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FINE Event

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FINE Best

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FINE Maison

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FINE Port

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FINE Region

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FINE Vintage


FINE Contents PAGE 90

FINE Documentary

9 Fineeditorial

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FINE Sherry

FINE Adventure

12 FineEvent

FINE India Fifth Anniversary

24 FineAVELLAN

Launch of Clos Lanson 2006

26 FineBest

The Best Champagne 2000-2009

36 Finereview

Champagne: A History of Bubbles

38 FineMaison

Champagnes with Terroir

46 FineGargett

Fine Cigars and Drinks

48 FinePort

Ports from the First Growth

62 FineRegion

Burgundy of Australia

72 FineVintage

2015 Bordeaux en primeur

90 FineDocumentary Red Obsession 98 FineSherry PAGE 106

Equipo Navazos

FINE Lifestyle 106 FineLifestyle

R as in Jaguar

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WRITERS Rajiv Singhal Rajiv Singhal is an entrepreneur who pioneered activities in the luxury sector in India. He studied

FINE WINE & CHAMPAGNE INDIA Volume 6 Issue 2 Q2 2016 Editor Rajiv Singhal

Economics at Yale, and since then has been simplifying access to the Indian market for international clients. Among other path breaking initiatives, he helped set up the market for wine in India over the last 20 years. Appointed Chevalier de l’Ordre National du Merite by the President of France, Mr. Singhal is also the Ambassador of Champagne to India and loves to challenge himself. Pekka Nuikki

Publisher Rajiv Singhal for Fine Publishing India Private Limited

Pekka Nuikki is an author and one of the leading experts on fine wines in Europe. He has published

Director of Editorial Pekka Nuikki

has exhibited his artwork all over the world and has worked as creative director of an advertising

Chief Executive Ritu Singhal Wine Manager Radhika Puar

over twenty acclaimed international wine and art books. He is an award winning photographer, who agency group. Mr. Nuikki is also the luckiest man in the world, having hit seven holes-in-one. Juha Lihtonen Juha Lihtonen is the manyfold Finnish sommelier champion. He was the best sommelier in the Nordic countries in 2003. Mr. Lihtonen has worked as a wine educator, a wine host on a radio programme, as well as the wine buyer of a major cruise line. Besides his day jobs, Mr. Lihtonen studies for the Master

Art & Creative Sandeep Kaul

of Wine qualification.

Administration Rashi Joshi

Essi Avellan MW

Distribution Vinita Vaid

awarded the Lily Bollinger Medal as the best taster and the Tim Derouet Memorial Award as the best

Cover Photograph Pekka Nuikki

Essi Avellan is the first Master of Wine from Finland, second ever from the Nordic countries. She was overall student in the Master of Wine examination. Ms. Avellan judges at several wine competitions and has been awarded the title of Dame Chevalier of the Ordre des Coteaux de Champagne. Ritu Singhal

Editorial & Business Offices 6F Vandhna, 11 Tolstoy Marg, New Delhi 110001 E: contact@fine-magazines.in W: www.fine-magazines.in Subscriber Information T: +91 11 23359874-75 RNI no. DELENG/2010/35861 ISSN 2231-5098

Ritu Singhal is co-founder of New Delhi based Group Ritu, which has diverse interests in private equity, marketing, consulting and publishing. She trained as a textile designer at Sophia Polytechnic in Bombay, and experiments with new techniques on new media. As voluntary work, she set up an annual craft bazaar to empower women artisans. When not doting on her two teenagers, Mrs. Singhal is up for any gastronomic adventure. Ken Gargett Ken Gargett was raised in a family that did not drink, but when he read law at university in his home town of Brisbane, Australia and London, UK, he became obsessed with wine and moved to full time

Edited, Printed and Published by Rajiv Singhal on behalf of Fine Publishing India Private Limited. Published from 6F Vandhna, 11 Tolstoy Marg, New Delhi 110001 India. Printed at Aegean Offset Printers, 220-B, Udyog Kendra Extension I,

wine writing nearly twenty years ago. Mr. Gargett won the Vin de Champagne Award, received the Len Evans Scholarship and is a Chevalier of the Ordre des Coteaux de Champagne.

Greater Noida, Uttar Pradesh 201306 India.

All rights reserved. No part of this publication maybe reproduced, stored in any retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means without the prior written consent of the publisher. The opinions of the contributors or interviewees presented in this magazine do not necessarily correspond to nor reflect the opinions of the publisher or the editorial team. While the editorial team do their utmost to verify information published they do not accept responsibility for its absolute accuracy. Fine Publishing does not keep nor return illustrations or other materials that have been sent in unsolicited, and hold the right to make any modifications in texts and pictures published in FINE Wine & Champagne India magazine. We reserve the right to refuse or suspend advertisements.

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Andrew Caillard MW Andrew Caillard MW was awarded the Lily Bollinger Medal as the best taster in the Master of Wine examination. He founded Langton’s as a wine auction house and the very prestigious Langton’s Classification of Australian Wine. A wine marketing graduate of Roseworthy Agricultural College, Mr. Caillard won the Australian Wine Communicator of the Year Award in recognition of his work as an author, writer and influencer.


FINE Editorial

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Fine Adventures

n the two decades that I have been simplifying access to the Indian market for international clients, a horde of acquaintances in the diplomatic corps have blossomed into lasting friendships! Traditionally, summer is time to bid farewell to these “wanderers” with whom we

have cherished moments and clinked special glasses on occasions such as our FINE Anniversary. Celebrating the very successful five years of FINE Wine & Champagne India, the very unique FINE Ambassadors’ & High Commissioners’ Table has gathered a devoted following in the Indian capital. To celebrate the successful celebration, I accepted an invitation to wine country in Portugal – the home of superstar footballer Cristiano Ronaldo and sea-faring adventurers. The history of winemaking on this part of the Iberian Peninsula can be traced back to the bronze age. A heritage of more than 250 indigenous grape varieties – including the iconic Touriga Nacional – has been safeguarded through time. Portuguese wine-makers have mastered the art of blending to highlight the character of their rapidly evolving wines that are rapidly gaining currency in the world of wine. Portugal’s accession to the European Union in 1986 allowed the country to re-build its wine industry and in turn the reputation of its wine. The frenetic pace of investments from Europe in general infrastructure acted as the catalyst for a network of highways that criss-cross the entire landmass of about 500km by 150km of the country – the density of highways in Portugal is almost double the European average – and have made the far-flung and remote wine regions extremely accessible. 25 years ago, an emergency airlift of India’s sovereign gold reserves triggered-off structural reforms that set the agenda for liberalisation in India. The charge was led by Indians who had cut their teeth at renowned and esteemed institutions of learning around the world. This summer, as I walked the haloed corridors of London’s finest boarding school, I paused to wonder if the doors to these majestic edifices would shut on the next generation of overseas “changemonger” pupils in the wake of tighter immigration standards that are likely to be enforced as a consequence of the United Kingdom’s shock “leave” vote. May saner sense prevail.

Rajiv Singhal FINE

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Aston Martin Lagonda Limited, Banbury Road, Gaydon, Warwickshire, CV35 0DB, England, Registered in England Number 01199255.

Official government fuel consumption figures in litres/100km (mpg) for the Aston Martin DB11: urban 16.6 (17); extra urban 8.5 (33.2); combined 11.4 (24.8). CO2 emissions 265 g/km. The mpg/fuel economy figures quoted are sourced from official regulated test results obtained through laboratory testing. They are for comparability purposes only and may not reflect your real driving experience, which may vary depending on factors including road conditions, weather, vehicle load and driving style.

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The FINE Ambassadors' and High Commissioners' Table Our Fifth Anniversary Dinner

Text: Ritu Singhal Photographs: SHIVAM BHATI

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F

ive years! Yes, that is how long it has been since the FINE

Wine & Champagne India magazine began to pave the path to change the landscape of fine wine in India – a very challenging task in very challenging conditions. The milestone fifth FINE

Anniversary was celebrated just as it has been in the past – the “FINE Ambassadors’ and High Commissioners’ Table” was hosted at the grand

Residence of Finland in New Delhi. H.E. Aapo and his wife, Inkeri Siekkinen, have been very gracious hosts – they plan everything to the minutest detail. This year, they brought the very talented Peruvian chef, Enrico Tosso, to take charge in the kitchen. Chef Enrico, very painstakingly, created the seven-course menu over several iterations that were moderated by our wine team (Arjun Sachar and Vipul Thakur, who also took care of all the bottles and their varying individual service requirements) to pair the trophy wines that were equally painstakingly selected by the participating Heads of Mission.

Commissioner Grahame Morton told us that his grandmother bought land in the region, because it had very good grass for the sheep! Wine appeared only in the last four decades, as the area offered ingredients to make good wine – consistency, climatic stability, etc. Grahame described the wine as a “paddle and fist” kind of wine!

In its fifth year, the “FINE Ambassadors’ and High Commissioners’ Table” showcased wine from Australia, Austria, Canada, Champagne, France, Germany, Hungary, Japan, New Zealand, Poland, Portugal, and Spain – a perfect dozen! A group of friends of wine and friends of FINE were privy to the pleasure of partaking in this feast.

Order was rung. As FINE Chief Executive, I welcomed our guests. It was a trip down memory lane. It has been fascinating to see FINE grow over the years, inspite of the regulatory obstacles that bumped our ride. “The FINE Anniversary is a testimonial of the support that we’ve been fortunate to receive – 12 Ambassadors and High Commissioners are amongst us this evening. FINE is truly appreciative that six presenters – Australia, Austria, Champagne, France, Portugal, and Spain – have made it to the FINE Table five-years-in-a-row.”

Our guests trickled in at the invited hour, and they were welcomed by the much needed and very refreshing Palliser Estate Martinborough Sauvignon Blanc 2013 from New Zealand. High

We sat down to our designated places. Two glasses of white wine stood tall in the strikingly simple settings – their identifier tags showed flags of Japan and Poland. FINE Publisher and Editor,

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2013 from Austria. Ambassador of Austria, Bernhard Wrabetz, shared the classic Austrian white varietal – Gruner Veltliner – from the region of Weinviertel where the vines have been growing for almost 400 years. Ambassador of Germany, Dr. Martin Ney, ignored the ubiquitous Riesling in favour of the very old and historical Silvaner varietal. The Juliusspital Würzburger Stein Silvaner Trocken 2014 comes from a vineyard along the Rhine in Wurzburg dating back to 1576. Dr. Ney fondly recalled that he had been pouring this wine since a long time (in Tokyo, Bangkok, New York and now New Delhi). He highlighted that the wine was bottled in a squat, green flagon – the "Bocksbeutel" – the bag that held the monks’ most precious books. The balanced acidity of this drink-young and somewhat dry wine paired well with the Seared Scallops (Zucchini Carpaccio for the vegetarians) with Passion Fruit.

Rajiv Singhal could not mask his excitement as he spoke, “No, we have not relaxed the participation criteria. These are rare wines and it is perhaps the first time that they are being presented in India. A very special effort was made to bring in these special not-tastedbefore treats.” Asia was represented at the FINE Table for the first time by Grace Cuvee Misawa Akeno Koshu 2014 from Japan. Madame Patricia Hiramatsu, the Japanese Ambassador’s wife, said “Wine is very close to my heart. In Japan, some producers have revived the tradition of wine by replanting the indigenous Koshu vitis vinifera (that was found along the silk route) higher in the hills.” She described the wine as very light in colour, with a well balanced acidity and nice freshness that gave it rounded elegance. Ambassador of Poland, Tomasz Łukaszuk, presented the Jaworek Cha-re XIII 2013 from Poland. “It is believed that the Polish drink vodka. Yes, but only in the last 200 years. Before that, we were drinking our traditional honey mead. Businessmen like the owner couple of Jaworek decided to rebuild their heritage, which come from the middle ages.” The wine from Poland was powerful and it contrasted the subtle and elegant Japanese wine. A very artistically plated Caramelised Fig and Goat Cheese Salad with Poached Beetroots was served to complement the very fresh and crispy Hofbauer Heiliger Stein Grüner Veltliner

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Rajiv rose to raise a toast to FINE, this time as Ambassador of Champagne, with the quintessential celebration drink – Champagne! As we enjoyed Champagne Drappier Carte d’Or Brut NV, Rajiv took us through the lesser-known region of Aube where the Drappier family has made Champagne since 1803. 7th generation, Michel, follows a holistic approach to make wine – his wines are organic, natural and sulphur-free. Canada, too, steered clear of the national icon. For Deputy High Commissioner Jess Dutton, it was Tawse Laundry Cabernet Franc 2011 from the Niagara Peninsula (the largest wine growing region in Canada that started to grow vines around 5 decades ago). Jess eloquently described the wine, “It has a nose of raspberry and blackberry, notes of black cherry, ripe plum, white pepper on the palate, supported by generous yet firm tannins and a lingering


FINE Event

finish”. Having just added to the tally of about 1 billion glasses of Canadian wine served annually, he hoped more Indians would drink more as he read a public service announcement, “Canada’s cool climate creates grapes naturally higher in ‘Resveratrol’, an anti-oxidant in grape skins that reduces fat and cholesterol in blood and protects against heart attacks. Drink Canadian wine – it’s good for your health!” This wine was served with the Strawberries Balsamic Risotto (Duck Magret with Spicy Ginger Strawberries for the nonvegetarians), a stunning and inspired plate. Chargé d’Affaires of the Embassy of France, Christian Testot, presented the other wine on this flight. Chateau Martin Le Haut St Estephe 2013 is from Medoc Superior – a Bordeaux blend that shows voluptuous fruit with well-balanced tannins and a mouth-filling flavour. A flight of three reds played out the plat principal – Grilled Lamb Rack with Edamame and Wasabi Mash (Brie Croquettes with Edamame and Wasabi Mash for the vegetarians). Australia selected a not-terribly-exotic classic new world available on the Indian market – Old Bush Vine Grenache 2014 from Yalumba, one of the oldest family-owned wineries based in the Barossa Valley since 1849. Australian High Commissioner Harinder Sidhu clarified, “What do we mean by old? At the time that Europe was growing wine, for unfathomable reasons, Australian Aborigines were not doing so. The origins of Australian wine lie in the early part of the 19th century. But, today Australia is the one of the largest exporters, including to India.” Spain also went for a wine that was available on the Indian market – the Gran Coronas Reserve 2010 from the family-owned Torres was

Chef Enrico Tosso

offered by the Spanish Embassy’s First Secretary, Emilio Contreras Benitez. “The name translates to Great Crown. To impersonate a seasoned wine aficionado, this wine has a deep cherry colour with a purplish rim, scent of cranberries and tobacco, with notes of spices.” Ambassador of Portugal, Joao da Camara, carried the Esporão Red Reserve 2013 from Lisbon to Luanda to New Delhi and was relieved that the wine lived to tell the tale. Joao revealed that he knew the farm in Alentejo on which the wine was produced, since he was a child – a farm founded in 1286 that stayed under the same family and stayed in the same limits for more than 700 years, till it was sold to a reputed and innovative wine making company. The wine showed a very dark deep red colour, had toasty notes, was fullbodied with well-structured tannins and was drinking well, but it showed even better ageing potential. Chef Enrico had saved his best for last – the Chocolate Sphere Tiramisu and Textured Alphonso was the pièce de résistance. Ambassador of Hungary, Gyula Pethő, had patiently waited his turn to show off the Erzsébet Pince Tokaji Aszú 6 Puttonyos 2010. Gyula took us back in history, “Wines from the region of Tokaj in east Hungary were first mentioned in 1551 by Pope Julius III as the wine that belonged to the table of gods. And the European Royalty loved it as did the Aristocrats”. We savoured the “wine of kings and the king of wines” as a fitting finale to the splendid evening that show-cased the diversity of the world of wine. We thanked our hosts and vowed to return to the Finnish Residence as soon its makeover was complete – till then, the FINE tradition would be domiciled at a new location.

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The FineAmbassadors and High Commissioners

The Hosts

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Australia

Austria

Harinder Sidhu

Joana & Bernhard Wrabetz


FINE Event Canada

France

Nadir Patel & Jennifer Graham

Christian Testot

Germany

Hungary

Gabriele & Martin Ney

Annamaria Somogyi & Gyula Pethő

Japan

New Zealand

Patricia & Kenji Hiramatsu

Carol & Grahame Morton

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Poland

Portugal

Maria & Tomasz Ĺ ukaszuk

JoĂŁo da Camara

Spain

Canada

Emilio Contreras Benitez

Jess Dutton

Australia

Japan

Nicola Watkinson

Tomoyuki Kuwaharada


FINE Event

Fine India Fifth Anniversary Tasting Notes Palliser Estate Martinborough Sauvignon Blanc 2013 Region: Martinborough, New Zealand Varietal: Sauvignon Blanc Appearance: Pale lemon yellow colour Nose: Lemon zest, passion fruit, bell peppers Taste: Pretty dry, grassy, fleshy citrus, hint of pineapple, very lively Finish: Medium When to drink: Now Inside Information: Sauvignon Blanc has been the staple of New Zealand’s wine industry, in the last forty years. Martinborough is over the hill from Wellington and the Sauvignon Blanc here leans towards dry as opposed to the herbaceous nature of its Marlborough cousins. Traditionally, this is an area where stones and sheep co-existed but since the 1980s makes very good and consistent wines. The lees ageing in the wine adds to the existing richness. In a nutshell: Lazy afternoon cooler

Grace Cuvée Misawa Akeno Koshu 2014 Region: Akeno, Japan Varietal: Koshu Appearance: Very light lemon with green hues Nose: Citrus, hint of ripe peach Taste: Nice acidity, fresh red apple, white stone fruit Finish: Pleasant and minerally When to drink: Now Inside Information: Grace was established in 1923. The indigenous grape, Koshu, is grown on the estates vineyards up in the hills of Akeno-cho to benefit from drier climate and more sunshine. The 4th generation, Shigekazu Misawa, and his daughter who studied in Bordeaux, give special attention to the Koshu – hence their name on the label. In a nutshell: Japanese elegance and subtlety

Jaworek Cha-re XIII 2013 Region: South Poland Varietal: Chardonnay & Auxerrois Appearance: Straw yellow Nose: Lime, grapefruit, fleshy peach Taste: Stone fruits, hint of banana and white pepper Finish: Powerful minerality and nice acidity When to drink: Now Inside Information: Winnica Jaworek is registered as one of the 6 functional wineries in Poland. The Auxerrois grape is known from Alsace. The blend with Chardonnay is unique, and shows the winery’s expertise. 2013 was a good year, and the charming owner couple called it Cha-re because they were grateful that the very rainy year ended and the sun came out. The wine was awarded the Best Polish Wine in 2014. In a nutshell: A surprise package with excellent wine-making

Hofbauer Heiliger Stein Grüner Veltliner 2013 Region: Weinviertel, Austria Varietal: Grüner Veltliner Appearance: Lemon yellow Nose: White flowers, sweet lime & red apples Taste: Mandarins, nectarines with white peppery spice Finish: Lovely lingering freshness When to drink: Now Inside Information: Grüner Veltliner is the classic white grape of Austria – its flagship – even if its origins are not confirmed. The winery follows parcelised vinification – Heiliger Stein is the name of the vineyard, which dates back almost 400 years. In a nutshell: Enjoyable and refreshing

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Drappier Carte d'Or Brut Juliusspital Würzburger Stein Silvaner Trocken 2014 Region: Franken, Germany Varietal: Silvaner Appearance: Bright lemon yellow Nose: Cut grass, mix of tropical fruits Taste: Somewhat dry, ripe oranges, banana, minerally, velvety Finish: Lingering with lively acidity When to drink: Now Inside Information: The 450 year old vineyard was founded by Prince Bishop Julius Echter of Würzburger, to fund the university and hospital (wine was a money making institution back then). The south facing vineyard has steep slopes and the soil structure creates an excellent capacity for storing heat. The wine is bottled in Bocksbeutel – the traditional flask shape green flagons. In a nutshell: German precision and robustness

Tawse Laundry Cabernet Franc 2011 Region: Ontario, Canada Varietal: Cabernet Franc Appearance: Ruby red Nose: Raspberries, vanilla Taste: Red fruit compote, hint of black cherries, generous smooth tannins Finish: Lingering finish with slightly bitter aftertaste When to drink: Now - 2017 Inside Information: The grapes in this wine are sourced from the sustainably-farmed Laundry vineyard on the northern shore of Lake Ontario. The wine is produced under appellation VQA Lincoln Lakeshore. The winery is award winning, and uses some of the oldest known vines (that date back to the 1970s) in Canada. In a nutshell: Fruit forward and racy

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Region: Aube, France Varietal: Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier and Chardonnay Appearance: Light, straw-yellow Nose: Fresh, citrus, biscuity, yeasty, green apple Taste: Dry, crisp, balanced acidity, medium-bodied, apricots Finish: Medium-long, mineral, robust When to drink: Now - 2019 Inside Information: Not far from the Colombey-les-deux-Églises retreat of the French statesman Charles de Gaulle, Urville is the home of Drappier. Here, eight generations of the family have worked the Pinot Noir on their 55 hectare estate – they believe that the grape “runs through their veins”. Drappier continues to cultivate the “other” forgotten grapes in Champagne and every single bottle of champagne (upto the 30 litre Melchizedik) is made without transfer. In a nutshell: Marlboro man of Champagne

Château Martin Le Haut St-Estèphe 2013 Region: Bordeaux, France Varietal: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petite Verdot Appearance: Deep red with watery rim Nose: Dark berries, violet, touch of spice and wood Taste: Stewed red berries, blackberry, hint of cinnamon Finish: Short but smooth When to drink: Now - 2018 Inside Information: Located in the heart of the Médoc Superior, the 16 hectare estate is currently owned by Jean-Marc Martin. The wines reflect the diversity of the region and show the authenticity of a family inheritance over three generations. In a nutshell: Easy drinking and approachable


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Torres Gran Coronas Reserve 2010 Yalumba Old Bush Vine Grenache 2014 Region: Barossa, South Australia Varietal: Grenache Appearance: Light ruby with inky hues Nose: Strawberries, red cherries and hint of pepper Taste: Ripe red fruit burst, hint of spice, smooth tannins Finish: Medium with pleasantly refreshing acidity When to drink: Now - 2019 Inside Information: Yalumba in Australian Aborigine means “all the land around the land”. 1849, the family located in the Barossa and today Yalumba is the oldest family owned estate in Australia. The wine is from the Samuels Garden Collection, which celebrates lineage to first vineyard planted by him back in 1849. 2014 vintage was good as proper ripeness was achieved without compromising acidity. In a nutshell: Lineage in red

Esporão Red Reserve 2013 Region: Alentejo, Portugal Varietal: Aragonês, Trincadeira, Cabernet Sauvignon, Alicante Bouschet Appearance: Deep ruby red Nose: Strawberry compote, dark cherries, smoky Taste: Full bodied, ripe red berries, blackberries, baking spices, vanilla, grainy tannins Finish: Long, dry with strong alcohol When to drink: Now - 2032 Inside Information: The region is very dry and very rough, with big plains and poor soils. All grapes are sourced from the 2000 hectare estate, which is on track to becoming 100% organic by 2020. Each grape is separately vinified and aged in new and used French and American oak before being artfully blended. In a nutshell: An exemplar of Portuguese master-blending

Region: Penedes, Spain Varietal: Cabernet Sauvignon and Tempranillo Appearance: Deep ruby red Nose: Strawberry, blackberry, hint of clove Taste: Black cherry, brambly fruit, bit of leather, grippy yet structured tannins Finish: Long and persistent with spicy nuances When to drink: Now - 2022 Inside Information: In the 19th century, many Spaniards went to the Americas in search of their fortune. A young entrepreneur returned to Spain from the beautiful island of Cuba to realise his dreams to tend his region of Penedes in Catalonia into a reference in the wine world. Success followed, and successive generations of the family have worked with many grape varietals, including some historically lost varietals. Torres retains its family-owned status. In a nutshell: Layered complexity

Erzsébet Pince Tokaji Aszú 6 Puttonyos 2010 Region: Tokaj, Hungary Varietal: Furmit Appearance: Bright gold Nose: Orange marmalade, honey, touch of cinnamon Taste: Candied peaches, butterscotch, ripe mangoes, a bit spicy Finish: Long with beautifully sweetness-acidity balance When to drink: Now - 2026 Inside Information: Erzsébet’s cellars date back to 1743 when they were occupied to provide the Russian court with Tokaj wines. The classification of Tokaji vineyards into first, second and third class goes back to Matyas Bel in the 1720s. Aszú is the noble rot affected berries. Puttonyos denotes the level of residual sugar. In a nutshell: Dessert without cloying sweetness

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COLUMN

ESSI AVELLAN MW

Launch of Clos Lanson 2006 V

ineyards have had to give way to the expanding city of Reims. But two clos, walled vineyards, still exist within the city boundaries. Pommery’s vast, 25 hectare Les Clos Pompadour guards the Notre Dame cathedral from Butte SaintNicaise whereas the 1 hectare Clos Lanson sits on the hill of Courlancy next to the winery, viewing the cathedral from almost the opposing angle.

