Spring Cleaning Cellar Selections

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Despite the head fake last week in the form of a snowstorm, Spring is finally here!

The days are getting longer and despite the chill, they will get warmer. And while ramps haven't arrived at the Greenmarket just yet, we're getting in the spirit of things by helping a couple of friends with their Spring cleaning. From two serious collectors with an overabundance of wines, we have a lovely selection of older French wines from Burgundy, Bordeaux, Provence, Rhône, with even a bit of Champagne thrown in. This list features a number of wines which are ready to drink now while celebrating the balmier weather. John McIlwain

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Jadot 1999 Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru Clos Saint-Jacques

This is a great Clos St Jacques from Jadot's own vineyards. This is nearly "Grand Cru" in quality. It is a great 1er Cru Gevrey Chambertin from a great vintage and it is just coming around at 11 years since the vintage. Drink over the next 15-25 years. Or tonight!

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Lafarge, Michel 2005 Bourgogne Rouge

Just looking at this makes my mouth water... A Bourgogne of incredible quality and finesse; ideally we'd wait another 5 years with this in the cellar, but at $30 for a true classic who has patience...

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Leoville Barton 1996 St Julien

Rich dark red color, lots of dark fruit like plums and mulberries, tannin, cedary aromas and a long finish.  This is spicy and concentrated and will drink well for years to come.  But drink it now!

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Pape Clement 1996 Graves

A classic pipe tobacco-y Graves.

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Sociando Mallet 1998 Haut-Medoc

Sociando Mallet is equal parts Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon with 5% Cabernet Franc.The Chateau has approximately 85 hectares of vines and its owner, Jean Gautreau, lives near the property and has a hands on approach to his estate. He has never submitted it for classification; it is simply labelled appellation Haut Médoc. The estate is about three miles north of Calon Segur, the northernmost of the classified growths.The wine is rustic in the best kind of way; it's not a concocted confection with lots of new oak and modern winemaking. This is excellent old fashioned Bordeaux. From a very good vintage that is drinking really well right now, 1996 Sociando Mallet is a deep, dark red color with cedar and cassis fruit on the nose, medium tannins and a long finish.  It's quite minerally and has good acidity. A superb wine to drink now and for the next five years. JBT

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Allemand, Thierry 1999 Cornas Chaillot

If Shiraz could wish, it would (should?) wish to be like this wine… rich and intense without turning into an imitation of Port… A classic Syrah nose of black fruit, bacon fat, the peppergrinder, stony earth, a hint of garrigue herbaceousness; on the palate, great purity, complexity, and balance and length. For years some friends raved about Allemand – it was like a cult – once I finally tasted his wine I joined immediately. I have a few bottles of this wine in my cellar – I was eying one just the other day, thinking, “Damn, that looks good”, and then, “No, not yet!”. I’m going to take advantage of this stash of the fabulous 1999 to add a few more. PS Allemand makes 3 cuvees: this one, Chaillot, from vines under 40 years old; Reynard, which is from very old vines; and an un-sulphured cuvee which I’ve sold but never tasted, such being the woeful life of the wine-loving wine merchant. Chaillot is certainly more approachable and open than Reynard, which really needs time in the cellar. JW

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Clos des Papes 2000 Chateauneuf du Pape

31 hectares of vines, one botting of red (and a white) is made. The Chateauneuf is Grenache 65%, Mourvedre 20%, and Syrah 10%, with 5% Counoise, Vaccarese, and Muscardin; aged in large old barrels, and bottled unfiltered

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Pegau 1998 Chateauneuf du Pape Cuvee Reservee

18.5 hectares under vines. Reservee is Grenache 85%, Syrah 9%, Mourvedre 4%, and 2% others. Aging is 18 months in large old barrels; the wine is bottled unfiltered.

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Vieux Donjon 2001 Châteauneuf-du-Pape

14 hectares of vines; one red (and one white) produced. The Chateauneuf is Grenache 70%, Syrah 10%, Mourvedre 10%, and 5% Counoise and others. Aged 18 months in cement and large barrels, and bottled unfiltered.

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