If you compare Pomerol vs. Saint-Émilion in a blind tasting, can you tell the difference? Even many well-educated Bordeaux connoisseurs can’t tell these wines apart. Because these appellations are neighbors located in the northwestern region of the Right Bank, their climates are very similar and both areas produce rich, complex Merlot-based blends with great aging potential.
In Langhe, wine is more than a beverage—it’s a way of life. Winemakers in this hilly area located in the Piedmont region of northern Italy have been cultivating grapes here for many centuries. The region even has a coveted spot on the UNESCO World Heritage list due to its long history of winemaking. The best Langhe wines (particularly Nebbiolo) are intense, tannic, and long-lived, full of heady perfume and bright acidity. Its rich history coupled with the incredibly high quality of the wines has made Langhe a top destination for wine-loving tourists and serious collectors.
Wine drinkers often get confused when they shop for Left Bank Bordeaux, especially if they don’t have a lot of experience reading wine labels from this region. Even some experienced wine enthusiasts aren’t sure exactly what differentiates Médoc vs. Haut-Médoc wines. Some bottles are labeled “Appellation Médoc Contrôlée” (AOC) or have the word “Médoc” in large letters. Other bottles are labeled just “Haut-Médoc.” This guide will help make sense of the incredible wines made in both the Médoc and the Haut-Médoc AOCs, providing all of the information you need to find the best bottles from each region.
Wines from Hermitage are some of the most delicious and rewarding to age. They can taste a little closed off in their youth, but over time they transform into deeply complex wines packed with peppery, smoky flavors. There is also a lot of flavor variety in wines from this region. For example, a wine enthusiast posting on the Wine Berserkers forum tried two bottles of Hermitage at dinner—a 2004 M. Chapoutier Ermitage Le Pavillon and a 2007 Paul Jaboulet Aîné Hermitage La Chapelle. The 2007 wine was flavorful and juicy, but still a little green–a common quality in relatively young Hermitage. The 2004 wine was more complex, aromatic, and much more mature tasting, despite being only a few years older. Although these two estates are located only about three miles apart, the two wines couldn’t have been more different. Terroir, age, and vintage strongly influence Hermitage wine characteristics.
Willamette Valley Pinot Noir has an excellent reputation among fine wine collectors. These wines are even compared to Burgundy’s in terms of their flavor profile. Master of Wine Jancis Robinson told the Los Angeles Times that producer Bergström makes some of her favorite Oregonian Pinot Noir in part because it reminds her of fine Burgundy. “I love Bergström’s wines because they are an exciting expression of what Oregon has to offer,” she says. “Josh Bergström trained in Burgundy, so they have a purity and a lack of palate-numbing sweetness too.” The best Willamette Valley Pinot Noir vintages achieve this purity and freshness when the weather conditions in the valley are just right. Too much or too little rain and sunshine can significantly reduce the quality of the vintage as a whole.
Alsace is home to some of the highest-quality appellations not just in France, but in the entire world of fine wine. The three main categories of Alsace wine appellations—Alsace AOC, Alsace Grand Cru AOCs, and Crémant d’Alsace AOC—each have notable characteristics that wine enthusiasts love. This guide will take you through each of these categories in detail and single out the characteristics that make these wines so special.
When the Vinfolio team visited Pomerol during en primeur week this past spring, we stopped at Château Lafleur to taste some of their incredible wines. During our tasting of the 2018 vintage, we had an enlightening discussion with a representative from the estate about what makes Pomerol special. Here, terroir is king. Château Lafleur and other Pomerol wine producers know just how unique the soil and climate are in this region, so they take a hands-off approach. The quality of the area’s terroir and the grapes it produces really do speak for themselves and this is a large part of what makes Pomerol so distinctive. In most other regions of Bordeaux, the winemaker’s signature style is very apparent in the wine; in Pomerol, most producers prefer not to interfere with the terroir’s natural characteristics at all.
While it’s still too early to judge the 2018 Burgundy vintage with any certainty, winemakers across the region are thrilled with how these wines developing so far. Louis Fabrice Latour, president of Maison Louis Latour, told The Drinks Business, “We are very pleased to have two big crops in a row of very good quality.” Some Burgundians, like négociant Philippe Pacalet, have even compared the 2018 vintage to 1947–one of the top Burgundy vintages in history.
Bordeaux 2018 is shaping up to be one of the best vintages in recent history. The Vinfolio team had the opportunity to try some of these fantastic wines during en primeur week and we’re tremendously excited to share our Bordeaux 2018 tasting notes with you. Over the course of three days, Vinfolio CEO Don St. Pierre, Chief Wine Officer Adam Lapierre, and Chief Marketing Officer Cristina Hall sampled dozens of delicious wines that we think will make great investments for collectors and wine enthusiasts of all kinds. Read on to find out which wines we enjoyed most.
Vintage quality is an important factor to consider whenever you buy fine wine, but when you buy Barolo, it’s absolutely essential. That’s because the quality of Barolo significantly impacts its aging potential, and a fine aged Barolo is truly a special experience. A well-made wine from a top-quality vintage will taste astoundingly complex at age 20 or 30. Even some of the best wines from the 1950s and 1960s are still drinking well today. However, for Barolo to be this long-lived, it must be high in quality and perfectly balanced.
Sauternes and Tokaj wines are some of the most sought-after in the world. Both regions are famous for producing sweet, concentrated white wines that can age for decades–some can even age for centuries under the right conditions. These wines share similarities–botrytized grapes are used in both regions, for example–yet comparing Sauternes vs. Tokaji reveals that these are two very different wines. For one thing, they don’t have the same flavor profile. Fine Sauternes is known for tasting rich and honeyed, while Tokaji Aszú is often much fruitier and more acidic.
The reason it’s so hard to rank the best grand cru Burgundy is that personal taste plays a huge role. It also comes down to what you value most. Are you looking for a wine with a high quality-to-price ratio (QPR)? Is flavor complexity the most important factor? Or do you want to buy wine that you can resell for a profit? No matter which quality you value most in a wine, this guide will sort–and in some cases rank–grand cru Burgundy according to a few different criteria.