A treasure of fine and rare wines

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Autumn is the time for Port!

Autumn is the time for Port!

10-11-2017

In Autum it’s time for Vintage Port! You can buy at this moment beautiful aged Ports for less than 100 euro, maybe not the famous Quintas or best vintages but still great pleasures. MORE ...

We opened the Offely Vintage 1983 on a Sunday afternoon, the color is still dark with many red tones, full-bodied, medium sweet, fleshy and fruity. Complex with herbs, coffee notes, plums and black cherries, very concentrated, with a sweet long finish. This is a lovely elderly lady!

BOW 8

 


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Petrus - always top of the bill?

Petrus - always top of the bill?

30-10-2017

Everybody has its preferences. And every winelover knows the rule – you better drink a good wine from a top vintage than one of the extraordinary wines from an average vintage.

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Bordeaux 1999 can be regarded as a classic vintage, a synonym for a good but not excellent vintage. We have drunk almost all Petrus vintages and there are of course some disappointments (1977, 1984) but on the whole, Petrus always surprises at least. In most cases it overperforms : a very high percentge of wine lovers have a Petrus in their top 5-10 ever.

We didn’t expect too much of the Petrus 1999. We drunk this fine Pomerol besides an Ausone 2005. Summary? The Petrus was our favorite (but also because the Ausone will improve in about 5 years). Deep purple/red colored, massive red cherries, peppers, tabacco, some coffee (with milk). Burgundy texture, but so intense. Of course not as good as 1998 or 2000, but for such a vintage an incredible effort. We were astonished by the concentration, elegancy and balance. At it’s best now and will keep this level for at least another 10 years. BOW 9.5.

Blog by Peter


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What about rum? A pirate’s life for me

What about rum? A pirate’s life for me

26-10-2017

Recently we started bottling rum for The Duchess, an independent bottle trademark brand releasing whiskies and rums for Bestofwhiskies.com. Last weekend while I was working at the Whisky and Rum by the Sea Festival in the city of IJmuiden, I had an interesting encounter with a group of customers at the show. MORE ...

They were intrigued by the awesome label of the Duchess Guadeloupe Bellevue 19 Years Old, painted by artist Hans Dillesse. However, they were reluctant to try. “We are scotch drinkers,” they said. So I convinced them to let go of the hesitations they had about rum, and give it a try. I told them it can be just as complex and enjoyable as a good dram of single malt scotch whisky.

Rum is not necessarily sweet. Yes, some producers do add sugar (I won’t mention any names–you know who you are!) and many people have a so-called “Pavlov reaction” when it comes to rums. Often, when thinking about rum, people actually think of the better known Bacardi bulk rums. Not all Scotch whiskies are like Johnny Walker Red Label right?

The point is this: after enjoying our awesome Duchess Guadeloupe Bellevue rum this group of scotch single malt lovers were astonished. They really enjoyed it and even came back later for a second dram. Yes, this is a huge gain for the up-and-coming “rum nation”.

Fair enough, it’s not the same thing, but there are similarities between rum and whisky. For one thing, they are both distilled and often released at cask strength. More and more single cask releases see the light in international specialty shops.

Does rum have its equivalent of a Port Ellen or Karuizawa?

First of all, it’s not the same thing as stated before, production wise that is. However, rum has it’s good ol’ boys from back in the day that have been closed down, but are still attracting attention from collectors, and even from “investors”.

Some have a very large fanbase like Caroni. Caroni was closed in 2002 and this is the one rum that everybody longs for. It does have that “cult status”, and - like scotch - has its own closed down patriarchs in the industry.

Recently when scouting the Internet I noticed that most of the cheaper editions have been sold and the prices have increased tremendously. If you do happen to find a nice Caroni, do buy it, it’s worth the drink. It’s totally funkiness!

I can personally also recommend:

  • Bellevue
  • Foursquare
  • Uitvlugt
  • Hampden

A pirate’s life for me…

Okay, that’s just a joke. Pirates are marauding and extremely violent and there’s absolutely nothing raw and violent about these well-balanced rums we have in our stocks. The only pirate association there is with rum is its reputation for being the pirates’ drink. Nowadays, it’s more of a sophisticated pirates’ drink for sure. So for all the scotch lovers: try and see for yourselves. You might be astonished like I was with my first single cask rum!

Nils van Rijn

Whisky and sometimes rum specialist for bestofwhiskies.com

 


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Ausone 2005 at Samhoudplaces Amsterdam

Ausone 2005 at Samhoudplaces Amsterdam

24-10-2017

Maitre-sommelier Janine Kinderman carefully decanted the Ausone 2005 at the 2 star restaurant Samhoudplaces in Amsterdam. Robert Parker called it the perfect wine of the vintage, so we are very curious. MORE ...

 

The deep color purple with hints of ruby, the nose is full of earth, stones, black fruits, herbs  which are slowly released in the glass. This rich full-bodied wine is totally in balance, earth flavours with soft tannins, expressions of wood; WOW! it all comes together. 

We sit back to enjoy this great wine with a spectacular venison dish created by Chef Moshik while watching the world go by in Amsterdam.

This rare wine will developed beautifully over the coming decades and it would be great to drink again after 2025. BOW: 10

www.samhoudplaces.com

 


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Arrival of Arnoux Lachaux vintage 2015

Arrival of Arnoux Lachaux vintage 2015

17-10-2017

Last week, we received this very exciting shipment full of goodness from domaine Arnoux-Lachaux in Vosne-Romanée. MORE ...

Having been in charge of the prestigious vineyard for a relatively short time, Charles Lachaux, heir to both the Lachaux and the Arnoux legacies, has some big shoes to fill, and we are delighted to see that over the years, he has done nothing short of exceeding the expectations. Gratiously accepting the guidance from his father Pascal Lachaux and his father-in-law Robert Arnoux, Charles has further driven up the quality of these excellent wines from Vosne-Romanée and Nuits-Saint-Georges, finest in Burgundy’s Côte de Nuits district.

Wines that particularly stood out for us in this shipment were:

Romanée Saint Vivant 2015: The wine that gave the village half its name always holds a promise, and again, did not disappoint. In the nose there is dark red fruit, with spiciness from cinnamon to sweetness from rose petals. On the palate we find even more fruit, and the complexity of this wine promises to slowly reveal its secrets. Expect more greatness after 10 to 20 years.

