Past Masters (Aging High-end Austrian Grüner Veltliner)

Vinted on February 27, 2020 binned in elegant wines, kick-ass wines, on the road, overachiever wines, wine review

Danube 1

Good old Austria… a land with white wines as steely, reserved, and imposingly austere as the (often slightly oversized) architectural wonders that grace its cities and towns.

Let’s wrap up the coverage of my Austrian media jaunt (yes, from back in May 2019… screw you, punky, I’ve been busy!) with a look back in time at how those steely, reserved, and imposingly austere wines get a little bit less steely, reserved, and imposingly austere given some time of repose in the botltle.

Austria lion

Austrian white wine spirit animal

C’mon, don’t you want to know what happens to high-end examples of Austria’s signature Grüner Veltliner over time? Don’t you want to know if they’re worth the time, expense, and patience? Don’t you want to read several extremely similar tasting notes about a single grape variety?

Of course you do, you wine nerd!…

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Wine Reviews: Weekly Mini Round-Up For February 24, 2020

Vinted on February 24, 2020 binned in wine mini-reviews

I taste a bunch-o-wine (technical term for more than most people). So each week, I share some of my wine reviews (mostly from samples) and tasting notes in a “mini-review” format.
 
They are meant to be quirky, fun, and (mostly) easily-digestible reviews of (mostly) currently available wines (click here for the skinny on how to read them), and are presented links to help you find them, so that you can try them out for yourself. Cheers!

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Once More, with Precision (Château Lilian Ladouys Gets Serious)

Château Lilian Ladouys vintages

“I think… we’re now more precise.”

According to manager Vincent Bache-Gabrielsen, that’s the secret behind the revitalization of Saint-Estèphe’s Château Lilian Ladouys.

If Bache-Gabrielsen’s name feels familiar, it’s because he also manages Château Pédesclaux, the Pauillac property that the Lorenzetti family purchased just one year after picking up Lilian Ladouys, and which their team also revitalized. If you’re sensing a theme here, don’t congratulate yourself, because, bluntly stated, the theme is pretty friggin’ obvious. And – spoiler alert! – the results are basically the same: an ailing Bordeaux producer weaned off of life support, and now celebrated as doing the rarest of all Bordeaux wine tricks: over-delivering for its price point (you can find their main red for well under $40/bottle).

Backtracking for a bit of history: the Château Lilian Ladouys property dats back to the 1560s, and was revitalized once before in the late 1980s. Like skinny ties and jams shorts, that `80s endeavor was ill-fated, as Ladouys found few buyers for its at-the-time much-elevated prices. Periods of what Bache-Gabrielsen called “irregular quality” followed, until the Lorenzettis saw potential in Ladouys’ Saint-Estèphe terroir and decided to buy it, with the understanding that to turn things around “we have to work!”

While 2009 saw immediate improvements that Bache-Gabrielsen termed “interesting,” it wasn’t until the soils began to really improve in 2010 that the team felt that Ladouys was turning the corner. They’ve since been engaged in the selling an acquisition of various plots in the region, replanting to maximize proper rootstock usage, and favoring gravelly soils over limestone in an effort to significantly up the percentage of Cabernet Sauvignon in their blend. About 2/3 of their property has since been exchanged in some form or another, and as of 2018 they now have about 80 hectares of vineyards from which to draw, with half of it devoted to Cabernet Sauvignon (the rest being Merlot, Petit Verdot, and a tiny portion of Cabernet Franc), and 80% of it on gravelly soils.

“It’s really different from Pauillac,” Bache-Gabrielsen told me during a live video tasting, “the subsoil is the same, but you have more clay here, and the limestone is much deeper in Pauillac.” This suits their new house style, which is focused on taming extraction and emphasizing aging potential. “We tend to make epicurean wines,” he explained, ” approachable young but that cab age well. We try to balance the power of Saint-Estèphe with freshness….”

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Wine Reviews: Weekly Mini Round-Up For February 17, 2020

Vinted on February 17, 2020 binned in wine mini-reviews

I taste a bunch-o-wine (technical term for more than most people). So each week, I share some of my wine reviews (mostly from samples) and tasting notes in a “mini-review” format.
 
They are meant to be quirky, fun, and (mostly) easily-digestible reviews of (mostly) currently available wines (click here for the skinny on how to read them), and are presented links to help you find them, so that you can try them out for yourself. Cheers!

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