Thursday, February 26, 2009

The Wine Advocate Does Australia

Jay Miller, Robert Parker's surrogate taster of Australian wines, has come out with his latest set of reviews after his 2008 visit. The wines are reviewed in Issue # 181 of The Wine Advocate. Miller provides reviews of 1072 wines, which I believe is the largest number reviewed so far by The Wine Advocate. But its his introduction, titled Australia 2009: Into the Abyss that will see Parker’s followers, and quite a few others, nodding their heads.

"In my tastings for this report, many, if not most, of the importers with whom I sat down have trimmed their portfolios and/or begun to diversify into what they perceive as more fertile ground, particularly Spain and Argentina. In not much more than a decade the market has gone from boom to bust and to an unsettled future. "– Jay Miller, The Wine Advocate

Miller uses import figures from Oct 2007 to Oct 2008 to show that Aussie wines imported into the USA under $10 have seen double digit growth but wines over $20 have decreased by 50%. He gives a few reasons for this but avoids one that bears consideration and that is that Parker’s focus on South Australia has been the foundation stone for the boom and the bust.

Robert Parker never really saw value in many of the wines outside South Australia. True wines were recommended from a variety of regions but his main focus never really strayed from the Barossa and McLaren Vale for almost a decade. That myopic view lead to too many wines from too many producers that were just too similar. It meant importers like The Grateful Palate could establish virtual wineries producing export only wines for a specific market without regard for regional character. Such wines were nameless and faceless to wine drinkers in Australia and therefore lacked the backing of those who know the countries’ wines best. Such wines could never represent the regional diversity of Australia that is far, far broader than Robert Parler’s palate. Or as one importer told Miller “designer brands with no real core values – no bricks and mortar, no faces and places behind them, no regional expressions” Designed for whom is a question that must be asked.

Miller does seem to appreciate the diversity in Australia better than his boss, so has that changed how The Wine Advocate sees regional Australia? Perhaps not. I’ve not yet had the time to look through all 1072 recommendations but what is a concern is that on the first 2 pages of that 22 page list of scores there are only 5 non-South Australian dry wines (all Victorian) among a mass of South Australians. The great diversity of Australian wine deserves better than that.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Bottle Shock

Bottle Shock is very loosely based on George M. Taber’s excellent book “Judgment of Paris” in which Californian wineries win a 1976 tasting competition against French wines from Burgundy (white) and Bordeaux (red). The story in Bottle Shock centers on Jim and Bo Barrett of Chateau Montelena and their 1973 Chardonnay that won the white wine tasting set up by Steven Spurrier of the L’Academie du Vin in Paris. But that is where any serious similarities with history end.

The 1973 Chateau Montelena Chardonnay was only the second vintage after Jim Barrett (and Ernie Hahn) had purchased the winery and Barrett was still practicing law. Virtually ignored in the movie is Mike Grgich, the actual winemaker at Chateau Montelena. Grgich appears several times in the movie but is not identified and if you did not know that he wore a beret you would not know who he was. He is the person standing next to Jim Barrett in the winery when Barrett exclaims “Crap. Mike, its not clear”. And then tells Bo that the wine will need to be racked again. Even the discoloration of the 1973 Chateau Montelena Chardonnay, a tragedy in the making in the movie and the reason for the movies' name, is a bone of contention. Barrett says that it did happen but Grgich has said that the 1973 was “perfect from the very beginning” and that the 1972 wine had a temporary discoloration.

Bottle Shock comes on the heels of two recent movies that feature wine, Sideways and A Good Year. Bottle Shock has none of the (black) comedy, romance, music, or wine lore of Sideways. It also fails to measure up to A Good Year which, like Sideways, has a fictional storyline. And some quite passable comedic acting by Russell Crowe. The failure of Bottle Shock to succeed may well lie at the feet of those who thought they could rewrite history for the “silver screen”. Hollywood rarely does well at transferring non-fiction to fiction; too much is lost in the conversion.

One aspect of the movie that is difficult to understand is that while a number of the real life personalities are left out of the movie the French wine judges are described in great detail. Eight of the judges noted in the Appendix of Taber’s “Judgment of Paris” are correctly identified. Missing is Michel Dovaz who taught wine courses at the Academie du Vin in Paris. Also missing is Patricia Gastaud-Gallagher who was a director at the l'Academie du Vin and who was also intimately involved, with Spurrier, in organizing the Paris tasting. It has been stated in other reviews that the movie is a poke in the eye of the French and this very accurate identification of the French wine judges would seem to support that possibility; the outcome of the tasting was so embarrassing for the judges that at least one, Kahn, asked for her scorecard back.

