Tag: Chateau Ausone

Jul 07 2012

Château Cheval Blanc: An Irresistibly Alluring Cabernet Franc Blend

Posted on July 07, 2012 | By merrill@cellarit.com

For me, Julia Harding’s captivating review of a barrel sample of the sublime 2011 vintage of Château Cheval Blanc explains the irresistible allure of this famous St Émilion blend for the past 150 years:

Deep dark cherry crimson. Delicately floral and fruity, so subtle but gently aromatic. A touch of oak sweetness and spice but very restrained. Very very fine grained, you can feel the tannins but they melt across the palate. There’s intensity but it’s so TENDER. It’s dark-fruited rather than savoury. There’s minerality in both taste and texture. Fabulous way to start a day’s tasting. (Julia Harding MW, JancisRobinson.com, 24 April 2012)

Cheval Blanc and its smaller, but equally famous peer, Château Ausone, are the only two wines in St Émilion to be rated “A” Premier Grand Cru Classé.  The St Émilion  classification system is unusual, because unlike the more famous Bordeaux Wine Official Classification of 1855,  it calls for the wines to be reviewed every ten years. Since it was first introduced in 1955, Cheval Blanc has always maintained its top ranking.

In the second half of the 19th century and for most of the 20th, the 41 hectare estate, which borders the Pomerol appellation, was owned by the Laussac-Forcaud family. They were responsible for the legendary 1921 and 1947 vintages – in 2010 a rare Imperial bottle (6 litres) of the latter sold for a record-breaking $US304,375!

The wine has always been an almost 50/50 blend of cabernet franc and merlot, and is aged in 100% new oak for a minimum of 18 months. The terroir, a mix of gravel over clay (40%), deep gravel (40%), and sand over clay (20%), is considered ideal for cultivating both grapes.

In 1998 the property was sold to Bernald Arnault of the luxury goods group LVMH and Belgium’s … Read the rest

Aug 08 2011

Château Pétrus 1990: Is it worth the price?

Posted on August 08, 2011 | By merrill@cellarit.com

If you’ve recently scanned the Cellarit Wine Market you may have noticed that a bottle of 1990 Château Pétrus is available for $4,700. It’s not the most expensive bottle on the list. That honour belongs to a 375 ml 1952 Penfolds Grange signed by Max Schubert and available for $12,500. But nevertheless the price does seem extraordinary for an item that, after all, is designed to be eventually consumed! (Robert Parker of the Wine Advocate, who scored the 1990 Pétrus 100 points, gives a drinking window of 2014 – 2054, Wine Advocate # 183 June 2009.)

But a look at the price history of the wine clearly suggests that it is on an upward trajectory. Wineprices.com, which records wine auction prices, shows that the average price at auction for a Pétrus 1990 in 2003 was US$1250.98. 2011’s average auction price (42 lots to date have been sold) is US$4,095.35. That’s a 225% price appreciation in eight years.

As widely reported in the press, the Asian wine market is booming. Almost every Hong Kong wine auction sets a new record and mainland Chinese buyers, in particular, can’t seem to get their hands on enough quality Bordeaux. (see The Two Speed Wine Market, Cellarit Wine Blog, 19 October 2010).

Price appreciation for the Pétrus 1990, however, pre-dates the Asian boom of the last two years. Between 2003 and 2008 the price went up by approximately 188%. During the Global Financial Crisis (GFC), the price fell approximately 33 per cent before recovering and then eclipsing its pre-GFC highs – a performance that certainly looks better than most Blue Chip stock charts (especially in recent days)!

So why does this wine in particular command such high prices? We hear the terms ‘cult’ or ‘icon’ bandied around a lot in reviews or … Read the rest