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France Wines

France Wines

France Wines

Words fail us when trying to adequately portray France’s place in the world of wine. It’s downright impossible to imagine what wine would feel and taste like had it not been for France’s many, many viticultural pioneers. Fine wine is the blood of France’s vigorously beating heart, and it finds itself in many aspects of French culture. With a viticultural history that dates all the way back to the 6th century BC, France now enjoys its position as the most famous and reputable wine region on the planet. If you have a burning passion for masterfully crafted, mouth-watering, mind-expanding wines, then regular visits to France are probably already in your schedule, and for a good reason.
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1953 petrus Bordeaux Red

A youthful, very fresh Pétrus, with lively black olive character and an expansive, powerful mouthfeel. Very ripe fruit flavors. This will continue to improve with age, but it's perfect to drink now.Wine Spectator | 92 WSThe 1953 Petrus constitutes one of the more underwhelming wines of an extraordinary vertical. It has quite a formidable reputation but it does not deliver. The bouquet is attractive with scents of fireside hearth and chestnut infusing the red fruit, yet it is not imbued with the panache or breeding of the 1949 Petrus served alongside. With aeration it develops a subtle algae-like aroma (actually a scent I am partial towards.) The palate is fresh and clear with a core of red berry fruit infused with cedar and bay leaf scents. It does not fan out towards the finish and feels as if it is running out of puff with age, something that I have found with many Bordeaux born this year. It just tapers towards the finish as if to say: That’s your lot Sonny Jim. It represents a good but not great Petrus compared to the superior 1949, 1950 or 1955. Tasted at the Petrus dinner at Hide restaurant in London.Vinous Media | 91 VMA Medoc-like nose offers subtle, restrained, menthol, blackcurrant, and caramel-scented aromas. Medium-bodied, with politely elegant, sweet flavors, and a rich, well-balanced finish, this is one of the most restrained and subtle Petrus offerings I have tasted. The wine is in excellent condition and should last for another decade.Robert M. Parker, Jr. | 90 RP

As low as $5,395.00
1960 lafite rothschild Bordeaux Red

A nice surprise from an unheralded vintage. A broad, spicy brown sugar flavor lends it plenty of substance. Has the juniper and cedar notes that many of the great vintages share. Drink now to 1995.--Lafite Rothschild vertical.Wine Spectator | 92 WS

As low as $765.00
1961 calon segur Bordeaux Red

(Château Calon-Ségur) After having been snake-bitten with bad luck on a couple of occasions (cooked examples) with the 1961 Calon-Ségur, I was delighted to be served a bottle in pristine condition just before finishing up this feature on the estate. This is a great, great 1961 that is still a few years away from its apogee of peak drinkability. This hails from the old days at the château, when Calon was renowned for the longevity of its wines, and the 1961 is still a bit chewy and will continue to improve with further bottle age. The bouquet is very, very deep, pure and stunning, wafting from the glass in a vibrant blend of black cherries, sweet dark berries, Cuban cigar wrapper, a complex base of dark soil, a touch of coffee bean and a smoky topnote. On the palate the wine is deep, full-bodied, complex and rock solid at the core, with the purity of 1961’s fruit beautifully synthesized to the classic, sturdy structure of Calon and adding a perception of roundness on the backend that is very rare for Calon in this era. The finish is very, very, very long, focused and well-balanced, with a chewy nature still in evidence to the remaining tannins, and great grip and complexity closing this magical 1961. Hard to believe that this wine, which is now more than fifty years of age, is going to be even better with further bottle age! This is the finest vintage of Calon-Ségur I have ever had the pleasure to taste. (Drink between 2014-2070)John Gilman | 96 JG