Additional Features on the DVD include four deleted scenes, An Underdog’s Journey: The making of Bottle Shock, Chateau Montelena: One winery’s search for excellence, and audio commentary by the cast and crew. To be brutally honest none of these add to the movie or the true story behind the Judgment of Paris. If you want history read Taber’s book. If you want a movie woven around wine buy the Sideways DVD.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Drinking with SHIRAZ on Saturday - Zinfandel or ZPC

Its been called California’s grape. So much so that a bill was put to the California state legislature to name Zinfandel as California's "historic wine”. But the Governator (Arnold Schwarzenegger) vetoed the attempt. It was the correct thing to do as Zinfandel is not a native American grape. Genetically it is related to the Italian Primitivo and the Croatian Crljenak Kaštelanski ("Kaštela Red"). In fact Dr Carole Meredith, who performed the genetic analysis, refers to the variety as "ZPC" - Zinfandel/Primitivo/Crljenak Kaštelanski.

Zinfandel or ZPC is a truly versatile grape. It can be used to make a blush wine (White Zinfandel) or robust, fruity reds of depth and concentration and high alcohol, or light bodied reds, or fortified dessert wines and even a dessert wine called Zinfandel essence which comes from late harvest grapes not fermented to dryness so that the alcohol is low and the sugar levels high. The production of White Zinfandel in the 1970 saved many of the old vine vineyards which are now used to produce a resurgent dry red style. Even with this new found interest Zinfandel still plays prince to the king, Cabernet Sauvignon, in California. And this is a good thing for us common folk who like to drink fine wine because it means that these special wines, from old vines and often made in small quantities from individual vineyards, are very often ridiculously inexpensive. Often blended with other varieties by design and sometime by default because of vineyards containing mixtures of varieties, the regional diversity of Zinfandel still shines through. In many respects California Zinfandel is a purist’s grape because it is in its own home and is unspoiled by the desires of winemakers to mold it into a representation of something from another country. The Zinfandel tasting at Vintage Wines was held at the very end of January and all six wines were tasted blind.

First Wine
Deep, dark cherry red with red/pink edge. Attractive, aromatic wine with aromas of black/blueberry and brambles mixed with oak. On the palate its full bodied with a soft and supple entry and attractive flavor carry. Well balanced with juicy acidity and fine tannins.
Score: 2, 2, 4.1, 10.1-18.2/20, 91/100
Drink: Now to 2016
Wine: 2006 Sebastiani Dry Creek Valley, California, USA; 86% Zinfandel, 11% Petite Sirah, 3% Barbera
Closure: Cork
Alcohol: 14.6%
Price: $17.99USD

Second Wine
Deep, dark cherry red with pink/red edge. The nose is framed by a geranium top note over black pepper and cherry. Its different, but appealing. Full bodied with tannins that are just a bit too firm at present and the mid-palate cries out for more depth. It could all come together with time..
Score: 2, 2, 4.0, 9.8=17.8/20, 89/100
Drink: 2010-2017+
Wine: 2005 St. Francis, Pagani Ranch, Old Vines, Sonoma Valley, California, USA; a field blend of Zinfandel, Petite Sirah, Mourvedre, Carignane and Alicante Bouschet.
Closure: Cork
Alcohol: 14.8%
Price: $33.99USD

Third Wine
Dark cherry red with red/pink edge. Dark sweet tea over cedar with ripe cherry bobbing up to the surface. It all seems a little too ripe but this is the trend in Zinfandel. Full bodied with soft, supple entry and an excellent carry of flavors across the palate. The tannins firm up on the finish. This is a serious mouthful of wine.
Score: 2, 2, 4.0, 10.1=18.1/20, 91/100
Drink: 2010 to 2020
Wine: 2006 Rosenblum, Paso Robles, California, USA; 88% Zinfandel, 12% Petite Sirah
Closure: Cork
Alcohol: 14.9%
Price: $13.99USD