Vosne-Romanée Les Suchots 2015: This top of the hill gives you the top of the bill. A nose filled with sweet and sour red fruit, tart pomegranate, and a little spicy cinnamon. A juicy palate that lingers but feels fresh. Not yet at its best, but already promise of lively freshness to come.

Latriciere Chambertin 2015 : This plot is on the cooler hillside, which translates in a more elegant, smoother palate. Nose: subtle minerals from the terroir with a strong presence of the familiar red fruits. A very long and full finish.

Clos de Vougeot 15 : Clos de Vougeot from any great house is a category in itself. But in this case, even more so. There’s wood (oak), earth, but a floral lightness at the same time. Will only increase in 20 years.

We can’t wait to see how these wines evolve over the years, and we are proud to add them to our stock.

All the vintages received:

  • Vosne Romanee 2015
  • Vosne Romanee 1er cru Les Chaumes 2015
  • Vosne Romanee 1er cru Les Suchots 2015
  • Chambolle Musigny 2015
  • Nuits Saint Georges Les Poisets 2015
  • Nuits Saint Georges 1er cur les Proces 2015
  • Clos de Vougeot grand cru 2015
  • Latricieres Chambertin grand cru 2015
  • Romanee Saint Vivant grand cru 2015
  • Romanee Saint Vivant grand cru 2010

Find them all here : https://bestofwines.com/wine?q=arnoux

 

Kris

 


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Dinner with a Harlan 1992

Dinner with a Harlan 1992

16-10-2017

Last Thursday we went out for dinner at The Royal Mandarin, one of our favourite Asian restaurants near the Best of Wines store. MORE ...

Besides their magnificent non-traditional style of Asian cuisine and their incredibly high service, they also have a lovely selection of wines.

 

This time we went for a bottle of Harlan Estate 1992, the second commercial vintage to come out of William Harlan’s legendary estate. Before he founded his own estate in Oakville, California, he fell in love with Bordeaux wines, visiting many great estates in France and clearly taking a cue from them. The 1992 is two-thirds Cabernet Sauvignon, completed with a Merlot and Cabernet Franc blend, in typical Bordeaux fashion.

 

This bottle is 25 years old now, and still very impressive. The wine revealed tones of blackberries and chocolate. Probably due to the ageing, there are tones of cedar. The wine beautifully retained its concentration over all these years, and the tannins are almost silky. An elegant wine with an incredibly long finish. This wine shows that a 25 year old bottle from Harlan Estate can still live up to its legendary status. One of the best wines Napa Valley has to offer 9.5/10

Blog by Bas

 


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Just arrived, Comte de Vogue 2015!

Just arrived, Comte de Vogue 2015!

15-10-2017

Today we have received the wines of Comte Georges de Vogue 2015 from Chambolle Musigny.

Domaine Comte Georges de Vogue is truly one of the great domaines in Burgundy, with a history dating back more than 500 years. MORE ...

It’s impressive that the domaine has managed to stay within the family through so much time. They own the major share (about 80%) of grand cru Musigny. This, of course, enables them to select the best and oldest vines for their grand cru bottling (de-classifying younger vines to premier cru). Like all great domaines, they recognize the responsibility that comes with the ownership of such precious vineyard land. They are not only caretakers for future generations, they must be standard-bearers of excellence. 

The 2015 Domaine Comte Georges de Vogue Grand Crus offer luxury at its most refined and delicious. In 2015 they even made a Musigny Blanc which is very very rare. All the wines are very limited so if you want to purchase some of those beauties go to our list of Comte de Vogue to see our latest offers.

 

Blog by Frank


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Sassicaia for cooking

Sassicaia for cooking

12-10-2017

That is - during cooking. Half bottle of the underestimated 2010. This will make enthusiasts of Sassicaia’s trademark elegance very happy. Like me. The wine shows extreme purity, from the first smell to the last sip. Black fruit, oriental spices, some sweetness. Chewy. Very balanced. And surprising for a Sassicaia, no decanting needed. It explodes in the glass and justs slightly improves in time. Excellent for drinking now. BOW 8+.

Tasting Brora Legends

Tasting Brora Legends

11-10-2017

This week, Diageo shocked the world with the news that both Brora and Port Ellen distilleries would be up and running again in 2020, after a multi-million financial injection in this ‘project’, refurbishing the stills and upgrading the distilleries. A visitors center? We have to keep in mind though, that even under the same name, the whisky probably won’t be the same. So the old stuff will increase in price, while the new stuff… we’ll just have to wait and see. MORE ...

Back in the day these distilleries were closed for a reason. It just wasn’t that good. After a long maturation the rawness and defects were polished away and these whiskies became suburb drams. Most of them became unaffordable for most people and some of them became legendary, like the 1977 Rare Malts edition (also released by Diageo). These whiskies were also released consecutively for the Diageo Special releases series. I love these specials, some releases score high in the 90s rates in international reviews.

Last month Diageo released its specials for this year at their special releases event in Amsterdam and I was granted the opportunity to taste the Brora 2017 and the 2016 version back to back.

Are you wondering what my take is on these babies?

Brora 2016 Special Release 37 years old 50.4%

Nose: Peated tones this is Brora!  I love the maritime notes in the nose, silty tones and lots oysters. I love oysters. This reminds me of the oysters I eat annually at the Feis Ile festival at the Lagavulin stand….this pure love in a dram!

Mouth: Oomph…wow! This has the oyster fest dancing around in the mouthfeel mixed with some liquorish and silty tones. I love this…this is what we Brora fans long for,  for sure.

Finish: Dry and very lingering and little sweet oyster finish!

Balance: This is a very well balanced dram for sure and in complexity it hauls in a big score. Those oysters are just top notch and this makes this dram so much interesting. Those Brora’s from the seventies are just suburb!

Rating 94/100

After this delicious dram let’s see what the 2017 release brings us.

Brora 2017 Special Release 34 Years Old 51.9%

Nose: Lightly peated and almost creamy tones. It has some fruity flavors like apricot and bananas mixed with some butterscotch.

Mouth: I’m missing the ‘oomph’ factor here. It’s a little peated accompanied by some barley notes. The fruit notes mentioned earlier are there, but just not as much as in the nose. It’s more the typical  bourbon style bananas.

