Author: JJ Buckley Fine Wines

10% off Mix & Match Wine Case

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Mix & Match Wine Case: Put Your own case together! Any 12 bottles from any of our White Bordeaux Selection. Once you’ve selected your bottles reply to this email and receive10% off the lowest JJ Buckley web price. Having trouble putting your case together? Contact a JJ Buckley Wine Specialist who can assist you in the process.

Click Here to view our selection of White Bordeaux Wines.

Once you’ve selected your wines send an email with your selection to marketing@jjbuckley.com or give us a call at 888.859.4697.

A few terms and conditions do apply. This is a limited time offer and it is subject to availability. Offer applies to White Bordeaux in-stock inventory only. Minimum 12 bottle purchase. Mixed cases. Valid from May, 21 2014 at 6:00AM PT- May 28, 2014 at 12:00 am PT. While supplies last. In the unlikely event of a wine becoming unavailable, a substitute of similar style and of equal or greater value will be suggested. This offer must be completed with a valid ship or pick-up date and is not eligible for storage. Offer does not apply to, and may not be combined with, previous or pending orders. You must be 21 years old. Licensed retailers have the right to refuse orders should an advertisement not comply with your state laws. Sale available to all states where shipping permitted from California. Geographic restrictions may apply. Offer subject to change as JJ Buckley Fine Wines reserves the right to modify or cancel this promotion with or without notice. Valid only for destinations/addresses within the continental U.S. where it is legal for JJ Buckley Fine wines to ship wine. Void where prohibited by law.

Let the 2013 Bordeaux Futures Campaign Begin!



photo[2]JJ Buckley just wrapped up their week at en primeur where they had a chance to taste the 2013 vintage. Travelling to Bordeaux for the 8th year in a row, we once again had the privilege to catch up with negociants and interview winemakers about this controversial vintage. Tasting the new wines on site allowed us to shape our own perspective.

So what can be said about the 2013s?

The vintage holds its surprises. Some bottlings exceeded expectations and there are worthy candidates for your cellar; most will provide exceptional drinking over the next 8-10 years. As with any vintage, a few domaines missed the mark; but disappointing wines? Not in the least. In sum, don’t believe the hype.

Here are a few facts and observations:

We expect prices will not decrease by more than 20% compared to last year. Overall yields were down considerably compared to last year due to poor weather. To ensure that the grand vin was of sufficient quality, many wineries declassified more wine than usual resulting in even less wine for sale. With less wine to sell, some wineries have less incentive to drop prices.

The only way to guarantee access to this year’s top wines is buying en primeur. With low yields and strict selections, many estates will have little wine to sell. Some chateaux will make 80% less wine than last year. Many negociants will miss out on allocations leaving their clients without access to the smallest domaines. JJ Buckley’s close relationships with the region’s top firms will allow us to get the wines you want.

This will be a short and quick campaign. Chateau Pontet-Cantet took the unusual step of releasing prices and allocations before the wines were presented to the trade, while the perennial “first offering of the campaign” from Chateau Gazin arrived during en primeur week. Pressure to get the wines sold as quickly as possible is evident, which means be ready to act quickly for the wines and formats you want.

If you have a favorite wine, remember that buying en primeur is your best chance to secure half bottles or large formats. Wineries traditionally only bottle as much wines as needed to fulfill orders for alternative formats placed en primeur. Do not miss this opportunity to secure the bottle sizes you want.

The whites from Bordeaux are clear standouts of the vintage – act sooner than later. The white wines of Pessac-Leognan as well as other Sauvignon-Semillon blends crafted by wineries of the Haut-Medoc are made in small quantities. White wines typically make up only 10-20% of a winery’s total production. Given the excellent quality and limited production, final releases will be miniscule.

Remember that buying en primeur is the best way to ensure provenance. Provenance is guaranteed. The wines go from the chateau to our negotiants and then directly to JJ Buckley in refrigerated containers where they land at our climate-controlled facility, ensuring that the wines remain in perfect conditions every step of the way. No need to worry about your wines arriving in nothing but the safest and most secure method.

You can look forward to:

  • 2013 Futures offerings of wines will begin shortly. All Futures offers will be centralized in a daily offer by JJ Buckley as they become available. Remember, we buy direct from Bordeaux – we will provide our comments on each wines and some of the best prices around.
  • JJ Buckley’s 2013 Bordeaux Report, including informative articles on the vintage along with our top picks and detailed tasting notes.
  • Continuing coverage of 2013 Bordeaux through social media (Twitter, Facebook, blogs).

Our team has a broad and deep understanding of the 2013 vintage and perspective from past vintages. We are fully prepared to give thoughtful and educated advice and provide a personal view on the hundreds of wines we tasted. You will not find such a depth of knowledge and experience anywhere else in the country.