Fourth Wine
Cherry red with red pink edge. Attractive aromatics that are overshadowed by alcohol, spicy ripeness and ethyl acetate (EA). In the mouth it’s a little softer and leaner than the others with very fine tannins. This is a true drink now style that lacks the solid structural foundation for long term cellaring.
Score: 2, 2, 3.8, 9.7=17.5/20, 87/100
Drink: Now to 2012
Wine: 2005 Karly “Warrior Fires”, Amador Country, California, USA; a blend of Zinfandel and Petite Sirah.
Closure: Cork
Alcohol: 15.1%
Price: $19.99USD

Fifth Wine
Dark cherry red with red/pink edge. Resinous oak dominant over mulberry and cherry. There may be some eucalyptus in there but I think that might be the oak showing its exuberance. Fuller bodied than the previous wine with great flavor carry finishing with firm tannins. This is a wine that needs time but the potential is there. And yes all that oak (and eucalyptus) will integrate and become more attractive. (If any of these wines are from Ravenswood its this one – I’ll say it’s the Dickerson because of that resinous oak note.)
Score: 2, 2, 4.0, 10.2=18.2, 91/100
Drink: 2011-2018
Wine: 2006 Ravenswood, Dickerson Vineyard, Napa Valley, California, USA; “Pretty pure stand of Zinfandel”.
Closure: Cork
Alcohol: 15.8%
Price: $25.99USD

Sixth Wine
Dark cherry red with a red/pink edge. Very expressive, very ripe aromatics with black and mulberry, spices and oak. Full bodied with firm, ripe tannins and beautiful flavor carry that is a prelude to a lengthy finish. I like the structure on this wine.
Score: 2, 2, 4.1, 10.2=18.3/20, 92/100
Drink: Now -2018
Wine: 2006 Opolo “Mountain Zinfandel”, Paso Robles, California, USA; 100% Zinfandel.
Closure: Cork
Alcohol: 16.5%
Price: $16.99USD

From under the Wine Bar
On occasion José, who pours the wines on Saturday, will pull out a bottle or two from under the bar. These wines are usually the remains from a tasting group that meets each Friday night. They gather to taste the new wines on the Wine Bar, and they also bring wines for a themed tasting. On this occasion it was Zinfandel. So José poured me a taste from two unfinished bottles.

Mystery Wine One
Deep, deep deans color. Truly black at its core with bricking at its edge. Lots of roasted and smoked meats. Very OXO cubish with a little caramel note for sweetness. Full bodied but oh so soft as it covers the palate with great line and the finish has all the roasted meat flavors you could want. What is it? Beats me. But it looks way over 10 years old.
Score:2, 2, 4.3, 10.3=18.3/20 93/100
Drink: Now and probably over the next five (2014) because it looks like it might hold quite well.
Wine: 2001 Ravenswood Belloni Russian River Valley Zinfandel, California, USA; Old mixed vineyard, has Zinfandel, Carignane, Alicante Bouschet, and Petite Sirah.
Closure: Cork
Alcohol: 15.2%
Price: NA

Mystery Wine Two
Deep, dense, black at its core with a mahogany edge. Rich ripe and very aromatic; Christmas cake over blue and mulberry. Boy, is this ripe! Full bodied but soft and supple on entry with an additional note of iced tea. The tannins are gone but the flavors carry well and the finish is great. I don’t see this going much longer. I saw this wine when José poured it and I wasn’t all that surprised.
Score: 2, 2, 4.0, 10.2=18.2/20, 91/100
Drink: I wouldn’t wait, drink it now.
Wine: 2001 Carlisle “Carlisle Vineyard”, Russian River Valley Zinfandel, California, USA; 85% Zinfandel, 15% Mixed Black Varieties.
Closure: Cork
Alcohol: 16.3%
Price: NA

There are two things of note about these wines. First is the color which hinted at wines much older than they turned out to be, and second was the difference in flavor profile. The current dogma is that if grapes are picked ripe then the flavors will all be the same. Well that is just not true here. Oh, and one other thing. Our little group always brings way too much food to these tastings and so we passed around a chocolate dessert called “Melting Chocolate” to the others in the tasting room. The consensus was that this rich dessert made the Zins sit up and sing. And both José and I agreed that was especially true for the Carlisle Zin or should that be ZPC!

