Eric Asimov

Trial by Jury: Aged ‘Value’ Bordeaux

Trial by Jury: Aged ‘Value’ Bordeaux

Post by Chuck Hayward | December 1st, 2011

To drink, one must pull corks

Over the course of the past few months, evidence has been put forth that Bordeaux, as Rodney Dangerfield might say, “ain’t got no respect”. It’s an observation that Matt Kramer made in a recent Wine Spectator piece as well as by Eric Asimov in the The New York Times. These articles attempt to discern the “whys” of it all. For instance, why is it that Bordeaux doesn’t get much love these days? But we aren’t asking that question at JJ Buckley, as our third annual tribute to Bordeaux sold out in record time, once again.

Each year, our tasting highlights one of Bordeaux’s frequently forgotten attributes—they are wines of incredible value. And this year, we decided to investigate another important quality of Bordeaux—the capacity of Bordeaux’s flavors and aromas to be transformed with time in the cellar. Spanning vintages from 1998-2003, with prices ranging from $25-$45 per bottle, this tasting was a great opportunity to examine the evidence firsthand.

The verdict? (more…)

Will the real Burgundy please stand up?

Will the real Burgundy please stand up?

Post by Chuck Hayward | March 29, 2011

Before team JJB descends on Bordeaux for En Primeurs 2010, a few of us are laying-over in Burgundy to have a look at the acclaimed 2009 vintage. Coincidentally, recent articles by Eric Asimov (New York Times) and Charlie Olken (Connoisseurs’ Guide), as well as a seminar at the World of Pinot conference have placed a unique frame around the pinots we’ll be tasting during our stay.

Street signs, Burgundy

Which way, which way?!

At issue? High alcohols, particularly in domestic pinot. Without rehashing the content of these articles (and without taking sides), it is safe to say that the debate remains as active and contentious as ever. Certainly the matter is certainly far from settled.

In another article, and one particularly germane to our trip, The Wine Advocate’s Neal Martin examines the differences between the 2008 and the 2009 Burgundy vintages. While he doesn’t seem to have a dog in the aforementioned fight, his preference is clearly for the 08’s, and he alludes to the debate between the more classical, restrained styles of that year vs the riper, more forward examples produced in 09.

He is not alone in his assessment. Many industry insiders have proposed that the riper 2009’s are not “typical” of Burgundy, ergo not as good as the more subtle and, as Martin calls them, “transparent” 08’s. It’s no great mystery that the cooler climate of many European wine regions results in vintage variation and some years are going to produce riper Burgundies than others. What is fascinating here is that what Mother Nature has given us has somehow become a topic of concern, where the “authenticity” of an entire vintage is put on trial.  (more…)

Bargain Bordeaux Hits Big

Bargain Bordeaux Hits Big

Post by Chuck Hayward | December 14th, 2010

La Folie's Dejah pours for the masses

Earlier this year, an article in the New York Times by wine critic Eric Asmiov created a tidal wave among his fellow critics, members of the trade and consumers when he declared, “For young Americans in particular, Bordeaux has become downright unfashionable.”

Well, those in attendance at JJ Buckley’s 2nd Annual Tuesday Night Bordeaux Tasting would definitely have something to say about that. Many of them appeared to be under 35, just like the wines’ prices.

Last year, JJ Buckley and the Bordeaux Wine Council conceptualized an event to promote affordable Bordeaux, and it was a rousing success as customers and friends sampled wines of all types and from all over the region. Given the positive response to that initial tasting, we decided that one good turn deserved another and therefore kicked it into gear to stage a follow-up event.

Chef Roland Passot models his JJ Buckley tattoo

The popularity of Bordeaux among JJ Buckley’s customers seems to have exploded, as the tasting sold out in record time, weeks before the event. Held at the famous Michelin-starred restaurant La Folie in San Francisco for the second time, all in attendance had the opportunity to sample nearly 30 wines while being treated to delicious food (an array of cheeses, paté, smoked salmon lollipops, addictive truffled popcorn, and more) prepared by Chef Roland Passot who showed his solidarity with JJ Buckley by sporting his own tattoo!! (more…)