While Pommery released its eponymous single-vineyard champagne in 2011, Lanson revealed its new cuvée this summer. March 22nd marks the 10th anniversary of Boizel Chanoine Champagne acquiring Lanson. One of the first remarks from the new owners was Philippe Baijot wondering why a special wine was not made from this unique plot. Not needing further persuasion, cellar master Jean-Paul Gandon went on with creating one already the same year. The plot itself is remarkable with 30 meters of dry, highly friable chalk beneath, covered with 15 to 20 centimetres of topsoil. The walls and location in the city raise the temperature by some two degrees, allowing production of ripe, generous Chardonnay. Lanson records note the plot being planted since the 18th century but the vines that are growing today date back to 1962 and 1986 massal selections from Avize. Wine from Clos Lanson, that used to make its way to the Gold

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Label, has a special place in the hearts of Lanson employees, as the harvest is done entirely by them, every year. In addition to the bond it gives, there are also other benefits such as full attention to selection. On more challenging vintages such as 2010, the staff were given instructions of super selective picking. After all, the idea is to recreate cuvée Clos Lanson every vintage, as makes sense for a single-vineyard champagne. In the winemaking, they added a new dimension to the usual Lanson recipe – oak barrels. “The aim is to increase Clos Lanson’s expression with the use of oak, not really to bring an oaky character to it”, explains Hervé Dantan, cellar master at Lanson since 2015. The minimum 3-year-old oak comes from both Burgundy and Argonne, the local Champagne forest. “Because of the oak quality but also because the Lanson family are originally from Argonne”, Dantan reasons. As for other Lanson premium cuvées, the malolactic fermentation is blocked, which contributes to the wine’s bright, expressive fruitiness and ageing capacity. The wine has indeed been a slow developer in the cellar. Originally it was intended for launch in 2014, but finally the wine appeared ready this spring. Having tasted the wine one year ago, there has been tremendous evolution since, build-up of richness, complexity and character. The 2006 was disgorged in December 2014 and Dantan promises one disgorgement per vintage and a


F I N E Av e l l a n

minimum of 12 months’ ageing post-disgorgement. A balanced dosage was found at 3 g/l. Judging a wine based on its first vintage is never easy, but Hervé Dantan smartly gave me to all the vintages laying down in the cellar to taste. To make sure I got the full picture of this organically tended (but not certified) vineyard, I was given a jar of honey from Clos Lanson (another first harvest!). How about the wine then? Worth the wait, definitely! As Hervé Dantan aptly describes it: “it is a generous chardonnay with a lot of flavour. But there is a return to the chalk at the end, enhancing its finesse”. Furthermore, the launch is timed perfectly to aid Lanson and its new owners and fresh cellar master to polish the brand and bring forward a more vinous side of Lanson. Clos Lanson 2006 will retail at about 195 euros. >

TASTING

2015 base wine from barrel ++++


2009 ++++


Rich, ample Burgundian character with high-quality oak speaking and heaps of tropical fruit. Round, concentrated and oily-textured but finishing with welcome freshness and salty-mineral bite. Speaks loudly of the Clos character.

The 2009 feels complete and ready to go in its openness, fullness and inviting character. Soft and creamy but supported by a fine acid line.

2014 +++


A vibrant and energetic, leaner and tighter vintage with oak starting to marry well. All about freshness and purity.

2013 ++


In a highly restrained state, not expressing much. Tight and zesty with natural freshness and smoky-toasty characters.

2012 ++++


All pieces in place with this one, ampleness and freshness in beautiful harmony. The texture has velvety smoothness and mineral salinity. This will develop into a superb Clos Lanson.

2011 ++


This was a small harvest for Clos Lanson and clearly one of the most modest wines, positively elegant structure but a touch of the vegetal notes common to the year.

2010 ++


This has so far been the smallest production of Clos Lanson – 5,000 bottles. Creamy, weighty palate but misses the finesse and freshness of the minerality characters.

2008 +++++


This has layers and layers of complexity and fine, elegant depth. Lovely nervosity and mineral salinity. A stunning Clos Lanson.

2007 +++


A more charred expression, coffee and cream. There is caressing texture and easiness to it. Not one of finest years but an open and welcoming one.

Clos Lanson 2006 93 p (95 p.)
 Rich golden colour. Highly expressive nose with tropical fruit, smoky layers sweet brioche and spicy vanilla aromas and finely integrated note of high-quality oak. Voluptuous, round, fleshy palate that is mouth-filling at first until the fine, zesty acidity kicks in and lifts the palate. The finish is minerality driven, fresh and succulent, emphasizing fruit purity. Great intensity and length. (2014–2007 bottles disgorged one hour before tasting)

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the

FINE Best

WINE of

DECADE Tasting

THE

BEST CHAMPAGNE 2000-2009 Text: Essi Avellan MW, Juha Lihtonen Illustration: Minna Liukkonen

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n April, the warm and sunny Spring day attracts most of the people outside in Reims. However, there is a group of people, who wait anxiously to get inside the conference room of Hotel de la Paix in Reims. This group of wine professionals and enthusiasts have gathered in the hotel lobby for a

special champagne tasting. One hundred best champagnes from the last decade are waiting to be assessed and ranked in the first WINE of the DECADE tasting ever organized for champagnes. By the end of the day one of these great champagnes will be crowned as the Champagne of the Decade.

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WINE of

the

DECADE Tasting

W

INE of the DECADE tastings were created by the editorial team of FINE Magazines with a purpose to find the best wines by region from every decade. The first time this concept was launched was in Australia in 2013. Since then, it has been conducted in various places around the world in collaboration with the trusted professionals from the world’s largest wine information source, Tastingbook.com. In 2016, WINE of the DECADE was launched with champagnes from two different decade tastings. The first one took place in Reims in April from the first decade of the Millennium tasting. The second will be held in Helsinki in August from the last decade of the 20th century tasting. The tastings were initialized by FINE magazines’ and Tastingbook. com’s trusted professionals. The champagnes were qualified to the finals according to their most recent success in these professionals’ assessments and scores from various tastings during 2015–2016. All champagnes in the WINE of the DECADE tasting are tasted blind. The scores are given to wines according to pleasure that they deliver today. The balance in taste, vibrancy on palate and subtlety in expression are key factors in this assessment. The competition was very interesting as it included all vintage champagnes that had won the Best Champagne of the Year title in the past – Piper-Heidsieck Rare 2002 (winner in 2011), Taittinger Comtes de

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Champagne 2000 (winner in 2012), Charles Heidsieck Millésimé 2000 (winner in 2013), Louis Roederer Cristal Rosé 2002 (winner in 2014) and Dom Ruinart Rosé 2002 (winner in 2015).

Results

The tasting was as exciting as the group in Hotel de la Paix had expected. The quality of the champagnes was impressive. The average scores of the top 50 champagnes hit as high as 93,59. The competition was extremely tight. The champagnes from number 1 to number 8 were within one point range and all champagnes were within a three point margin. The former winners of the Best Champagnes of the Year succeeded well in the ranking, but only two of them were found from the TOP 10 list. The glorious Piper-Heidsieck Rare 2002 (95.25 points) was crowned as the Champagne of the Decade whilst Louis Roederer Cristal Rosé 2002 (95.04 points) took the third position. Both were challenged by Krug’s single vineyard blanc de blancs – Clos du Mesnils. The vintage 2000 (95.10 points) was just behind Rare 2002 in second place and Clos du Mesnil 2002 (95.02 points) just behind Cristal Rosé 2002 in fourth place. It is noticeable that Krug, which is known for its slowly maturing, complex and aristocratic champagnes, succeeded in the tasting with its less complex 100-percent chardonnay champagnes, which reaches their drinking optimum earlier than other vintage champagnes by Krug.


FINE Best

THE BEST CHAMPAGNE 2000-2009 If the champagne was awarded for its consistency throughout the decade with the vintages, Dom Pérignon is the winner. There are more Dom Pérignon vintages included in the top twenty list than any other champagnes. If the scope is expanded to thirty of the best champagnes, then Cristal stands next to Dom Pérignon.

The vintages in scope

When it comes to best vintages of the decade, it is no surprise that 2002 dominates the top ten list. This vintage is not embraced as the vintage of the decade for nothing. It yielded the champagnes with great energy, crisp acidity and intense minerality. This implies to all 2002 champagnes on the WINE of the DECADE ranking. However, many of the 2002 champagnes are still partly closed and they will continue to grow and show their true potential in the next six to ten years. The second best vintage 2000 showed well in the tasting. Actually if the top fifty list’s average scores are compared between the 2000 (93.98 points) and 2002 (98.85 points) champagnes, the 2000 was a fraction better than 2002 with the difference of 0.12 points. It is the pleasant roundness and richness in vintage 2000 champagnes that charms a champagne lover. When these qualities are combined with the firm champagne style of Krug’s, the result is astonishingly delicious. This is the reason why Krug Clos du Mesnil 2000 succeeded in the ranking to second position and was ahead of 2002, which will presumably beat the 2000 in future when it evolves.

In terms of vintage preferences, the vintages of 2002 and 2000 are followed by well-respected vintages 2004 and 2006. They are considered commonly as Champagne’s best vintages of the decade after the 2002 and 2000. The tasting result supports this belief. The champagnes from both vintages – 2004 and 2006 – did well in the tasting. The champagnes from 2004 show more extrovert than the ones from 2006 at this stage. This is the reason for dominance of 2004 champagnes to 2006 champagnes in the top thirty champagnes. While 2002, 2000, 2004 and 2006 vintages dominated the top fifty list, it is worth noticing that the champagnes from difficult vintages of 2003 and 2005 made their way on top fifty ranking as well. Dom Pérignon Rosé 2005 was respectfully ranked as the tenth position. These vintages yielded heavier style of champagnes and especially the rosés shares a touch of red Burgundy soul in them. The 2005 champagnes are firmer and more vivid in style compared to 2003 champagnes. Both vintages offer great champagnes to be combined with food.

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CHAMPAGNE of the

DECADE

PIPER-HEIDSIECK RARE 2002 Piper-Heidsieck Rare 2002 is a gem of Champagne. This fine and rare champagne was ranked as the Best Champagne of the Year in 2011 by FINE Champagne Magazine. Now, five years later it takes the glory of being ranked as the Champagne of the Decade 2000s. This lesser known fine and rare champagne has a unique and fascinating story. Piper-Heidsieck is known as a highly communicative, marketing-oriented champagne that caters to the tastes of the Hollywood elite. Its most renowned champion, Marilyn Monroe, famously claimed to start all her mornings with Piper. Champagne designs from acclaimed artists have always been a part of the Piper selection. The legendary goldsmith Carl Fabergé designed a bottle decorated with diamonds, gold and lapis lazuli to celebrate the house’s 100th anniversary as far back as 1885. Since then, Piper bottles have been clad for instance Van Cleef & Arpels, Jean-Paul Gaultier and Victor & Rolf. In 2009, Piper-Heidsieck rekindled the decadent RussianParisian ritual of drinking champagne from the shoe – this time from crystal stiletto designed by Christian Louboutin. Marketing tricks often reveal deficiencies in the quality of the wine, but that is certainly not true of Piper. At least not anymore, as the quality has consistently increased since Rémy Martin (now Rémy Cointreau) bought the house in 1990. Today, Piper-Heidsieck and Charles Heidsieck are one company, but to distinguish between the two houses’ brands, they each have their own styles and marketing approaches. They are like a pair of brothers; the serious, mature, and charming gentleman Charles Heidsieck, and the silly, boyish and lively party animal Piper-Heidsieck. These differences are maintained even in the houses’ basic selections, for

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which Piper selects open, fruity, and light champagnes. The Piper style charms the most inexperienced of champagne lovers but will not bore even a seasoned palate. Despite its easily approachable style, Piper has a depth that develops during ageing. The Heidsieck name is undeniably confusing, as Champagne also contains a third representative: Heidsieck Co. & Monopole. All three houses stem from FlorensLouis Heidsieck. When he died, his nephew Christian Heidsieck took over the firm established in 1785, while another nephew, Henri-Louis Walbaum, started up Walbaum, Heidsieck & Co. in 1834. The son of FlorensLouis’ third nephew, Charles-Camille, went on to establish Charles Heidsieck. When Christian Heidsieck’s widow married Henri-Guillaume Piper in 1937, the estate was renamed Piper & Co, although it still sold champagne under Heidsieck name. The name Piper-Heidsieck was settled on in 1845. Although the Rare champagne was first produced in 1976, it has never found a place as a luxury champagne for the masses. It has not even been produced very often, as the only prior vintages are 1979, 1985, 1988, 1990, 1998 and 1999. The champagne changed course around the turn of the Millennium, as for a few years it became the nonvintage blend Cuvée Rare. Even though the Cuvée Rare was charming, it is significantly easier to market luxury vintage champagnes, and their ageing process is more practical to follow. Having spent a while in a dark suit, the Rare is again clothed in a very chic golden bottle. We hope that the gala dress, the top vintage of 2002 and its success will bring the Rare Millésime to the lips of more and more champagne lovers.


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FINE Best


The BEST CHAMPAGNE 2000-2009

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2

95.25p

Piper-Heidsieck Rare 2002

Colour: Medium-deep lemon yellow Nose: Soft and sweet vanilla-laden, boosted toast and coffee nose with a gunpowder and fireworks edge Palate: Rich, intense and creamy texture, elegant, broad, silky and smooth Finish Crisp, persistent, long and lingering In a nutshell: Buy or not: When to drink: Food pairing:

Final verdict:

95.1p

Krug Clos du Mesnil 2000

Colour: Medium-deep straw yellow Nose: Refined, green apple, toasty, vanilla, buttery with honeyed overtones Palate: Dry, creamy, gentle, complex, toasty, mineral Finish: Lingering, focused and mineral with toasty complexity In a nutshell:

Ready to impress Buy all you can

Buy or not:

2015–2025 Sauteed turbot fillet with brown butter sauce flavoured with lemon Pure breed

When to drink:

Now–2030

King's adjutant

4

3 95.04p

Louis Roederer Cristal Rosé 2002

Colour: Pale peachy Nose: Beautifully subdued, pure and elegant, ripe peach, gentle spiceness and minerality Palate: Bright, fruity, intense yet refined, lacey texture and the softest mousse Finish: Perfectly long, vibrant and mouthwatering In a nutshell: Buy or not: When to drink:

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You never regret having at least a bottle of Clos du Mesnil in the cellar!

Food pairing: Grilled white fish with morrel sauce Final verdict:

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All you want from a great blanc de blancs

As elegant as champagne can get Yes, worth chasing

95.02p

Krug Clos du Mesnil 2002

Colour: Medium-deep green yellow Nose: Intense, complex nose, minty, buttery and toasty Palate: Dry and crisp, broad, mouthfilling, energetic, firm Finish: Long mineral aftertaste with toastiness In a nutshell:

Concentration par excellence

Buy or not:

Buy, if you still can

When to drink:

2018–2026

2018–2030

Food pairing White truffle risotto

Food pairing:

Bresse chicken with shallots and morrels

Final verdict:

Final verdict:

Rolls-Royce of roses

There are blanc de blancs and then there is Clos du Mesnil


94.93p

Dom Pérignon 2002

6

Dom Pérignon purity

Buy or not:

Absolutely yes

When to drink:

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2020–2030

Food pairing:

Grilled cod fillet with hollandaise sauce

Final verdict:

Montrachet of champagnes

94.6p

Louis Roederer Cristal 2002

When to drink: 2018–2026 Food pairing: Grilled Guinea Fowl with cherry sauce and parmesan risotto

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Colour: Medium-deep lemon-gold Nose: Rich, nutty, spicy and salty with charred aromas, evolving with lovely toasty nuances Palate: Dry, fresh and powerful, opulent, soft and rich with appealing cushiony mousse Finish: Concentrated, long and linear

Buy or not:

Final verdict: Instant pleasure

Colour: Light, refined, peachy Nose: Elegant and firm, with fragrant red fruit aromas, wild strawberries Palate: Dry and crisp, refined bubbles with silky texture, touch of red fruits, spices and apricots Finish: Very focused, refined and long finish In a nutshell: Pure and pristine Buy or not: If 2002 is not available When to drink: 2022–2030 Food pairing: Nigiri sushis Final verdict:

Queen of rose champagnes

Aristocratic opulence

Taittinger Comtes de Champagne Blanc de Blancs Brut 2002

When to drink:

Food pairing: Lobster Thermidor

Louis Roederer Cristal Rosé 2004

94.4p

In a nutshell:

When to drink: 2018–2030

94.2p

Final verdict:

Colour: Moderately light, green yellow Nose: Fresh, buttery, herbaceous, green asparagus Palate: Dry, crisp, creamy, toasty, energetic, apples Finish: Long, intense, concentrated

In a nutshell: True beauty Buy or not: Whenever it is available

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Dom Pérignon Rosé 2000

Colour: Moderately intense, copper Nose: Touch of smokiness, cherries, toasty, complex, jasmine flowers Palate: Dry, round, vivid, multilayered, creamy smooth, wild strawberries and cherries Finish: Lingering with cherry flavours In a nutshell: Rich and elegant rose Buy or not: Yes, as you need to have this before 2005 is ready to drink

Colour: Bright, light, green yellow Nose: Concentrated, minty, toasty, buttery, lemon Palate: Dry, crisp and creamy, toasty, intense, concentrated, mineral, minty Finish: Long mineral finish with toasty and minty flavours In a nutshell:

94.67p

FINE Best

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So full and deep Go ahead! 2018–2028

Food pairing:

Lobster pasta with herbed cream sauce

Final verdict:

Fresh and flirtatious

94.14p

Dom Pérignon Rosé 2005

Colour: Bright, light, salmon red Nose: Fresh, vivid, pure, floral, red fruits, strawberries Palate: Dry, round, rich, vivid, elegant Finish: Lingering, rich, gently toasty, wild strawberries In a nutshell: Rich and sophisticated Buy or not: Buy for the future When to drink:

2025–2035

Food pairing: Saltimbocca alla Romana Final verdict: Champagne marries red Burgundy

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Ranking

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The Best Champagne 2000–2009

Points

1

Piper-Heidsieck Rare 2002

95.25

2

Krug Clos du Mesnil 2000

95.1

3

Louis Roederer Cristal Rosé 2002

95.04

4

Krug Clos du Mesnil 2002

95.02

5

Dom Pérignon 2002

94.93

6

Dom Pérignon Rosé 2000

94.67

7

Louis Roederer Cristal 2002

94.6

8

Taittinger Comtes de Champagne Blanc de Blancs Brut 2002

94.4

9

Louis Roederer Cristal Rosé 2004

94.2

10

Dom Pérignon Rosé 2005

94.14

11

Dom Pérignon 2006

94.12

12

Dom Ruinart Rosé 2002

94.1

13

Laurent-Perrier Cuvée Alexandra Rosé 2004

94.09

14

Charles Heidsieck Millésime 2000

94.08

15

Taittinger Comtes de Champagne Blanc de Blancs Brut 2000

94.07

16

Henriot Millésime 2006

94.05

17

Dom Pérignon 2004

94.05

18

Dom Pérignon Rosé 2004

94

18

Taittinger Comtes de Champagne Blanc de Blancs Brut 2004

94

20

Louis Roederer Cristal 2000

93.97

21

Louis Roederer Cristal 2004

93.94

22

Dom Ruinart 2004

93.92

23

Billecart Salmon Cuvée Elisabeth Salmon Brut 2006

93.89

24

Dom Pérignon Rosé 2003

93.84

25

Louis Roederer Cristal 2007

93.66


The Best Champagne 2000–2009

Points

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Krug Clos du Mesnil 2003

93.65

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Salon 2002

93.5

27

Louis Roederer Cristal Rosé 2000

93.5

29

Krug Vintage 2000

93.46

30

Dom Ruinart Blanc de Blancs 2002

93.23

31

Krug Vintage 2003

93.17

32

Krug Vintage 2002

93.1

33

Palmer & Co Blanc de Blancs 2006

93.06

34

Taittinger Comtes de Champagne Blanc de Blancs Brut 2005

93.02

35

Louis Roederer Rosé 2008

93

35

Louis Roederer Cristal 2005

93

35

Bollinger La Grande Année Rosé 2004

93

38

Billecart Salmon Cuvée Elisabeth Salmon Brut 2000

92.95

39

Moët & Chandon Grand Vintage 2002 Magnum

92.86

40

Dom Pérignon 2005

92.8

40

Palmer & Co Vintage 2002 Magnum

92.8

42

Pol Roger Blanc de Blancs Brut 2002

92.72

43

Dom Pérignon 2003

92.63

44

Amour de Deutz Millésime Rosé Brut 2006

92.6

45

Louis Roederer Cristal 2006

92.5

46

Taittinger Comtes de Champagne Blanc de Blancs Brut 2006

92.48

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Bollinger R.D. 2002

92.36

48

Amour de Deutz Millésime Brut 2006

92.35

49

Henriot Rosé Millésime Brut 2005

92.34

50

Palmer & Co Blanc de Blancs 2004

92.33

FINE Best

Ranking

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FINE Review

Champagne: A History of Bubbles “Champagne: A History of Bubbles” is published by Editions du Signe, France. A native Champenois, Daniel Lorson, retired as the Director of Communications of the Comité Interprofessionnel du Vin de Champagne. He has collaborated with Erik Arnoux, who rendered the very expressive illustrations, and with Jean-Marie Cuzin, for the text of this 48 page hardback, that has been published in French and English.

