What would your pick be for a festive wine for Easter?
Tim Triptree: An extra-long Easter weekend is the perfect reason for a celebration and Krug Champagne from the superlative 1990 vintage is the ideal way to start the festivities.
Krug is the only Champagne house to make exclusively Prestige Cuvées. Krug produces five Prestige Cuvées which each have their individual character. Unusually in Champagne, Krug ferments its base wines in small oak casks adding layers of depth and complexity to the wines prior to the second fermentation in bottle and extended maturation in the cellars which develops the brioche and toasty notes that Champagne is famous for.
Krug vintage wines are produced only in exceptional years and are consistently rated as some of the best Champagnes by critics. The 1990 will be drinking superbly now with evolved aromas of mocha and honey balancing perfectly the refreshing and vibrant citrus and redcurrant flavors.
Peter Chu: My special pick is the Château Raymond Lafon Sauternes 1986 (Lots 588 & 589). This wine was made by Pierre Meslier, who for a long time was the winemaker at Château d’Yquem, which is next door to Château Raymond Lafon. I met the Meslier family personally in the early 1990s and purchased these wines direct from the property.
Pierre tells me that he had to get special permission from the Count at d’Yquem to make his wines in the same strict manner as that of d’Yquem. 1986 is a superb vintage and this wine has matured well and will expound what a great aged Sauternes should be. Certainly a rare wine ripe for enjoyment during the Easter Festival.
Which other lots have caught your eye, and why?
Tim Triptree: I would bid on 6 magnums of Latour 1975 (Lot 21) as it’s my birth year and Latour is renowned for its longevity and particularly from magnums, which mature more slowly than from bottle this wine would be extraordinarily complex and rich and long-lived.
Located in Paulliac on the Left Bank of Bordeaux, Château Latour produces stunning wines from a Cabernet Sauvignon dominant blend with a small proportion of Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot.
The 1975 vintage will be fully mature and have the classic cedar, truffle and cigar-box perfume with cassis and mint flavors. The tannins that Latour is famous for in youth will have softened and rounded.
Which Burgundy would you recommend from the collection?
Tim Triptree: I would recommend the Jean Grivot Richebourg from the stunning 1999 vintage (Lot 195). The wine will be starting to develop the characteristic farmyard and spice aromatics of a mature red Burgundy.
Domaine Grivot has been run by Etienne Grivot since 1990. Etienne allows his wines to show their minerality, purity and elegance by adapting the winemaking to both the vineyard and vintage. Only indigenous yeast is used and normally, all but five per cent of the grapes are de-stemmed, as the small amount of stems makes is easier to extract tannin and colour through punch downs and pump-overs.
Etienne was a pioneer in cold soaking of Pinot Noir for gentle flavour extraction which takes place for between four to six-days. The wine is allowed to warm and ferments naturally under controlled temperatures. The fermentation maceration lasts on average 16 to 18 days.
The wine undergoes malolactic fermentation and 18 to 20 months of aging in oak barrels from the Allier, Vosge and Nevers forests. Depending, on the vintage, the proportion of new oak is around 40 to 70 per cent for the Grand Cru wines. The wines are usually racked twice during aging and then bottled without fining or filtration.
Are there any wines in the collection that have a particularly interesting story attached?
Peter Chu: Certainly the Château Raymond Lafon Sauternes as they are of superb vintages and of a style that is reminiscent of the great d’Yquems.
The 1995 Château Ballestard La Tonelle (Lots 569- 571) is a quintessential St. Emilion made by Jacques Capdemourlin before his retirement and is a wine with great character and structure. It’s nicely mature now.
I tasted 2010 Château Clerc Milon (Lots 514-521) and Château La Tour Carnet (Lots 562-566) personally at the en-primeur tasting in Bordeaux and these were my top rated wines for their sustained complexity and agility. These to my mind are great wines that truly represent the great 2010 vintage without the high premium that comes with hype of the vintage.
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