Monday, February 02, 2009

Andrew Jefford to Write Book on Aussie Terroir

Andrew Jefford, who has written a number of tomes on wine, is now in Australia on a Senior Research Fellowship at the University of Adelaide and as Winewriter in Residence to the Australia Wine 2030 Project. He will be in Adelaide for about a year during which time he plans on writing another book – on Aussie wine as he describes below on his blog.

The overall aim of the year is to research and write as much as possible of a book on terroir in Australia … or, if you prefer, what makes Australia’s greatest wines and vineyards different from each other and from those found elsewhere on the landmasses of our precious blue planet. With that in mind, if any Australian producer would like to contact me with information, samples or anything else which might deepen my understanding of the above, they are most welcome to do so: the address is 12 Rawson Penfold Drive, Rosslyn Park, SA 5072 and the landline is 08 8364 5296, or via the ‘Contact’ section of this website. It’s a great privilege to be here, and to have the chance to learn more about a major world wine culture in situ rather than breezing through in customary journalistic style. I’m anxious not to waste it.

You can follow his time in Australia via his blog as well as via a new, monthly column for Decanter magazine beginning later in 2009.

It will be interesting to see what he comes up with in terms of which wines and/or regions exhibit a sense of place.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Drinking with SHIRAZ on Saturday - New Release Aussies

Held on Saturday Jan 17th at Vintage Wines in San Diego this tasting is one of several during the year to feature Australian wines. The moniker new releases should be taken with some caution as some of the wines might have arrived on the shelves the day after the previous “New Release Aussie” tasting. Still this is always an interesting tasting for me because I have a pretty intimate knowledge of the Aussie wines that are available at Vintage. I might not have tasted them all but I’ve looked at the labels so often that the wines have etched themselves into my subconscious. Those sorts of wine memories are not the best to recall when tasting wine but they can be a great foundation for some hilarious mistakes in identifying what might be in the glass.

This Saturday was to be no exception, although the memory problem was more a failure of remembering a wine that had been tasted rather than one that had not. In such cases you have to confess your folly and hope that some considerate soul will offer sympathy and a tale, or two, of their own foibles when confronted with more wines than commonsense.

First Wine
Dense cherry red with red edge with the faintest orange tinge. Notes of plum, blueberry, and spicy oak. Full bodied with a soft and supple entry opening to juicy acidity. A nicely flavored wine with a lengthy finish.
Score: 2, 2, 3.8, 9.8=17.6/20, 88/100.
Drink: Now to 2014
Wine: 2006 Glaetzer “Wallace” Red Blend, Barossa Valley, South Australia
Closure: Screwcap
Alcohol: 14.5% abv
Price: $19.99USD

Second Wine
Dense, dark cherry red with red edge. Aromas dominated by spicy oak, blueberry, plum with the alcohol poking its way in as well. In the mouth full bodied with some serious oak and alcohol. The flavors carry well but its not a wine to get excited about.
Score: 2, 2, 3.6, 9.5=17.3/20, 86/100.
Drink: Now to 2012
Wine: 2007 R Winery “Strong Arms” Shiraz, South Australia
Closure: Screwcap
Alcohol: 15% abv
Price: $8.99USD

Third Wine
Dense, dark cherry red with red edge. A big, spicy wine with nutmeg over violets and smoky oak. Unusual for an Aussie red. Full bodied and the oak is dominant but still nicely integrated with the exuberant flavors that all mesh together to give excellent length to the finish. Marred only by a little sour note at the end.
Score: 2, 2, 3.9, 9.6=17.5/20, 87/100
Drink: Now to 2016
Wine: 2007 Thorn-Clark “Shotfire Ridge” Shiraz, Barossa Valley, South Australia
Closure: Screwcap
Alcohol: 14% abv
Price: $14.99USD

Fourth Wine
Dense cherry red with red edge. A little closed. Blue- and blackberry with well integrated oak. Full bodied and the first wine to show some expressive tannins but its all dominated by oak notes. Still its an attractive wine and so far the most appealing to quaff.
Score: 2, 2, 4.0, 9.8=17.8/20, 89/100
Drink: Now to 2013
Wine: 2007 R Winery “Luchador” Shiraz, South Australia
Closure: Screwcap
Alcohol: 14.5% abv
Price: $14.99USD