D

aniel and his team have used a very unique, innovative, informative and entertaining comicbook style to present the story of “the wine of kings and the king of wines” to its readers around the world – how Champagne first came into being, its evolution through the centuries from still to “sparkling”, loyal patrons including royalty, the region and its people – the Champenois, protection of this world-renowned appellation and the essence of Champagne. The story weaves around the divers who discovered a treasure of what appeared to be Champagne, in a wreck at the bottom of the Baltic sea, off Aland (an archipelago in Nordic Europe). Daniel plays on the curiosity of the dive team to identify the origins of their find through a series of dialogues between the diver, Kristian, and historians like François Fournier and experts like Elle Grussner, Daniel has drawn on his wealth of knowledge of his region to trace the history of Champagne. An extremely detailed and well populated time-line is presented in the book. It records the Romans planting vines in the 4th century Gaul; St. Remi recording vine-growing in “Rheims” in his testament; the references to the wines of the region in the 12th-14th century; the slow pressing and fractioning that made vins gris; the occupation and pillaging of the region during successive conflicts; the birth of the Ordre des Coteaux de Champagne in the 17th century. Daniel does not circuit the raging debate around the origins of Champagne. He acknowledges the role of England in the making of Champagne, but for him the production of champagne was strictly a local invention. “The Benedictine monk, Dom Pierre Pérignon left a legacy of vineyard and wine-making practices (such as his strokeof-genius innovation that came to be known as blending),

but the honour of inventing Champagne belongs to many different in Champagne for their contribution…” As the decree that allowed Champagne to be shipped legally was issued in 1728, Daniel goes on to share that champagne revolutionized drinking habits as its royal patrons discovered “Champagne that became an icon of good living and easy virtue”. According to Daniel, the pioneers in Champagne did not rest on their laurels, and focused on promoting their brands – the Moët family was recognized by successive regimes as a global ambassador for the wines of the region; Nicole Barbe Clicquot Ponsardin designed the riddling rack to restore the magnificence of the wine by removing the lees; Jeanne Alexandrine Pommery had bas-reliefs sculpted to transform a 65 hectare network of crayères into the ideal storage for champagne; Charles Camille Heidsieck travelled through the United States with his wines to make them so popular that customers in bars just asked for a bottle of ‘Charles’! The World Wars decapitated the champagne region and production suffered in the wake of acute shortages of all inputs, including manpower. The Comite Interprofessionel du Vin de Champagne was established in 1941 to carry the region through these difficult times (which it did), engage in research and development to offer technical advice and take the responsibility of the protection of one of the first appellation d’origine contrôllée to ensure that any passingoff did not tarnish the impeccable reputation of Champagne. Daniel highlights the role of champagne as synonymous with festivity – for sports exemplified by Formula 1; christenings; weddings; inaugurations and umpteen such occasions. Champagne is an ode to French Art de Vivre! A full-offacts, very engaging and entertaining book.

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CHAMPAGNES TEXT: KEN GARGETT PHOTOS: PEKKA NUIKKI

THE MOST EXCITING MOVEMENT IN CHAMPAGNE TODAY MUST SURELY BE THE EMERGENCE OF THE SMALL, QUALITY-FOCUSED PRODUCER, REVEALING THE INTRICACIES OF TERROIR IN CHAMPAGNE, YET CHAMPAGNE IS THE KINGDOM OF THE BLENDED WINE. THEY BLEND VINTAGES, VARIETIES AND THE HARVEST FROM ANY NUMBER OF VINEYARDS, WHICH MAY OR MIGHT NOT BE THEIR OWN. HOUSE STYLES RULE, NOT THAT THERE IS ANYTHING WRONG WITH ANY OF THIS. IT JUST SEEMS A SMIDGE DISINGENUOUS WHEN SUDDENLY WE ARE ALSO HEARING OF THE GLORIES OF THEIR ‘TERROIR’. MOST HOUSES ARE OFFERING US NO SUCH THING. THAT IS NOT TO SUGGEST THE LARGER AND THE MORE FAMOUS HOUSES DON’T DABBLE – KRUG’S TWO CLOS, BILLECART-SALMON’S ‘CLOS ST-HILAIRE’, PHILIPPONNAT’S ‘CLOS DES GOISSES’ AND TAITTINGER WITH THEIR ‘FOLIES DE LA MARQUETTERIE’ ARE EXAMPLES.

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FINE Maison

WITH TERROIR

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“THE HOUSE’S CHAMPAGNES WERE SERVED AT NAPOLEON’S WEDDING TO THE ARCHDUCHESS MARIELOUISE OF AUSTRIA”

Those who wish to seriously explore terroir in Champagne must look to the small producers and the growers. Fortunately, there has been an explosion of these wines in recent years. Inevitably quality can vary. Remember that a great many of the growers simply have one single plot and hence, if they travel the ‘make their own’ road, it is automatically a single vineyard champagne, but that does not necessarily make it a ‘Clos du Mesnil’. Single vineyard champagne means different, not necessarily better.

P  C A producer that has nimbly traversed the tightrope between traditional House and new wave grower is Jacquesson. This venerable old House, based in Châlons-sur-Marne, was founded in 1798, making it arguably the oldest independent Champagne House. The current owners, the Chiquet family, purchased the estate in 1974. Up until then, and indeed for a few more years under Jean Chiquet, it would be fair to say that they were an acceptable, if underwhelming producer. They were probably most famous for the fact that in 1843, Johann-Joseph Krug left to form his own House. However, Jacquesson has an important share in the evolution of champagnes. Adolphe Jacquesson worked with Dr Guyot in establishing a system of planting vines in rows and also patented the muselet, the wire cage, which holds the cork in place.

S   Jean Chiquet’s son, Jean-Hervé, who is taking care of management and winemaking, joined the firm in 1978, while winemaker brother Laurent arrived eight years later. Together, they took over from their father in 1988, but they only “got the green light” after ten years of “negotiations” with their father. One suspects that might be a euphemism for some rather forceful family debates. The brothers were keen to move from a champagne business to a respected Champagne House.

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The changes have been extensive. Under Jean Senior, the estate had 15 hectares with another 30 contracted, producing 450,000 bottles. Now, the estate has expanded to 28 hectares, but reduced the area under contract to just 8 hectares, which is strictly controlled and farmed by the brothers. The production is now at 270,000 bottles.

F    As Jean-Hervé says, when they took over they had the location and opportunity “to be world champions”. They were determined to do everything they could “to suppress compromise”. The early results were disappointing. They were making better wines but they lost their customer base. The wines were simply too different. But the brothers were not going to give up. Between 2000 and 2002, they revamped the range. Jean-Hervé describes the frustration this caused in the short term - “we were forced to talk about the wines we were selling, not making”. They faced a disadvantage that did not afflict many of the new wave growers who have emerged. “It is more difficult to go from bad wines to good than it is from zero to good”.

T  Part of this transformation was their work in pioneering single vineyard and terroir-based wines. Out went the traditional non-vintage, vintage and prestige champagnes and in came one blend – “the best we can make each year” – and four single vineyard wines. They had always made a wine from Avize fruit, a non-vintage Blanc des Blancs. In 1990, it was changed to a vintage wine, so as they could take advantage of the best years – for them, 1990, 1993, 1995, 1997, 2000 and 2002. Why no 1996? For JeanHervé, 1996 was a great Pinot Noir year, but it did not give him what he wanted for this Blanc des Blancs. It meant that in ‘lesser’ years, this fruit would go to improve the ‘one blend’. For Jean-Hervé, it was all about “re-discovering our own terroir”.

T J  Jean-Hervé noted three simple rules under which they operate. First, you need the terroir – the old story of silk purses/sows’ ears. Next, be prepared to work hard. Finally, be prepared to sell anything that you don’t believe is of the standard you have established. Their progress in the vineyard can be seen by the fact that in 2001, granted a horror year, they sold 40% of the harvest. By 2010, another difficult year, this had dropped to 12%. Their vineyards are in the Grand Cru villages of Aÿ, Avize and Oiry and the Premier Cru villages of Dizy, Mareuil-sur-Aÿ and Hautvilliers. Jean-Hervé says that “inheriting a Champagne House made us frustrated growers”. This exploration of their terroir is one way of easing that frustration.

T    The spark that lit the fire occurred in the spring of 1998. They were working on the 1997 contribution to the next ‘Perfection NV’ and they loved what they had. But they realised, it was “too Chardonnay” and that they would never be able to replicate it in future years – and of course, consistency is imperative when we talk non-vintage. So, relegating that fruit, they ended up with a wine that “was less good” and that was simply unacceptable to the brothers. The Rosé was ditched after the 1997, simply because they believed it was not a good wine, but at the same time, there was faith that they could offer a quality example, especially as they had what they believed to be a good site in Dizy with ‘Terres Rouge’. Part of the problem was the quality, or lack thereof, of the red wine used for blending, so they moved to the saignée method.

R-  -  The ‘blended wine’ is the 700 Series, with the first being ‘728’ (based on the 2000 vintage), then ‘729’ and so on. ‘728’ was simply the ‘technical number in the book’ at that time

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“THE WINES HAVE TO SUFFER, FINE Maison

WHICH ENCOURAGES THEM TO SEARCH DEEPER FOR THE MINERALS THAT THEY NEED.”

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– No. 1 dates back to a cuvee from 1898. Of course, these changes meant it was imperative to provide information to customers to allow them to understand the new direction – such as disgorgement dates, dosage, cepage, number of bottles produced, the process and more. This new wine, replacing the ‘Perfection NV’, allowed the brothers to exhibit the very best from the vintage, free from the straightjacket of mediocre consistency. As Jean-Hervé says, “if you want consistency, sometimes you need to make a lesser wine”. He does not see it as a nonvintage wine as it does not have consistency from one year to the next – the first rule for the style. It was after the release of ‘735’ that the decision was made to jettison those growers not up their exacting standards. They cut back from 14 growers to eight. Production also dropped by 20%.

F      Then it was time to rethink their Vintage. The decision was made that 2002 would be the final ‘traditional’ vintage release. From then on, they would release four discrete vintage wines, each a single-vineyard wine. They would only be made in very good

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years, limited in quantity to what each vineyard provided. They wanted these single-vineyard wines to offer their own personality and especially to reflect their individual terroir. In addition, the fruit must not be required for the 700 Series. Stocks are retained so they can offer ‘Dégorgement Tardif ’ champagnes (those disgorged after an extended time on lees) down the track. This does give the wines an immediate level of extra complexity. Hence, we have the ‘Champ Caïn’, a Blanc des Blancs from Avize. ‘Champ Caïn’ was one of the lieu-dits previously used in their vintage Avize. The Jacquesson parcel, planted in 1962, is 1.3 hectares. Next, there is the ‘Corne Bautray’ from Dizy. Planted in 1960, they have one hectare of Chardonnay. From Aÿ, there is ‘Vauzelle Terme’, a mere 0.75 hectares of Pinot Noir, planted in 1980. Finally, also from Dizy, ‘Terres Rouges’, from a 3.3 acre site, which makes Rosé Saignée. The four single-vineyard wines account for only about 10% of the production. The wines are held back for release – the 2002’s hitting the market in 2011 and the 2004’s in 2013. Only the ‘Terres Rouges’ is released younger.

N    Inevitably, not all of the sites perform to standard every year. Jean-Hervé says that 2008 and 2009 were so good, they could make whatever they liked. 2010, however, was difficult and no single-vineyard wines were made. 2011 was problematic. Aÿ suffered from botrytis; Avize was good but not good enough; they were able to make tiny quantities of ‘Terres Rouges’; but the star was ‘Corne Bautray’ from Dizy. They waited for as long as they could “and it was perfect”. However, it was needed for ‘739’ so off it went, though a barrel was kept for the library. 2012 was very good and 2013 even better, especially for Pinot Noir. Less so in Dizy. Jean-Hervé recognises the DNA, which runs through the vineyards on annual basis, but he says he is not looking for this to be apparent in the wines. He just wants the best wines possible, but he concedes that this form of consistency will be there. As he says, “the source is consistent, as is the taste of the two guys that blend. It does not change”. The results? Jean-Hervé says that they have at least made their two best customers happy – Laurent and himself. They have made a lot of other champagne lovers very happy as well. >

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Jacquesson ‘736’ 93 points

Jacquesson ‘737’ 92 points

The base of this wine is the 2008 vintage with 34% reserve wine. 53% Chardonnay, 29% Pinot Noir, 18% Pinot Meunier. Dosage 1.5 gms. Disgorged March 2013. If ever one doubted that there is no consistency between the various numbered releases, this wine and its successor is compelling evidence. This wine exhibits more citrus notes, is finer and with a little more drive and finesse. It is not as approachable as ‘737’ but has a regal nature that is captivating. Excellent length here with much promise. A classy wine.

The base of this wine is the 2009 vintage with 30% reserve wine. 43% Chardonnay, 27% Pinot Noir, 30% Pinot Meunier. Dosage 3.5 gms. Disgorged August 2013. Rounded and ripe with an appealing softness. Stonefruit, nuts and figs sit over a minerally texture. Good length leading to a plush finish.

Jacquesson ‘738’ This wine had only been disgorged a few weeks early so Jean-Hervé was not keen to show it until it had time to settle, though he clearly believes it will impress in due course. It is a blend of 61% Chardonnay,

18% Pinot Noir and 21% Pinot Meunier. The base wine is from 2010 with 30% reserve wines used. As usual, no filtration and the dosage is 2.5 gms.

Jacquesson ‘733 Degorgement Tardif’ 95 points Beginning with the 733, the brothers retained 15,000 to 20,000 bottles from each of the numbered series, for extra ageing, four to five years, on lees. The base of this wine is the 2005 vintage, a year Jean-Hervé likes more than many, with 22% reserve wine. 52% Chardonnay, 24% Pinot Noir, 24% Pinot Meunier. Dosage 2.5 gms. Disgorged September 2013. The brothers will make the decision as to the order of the release of these wines at the appropriate time, meaning

that some may spend even longer on lees. A similar program is in place for the later disgorgement of the single vineyard wines but it will not happen for some time. There is an immediate increase in the level of complexity. Nutty, rich, balanced and concentrated, with a lovely creamy texture. Notes of matchstick and orange rind. Serious length. It is hard to disagree with Jean-Hervé when he says that “this is how wine should taste”

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Jacquesson in a glass

Jacquesson Avize ‘Champ Caïn’ 2004 92 points The vines here were planted in 1962, a south-facing, chalky vineyard. It imbues the wine with an impressive freshness and verve. There is a talc, bathroom salts note lingering in a well-balanced wine. Hints of florals, citrus and stonefruit.

Jacquesson Dizy ‘Corne Bautray’ 2004 92 points From vines planted in 1960, on a southwest slope of deep clay and limestone over chalk, this wine was disgorged in February 2013. There is no dosage. The wine offers a bracing sea-saltiness, with power and drive. There is great length here. Also alluring notes of apricots.

Jacquesson Dizy ‘Terres Rouges’ 2008 90 points 100% Pinot Noir giving great depth of colour, deep cerise. Flavours of cherries, raspberries and warm earth. Medium length but the full flavours of this wine are the highlights. Lovely cleansing finish. The key to the sourcing of this wine was a village offering ripe Pinot Noir. Jean-Hervé says that he “wanted a wine that you could not say is Chardonnay. With too many Rosés, it is too hard to tell”. FINE

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COLUMN

KEN GARGETT

FINE CIGARS AND DRINKS A

few years ago, I caught up with Richard Geoffroy, Chef de Cave at Dom Pérignon, at that most hallowed of sites for champagne lovers, L’Abbaye de Hautvillers, home to the famous monk. For me, Richard elevated a great champagne into a stellar one, although I suspect the world could have survived without Dom Pérignon 2003. He also launched their impressive OEnothèque program, and initiated extensive experiments, often in the most minute detail, into matching different vintages with different foods.

Towards the end of our visit, Richard asked how long it was since I’d seen Dom Pérignon 1964. “Too long”, I said and a bottle of 1964 instantly appeared. It is surely one of the greatest champagnes of all. Later, as we made our way out to the car park, I asked Richard what he would serve with the 1964. For me, the wine was so close to the perfect champagne, I wouldn’t have let anything near it. Richard’s response left me stunned and may shock some – Partagas D4 – a Cuban relatively mild cigar! By coincidence, I was heading to Havana a few days later to catch up with the industry latest and do a little fishing, but there had been no mention of cigars until that moment. Matching champagne and cigars was something I’d been investigating myself, though in a very minor way compared to Richard’s intricate research. He works through all available Cuban cigars with each vintage of Dom Pérignon to

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find those most suited. In subsequent years, he expanded that to include non-Cuban cigars as well. Cigars have as many nuances and varying styles as does Champagne and inevitably, some combine far better than others. The principles are not all that different to matching wine and food. I’ve long held the view that red wines rarely work well with cigars, tannins drying out the smoke, often giving a harsh texture, while the wines seem less generous. That said, when friends arrive for drinks and cigars, they almost always opt for a red. In turn, when I visit them, that is what I am usually offered. Rum, some malt whiskies, cognac, and very often whites – all work better than reds. And champagne. I raised the subject with one of the most intuitive young sommeliers I’ve encountered, Nicolas Boise, a Burgundian sommelier from

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Restaurant Mugaritz in San Sebastian, Spain. He knows his stuff thoroughly and really is prepared to think outside the box, often pairing dishes with spicy beers, sakes or even just water, if it works best.

test the theory. Nicolas prefers black teas and also red teas, because of their pure earthiness. He suggested avoiding lapsang souchong – we were on other topics before I could establish quite why. Coffee is also a popular pairing.

We have a mutual interest in cigars, so I asked for his thoughts. His first suggestion, and obviously all this is predicated by exactly which cigar one is smoking as there is such a wide variety, was rum. He believes that a refreshing drink is usually the better match and considers that many cocktails work extremely well but again, which cigar and which cocktail could probably earn someone a Ph.D.

Nicolas is also a fan of matching champagne, believing them “a great match”. His preferred fizz, the champagnes of Jacques Selosse. For those not familiar, it is a much richer, more complex style than many – a suggestion that made perfect sense.

His next suggestion was tea. Mugaritz has a fantastic selection of teas and their white tea – No 20, Fujian Jasmine – was absolutely spectacular, as fine as any tea I have ever enjoyed. Sadly, indoors in Spain, there was no chance to

His other favorites included PX sherries, and lovely old sweet Olorosos. I guess one could take that further to include Ports, Muscats, Tokaijs and fortified wines, in general.

the most appropriate red, if one wanted head down that track. Finally, whiskies. He felt that the strength and powerful flavours of the peaty Islay malts were too much, dismissing Ardbeg and Laphroaig for those reasons. There we part company as they are among my favorite malt whiskies and with a powerful cigar, just right. He was very much in favour of Auchentoshan, a tripledistilled malt whiskey from Glasgow. Nicolas also put me on to the wonderful ‘whiskies’ of Michel Couvreur from Beaune that are sourced from Scotland but aged and blended in France! I quickly arranged a visit there – a fascinating if bizarre experience, but that is another story. >

I asked Nicolas about reds. His response was that they didn’t even come to mind. He did say that the structure of pinot noir made it by far

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TAYLOR’S – THE PORTS FROM THE FIRST GROWTH Text: K e n G arg e t t Photos: Taylor’s & Pek k a Nuik k i

If Ports were classified according to Bordeaux classification, Taylor’s would definitely stand in the First Growth tier – it might even achieve an Yquem-like solo aura. Its wines have been ranked highly for over a century, thanks to their aristocratic style, consistency and fine quality. However, the success of this highly esteemed brand does not rely exclusively on its fine products, but something that sets it apart from others. It is something that has been handed down from generation to generation – the pioneering spirit.

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FINE Port FINE

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Baron Fladgate

THE EARLY STEPS Taylor’s, or more correctly Taylor, Fladgate & Yeatman, was founded in 1692 by Job Bearsley, a London wine merchant and innkeeper. Before this, there were only two British Port houses, Croft, originally founded in 1588, and Warre, established in 1670. Originally, Bearsley’s company had a broad focus, not limited to wine. The “4XX” brand, that still adorns their bottles and branding, was actually an old wool mark. Bearsley’s sons, Peter and Bartholomew, turned the company’s business focus to wine. Peter was the first British trader to head up river for the top wines, while Bartholomew was the first Englishman to acquire an estate in the Douro, at Lugar das Lages, in 1744. The property was briefly used as a field hospital by Wellington’s army during the Peninsular Wars. However the company, which had been entrusted to an American citizen called Joseph Camo, continued to trade throughout the conflict.

THE BRAND IS BORN The Bearsleys left the company in 1806, which then changed hands several times before Joseph Taylor joined as a partner in 1816. Within ten years, he had sole control of the company. In the mid 1930’s, Joseph Taylor’s failing health forced him to plan for succession in the company. He found reliable partners from the British wine trade. The two men were John

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Dick Yeatman

Fladgate and Morgan Yeatman, who were both merchants and loyal customers of Taylor’s. Fladgate and Yeatman took over the company after Taylor’s death in 1836. The two men honoured Taylor, when they decided to rename the company in 1838, retaining ‘Taylor’ as the first named partner.

THE PIONEER OF THE PORT STYLES The company has been a family affair since its foundation. After the retirement of John Fladgate, the Yeatman family took sole control of the company. Frank Yeatman, known to all as ‘Smiler’, was the key figure of the company in early years of the 20th century. He ran the company, first with his brother Harry. Soon after Harry’s death in 1919, Frank’s son, Dick, joined in the company and was a great asset to the company. Dick became the first Port maker to study viticulture in Montpellier, France. The company was strengthened when Frank’s nephew and Dick’s cousin, Stanley Yeatman, joined. Together with Dick and Stanley, Smiler revolutionised the whole industry, notwithstanding the difficult times it faced. In the 1920’s, they introduced the concept of separating varietals in different blocks and carried this through to separate fermentations. They explored single-variety plantings in the Polverinho vineyard, which nowadays covers part of the Vinha Velha section of Vargellas. The plantings were extended and so was the product range. In the mid-1930’s, the company released the

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“Taylor’s family” (from left to right) – David Guimaraens, Alistair Robertson, Adrian Bridge, Natasha Bridge FINE

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Taylor’s Quinta de Vargellas train station

first dry white port, known as Taylor’s Chip Dry. Before he retired, Smiler added the esteemed Fonseca Port house to the portfolio. In 1949, Smiler finally stood down from the company, after completing an amazing fifty vintages. Dick and Stanley continued to revolutionize the Taylor’s Port selection. They were the first to commercialise the Single Quinta Vintage Ports with the debut vintage of Taylor’s Quinta de Vargellas 1958. Taylor’s also led the Aged Tawny market by introducing the first 10 year-old and 20 year-old wines.

THE FAMILY AFFAIR In 1960, Stanley passed away and Dick took a full control of the company. He soon offered partnerships to Bruce Guimaraens of Fonseca, a descendant of the Fladgate’s, and to Huyshe Bower from the Yeatman family. After Dick’s death in 1966, his widow, Beryl, brought in her nephew, Alistair Robertson. Innovation must run in the family, as credit for Late Bottled Vintage Ports (LBV) falls to Alistair, with the first release unveiled in 1970. The drinking public of the day was after a ‘Vintage Port’ that they didn’t have to age for decades, that didn’t break the bank and which they could drink without decanting. LBV Port ticked all the boxes. Today the control at Taylor’s rests with Robertson’s son-in-law, Adrian Bridge and David Guimaraens, the son of Bruce Guimaraens. Adrian, the Managing Di-

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Taylor’s Quinta de Vargellas house

rector of the company, comes from the banking business and has a strong experience in international markets, after working for the company in both the UK and US markets during the 1990’s. Adrian has continued the tradition of innovation at Taylor’s by creating a new Port style in 2008 – Croft Pink. Croft Port was purchased by Taylor Fonseca in 2001, whereupon the name was changed to the Fladgate Partnership. The family acquired The Yeatman in Porto in 2010, and more recently the Vintage House hotel in Pinhão in 2015 and The Infante Sagres Hotel in Porto in 2016. David Guimaraens, a sixth generation winemaker, is the Technical Director of the company. He has winemaking experience from California, Oregon and Australia. After graduating as an oenologist from the Roseworthy Agricultural College in Australia, he joined in both Taylor’s and Fonseca winemaking team in 1990. The history of Taylor’s reveals their consistent and persistent endeavors to remain a step ahead of their competitors. It is possible that this may not have been so obvious had the company not enjoyed the benefits of more than 300 years of family management. All generations have benefited from the spirit which runs through the families, the spirit of leadership, innovation and ensuring that their Ports remain at the forefront of the push for quality throughout all markets. Combine this with their extensive knowledge of their own terroir, winemaking and marketing and the result is that Taylor’s have long been considered, and will remain, the First Growth of Ports.