96
JG
As low as $645.00
1961 latour Bordeaux Red

As stunning and immortal as ever. Complex aromas of mint, plum, currants and dried dark fruits that turn to raisins and chocolate. Full and juicy with a finish that lasts for minutes. Perfect wine as always.James Suckling | 100 JSPort-like, with an unctuous texture, and a dark garnet color with considerable amber at the edge, the 1961 Latour possesses a viscosity and thickness. One of the three bottles served at the Chateau's tasting revealed a surprisingly aggressive, minty, herbaceous nose, but the other two bottles were liquid perfection, exhibiting fragrant, cedary, truffle, leather, mineral, and sweet, jammy aromatics, full-bodied, voluptuous textures, exquisite purity and concentration, and a layered, highly-nuanced finish that represents the essence of compellingly great wine. The 1961 has been fully mature for over 15 years, but it seems to get richer, holding onto its succulence and fat, and developing more aromatic nuances without losing any sweetness or concentration. An extraordinary wine, it is unquestionably one of the Bordeaux legends of the century! Anticipated maturity: now-2025.Robert M. Parker, Jr. | 100 RPThe 1961 Latour poured at the vertical in Hong Kong is unquestionable one of the finest bottles that I have tasted. It has a breathtaking bouquet: fresh as morning dew and brilliantly delineated, intense black fruit whereby every atom is suffused with mineralité. It feels so youthful and vital. The nose is the apotheosis of Bordeaux being so aromatically regal and aristocratic. The palate is medium-bodied, with tannins sculpted by the finest chisel in the set: tightly wound black fruit, a perfect line of acidity and a breathtaking delineation, utterly harmonious and blessed with a persistent graphite-tinged finish that lasts over a minute. Majestic. Tasted at the Latour dinner in Hong Kong.Vinous Media | 100 VMA blockbuster. Amazingly youthful, yet complex and complete on the palate. Aromas of mint, berries,currant and minerals follow through to a thick and caressing, full-bodied palate. Superlong and superripe. Got to love this. Will it age forever?--Latour vertical. Drink now.Wine Spectator | 100 WS

As low as $36,190.00
1961 Leoville Las Cases

The 1961 Léoville Las-Cases is a wine that I have not tasted for quite some time, although I have several notes from the last decade. This is unquestionably the best bottle that I have encountered. It has a show-stopping, lively bouquet with black fruit, bay leaf and cedar, light mulch aromas developing with time. I actually thought it might have been Trotanoy before its identity was revealed. The palate is medium-bodied with a fleshier opening than I recollect, quite atypically for Léoville Las-Cases, hints of orange rind and curry leaf enhancing the magnificently structure and vivacious finish. Outstanding. Tasted at the 1961 dinner Chairman Miaow’s in Hong Kong.Vinous Media | 97 VM

92
WS
As low as $935.00
1966 mouton rothschild Bordeaux Red

(Château Mouton Rothschild) This was a good solid bottle of ’66 Mouton, which has always been my favorite between the ’62 and the ’70. There was a time fifteen years ago when I crossed paths with this wine very often, as it offered much better value than the 1970, but as the market has realized the sleeper status of this vintage of Mouton, its price has risen commensurately. The nose is complex and classy, offering up notes of red currants, cherries, woodsmoke, tobacco, a bit of old Rioja-like nuttiness, ginger and cedar. On the palate the wine is medium-full, complex and resolved, with solid acidity, melting tannins, and a good, long, clean finish of impressive balance. Fine juice, though this particular bottle lacked just a touch of vibrancy vis à vis the best bottles I have crossed paths with. (Drink between 2005-2020)John Gilman | 91 JGThis review may be generous, but I have always liked this wine, even though it borders on being slightly too dry, austere, and restrained. Nevertheless, the dark garnet color and classic sweet, spicy, tobacco, coffee, and black currant aromas are enticing. The wine still has powerful tannin in the finish, which contributes to the dry, austere character this example has always exhibited. One of the more intellectually-styled Moutons, the 1966 is a classic example of the vintage, as well as of the chateau's Cabernet Sauvignon-dominated style. Anticipated maturity: Now-2008. Last tasted 10/97Robert Parker | 90 RP

As low as $825.00
1967 lafite rothschild Bordeaux Red
As low as $1,550.00
1970 haut brion Bordeaux Red

