you cease to think of it as a drink. And the downside, of course, is as precipitous as your hopes are high. It is the reason I avoid multi-starred restaurants: if they’re less than perfect, I feel conned.
The other night I opened what I hoped would be a pretty snappy line-up for, among others, Steven Spurrier. He was too polite to say so, but two very prestigious Burgundies failed to light any fires.
Both were Chambolle-Musigny premiers crus; Les Fremières 2007 from Leroy, and Les Amoureuses 1999 from Jacques-Frédéric Mugnier. The first had the expensively wild note that makes Domaine Leroy wines Burgundy’s most exciting – but this was snapping at its cage, and losing energy in the process. The Amoureuses, my favourite vineyard of all – and not just for its name – simply tasted muffled, soft-focused. A top vintage, 19 years old, has no business doing that.
‘There are no great wines; only great bottles’ is always true. The corollary is that there are also great bottles of not-great wine, and that these are the ones that double your pleasure by adding surprise. We had proof that evening: a left-field wine that no one would ever identify. ‘Yquem?’ was the first suggestion.
The answer? Château Lion, Noble d’Or 1985 from… wait for it… Japan’s Suntory. The Yamanashi region wins. For complete satisfaction, your mind should be as open as your mouth.
Hugh Johnson OBE is a world-renowned wine writerRead more articles from Decanter magazine’s June 2018 issue
Susie Barrie MW picks out her top 15 English sparkling wines to see you through the summer...
2017 was a significant year for the UK wine industry: a million vines were planted, a new competition its wines was launched, and the WineGB organization was formally announced.
One of the first events for the newly formed WineGB was the annual trade tasting held in April, where there was a palpable buzz of excitement in the air. There were also more wines than ever, with over 200 in 2018 compared to just 68 back in 2002.
Several of my English sparkling wine recommendations below are from this tasting, with the remainder coming from other recent tastings and vineyard visits earlier this year, when I was researching a new book. The list could have been two or even three times as long, but I’ve tried to limit myself mostly to wines from brand new projects, new cuvées from more established producers, and older wines that are at their peak of drinkability.
- English wines to try this summer
- English wine quiz: Test your knowledge
- Is English Pinot Noir really getting better?
En primeur tastings may have shown Bordeaux 2017 to be uneven for red wines, but it's shaping up to be a five-star vintage for the region's dry whites, says Jane Anson. See her scores and tasting notes, exclusively for Decanter Premium members...Bordeaux dry whites 2017.Top Bordeaux dry whites 2017
Bordeaux 2017 is an exceptional dry white vintage, as noted in my Bordeaux 2017 vintage overview.
You can feel hugely confident buying Pessac-Léognan and other big name whites, although sadly volumes are often way down.All Graves whites 2017 All Pessac whites 2017 All Bordeaux Blancs 2017 Back to the Bordeaux en primeur main page
Hailstones bigger than golf balls have caused at least some damage to 500 hectares of vines in the Côte des Bar area in the south of the Champagne region, according to initial estimates.Côte des Bar area map.
A violent hailstorm hit the Champagne region on Saturday 12 May.
Growers reported hailstones five centimetres in diameter raining down on vines in Côte des Bar, in the south-east of the Champagne region and predominantly planted with Pinot Noir. Early estimates suggested 500 hectares of vineyards were damaged.
The hail corridor extended from Les Riceys to Vitry-le-Croisé, with the village of Neuville being the most badly affected.
Hailstones hit roughly ‘20% of the Côte des Bar area’, said Bruno Duron, from the Comité de Champagne, the trade body.
‘Of the 500 hectares affected, 250 to 280 hectares are located on the Riceys terroir,’ he told Decanter.com.
‘We had already had an episode [of hail] with lots of wind on 29 April, but this one has had a bigger impact.’
Hail fell on growing vines. ‘The Pinot vines were at seven to eight leaves while the Chardonnays had reached 9 to 10 leaves,’ Duron said.
However, the damage remained very localised in the context of the Côte des Bar vineyard area. ‘The Côte des Bar is 8,000 hectares (24% Champagne),’ Duron said.
But for the winegrowers affected, it was another disaster after the damaging spring frosts in 2016 and 2017.
There were concerns that some small-scale growers might no longer have individual reserves in their cellars, placing them under extra financial pressure.
Editing by Chris Mercer.Read also: Extreme weather becoming the new normal, warns major report
Jane Anson tastes a vertical of Domaine de Chevalier wines, exclusively for Decanter Premium members.
The Bordeaux 2017 vintage was no doubt a bittersweet vintage for Domaine de Chevalier. For once, they were not alone in being affected by frost, and in many ways were far better prepared than almost any other property in the region.
