11 Feb

It’s all about Bordeaux

There’s much talk at Glengarry about Bordeaux this month. Check out the events below and you’ll soon understand why.

To start the journey of exploring Bordeaux, you need to first start with the Classification System. In 1855, being lovers of red tape, the French authorities created what became known as The Classified Growths of the Médoc, a five-tier classification of 61 of the leading Médoc Châteaux, along with two from Graves. This formalised lists that were already in place based on each châteaux relative quality as expressed by the prices of each individual estate. These growths, or crus range from first (Premier) through to fifth (Cinquièmes). Over the years there has been very little change to the 1855 Classification, other than Château Mouton Rothschild moving from second growth to first growth in 1973 (Baron Philippe de Rothschild reportedly saying, ‘Mouton I am, Second I am not’).  Château Cantemerle was added as a fifth growth in 1856 and Château Dubignon, a third growth, was absorbed into Château Malescot St Exupéry.

Saint-Émilion added its own classification system in 1955, which has subsequently been frequently amended. Pomerol has never been classified, although the greatest wine from this region, Château Pétrus, is generally spoken of in the same hushed tones as the five first growths of the Médoc . 

The Médoc First Growths are;

Château Lafite-Rothschild (Pauillac)
Château Margaux (Margaux)
Château Latour (Pauillac)
Château Haut-Brion (Graves)
Château Mouton-Rothschild (Pauillac)

Whilst much of the classification system holds true today, the inherent problem with a system is that some of the châteaux have improved out of sight since it was first introduced, while others are considered to have rested on their laurels, smug in the knowledge that their wines will always fetch high prices, as this was what the classification was based on in the first place. It is a good guide as long as one keeps in mind the fact that some of the wines outside its boundaries can still be superb.

Glengarry are New Zealand’s pre-eminent suppliers of Bordeaux. With our longstanding relationships and our experience honed over 30-odd years, we are old hands at this and once again we made the commitment this year to ensure you the best service and advice. It’s on the back of these great associations that we have not one, two or six, but an impressive 14 chateaux joining us here in New Zealand during March: Domaine de Chevalier – Pessac Léognan, Haut Bailly – Pessac Léognan, Brane Cantenac – Margaux, d’Issan – Margaux, Beychevelle – St Julien, Langoa Barton – St Julien, Leoville Barton – St Julien, Pedesclaux – Pauillac, Grand Puy Lacoste – Pauillac, Pontet Canet – Pauillac, Lilian Ladouys – St Estèphe, Phelan Segur – Saint Estèphe, Larcis Ducasse – Saint Émilion and Pavie-Macquin – Saint Émilion. 

With representatives from all of these properties here, we have scheduled two impressive events that are not to be missed. We’ll start with a very special tasting, where each estate will be presenting their wines from the amazing 2016 vintage. The more time these spend in bottle, the clearer it is that this is one of the finest years ever for Bordeaux – maybe even better than the famed 2015s. This will be a walk around event from 4.30pm to 6.30pm where you can go from one Château to another and talk with them as you taste.

Following that, a fantastic dinner with these Bordeaux Estates. The opportunity to dine and enjoy a beautiful three course meal with the representatives from these Châteaux, one of whom will be joining each table. Each of the Estates will be providing an older vintage of their Grand Vin to enjoy, all in the picturesque setting that is Sails Restaurant.

Both events are on the same day, Tuesday 10th March 2020, with a ticket price of $49 for the walk around tasting, $195 for the dinner and $210 for both events. These not to be missed events are a unique opportunity to try the wines of these properties and meet those behind them.