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THE SOURCE OF QUALIT Y The quality of Taylor’s Vintage Ports derives from its well-established vineyards. Quinta de Vargellas, Quinta Terra Feita and Quinta do Junco vineyards have provided top quality fruit for the Taylor’s vintage ports for decades. The most famous of the trio is Vargellas, the fruit from which provides the backbone for Taylor’s Vintage Ports. Vargellas potential was recognized as early as the late 1820’s, when the Carvalhos family, who owned a part of the vineyard, produced Single Quinta Port wine from the estate. The production eventually faded due to the seriously reduced yields, subsequent to phylloxera. The various individual parts of the Vargellas vineyard were amalgamated and finally purchased by Taylor’s in 1893, rather courageous given that this was the time that phylloxera was raging through the country. Vargellas is considered responsible for the alluring fragrances, sinewy tannins and delightful elegance found in Taylor’s VP’s.

VARGELLAS VINEYARD Vargellas is a 164 hectare estate with 68 hectares under vines and is located in the far distant parts of the Douro. It is key. It is a north-facing amphitheatre, situated well above the Douro River. These terraces have been classified by UNESCO as World Heritage. Plantings at Vargellas are devoted to approximately one-quarter each of Touriga Nacional, Touriga Francesca and Tinta Roriz, with the rest a mix, especially Tinta Barroca, Tinta Cao and Tinta Amarela, along with some thirty other permitted varieties. In years that don’t quite make Vintage Port quality, a single quinta vintage port is often produced. In what Taylor’s consider to be the very finest years for the Vargellas vineyard, they make a few hundred cases of Quinta de Vargellas Vinha Velha Vintage (VVV) Port – show-casing the best vintages. The most recent ones have been 2011, 2009 2007, 2004, 2000, 1997 and 1995.

Only a tenth of the estate’s vines qualify as Vinha Velha, consisting of five parcels from the oldest parts of the vineyard. The vines age range between 80 to 120 years. The production of Vinha Velha Vintage Ports forms less than 1% of the production of Vintage Port. In 1999, Taylor’s purchased the 46-hectare adjoining property, Quinta de Sao Xisto. It went under a program of replanting and is now in full production.

TERRA FEITA VINEYARD Terra Feita, 116 hectares, is set in an amphitheatre, back in the Pinhao Valley. It has 62 hectares producing fruit. Although purchased only recently, in 1974, this vineyard has provided Taylor’s with quality fruit for a very long time. The 1757 classification of Douro estates rated this at the very highest level. Here is where the power, richness, depth, fullness and concentration of berry flavours, found in their VP’s, is sourced. Vines are mostly Touriga Francesca and Tinta Roriz, with some Touriga Nacional and Tinta Barroca.

QUINTA DO JUNCO VINEYARD Quinta do Junco, located not far from Terra Feita, was purchased in 1997. 48 hectares are currently planted and this is increasing over time, as the entire property consists of 82 hectares. 15 hectares are very old vines. It was awarded “feitoria” status as far back as 1761 – the highest classification for vineyards at that time. At this stage, it only provides a small contribution to the VP’s, though this is increasing. Fruit from here is described as “massive in scale” and adds to the power and structure of the wines. The vineyard is dominated by Touriga Nacional, Touriga Francesca and Tinta Roriz. This vineyard differs from most of those in the region by including some vertical rows, with the traditional terraces. >

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TAYLOR’S VINTAGE PORTS EXPERIENCE 1924 - 2007 BY KEN GARGETT Brisbane had a tough year. Cyclones up north and the devastating floods, footage of which apparently made its way around the globe. Even the tiny, bucolic creek that trickles lazily past my house, home to all manner of birds, tortoises, water-dragons and the occasional fat happy carpet python, turned into a raging Himalayan-esque torrent, carrying 70-foot trees past my balcony like matchsticks. Fortunately, it drew the line at coming any higher than under the house, just, but the ‘professional wine storage’, holding some of my cellar, in another, low-lying, part of the city was not spared. We got to it quickly, cleaned and relocated the bottles, immediately the waters receded. Bar some label damage – the more expensive the wine, the cheaper the label? – things could have been much worse. What was especially irritating was I had been about to pull out one of those ‘special’ old bottles (how often do we keep them just a fraction too long?) to share with some friends, just before the deluge. 54

Unlike Noah, I had only a single of this wine on board – 1948 Taylor’s Vintage Port. Purchased it from a wine merchant friend in the early 1980’s, just before heading to the UK to study and work, now was the time to open it with him and a few friends. Fortunately, it looked to have come through as unscathed as possible (it already evidenced a small ullage). The rest of my ports had been stored elsewhere. From a single acorn, as they say in the classics. I had a few other vintages and so, a small, very small at this stage, vertical was born. Friends, and friends of friends, quickly ‘volunteered’ for the day, and offered whatever may have been lurking in their own cellars. Word spread interstate. An old mate, Iain Riggs, in charge of Brokenwood in the Hunter Valley for decades, one of our leading show judges and a stalwart of the annual Len Evans Tutorial, was

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Sixteen winelovers inevitably had sixteen varying opinions on exactly when everything should be decanted and what order they should be served, though it didn’t take much to force a consensus. Young wines were decanted the previous day, ‘middle-aged’ at varying times that morning and the old, but hopefully not decrepit, shortly before the event. For most, it worked very well.

The event would be held at Ortiga, surely Australia’s most exciting Spanish restaurant (it was as close as we could get, Portuguese establishments being a little thin on the ground in this neck of the woods – sadly, it was shortly afterwards that Ortiga was reincarnated in a less exciting form with alternative ownership, which would open just for us. More importantly, owner Simon Hill understands and loves wine – and still hosts our major tastings at his new establishment. The tasting would be in the morning, followed by a lunch with everybody contributing ‘something decent’ – another story, especially as one of our number let it be known that with this number, magnums were de rigueur.

As for brackets, four of four seemed ideal. And definitely old to young. So first up, 1924, 1935, 1948 and the ‘55 (though the 1924 was served at the end of the bracket as the day’s mystery wine – the identity of all others being known). 1963, 1966, 1970 and 1977 were next. 1980, 1983, 1985 and 1994 the third grouping. Finally, 2000, 2003, 2007 and the 2007 Quinta de Vargellas Vinha Velha to conclude. There were a few vintages, especially the 1992, we would have liked to include, but we failed to locate any.

Anyone who has anything to do with the Aussie wine industry, amateur or professional, will know just extraordinarily generous it can be. The week before the tasting, I received two calls. It seems Riggs, off his own bat, had tracked down some contacts in the UK and taken possession of a 1935 and a ‘Believed to be’ 1955. Another friend, visiting New York, had happened to walk past a wine auction, as you do, just before a 1924 Taylor’s went under the hammer. He thought it would be nice to include it. We should have been 17 in number but a family illness ruled one out, though that did not stop him from insisting we include his bottle of 1966. So, 16 vintages and 16 tasters, with at least one port from every decade since the 1920’s.

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on board. So too, Peter Godden from the Australian Wine Research Institute. As was the man who has surely forgotten more about fortifieds than the rest of us will ever know, James Godfrey, gatekeeper for the fabulous Seppelt fortifieds, including the extraordinary 100-YearOld Para Tawny, and so much more. Toss in a few distributors, retailers, auctioneers and fortified fanatics and the day was taking shape.

Removal of corks, most had held up wonderfully well, did reveal one small problem. Our ‘Believed to be’ 1955 was in fact, a 1960 Crofts. We still chose to include it and were pleased we did, as it highlighted what different styles the two Houses represent. There had been a minor drama when the planned 1970 had developed a slightly weeping cork a few days before the event, but that worked well in the end. A replacement was found, which was in wonderful condition, and a few of us had a small preview of glories to come, as the ’weeping’ bottle drank rather well. Otherwise, everything seemed in first class condition. They say that Taylor’s is the Latour of Vintage Port. Surely, they have it wrong. Surely, Latour is the Taylor’s of Bordeaux.

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FIRST FLIGHT

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1924 Taylor’s Vintage Port 98 points An amazing wine. Such grace for such a venerable old port. Fully alive, though obviously very mature. Still offering some concentration and complexity. The enticing fragrances were of old teak and cedar and with an underlying hint of an old malt whisky. Although well into its tertiary cycle, it seemed to suggest that this vintage was one that enjoyed ripe fruit. Soft and chocolatey on the palate. Had serious length. If one had the smallest of quibbles, it was perhaps a fraction rougher right at the finish than the very best, but just a beautiful wine. One assumes that any remaining bottles will vary (that old saying about there being ‘no great old wines, just great old bottles’, should surely be just ‘… great old corks’?) but on the evidence of this, 1924 must have been a very fine vintage. Bottles from auctions obviously carry a ‘buyer beware’ risk, but this one must have been lovingly cared for throughout its life. Served last in the bracket as a ‘mystery’, no one went close to the correct vintage, most opting for something in the fifties, a few speculating forties. Of course, a cynic may suggest that may have been influenced by its position in the bracket but it was a wonderful wine by any standards.

1935 Taylor’s Vintage Port 100 points We’d done the requisite research in the preceding days, so to discover that Michael Broadbent had dubbed this the “best 1935 and one of the greatest ports of the century”, several times awarding it 6 stars, out of 5, could it ever match the hype? Could it, what! And how. More than a few of us felt it as good a vintage port as we’d ever seen, or were ever likely to see. Could all remaining bottles possibly be this good? As it was the first cab off the rank, there was a

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feeling that we may have peaked early. Supple, a cuddly plushness, layer after layer of everevolving complexity, impeccably balanced. This was still fresh and extraordinarily alive. Notes of dark chocolate, a hint of spice, gentle florals, a pleasing sweetness with a clean brightness that would have impressed in a port half its age. Perhaps what excited most was the neverending finish – it was so long. Yes, it will undoubtedly live for some time yet but why would you let it? A monumental vintage port by any standards.

1948 Taylor’s Vintage Port 94 points Ullage took the level of this bottle to just south of the neck. Again, Broadbent’s comments, that the ‘45 Taylors was ‘head and shoulders the best ‘45’, … ‘but the ‘48 was better’, describing it as ‘one of the finest ports ever made’ and ‘the loveliest, best-ever vintage of Taylor’s’, set the bar at a very high standard. Quite a few attending had enjoyed it on several occasions previously. All raved. This time, as glorious as it was, it exhibited its age. Perhaps, despite our best attempts at denial, the floods had shaken it up a little more than we thought. It was clearly a very old wine, a pale amber colour, but still with considerable complexity, attractive honey notes, beeswax and caramel. Best drunk soon on this evidence. A lovely old wine that may have appeared even better had it not been in such illustrious company.

1955 Taylor’s Vintage Port (aka 1960 Croft) A completely different style. Much more of a brick red colour than seen to date. Lots of red fruits and berry notes with soft chocolate. Ripe and cuddly. Not the structure of the Taylor’s. For what it is worth, probably quite fabulous on any other occasion. Rather like someone had let loose a large friendly mongrel puppy amongst a group of canines with the finest pedigrees.

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FINE Port SECOND FLIGHT

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1963 Taylor’s Vintage Port 96 points One of the most famous of all port vintages and this was a superb example. Originally purchased by a wineloving doctor from the north of England, it had spent the past quarter of a century in my (dry) cellar. It offered complexity, concentration and power. This is richly flavoured, with very fine tannins and a flick of acidity. As with all the best of this tasting, it exhibited a fine, formal structure and was exceedingly long. Supple, with a hint of spiciness. This bottle may not have carried the intensity of flavour for the full length of its finish but it was a very popular wine on the day and surely has years ahead of it.

1966 Taylor’s Vintage Port 93 points A Berry Brothers bottling. A lovely, mature and surprisingly concentrated vintage port. Notes of teak, matchsticks and beeswax. Nicely balanced and pleasingly supple on the palate. From the bigger and slightly cuddly end of the Taylor’s spectrum. More casual attire than black tie. Ideal for drinking now. The end is not yet nigh but why wait?

fragrances and gentle sweetness. Chocolates, florals, caramel, spices, dark cherries. Again, great length. The merest hint of spirit evident but it doesn’t detract. The perfect of example of why Taylor’s has been dubbed ‘the Latour of Ports’. This has years ahead of it. A classic. More than any of the other ports from the last half century, this revealed the DNA link to the 1924 and 1935.

1977 Taylor’s Vintage Port 96 points Another much lauded vintage. Although decanted around five to six hours before the tasting, this was the port that most obviously cried out for more time. It continued to evolve and improve in the glass. If opening another, I’d not hesitate to do so 24 hours before intended drinking. Concentration, depth of flavour and underlying power were the hallmarks here, with ever-increasing complexity. Hints of spice, florals, black fruits, warm earth, a touch of chocolate syrup. Firm tannins. This is certainly not wanting for structure. It really would benefit from yet more time. Initially, it seemed to be lacking a fraction of intensity right at the very end, but it continued to build over time. One very much suspects that had we decanted it much earlier, it would have been even more impressive.

THIRD FLIGHT

1970 Taylor’s Vintage Port 97 points This had always been a personal favourite amongst vintages, with the Taylor’s, inevitably up with the best. And this bottle didn’t let us down. Quite the contrary – one of the ports of the day. A cracker VP. Density and finesse – and what a fine line that would seem – handled with ease here. Certainly, there is maturity and complexity and yet, for a wine of forty plus years, it is amazingly fresh and youthful. Alluring

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1980 Taylor’s Vintage Port 92 points If any port in the line up was likely to struggle, the smart money may have found a home here. The smart money may have been disappointed. A lovely surprise and a joy to drink now. Quite spicy and powerful, it drinks well above vintage reputation. Intense, dense, ripe and with quite fine tannins. Good length. Other reports suggest it is sturdy rather than FINE

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spectacular and more than likely the best of the vintage. That seems accurate. It may not have quite the structure or the potential longevity of wines like 1977 or 1970, but don’t let that stop you.

1983 Taylor’s Vintage Port 88 points Anecdotal reports suggest that yet again, Taylor’s have claims on the best of the vintage, though as far back as 1998, Broadbent declared that he was not impressed and thought it not going further. Others have been kinder. For us, good but hardly great. Mature and with a degree of concentration, there are a mix of ripe and spice notes. Seemingly sweeter than some. Certainly nothing like the length of the better wines. In truth, if this is the pick of the litter, then 1983 is a less than inspiring year.

1985 Taylor’s Vintage Port 95 points

The features are surely the amazing length of flavour and the way it maintains its intensity; the incredible youth; its wonderful complexity with the promise of even more to come; and the power. A rich, dense wine with impeccable balance, there are mouth-coating tannins. Flavours of blackcurrants, spice, ripe black cherries, dark chocolate and an intriguing floral note. A huge port and one that could last a century. It has that gorgeous Christmas cake note, often seen in Rutherglen muscats but none of the ponderousness sometimes associated with those wines. Shame that it was such a low yielding vintage. Reports suggest that it is not dissimilar to the 1992, which made the absence of that wine all the more frustrating.

FOURTH FLIGHT

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A wonderful vintage port, surely a classic Taylor’s. Enticing complexity as quite spirity notes move to tobacco leaf then dark fruits, a hint of black cherry and then a pleasing but balanced sweetness. More fragrant than most. Classic Taylor’s in that we have the fine tannins, a tight firm structure, good acidity and balance. Certainly has moved beyond the primary stage, as one would expect, but plenty of years ahead of it.

2000 Taylor’s Vintage Port 96 points

1994 Taylor’s Vintage Port 98+ points

It was all a bit deja vu. Ho hum, yet another stunner. This port had a delightful balance of concentration and opulent plushness. Rich, dense and powerful, yet softer than most, it exhibits the trademark length. There is a degree of sweetness but kept well in check. Florals, dark berries, violets and young leather, this has many, many years ahead of it.

One of the most highly lauded vintage ports of all time, it aroused much anticipation. Indeed, the Wine Spectator had declared it their ‘Wine of the Year’ in 1997 (with the ‘94 Fonseca), awarding it 100 points, and suggesting it might be the greatest Taylor’s ever

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made. In time, it just might be, though the sad consensus was that few of us would be around to confirm, such is its future. What a stunning, brilliant wine.

It would be easy for anyone, reading these notes and scores, who has not enjoyed a range of Taylor’s VP’s in recent years to think that one simply got vastly carried away. The reality is that this tasting confirmed, not only that Taylor’s has been a shining light in the port industry for decades, but that they are in superlative form in recent vintages.

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FINE Port

2003 Taylor’s Vintage Port 90 points

past), to drink it now would be to prevent the evolution of something special.

Inky colours and a pleasing fragrance. This has overtones of cassis, leather, spice and blackberries, with lead pencil and cigar box notes. Hints of plum pudding. Young, tannic and powerful, this vintage has the House’s typical classic structure and good length, though certainly not the persistence of the pinnacles.

2007 Taylor’s Quinta de Vargellas Vinha Velha 99+ points

This is a fine port but probably suffered from the company it kept on the day. On its own, it would earn plaudits that were rather reluctantly forthcoming here. And those may arrive in the years to come as it surely has a long future ahead.

2007 Taylor’s Vintage Port 96+ points The seriousness and formality of this very young port is immediately apparent. A massively powerful wine with obvious weight and concentration. Intense blackfruits and floral notes. Dried fruits, kid leather, chocolates and the tobacco leaf of a fine cigar. It may seem odd but even through the sheer force of this very young wine, it is evident that there is complexity building and an elegance. Knife-edge balance, even though there is a hint of spirit still working itself into the wine – its youth makes this unavoidable – and solid, mouthcoating tannins are all part of the package. Through all this emerges a scintillating vibrancy. Anyone in any doubt as to the quality and potential of the 2007 vintage from the Douro need only take a sip of this wine to dismiss those concerns. It is destined to be seen as one of the greats. This port could be anything but it will be left to the next generation to find out. As approachable as it is at this early stage (far more so than the great vintages of the

If the “standard” ‘07 VP from Taylor’s is something special, this is even more so. Just how good can port get? 3,600 bottles is all that these ancient vines yielded in this outstanding vintage. It is not cheap, but do what you can to try it. This raises another issue – why on earth are wines like this not priced on a par with the finest First Growths and Grand Cru Burgundies, but that is for another day. Black and blue fruits, cassis, floral fragrances, cigar box notes (think Partagas 8-9-8’s), the finest dark chocolate and black cherries. Balance is unquestioned. I can’t think of a more massive wine which, bizarrely, seems to exhibit a formal elegance. Equally perplexing is that there is already noticeable complexity developing. Inevitably, there are extensive tannins, but they do not intrude in any way. The integration of tannins and acidity, with the intense fruit, seems so seamless as to be an illusion. This is a wine that, in truth, is far too young to drink now, but so balanced, so delicious, that it would be hard to condemn those that do. Just know what you are missing. One for the grand-kids. It has the length of flavour, never flagging, that is more often associated with the great Rutherglen fortifieds. Classic Taylor’s with a twist, this is a stupendous, brilliant vintage port that has decades ahead. The most remarkable young VP I have ever seen. The score simply reflects that, with time, it should get even better. >

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FINE Region

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ornington Peninsula is part of what has become known as the “dress circle of wine regions” around Melbourne in Victoria (along with Macedon, Geelong and the Yarra Valley). Like most of these surrounding regions, a number of grape varietals excel, but none more so than the Burgundians – Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Some of Australia’s best examples of both these varietals are found here, and I list its top 10 Wineries and Wines. Text: Ken Gargett Photos: Mornington Peninsula Vignerons Association

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Port Phillip Estate

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he universal problem with any Top Ten list is that if you are asked for the same list the following day, there is every chance that it will change. A Top Ten list of Mornington Peninsula wineries is tough enough to compile in the first place, but every time I find ten with which I am happy, I think of a few more deserving of a place. In the Mornington Peninsula, there are some cracking wineries, all worth visiting and definitely worth drinking – Port Phillip Estate, Dexter, Polperro, Quealy, Scorpo, Elgee Park, Montalto, Willow Creek, Dromana, T’Gallant, Crittenden Estate, Ocean Eight and Principia. And this list doesn’t include ‘outsiders’, who source fruit from the region, such as William Downie. If you ask me tomorrow, half of these wineries are just as likely to be on my list. And I’ll have thought of a few more. Pinot Noir seems especially at home on the Peninsula, though there are very different styles. They range from fragrantly elegant to rich, full-flavoured, complex efforts. The cooler sub-regions tend to the softer tannins with gentle red fruits, cherries, strawberries and raspberries. The warmer sub-regions give Pinot that is more tannic with darker fruits, not least plums. Chardonnay can be wonderfully complex with great intensity and a lingering persistence. Alluring, supple texture and with citrus and stone-fruit notes. They also have the knack of ageing extremely well, which must be partly attributed to the

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high level of natural acidity found in the ripe grapes. Thus, malolactic fermentation is the rule. The sub-regions are, at this stage, unofficial and commonly referred to as ‘down the hill’, which is more northerly, and ‘up the hill’, the more southerly. The ‘north’ includes places, such as Main Ridge, Red Hill and Moorooduc, that sit at the higher altitudes. Altitude ranges between 25 and 250 metres above sea level. The seasonal rainfall is between 12 and 15 inches. So

much surrounding water ensures a maritime climate. This maritime influence may mitigate any serious climate change that may occur in the forthcoming years to a degree, but the ultimate impact remains to be seen.

In the lists that I have drawn up, the wines listed are not all current vintages but all are recent and most should still be found – if you search hard or check cellar door. The wineries and wines are listed in alphabetical order.

Eldridge Estate

The focus of this winery in the Red Hill subregion is very much on Pinot Noir, though David Lloyd also produces one of the country’s more interesting Gamays. Sadly, David’s very popular wife, Wendy, passed away a few years ago. She was an integral part of the Estate but after some time, David is back and focusing on his fascinating wines. Eldridge is always tinkering and experimenting, often in cahoots with the team at Paradigm Hill. The wines tend to the subtle end of the spectrum, elegance rather than brute force. The vines are some of the oldest in the region.

Pinot Noir 2014 93 points

Bright and fresh. This is quite a vibrant style with delicious cherry flavours and also notes of cherry pits. The first impression is of a pretty wine, but it is soon apparent that there is much more to it than that. Gentle fresh acidity. Good

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FINE Region persistence. Delicious now and for the next few years.

Hurley Vineyard

One might think that working as a Judge on the Victorian Supreme Court might occupy all of His Honour, Mr Justice Kevin Bell’s time, but he and his wife, Tricia Byrnes, a senior solicitor herself, also managed to develop a high quality Pinot Noir winery and vineyards, with the wines improving almost every vintage. Although only a tiny property, there are a several releases. The ‘Garamond’ is especially highly regarded, but ‘Lodestone’ and ‘Hommage’ are also popular. There is an ‘Estate’ Pinot Noir, as well. These are wines much in demand – a situation that is only likely to increase. Corks (more specifically Diam stoppers) are used, as opposed to the almost universal adoption of screwcaps.

‘Garamond’ Pinot Noir 2013 95 points

Fresh, with spices. Lovely raspberry and red fruit notes. Beautifully balanced, it maintains its intensity for a very long time. Supple and delicious. It would be very hard to stop at a single glass of this wine. Very silky tannins, with underlying fresh acidity. A joy now and a wine that will be even better in time. Promises an excellent future.

Kooyong

Part of a Pinot empire, which it forms with Port Phillip Estate, and under the gifted hand of Sandro Mosele, Kooyong is about to enter its third decade. In that time, it has established a well-deserved reputation as Pinot royalty.

“Pinot Noir seems especially at home on the Peninsula” The stars of the range are the three single vineyard offerings – Haven, Meres and Ferrous – but there are numerous wines to love. They have some 40 hectares, the majority devoted to Pinot Noir with a significant section to Chardonnay.