Finish: A long licorice finish, maybe more like laurel?

Ballance: The balance is not as expected but the finish is very complex.

Rating 92/100

Conclusion: The 2016 was so much more Brora than this year’s release. Okay, it has a minor age difference, but the overall style is different. I have been tasting them back to back and I can only conclude that the overall quality was so much better in the 2016 special release. I loved the oysters, the maritime notes, the raw and robustness… the peated notes and everything that Brora stands for is in there. This is a winner by far, no doubt about it. Not that the 2017 is a bad whisky, not at all. The 2017 is just not the Brora profile that brings tears to my eyes from longing for more. It was more a lightly peated version of a good Clynelish!

Personally, I would prefer the older Broras from the seventies over any dram from the decade after that. The seventies decade was overall very good for the Brora distillery. The style is very different, unlike anything you have tasted before. I have tasted quite a few drams of the 70’s in my days and all of them reveal their supremacy in its make. The prices for these rare gems will increase majorly the next few years, no doubt about that. If you have the chance to purchase one, you should!  And if I may speak on Diageo’s behalf; let’s give Diageo a fair chance to show us their new releases from these legendary distilleries. After all it’s just a question of whether you like it or not. Let the drams speak for themselves and not the media biases. I’m no Uri Geller or fortune teller here, but I would prefer affordable drams for the masses over unaffordable releases for the happy few.

Nils van Rijn

Whisky Specialist for Best of Whiskies.

 


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Greenock Creek - Shiraz Apricot Block 2001

Greenock Creek - Shiraz Apricot Block 2001

11-10-2017

Last Friday we were treated to a fantastic dinner experience in the newly opened private dining room at Restaurant Vlaar. Restaurant owner Arlo donned the chef’s hat for the evening and showed us a gastronomical live cooking show. MORE ...

Paired with the magnificent food we had some very special wines lined up, starting out with the Apricot Block Shiraz 2001 from Greenock Creek. With the 99 point Robert Parker awarded it with in 2004 it heightened our expectations of this bottle.

Greenock Creek is a relatively small Australian producer, with an output between the 3000 and 3500 cases every year. All their grapes are grown at their own grounds as a genuine estate winery. The owners of Greenock Creek manage to keep the bar high in almost every vintage which makes it a highly sought wine.

This cult wine for Australian wine lovers from Barossa Valley is the example of a high-class Shiraz. On the nose, it showed a lovely bouquet of blackberry and spicy tones. The taste of the wine is full of dark fruit, and because of the age the wine showed chocolate tones. A very well-balanced wine with the tannins and the alcohol well integrated. The long finish makes the wine almost perfect. Blog by Bas BOW 9,5/10


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Indian Summer with Pape Clement 1989

Indian Summer with Pape Clement 1989

25-09-2017

To conclude the summer of 2017 a beautiful wine with a beautiful sunset. One of the classics, the Chateau Pape Clement 1989. This wine always knows exactly how to capture the moment perfectly. MORE ...

After opening you could already smell the exquisit quality of the wine. A dark leathery scent with lots of earth and herbal tones as well. It needs a minute to breathe, but when it has the wine also develops sensual black fruits and hints of dates in the nose as well.

The mouthfeel is what you can expect from this astonishing Bordeaux. Smoky flavours combined with dried and black fruits. This all is completed with the long, lingering finish. It can undoubtedly compete with the lesser vintages of the best Bordeaux wines. 

A brilliant Grand Cru, in our opinion the best Pessac-Leognac wines. This glass was perfect with the beautiful sunset, but also everything you can expect from this legend. 

Blog by Frank


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Tasting Ninot et Fils Meursault

Tasting Ninot et Fils Meursault

15-09-2017

Every once in a while we try something completely different from our diet of red Bordeaux or red Burgundy wines. In this case we opened a bottle of Meursault les Narveaux from the vinter Christian Ninot sold at only €29,- (ex VAT). MORE ...

From the moment the cork was out, the full bouquet of the wine filled the room. Hints of mango, vanilla, orange peel and pineapple made the nosing a real pleasure. The wine shows a great balance between hints of vanilla and the freshness of both lemon and orange.

In the mouth the wine keeps a honeyed texture and subtle hints of hazelnut start to develop. The wine remains suprisingly fresh, due to the notes of pineapple and again the citrus. The finish is long and smokey, but not too intense. 

The accessible character makes this wine extremely suitable for a somewhat more luxurious afternoon drink. An absolutely stunning Meursault from Ninot. Undoubtedly the wine I will serve on my next birthday. 

Blog by Paul



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Tasting the Glendronach Grandeur 25 years Old batch 8

Tasting the Glendronach Grandeur 25 years Old batch 8

25-07-2017

Every once in a while we receive a sample from one of our partners in the world of Whisky. Through a partner at De Monnik, we received a sample of the Glendronach Grandeur. We at Best of Whiskies are generally appreciative of Billy Walker’s work for Glendronach. His passion marks this grandeur series. Let’s see how this dram evolves in our glasses. MORE ...

Color: Amber Gold/Mahony

Nose: Lovely complex sherry tones of dried fruit like raisins and Libyan fresh dates from the Keshbah market lingering into peardrops. Developing into a more almond chocolate tone combined with some chamomile herbs.

Mouth: Very neat mouthfeel with again raisins, dried forest fruit and sherry tones developing into chocolate tones. I smell fresh coffee tones. Our coworker Kris used to be a barista, his coffee in the morning is superb and so are the coffee tones in this magical dram. The tones develop into nut flavors like the almonds mentioned earlier and some zestiness..dried oranges?

Finish: A developing long finish witch citrus fruit tones and more forest fruits like dried cranberries.

Balance and complexity: I love the balance between the nose and mouthfeel. The dram has a very interesting complexity such as fresh coffee and dried dates.

Comments: A lovely sherry bomb that shows pure developing greatness. Guess that’s exactly why they called it Grandeur. Billy Walker at his prime for sure. 92/100 points in my book.

 

Nils van Rijn

Whisky Specialist for Best Of Whiskies.