Owner Olivier Bernard has long used wine machines and even helicopters in certain vintages because its location, with vines on the far west of Léognan in a single 45ha gravel, black sand and clay plot surrounded by forest gives it a very particular micro-climate where budding begins earlier than many local properties, and its swings in temperature (warm days, cold nights) often make it particularly vulnerable to low temperatures in springtime.
See Jane Anson’s overview of the Bordeaux 2017 vintage, plus all of her en primeur tasting notes
Bordeaux’s share of sales has fallen to a record low at Sotheby’s as consumers, especially in Hong Kong, have switched to Burgundy and whisky, shows a new report from the auction house.Richebourg Grand Cru in Burgundy's Côte de Nuits.
For the first time since Sotheby’s started selling wine in 1970, Bordeaux accounted for less than 50% of Sotheby’s auction and retail sales in 2017, dropping to 40% from 52% in 2016 – something the company said was ‘unthinkable’ only three years ago.
The Sotheby’s 2017 Wine Auction Report attributes Bordeaux’s fall to ‘a significant decline in Bordeaux’s share of sales at auction in Hong Kong, and to a lesser extent in London’.
‘For Sotheby’s Wine, the secondary wine market has been dominated by Bordeaux ever since we started auctions in 1970, with Bordeaux sales representing over 60% year-on-year,’ Jamie Ritchie, worldwide head of Sotheby’s Wine, told Decanter.com.
‘The dynamic growth in both value and sales of Burgundy and whisky showed that demand has broadened significantly, driven by buyers from North America and Asia.
‘We expect demand for both to remain consistently strong, and are likely to witness new benchmark prices during the rest of this year.’
Burgundy’s share of Sotheby’s sales in 2017 was 39%, up from 34%, with Domaine de la Romanée-Conti securing the leading producer spot for the fifth successive year. Its sales of $11.6m were greater than Lafite, Pétrus and Mouton-Rothschild combined.
But whisky was the biggest mover on the global auction scene, at least for Sotheby’s, where it took a 6% share of revenues in the fine wine and spirits division, up from 1% in 2016.
This increase was led by The Macallan single malt, which recorded $2.6m in sales, up 4,000% on the year and making it number seven on the top 10 producers list.
Two Macallan lots and one of Japan’s Ichiro Hanyu Card Player Series accounted for the three most lucrative auction lots of the year, led by The Macallan in Lalique Legacy Collection, an 18-bottle lot sold in April 2017 in Hong Kong for just under $1m – a new world record for a whisky lot.
The report also illustrates the continued dominance of Asian buyers, who were responsible for 58% of Sotheby’s worldwide sales in 2017, up 2% on 2016. For auctions alone, they took a 50% share of available lots, but 60% of value, including nine out of the 10 most expensive lots.Read also: How to approach buying wine en primeur
The post Bordeaux makes way for Burgundy and whisky at Sotheby’s appeared first on Decanter.
Colin Hay, a professor of political economy with a special interest in the Place de Bordeaux, considers the different ways of approaching en primeur purchasing, as the Bordeaux 2017 campaign gets underway.The cellar room at Château Pavie.
En primeur is a rather strange and, arguably, arcane system of buying and selling wine in which the consumer purchases the wine typically in the early summer following the vintage even though it will not be bottled and delivered for a further 12-18 months.
It is, in effect, a futures market. Money changes hands and a stake in a wine is purchased before the commodity has become a finished product.
In the period between purchase and delivery the price of the wine is likely to change, giving this market (like other futures markets) a certain speculative character.See our Bordeaux en primeur homepage for ratings, analysis and release prices on 2017 wines
People buy en primeur for rather different reasons. Amongst these it is easy to differentiate between the following:
- (i) for investment (the aim being to secure a return on the outlay between the point of purchase and delivery);
- (ii) out of a sense of emotional attachment to the property or properties one is ‘backing’ by buying en primeur;
- (iii) to guarantee securing a case of a rare commodity for which demand is high and/or to guarantee securing a case in an unusual format (halves, double magnums etc.);
- (iv) to secure a wine which is ultimately for drinking at the best available price;
- (v) some presently unresolved combination of the preceding factors (‘I am almost certainly buying this wine to drink and I have an emotional attachment to the property, but it is likely to prove a sound investment anyway’).
Of these reasons arguably the second is the best – and this article has least to say to those of you whose en primeur choices fall primarily into this category. My advice, in so far as I have any for you at all, is to carry on doing what you do – and perhaps not to read any further. This article is really for the rest of us (for what it is worth, my own rationale for en primeur purchases is in fact a combination of all five).
Let’s perhaps begin with the third motive – the acquisition of a rare commodity whilst it is still available. This is certainly a good motive (if wine is rare, supply limited and demand high, the sensible choice is to acquire it whilst supply is at its greatest).