‘Ferrous’ Pinot Noir 2012 95 points

A dense, complex Pinot with an array of characters – gunflint, warm earth, animal hides and dark berries. A gentle and receding oak influence. Finely balanced and delightfully

aromatic. Juicy acidity, silky tannins and impressive length. A complex, yet elegant Pinot with time ahead of it. Much to like here.

Main Ridge Estate

A small but universally admired and much loved estate, Main Ridge Estate was one of the very first wineries in the district. Established by civil engineer who is the world’s nicest guy, Nat White, and his wife, Rosalie, back in 1975, it is a mere 2.8 hectares. All fruit comes from the estate, so it is immediately obvious that quantities will be limited. Nat recently sold the property to the Sexton family. There will be a lot of winelovers with an eye on the place to see if standards are maintained – so far the new owners are saying all the right things. Mind you, if anyone has ever had a bad word about anything to do with this wonderful tiny winery, I’m yet to hear it. There would be few critics who have not had it firmly ensconced in their Top Ten for all Australia. Choice of wine? It really could be pretty much anything made here – they never miss a beat.

Chardonnay 2014 95 points

A 100% wild yeast fermentation, malolactic and barrel fermentation in new and one-yearold Sirogue. This is an exciting Chardonnay. Offers nuts, ripe peach pit notes, grilled cashews. There is depth and intensity with a

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wonderfully supple texture. Bright acidity sits under waves of flavours. Excellent persistence, indeed, serious length. This is youthful but offers an exciting future. Should drink well for a decade.

greater heights in the coming years – and they are seriously good value.

Moorooduc Estate

Stunning wine. Has depth and complexity. Darker fruits to be found here. Spices, plums, black fruits, leather. A delightful mix of fragrant elegance and coiled power. Great length. Very fine tannins. Youthful. Terrific now, just fabulous drinking, but this will be a seriously fine wine with more time. Impeccable balance. This wine has some of that elusive peacock’s tail, the explosion of flavours on its finish.

Dr Richard McIntyre established this very popular estate back in 1983, but it is in the last decade that it has really stepped up to its current status as one of the very finest wineries in the region. Whether that is because of the move to wild yeast fermentation, the greater involvement of daughter, Kate (an MW), a revision of grape sourcing, increased vine age and/or winemaking expertise, or a combination of these factors hardly matters. Top of their tree (top Duc, if you like) is ‘The Moorooduc McIntyre’. Follow this estate – the wines are already superb but they are only heading for

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‘The Moorooduc’ McIntyre Pinot Noir 2013 96 points

research respectively (their paradigm shift) to establish this small winery at Merricks. Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, Riesling and Shiraz are all grown, but it is the Pinot Noir where the real excitement lies. One thing worth knowing about George’s labels is that he provides more information than possibly any other winery in the world. If you can think of a question about his wines, he has already answered it, probably down to several decimal points. Neither George nor Ruth have completely left their former careers behind – Ruth is undoubtedly one of the best cooks in the region and George can’t help researching every tiny aspect of his vineyard and winery. It all leads to better and better wines.

Paradigm Hill

Ruth and George Mihaly moved from successful careers in food and medical

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The work done by George and his team have been rewarded as their recent wines show a finer texture, more elegance and better balance than ever before. This wine has some coffee grind and briary touches, spices and cherry notes. Good structure and silky tannins with some early complexity. The more time in the glass, the more it opened up to reveal glory after glory.

Paringa Estate

Lindsay McCall has operated Paringa for more than three decades and in that time, gained an international reputation for superb wines. Aside from 4.2 hectares at the estate, they have leased a further 13 hectares to cover requirements. There are several levels of quality, though the wines at all strata both excel and represent excellent value. One

curiosity is that they make, in this adopted home to the Burgundian varietals, one of the country’s best Shiraz. They understand the tasting process perfectly, making it a really pleasurable experience. Add to that, an absolute superb restaurant. The winery is a must-visit on any trip to the region. A regional icon.

‘The Paringa’ Pinot Noir 2009 96 points

Paringa Estate may be even more famous for their Shiraz (partly because it is a stunner and partly because they have mastered a grape that has seen others struggle in this region) but they have a number of Pinots, all worth a look – but this is the pinnacle! From a thirty-year-old vineyard (old for this part of the country), there is power and richness in abundance. Black fruits, spices, coffee

bean and dark berry notes here. All kept well in check. Great length. Something special and with an exciting future ahead. Already exhibiting complexity and with more to come. Notwithstanding the power and concentration here, it retains surprising elegance.

Stoniers

Stonier Wines was founded by Brian Stonier, back in 1978, which surely grants it ‘elder status’, but it remains a vibrant, relevant and important winery for the region. And one continually making excellent wines, especially Pinot Noirs. With almost 70 hectares either under ownership (these days, ownership is with Lion) or under their management, they are one of the more serious players in the district. Stonier is famous for their annual International Pinot Noir Tasting (SIPNOT), which pits their own offering against the best from around the globe, all tasted blind, of course. It is rare that

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FINE Region

‘L’ami sage’ Pinot Noir 2012 94 points

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their wine is not one of the cheapest in the tasting and even more rare that theirs is not considered one of the very best.

many Three Starred establishments would bow down before and this is, put simply, one of the best.

KBS Chardonnay 2013 93 points

One small pea under the mattress – they have crossed to the dark side and do produce a Sauvignon Blanc. For me, a waste of prized vineyard that could be devoted to something so much more rewarding.

A style with 50% malolactic fermentation, this is very much a youthful wine. An appealing mix of mineral and citrus notes, especially grapefruit. Some underlying power and richness and it maintains intensity throughout, with a long finish. A full-flavoured yet balanced Chardonnay.

‘Wallis’ Chardonnay 2012 96 points

Slightly more elegant and refined than that from the McCutcheon Vineyard, but always happy to drink either. This offers oodles of lemon pie notes, freshly baked. Florals, notably jasmine. A wine that lingers beautifully. Excellent length, balance and intensity. Seriously impressive Chardonnay. The fans of white Burgundy may scoff, but given that the famous region has

Ten Minutes by Tractor

If there was one word I’d associate with this curiously named estate, it would be ‘professionalism’. Everything is done immaculately. And the wines have never been better. Established back in the 1990s, there are three vineyards totalling around 35 hectares. And, needless to say, they are around ten minutes by tractor from each other. The attention to detail that Martin Spedding and his team have exhibited for so long, in every aspect of viticulture and winemaking, is being rewarded with a long string of some of the most exciting wines, not just in the region but across the country. Toss in a superb restaurant with a wine list that 68

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FINE Region

93 points

had so many problems over the last decade or two, why would anyone risk a small fortune on a bottle that is often little more than a pigin-a-poke when you can have a wine like this. Good future and great value.

Yabby Lake Vineyard

Serious winemaking and wines reside here. Established in the late 1990s by Robert Kirby, this 50-plus hectare estate is a shrine to Pinot Noir, though of course, they do other varieties, and rather well, of course. Right from the early days, one of Australia’s best

The extra ageing time has given this wine a slightly red/brown edge. This has an array of spice notes, animal hides, gamey touches. Some delightful complexity. A long, gentle and pleasing finish. This is one of the least ‘New World’ style Pinots you’ll find in the Mornington Peninsula.

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2015 “en primeur�

Text: Andrew Caillard MW Photos: Pekka Nuikki

The Bordeaux en primeur tasting in 2015 has echoed great applauds on wine markets. The wine professionals around the world have been convinced that 2015 completes the line of a great series of vintages; 2000, 2005,

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2009 and 2010. Some wine professionals speak of it as the vintage of the decade. Andrew Caillard MW shares his overview of this vintage according to his experience of en primeurs.

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Bordeaux report

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Château Pétrus

2015 is a wonderful Bordeaux vintage without the hype or hysteria associated with 2009 and 2010. The wines are generally expressive and generous with marvellous concentration and structure. Give them another year in the barrel and the wines should gain more fruit complexity and volume. The châteaux, across the region, are excited by the beautiful fragrance, clear fruit flavours and brisk energy of the wines, and believe the vintage to be the best since 2010. More than a few times the phrase “vintage of the decade” has been mentioned. I have tasted through most of the top wines, some on more than a few occasions, and feel confident that this is a vintage worth supporting. It is a very successful vintage.

The perfect season Weather conditions were generally ideal with perfect flowering and set during Spring. A hot, dry and sunny spell during June and July kept the vines in balance; the near74

drought conditions resulted in excellent cluster development. Veraison (during which the grape berries turn from green and hard to coloured and fleshy) began towards the end of July. Light rains refreshed the canopies and hydrated the clusters. Cooler weather arrived in August with above average rainfall. The northern Médoc was exposed to heavy rains, but no berry splitting or significant disease pressure was reported. The cooler conditions running up to harvest in September allowed the grapes to conserve their aromatic potential and ripen relatively evenly.

Right Bank vs Left Bank The red wines across the right bank and the left bank are generally impressive in concentration, vigour and freshness. While all the wines are tasted extremely young, it is easy to see the quality and dimension of the vintage. Merlot performed particularly well, with many châteaux picking intermittently over a three-week window to

achieve optimal freshness, fleshiness and ripeness. Cabernet Franc, its companion in many of the wines, gives an attractive “tannin seam” and structural vigour. Observers are already calling it a right bank (St Emilion & Pomerol) year. Vieux Château Certan, described as “La Force Tranquille,” and Ch Pétrus were my top two right bank wines followed by Ch Ausone. All have a buoyancy and precision that augers well for the future. The southern left bank (Margaux and Pessac-Léognan) also stumped up some beautiful concentrated wines. The alcoholic strength and tannin ripeness seem to correlate with this impression. Cabernet Sauvignon, typically “needing to take its time”, brought wines of lovely aromaticity, concentration and vitality. The success of this variety has been dependent on the sophistication of harvesting and selection at blending. Ch Margaux and Ch Palmer are amazing wines. Ch Haut-Brion and Ch La Mission Haut-Brion made dense chocolaty styles. Ch Haut-Bailly is particularly refined and beautifully balanced.

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At Ch Batailley, the introduction of a second wine and closer attention to differentiation, led to one of the best vintages in its history. Many of the small refinements and decisions in the vineyard and winery allowed several top châteaux in St Julien, Pauillac and St Estèphe to make beautiful wines too. The hard selection process is particularly evident on the left bank. Ch Margaux and Ch Cos d’Estournel chose to rigorously defend their first wines by very detailed picking and selection. Only 35% and 39% (respectively) of the harvest went into their Grand Vin. St Emilion’s Ch Cheval Blanc on the other hand comprised 95% of the harvest, leaving no reason to make Petit Cheval in 2015.

First Growth advantage Attention to detail in the vineyard, especially after the August rains, and huge investment in optical sorting machines (at a cost of around 200,000 Euros each) at harvest ensured the grapes were in good condition before vinification. It is quite incredible how the fruit 76

arrives into the winery these days. Meticulous attention to detail has become the norm within the Grand Cru Classé community. The First Growth Estates with their huge financial investments in vineyard and cellar practices, all made impressive wines this year. Perhaps the most evocative of all is Ch Margaux. The death of the estate’s longstanding winemaker Paul Pontallier, on Easter Sunday from cancer, rocked Bordeaux’s wine community. He was a man for all seasons. He brought the best out of his people and his wines, whatever the vintage offered. 2015 Ch Margaux, in all likelihood, will be the greatest vintage of its modern history. Despite the sombre mood at this year’s en primeurs tastings, the energy of Spring brought a sense of renewal. Budburst in the vineyards, white and pink blossom in full bloom, the pure chirrup of fledglings and the vibrant new wines of the vintage promised the animation and maturation of life. The colours, densities, flavours and tannin quality of the young red wines all suggest a great vintage in the making. It is one of the wine trade’s most curious practices to comment on unfinished wine, yet somehow the predictions are more or less right. Over the next year, the wines will develop more fruit com-

plexity, richness and volume in barrel. The tannins, oak and fruit will further integrate.

Gorgeous sweet wines The sweet aperitif/ dessert wines of Sauternes and Barsac have also fared extremely well. The combination of even ripening and optimum outbreaks of botrytis cinerea has brought some magnificent wines. Some are calling it the best vintage since 2001, arguably the greatest vintage in recent memory. While Ch d’Yquem looked gorgeous, the elegantly styled Ch Climens, still in many parts, will be wonderful. Typically this wine is tasted out of several barrels, and my notes are a composite of eight different elements. The fragrance, vibrancy, freshness, and line are amazing. The dry whites, mainly Sauvignon Blanc or Gris dominant are refreshing styles with attractive freshness and drive. Ch Haut-Brion Blanc is an amazing wine, but its release price will reflect its rarity.

FINE

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FINE Vintage Cellar of L’Evangile, Pomerol FINE

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The summary The châteaux will likely bring out the vintage in two tranches to capture the appetite of the world’s wine trade. The first offers will probably be a touch higher than last year’s opening prices. This will be against the advice of the négociants who have been running on very low margins for many years now. The weakening of the British Pound and the Australian Dollar against the Euro may be a stumbling block for some buyers, but there will be value and opportunity in this forthcoming en primeur campaign. This is absolutely the best way to buy Bordeaux – provenance is guaranteed, allocations confirmed and the price will still be less than future imports, by virtue of the structure of the Place de Bordeaux. Better market conditions in China and the United States, together with a significant vintage in both quantity and quality, will see momentum returning to Bordeaux after a fouryear period of stagnation and uncertainty. The cat and mouse game between the châteaux, the negociants and wine trade now begins. Regardless of the outcome, Bordeaux will continue to be the fine wine reference for many decades. There is something utterly unique, invigorating and evocative about mature Bordeaux wines. The best of the 2015 will be transformative and delicious to drink. All you need is patience, moderately deep pockets and the will to buy! >

Vieux Chateau Certan, Pomerol

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FINE Vintage FINE

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FINE Vintage

BORDEAUX 2015 OVERVIEW Margaux

Beautiful wines with gorgeous fruit density and fine sinuous tannins. It is some years since Margaux shone so brightly. Ch Margaux, Ch Palmer, Ch Rauzan-Ségla, Ch Rauzan-Gassies, Ch Malescot Saint-Exupéry, Ch Angludet, Ch Kirwan, Ch Cantenac Brown and Ch BraneCantenac are highlights.

Pomerol

Wonderful fleshy wines with superb concentration and chocolaty textures. It is one of the most impressive Pomerol vintages of the last twenty years with “lots of shoulder and length”. Vieux Château Certan and Ch Pétrus were profound standouts. The list is long but Ch Latour-à-Pomerol, Ch La Fleur, Ch La Fleur-Pétrus, Ch Trotanoy, Ch Hosanna and Ch Le Bon Pasteur were also highlights.

St Julien

Fragrant and well concentrated with slinky textures and inky length. Ch Léoville Las Cases, Ch Ducru Beaucaillou and Ch Léoville Barton were top performers. But I also liked Ch Beychevelle, Ch Branaire-Ducru and Ch Lagrange, which are beneficiaries of meticulous selection.

Pauillac

The First Growths all made very fine wines. There is a debate about which is best. I like Ch Mouton Rothschild the best and admire Ch Latour for its precision and potential for longevity. The latter is not being released en primeur so its academic. Ch Lafite Rothschild is excellent too. Ch Pontet-Canet is outstanding, as you would expect from such an enlightened and eccentric estate. I was also immensely impressed with Ch Batailley, Ch Lynch-Bages, Ch Clerc Milon, Ch Grand-Puy-Lacoste, Ch Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande and its opposite neighbour Ch Pichon Longueville Baron.

St Estèphe

Classic wines with aromatic complexity and muscular drive. A little more variable than other sub-regions, probably because of its exposure to heavy rains and the Atlantic weather. Ch Montrose and Ch Cos d’Estournel made beautiful wines, by very careful selection of the crop. Their associate second wines were very good too – La Dame de Montrose and Pagodes de Cos.

St Emilion

A very strong year, many wines having superb fruit generosity, freshness and line. Ch Angelus, Ch Ausone, Ch Canon, Ch Cheval Blanc, Ch Figeac, Ch Trotte Vielle, and Ch Troplong-Mondot are top performers. Highlights include Ch Beauséjour, Ch Canon La-Gaffelière, Ch Gracia, Ch La Couspaude, Ch La Dominique, Ch Larmande, Ch Pavie Macquin, Ch Quinault L’Enclos, Clos Fourtet, Clos Cantenac. Ch Chantecaille Clauzel, lying like a shag on an encrusted diamond rock, is not particularly well known, but its story is remarkable and the wine worth buying for the conversation alone.

Sauternes & Barsac

A very strong year. The wines possess beautiful fragrance, clarity, viscosity, richness and acid line. Ch Climens, Ch Coutet and Ch Guiraud are wonderful standouts. Ch de Rayne Vigneau, Ch Doisy-Daëne, Ch Doisy Védrines. Clos Haut Peyraguey, Ch La Tour Blanche, Ch RabaudPromis, Ch Rieussec and Ch Suduiraut all produced fine examples too. The lesser known Ch Broustet, Ch Caillou, Ch de Myrat and Ch Suau were exemplary. Ch d’Yquem is of course impressive, but next door neighbour Ch Guiraud, offers a very similar quality and style.

Pessac-Léognan & Graves

Powerful wines with density and strength. Both Ch La Mission Haut-Brion and Ch Haut-Brion are standouts with amazing concentration and vigour, accompanied by relatively high alcohol level. The superb Ch Haut-Bailly, Ch Smith Haut Lafitte and Domaine de Chevalier are my personal favourites.

FINE

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TOP 50 WINES 2015 by Andrew Caillard MW

Vieux Château Certan – Pomerol 100p Deep colour. Fresh, aromatic, musky, dark plum aromas with praline, vanilla oak. Sweet dark cherry, musky plum, praline, violet flavours, beautiful long fine chalky silky tannins, superb savoury oak complexity and mid palate viscosity. Fine dry grainy finish with beautiful length. A very sophisticated wine with lovely freshness and line. Finesse and elegance.

Château Pétrus – Pomerol 100p Medium deep colour. Fragrant. Inky dark plum, dark cherry, aniseed aromas with touch of praline, espresso oak. Beautiful concentrated wine with inky dark plum, dark cherry fruit, supple and vigorous graphite textures, generously smooth yet juicy rich mid-palate, cedar mocha oak notes and slinky firm tannin finish. Perfectly balanced and integrated with lovely energy vibrancy and juiciness. A great wine in the making.

Château Margaux – Margaux 100p Medium deep colour. Lovely cherry, cola, herb aromas. Silky smooth, beautifully balanced wine with red currant, red cherry plum flavours with espresso, chinotto notes. Fine loose knit lacy textures and roasted coffee mocha notes. Fruit expands towards the back palate with light graphite plume at the finish. One of the great wines of the vintage and an evocative salute to the great winemaker Paul Pontallier (22 April 1956 – 27 March 2016).

Château Palmer – Margaux 99p Deep. Very attractive wine. Intense cassis, dark plum, inky fresh aromas. Richly flavoured and rounded with elemental inky cassis, dark plum fruit, extra fine grainy long perfectly ripe tannins and espresso, roasted chestnut oak complexity. Finishes firm and tight yet long and sweet. Gorgeous “power and finesse”. A long haul wine that will last a hundred years.

Château Ausone – St Emilion 99p Dark plum, roasted chestnut aromas. Substantial and involved wine with concentrated and ripe dark plummy blackberry fruits, brambly yet spinuous tannins and plenty of mocha oak. Powerful and generous yet lovely precision and line. Elemental and richly flavoured with aldente grippy firmness. Paneforte plum flavours at the finish.

Château Climens – Barsac 98p Pale colour. Fresh dried apricot, white flowers, pineapple, grapefruit aniseed aromas and flavours with honeyed marzipan notes. Superb luscious yet perfectly weighted fruit with underlying ginger oak, light chalky textures and superb mineral cut. Tasted several barrels, each from different tries – the best way to taste an unfinished wine.

Château Mouton Rothschild – Pauillac 98p Deep colour. Intense pure cassis, mulberry herb aromas with praline mocha notes. Well concentrated and elegant with a rich saturated robe of cassis, redcurrant, flavours, cedar ginger oak and plentiful tannins. Supple yet muscular and gravelly. Strength and finesse – a very fine wine. 82

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FINE Vintage FINE

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Château Latour – Pauillac 98p Deep colour. Classic powerful Pauillac with beautiful clear blackcurrant, herb, aniseed, cedar aromas. Concentrated cassis, dark plum, cedar, flavours with chicory notes, fine muscular tannins and cedar complexity. Finish brambly firm but long in both flavour and minerality. Very precise, uber-cool and for the long haul. Lengthens out at the finish. Comparable to 1982.

Château Figeac – St Emilion 98p Deep colour. Intense liquorice, cassis, pastille, praline aromas. Fresh sweet fruit flavours, dark chocolate flavours, fine plentiful ripe velvet tannins and underlying savoury oak. Graphite finish. Lovely balanced wine with vigour and dimension. Totally controlled and balanced. Gorgeous wine.

Château Canon – St Emilion 98p Deep colour. Beautiful black cherry, plum, herb aromas with praline notes. Lovely sIinky black cherry, plum flavours, fine graphite, mid-palate richness and generosity. Savoury oak notes and mineral length. Lovely balance, strength and texture with superb fruit density and suppleness. Superb energy and drive. Still elemental but balanced for the long term.

Château d’Yquem – Sauternes 98p Pale colour. Intense honeycomb, ginger, grapefruit glacé aromas. Beautiful ripe grapefruit pineapple flavours with ginger marzipan notes, fine loose-knit slinky textures and lovely mineral length. Very tangy yet incredibly well concentrated. Lovely weight and texture. Not heavy nor light. Picked four times between 3 September and 21 October.

Château Smith Haut Lafitte – Pessac Léognan 97p Deep colour. Fresh dark chocolate, dark cherry, with hint of musky Turkish Delight notes. Generous and supple with lovely rich dark cherry, blackcurrant pastille fruit, mocha oak and chocolaty tannins. Finishes chalky, long and juicy. Lovely richness, depth and length. Powerful yet graceful. Impressive.

Château Ducru-Beaucaillou – St Julien 97p Deep colour. Intense dark cherry, cassis aromas with provinces but balanced mocha liquorice oak. Concentrated. Sweet liquorice, dark cherry and cassis fruit. Fine chalky tannins and beautiful inky length. Lovely buoyant style with velvety textures and attractive volume. Plush yet refined wine.

Château Cheval Blanc – St Emilion 97p Medium deep colour. Fresh dark cherry, herb garden, praline espresso aromas. Silky textures wine with dark cherry, raspberry fruit flavours, inky textures. Finishes chocolaty firm and chalky. Very minerally and elegant. Graphite. Really lovely tannin structure. Lacy plume. A dense expressive wine with power and longevity.

Château Coutet – Sauternes 97p

Château Sigalas-Rabaud – Sauternes 97p

Medium pale colour. Lemon curd, tonic water with floral aniseed notes. Generous ginger oak, beautiful lime verbena notes, fine aldente textures and superb mineral line. Very expressive wine with the slightly sappy bitter notes giving dimension, expression and freshness.

Château Pontet-Canet – Pauillac 97p Medium deep colour. Dark cherry, chinotto, cassis, ginger notes. Lovely supple and fleshy wine with cassis cola, fine sinewy touch grippy tannins bit lovely buoyancy and weight. Underlying ginger, savoury nutty notes. Lovely mineral length.

Château Montrose – St Estèphe 97p Medium deep colour. Elderberry, blackcurrant, herb garden aromas with savoury graphite, black olive notes. Plush. Richly textured wine yet very balanced and fresh with cassis chocolate, vanilla graphite notes, plentiful ripe tannins, savoury biscuity oak. Finishes chalky firm with and inky long finish. Still elemental but very attractive with plenty of cellaring potential.