 


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Long awaited vintage has arrived

Long awaited vintage has arrived

17-07-2017

This morning the long expected wines from AF Gros arrived at our warehouse! For some time now we have been hearing reports that the legendary vintage 2015 is expected to even exceed the quality of the 2003! MORE ...

This morning the shipment of A.F. Gros 2015, our own import wine, arrived at our warehouse. All of us have been looking forward to this with anticipation, because we have heard nothing but good about the Bourgogne vintage 2015.

A.F. Gros was founded in 1988 and is now widely spread throughout the Cote d'Or. The trademark of their wines is the delicacy and subtleness their wines seem to naturally possess. The 2015 vintage has been extremely good, especially in Vosne Romanée. The Bourgogne experienced a very mild spring without any frost or hailstorms and especially the summer has been an almost perfect combination of a hot and sunny July, with the right amount of rain in August. Though the yield was relatively low this year (about 20% below average) the wines that are produced are absolutely stunning. Full of fruits, the right amount of acidity.

We are most certainly going to drink one of these bottles this week! Keep an eye on this blog to discover our tasting notes.

 

Blog by Paul

 


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Rightful King of the Bordeaux

Rightful King of the Bordeaux

14-07-2017

One of our clients had some older wines in his cellar and came to us for an inspection of a Chateau Petrus 1983. We inmediately noticed that the colour was a little off and upon closer inspection saw that a part of the cork was floating inside the bottle. Our client offered us to drink the wine with him, to see if it was still drinkable and we were quite surprised when we opened this fully oxidated wine! MORE ...

In the nose there were chemicals like glue and nail polish. we gave up all hope that this wine was drinkable, but tried it anyway. Again the chemicals prodominated and most of us stood up to deposit our glasses in the sink. And that was the exact moment the wine showed its power.

Despite the fact that the wine had been totally oxidated, the Chateau Petrus still maintained his full-bodied and strong character. It had become sweet, with hints of cranberry jam and even some simularities with the Chateau d'Yquem in the finish. The Petrus was absolutely not what it should have been. The suppleness of the Merlot had totally worn of, but we experienced the power of the Chateau Petrus: even when it's bad, it's amazing. 

After having decided to decant the wine, the Chateau Petrus developed even further. The smell of chemicals faded and the slight simularity with the Chateau d'Yquem grew even stronger. It became a sweet, but powerful wine that showed us once and for all what high quality is all about.


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Vintage whisky cocktails for the summer

Vintage whisky cocktails for the summer

13-07-2017

A bit of cocktail history

 

Cocktails have seen an increase in popularity these last few years. We see more and more quality cocktailbars and bartenders. MORE ...

The thing is, cocktails are usually regarded as these fruity, umbrella-bearing longdrink-style drinks. These cocktails are friendly, approachable, sweet and relatively low in alcohol.

 

Luckily (for me, in any case), we’re seeing a shift in this perception. People are looking for quality, flavour, stories and a real experience. This means you’ll be looking at old-fashioned (pun intended) or classic cocktails. Many of these classic cocktails are gin- or whisky based. American Bartenders brought many great cocktails and talent to Europe during the Prohibition era. This means the first half of the 20th century was a golden age for cocktails. After the war though, cocktails were forgotten and (d)evolved to sweet, fruit-forward drinks. Vodka became massively popular, but as you probably know; Vodka doesn’t necessarily have what we call ‘flavour’. Don’t get me wrong, there are great, smooth vodkas out there, but these vodkas are just not what we are looking for in vintage cocktails.

 

Your home bar

 

In this post we’ll be revisiting some great whisky-based vintage cocktails. Great thing about these cocktails is that you won’t need a full stocked home bar and that you can make many ingredients yourself.

 

Make sure you have at least these tools at home:

  • Shaker (boston shaker will do, make sure it is large)
  • Strainer (Hawthorne or Julep)
  • Martini glass or Coupe glass

 

Many classic cocktails call for the same ingredients, so you’ll be well of buying the following things:

  • Angostura Bitters
  • Orange Bitters
  • Rye Whiskey (Millstone Rye or Few Rye are good choices, but remember: higher proof is always better)
  • Peated Scotch (go for something heavily peated like Ledaig 10 yo of The Peat Monster by Compass Box)
  • Blended Scotch (Black Bottle will do. But you can use any other quality blend)
  • Sweet Vermouth
  • Dry Vermouth

And finally, some syrups and garnishes:

  • Simple syrup: 1:1 sugar and water. Throw them together and heat slowly till all sugar is dissolved.
  • Ginger syrup: 1 big ginger-root (chopped to bits) to 500 ml of water and 500 ml sugar. Heat, dissolve, strain.
  • Honey syrup: 1:1 honey and water. Heat and dissolve.

 

Of course you can buy all these syrups ready-made. Try Monin for the biggest range. For garnish, sure, you can go crazy. But many classic cocktails call for lemon zest or orange zest.

 

Vintage whisky cocktails

 

Allright, on to the real deal. Cocktails. I’ll be giving you 4 classic-style whisky cocktails to start off with.

 

The Manhattan

It just doesn’t get any more classic than this. Invented somewhere in the early 20th century in New York. There is quite a bit of dispute as to who really invented it. Some say it was invented in the Manhattan club, others claim it was invented by a bartender called Black. Whatever the history, it is the king of Vermouth cocktails, followed by the world famous Martini and the Scotch based Rob Roy.

 

How to make the Manhattan:

6 cl of quality Rye or Bourbon whiskey

3 cl of quality Sweet Vermouth

3 dashes of aromatic (angostura) bitters

 

Chill your glass with ice. In a mixing glass, add all the ingredients over ice. Stir until really cool and slightly diluted. Discard ice from cocktail glass and strain the manhattan into the glass. Garnish with an orange peel or some real maraschino cherries.

A Rob Roy basically uses the same ingredients, only you replace the Rye whiskey with a scotch. Use a slightly smokey scotch for a real men’s cocktail.

 

If you have orange bitters, you can use those instead of standard bitters. Make sure to garnish with something other than orange though.

 

Rusty Nail

One of the easiest cocktails you can make and a favorite among the infamous ‘Rat Pack’ in the 60’s. You just can’t go wrong with this heart-warming cocktail. Again, a cocktail that found it’s origins somewhere in Manhattan and found it’s way into cocktail hall of fame after being endorsed by the Drambuie Liqueur company.