Do you want to stay up-to-date with the Bordeaux Futures offers for the 2013 Campaign?  Simply sign up for our newsletter or send an e-mail to marketin@jjbuckley.com.

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2013 Bordeaux: First Day’s Observations

Jeffrey Davies (l)chatting with Veronique Sanders, general manager at Chateau Haut-Bailly

Jeffrey Davies (l)chatting with Veronique Sanders, general manager at Chateau Haut-Bailly

While I have not been on every JJ Buckley trip to en primeur (this is my fifth), I have been quick to enjoy the tradition of starting each year’s tastings with a visit to the house of Jeffrey Davies of Signature Selections. A San Franciscan who decamped to Bordeaux long ago, spending time with Jeffrey gives us a perfect overview of the most recent vintage and the latest news (and gossip) about the Bordeaux wine business which helps to set the tone for the visits that follow during the rest of the week.

We chiselled away some time in our schedule to visit Jeffrey on a cloudy Sunday to taste through a wide range of 2013 reds that included wines from simpler appellations up to grand cru classe bottlings from regions all over Bordeaux and at varying price points. Between sips and spits, we walked through Jeffrey’s selections putting together our initial thoughts about the vintage.

“One thing you’ll not need to worry about in this vintage is the color,” observed Jeffrey and we had to agree. Each wine we tried had deep colors, usually opaque at the core of the bowl extending out to the rim. “It’s a good sign,” Jeffrey said “because it shows that the fruit got some measurable degree of ripeness.”

Given that the weather was cool and that many winemakers rushed to pick their grapes before things went south in their vineyards, we were also on the look for any green, vegetal characters in the wines we tried. “I think you’ll agree that there are not any wines here that are green or in any way herbaceous. This is not something that I’ve seen a lot with the 2013s.” We tended to agree noting that some people are more sensitive to herbal smells and flavors than others. Nevertheless, and unripe qualities manifested as overly vegetal are not as prevalent as might be expected.

A few of the 2013s tasted at the offices of Jeffrey Davies

A few of the 2013s tasted at the offices of Jeffrey Davies

While not as noticeable when going through his wines, Jeffrey commented that many wineries had difficulty dealing with tannins in 2013. “By picking before the rains, there was a risk of fruit with green tannins ending up in the cellar,” said Jeffrey. “And some winemakers pressed too late or too heavily which left considerable amount of tannins in the finished wines.” Jeffrey’s prediction proved to right on the money as a later tasting showed many wines possessing firm tannins that were drying to the palate instead of ripe, soft tannins that were in balance with the fruit levels of the wine.

When it came to successes in 2013, he clearly agreed with many others who have previewed the 2013’s that the white wines of Pessac-Leognan and Sauternes would be the wines to watch. Our upcoming visit to wineries in Pessac and Leognan will give us some insight on how the wineries from south of Bordeaux ultimately fared.

With these cursory, yet important, observations on what to expect over the next few days, we bid adieu to Jeffrey and went our way…. to another tasting.

Click here to read about our thoughts on the 2013 Bordeaux as we arrive at en primeur.

2013 Bordeaux: Let En Primeur Begin!

 

A line of samples telling us the work that lies ahead

A line of samples telling us the work that lies ahead

The month of April approaches and at JJ Buckley, that means its time to renew our passion for the wines of Bordeaux. It’s about this time that the region’s wineries and negociants throw open their doors and pull out the corkscrews and spitbuckets as wine buyers, the media and a few other hangers on descend on Bordeaux to taste the latest vintage. At the same time, pronouncements on the quality of the new wines are made and business decisions are scrutinized in the lead up to the en primeur sales campaign.

This year, just as in the past eight years, members of the JJ Buckley team will be there attending tastings and visiting wineries to learn first hand what the new vintage has to offer. We do this not only to make our purchasing decisions but to give direct and informed assessments to our clients.

What do the 2013 Bordeauxs have to tell us at this point. The weather has played the most important role in what these wines will offer. Rain and cooler temperatires wreaked havoc in Bordeaux forcing growers and winemakers to deal with problems they have rarely encountered. (More information about the weather during the 2013 growing season can be found in our upcoming report on JJ Buckley’s visit to Bordeaux.)

The bad weather clearly foced some wineries to panic. Over the past few months, reports of wineries declassifying their entire crops while others made infinitesimal amounts of their grand vin crept out into the market. With this news of poor quality and little wine, wine writers declared the vintage a washout and questioned the need to even sell the wines en primeur. Others declared their intention to avoid tasting the wines all together.