(Château Haut-Brion (Graves)) The 1970 vintage of Haut-Brion is an interesting wine, as in the 1980s and early 1990s, this wine was quite red fruity and seemingly a bit high-toned to be ranked amongst the top vintages of this fine First Growth. But time has worked its magic, and in the new century it became more classically black fruity in profile and seemingly put on a bit more weight in the mid-palate, to eventually offer up a quite classic bouquet of cassis, black cherries, brick dust, cigar smoke and a fine base of gravelly soil tones. On the palate the wine is deep, full-bodied and quite elegant in profile (channeling both the style of the vintage and the property), with a good core, melted tannins and a long, silky and complex finish. Fine juice. (Drink between 2017-2030).John Gilman | 93 JGThe 1970 Château Haut-Brion is a First Growth that has probably been over-shadowed by the Latour 1970 during its lifetime. However, this bottle proves that it is not to be underestimated; it highlights the glaring gap that exists between itself and another First Growth, the 1970 Château Margaux that I tasted alongside. There is plenty of vigor on the nose with dashing red berry fruit, cedar and black olive - just very Haut-Brion.The palate is medium-bodied, well balanced and fresh, nothing over-ambitious, just a Claret in the traditional sense of the word that gently builds towards a sous-bois dominated finish. This is an excellent showing, stout and a little austere, and you could argue an Haut-Brion with its peak in its wing-mirrors. Yet good bottles such as this will continue to offer pleasure for another decade. Tasted June 2015.Robert Parker Neal Martin | 92 RP-NMVery firm, with ripe plum and currant notes coming through its chewy texture, finishing with woodsy, bitter chocolate overtones. A sturdy wine that keeps threatening to become supple.--Haut-Brion vertical.Wine Spectator | 90 WS

90-92
RPNM
As low as $935.00
1971 petrus Bordeaux Red

This bottle of 1971 Petrus is perhaps the best that I have encountered, completely overawing the 1970 served alongside. It boasts a gorgeous bouquet with delineated red berry fruit, pressed rose petals, hints of kirsch and a touch of sandalwood, perhaps even a little exotic compared to previous bottles. The palate is medium-bodied with seductive fleshiness on the entry, a surfeit of black truffle infused red fruit and life-affirming purity. Unlike other bottles, this example seems to meliorate with aeration, gaining intensity and depth towards the precise and tender finish. I doubt that I will find another 1971 Petrus as good as this. Tasted at the Petrus dinner at Hide restaurant in London.Vinous Media | 97 VMThis wine has been seemingly fully mature since the mid- to late seventies. It is a seductive, opulent vintage for Petrus. The color now is a dark garnet with considerable amber at the rim. The incredible nose of Christmas fruitcake intermixed with mocha, jammy kirsch, and black currants is followed by a silky textured, full-bodied, very opulent wine that is still totally intact. The tannins have totally dissipated, and the wine is an unctuous, seductive Petrus that is certainly one of the vintages that is most delicious and compelling. A sensational wine and probably the wine of the vintage. Anticipated maturity: Now-2011. Last tasted, 11/02.Robert Parker | 95 RPThis wine is as comfortable as your favorite pair of slippers. Extremely caressing, with wonderfully enticing aromas and flavors of tobacco and violets and a rich, round palate.--Pétrus vertical. Drink now.Wine Spectator | 94 WS

95
RP
As low as $5,860.00
1972 Latour
As low as $655.00
1974 Lafite Rothschild
As low as $765.00
1974 petrus Bordeaux Red
As low as $2,270.00
1976 Montrose
As low as $180.00
1978 Alain Hudelot Noellat Romanee Saint Vivant Grand Cru
As low as $1,795.00
1978 mouton rothschild Bordeaux Red

Supple yet strong willed, this is mature enough for drinking now, with chocolate, cherry, violet, vanilla and raspberry notes.--Mouton-Rothschild vertical.Wine Spectator | 92 WS

92
WS
As low as $535.00
1978 petrus Bordeaux Red
91
RP-NM
As low as $2,935.00
1979 petrus Bordeaux Red

A rather hard wine, with a firm backbone of silky tannins and sweet black olive, vanilla and berry aromas and flavors.--Pétrus vertical. Best from 1992 through 1995. Wine Spectator | 90 WS