 

How to make the Rusty Nail:

4,5 cl of Blended Scotch

2,5 cl of Whisky liqueur

 

Add both ingredients into a highball or tumbler over crushed ice. Stir well and garnish with a lemon peel. Easy as that! Classic rusty nails call for Drambuie, but you can also use a little fresher liqueur like Atholl Brose.

 

You can also make a smokey nail. Replace your blended scotch with something peaty like an Ardbeg of Benromach Peat Smoke.

 

The Blinker

Another boozy cocktail named after these things horses wear other head to keep their eyes on the road. You do the math…

 

How to make the Blinker:

6 cl of Rye whiskey

3 cl of grapefruit juice (press it yourself)

2 teaspoons of raspberry syrup of Grenadine

 

Add all ingredients over ice to a shaker. Shake well and strain into a martini glass. Garnish with a lemon twist.

 

Penicillin

One of my favorites. Especially when the cold season is upon us again. A little more effort goes in this drink, but it is well worth it. This recipe calls for honey/ginger syrup. You can either mix the two syrups separately or you can make it by heating up equal parts of honey and water with some ginger slices until spicy/weet.

 

How to make the Penicillin:

6 cl of blended Scotch

1 cl of Peated scotch

2 cl of lemon juice

2 cl of honey/ginger syrup

 

To make the Penicillin, combine all ingredients (except for the peated Scotch) in a shaker, shake well and strain into a cooled Tumbler or highball glass, float your peated Scotch over the top. Use the pack of a spoon to gently pour the peated whisky over the top of your drink. Garnish with a piece of candied ginger.

There you have it! A few pretty decent whisk(e)y cocktails. Try all of these together with your friends. Experiment, get it right, tweak and make it your own. But whatever you do, make sure to use quality ingredients!

 

Cheers,

Werner Bos

 


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2003 - an underestimated vintage

2003 - an underestimated vintage

11-11-2016

A very warm vintage, which makes some of the wines "chaud". But the alcohol level of Lafite 2003 is just 12.7 %. With 86 % Cabernet sauvignon and only 50 % of the grapes in the final blend, this very ripe 2003 competes with the best Lafite vintages ever. A power Lafite in magnum, but still so elegant. BOW 9.5.

Jaboulet Chapelle 1990

Jaboulet Chapelle 1990

11-11-2016

Perfection, only one word suffices. We have tasted the Jaboulet Aine Hermitage La Chapelle 1990 a couple of times. But for the first time the wine seems to be fully mature and not completely purple colored. An explosion of blackberry fruit, coffee, chocolate, spices. Overwhelming, astonishing. This wine will last for another 30 years. This magnum bottle was at its best. BOW 10.

Big Battle

Big Battle

04-11-2016

In two ways: two great wines from a stellar vintage. And both in magnum. To start with the conclusion - it is just of matter preference. The Cheval Blanc was at its peak. Regular bottles tend to be past the best drinking period, but magnums are in optima forma. So fruity, so silky, Cabernet Franc at its best. The la Mission opened up after 10 minutes and proved to be the better wine: superb balance, all perfect. We tasted with 10 persons, 6 voted for Cheval, 4 for La Mission. So the better wine did "lose" - it was just a matter of preference. BOW Cheval Blanc 9+, La Mission 9.5.

The elegant Salon Le Mesnil 2004

The elegant Salon Le Mesnil 2004

02-11-2016

The small but mythical champagne house Salon has released their Le Mesnil 2004 vintage earlier this year. MORE ...

With only 46.000 bottles of the 2004 vintage produced the harvest was even for Salon quite low.

 

Since we are all huge lovers of this champagne we couldn’t wait to taste the wine, even though we knew that the champagne would still be very young. 

 

After opening the bottle the champagne shows hints of the chalky grounds. The champagne is very elegant and offers a palate of lemon and oyster shell. Full of elegance however it will even more evolve over the next 10 years.

BOW 8.5/10

We still have several bottles available:

http://bestofwines.com/wine/11043/salon/salon-le-mesnil/2004/


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Astonishing St Vivant

Astonishing St Vivant

01-10-2016

What shall we have to accompany some fusion French-Asian food ? That was the challenge we faced after a nice wine tasting with amongst others Napanook. We decided to go for a Burgundy from a less known producer with MORE ...

a very good reputation. And top vintage. Unfortunately no 1999, but 2002 can stand the test. The Robert Arnoux Romanee St Vivant was so overwhelming that we had at least 5 minutes without any conversation. So silky, so elegant but so concentrated. Strawberry, raspberry avalanche. How great can top Burgundy be ? Together with the spicy accents it reminded me of Lafite 1986 or even 1996. Finish lasted at least 90 seconds. We still have the 2005, I think I have to reserve this one..... BOW 9+.


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Sassicaia 1991 versus 1992

Sassicaia 1991 versus 1992

23-09-2016

We had a lovely dinner in 1-star restaurant Bridges in Amsterdam with bring your own bottle. Pichon Baron 82, Vieux CH Certan 82 and Leoville 83. But the stars of the evening were Sassicaia 1991 and 1992. MORE ...

Indeed, off-years, but everyone who is familiair with Sassicaia will agree - Sassicaia needs time, a lot of time. Both bottles were impressive, but so very different in style and taste. It was like Bordeaux against Burgundy, one said. The 1991 showed real power, as if only 10 years old.  It seems to take time to open up. Dark fruit, spices, cinnamon, some wood, tabacco. Tuscan power, with a beautiful balance. The 1992 was fruity, cherry, raspberry, sweet styled and lighter than the 1991. Even in color. Much more easier to drink and so elegant. Indeed Bordeaux - Burgundy. It was a question of preference, I preferred the 1991 (but not many did). Ratings 1991 BOW 8+, 1992 BOW 8.


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Classic Bordeaux 1997 - so nice

Classic Bordeaux 1997 - so nice

24-08-2016

Bordeaux 1997 and 2007 are so called classic years. A term used to describe an average year. However, our experience is that these vintages always show what Bordeaux can do just "on its own". MORE ...

Mouton Rothschild 1997 is a wine we haven't drunk much, just out of habit you always pick the more "special" vintages, Beautiful cassis, some blackberry, spices, typical Mouton terroir. A bit light styled, even though only 55 % of the harvest was used. We enjoyed the 1997 very much, but if you compare this to 1993 (same classic vintage) we prefer the 1993. BOW 7.5.


