Friday, November 10, 2006

Marketplace Watch: Classic 1961, 1949 & 1947 Clarets

Just in today!

New offerings from
Garagiste in Seattle to all their e-mailing list customers include 1 case each of three “perfect” (100pts by Parker) aged Bordeaux reds. If you are interested, please contact me after buying. I want to be your best friend.

1961 Latour a Pomerol (Lafite bottled) - $5,786.40 / 750ml
(WA 100pts) Parker: "Tasted 8 Times With Consistent Perfect Ratings. Although the 1947 Cheval Blanc is widely considered to be the "wine of the century" among collectors, the 1961 Latour a Pomerol also merits a share of the title. Giving points to a wine such as this makes one think of Shakespeare's reflection that "comparisons are odious." To put it mildly, this wine is "off the charts." If I had only one Bordeaux to drink, the 1961 Latour a Pomerol would have to be at the top of my list. Given its phenomenal richness and amazing precision and balance, it can bring tears to one's eyes. Still a saturated dark purple color with no signs of amber, orange, or rust, the nose offers extraordinarily rich, intense aromas of jammy plums, black currants, licorice, and truffles. Port-like, with remarkable viscosity and thickness, as well as a finish that lasts for more than a minute, this wine is in a class by itself. Even greater than the1961 Petrus and 1961 Latour (two perfect wines), it is phenomenal. Given its youthfulness (it is the least evolved wine of the vintage),it has the potential to last for another 20-30 years. 100pts"

1949 Cheval Blanc (Calvet bottled) - $2,670.96 / 750ml
(WA 100pts) Parker: "Tasted 5 Times With Consistent Notes. Although the extraordinary 1949 does not have the port-like unctuosity and heaviness of the 1947, it is an enormously rich, concentrated wine. It is better-balanced than the heavyweight 1947, yet as complex and extraordinary, both from an aromatic and flavor perspective. The wine exhibits a phenomenally fragrant bouquet of overripe red and blackfruits, cedar, Asian spices, and minerals. Decadently rich and jammy, it has an amazing plum/garnet color with very little amber or rust at the edge. It may out-live the heavier, thicker, more exotic 1947. 100pts"

1947 Cheval Blanc (Calvet bottled) - $3,680.73 / 750ml
(WA 100pts) Parker: "Tasted 11 Times With Consistent Notes Except For One Bad Double Magnum. What can I say about this mammoth wine that is more like port than dry red table wine? The 1947 Cheval Blanc exhibits such a thick texture it could double as motor oil. The hugenose of fruitcake, chocolate, leather, coffee, and Asian spices is mind-boggling. The unctuous texture and richness of sweet fruit are amazing. Consider the fact that this wine is, technically, appallingly deficient in acidity and excessively high in alcohol. Moreover, its volatile acidity levels would be considered intolerable by modern day oenologists. Yet how can they explain that after 47 years the wine is still remarkably fresh, phenomenally concentrated, and profoundly complex? It has to make you wonder about the direction of modern day winemaking. Except for one dismal, murky, troubled, volatile double-magnum, this wine has been either perfect or nearly perfect every time I have had it. But beware, there are numerous fraudulent bottles, particularly magnums, of 1947 Cheval Blanc in the marketplace. 100pts"


Anonymous said...

Hey man, totally unrelated to your current blog post, but I figure this is the best way to contact you. I was about to try the charcoal thing with some water, then I realized I have no idea how to activate the charcoal. I thought I had read about it somewhere on Stephane's blog, but I can't seem to find the information now. For all I know it comes activated already. So if you could let me in on how to activate the charcoal, that would rule :) Thanks.

~ Phyll said...

Hi Dustin,

I've replied directly to your email via LJ, in case you read this blog first before checking your inbox.

MarshalN said...

At those prices, Phyll, have you ever considered auctioning wine from the auction houses?

You can probably split a case with a few friends and each get a few bottles. I'd think it's cheaper than getting it from a wine house?

~ Phyll said...

Did you mean if I have ever bought wines from auction houses? Yes, I have, but only for lesser collectible and non-collectible wines. Sometimes, I could get them 30% off retail price!!! So far, fortunately, I have never been dissapointed with the wines I've bid and won.

If you meant if I could auction my wines off, yes, it's also possible. Auctioning lesser collectible wines is quite easy. There are many internet wine auction sites that will take my wines. These online auctioneers have a lower threshold for provenance requisite. Thus, caveat emptor to the bidders.

In my collection I probably have a few cases of wines that will appreciate in value over time. However, I'm not a wine speculator, and what I buy will end up being drunk by the family and friends within short or long term period. The same with my growing pu'er stash.

Auctioning highly collectible wines, however, comes with several caveats. Bidders of collectors items know their market prices, and if I bought the above offers I'd be buying them at pretty much the market price. Otherwise, Garagiste would auction the wines themselves.

I'm not known in the wine circles as a serious collector or a professional speculator. Buyers of such wines want to know where the wines have been to ensure proper provenance. Auction houses also want to know the wines' provenance, otherwise they won't consign. It's like you wouldn't get a 1950's Red Label Pu'er from someone you don't know. Having said that, Garagiste is a reputable vendor who at times sources old wines directly from the wineries' cavenous cellars (I'm not sure about the offers above, however).

Long winded answer, eh? :)