Fifth Wine
Dark, dense cherry red with a slight orange/brown tinge to the red edge. Attractive and complex spicy nose with lead pencil case and blue and mulberry notes. Much nicer wine, much better structure and balance. Needs some time as the acidity does poke out a bit but it has possibilities.
Score: 2, 2, 4.2, 10.1=18.3/20, 92/100
Drink: 2011-2018
Wine: 2006 Slipstream “Fastback” Shiraz, McLaren Vale, South Australia
Closure: Cork
Alcohol: 14.4% abv
Price: $25.99

Sixth Wine
Dense, dark cherry red with red edge. Smoky oak, roasted meats with hints of nutmeg and mocha. Yep this zings. A very well put together wine with excellent mouthfeel and excellent length. But there is a lurking suspicion that the alcohol in this isn’t low!
Score: 2, 2, 4.3, 10.3=18.6/20, 93/100
Drink: Now-2018
Wine: 2006 R Winery “First Class” Shiraz, McLaren Vale, South Australia
Closure: Screwcap
Alcohol: 15.5% abv
Price: $23.99USD

So what is the problem here? It all seems like a pretty typical tasting of the style of Aussie Shiraz that makes its way to the USA; fruity, oaky wines that do have palate appeal but are not true expressions of Aussie Shiraz. The answer is that I have tasted the 2006 R Winery “First Class” Shiraz before and was not all that impressed. The previous tasting was with a single bottle drunk during dinner. My notes then were “Deep, dense cherry red with red edge; got that right! Smoky oak, black pepper, black- and mulberry, and mocha. Rich tending to over ripe but not stewed. Full bodied with fine tannins and juicy acidity. Lacks a mid palate but has good flavor carry and length. Drink: Now to 2012. Score: 2, 2, 3.8, 9.8=17.6/20, 88/100.” Tasted 12/29/2008.

A five point spread on two separate occasions, not as bad as some wine judges, but it’s the differences in the description of how the wine felt in my mouth that are disturbing. As I’ve noted before I try to do the Saturday tasting blind and I can honestly say that I had no idea what this wine was. It was the last wine and so just on experience I know that its likely to be bigger, especially in alcohol, than the others in the flight. But how could I be so effusive over the wine in mixed company when by itself it was so average. It may well be that it’s the company in which it was tasted that has had the biggest influence. The higher alcohol would add weight to the wine and give a rounder, fuller feel in the mouth. I’m a firm believer in tasting wines together rather than as individuals and this does show that the “First Class” does stand up well in company. Its also probably a good example of why this style of wine does so well when reviewers taste multiple wines at one sitting. Now that I have this view of the wine what would happen if it was tasted again by itself? I’m glad you asked.

Deep, dense cherry red with red edge; another perfect repeat. Predominant oak notes over mulberry, blackberry and a little smoke. Full bodied with upfront acidity, excellent flavor carry with tannins firming up on a finish that is just a little too hot. Score: 2, 2, 3.9, 9.6=17.5/20, 87/100. Tasted 1/21/2009.

So there you have it. The 2006 R Winery “First Class” Shiraz, a wine that stands out in company. In fact it really needs company. Don’t drink this alone!

From the Wine Bar
As usual the Wine Bar was replete with offering from all over the wine world. I tasted the wines in bold and all were excellent to outstanding and I’m going to talk about all six!

White: 2007 Alban Viognier, Central Coast, California, 2007 Mount Eden Chardonnay, Wolff Vineyard, California, 2006 Stag's Leap Chardonnay, "Karia", Napa, California, 2005 Puligny-Montrachet les Pucelles, Domaine Jomain, Burgundy, France, 2005 Chassagne-Montrachet le Cailleret, Vincent Girardin, Burgundy, France, 2004 Nittnaus Gruner Veltliner Eiswein, Austria.

Red: 2006 Soter Pinot Noir, North Valley, Oregon, 2006 Chambolle-Musigny AC, Roumier, Burgundy, France, 2003 Gattinara, Travaglini, Italy, 2005 Whitehall Lane Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa, California, 2005 Ch. Petit-Village, Pomerol, Bordeaux, France, 2005 Dona Paula Malbec, Seleccion de Bodega, Argentina.

White Burgundy
2005 Puligny-Montrachet Les Pucelles, Domaine Jomain, Burgundy, France. $55.99USD
Light straw with clear edge. Matchstick, a little beeswax and some citrus. Very typical. Very attractive with a light, crisp freshness that fans out carrying the flavors across the palate to a lengthy finish. The good stuff. Score: 2, 2, 4.2, 10.2=18.4/20, 92/100.