But for the majority of en primeur purchases this is simply not the case. Properties typically do not sell out en primeur and those that do tend to do so because they have strategically managed supply by holding back wine for subsequent release. In short, it is a myth (if, sometimes, quite a convenient one) that one needs to by en primeur to secure a case of the one craves from any given vintage.
Yet there are exceptions to which we will come back to in a moment. But to understand those exceptions it is useful to consider the first and fourth motives in my list. These might not seem connected, but they are. Buying exclusively for investment and buying to secure a wine for the best price it will ever be available rely on the capacity to differentiate between those wines that will appreciate in value (because supply at the release price exceeds demand) and those that will not.
This is the holy grail of the en primeur market. A reliable mechanism for identifying what to buy does not exist. But there are a number of things one can say about wines that have proven to be good en primeur investments.
Five factors stand out from the academic analysis of this that I and others have conducted.
1. They need to be well-backed by the critics – and, ideally and increasingly, by a range of critics.
2. They will ultimately need to be backed again by the critics once re-tasted in bottle. In order to retain their value – and hence their investment potential – a high scoring wine en primeur will need to have it score confirmed once the wine is in bottle. One-off high scoring wines en primeur tend to peak in price just before they are re-tasted.
3. Wines from up-and-coming properties are more likely to be under-priced relative to their value and to represent a better investment. Look out for properties on an upward curve in terms of the critical evaluations they have received in recent vintages but whose release prices still have yet to catch up with their new found status.
4. The case for purchase is stronger if there is a compelling story to tell about the quality trajectory of the property. Where a property has changed hands, wine-maker, consultant oenologist or, more simply, style to critical acclaim, the upward trajectory in quality would appear to be less of a one-off.
5. Scarce wines for which one needs an allocation are likely to be sure-fire investments. There are a number of wines ostensibly offered en primeur which it is practically impossible for you or I to buy if we do not have a history of buying them (an ‘allocation’ is the term typically used). Some of these are long-standing (such as Petrus, Le Pin and Lafleur in Pomerol). But a number of new cuvees (especially in Pomerol and St-Emilion) have similar characteristics (tiny properties sparing no expense to make the best wine possible). Identifying these is not always easy. But clear examples include L’If in St-Emilion and La Violette and L’Enclos Tourmaline in Pomerol.
These five points hopefully provide useful guidance in how to think about en primeur from the consumer’s perspective.
But the brutal reality is that most of us will not make money – or certainly not very much – from our en primeur purchases. That is not an argument for forgoing en primeur; but it is an argument for going into it with open eyes.See our Bordeaux 2017 en primeur page for the latest releases and analysis
Vincenzo Donatiello is a judge at the 2018 Decanter World Wine Awards (DWWA)Vincenzo DonatielloVincenzo Donatiello
Vincenzo Donatiello hails from Vulture, Italy, and rose through the ranks in hospitality, developing professionally between Puglia, where he attended the hotel management school of Vieste and Romagna.
In 2009, he joined La Frasca in Milano Marittima under the guidance of Gianfranco Bolognesi, the first of a series of Michelin-starred experiences including restaurant Pascucci al Porticciolo in Fiumicino and Piastrino in Pennabilli.
Since February 2013, he has been at the 3 Michelin starred Piazza Duomo in Alba, with chef Enrico Crippa.
He was Best Junior Sommelier of Italy in 2004 and Best Sommelier of Romagna in 2010, Sommelier of the Year 2013 for Italia a Tavola Magazine, Best Restaurant Director 2016 for Touring Club Restaurant Guide and Maitre of the Year 2018 for L’Espresso Italian Restaurant Guide.
Follow Vincenzo on Twitter: @donvino85
Victoria James is a judge at the 2018 Decanter World Wine Awards (DWWA)Victoria JamesVictoria James
Victoria James has worked in restaurants since she was thirteen. She fell in love with wine and when she was twenty-one became certified as a sommelier.
She has worked at some of the most prestigious restaurants in New York City including Marea and Aureole.
Currently, Victoria is the beverage director at Cote, a Michelin-starred restaurant in New York City.
Victoria’s name has appeared on many notable lists: Forbes ’30 Under 30′, Zagat’s ’30 Under 30′, Wine Enthusiast’s ’40 Under 40′, Wine & Spirits’ ‘Best New Sommeliers’, and The Back Label declared her ‘New York’s Youngest Sommelier’.
She is also the author of DRINK PINK, A Celebration of Rosé (May 2nd, 2017, HarperCollins) and a contributor to Cosmopolitan, Munchies and The Daily Meal.
In her free time, she makes Amaro from foraged plants.
Follow Victoria on Twitter: @Geturgrapeon
Tim Jackson MW is a judge at the 2018 Decanter World Wine Awards (DWWA)Tim Jackson MWTim Jackson MW
Tim Jackson MW is a wine drinker whose hobby got sufficiently out of hand when he took WSET Level 3 in 2004, got the WSET Diploma with Distinction in 2010 and finally became a Master of Wine in September 2017.