Château Latour à Pomerol – Pomerol 97p Beautiful wine. Fragrant dark cherry plum, boysenberry aromas with mocha oak and garrigue notes. Superb density of fruit. Delicious redcurrant, boysenberry fruit, plentiful chocolaty tannins, some cola notes and mocha oak. Rich and generous wine. Firm chocolaty finish. Great cellaring potential.

Château Lafleur – Pomerol 97p Medium deep colour. Expansive and expressive wine with intense mulberry plum star anise aromas and savoury biscuity oak nuances. Vigorous with generous mulberry plum fruits, touch of praline and vanilla and hint of graphite. Tannins are lacey and dry. Inky fruit pastille notes plume towards the end palate. Chalky al-dente firm with a bitter chinotto kick at the finish. Understated yet gorgeous.

Château Lafite Rothschild – Pauillac 97p Medium deep colour. Cassis, dark chocolate, espresso, violet aromas with graphite notes. Well concentrated wine with cassis, blackberry fruit, graphite nuances, fine gritty tannins touch al-dente. Attractive and complete. Build up is velvety, firm and tight. Lovely mineral length. Classical and well balanced. Light but heavy.

Château La Mission Haut-Brion – Pessac Léognan 96p Deep colour. Attractive dark plum, dark chocolate paneforte aromas with herb notes. Rich and chocolaty with deep set dark plum, elderberry fruit, fine chocolaty textures and mocha oak. Generous and vigorous with inky density and brambly dry al-dente finish. Elemental but impressive with high pigmentation.

Château Haut-Bailly – Pessac Léognan 97p

Medium pale colour. Attractive lime, lemon honey aromas with herb notes. Bitter sweet palate with fine chalky slightly grippy texture. Honey marzipan, herb notes, and plenty of vanilla new oak nuances. Bitter finish with drying oak notes. Still elemental, but with the richness and acidity to last the distance.

Deep colour. Lovely aromatic complexity. Beautiful, perfumed strawberry, black cherry, violet, praline. Supple and silky with beautiful pristine dark cherry, strawberry inky flavours, fine grained simplistic tannins and lovely mineral length. Finishes al-dente firm with lovely sweet fruit notes. Lovely density. Ginger oak notes. Not powerful but has a graceful structure. A cracker. Shows First Growth quality.

Château Trotte Vieille – St Emilion 97p

Château Guiraud – Sauternes 97p

Deep colour. Inky aniseed nose with violet aromas, praline, cedar. Richly flavoured wine with deep set praline, dark plum fruits, fine chocolaty, al dente textures and excellent mineral length. Quite 84

muscular and tight but will unravel with time. One for the long haul.

Medium pale colour. Floral, beeswax marzipan honeyed aromas. Crystalised grapefruit, tonic water, dried apricot, honey flavours, lovely silky viscosity, underlying savoury vanillin oak and superb

FINE

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FINE Vintage

mineral length. Touch of al-dente, gives attractive bitterness and depth. Lovely wine with beautiful persistency of flavour. Lovely balance of botrytis and fruit.

Domaine de Chevalier – Pessac Léognan 96p Medium deep colour. Intense espresso, mocha, blackcurrant aromas with cedar complexity. Supple and creamy with sinuous dark berry, blackcurrant pastille notes, fine loose-knit chalky tannins and lovely roasted chestnut vanilla oak. Finishes minerally with long cassis and aniseed notes. Very well balanced wine. Heading towards First Growth like quality.

Château Rauzan-Segla – Margaux 96p Deep colour. Fresh dark berry cassis, liquorice with cedar notes. Substantial buoyant wine with wonderful density and fruit power, chocolaty tannins, balanced new oak notes. Finishes chocolaty, aldente firm.

Pavillon Blanc du Château Margaux – Bordeaux 96p Lemon lime grapefruit aromas and ginger spice notes. Well concentrated grapefruit, lime lemon tonic water flavours, crisp acidity with juicy notes. Supple and voluminous with excellent length.

Château Lynch-Bages – Pauillac 96p Deep colour. Intense fresh elderberry, cassis aromas with liquorice, aniseed notes. Sweet fruited and densely packed with lovely cassis, praline flavours, fine grainy tannins and plentiful new vanilla oak. Finishes firm with lovely mineral length.

Château Léoville Las Cases – St Julien 96p Deep colour. Elderberry, liquorice, graphite aromas. Sweet, dark chocolate, liquorice, blackberry fruit, very dry tannins, savoury oak complexity. Finishes long with al-dente notes. Very savoury wine with graphite dusty notes. One for the long haul.

Château Rieussec – Sauternes 96p Medium colour. Intense, classic marzipan lemon curd, lime aromas with herb garden notes. Rich, powerful and expressive with lemon curd, marzipan flavours. Amazing mid palate volume and fine bitter tannins. Flavours expand at the finish. Superb length of flavours with strong fresh acid line.

Le Bon Pasteur – Pomerol 96p Medium deep colour. Fragrant inky cedar plum liquorice aromas. Swish and plush on the palate with buoyant dark berry fruit, plentiful velvety tannins and attractive new savoury, vanilla oak. Finishes chocolaty and long. Powerful yet refined, dense and chocolaty yet precise and minerally.

Château La Fleur-Pétrus – Pomerol 96p Medium deep colour. Redcurrant, plum, floral, star anise aromas. Supple sweet fruited wine with dense redcurrant, plummy fruit, fresh sinuous fine tannins, savoury oak notes. Lovely persistence. Aniseed kick at the finish. Still elemental but will develop very well.

Château Hosanna – Pomerol 96p Medium deep colour. Attractive red plum, redcurrant aromas with inky notes. Elegantly styled yet rich and voluminous with red plum, FINE

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redcurrant, inky flavours, balanced savoury oak, long grainy slightly al-dente tannins and superb mineral length. Lovely vinosity and freshness.

Château Haut-Brion – Pessac Léognan 96p Deep colour. Dark plum, graphite aromas with black olive, mocha notes. Rich and voluminous with dark plum, graphite, elderberry flavours. Plentiful chalky/ gravelly textures, supple almost velvety mid palate and plenty of flavour length. Al-dente grippy finish. Very good potential.

Château Doisy-Daëne – Barsac 96p Medium pale colour. Lemon, grapefruit, pith honey aromas with savoury oak notes. Well concentrated wine with honey lemon glacé flavours, superb viscosity and ginger oak flavours. Finishes chalky with plenty of lemon glacé notes. Some al-dente, bitter, tonic water notes add to the complexity and interest.

Château Cos d’Estournel – St Estèphe 96p

Château Suduiraut – Sauternes 95p Medium deep. Lemon marzipan aromas with herb notes. Fresh supple wine with rich marzipan grapefruit ginger flavours, silky viscous mid-palate and lovely fresh acid line. Impressive wine with chalky firm touch bitter finish. Very good length.

Château Rauzan-Gassies – Margaux 95p Deep colour. Intense dark cherry, cassis aromas with musky Turkish delight notes. Well balanced wine with rich cassis, plum fruit, supple long fine firm tannins. Lovely mineral length and fruit persistency. Delicious.

Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande – Pauillac 95p Cassis, roasted cedar aromas with mocha notes. Richly flavoured and elemental with ripe blackcurrant aromas, ginger, savoury biscuity oak and round generous tannins. Finishes firm with attractive tannin plume. Plenty of substance yet balanced.

Deep colour. Dark berry cassis, pastille like aromas with herb garden ginger spice notes. Fresh supple inky wine with cassis fruit, fine muscular but precise tannins. Finishes firm but the fruit has outstanding persistency. Al-dente finish. Lovely precision, muscular drive and mineral length.

Pavillon Rouge du Château Margaux – Margaux 95p

Château Batailley – Pauillac 96p

Château Pavie-Maquin – St Emilion 95p

Deep colour. Fresh dark cherry, cedar, cola aromas. Well-concentrated dark cherry, cola, chinotto flavours, fine loose-knit chalky dry textures and some vanilla elements. Finishes gravelly and firm with persistent cassis fruit. Some lovely roasted notes in the background. Very good density, richness and vinosity.

Château Angelus – St Emilion 96p Deep colour. Fresh dark berry, ginger, herb aromas. Dark cherry, dark plum ginger, fine sweet tannins, savoury oak notes. Lovely vanilla finish with al-dente, slightly grippy textures. Excellent wine with generosity and freshness.

Château Palmer Alter Ego – Margaux 96p Deep colour. Blackberry, elderberry aromas with savoury oak notes. Inky, blackberry, cassis, creamy flavours, silky extra fine graphite textures, and underlying vanilla, mocha, ginger oak. Finishes firm and chewy at the finish. Elemental but in perfect symmetry. Lovely wine.

Château de Valandraud – St Emilion 95p Deep colour. Intense dark cherry, dark chocolate, ginger, sweet fruit aromas. Rich dense, chocolaty, with brambly textures. Finishes long and minerally. Generous and substantial yet with finesse and balance.

Medium deep colour. Red cherry, dark berry aromas with vanillin notes. Supple red cherry, strawberry, red cherry fruits, sinuous looseknit lacey tannins, underlying mocha oak and persistent chalky plume. Lovely mineral length. Deep colour. Intense plum, Turkish delight, violet aromas with savoury vanilla oak notes. Richly concentrated wine with bitter sweet chinotto notes, fresh dark cherry musky flavours, vanilla oak complexity and chalky al-dente textures. Elegantly styled wine with balance and freshness.

Château Pape Clément – Pessac Léognan 95p Deep colour. Intense dark cherry, praline aromas. Rich chocolaty wine with plenty of dark cherry, dark plum fruits, mocha, oak complexity and plentiful fine loose-knit tannins. Classic Michel Rolland wine. Modern and well balanced wine with fine grippy aniseed length.

Château Haut-Brion Blanc – Pessac Léognan 95p Pale colour. Intense lemon curd, white flowers, grapefruit aromas with vanilla nuances. Beautiful roundness and density. Lemon curd, grapefruit flavours, fresh long mineral acidity. Pure lemony finish with aniseed notes. Very attractive wine with plenty of potential. Alcohol quite high at 15.3%.

Château Trotanoy – Pomerol 95p Medium deep colour. Blackberry pastille, graphite aromas with savoury oak complexity. Sweet plum, inky, blackberry flavours with liquorice notes. Fine, plentiful, chalky, slightly sappy tannins and marked acidity. Juicy firm wine with density and length. Elemental and vigorous.

Château Troplong-Mondot – St Emilion 95p Deep colour. Fresh. Intense. Dark plum liquorice herb aromas with dark cherry notes. Sweet plummy fruit with ginger oak notes, perfectly ripe tannins and lovely mineral length. Ripe and expressive with an alcoholic kick. 86

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It will be one of the excellent vintages. In 2015, the region’s terroir was the key to success. For red wines, the limestone plateau in St Emilion performed extremely well as water was available in the hot summer days and drainage was ideal during rainy August. The best wines of St Emilion came from these soils. The sandy parts gave a more heterogeneous result. In Pomerol also, the very successful wines came from the central plateau and more heterogeneous ones from the areas around. In Fronsac, not only the terroir, but the vintners’ decision proved important. Pessac-Léognan did extremely well with a homogenous quality. The Médoc was divided. The southern part (mainly Margaux and the southern part of Saint-Julien) saw less rain and produced

Château Ausone 99p Dark purple with violet hue and black core. Powerful yet elegant nose with a complex approach. Blackberries, elderberries, hints of sloe, elegant spiciness. On the palate rich, yet elegant with great length, freshness and excellent tannins. Very persistent character, excellent complexity and finesse.

Vieux Château Certan 98p Dark purple with violet hue and almost black core. Pure fruit, elegant style with discreet spiciness and hints of minerality. Opening up very slowly. Blackcurrants and dark berries, vanilla and hints of toasted gingerbread. Perfect maturity, excellent tannins and marvellous length. Elegance, freshness and great aromatic depth.

Pétrus 98p Dark purple red with violet hue and almost black core. Great nose, initially quite closed, with elegant and pure fruit, elderberries, blackberries, black cherries, ripe plums, vanilla and hints of roasting aroma, Complex and rich with persistence and elegance, freshness and hints of minerality. Expressive and juicy fruit, mild spices in the aftertaste. Opulence, elegance and persistence.

Château Mouton-Rothschild 98p Dark purple with violet hue and black core. Gorgeous wine with complex character, excellent nose with ripe blackcurrants, hints of graphite, vanilla, dark chocolate and cocoa, hints of toasted aromas. Opening very well. On the palate perfectly ripe tannins, elegant freshness, juicy fruit. One of the best Mouton ever tasted en primeur.

Château Margaux 98p Dark purple with almost black core. Very complex and expressive nose, elegant fruit, mild spices, hints of minerality. In the background, dark chocolate and floral notes. Very complex character on the nose. On the palate mild spices, ripe and silky tannins. An aromatic start, complex mid-palate and great length, creating an extraordinary tension on the palate. Perfect definition for elegance and persistence.

Château Haut-Brion Blanc 98p Bright yellow with green hue. Elegant but persistent nose with fresh grapefruit and tangerine, hints of lime-zest. In the background

FINE Vintage

BORDEAUX 2015 BY MARKUS DEL MONEGO MW more powerful wines. The northern part of the Médoc (Pauillac and Saint-Estèphe) produced a very fine and elegant style with excellent persistence. On good terroirs, the ripe seeds gave very ripe tannins with a velvety expression. The cooler conditions of autumn provoked a very pure and fresh fruit. The quality of dry white wines was dependant on origin. The growing season was hot and dry. A lot of white wines showed very mild, almost soft acidity but also some phenolic hints in the aftertaste. A few dry white wines stand out, having preserved freshness and acidity. The sweet wines are remarkably good, very rich in character and the best of them have a crisp acidity balancing the opulent sugar.

passionfruit and mango, hints of vanilla and slightly mineral character. On the palate rich fruit in combination with freshness and elegant acidity, excellent length. Class with very complex character.

Château Lafite-Rothschild 98p Dark purple red with violet hue. Very attractive nose, multi-layered, with pure fruit, very precisely structured, discreet hints of spices. On the palate, great depth and length with pure fruit, fine acidity, silky tannins and long lingering fruit in the finish. Attractive and approachable fruit at the start, well structured mid-palate and neverending length in the finish. Complex and great.

Château Cheval-Blanc 98p Dark purple red with violet hue and almost black core. Well concentrated nose with raspberries and hints of violets, blackcurrants as well as of dark cherries. Excellent palate with great length, freshness and minerality. Fine fruit, complex flavour. Depth and great character.

Château Haut-Brion 98p Dark purple red with violet hue and black core. Initially quite closed, opening up towards complex aroma of blackcurrants and elderberries, distinct minerality, graphite and elegant roasting aroma, hints of dark chocolate. On the palate well structured with precise tannins, well matured, velvety character with excellent length and complex finish. Freshness, complexity and appetising.

Château Latour 98p Dark purple red with violet hue and black core. Densely woven nose, still closed fruit, discreet spiciness, multi-layered character. On the palate, very fine and mature tannins, excellent depth and length, well structured ripe fruit and hints of mild spices.

Château de l’Evangile 98p Dark purple red with violet hue and black core. Aromatic nose reminiscent of fresh crushed grapes, gingerbread spices, hints of roasting aroma. On the palate well structured with opulent start but fresh finish. Good mid-palate with balanced tannins and sweet fruit. Very opulent with excellent length and very accessible.

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TOP 50 BORDEAUX 2015 BY 1

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.COM

NAME

TB

PRODUCER

LOCATION

Pétrus

97.9

Château Pétrus

Pomerol

2

d’Yquem

97.7

Château d’Yquem

Sauternes

3

Château Margaux

97.4

Château Margaux

Margaux

4

Château Ausone

97.2

Château Ausone

St-Emilion

5

Vieux Chateau Certan

97.1

Vieux Château Certan

Pomerol

6

Château L´Evangile

97.0

Château L´Evangile

Pomerol

7

Château Climens

97.0

Château Climens

Sauternes

8

Cheval Blanc

96.7

Château Cheval Blanc

St-Emilion

9

Lafite-Rothschild

96.7

Château Lafite-Rothschild

Pauillac

10

Château Latour

96.5

Château Latour

Pauillac

11

Château Mouton-Rothschild

96.5

Château Mouton-Rothschild

Pauillac

12

La Mission Haut Brion

96.5

Château La Mission Haut-Brion

Pessac-Léognan

13

Château Haut-Brion

96.5

Château Haut-Brion

Pessac-Léognan

14

Château Angelus

96.4

Château Angelus

St-Emilion

15

Château de Figeac

96.4

Château de Figeac

St-Emilion

16

Château Canon

96.3

Château Canon

St-Emilion

17

Château Palmer

96.2

Château Palmer

Margaux

18

L’Eglise-Clinet

96.2

Château L’Eglise-Clinet

Pomerol

19

Tertre Roteboeuf

96.0

Château Tertre Roteboeuf

St-Emilion

20 Château de Valandraud

96.0

Château Valandraud

St-Emilion

21

96.0

Château Haut-Brion

Pessac-Léognan

Château Haut-Brion Blanc

22 Château Smith Haut Lafitte

95.9

Château Smith Haut Lafitte

Pessac-Léognan

23 Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande

95.9

Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande

Pauillac

24 Trotanoy

95.8

Château Trotanoy

Pomerol

25 Chateau Ducru-Beaucaillou

95.8

Château Ducru-Beaucaillou

St-Julien

26 Lafleur

95.7

Château Lafleur

Pomerol

27 Montrose

95.7

Château Montrose

St-Estèphe

28 Domaine de Chevalier

95.5

Domaine de Chevalier

Pessac-Léognan

29 Léoville-Las Cases

95.5

Château Léoville-Las Cases

St-Julien

30 Château Trottevieille

95.3

Château Trottevieille

St-Emilion

31

95.3

Château Rieussec

Sauternes

Château Rieussec

32 Clos Fourtet

95.3

Clos Fourtet

St-Emilion

33 Pavie

95.3

Château Pavie

St-Emilion

34 Château Troplong-Mondot

95.2

Château Troplong-Mondot

St-Emilion

35 Château La Fleur-Pétrus

95.2

Château Lafleur-Pétrus

Pomerol

36 Château La Conseillante

95.2

Château La Conseillante

Pomerol

37 Château Rauzan-Ségla

95.0

Château Rauzan-Ségla

Margaux

38 Domaine de Chevalier Blanc

95.0

Domaine de Chevalier

Pessac-Léognan

39 Château Doisy-Daene

95.0

Château Doisy-Daëne

Sauternes

40 Bélair-Monange

95.0

Château Bélair-Monange

St-Emilion

41

95.0

Château Beausejour Duffau-Lagarosse

St-Emilion

Chateau Beausejour Duffau-Lagarosse

42 Château Hosanna

95.0

Château Hosanna

Pomerol

43 Château Smith Haut Lafitte Blanc

95.0

Château Smith Haut Lafitte

Pessac-Léognan

44 Sigalas-Rabaud

95.0

Château Sigalas-Rabaud

Sauternes

45 Château Pavie-Macquin

95.0

Château Pavie-Macquin

St-Emilion

46 La Mondotte

95.0

La Mondotte

St-Emilion

47 Château Calon Ségur

95.0

Château Calon-Ségur

St-Estèphe

48 Château La Violette

95.0

Château La Violette

Pomerol

49 Château La Tour Blanche

95.0

Château La Tour Blanche

Sauternes

50 Château Pichon-Longueville Baron

95.0

Château Pichon-Longueville Baron

Pauillac

FINE

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FINE Vintage Guillaume & Alexandre Thienpont of Vieux Chateau Certan, Pomerol

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FINE Documentary

OBSESSION – The Thirst Of East Text: Andrew Caillard Photos: Warwick Ross and Robert Coe

“R

ed Obsession”, an Australian production by Lion Rock Films, follows a modern-day silk road through the prism of Bordeaux’s ethereal wines. It observes the risks and

opportunities people take in pursuit of their love of wine. It is a study of the human spirit and cultural perspectives, set against the aesthetic of the Bordeaux and Chinese landscapes as the European debt crisis and global uncertainty gather momentum.

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A

sense of euphoria and supreme confidence was sweeping through Bordeaux in early 2010. The great dragon of the East was firing up. Primed by the Hong Kong Government’s abolishment of wine tax in 2008 and enthralled by the rarity and price evolution of first growth estates, Chinese collectors began dominating the auction rooms of London, New York and Hong Kong. Almost every week new record prices hit the headlines. Fake bottles of Chateau LafiteRothschild flooded the market place. Smuggling and counterfeiting, an ugly counterpoint of prestige brands, added a new complexity to food safety and provenance. The lure of a huge emerging market and the promise of glittering wealth resulted in the greatest mobilization of wine trade in history. A vast proportion of Bordeaux’s grand cru classé wines were landing up in Chinese cellars and warehouses. It is not uncommon for great back-to-back Bordeaux vintages; it happened in 1989/1990,

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1985/1986 and 1899/1900. However two perfect vintages and a rampant emerging market, where anything can happen, is unique. It was with this scenario in mind when I encountered filmmaker and Mornington Peninsula vigneron Warwick Ross on a Qantas flight between Singapore and London in May 2010. Like most ideas, this one was relatively unformed and certainly without any understanding of filmmaking. The annual primeur tastings in Bordeaux seemed to me like a great meeting of wine-heads and that this forum would be a great start for a film, especially if the 2010 vintage was a cracker. Fast forward to early 2011 and the 2010 vintage is exactly as predicted! I am back in Bordeaux in early April with co-director/ producer Warwick Ross, the distinguished Australian screenwriter and co-director David Roach, a young dynamic executive producer Robert Coe, Emmy Award winning cinematograher Lee Pulbrook, sound

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FINE Documentary

recordist Grant Lawson and perfect weather. Five weeks out, we had managed to secure an incredible lineup of interviews including Charles Chevalier (Ch Lafite), Thomas Duroux (Ch Palmer), Jean Guillaume Prats (Ch Cos d’Estournel) Christian Mouiex (Ch Hosanna & Ch Petrus), Corinne Mentzelopoulos and Paul Pontallier (Ch Margaux), Pierre Lurton (Ch d’Yquem & Ch Cheval Blanc) rock star oenologist Michel Rolland Frances’s gifted winewriter and philosopher Michel Bettane, UK wine critics Jancis Robinson MW & Oz Clarke, China’s celebrated winemaker Demei Li, the world’s most famous interviewer Sir Michael Parkinson (in London) etc. The working title was the innocuous “The Fine Wine Game”. The documentary was filmed with the legendary Arriflex Alexa, “a true cinema” digital camera. The significance of the investment only sunk in when Francis Ford Coppola, the owner of Inglenook Winery, was chatting with the film crew in Hong Kong some months later.

Over a period of sixteen months we filmed through the four growing seasons of Bordeaux, visited Hong Kong three times and travelled through China on several occasions, including the wine regions of Ningxia, Shandong Province and Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region in the far north west. China’s bewildering vastness and potential as a wine producing country completely took me by surprise. The contradictions are so extraordinary. The rapid building of infrastructure threatens to destroy the beauty of the landscape and profoundly toxify the air. Yet the pace of change, the will to learn and desire for modernity, may well result in new rapid ways of powering and developing the China economy. We filmed new vine plantings on the bleak gravelly plains where Genghis Kahn subjugated the Western Xia, remnants of the Great Wall, herds of camels grazing through wind farms, and a vineyard adjacent to a cemetery in Turfan; a predominantly Muslim region that boasts over 30,000 hectares of “Thompson Seedless” vines and an emerging

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wine industry (despite its history of making wine 2500 years ago). In Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen we talked to billionaire wine collectors, wine critics and China observers, including Rupert Hoogewerf who famously described Communism as “Dog eat Dog Capitalism, but the other way around!” The Bordeaux market in China has changed profoundly since those heady days. The Chinese Government’s austerity measures of 2012 changed consumption patterns and led to a severe downturn in sales. But “shoots” are growing once again in 2016 and Bordeaux seems

to be back in business, yet with out the euphoria and the excitement. >

ABOUT LION ROCK FILMS Founded by filmmaker Warwick Ross, and based in Sydney, Australia, Lion Rock Films specialises in the development and production of high end, entertaining feature films for Australian and international audiences. Principals Warwick Ross and David Roach have built up a strong reputation over twenty years of original writing and innovative production. Their film credits include some of the most successful Australian feature films ever made including Young Einstein, Reckless Kelly and more recently the multi-award winning WW1 drama, Beneath Hill 60.

