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Cellar Favorite: 1994 Penfolds Grange and 1975 Bin 95 Grange Hermitage

cellar favorite, Cellar Favorites, Australia

Neal Martin, May 2024

During my time in Bordeaux tasting barrel samples, I spend most evenings essentially harvesting tasting notes for my annual “Centuries Of…” article that will appear in due course. Ironically, perhaps the best bottle of wine with a vintage ending in four was not from either the Left or Right Bank but from Australia.

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Cellar Favorite: 1930 KWV Muscadel Bin 14 Late Bottled Vintage

South Africa, cellar favorite, Cellar Favorites

Neal Martin, May 2024

Ancient South African ports have a cult following, and though they are not cheap due to demand, they represent outstanding value compared to other wines.

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Cellar Favorite: 1938 Paul Jaboulet Aîné Côte-Rôtie

France: Rhône & Beaujolais, cellar favorite, Cellar Favorites

Neal Martin, Apr 2024

When someone whispers into your ear, particularly my ear, that you will never drink this bottle again, the aforementioned ear perks up. The 1938 Côte-Rôtie from Paul Jaboulet Aîné had lived its entire life in a cool dank cellar over in the West Country, so factor in perfect provenance. Though the bottle states Jaboulet on the label, it is more accurate to look at this as an amalgamation of all the growers in Côte-Rôtie at the time since hardly any bottled themselves.

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Cellar Favorite: 2016 Domaine de la Grange des Pères Vin de Pays de L'Herault

cellar favorite, Cellar Favorites, France

Neal Martin, Apr 2024

It must have been a decade ago when I attended a vertical of Domaine de la Grange des Pères in London. Then, it was revered as arguably Languedoc’s only true cult wine and, combined with its price tag, I was rather put off.

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Cellar Favorite: 1993 Domaine de Chevalier

France: Bordeaux, cellar favorite, Cellar Favorites

Neal Martin, Apr 2024

Last October, I was in Bordeaux during the autumn Porte Ouverte days, when locals can tour châteaux and attend evening dinners, many of which are inexpensive to take part in. I was tasting the 2021s on the same day as Domaine de Chevalier’s soirées, and proprietor Olivier Bernard invited me, along with around 200 other guests. With so many people, you need a large bottle!

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Cellar Favorite: 1990 Latour à Pomerol

France: Bordeaux, cellar favorite, Cellar Favorites

Neal Martin, Apr 2024

The 1990 Latour à Pomerol epitomizes everything one could wish for in a mature Pomerol, but without paying a king’s ransom. Despite the highly regarded growing season, I approach this with modest expectations because these were not halcyon days for the estate.

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Cellar Favorite: 2014 M & C Lapierre Morgon Marcel Lapierre Cuvée MMXIV

France: Rhône & Beaujolais, cellar favorite, Cellar Favorites

Neal Martin, Apr 2024

The 2014 Morgon Marcel Lapierre Cuvée MMXIV comes from 2.5 hectares planted in 1907-1910, just after phylloxera. The vines are located in the Le Douby climat, towards Fleurie, which the legendary Marcel Lapierre has intermittently bottled separately since 1999. Authorities refused the maiden vintage since it did not adhere to the typical Morgon style for reasons only known to them. To circumvent demotion into Vin de France, Marcel Lapierre’s son, the then teenage Mathieu, who is recounting this story in the sunny courtyard outside the winery in Villié-Morgon, suggested his father print the vintage in Roman numerals.

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Cellar Favorite: 2017 Domaine Samuel Billaud Chablis Mont de Milieu 1er Cru

cellar favorite, Cellar Favorites, France: Burgundy

Neal Martin, Mar 2024

I have praised Samuel Billaud’s wines for around a decade now, going so far as to suggest that they rank amongst Chablis’ premier tier of producers, alongside Raveneau and Dauvissat. A recent dinner at the splendid Lorne restaurant, the same that saw the 1973 La Fleur-Pétrus opened, also witnessed a bottle that ‘sizzled’ with potential.

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Cellar Favorite: 1991 René Balthazar Cornas

France: Rhône & Beaujolais, cellar favorite, Cellar Favorites

Neal Martin, Mar 2024

The Northern Rhône is a region that I would like to know better. There is too little time with Burgundy and Bordeaux under my charge, so I look forward to future reports from my colleague, Nicolas Greinacher. A recent Riesling/Syrah-themed dinner was bejeweled with exquisite bottles and fodder for several Cellar Favorites. This one caught my eye.

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Cellar Favorite: 1971 Staatsweingut Eltville Rauenthaler Langenstück Riesling Spätlese

Germany, cellar favorite, Cellar Favorites

Neal Martin, Mar 2024

My adoration for any bottle of wine born the same year as myself is well-known. I sound like a broken record proselytizing the 1971 vintage. But then a bottle sashays along and vindicates my opinion, reconfirming that this is such a trove of outstanding bottles, arguably none more so than Germany.