97
RP-HG
As low as $3,395.00
1980 margaux Bordeaux Red

No written review provided | 90 WS

As low as $490.00
1980 lafite rothschild Bordeaux Red
As low as $980.00
1981 lafite rothschild Bordeaux Red

This wine is close to full maturity, but it is capable of holding for another two decades. It reveals the classic Lafite bouquet of red and black fruits, cedar, fruitcake, and tobacco-like aromas. In the mouth, this medium ruby/garnet-colored wine displays a delicacy of fruit and sweet attack, but subtle, well-defined flavors ranging from tobacco, cigar box, cedar, and fruitcake. This is a savory, soft Lafite-Rothschild that is pleasing to both the intellect and the palate. Anticipated maturity: Now-2018. Last tasted 3/97Robert Parker | 91 RP

As low as $780.00
1981 Mouton Rothschild

Wonderfully rich and still holding back. Beautiful plum, toasted oak, berry and tobacco character. Firm with a full body. Drinkable now; better with time.--The Bordeaux 50.Wine Spectator | 91 WS

91
WS
As low as $565.00
1981 margaux Bordeaux Red

The other wine of the vintage. Seriously powerful with fabulous color and mint, cassis and berry aromas and flavors. Has a full body and is tannic; still needs time to come around. Better after 1997.--The Bordeaux 50.Wine Spectator | 95 WSIn weight and texture, the 1981 Margaux is closest in style to the 1979. It is an outstanding wine, even in the company of the monumental wines of 1982, 1983, and 1986, although it does not have the power and weight of these vintages. It is still very dark ruby/purple-colored. The aromatics suggest ripe cassis fruit, spicy vanillin oakiness, and violets. On the palate, the wine is medium-bodied, concentrated, tannic, and extremely long. It is just beginning to open and evolve. Anticipated maturity: Now-2015. Last tasted, 12/96.Robert Parker | 91 RP

95
WS
As low as $595.00
1981 Palmer

(Château Palmer) The 1981 vintage at Château Palmer is really lovely middleweight and a wine that offers up lovely sappiness at the core to go along with very refined aromatic complexity. The bouquet is a lovely blend of cassis, mulberry, cigar ash, hints of chipotle pepper, sweet cigar wrapper and a lovely base of dark soil tones. On the palate the wine is medium-full, pure and very suave on the attack, with a good core, lovely focus and balance, melted tannins and a long, classy finish. Just a lovely wine that is now at its apogee, but shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon. (Drink between 2016-2035)John Gilman | 92 JG

As low as $370.00
1982 mouton rothschild Bordeaux Red

What an amazing red. It’s so very youthful with toasted oak, light vanilla, and dark berries such as currants and blueberries. Then it turns to mint. This is so fresh and intensely fruity. It lasts for minutes on your palate with each sip. It is so powerful yet elegant. It will improve for hundreds of years. I would still leave it in my cellar for five or ten years. If you need to drink it, decant it three to four hours in advance.James Suckling | 100 JSA wine that’s singing today, the 1982 Chateau Mouton-Rothschild is one of those wines that needs to be tasted to be believed. It almost has a California Cabernet-like sexiness and opulence paired with pure Bordeaux class. Still solid ruby-colored, with a sensational nose of crème de cassis, lead pencil shaving, sweet tobacco, and even some flowery incense, it hits the palate with full-bodied richness, a multidimensional, layered texture, straight-up awesome levels of sweet fruit, and a blockbuster finish. This is Bordeaux at its most sexy and hedonistic, and it’s just a joy to drink. Given its relatively youthful vibe, I expect it to continue drinking brilliantly for another two decades and even at that point have a gradual decline. There’s no need to delay gratification though, and it’s certainly ready to go.Jeb Dunnuck | 100 JDThe 1982 Mouton Rothschild is drinking brilliantly today, soaring from the glass with aromas of cassis, dark berry fruit, charcoal, pencil shavings, espresso roast and loamy soil. Full-bodied, ample and enveloping, it’s a layered, sumptuous wine that’s remarkably seamless and complete, with impressive concentration, ripe but lively acids and fine, melting tannins. Long and resonant, this is a great wine that can keep company with the likes of Mouton’s 1961, 1959 and 1955.Robert Parker Wine Advocate | 100 RPThe 1982 Mouton-Rothschild continues to be the extravagant Pauillac that it has always been. This has an irresistible, exotic bouquet of precocious kirsch, hoisin, graphite and blueberry scents that gain intensity in the glass. The palate is a little headier than previous bottles, sensual and almost glossy, presenting a glycerin-rich smorgasbord of dark cherries, black currant, crème de menthe and mint that almost knocks you off your feet. Fabulous. Tasted from an ex-château jeroboam at the Palace of Versailles charity dinner.Vinous Media | 98 VMGlorious aromas. Dark ruby red. Wonderful perfumes of flowers, berry and lilac. Full-bodied, with silky tannins and a long and pretty finish. Balanced. Class in a glass. Just as I remember.--Bordeaux retrospective. Drink now.Wine Spectator | 98 WSRich and deep in colour, this has a stunning intensity on the first nose. On the palate, there is the slight iodine edge of an older Cabernet Sauvignon, set against soft brambly fruits, smoky cedar and black truffles. Soft structure but the architecture of this wine is still very much in play, building in power as it works through your palate, setting your taste buds tingling with the gentlest of tannins. Again this is a classic, superlative example of how Pauillac can age. As it uncurls in the glass, the rich smoke on the nose is just beautifully seductive, but the palate softens just a touch quicker than some of the others in this line-up.Decanter | 97 DEC