Born and raised in London, Tim’s wine journey began in Chablis at 9am on a late June morning in 1994, between his first and second years at Oxford, followed by touring various parts of France and many other wine regions around the world since, from Argentina to Otago; Healdsburg to Wurttemburg.
In late 1998 he began keeping labels and notes from interesting bottles of wine drunk, in his first wine book. Now up to Book 7, he is progressively putting these online alongside other writing on his website, winebook.co.uk.
In addition to writing about wine, Tim holds corporate wine tastings and is passionate about teaching consumers about wine – the subject of his MW research paper.
Follow Tim on Twitter: @ABNegative
Stefan Metzner is a judge at the 2018 Decanter World Wine Awards (DWWA)Stefan MetznerStefan Metzner
Born in Germany, Stefan Metzner is currently co-owner and educator at Das Weininstitut in Munich.
He has held previous sommelier roles as well as being head of wine at Le Gourmet restaurant in Munich.
He then spent 4 years as managing director of a wine retail and wholesale company.
Sebastian Crowther MS is a judge at the 2018 Decanter World Wine Awards (DWWA)Sebastian Crowther MSSebastian Crowther MS
Sebastian Crowther MS has been working as a sommelier for over 15 years. During this time he has gained the title of Master Sommelier, becoming only the second in Australia to achieve this title.
He has won Sydney Morning Herald Sommelier of the Year and also the Judy Hirst award for writing the best wine list in the country.
Sebastian is the owner of REAL Wines, importing wines from around the globe and is also the beverage director for the Rockpool Dining Group.
He helps run the Court of Master Sommeliers exams in Australia each year, educates in various other establishments including TAFE and strongly believes in mentoring the new generation of sommeliers in Australia.
In addition to this, Sebastian still finds time to be a University student, currently studying Wine Science at Charles Sturt and is also the head taster for Qantas Airlines wine selection.
Follow Sebastian on Twitter: @SebCrowther
Rebecca Gibb MW is a judge at the 2018 Decanter World Wine Awards (DWWA)Rebecca Gibb MWRebecca Gibb MW
Having spent six years living in New Zealand, Rebecca Gibb MW has recently returned to her native north-east England.
While in New Zealand, she became a Master of Wine, graduating top of her class and winning the Madame Bollinger medal for excellence in tasting.
A former winner of both the UK’s young wine writer of the year and the Louis Roederer emerging wine writer, Rebecca’s first book The Wines of New Zealand will be published in 2018 as part of the recently revived Classic Wine Library Series.
She also runs wine events and has a consultancy business The Drinks Project.
When she’s not working, Rebecca enjoys running, playing the cello and watching darts.
Follow Rebecca on Twitter: @rebeccagibb
Raúl Igual is a judge at the 2018 Decanter World Wine Awards (DWWA)Raúl IgualRaúl Igual
Since 2007, Raúl Igual has been working in his own restaurant Yain in Teruel, a beautiful town inland Spain.
Before beginning his own restaurant project, in 2005 and 2006, he worked as a sommelier at El Bulli restaurant, the famous 3 Michelin Star of Ferran Adriá, and spent some time in Florence’s famous restaurant Enoteca Pinchiorri.
Raúl won the Best Sommelier of Spain contest in 2010 and represented Spain in the Best Sommelier of the World Tokyo and the Best Sommelier of Europe in 2013.
Since 2011, he has also worked as a sommelier for Wineissocial, an online wine club in Barcelona offering wine recommendations from a team of sommeliers.
In 2015, Raúl passed the Advanced Course of the Court of Master Sommeliers.
Follow Raúl on Twitter: @Raul_Igual
Pilar Cavero is a judge at the 2018 Decanter World Wine Awards (DWWA)Pilar CaveroPilar Cavero
Pilar Cavero studied for her Sommelier Degree in Barcelona between 2010-2012. During those studies she started working at the 1 Michelin starred Moo Restaurant in Barcelona.
This was followed by a 2 year stint at the 3 Michelin starred El Celler de Can Roca in Girona, which was Best Restaurant in the World 2013 and 2015.
Pilar has also worked at Lavinia Madrid, and was an iTQi jury member for three years.
In 2013 she was named Best Sommelier of Spain.
Follow Pilar on Twitter: @pilar_cavero
Mikolaj Skrzypczak is a judge at the 2018 Decanter World Wine Awards (DWWA)Mikolaj SkrzypczakMikolaj Skrzypczak
Originally from Poland, Mikolaj Skrzypczak started his journey with wine in 2010 when he used to manage a bar in Notting Hill.
He did the WSET Advanced in 2013 and since 2014 has been head sommelier of the Michelin starred Trishna Restaurant.