Andrew Caillard MW, Cameraman Steve Arnold, Producer/Director Warwick Ross, China consultant Demei Li 94

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FINE Documentary copyright © 2012 lionrockfilms

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Provocative style. Unparalleled performance. The 101 Sport Yacht. Sunseeker International | +44 (0)1202 381 111

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FINE SHERRY

EQUIPO NAVAZOS TEXT :

K EN G ARGET T

PHOTOS :

Equipo Navazos

IN ANY LIST OF CONTENDERS FOR THE MOST EXCITING WINEMAKER ON THE PL ANET, A S HERRY HOUSE SEEMS AN UNLIKELY INCLUSION. CONSIDER THEN THAT THEY ARE MORE NEGOCIANTS THAN MAKERS, THAT ONE OF THE TWO PARTNERS IS A PROFESSOR OF CRIMINAL L AW, RATHER THAN A WINEMAKER, THAT IT IS MORE THE PROJECT OF FRIENDS THAN A TRUE SHERRY HOUSE AND THAT THEY HAVE BEEN IN EXISTENCE FOR JUST A DECADE. ‘UNLIKELY ’ IS A GROSS UNDERSTATEMENT.

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FINE Sherry Jesús Barquín FINE

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Valdespino archive

Yet, Equipo Navazos has made such an impact on winelovers around the globe that they have done the impossible – made Sherry the latest trendy hot thing. Just take a look at how many times these wines appear on the lists of the world’s best restaurants. Then when you hear that Sherry is compared to Montrachet and a producer described as the ‘DRC of Jerez’, it is time to take notice. Of course, for some, Sherry will always remain the stuff of park benches and great aunts. Yes, my dear old great aunt swore she never touched a drop of alcohol, but always had a bottle of Sherry in the cupboard, “for medicinal purposes only”. However, others know just how glorious the best Sherry can be. And make no mistake, these are the best. Although few people have sampled these wines, they are largely responsible for the spike in international interest in Sherry.

A CREATION OF THE BRAND In late 2005, three friends – Eduardo Ojeda, the technical director at Grupo Estevez (better known to Sherryphiles as Valdespino), Jesús Barquín, Professor of Criminal Law at the University of Granada (and winelover and occasional contributor to wine magazines) and historian Álvaro Girón – were visiting a small bodega in Sanlúcar, Sánchez Ayala, when they were introduced to a number of butts of an amontillado that averaged more than three decades of age. They immediately knew it to be exceptional. Certain there would be enough interest among their Sherry-loving friends, they convinced the owner to sell 100

them a butt. Actually, as the butts had spent the last twenty years “without running” – in other words, without being refreshed – they purchased two, as evaporation had reduced them to less than half full, though Jesús confessed that the level of interest meant two were necessary. It was quickly financed by thirty or so friends from around the world and they shared the 600 bottles of what became ‘La Bota de Amontillado No 1’. The guys called their partnership, ‘Equipo Navazos’ – ‘Navazos’ meaning a small garden on a sandy shore. The Ayala operation came from an area of land that had been reclaimed from the local estuary – hence, Navazos. The wine was named ‘La Bota de Amontillado’ because they felt that the aromatic intensity of the wine would make any guest feel as though they were trapped inside a cask of a great Amontillado, as happened in Edgar Allan Poe’s famous tale, ‘The Cask of Amontillado’. ‘Le Bota de...’ meaning ‘the cask of...’ and bottled as such.

THE STAR IS BORN They were aware that these butts were hardly the only sleeping treasures, lying dormant around Jerez and the neighbouring towns. That they had awoken some serious interest and excitement amongst their friends quickly became evident as they were receiving calls from as far afield as Germany, the United Kingdom and the United States. The following year, they tracked down and bottled two more exclusive Sherries, just

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were becoming more and more involved in the winemaking processes. Today, at least half the wines are made by the Navazos team. Selecting the casks plays a lesser, though still vital, role.

They were never going to keep such scintillating wines secret and word soon got out. Some of the friends were retailers and tiny quantities started to appear on their shelves. A further six releases, of between 200 and 2,500 bottles, followed in 2007, with their La Bota de Palo Cortado No 6 – the first to be formerly commercially released, though in reality, it was 2008 before there were genuine commercial releases. At this stage, they were so unprepared for the impending success that they had not even formed a company.

RARITIES IN NUMBERS

FROM MERCHANTS TO WINEMAKERS

All releases have been very limited in quantity. Some have reached as much as 5,000 bottles, but these are often half bottles. The amount bottled depends partly on what is available and partly on what their importers and customers demand. The team keep no stock, so when a wine is sold, that is it.

HELP FOR SHERRY HOUSES One query I had for Jesús was why on earth would the Houses sell much prized butts to a group that has now, albeit in a very small way,

Lola Pancorbo

Those first, albeit miniscule, commercial releases from 2008 met with immediate critical success. Spain’s leading wine writer, José Peñin, named La Bota de Fino, “Macharnudo Alto” No 7, as his ‘Wine of the Year’. Other critics, and those fortunate members of the public who tried the wines, were equally enamoured. International writers were just as excited, and effusive in their praise. By this stage, the guys at Navazos

As has been seen, the wines released are numbered in order, though the numbering does not have any specific significance. They can include any style of Sherry – Fino, Manzanilla, Amontillado, Palo Cortado, Oloroso, Cream, PX and they have ventured into brandies, and even a few unfortified wines, notably a joint venture with superstar Portuguese winemaker, Dirk Niepoort. Quantities are always tiny, hence they work with a few trusted distributors in various countries. You’d have more chance of finding the rarest gems from Burgundy than some of these wines. Prices vary considerably, depending on the wine. While they may seem hefty for Sherry, these wines are often brilliant value, considering the quality. Occasionally, a solera may be repeated, but if so, the new one receives the latest number and this is made clear in the labelling. Hence, and rather coincidently, Nos 10, 20, 30 and 40 were all Manzanilla Pasada from La Guita. The famous No 1 was repeated with Nos 9 and 23. They have now reached the 70, having just bottled (Sep 2016) an Amontillado (No 69) and a Manzanilla Pasada (No 70), both in magnums.

FINE Sherry

800 bottles of each – La Bota de Fino “Macharnudo Alto” No 2, from Bodega Valdespino and La Bota de Pedro Ximénez “De Rojas” No 3, from Bodega Pérez Barquero.

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become a competitor. As it happens, it very much suits the Houses as what Navazos offers, while it may be the same in name, is very different in style to the wines of that House. The butts do not suit the House style and, as good as they might be, are surplus to requirements. Put bluntly, these are butts that the Houses neither need nor really want. As Jesús says, “It is not like we are taking a Grand Cru”. He believes that they will never have a problem with sourcing from the Houses for this reason. That said, Jesús concedes that their greatest problem is the ever-diminishing supply of older wines in Jerez. There is another, more obvious reason that the Houses are happy to be involved with this project. Navazos has transformed the image of Sherry around the world. The sale of a few butts is a tiny investment for a reward, which could hardly have been imagined.

NEW SHERRIES, WINES AND SPIRITS Navazos’s extraordinary success has led to the production of other wines and brandies, and they are even dipping their toes into a malt and a grain whisky, these two for the American market. A Vermouth and a Quina are also in the works. In addition, they have entered into various joint ventures. With Dirk Niepoort, they make a white from Palomino, which is aged in butts under flor but no fortification. They also make a sparkling with Sergi Colet. Jesús says the problem is not finding partners to work with but that there are simply so many potential collaborations that they can’t meet the demand.

Personally, Jesús loves old Finos and Amontillados, which contravenes all conventional wisdom. We’ve always been told that Fino, especially, must be drunk as young and fresh as possible. Jesús believes the contrary. He likes Pasada styles (those aged before bottling) and believes another ten to forty years in bottle can work wonders, adding complexity and finesse. For versatility with food, he likes Fino and Manzanilla Sherries. As for glasses, he is adamant that the traditional Sherry glasses are “useless”. Normal white wine glasses will work, though his preference is for Riedel ‘Riesling’ or ‘Chianti’. He finds Burgundy glasses “too wide” for such a concentrated style of wine as Sherry. One might argue about the style of Sherry he or she likes and what is the best glass for enjoying it, but there is one thing that is indisputable. The Sherries from Equipo Navazos are wines that every winelover should chase. By any standards, they are exceptional. >

Personally, Jesús loves old Finos and Amontillados, which contravenes all conventional wisdom. We’ve always been told that Fino, especially, must be drunk as young and fresh as possible. Jesús believes the contrary.

Lola Pancorbo

The Fino En Rama Navazos is no longer in the horizon but a few sacas have already been released, which will sit at a similar price to their popular Manzanilla, ‘I Think’. Jesús has described it as “a selection of Finos from the Valdespino Bodegas of younger age than our La Bota de Fino, whose next release will likely be No 68. This is not the ‘Macharnudo Alto’ single vineyard, but instead the grapes come from Pago Lomopardo, east of Jerez, and Pago Cartera, between Balbaina and Macharnudo in Jerez. Jesús says, “This Sherry is not fermented in cask. Its average age is around 5 years. Of course, no kind of clarification and only a very light filtration as we do with all our Finos

and Manzanillas, except the few single cask Manzanillas Pasadas. This we have so tiny amount that we cannot afford losing any liquid even by the slightest possible filtration. The colour and the organoleptic profile are therefore intense and complex. It has a strong character of Fino from Jerez, and when you taste it together with ‘I Think’, it is a very educational experience of a comparison between a true Fino and a true Manzanilla coming each one from their own terroirs.”

Jesús Barquín and Eduardo Ojeda 102

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FINE Sherry

By Ken Gargett Colet-Navazos Extra Brut 2010 88 points

La Bota de Florpower “Mas Alla” No 53 92 points

A bone dry style which has spent 30 months on lees. Made from Xarello from Penedes and dosed with some Palo Cortado from 2003, no sugar or sulphur. It is a broad, slightly forceful style, backed by some minerally acidity. Some nutty, ripe notes, with a gently lingering finish. Not for long term storage.

This is the very same wine as No 44 but, when 44 was bottled, a third of it spent an extra period under flor in 225-litre barrels, recently used for a Palo Cortado. It does imbue the wine with more of an oaky note. A more intense style with those same peaches and florals. Extremely complex style. A soft and supple texture and even more length. Does offer a strong Sherry-like finish. Terrific stuff.

Navazos-Niepoort 2011 92 points The closest thing to an ‘unfortified Sherry’ you’ll find. Delicious and utterly fascinating. Basically, Palomino Fino must is aged in butts for nine months under flor. A few hundred years ago, this style of wine was known as ‘vino de manzanilla’ and was more valued than the region’s fortified wines. Pronounced nose with florals and stonefruits. This savoury style is a million miles from the fruit-driven wines we are more used to. Clean, briny and with excellent length. Finely balanced. Different, but really worth trying.

La Bota de Vino Blanco MMX “Florpower” No 44 90 points Another unfortified white from Palomino Fino from Sanlucar (‘Pago Miraflores’, considered the Grand Cru of the region), which was fermented in stainless steel, then 8 months in cask under flor, before returning to stainless steel for another 24 months, still under flor. The ‘MMX’ stands for the 2010 vintage, but that cannot go on the label, for fear of offending bureaucrats. It is a great favourite of the team at ‘El Celler de Can Roca’, one of the world’s finest restaurants with a wine list to match. A deep gold colour with strong nutty notes and ripe peach. The link to Sherry is obvious. Some apples and florals, with oxidative notes. Nice grip on the finish. One suspects that a greater familiarity with these wines would lead to an even greater appreciation.

“I Think” Manzanilla (Saca Feb ‘13) 92 points The third release of this Manzanilla en Rama (meaning a Manzanilla which is bottled directly from the cask, without clarification or filtration) and only available in the United States and Australia. The first, in October 2010, was solely for the UK while the second, in March 2012, was shared between all three countries. Each release is around 5,000 half bottles. The wine spends 4 ½ years under flor. The name is a tribute to Charles Darwin. ‘I Think’ were the only words Darwin wrote in his notebook, along with the drawing of the tree of life. A Manzanilla designed to reward further cellaring – not something usually considered as part of the Manzanilla armoury. Undoubtedly, the minimal filtration greatly assists. It is, of course, a joy to drink now. This is real sea-breeze on a rocky headland stuff. Nutty with freshness. Lovely supple texture. The briny notes linger beautifully. A cracking Manzanilla with more depth and complexity than most.

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Jesús Barquín

La Bota de Manzanilla No 42 95 points This solera has proven a bonanza for Navazos, also providing Nos 4, 8, 16, 22 and 32. This time, they selected from the very oldest butts at Bodega Sanchez Ayala (also the source of their very first selection – an Amontillado). There is extraordinary complexity in this brilliant wine. Offers great length but is dense and weighty in the mouth. Glorious creamy texture. Notes of teak, iodine and brine. There is both life and freshness here. Easy to see how it would be so versatile with Spanish cuisine. Thrilling. Jesús speaks of it as from the Balbaina Vineyard in Sanlucar and how these wines bring the concept of terroir to life in Sherry – the lack of discussion regarding terroir here is something he believes contributed to the decline of Sherry in comparison to other great wines of the world.

La Bota de Manzanilla Pasada ‘Bota Punta’ No 50 95 points ‘Punta’ means the oldest barrel in the solera, and the one providing this wine is around 15 years of age. Lifted aromas here – brine, brass, walnut, orange blossom and citrus rind. Great length and concentration, yet fresh acidity. Really has got amazing length. Only 900 halves made. From the same bodega which makes ‘La Guita’.

La Bota de Palo Cortado Sanlucar No 52 97 points If this doesn’t thrill you to the core then there is no hope for you – or perhaps more fairly, you really do not like Sherry. Brilliant wine. Again, a wine from the 2010 vintage (the same wine as started out and morphed into both 44 and 53). Single vineyard, single vintage – a very rare thing in the world of Sherry. Palo Cortado is that curious ‘in-between’ style, hovering twixt Oloroso and Amontillado. Dull ones end up as neither one thing nor another. Good ones will combine the finesse and intensity of a top Amontillado and the richness of great Oloroso. And this is a seriously good one. Colours of old furniture and tinged with oranges. Amazing aromas of aged cigars, glacéd oranges, teak and linseed oil. Imagine a freshly opened oven with an orange spongecake just baked. Incredibly complex, yet so fresh it seems to dance. Great length yet immaculately clean on the finish. A glorious Sherry.

La Bota de Oloroso No 46 96 points Sourced from the Montilla region, Bodega Perez Barquero, where the Pedro Ximenez grape produces fragrant and full-bodied wines. This has an average age of 25 to 30 years – it was originally the source of 104

3, 12 and 24 – and it is another stunner. Honey, white peach, white chocolate and apricots. A flick of acidity on the finish. Great length and a dry finish. Rich and yet balanced. Jesús says that it is the high level of glycerol which gives an impression of sweetness. A Morgan Freeman of a wine – old, mature, complex and yet as fresh and alive as ever.

La Bota de Amontillado “Bota AR” No 49 96 points Recently, Navazos released a series of extraordinary wines – very old single cask Sherries – from the Bodegas Pedro Romero. First 41, then 47 and 48 and now 49 and 51. The ages range from 55 years up to more than 80 years, and 49 is the oldest of the lot. Deep brown with a green tinge on the edge. Walnuts and linseed oil, treacle, yet it is dry. A real ‘fire and ice’ character. Amazing complexity and extraordinary length. If anything, too powerful – you could serve it with an eye-dropper. Has the length of a very old Rutherglen Muscat or the Seppeltsfield 100-Year-Old Ports. And ‘AR’? Anser Real is apparently the name of a local goose and as the wine can give you goosebumps, they decided it was fitting. If ever a wine was made to be combined with a great cigar, this must be it.

Navazos Gran Solera PX 92 points A wine made in halves, exclusively for Australia. Sourced from Valdespino, there is around 20 to 25 years of age here. Incredibly viscous – it has 425 grams/litre of residual sugar. Made in the Jerezano method, where casks are filled to only 5/6ths of capacity, which is said to reduce the fruitiness and increase the complexity and savouriness of a Sherry. Seriously dense – you can almost see the legs in the wine, not just on the glass. Syrup, chocolate and treacle, honey and deep raisiny notes. Good length and plenty of intensity. Like drinking liquid sultanas.

La Bota de Pedro Ximenez No 36 97 points From the oldest solera of intensely sweet Pedro Ximenez at Bodegas Rey Fernando de Castilla. Made in the Jerezano style, the average age of the nine casks used here well exceeds thirty years. This wine is a dessert on its own. An opaque brown with the green rim of age, it is PX on steroids. Concentrated, balanced, powerful and yet somehow still fresh, it is amazing but definitely the wine to finish on – no point in trying to taste anything after this. So complex and intense. Notes of old teak, molasses, rich chocolate, dried fruits, plum pudding. Flops around the tongue like a ‘70’s lava lamp. Absolutely seamless. A star.

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Josef Hoffmann, auteuil Fledermaus

TASTE CULTURE

”Tradition is the passing on of the fi e, not the worship of the ashes.“ Gustav Mahler www.austrianwine.com

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P EKKA N UIKKI

The new Jaguar F-Type reminds me of the day when I was on my way to a car dealership on the outskirts of London, with a newly issued driving licence. My first car, a bright red Jaguar E-Type Cabriolet, was waiting for me at the dealership. The car cost me 1,500 pounds, nearly half of my annual student budget at the time, but the price was not too high for a Jaguar of my own – a classic from 1962. The car was missing a back bumper, it had a few holes in the roof and the paintwork was faded, but the smile on my face as I drove the car out of the dealership was one of the widest of my life.

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W

hen the E-Type was introduced in 1961, the entire automotive world was impressed. Its dimensions, spirit and shapes were so perfect that the car is part of the permanent exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Even Enzo Ferrari admitted that it is “the most beautiful car in the world”. The E-Type set new standards for car design and performance. The effects of those standards are still evident in the modern Jaguar models, including the F-Type – a unique combination of effortless performance, sporty comfort, advanced technology and exciting design.

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“A half-century of further development has not diminished the significance of the E-Type,” says Mike O’Driscoll, Managing Director of Jaguar Cars and Chairman of Jaguar Heritage. “The E-Type was a sensation when it was launched, and it continues to be the most iconic and longest-standing symbol of Jaguar. It is simply one of the most exciting cars ever created and is true to the ingenuity of Sir William Lyons, the founder of Jaguar.” As a sports car, it became a symbol of the sixties, along with the likes of the Beatles and

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the miniskirt. Many of the brightest stars of the time owned a Jaguar E-Type. It was the car of choice of Frank Sinatra, George Harrison, Brigitte Bardot, Britt Ekland, Peter Sellers, Tony Curtis, Jackie Stewart, George Best and Steve McQueen, among many others. This is testimony to its desirability and status, perhaps even more than its sales figures. “It is impossible to exaggerate the impact that the E-Type had when it was introduced in 1961,” says Ian Callum, Director of Design at Jaguar. The car epitomised the revolutionary

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spirit of the era that it later came to symbolise. It also represents a design trend that continues to affect the design of new Jaguar models.” The Jaguar E-Type was revealed at the Geneva Motor Show in 1961, and it caused a sensation. Its maximum speed was 240 km/h, but it cost only half of the price of competing models with the same performance ability. The media was enthusiastic and so eager to test the car that Sir William Lyons asked Norman Dewis, the chief test driver, to drive another car from Coventry to Geneva overnight.

It was an affordable supercar that instantly became iconic – and remained on sale for 14 years. The six-cylinder engine that was used in the E-Type had enabled Jaguar to win the Le Mans 24-hour race six times in the 1950s. In 1961, the 3.8-litre version of the engine generated 265 horsepower and a maximum speed of 240 km/h, making the E-Type – as well as its predecessor, the XK120 – the fastest car in production at the time. The man behind the harmonious yet exciting design was Malcolm Sayer. He was an

aviation engineer and had applied his aerodynamic expertise also to the C-Type and the Dtype, the models that had been victorious at Le Mans. The aggressive yet elegant body design of the E-Type is an evolution of the D-Type and the E2A prototype. The E-Type solidified Jaguar’s position as an elite carmaker. This model with an alphabetically selected name remained in production for 14 years, with a total sales volume of 70,000 cars. This made it the first mass-produced sports car in Europe.

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F-Type – a new feline

The new Jaguar F-Type takes the company back to its roots: it is a two-seater sports convertible with the focus on performance, agility and responsive handling. “Jaguar is one of the founding members of the sports car segment, with a history of more than 75 years. With the F-Type, we returned to our origins. The F-Type does not resemble any other sports car. It is a Jaguar sports car: extremely precise, powerful, sensual and dynamic.” Adrian Hallmark, Global Brand Director, Jaguar Hallmark could not be more right: the F-Type feels very dynamic. But it is a well-behaved feline, even though its active exhaust system makes it roar like a beast. The valves in the exhaust system open at 3,000 revolutions per minute, creating a breath-taking crescendo. In terms of sound, the F-Type is the most memorable Jaguar that I have ever driven. Not even the new XKR-S is capable of creating a similar, full and complete sound of pure power. The F-Type is an extremely beautiful car, both modern and compact. With its long bonnet, it is every bit as masculine as the E-Type, but it lacks the feminine, balancing softness of the E-Type.

JAGUAR F-TYPE V8 S

Motor: 5,0 l V8 Maximum power: 495 hv 364 kW Top torque: 625 Nm Acceleration: 0–100 km/h 4,3 s Top speed: 300 km/h coupe Height: 4470 mm Width: 1923 mm Weight: 1665 kg

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As a driving experience, the F-Type is a little disappointing: it is simply too perfect. Its ideal 50:50 weight distribution and lightweight aluminium body – as well as its suspension system that adjusts damper rates up to 500 times per second – create excellent conditions for an enjoyable driving experience. In addition, with its nearly 500-horsepower, eight-cylinder engine and eight-speed Quickshift automatic gearbox, it rewards experienced and inexperienced drivers alike with high-precision control and smoothness, even on meandering roads. The F-Type accelerates to 100 km/h in 4.3

seconds – and further to its electronically limited maximum speed of 300 km/h. “When designing the F-Type, our team of engineers focused on creating a more dynamic driving experience than ever before. In order to achieve this, each of the team members had to meet stiff requirements. Every one of these requirements was met and, in many cases, exceeded. This means that the F-Type has every single one of the sporty qualities we were aiming for.” Ian Hoban, Vehicle Line Director, Jaguar

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The Jaguar F-Type exemplifies the company’s future vision: its self-confident design purposely challenges consumers’ preconceived notions. Arched lines and a certain muscular simplicity have always been characteristic of Jaguar cars, and the F-Type is no exception: its design is centred on two key lines that form its front and rear ailerons. Jaguar cars are known for being aesthetically pleasing, and this quality also makes the F-Type immediately stand out. Its interior is designed to resemble a fighter pilot cockpit, and the controls are grouped ergonomically according to functionality. In addition, the SportShift selector of the eight-speed automatic gearbox resembles the joystick of a fighter aircraft. The air vents at the top of the dashboard appear and open only when prompted to do so by the driver or the computer. At other times, they remain out of sight. “We wanted to create an exciting experience for the driver. The cockpit of a sports car should be an intimate space, so we created an interior where the surfaces arch toward and envelop the driver. The feeling we wanted to create, was about what you want to do rather than what you are expected to do! This is increasingly important in this highly processed world of ours.” Ian Callum, Director of Design, Jaguar The jaguar is a predator – fearsome and unpredictable – the boldest and most feline wild animal. The defiant, streamlined design of the F-Type suggests the same kind unpredictability and excitement. Unfortunately, however, I feel that the F-Type is a little lame: in terms of qualities and technology, it is too close to perfection. The fear and respect are gone – the healthy fear and respect that every driver feels toward a real sports car. The F-Type does not make your palms sweat, adrenaline run high or heart beat in sync with the engine. Throughout its history, Jaguar has made excellent executive and sports cars, but none of them has been perfect. The Jaguar R models are closest to perfection but have always involved a human factor. They are products crafted with passion and have created the perfect union with another human factor: the driver. The F-Type, however, does not seem to need me, the driver. Examined from any angle or measured using any indicator, it is perfect in itself. When driving the F-Type, I begin to miss the more human E-Type and all of the R models in the history of Jaguar.