Much of this hoohah seems to be a bit unprofessional. Responsible writers and buyers recognize that Bordeaux is going through some problems with unsold expensive wines backed up in warehouses and a few vintages of challenging quality soon to come. And the fact that Bordeaux is suffering from a hipster credibility crisis has not been lost on anyone. So the bashing continues…

But to say the 2013s are of poor quality before even tasting them seems a bit prejudgemental. Wineries are better equipped to make wines in difficult years like 2013 than they were even 25-30 years ago. Sorting tables, green harvesting procedures, declassification of substandard lots are just a few things that Bordeaux has utilized to improve wine quality since the last rainy harvests. The proof will be in the pudding. And that’s why JJ Buckley tastes at en primeur.

marketing@jjbuckley.com

marketing@jjbuckley.com

Early reports say that the 2013s are charming and approachable with good quality to be found here and there, a surprising assessment given the gloomy prognistications by the press. There will definitely be less 2013 red wine entering the market thanks to very low yields caused by the poor weather as well as strict selections in the vineyard and the cellar to maintain quality.

The success of the vintage will depend, as it always does, on pricing. Some in the business are calling for prices 30-50% below what the owners got for the 2012s. Others want prices that were found for the 2008s which were set low as the impact of the GFC was being felt. The decision of the Tesseron family at Chateau Pontet Canet to not only annouce their pricing before the tasting season began but to set the price equal to the 2012s has made many Bordelaise nervous.

We’ll keep our ears to the ground and keep you informed on the quality of the harvest along with talk regarding the pricing right here. Also check our tweets for pictures and quick notes (check #JJBATBDX) and friend us on Facebook for even more.

JJ Buckley at the Grand Jours de Bourgogne: Update from the Cotes de Nuits

JJ Buckley's Jeff Loo took his trademark cowboy hat to Burgundy but this producer had him beat!

JJ Buckley’s Jeff Loo took his trademark cowboy hat to Burgundy but this producer had him beat!

Following the introductory tastings in Chablis that start the Grand Jours de Bourgogne week, the wine industry entourage turns their attention southwards and begin their immersion into the wines of the Cote d’Or. The day focuses on the wines of the Cote de Nuits which are presented in four different locations from the village of Marsannay in the north down to Nuits St. Georges. There are over 200 tables at the four tastings and each producer can easily pour 4-6 wines, often pouring multiple vintages of the same wine. So basically, you’re looking at almost 1000 wines being poured on Tuesday. And there are three days of tastings to go. And folks in the trade say that tasting Bordeaux en primeur is hard……

Starting the day, you have to come to grips with the fact that there’s no way to taste all the wines you hope to try and that time management is essential. Knowing all this information from our visit to the region two years ago, it was probably rather cruel of us to send JJ Buckley’s Jeff Loo to fend off the crowds all by his lonesome. But we figured that his enthusiasm for Burgundy was all that he needed to handle the moshpit at each tasting.

Here’s a brief synopsis of his thoughts after tasting the day’s wines.

“As a whole, the village of Vosne Romanee is the most successful in 2012. They were simply the best wines I encountered today and that’s saying something given the sheer number of wines that were available to try. The amount of stunning wines that I tasted, whether grand crus or simple village wines, was simply incredible. These bottlings will be among the best candidates for long term cellaring. 

I found the 2012s from Gevrey Chambertin to be extremely fruit forward and strong. They were almost modern in style, yet still exhibited a significant measure of restraint. The best examples showed grippy tannins that are typically encountered in wines from this commune that also showed off some mouthwatering acidity. Some years in the cellar will be essential with Gevrey’s top cuvees.

The day wasn’t just about the most famous crus of the Cotes de Nuits. Part of this tasting included wines from Marsannay and Fixin, two appellations that can offer some of Burgundy’s best values. While the 2011 vintage was delicious in Marsannay, the 2012’s will easily outlive them.  Fixin also had a strong showing in 2012, with most producers making wines easily in the 88-92 point range. Look to this commune when looking for well priced pinots from the Cote d’Or.”

Look forward to Jeff’s final report from the Burgundy’s most important trade event as he travels south to taste through the wines of the Cote de Beaune.

Click here to read our blogpost about the 2012 wines from Chablis presented at the Grand Jours.

Can’t make it to the Grand Jours de Bourgogne? JJ Buckley brings the Cote de Nuits to you.

2010 Domaine de l’Arlot Cote de Nuits Villages “Clos du Chapeau”

2003 Faiveley Gevrey Chambertin les Marchais

2010 Domaine Tortochot Clos de Vougeot

2010 Bouchard Pere et Fils Vosne Romanee

Torbreck’s ‘The Laird’ – Pursuing Perfection in One of Australia’s Greatest Wines

Torbreck’s ‘The Laird’ – Pursuing Perfection in One of Australia’s Greatest Wines

Post by Chuck Hayward | May 10th, 2013

Not one, but two (!) vintages of 'The Laird'

Not one, but two (!) vintages of ‘The Laird’

So what is it like to drink perfection? It’s a question frequently asked by consumers and the trade. The following story is about tasting 100-point ‘perfection’. And it begins many years ago…

