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Civil War + Chateau Musar's Fight for Survival
Civil War + Chateau Musar's Fight for Survival
Making Wine Under Conflict “You talk of war, and of civil war. There is nothing civil about war. What happened in Lebanon is that people fought their wars on our land.”  - Serge Hochar Between 1975 and 1990, Lebanon was a mosaic of wars caused by complex shifting political, geographical, and demographical factors. When 16 years of Civil War were finally ...
BY Gavin Lucas,
ON June 11, 2020
Chateau Musar Tasting Notes Year By Year
Chateau Musar Tasting Notes Year By Year
A Timeline of Vintages Many factors come into play when tasting Chateau Musar vintages. Was it a warmer Cabernet year (1999, 2000, 2005)? Was it cooler, making Cinsault more influential in the blend as in 1998? Or was it a Carignan year like 2003? Or will grape prominence be less relevant than the dodging of bullets across the Beka’a in ...
BY FINE+RARE,
ON June 11, 2020
Interview with Nicolas Audebert – Chief Winemaker at Chateau Rauzan Segla, Chateau Canon and Chateau Berliquet
Interview with Nicolas Audebert – Chief Winemaker at Chateau Rauzan Segla, Chateau Canon and Chateau Berliquet
The Rauzan Segla 2018 has been met with rave reviews. At what point did you feel you had made a special wine? It is a long process in a technician's mind as the picture of the vintage is getting clearer and clearer from the picking to the “dégustations d’assemblage” (blending tastings).  Each vintage gives me a particular emotion, the ...
BY Gavin Smith,
ON May 24, 2019
Chateau Latour: The 2012 Release
Chateau Latour: The 2012 Release
Just prior to the Coronavirus hitting Europe, Château Latour was preparing to release their 2012 vintage direct from the Château for the first time, but following the lock-down across Europe the release was postponed. We had news from the Château this week that the release is now due out on Wednesday. As we await the release, we explore what makes this ...
BY FINE+RARE,
ON March 12, 2020
Chateau Lafite Rothschild Interview
Chateau Lafite Rothschild Interview
From one of the most prestigious and world-renowned wine estates, Chateau Lafite Rothschild, we spoke with Technical Director Eric Kohler and Commercial Director Jean-Sebastien Philippe of Domaines Barons de Rothschild about Bordeaux’s continued relevance in an ever-expanding and competitive global fine wine market. We discuss the unique elements that define Chateau Lafite as well as their personal insight into the ...
BY Gavin Smith,
ON March 29, 2020
Blending Masterclass at Chateau Pichon Lalande
Blending Masterclass at Chateau Pichon Lalande
Blending is an art form and remains rarely understood amongst us normal wine enthusiasts. The more one thinks about the process and the many variables the more difficult it seems to contemplate. The choices seem endless and the more one tastes the more confusing it seems to get! How can you tell that a certain combination is better than another? ...
ON May 11, 2018
Assessing the blend: 2011 Chateau Margaux
Assessing the blend: 2011 Chateau Margaux
Me: “Paul, are you sure that sample is Merlot, it tastes a lot like Cabernet?” Paul Pontallier: “Yes absolutely it’s a Merlot, amazing eh?” Me: “Paul, are you really sure this isn’t a Cabernet?” Paul Pontallier: “Hmmm, no, not any more. Let me check…” It had started as a simple question in late Nov 2011 when I was at Ch ...
BY FINE+RARE,
ON February 28, 2012
Harvesting at Chateau Rauzan Segla 2013
Harvesting at Chateau Rauzan Segla 2013
2013 has been a challenging vintage for most of France. Much of Bordeaux has been affected by storms earlier in the year, resulting in considerably lower yields for many. Luckily, at Rauzan Segla not too much of the crop was lost. This has helped the chateau overcome what was looking to be another major concern for the vintage: rot. The ...
ON October 22, 2013
Chateau Latour - the Archetypal First Growth?
Chateau Latour - the Archetypal First Growth?