100
RP
As low as $1,780.00
1982 canon Bordeaux Red

This wine shows fabulous aromas of stones and flowers with dried fruits and spices. It’s subtle yet full with ultra-fine tannins and a gorgeous, long finish. Drink now.James Suckling | 97 JSA consistently spectacular 1982, this wine provided sumptuous drinking the first 5-6 years after bottling. Since the late eighties the wine has become more structured without losing any of its power, fat, or concentration. It is capable of lasting at least another decade, although I will not quibble with any readers who can no longer defer their gratification. The dense color reveals no amber. Young, primary aromas of black fruits, toasty oak, crushed stones, and flowers dominate the wine’s moderately intense nose. Thick, rich, full-bodied, and multi-dimensional, this is unquestionably the most concentrated Canon I have ever tasted. This large-scaled, super-rich, sweet wine is one of the rare Canons that possesses more depth of fruit than tannin. Drink it over the next 10-15 years. Anticipated maturity: Now-2018. Last tasted, 12/02Robert Parker | 94 RP(Château Canon) The 1982 vintage of Château Canon continues to drink beautifully and is really one of the more flamboyant vintages I have ever tasted from the property. The superb bouquet jumps from the glass in a blaze of black cherries, menthol, a hint of nutskin, a beautifully complex base of limestone soil tones, woodsmoke and a touch of toasty oak. On the palate the wine is deep, full-bodied, complex and very sappy at the core, with excellent focus and grip, melting tannins and a very long, voluptuous and classy finish. A complete, very complex and utterly marvelous Canon. (Drink between 2018-2050).John Gilman | 94 JGShows mint, black tea, [i]sous-bois[n] and sandalwood notes that are distinctive and alluring. Long and refined on the finish, with supple black cherry and boysenberry fruit gliding throughout. Wins mostly on aroma, but there’s still sneaky depth and length here. Lovely.—Non-blind Canon vertical (December 2016). Drink now through 2022.Wine Spectator | 93 WSUnfortunately, the magnum of 1982 Canon poured at dinner was not showing well, though another bottle tasted in Bordeaux attests a decent Saint-Émilion in a period when the estate was long overdue investment. Fully-mature, the nose does not possess the vigour of say, the 1982 Figeac, though there are pleasant hung gamey notes and a scent of a Tuscan delicatessen. The palate has a nice mouthfeel, quite fleshy with tobacco and leather-tinged red fruit; the finish is still quite rustic but with charm in spades. A fine Canon, though not top-flight, and bottles should be drunk soon.Vinous Media | 90 VM

96
WS
As low as $465.00

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