In the summer of 2010, I heard that Torbreck, one of the Barossa Valley’s leading wineries, had released a new wine from the 2005 vintage called ‘The Laird’. The textured black label stood in stark contrast to the winery’s classic white paper label, indicating a significant departure from Torbreck’s usual range of wines. Indeed, ‘The Laird’ was exactly that, a wine geared for the super-premium market, occupied by legends like Penfolds ‘Grange’ and Henschke’s ‘Hill of Grace’ – with a price to match. I needed to know more. (more…)

Where to Wine & Dine: Bordeaux

Grand Bar Castan: Oldest Bar in Bordeaux

Grand Bar Castan: Oldest Bar in Bordeaux

Where to Wine & Dine: Bordeaux

Post by Chuck Hayward | May 1st, 2013

For anyone traveling to the wine regions of France, it’s assumed (and rightly so), that an immersion into local cuisine should be part of the experience. After all, what is a trip to Burgundy without eating escargot or fine dining while visiting Champagne? So it goes without saying that a trip to Bordeaux will be incomplete unless you dip your toes into the local dining scene.

But the geography and the way business is conducted in Bordeaux conspire to make it difficult to indulge your appetite as thoroughly as your palate. And while the wines of Bordeaux resonate across the globe, the local cuisine has yet to achieve such recognition. A recent check through the latest Michelin Guide reveals far fewer starred establishments in Bordeaux than in Burgundy or Champagne.
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In 2012, The Right Bank Gets it Right

In 2012, The Right Bank Gets it Right

Post by Chuck Hayward | April 17th, 2013

Definitely not running late to an appointment...

Definitely not running late to our appointment…for lunch

Visiting en primeur is not only a test of mind and palate – it’s also a trial in organizational skills (or occasionally, lack thereof). With so many tastings and wineries to visit, all spread across the wide swath of land that makes up Bordeaux, it’s imperative that appointments are scheduled in such a way that one spends more time tasting than travelling. It can take an hour to go from Bordeaux to Chateau Calon Segur in St. Estephe. If your next appointment is at Chateau d’Issan in Margaux, you’ll need 40 minutes – more if you get stuck behind a tractor. A lesson learned the hard way…

So JJ Buckley makes sure to focus our appointments on each bank to lessen travel times. Once we finished with our cabernet-themed Left Bank travels, we zoomed off to our base in Libourne to sample the merlot-dominant wines of St. Emilion and Pomerol. And thanks to the fact that we could leave our hotel and arrive at Petrus’s door in about ten minutes, we were confident we could taste more during the second half of en primeur. Good thing too, because early reports had indicated that the best wines would be found on the Right Bank.
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Pontet-Canet ‘Saddles-Up’ in 2012

Pontet-Canet ‘Saddles-Up’ in 2012

Post by Alex Fondren | April 16th, 2013

Vast Pontet-Canet vineyard view from the tasting room

Pontet-Canet vineyard view from the chateau

In a variable vintage like 2012, it’s often hard to find consensus on which appellations and wines showed best. Our first official day tasting up and down the Haut Medoc proved no different, with some very spirited debates regarding the success of several big name properties. One estate that proved incapable of rousing much controversy, however, was Pontet-Canet.

Probably one of “the” wines of the Left Bank in 2012, the majority of us left impressed with what the chateau was able to achieve given the hand it was dealt. But after visiting, it was clear (as is always the case with Pontet-Canet) that this success was no mere accident. (more…)

Bordeaux 2012: An Insider’s Look at This Year’s Pricing and Strategies

Bordeaux 2012: An Insider’s Look at This Year’s Pricing and Strategies

Post by Chuck Hayward | April 15th, 2013

JJB's Ryan Moses and Jeff Loo take notes on the vintage

JJB’s Ryan Moses and Jeff Loo take notes on the vintage

My fourth consecutive visit to Bordeaux en primeur was accompanied by the usual meetings with negociants and wineries. It wasn’t long before I began to pick up on the topical trends that began to occur with every conversation. At first, there’s always a discussion of the weather – understandable given the way it shapes the quality of the region’s star commodity. Then the chatter turns quickly to the quality of the recent vintage. If there’s a bit more time, everyone asks how Bordeaux is selling in China and America.

But eventually, the discussion turns to the topic of utmost importance: the pricing for the new vintage. It’s here where things get interesting. Negociants inquire about what pricing it will take for the upcoming campaign to be a success, while at the same time buyers are asking around as well, trying to ascertain how prices will pan out for this vintage. The conversations can get quite animated – strong opinions are posited while each party tries to discern the mindsets of chateau owners and wine buyers. The 2012 vintage has done nothing to change this ritual. If anything, the discussion about pricing has been more open than in the past. Rather than playing poker this year, the cards have been laid out on the table.
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