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Dauvissat grand cru vs. Coche Dury

Dauvissat grand cru vs. Coche Dury

24-08-2016

We enjoyed a 7 course dinner at De Leest, a 3 star Michelin restaurant near Apeldoorn, Netherlands. The winelist was impressive, with a big emphasis on White Burgundy. MORE ...

And the prices were very reasonable. We started of with Dauvissat Chablis les Clos 2009. For a Dauvisat Clos of 7 years old it was very open and impressed us from start to finish. Will have at least 15 years ahead. Tropical fruit, floral notes, minerals, it's all there and what you can expect from a big grand cru Chablis. Paired perfectly with the 3-star elegant dishes. Next bottle was the Coche Dury Puligny Enseigneres 2007. Not a cru and a lesser vintage, But Coche stands out, so unique in its winemaking and taste. A bit like D'Auvenay. Citrus, heavy and concentrated fruit (peach, lemon) but still well balanced. This bottle was priced very nice and therefor worth every euro. It's such a shame that prices of Coche have gone up so rapidly. BOW Dauvissat 9-. BOW Coche 8. 


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Glendronach Exclusively selected for the Duchess

Glendronach Exclusively selected for the Duchess

15-06-2016

We are very pleased to announce our very first single cask for the Duchess.

The Duchess is our independent bottler trademark brand for all our future single cask bottlings that we will consecutively release for Bestofwhiskies.com.

GlenDronach 2003 Virgin Oak Hogshead Cask 1751 250 bottles 53.9% Exclusively selected for The Duchess MORE ...

Tasting Notes by the chaps at GlenDronach:

Nose: Tarte tartin drizzled with apricot syrup and dusted with toasted coconut. All spiced with waves of delicious sweet oak.

Appearance: Glowing harvest gold

Palate: Candied peel and ginger syrup poured over roasted orchard fruits with a fantastic combination of  cinnamon sugar and gentle vanilla.

In our honest opinion, it’s a stunner indeed. We totally agree with Billy Walker and his team on their tasting notes, but still we couldn’t resist adding our very own personal tasting notes.

Nose: Lots of fruitiness. The likes of plums. Accompanied by a warm swell of butterscotch and spices; Cinnamon and hazelnuts.

Mouth: Butterscotch is eminent on the foreground. Lots of pleasurable spices like the aforementioned cinnamon, ginger and a little sugarcane sweetness in the background.

Finish: long and dry herbal finish; Laurel and liquorice.

Balance: A very stunning dram it is. Very well balanced in both and the nose and mouthfeel. The thing that attracts me the most is the overwhelming complexity of this GlenDronach…Don’t we all love ginger spices and liquorice ???89/100 points

 We are very excited about his single cask bottling. You can order a bottle directly through this link.

We are very curious about your opinions when you have experienced this gem. Your opinion is very important to us.

Please email your tasting notes to us.

Sincerely,


Nils van Rijn

Whisky Specialist for Best Of Whiskies 

 


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A dessert dessert

A dessert dessert

04-06-2016

Sauternes and a sweet dessert always proofs to be a fantastic combination. A classic with an apple pie or creme brulee. But vanilla and warm MORE ...

cherries always shows the best out of this pourriture noble-wines. Rieussec 2006 was the choice and the result was a dessert-dessert. The dessert stood out alone perfectly, the wines was a dessert on its own. But toghether they multiplied. The price-quality of this difficult sauternes vintage is very very good. BOW 8+.


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Vega Sicilia Unico 2000 vs. Mouton Rothschild 2002

Vega Sicilia Unico 2000 vs. Mouton Rothschild 2002

01-06-2016

Battle of the bulge

In sunny "Palma de Mallorca”, we tested 2 outstanding wines heads up. MORE ...

The Vega Sicilia Unico 2000 versus the Mouton Rothschild 2002. Both where magnum sized!


To conclude: Both score 9/10 points, no way to tell which is the winner. Both wines are almost perfect in balance, very well concentrated, but yet so elegant. It’s really a tsunami of silk and fruit. The finish longs for more than 60 seconds!


To sum it all up: The difference is what your preference is: The power, portrayed in its most elegant way for the Vega Sicilia Unico 2000 or the more silky and smooth terroir in the “Pauillac” for the Mouton Rothschild 2000.
It’s hard to choose anyways… we couldn't. BOW 9


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Pontet Canet 2007

Pontet Canet 2007

26-05-2016

Dinner with winefriends, we took some Bordeaux 2007 with us to the beautiful city of Breda. And what an evening we had: 2007 is still an MORE ...

underestimated vintage and doesn't have the sexy fingerprint of 2000, 2005, 2009 etc. Classic Bordeaux, what you see is what you get. This Pontet 2007 showed extremely well, but will improve in the years to come. Blueberry, wood, truffel, some asian spices. One of the best Medoc 2007's, if you get hold of some, drink or store. Will drink well till at least 2036. BOW 8+ (Peter).


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Lynch Bages 2000

Lynch Bages 2000

25-05-2016

Drinking wine with friends, what more needs to be said, especially with this Lynch Bages 2000. This wine is getting better every time MORE ...

we drink it for the last 3-4 years. Very dark colored, astonishing bouquet (this is Pauillac !). Reminds me of old-school Lynch Bages. Thick, fleshy, very concentrated, but so elegant. Cassis, caramel, tutti-frutti. Tannins well integrated, this 2000 will last till at least 2040. BOW 9 (Peter).


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Montrose 1990

Montrose 1990

22-05-2016

For this special occasion we choose a bottle of Chateau Montrose 1990, we already wrote several times about this monument of a wine MORE ...

and when you have a perfect bottle it’s party time. It’s all we have wrote before and got BOW 10 again. We enjoyed by a dish of pigeon from Bresse created by Wilco Berends the chef of the one star restaurant “De Nederlanden” in Vreeland.


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Domaine des Perdrix Echezeaux 2006

Domaine des Perdrix Echezeaux 2006

20-05-2016

In the little village Loenen aan de Vecht, we had a lovely dinner at Tante Koosje. This one Michelin star restaurant is located by the church and has a MORE ...

lovely terras with a lot of sun after 5 p.m. We choose for Domaine des Perdrix Echezeaux 2006, this is muscular with intense fruit of black cherries and integrated wood expressions, which went great with the three types of lamb. BOW 8.