This week in our series of producer profiles, we examine Château Latour: a first-growth synonymous with excellence, class and the illustrious heritage of Bordeaux. Château Latour: The Gold-Standard of First Growths Château Latour, situated at the southern edge of Pauillac on the border with St Julien and just a quickstep from the sloping banks of the Gironde, is one ...
ON October 28, 2015
Chateau Margaux - Ethereal Elegance and Grace
Chateau Margaux - Ethereal Elegance and Grace
After profiling the three Pauillac first-growths, we turn our attention to the last of Médoc, the heavenly, ethereal Chateau Margaux.  Chateau Margaux – A Beautiful Chateau Home to Gorgeous Wines While all of the first-growths have helped shape the history of Bordeaux winemaking, none perhaps has left a legacy quite like that Chateau Margaux. Its stately pavilion is ...
ON November 3, 2015
Chateau Brane Cantenac - Behind the Bottle
Chateau Brane Cantenac - Behind the Bottle
Chateau Brane Cantenac has been a consistent performer in Margaux since Henri Lurton took over the property in 1992. But in the last decade the quality has taken another sharp upswing. Even in a mixed vintage like 2014, Brane produced a beautiful wine. 2015 and 2016 were both outstanding and arguably some of the best wines ever made at the ...
ON March 22, 2019
Chateau Margaux - Talking Terroir with Aurelien Valance
Chateau Margaux - Talking Terroir with Aurelien Valance
Chateau Margaux is one of the world’s most iconic and historic wineries, producing some of the finest wine in the region for over 600 years. Despite its historical roots it has never rested on its laurels, remaining at the forefront of top Bordeaux wine production. More than ever, the owners and team are committed to retaining its reputation, investing huge ...
ON November 22, 2019
Chateau Angelus - Premier Grand Cru Classe A
Chateau Angelus - Premier Grand Cru Classe A
Chateau Angelus is today one of the four “First Growths” of Saint Emilion that are classified as Premier Grand Cru Classé ‘A’. It sits alongside Chateau Ausone, Chateau Cheval Blanc and Chateau Pavie as the highest rated estates in the appellation. Chateau Angelus and Chateau Pavie are the newest additions to this top rank, having both been promoted in latest ...
BY Gavin Smith,
ON November 8, 2019
Your Guide to Chateau La Mission Haut-Brion
Your Guide to Chateau La Mission Haut-Brion
Chateau La Mission Haut-Brion is one of the greatest estates in all of Bordeaux, arguably the King of the Left Bank. Robert Parker has awarded it more 100 point scores than any other wine in the Medoc, equalling Petrus in achieving 12 perfect 100 point scores. Of course, the reputation and quality of the wines from this estate long predate ...
BY Gavin Smith,
ON March 5, 2020
Chateau Clos de Sarpe: Tasting through the Ages
Chateau Clos de Sarpe: Tasting through the Ages
Clos de Sarpe is a rather unassuming place to visit, nestled in a little enclave north east of the village of Saint Emilion. It is in fact a tiny property in Bordeaux terms, made up of just 3.7 hectares and producing a maximum of 14,000 bottles a year, but more often than not, closer to just 10,000. In 2018 they ...
ON May 17, 2019
Chateau Palmer 2017 - First Major En Primeur Release
Chateau Palmer 2017 - First Major En Primeur Release
Chateau Palmer was the highest rated wine from the Margaux appellation in James Suckling’s round-up of Bordeaux 2017s and was highlighted as possibly one of the wines of the vintage. Scoring the same as Chateau Margaux, Suckling describes 2017 Palmer as  "sexy and well-formed… with very velvety and suave tannins... full-bodied, soft and round. Extremely long and last for minutes". ...
