Wine Words & Video Tape

Wine, Words and Videotape

Fine Wine Review site

Léoville Poyferré: No longer last of the Léovilles

Written by JW. Posted in Bordeaux

If you need an insight into the level of determination and effort required to return an estate to the top league then you need to look no further than the contemporary renaissance at Chateau Léoville-Poyferré. Twenty-five years is the time frame Anne Cuvelier points to when she looks back at the efforts that her cousin Didier Cuvelier has put in here since he began managing the property in 1979. Since then there has been extensive work in the vineyards. Old rootstocks were torn out and replaced and the property, then just 48 hectares, brought up to the 80 hectares now under production. In the cellar there has been much investment too and Michel Rolland is now the estate’s consultant, though Poyferré also has its own in-house talent in the form of winemaker Isabelle Davin.

Chateau Cos d’Estournel: 2009 and all that

Written by JW. Posted in Bordeaux

 2009 Cos: loved and loathed

It’s tricky business assessing a young wine just five months after harvest. Of course a critic has to call the wine exactly as she or he sees it, anything else would be dishonest, but in judging wine that young there is always a margin of error. A big wine in a big year will always have the risk of feeling monolithic at the outset. Given the size of all the elements how could it be otherwise? Now maybe those critics who lambasted 2009 Chateau Cos d’Estournel this spring for being over-the-top did allow for that. Maybe not. Maybe it’s just a question of taste. Would they say the same thing if the wine was lined up for them now after a year in barrel I wonder? I think not.

The simple life at Chateau Pontet-Canet

Written by JW. Posted in Bordeaux

Alfred Tesseron of Chateau Pontet-Canet in Pauillac

I’m wondering if I shouldn’t have had a different agenda. I fear that you might suggest I should rechristen the site ‘wine, hagiography and videotape’ – that’s before you berate me for not posting any videotape yet either – those vast millions of you quietly visiting this site each day! Would I be better writing about the most under-performing estates in Bordeaux rather than the other way round? Say – ‘Five ways to squander great terrior’? That way I could try and answer the question why Chateau Rauzan-Gassies is not a patch on Chateau Rauzan-Ségla, for example. How about a list of the most over-extracted wines in St Emilion – wait a minute I haven’t the space….  How about ‘Slave to labels’ – crus classé to avoid at all costs? This all sounds rather fun, but I’m not yet finished with the hagiographies, though the following property I’m about to describe would have certainly made it onto a list of disappointing estates prior to its purchase by a family of cognac merchants in the mid-seventies.

Paul Pontallier: The enthusiast of Margaux

Written by JW. Posted in Bordeaux

 Paul Pontallier of Chateau Margaux

Paul Pontallier seems such an assured presence you just can’t imagine him losing his temper.  If something seriously went wrong, say someone racked Pavillon Blanc into a vat containing the Grand Vin at Chateau Margaux of course, I’m sure he’d go completely bonkers but in twenty-seven or so consecutive vintages at the helm here there can’t be a problem of one sort of another that Pontallier hasn’t encountered either in the vineyard or the cellar, or demonstrably surmounted, given the consistency of the wines at this property over the years.

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