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Armand Rousseau Gevrey Chambertin Clos St Jacques 2001

Armand Rousseau Gevrey Chambertin Clos St Jacques 2001

19-05-2016

Restaurant La Rive in the Amstel Hotel, one of Amsterdams most famous restaurants MORE ...

, was visited by our Best Of Wines tasting team. We had a lot of nice discussions with the Fine & Rare Wine expert and sommelier Ted Bunnik. Together we enjoyed an Armand Rousseau Gevrey Chambertin Clos St Jacques 2001. The label was stained due to some leaking of the cork, but the wine was stored in a very good cellar, so it should be ok. And it was. We enjoyed the bottle during a nice summer evening looking over the Amstel river. Beautiful cherries and raspberries, silky texture and tannins, big and concentrated, wines lingers on and on. Typically 2001 with some reserve and the terroir of St Jacques was so present. BOW 8.5.


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Sassicaia 1985

Sassicaia 1985

16-05-2016

Yesterday evening we had a wonderful dinner in one of the best Asian restaurants in the Netherlands Restaurant Royal Mandarin. For this occasion we brought a Super MORE ...

Tuscan legend: the Sassicaia 1985.

The bottle came from a private cellar, the wine was bought on release and stored in a conditioned environment till yesterday. The level was into neck and we decided not to decant.

The colour was dark red and the bouquet displayed a wonderful sweetness and softness, quite a right bank Bordeaux character. Indeed strange for a cabernet wine. But we noticed immediately that the wine was still flattened, it had to open up. And it did ! After 5 minutes we were staring at each other, this is a 100% Mouton Rothschild 1986 nose. Then we tasted and were overwhelmed by the concentration and intensity of the cassis and dried (tutti frutti) fruit, the spices, licorice and sweetness of the oak.

The wine is so unbelievable concentrated (glycerine on your lips) and so complex. On every sip you discover new elements. And so elegant and delicate. Balance is without any doubt perfect. Length > 60 seconds. In our opinion Sassicaia makes wines that last and need time to soften. The 1985 shows what this means for Sassicaia: a perfect wine, and the best Sassicaia ever. Monumental, a wine you should drink once. Ratings are almost without exception max. And we agree. BOW 10/10. This wine will last till at least 2030.

We still have one bottle of this perfect wine available.


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Mouton Rothschild 2002

Mouton Rothschild 2002

13-05-2016

Last night we visited Samhoudt places, a 2 star Michelin restaurant in Amsterdam with small and really surprising dishes in their tasting menu. For the MORE ...

meat course we brought the still underrated Mouton Rothschild 2002. Almost black colored, very impressive nose, fruit  (cassis) bursts from the glass, mint, eucalyptus, wood, spices.

A very concentrated wine, tasting it is overwhelming, with clear Cabernet, mocca, vanilla and very elegant and integrated tannins. Top line Mouton in such a "classic"  vintage, will improve as it just started to get in its best phase. BOW 9.

We still have several bottles available at our website


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“The concept of quality over quantity really does matter”.

“The concept of quality over quantity really does matter”.

12-05-2016

John Glaser, The Compass box; “The concept of quality over quantity really does matter”. MORE ...

This week I had a little gathering with John Glaser, founder of the Compass Box whisky company, for a masterclass and I had a nice little chat accompanied by a dram afterwards.

As a company, we mainly focus on single malts with our bestofwhiskies.com division, but we do love blends as well.

We think there’s absolutely nothing wrong with a good blend. I have sometimes tricked my friends, in a blend in our monthly blind tasting sessions. We all agree that they do hold their own against malt whisky.

John Glaser and myself share the same passion for old blends. 95% of the time they will beat any single malt today by both taste and quality. John asked me: “Why is it that old blended whisky is that good”?

The answer is pretty simple, so let me give you a little history lesson to answer that question.

Scotch whisky hasn’t always been as popular as it is today. In the Victorian age the wealthy and the gentlefolks had taken a liking to Brandy-soda and French cognac. It was only due to the fact that the grapevines had been infested by grape lice (esca) and insect pests that the production of wine and the distilling of wine (brandy & cognac) had instantly seized production and stopped.

The noblemen had to look for another drink that would be to their liking, since the brandy and cognac had become very scarce. Now back in the day, Single Malt was considered a “poor man’s drink’. It was a totally inconsistent drink, often very harsh, under proofed and mostly not matured in wood.

It was only by the invention of “blending” by smart businessmen like Alexander Walker in 1857 (Johnny Walker & Sons) and A.J Cameron of the Dewar’s blending company in 1899, that the production of Scotch whisky blends thrived under their smart entrepreneurial spirit. They really had a foreseeing gift in understanding what the market needed. It was due to their work that whisky became the gentleman’s drink that it is today.

To understand the concept of “blending” you have to understand that these smart business men understood that blends needed to be consistent in taste. They made “easier”, more consistent style of whisky. They understood that it was the quality that made the sales, not the quantity that mattered. They turned blending into art, it became the drink everybody was after and the rest is history.

 

John Glaser is a humble man that speaks with a passion unlike you have ever seen before when speaking about his work. His take on blending for the Compass box, is exactly the art form that seems to be forgotten by the big blending multinationals today.

Compass box is all about quality over quantity. John Glaser stands for transparency of the components actually used for making up the end product. He strongly believes in the consumer’s right to know what the contents of their product actually are when they’re purchasing a quality Compass Box blend. The people ought to know, it’s their right as a consumer.

John is very open about the casks he uses, the distilleries and the age…Wait! Not anymore. The Scottish Whisky Association (SWA) won’t allow him to share the age statements of the cask used. I can rant about this a for thousand more words, but really; you’ll should read about it from the man himself and support his campaign on transparency.

You can read all about it here.

I guess I must have made you all a little thirsty by writing this blog. You can view one of the Compass box gems right here at our site!

 

Gal Granov scores this high quality blend 92/100 points.

