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One of the joys of wine is owning a 'cellar', whether it be ten bottles tucked away in a cupboard, or 5000 cases neatly catalogued and stacked in a vaulted crypt. Another of the joys is developing an understanding of this magic liquid, the people behind it, its origins and history; every bottle has its own story to tell. Wine for me is not just about slavishly following point scores and recommendations. If you choose to view wine in this way, buying only high-scoring bottles from one or two prominent critics, you will undoubtedly chance across some safe and possibly delicious wines, but you will never know the true joy of wine. To buy and drink wine in this manner is a little like expressing a love of art, but insisting that somebody else tell you which paintings you should view.
For this reason my regular Weekend Wine features wines which I hope pique your interest, and encourage you to explore more. Some wines are superb, but some less so, but all have stimulating in one way or another. I don't really intend my reports to be seen as buying recommendations, but if you choose to view them that way then you should be able to find most of the featured wines for sale, somewhere, using the links at the foot of each review. Nevertheless, it is inevitable that some wines will prove difficult to track down. Many of the wines are pulled from my cellar (which, I hesitate to add, is like neither of those described above) after many years of slumber, and may thus have disappeared from the marketplace. Others are tasted in their extreme youth prior to bottling, in which case all that is required is a little patience. Others are just not that well distributed, something we all just have to live with I'm afraid.
And so, below are my weekly choices for the current year. Expect a strong focus on Bordeaux and the Loire, these two regions being a major focus for me, but also expect some diversity, with occasional appearances from the Douro, Alsace, Jerez, the Mosel, Rioja, Champagne and beyond. I feature wines both old and young (perhaps too old and too young, in the case of some!), aged cellar-orphans, wines plucked from recently delivered six-packs and cases, the occasional inexpensive bargain as well as the rare, unusual and possibly unobtainable from the depths of my cellar. (14/7/06, updated 7/1/13)
- Taittinger Comtes de Champagne 1998 (21/4/14)
- Patrick Baudouin Anjou Blanc Le Cornillard 2009 (14/4/14)
- Herbert Hall Brut 2011 (7/4/14)
- Blandy's Madeira 20 Years Old Terrantez (24/3/14)
- Dom Ruinart 1990 (17/3/14)
- Xavier Frissant Touraine Sauvignon Blanc 2012 (10/3/14)
- Philippe Alliet Chinon L'Huisserie 2008 (3/3/14)
- François Cazin Cour-Cheverny Cuvée Renaissance 2010 (24/2/14)
- Pol Roger Cuvée Sir Winston Churchill 1995 (17/2/14)
- Philippe Gilbert Menetou-Salon Blanc 2011 (27/1/14)
- Gitton Père et Fils Sancerre X-elis 2010 (20/1/14)
- Barbeito Madeira Colheita Canteiro Verdelho 1996 (13/1/14)
- Le G de Château Guiraud 2010 (6/1/14)
For previously featured wines, see my 2013 Weekend Wine Archive.