2005 Chassagne-Montrachet Le Cailleret, Vincent Girardin, Burgundy, France. $55.99USD
More of an oxidized note with apricot, cold tea and marmalade. Medium weight with a more luscious texture than the Puligny-Montrachet. Has excellent flavor carry, crisp acidity and great structure coupled with excellent length. A really nice wine. Score: 2, 2, 3.8, 10.3=18.1/20, 91/100.

The two appellations that are the origin of these two white Burgundy wines abut one another with Puligny-Montrachet being more northerly. Both lie in the Côte de Beaune. The Puligny-Montrachet wines are exclusively white and are described as more elegant, nervy wines than those of their southern neighbor. That is evident in the fatter style of the Girardin. Both the Les Pucelles and the Le Cailleret are Premier Cru vineyards and while they cost quite a few dollars they are much more refreshing to drink than many Napa Valley Chardonnays that cost almost as much. There will be a chance to make that comparison in March when Vintage Wines will do back-to-back Saturday tastings of White Burgundy and (California) Chardonnays in March.

Pinot Noir
2006 Soter Pinot Noir, North Valley, Oregon, USA. $31.99USD
Cherry red with pink edge. Aromas in the bramble/earthy spectrum over a mélange of strawberry and cherry. Its attractive, and even has varietal character. Light-medium in weight with expressive and yet delicate flavors on the palate and an excellent, supple mouthfeel. A nice little wine, still young, might grow into something you would want to spend some time with. Score: 2, 2, 3.9, 10.2=18.1/20, 90/100.

2006 Chambolle-Musigny AC, Roumier, Burgundy, France. $69.99USD
Light cherry red with pink edge. Subtle and seductive with violets, and geraniums, opening to licorice/anise. A little firmer and more aggressive on the palate than the Soter but all it needs it some time to soften. Has great length to the finish. Score: 2, 2, 4.1, 10.2=18.3/20, 92/100.

Chambolle-Musigny is one of the Cote-De-Nuits appellations and is devoted to red wine. It lies just south of Morey-St. Denis and is reputed to produce smooth, elegant wines. This commune level wine is not cheap but its quality is obvious. Still the Soter from Oregon stood up well against it. Like many New World pinot noir the Soter achieves its delicacy by being lighter in weight than wines from Burgundy which, in my experience, achieve elegance and depth while still being a solid mouthful of wine, at least when young.

Cabernet/Merlot Blends
2005 Whitehall Lane Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa, California, USA. $29.99USD
Deep dense cherry red with red/mahogany tinge to the edge. Slightly all over the place with banana peel, cassis, dusty oak and a little gluey note. Full bodied and very expressive with nice carry of flavors. An attractive, well balanced Cabernet although a little simple in style. Score: 2, 2, 3.7, 10.0=17.7/20, 88/100.

2005 Chateau Petit-Village, Pomerol, Bordeaux, France. $54.99USD
Deep dense cherry red with a red/mahogany tinge to the edge. More spicy notes, cinnamon dusty well integrated oak, and a bottom note of violets. A little lighter in weight that the Whitehall Lane but with better structure and carry of flavors onto the palate. Its also a more drink now style but it has decades ahead of it. Score: 2, 2, 3.9, 10.2=18.1/20, 91/100.

Chateau Petit-Village is an unclassified vineyard in the Pomerol region of Bordeaux; wines from the Pomerol region are not classified. Chateau Petit-Village comprises an 11 hectare vineyard made up of 75%Merlot, 17% Cabernet Sauvignon and 8% Cabernet Franc. In contrast the Whitehall Lane Cabernet, while also a blend, is 82% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Merlot, and 3% Malbec. So here is a comparison between a Cabernet dominant wine versus one made mostly with Merlot, and of course from different parts of the world. The Whitehall Lane is an entry level wine and their Reserve label might have provided a better comparison but it is possible to see the Cabernet in the wine with cassis and the weight of the wine. In contrast the Ch. Petit-Village is a little lighter and softer in the mouth with less evidence of Cabernet character, and is more drinkable now. And is worth twice the price of the Whitehall Lane as it is definitely a better wine and more likely to reward long term cellaring.

Image © Shane White