Sincerely,

Nils van Rijn

Whisky Specialist for Best Of Whiskies

 

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Lafleur 2003

Lafleur 2003

09-05-2016

Remember our wine tasting with René Gabriel two weeks ago ? This one was chosen as best wine of the evening by 30% of the tasters. It was our last bottle in stock, so we are hurrying to buy some more….. The 2003 Bordeaux can show some contradictions. Some are very disappointing and “chaud”. But some MORE ...

domains really outperformed in this vintage. First impression: this is a Céléstine von Henry Bonneau or a Burgundy wine from Henry Jayer. But it contains very ripe Cassis, some citrus elements. Very creamy and thick, elegant and a milky finish. What a wine, perfectly vinified. But still very young, needs at least 5 more years. BOW 9, but will get better.


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Coche Dury Corton Charlemagne 2003

Coche Dury Corton Charlemagne 2003

04-05-2016

White Burgundy 2003 can show a “tired” impression. On opening this bottle we were again not surprised didn’t show much, a little cork maybe ? But we

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decanted it, let the wine breathe for 10 minutes and then it showed what a Corton Charlemagne from Coche Dury can do: very complex bouquet, a little “chaud”, but beautiful fruit, chamomille, floral elements and a concentration and terroir typical for Coche Dury. BOW 9+.


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Guigal Lalala 1988 comparison

Guigal Lalala 1988 comparison

01-05-2016

La Landonne + La Mouline + La Turque 1988: all 100 Parker Points...

Does it have the perfect score ?
Robert Parker gives the La Mouline 1988, La Turque 1988 and La Landonne 1988 the perfect score of 100 points. Well, let’s find out if we agree…….

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In 1988 Guigal made his lalala’s with much less influence of wood. So a little more elegancy and less power.

Guigal La Mouline 1988 – Bouquet contains lots of spices, leather, wood. Tastes creamy, beautifully balanced, typically French Syrah print. Nice wine, but on the edge of best drinking period. We rated it on average 8-/10.

Guigal La Turque 1988 – Shows age, with orange rim. Very nice bouquet, with curry, bouillon, spices, some wood, tabacco, raisins. On the palate leather, nice fruit, silky but balance is not perfect. Smelling the wine promised everything, tasting was slightly disappointing. BOW 8+/10.

Guigal La Landonne 1988 – Still in top shape, will last another 15 years. Took some time to open up, but there it was. Lalala complexity, so aromatic, so fine, so complex. A great wine which shows what a terroir it is. BOW 9/10.


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Haut Brion battle

Haut Brion battle

29-04-2016

Last week the great wine critic and our friend René Gabriel from WeinWisser visited us for an exclusive tasting. We had a wonderful evening with some beautiful wines.

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We started with the battle between Château Haut-Brion Blanc, Château Laville Haut-Brion and Château La Mission Haut-Brion blanc 2011

La Mission Haut Brion Blanc 2011 – Medium yellow, lots of spices, some mint. Floral notes, and beautiful tropical fruit. Smooth, concentrated, complex nose. Perfect for drinking now, but will last at least another 20 years. BOW 9/10.

We still have 6 bottles available for €650,- the bottle at http://www.bestofwines.com/uk/wines/view/7203

Haut Brion Blanc 2011 – Light yellow wine, with some green notes. First impression a little bit closed but on tasting the wine shows concentration, but is not as concentrated as the La Mission. Complex nose, but still not showing its potential. Maybe the element wood is too present in relation to concentration. The La Mission shows more and even on age will be the better wine. BOW 8+/10.


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Nice cellar pictured

Nice cellar pictured

26-04-2016

Just checking the pictures of the new additions Domaine Leflaive from a perfect cellar. The proof is in the drinking.: Bourgogne Blanc 2004 from OWC drinks like a 2012. What a way to end the day. BOW 7+/10

Lynch Bages 1970

Lynch Bages 1970

24-04-2016

We bought this bottle from a private cellar in the Canalzone in Amsterdam. It was a very old cellar, also containing Burgundy from the 1930’s thru 1960’s.

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We opened a Bichot Volnay 1934 with a 10 cm level, and it was still beautiful! The Lynch Bages 1970 had a high shoulder level, so there was a risk. But as this cellar proved to be very good, we knew that this bottle would be great. And it was! The color was dark red, the first sip was of a wine in its youth... . A cabernet classic, with cassis fruit, chocolate, truffel. It changed in texture and complexity and character during the first 10 minutes. One of our tasters reminded the wine as a Latour 1970 which he drank only a few days ago. Bottles with top shoulder level or higher will last another 20 years. A treat ! BOW 9-.


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Palmer 1989 imperial 6 L

Palmer 1989 imperial 6 L

23-04-2016

This week we have a grand tasting in Mallorca. After some fabulous Rioja Reserva bottles on Monday we sat down for an exceptional bottle: an imperial 6 litre Palmer 1989. We have (highly) rated this wine a couple of times, but big bottles always tend to show greater quality. The bottle came from MORE ...

a private cellar, was stored in a conditioned environment since release. Level was high fill. The first 15 minutes were like a roller-coaster, the wine changed every couple of minutes. After 30 minutes it showed its best. Smell of sweet reserva elements, wood, cinnamon, some tea and mocha. And a unbelievable load of black fruit. The taste is so soft, silky and delegate, astonishing! The complexity on the highest level, the acid, softened tannins and sweet fruit gives the wine a perfect balance. So much power but so elegant. We tried to finish the bottle but luckily kept some for today. To pair it with Italian and Rhone stars. Big bottles indeed show better quality.

Palmer 89 always scores 9.5 or higher. This bottle BOW 9,5/10


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Petrus, La Fleur Petrus, Lafleur

Petrus, La Fleur Petrus, Lafleur

21-04-2016

Three great terroirs 2000 - Pétrus, Chateau La Fleur-Petrus, Chateau Lafleur 2000.

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The three chateaux lie besides each other. So terroir is of major influence in the final quality of the wine. Let’s start with Petrus 2000.

Petrus 2000 – darkest color of the 3 wines. Lots of cassis, but also berries, cocos, vanilla. Palet is full of liquorice, so fat, but so smooth and sweet. The Merlot works like liquid silk, creamy and gives the wine the perfect balance. Comparable to Petrus 1989 and 1998, but with the charme of 1990. Is this the best Petrus of the last 50 years? BOW 10/10.


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