Hidden Bench Winery: This high quality winery was founded in 2003 by the owner, Harald Thiel. Located in the heart of the Beamsville Bench sub-appellation of Niagara, Hidden Bench focuses on producing quality whites, reds and sparkling wines from Chardonnay, Riesling, Pinot Noir , Sauvignon and now adding Gamay to the portfolio. The Hidden Bench terroir is mainly composed of limestone, clay and silt soils. The motto at HB is «Sustainability, Terroir, Technology and Passion», but
Comparative blind tasting of Napa Valley reds versus Crus Classés from Bordeaux always attract wine aficionados. As is often the case such blind tastings often reveal surprising results. This high quality comparative tasting of wines from reputed California and Bordeaux producers did shock some participants.
When it comes to fine reds that offer richness and elegance, for the past few centuries, Bordeaux stood alone at the top! But since the famous 1976 Paris blind tasting of California reds versus Crus Classés from Bordeaux, the surprising results have modified many experts and aficionado’s opinion. Since, lots has changed, the Bordeaux style has evolved and many determined California producers are now consistently crafting amazing long lived reds from Bordeaux varietals. To evaluate and compare the quality level and aging potential of these reputed California reds vs Crus Classés of Bordeaux, four (4) quality vintages were tasted.
Many French wine regions excelled in 2018. The Bordeaux region is one of the major success stories of this sun soaked vintage. This hot growing season produced ripe concentrated reds that remained balanced. Riper and fuller bodied than the reputed 2016, these structured Crus Classés should evolve favourably for the next 30+ years. In 50 years, they might still be in the conversation of experts and collectors. All Bordeaux districts have come through beautifully offering full bodied, elegant, structured reds. The châteaux chosen for this tasting should help us confirm the high quality level and amazing potential of this outstanding Bordeaux vintage.
A group of 13 tasters analysed 7 Bordeaux Crus Classés plus a mystery wine in the usual blind tasting format. How much time will these structured 2018 Bordeaux need to reach their plateau of maturity? And how long will they continue to improve and stand the test of time?
Here are the results of the 1996 horizontal tasting of eight (8) reds from around the world. During this blind tasting participants were asked to identify as many wines as they could. The person successfully identifying all eight wines would have received a gift certificate for a future tasting at les Conseillers du vin. Since no participant successfully identified all eight wines, a bottle of Champagne was awarded to the person who recognized the most wines. Our winner, Bruno Petrozza, identified four of the eight wines. Bruno is well known @Les Conseillers du Vin, participating to tastings for 15+ years. Congrats Bruno !
Results: celebrating their 26th birthday, most of the wines were at their peak. To establish the order of preference of the tasting panel, 3 points were awarded to a first place vote, 2 pts for a 2nd place vote and 1pt for a 3rd place vote.
Comparative blind tasting of Napa Valley reds versus Crus Classés from Bordeaux always reveal surprising results. As is often the case such tastings can stump many experts and aficionados alike. This high quality comparative tasting of wines from (respectively) reputed vintages (92 & 95) @Les Conseillers du Vin sheds light on the evolution of these fine reds.
When it comes to fine reds that offer richness and elegance, both Napa and Bordeaux come to mind. Most knowledgeable Bordeaux aficionados remain convinced, the best Crus Classés from Haut-Médoc, Graves and the Libournais (St-Émilion & Pomerol) should prevail. But too often well crafted California reds, which age remarkably well, tend to not only surprise but on occasion dominate such comparative tastings. The two compared vintages are quite representative of their terroirs. Bordeaux 95’s are rather classic with good structure. While 92 California reds are typically rich but not as powerful as might be expected, they display surprising elegance. The evolution of the Bordeaux style paired with the amazing results from hard working and determined Napa Valley producers annonces a fierce competition.
Since the famous 1976 Paris blind tasting of Napa Valley reds versus Crus Classés from Bordeaux, surprising results are common. In numerous occasions such tastings have greatly amazed experts and aficionados alike. This high quality comparative tasting of wines from (respectively) reputed vintages (90 & 91) was a first @Les Conseillers du Vin.
When it comes to fine reds that offer richness and elegance, for the past few centuries, Bordeaux stood alone at the top! But times have changed, the evolution of the Bordeaux style paired with the amazing results from hard working and determined Napa Valley producers announced a fierce competition
As in France, many Italian wine regions, such as Tuscany, experienced ideal climatic conditions in 2016. During my last (2017) trip to the region, I tasted many impressive wines from this remarkable (2016) vintage. Deeply coloured reds bursting with ripe flavours and refreshing/balancing acidity. Even more impressive is the structure that assures great aging potential. Elegant, balanced terroir wines, which merit a spot in your cellar, as they should
improve over the next 15 to 20 years. At Les Conseillers du Vin we decided to taste a selection of reputed producers to confirm the high quality level and aging potential of this outstanding Tuscan vintage.
As usual a group of 15 experienced tasters analysed 8 Tuscan reds in the usual blind tasting format. At this point we must keep in mind three important factors: 1-climatic conditions were ideal if not perfect in most appellations/areas of Tuscany. 2-cool nights assured freshness (acidity) and balance. 3-With great structure (tannins), wines from this vintage should age gracefully for a very long period, depending on the appellation, anywhere between 10 to 30+ years.
The outstanding reputation of the 90 Bordeaux vintage is a known fact. Wines from both banks are impressive. From the outset the wines displayed lots of ripe fruit with good structure and elegance. Most are drinking well, but some are still showing youthful characteristics. A great vintage, with many success stories. Thirty years later this classic Bordeaux vintage has evolved favourably, and is showing superb complexity. With great balance and elegance, many Châteaux continue to improve.
@ Les Conseillers du Vin, thirty years later, we revisited (for the 4th time!) this classic, mature Bordeaux vintage. To verify the evolution, structure and balance of this fine Bordeaux vintage, a group of 16 experienced tasters analyzed 7 outstanding Chateaux plus a mystery wine in the usual blind tasting format.
Châteauneuf-du-Pape produced extra-ordinary reds in 2016: high quality, great extract, surprising freshness and great aging potential. The reputed oenologist Philippe Cambie stated that he had never seen this high quality grapes since he began his practice in 1998. With more acidity and better balance, the outstanding 2016 should outlive the excellent 2015 CDPs. In this superlative vintage, the Southern Rhône, but especially Châteauneuf, should satisfy the fan of rich, flavourful yet elegant reds.
At Les Conseillers du Vin, we decided to evaluate this highly publicised Châteauneuf vintage by tasting a selection of wines from reputed producers to verify the level of quality and aging potential. As usual a group of 15 experienced tasters analysed 7 Châteauneuf-du-Papes plus a mystery wine in the usual blind tasting format.
Quality is through the roof, but quantity is dramatically reduced (up to 50% in some areas), which entails ridiculously high prices for this outstanding 2016 Burgundy vintage. Low yields (frost and hail) lead to rich and quite concentrated reds, while cool nights maintained refreshing acidity and great balance. 2016 has produced reds bursting with ripe berry flavours and perfect tannins for the long haul. The Burgundy aficionado will be excited and seduced by the incredible quality, but prices should curb the enthusiasm. The selected wines from upscale producers were true to the vintage delivering high quality and great aging potential.
As usual a group of 16 experienced tasters analyzed seven (7) upscale red Burgundies plus a mystery wine in the usual blind tasting format.
We must keep in mind that 2016 is a rather unusual vintage. Very deep colour, ultra ripe fruit with lots of structured tannins, with (luckily) some refreshing/balancing acidity. Some experts dared describing it as a cross of 2016 and 2015 (which are two excellent Burgundy vintages).