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The birth of the R brand

The history of the Jaguar R models began with the introduction of the XJR-S in 1988. The first R model established half of the Jaguar formula for the future: its new suspension and steering systems offered more precise and responsive handling than before, without compromising on the drivability of the Jaguar saloons. In addition, it was visually more unique, with its aerodynamically designed body, and it had less chrome, a colour-coded interior and a matte black front grille. The second half of the R formula was introduced a year later in the form of a 4.0-litre, six-cylinder engine. Created by the JaguarSport unit, the engine generated 251 horsepower, seven per cent more than the standard car. The R saloon had arrived. Today, it would be difficult to imagine the Jaguar line of cars without it. Jim Randle was head engineer when the first R cars were developed. Here are his thoughts: “Jaguar had developed a compact turbocharger with good torque, and we naturally used it in the XJ220, but I have to say I prefer mechanical chargers. Torque is attractive, particularly in a Jaguar. For me, however,

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the driving properties are the most important quality of the R-class cars. They are the cornerstone of Jaguar. The first XJR was a very cautious experiment, and it had even better driving properties and handling than standard cars in some respects, as its basic manoeuvrability was better.”

Introduced in 1994, the new XJ was a very important car for Jaguar. The R version had already been ingrained in Jaguar’s DNA as part

of the new XJ series, from the very beginning. The new XJR offered 78 horsepower more than its predecessor and even more than the 6.0-litre, twelve-cylinder engine in the new XJ. It accelerated to 100 km/h in less than six seconds. “That is pretty much as fast as you can go with four doors around you,” said one of the test drivers at the time. Just three years after introducing the previous XJR model, Jaguar launched a mechanically charged version of the new AJ-V8 engine. It weighed 20 kilos less than the six-cylinder version but produced 370 brake-horsepower and 44 horsepower more. With the new engine, the improved XJ model accelerated to 100 km/h in 5.3 seconds, as rapidly as the best two-door supercars of its time. It was the first Jaguar car that called for an electronic speed limiter. It was also the first Jaguar R model that I purchased. In a superior manner, the XJR combines the timeless design and comfortability of an executive car with the unexpectedly powerful, mechanically fascinating performance of a sports car. Today, the XJR of that time is a powerful car that has stood the test of time and offers one

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FINE Lifestyle JAGUAR XJR SWB

Motor: 5,0 l V8 Supercharged Maximum power: 550 hv 405 kW Top torque: 680 Nm Acceleration: 0–100 km/h 4,6 s Top speed: 280 km/h coupe Height: 5127 mm Width: 1899 mm Weight: 1870 mm

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of the best quality-to-price ratios. Its prices start as low as €6,000, and you can get an excellent car with a relatively low mileage for €12,000. Introduced in 2003, the seventh-generation XJR was the first Jaguar with an aluminium monocoque structure. Its body weighed 140 kilos less than a similar body made from steel would have weighed but was 60 per cent stiffer. The lightweight body offered Jaguar the opportunity to bring into production the fastest ever Jaguar for street use, with a 400-horsepower, eight-cylinder engine that enabled the car to accelerate to 100 km/h in 5.0 seconds. In 2002, Jaguar introduced another four-door model alongside the XJR. The S-Type R was the fastest and most powerful Jaguar saloon ever produced, with an improved, 4.2-litre, 400 horsepower version of the mechanically charged eight-cylinder engine. In 2003, the improved engine was also installed in all XJR and XKR models. The smaller saloon was a genuine R car in all respects. It was popular, deservedly so, with more than 8,000 cars sold over a period of five years. I was one of the people who bought a SType R. At the time, its high price reflected its qualities and brand. Today, the car is almost obscenely inexpensive. If you can cope with its design from the 1950s, you will get great value for your money. Other equally powerful and technologically modern cars with touchscreen displays and a top brand are available nowhere near the same price. The cheapest S-Type R cars cost €15,000, and I have seen impeccable cars with good histories go for €18,000. The S-Type with its retro design was replaced by the entirely new and modern XF in 2008. Its R version was introduced in 2010. For the first time ever, a four-door Jaguar offered more than 500 horsepower and accelerated to 100 km/h in less than five seconds. It was equipped with an engine similar to that of the XJ220 hypercar. The shock of feeling such an engine in a coupé can only be exceeded by installing the same engine in a family saloon. The fast XFR needed to be comprehensively rethought. A compressor-charged 5.0-litre, 500-horsepower, eightcylinder engine was placed under its arched bonnet. The additional horsepower for the XFR-S was generated by redesigning its intake and exhaust systems and further developing its engine control sys-

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tem. Its suspension and transmission systems build on what Jaguar learned with the XKR-S and the FType. With regard to the XKR-S, this means beautifully crafted, custom-designed front suspension components. With regard to the F-Type, it means the eight-speed Quickshift gearbox, which allows the driver to softly and rapidly shift down several gears. The additional power also sets requirements for aerodynamics. Aerodynamic adjustments were made to reduce the uplift force by 68 per cent – which will prove useful when approaching the electronically limited maximum speed of 300 km/h, if not ssooner. Because of its exceptional performance ability, the XFR-S is probably the most significant Jaguar R car so far. Mike Cross, Chief Engineer at Jaguar, explains what he wanted from the XFR-S: “I like fast saloon cars. I drive an XRF, so this was an excellent project for me to work on. We wanted to increase the pleasure of driving and intensify the related feelings without compromising on Jaguar’s DNA. The car needed to feel as good at high speeds as it feels at 50 km/h.” The XJ220 continues to be the fastest Jaguar ever produced. When it was introduced in 1992, its top speed was 350 km/h, which was higher than the maximum speed of any other car in serial production. It was built using an advanced aluminium body structure, which made it extremely strong, but

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it weighed only 1,300 kilos. The XJ220, which was originally designed to be a concept car, made its debut at the British Motor Show in 1988. It was designed by Keith Helfet, and its production began in December 1989. Its six-cylinder, twin-turbo engine generated 550 horsepower, and it accelerated to 100 km/h in less than four seconds. Its production was discontinued in 1994, after 281 cars. The XJ220 had a significant effect on Jaguar’s R cars.

XKR

The motorsports media was captivated by the introduction of the XKR in 1998, and the model remained in production for longer than any other R-Type car so far. When the XKR became available for sale, it had the highest acceleration among all standard cars ever manufactured by Jaguar, and it was the fastest car with automatic transmission on the market. It had the same 370-horsepower, 4.0-litre, turbocharged Jaguar AJ-V8 engine as the XJR saloon and, much like the XJR, was more powerful than its appearance suggested. The only, subtle references to the R model were the air intake

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FINE Lifestyle JAGUAR XKR

Motor: 5,0 l V8 510 Supercharged Maximum power: 510 hv 375 kW Top torque: 625 Nm Acceleration: 0–100 km/h 4,8 s Top speed: 250 km/h coupe Height: 4794 mm Width: 1892 mm Weight: 1753 kg

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holes in the bonnet to ensure better cooling, the red Supercharged emblems, an inch larger tyres and a small spoiler in the front. In 2003, the engine size increased to 4.2 litres, with 400 horsepower. I have had several XKRs. In my opinion, it is one of the most beautiful cars of its time. Much like the XJR, it combines the elegance and high-quality materials of an executive car with high performance, in addition

to the arched shapes, beautiful dimensions and timeless beauty of a coupé. The charged version of the current full-aluminium XK originally boasted a 420-horsepower version of the 4.2-litre, eight-cylinder engine. Combined with the new, lightweight aluminium body, it enabled the car to accelerate to 100 km/h in less than five seconds. When the third generation was introduced in 2009, the qualities and appearance of the XKR needed to be updated. It was equipped with a 5.0-litre, eight-cylinder engine that generated 510 horsepower and enabled the car to accelerate to 100 km/h in 4.6 seconds and further to its electronically limited maximum speed of 250 km/h. One might have thought that a re-

al-wheel drive with more than 500 horsepower would have been proof enough of power for Jaguar – but no. The Geneva Motor Show has always been special for Jaguar. In 1961, the motor show witnessed the introduction of the iconic EType. In 2011, Jaguar celebrated the 50th anniversary of the motor show by introducing another special sports car: the XKR-S. It had the same output of 550 horsepower as the XJ220 back in 1993. At the time, the output had been regarded as shocking. The XKR-S accelerates to 100 km/h in 4.2 seconds, and it was the first serially produced Jaguar to reach the maximum speed of 300 km/h. As well as uncompromised performance ability, the entire car is characterised by uncompromised quality and attention to detail. Its design has an air of raw aggression not before seen in a Jaguar. The design is based on the aerodynamics required for the maximum speed of 300 km/h. This is apparent in the shapes and details of the car. Although its performance ability may even been too much for some drivers, the XKR-S is a Jaguar at heart. I have owned several aluminium-bodied XKRs, including a convertible, a coupé and an R-S version. In my opinion, it continues to be the best combination of style, sportiness

and power that Jaguar has ever offered, with the exception of the E-Type. It is easy to agree with Ian Callum, Director of Design at Jaguar: “Each three-dimensional shape in a sports car offers us an opportunity to create something visually exciting in terms of both content and form. For me, a sports car is by definition a car that serves its purpose while also offering its mechanics and technologies in the most beautiful, exciting and sensual package possible, without unnecessary surfaces or embellishments. Design should always tell a story, which is why each shape in a Jaguar has a beginning, a direction and an end. If you approach each shape individually and manage to create dimensions that are aesthetically as perfect as possible, the design will stand the test of time. The E-Type is excellent proof of this.”

JAGUAR XKR-S

Motor: 5,0 l V8 550 Supercharged Maximum power: 510 hv 375 kW Top torque: 680 Nm Acceleration: 0–100 km/h 4,2 s Top speed: 300 km/h coupe Height: 4794 mm Width: 1892 mm Weight: 1753 kg

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e s th wa t d a n N bra 5 OR ced S B guar trodu ost 38 I a R J c n i A t GU er the was 5. I pany JA h 193 5 – r und , whic n in e com -litre 3 o v 3.5 • 19 irst ca guar nd oti f Ja l in Lo utom and a e S h , T re S Hote ons’ a rsion later. -lit r Ly ve ears 2.5 ayfai e m r R M illia 1.5-lit ree y CA the ds. W th a TS d R d e e n O c c u P po rodu trodu een tre RS UA had b 3.5-li o p as in s G l A a e w le TJ . Th rt, tib del IRS nver arlier al fo mo F m o e E pic TH 100 c ears f co is ty o – y t S n 38 ant ee tio rS tha • 19 agua st thr bina ance d eleg won J m u j n d m o The uced d a c erfor pes a ce an nts. e od ffere rty p d sha to ra v r e t in n o d spo rche gned Rally o i s i a AC ver lity an h its s des ME i dR it a n b NA w W a a . l A r 0 a us a i E 0 u 1 Tr M Jag he SS lpine CA of BE e was by ,t A s l T e i A a h r in TH ng det s in t Wa NE uar e orld he rd I a G N ag nd W at t aw s NE o er J – A ylind e Sec guard he XK ar 3 u c t 4 e h r , i t 9 Jag sf 49 • 1 rst six ring d a in 19 er for u fi e d v e Th oped o ser uced pow el wh Introd ce of s. dev eers e ur y. n i tor s a so decad 0 eng r fac a r K12 u ua e X tor ved an fo h t Jag e ser , o h ar in XK hM re t gu AL at Ja Britis on of eng or mo N I i he inat IG ns sf 120 b OR at t car Lyo HE illiam ation a com an XK T , – s 2 s d n W f 13 49 se e wa spee by nt do • 19 ned a m e p t a e s o sig an in the n ed t he sp eke d De e gh inten hed t -Jabb uced m u a o c nd od bec . Alth d its rea ste lly pr ow ne an creen he O a i h r S i t s se ind e on eng est the ut a w t driv e fast th es ho wit in a t ame c h e / km and b rld. ck e wo a r t h in t car

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. car HS MP -Type . Its U I C R C 0 FT ha K12 the l S O e wit as X d by u E I c erf w R e a r r r i E a t ow A S s firs the c e insp re p the – r 51 mo of n it or, we • 19 ar wo ame pes It was cess dary n e a u . l d h en Jag rigina und s amics s pre leg e t i o n o h r t y n The ifully rod tha rom ut f ae ghter me f a o e i s a l b c ple cent win nci rst pri 5 per i f . t 2 nd its r race bu IGN guar ,a ou ES Ja 120 24-h D rts K X NT er, the l spo r to ns A a u H f M P ay t ca uti Le IUM olm S t bea e firs hich R – T Malc mos so th gy, w ar 54 y al e gu lo • 19 ned b of th t was chno rs. Ja e Le te .I th ca ne sig De e is o uced oque race ess in nd, t d c p s c o o y ro on mo s suc t, sec D-T ver p e m ed in e irs ou f d s m u r s l r u ng ca inc be d eno placi bly to ye 957, via ues o j n tin in 1 se con e car r race . p E y ou xth TH D-T 24-h nd si OR a F ns h t a tive M ur ON ITI , fo 6 in tomo e 5 d N r i 9 1 au lar. H th OG UAR d in EC ish u G – R F JA ighte e Brit artic , the 6 p n 5 h y O k t n 9 as to ER •1 pan ts i ND ons w input xpor Com y and U e r FO m Ly f his ve deca irthda nd an o oti Si llia tb s er a 1 Wi nition autom llow s 2 esign a i g d h w o rec try an the S r, on s a d ua d us sa ind unde of Jag cces Y o u f r s OR o t CT had cess grea A F d de AR ire pre njoye GU 7, a f . e A r r J 5 u 9 ea E 1 r late rene TH uary e a ine. p c T e r r n A nl E eb na ent FIR f 12 F ainte uctio nds A – ou g o the m prod 57 np nin e • 19 e eve ted in entir millio s an th ar the three . It wa On ad st ost y h m l tor und t a aro he fac tha yed d se tro tt des re cau age a i f m a The of d rth o w

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FINE Lifestyle . ime et h t at tory nt al ou e fac tot m e a er, th of its le g r t b la la edi hird bly eeks e-t ’ incr nsi n w e s o h o t yee pre st tw ing a plo t om u era e em inc ver, j p th we yo Ho lread ks to n a a s s, wa ity, th AR da tor ac C C cause peti I p a N c CO Type ts com otor ut. i YI UL ar E- ll of eva M inp R T e gu ing a Gen A a J s th – 61 ary adow t the , it wa line 9 d 1 a • ri fe en sh rra Its leg over ced du zo Fe ced”. ularly o The tion, r t n u ic sa od s in oE art sen it wa ing t ver pr ere p d w . en or re wh . Acc ul ca eauty nnet o if w b t b o u t d , Sh as” bea gan r an EN ost powe g, ele BE ever W ur “m E n , o V N h pes its lo HA That s 24- te, sha nt in LD n r pe a a U u m M de e CO Jag co L t T evi t e o A s h n he WH eate for t uld les. T in 6 – e “Gr ned , it co u e r 6 g • 19 as th desig ever in the ama e d w v i d s e o s e e a ng r. H ver exten Cit J13 w ula te cha d se c X e i s i t e th the n par minu uffer ite and r in ei 3 s Desp ored agua st1 a J l t . rac J X 1 a s 7 e e g l o 19 ly r luab et nin du emai ent in ssful a r e d st v i c y o c l on ic ac as suc nd m w aff ta S a tr ge, it rares ar AR a e F C Jagu 0 m h t O da E ed 0,00 tly LIN t-liv ren 0 RY nges an 4 rs. It cur nce. A h D e o t l t N ea s nd ore 24 y e a GE exi f LE last a ns. M o av A e – yo eriod hat g ards 68 s th iam L t p a 9 nd r 1 a a a w • c r ill st XJ6 by W d ove table new e l r h T fo it set ed re so ign om e . des ars w larly c e, and ears c cu rid t for y i 6 t t J r X pa ilen arke ds sa wa th an car m ry oo sm e luxu h t for

n ithi WN old w l. O s TS de re OI we is mo ble to NT cars a h I , t s G a 6 tre of MIN 0 XJ tion re it w 5.4-li O c 0 e d – C 50,0 rodu wh ende of 72 2 nt nt t • 19 than the i a poi lly in speed r in f a e a d r o in c e op Mo ears orig h its t stest elift ach a r y ad re h its t f c i u a e f o it f h .W a th en uar car w ngine ame ne v g i i a g g e c J th as er en er e lly be p d w i n J d equ e-cyli fficia ylin al X lv t o origin lve-c i e , w t /h e twe . E km . Th he 2 TH 225 ction 79. T il 199 TO t u 9 R 1 n d O pro 3 and sale u SS , CE 7 n 9 C 1 o U ype d in YS E-T spirit, ine H a e T th e rem OR to itiv . sor mpet ation AW s – e c c o i 5 t c c 7 u is ph as ar ’s • 19 E be Jagu nd so ne, it e P Y o t mil T i a E- ned ng 000ited xury e r e r 3 g , e h 3 3 si lu an De J-S in with cylind un, a ars s th ur ye X R it s e l l e e v g l l a o f n e th b i n l i i bin its tw nnon tes, unt com s to Ca d Sta aten e k e h e n t b it Tha leted e Un s not p a th w m s s co cro ecord ton r ea ing n of A m rac . This a R io e N E in L uct urs ho F A ome ntrod O i . r D at h r the late EN HE s died afte T – n rs 85 Lyo yea • 19 illiam n 50 XJR uar W e tha g a Sir r IN he J even o ar. l GA gu am ,t ee Sp st Ja S A gine U r f th ese n i O f o I e R Th re g six the TO -lit es. ds for VIC a 7.0 innin p rac ar – i h w aw -9 88 sh le, wit ion y the e XJR s • 19 ped ppab p b m h p an o i a T t d u h . Eq d uns ar C panie team e Le M C e h t m t v r o es n in t pro Spo acc i eb rld were nd th irst w o f W a s s r e t i tor ar i rive vic est d Jagu 57. 9 b 1 d the ecure since e os als ur rac o h 24-

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ED IEV ign. s CH e A fD IS e AL ctor o 14, h O G re of i G e D ag ince e ON r as EL a he s LIF Jagu r, at t ever ars on A e i c d d l – r e r a 0 join ars ea and h agua 00 J e • 2 allum 6 n y 1 C 30 ar XJ desig Ian than u o g t a e J l re , Mo een a ng ab um s ei b ED llenni d f N I o ha i F t m E he am ED ew at t que dre E R the n car co C . of AN ern mono ine day EG guar mod g a L n Ja ry on –E re u08 e first nd ve ased linde S 0 la • 2 F, th s b ht-cy e. The se a a n X tio y w , eig e on r tho od e The tradi r s b .2-litr .0-lit ted fo a t I s . 5 4 a a s wa time it h cre e nd wit as sam ure, a aced ion w ds. ee ct rs pl stru ter re FR ve her sp X ig s la wa arged r for h h e c g r pe hun ha wit

NY ny PA a OM comp C NT rs, a E R to PA Mo EW Tata N o A ld t 8– 00 as so 2 • w . uar dia Jag in In d e bas

E TIM LL ails, A OF e det AR fin U ts G and s to i ility. JA y T g k b S o n l E riva ST chno s, tha d d XFR FA s e n t e E a c h H c d – T th hig ge su ability arge he h i t 08 u r c w rt r 0 h o e e f • 2 pped up e aft n the e a com S m i , a u y he ll tim /h o Eq F bec abilit s, t a es. X e ent ar of 3.7 km Stat c e m n t d 6 u s th rma e 3 u g it of adj fo Un t Ja per slight astes peed the s n f i th h he d the Wi et Uta s am ache ts in L c sor e re lt fla b IFU eces T d m a U u a d i h s in EA el pre car eville D B m its s alum nd fu n N n a t A I o o . e fr re s B D anc mo OL ers ces – B J diff l suc rform ke it , 0 a a e 01 m t X glob its p ing • 2 ewes ics lax n a oved nam fe, re n e e e y r a Th as b imp ced d rs a s h as e n and ure h adva o off r. ct als rive Its stru my. car the d , e o n r th ive eco while rior fo vat ue o n te in le tin D agi ous in on ll con in i AR ocus i r s w u W e i N lux o f lity. It ndar aris D O nue t i eP s u b N h o a t i A b t t e n e a wa co 010 anc ak th ced car t • 2 r will form u e p r d er ua tro db nce me. Jag tive p ay an gy. In 75 co co c o to w X a l r att d the chno the C hat is w lea ive te 010, of to ot n 2 ation i m o w ic aut Sho ind tor sting o M re inte an

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w sha lkin e Le a S E m W n th AC PL by To ces i ion, O d pla W as um T T owne t two e occ S R dn s s h I r e r t i F t f a i . – se ate a lim 2 c k the 90 d u st ebr R-1 • 19 ar XJ ) too o cel esign r roa o lmo R d u .T to able f ing a Jag g (TW r race R t t s i TW su d, co ou cin Ra 24-h rised cars ure s o 5 1 n h act Ma r aut XJR nuf a a r a u m Jag f Jagu were ms o ch. r Co a r r o be 50 ca ds e t Mo un ly RS Ford On on po E N i e ill OW by th am EW ired , RD N CO Mans 0 – acqu E 9 R e 9 s 1 L a D • w EE -9 in duce uar SP R ER e XJ to pro hose Jag H t y. OT of th ted n to , N a p T A ctory e wan imilar J220 E i X l Y s v r d – s a a n d y the 92 Ra litie agu tur • 19 ed by r Jim h qua the J e Sa in it th ee in ts pir Ins engin use w lted ers of rojec u p d s b d e l a r e a r a m o e i e is w he for r ec r . Th the m n sp 220s st ca r ar a c o c J e y t a b X e d s c e d fa ar ork a ra signe gu he of o w 30 Ja was t e h d w ar y it a c – men . Onl nt, 8 e me b XK o m i u t Cl HE inst ee or a m T r f a R ir F FO ce ag ed in the ced. ES u ed h ra . L d e d e l o c A t r pr T S on th d suc ed wi wo N e E n h w y p t L a in uip db EL am rd XC gn te at Fo ar eq spire E – ts sc esi s in algia 96 r d tmen sport r wa st • 19 agua a r n c a no w J ep of ne . The der e d t n h r s o r T e mo i e i t f n t h i a t o the r eng mbin at me , safe the ning de is co ar th cious all g i s ylin c h a d de t-c and t it a r a sp eede h de eig ars, xc fo a e s m an t u ly n r. n Jag iate me sig elle old p de quire med bests o t im a ’ re and mers e XK8 ame c u h e s T b con car. and ury tions x u l a ect exp

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