ON April 23, 2018
The Glory Years of Chateau Margaux at Restaurant Gordon Ramsay
The Glory Years of Chateau Margaux at Restaurant Gordon Ramsay
Last weekend FINE+RARE hosted a very special wine tasting dinner alongside Alexandra Petit-Mentzelopoulos of Chateau Margaux. An introduction to the history and unique philosophy of this legendary estate was presented alongside a specially curated tasting menu from top chef Matt Abé - Chef de Cuisine at the three Michelin star flagship restaurant in Chelsea. A cold, rainy Saturday evening in December; Christmas around ...
BY Craig Norton,
ON December 18, 2019
2018 En Primeur Release of Pomerol's Chateau Belle-Brise
2018 En Primeur Release of Pomerol's Chateau Belle-Brise
The 2018 Bordeaux En Primeur campaign reached new heights this week with the surprise release of one of Saint-Emilion’s top estates - Chateau Angelus. As well as offering a pleasing reduction in price versus their last two vintages, this welcome surprise set the tone for potentially one of the most exciting En Primeur campaigns ever. Last week our first releases ...
ON April 18, 2019
Bordeaux Radicals: Chateau Les Carmes Haut-Brion
Bordeaux Radicals: Chateau Les Carmes Haut-Brion
Last week we had the pleasure of hosting Stephanie Libreau from Chateau Les Carmes Haut-Brion at our London HQ, for a vertical tasting dating from 2016 back to 2012. These wines are brilliantly made, unique in so many ways and represent the cutting-edge of vinification techniques in Bordeaux. The rise in quality at the Chateau, along with the estate's reputation ...
ON June 13, 2019
Interview with Jean-Charles Cazes of Chateau Lynch Bages
Interview with Jean-Charles Cazes of Chateau Lynch Bages
Last week we were fortunate to have a one-to-one tasting with Jean-Charles Cazes, the managing director of Chateau Lynch Bages, as well as Chateau Haut-Batailley and Chateau Ormes de Pez. Not only did we have the opportunity to taste the fantastic range of 2019 wines from the estates, but we were also given the opportunity to dig a little deeper ...
BY Gavin Smith,
ON June 10, 2020
Chateau Lafleur - Exploring the iconic estate's unique DNA with Omri Ram
Chateau Lafleur - Exploring the iconic estate's unique DNA with Omri Ram
It was a great pleasure to spend some time over the last few weeks with Omri Ram, the winemaker and viticulturalist at the helm of Chateau Lafleur - first tasting the new 2018 releases with him at Chateau Lafleur and then again on his recent visit to London. Following the tasting it was no surprise to see the spectacular scores ...
ON May 10, 2019
Behind the Bottle: Chateau des Jacques 2018 Moulin-à-Vent Clos de Rochegrès
Behind the Bottle: Chateau des Jacques 2018 Moulin-à-Vent Clos de Rochegrès
“Beaujolais is on a roll, not to mention the just-coming-out superb 2018s” The 2018s “may be even better than 2015….Great vintages like these can age.” - James Suckling An ageworthy Moulin-à-Vent from a fantastic Beaujolais vintage We are hearing great things about the 2018 vintage in Burgundy: the hot weather, for those who picked at ...
ON July 19, 2019
Château d’Issan vertical
Château d’Issan vertical
Over the last two decades, Emmanuel Cruse has transformed Château d’Issan. We caught up with Cruse to taste through key vintages from the Margaux Classed Growth, tracing its evolution  Château d’Issan might not be one of Bordeaux’s most famous addresses – but the Margaux Third Growth has seen huge investment since Emmanuel Cruse arrived in 1998, and it’s a name on the rise. Jane Anson – Decanter’s Bordeaux correspondent and ...
BY Sophie Thorpe,
ON January 29, 2021
Château de Beaucastel: beyond tradition
Château de Beaucastel: beyond tradition
Châteauneuf-du-Pape’s Château de Beaucastel dates back to the 16th century, but it was only after the Perrin family took control of the estate in the early 1900s that it became one of the most iconic and well-respected wine producers in the Southern Rhône. It was the vision of Jacques Perrin in particular – who farmed the property organically from 1950 onwards ...
BY Gavin Smith,
ON September 9, 2020
A Masterclass from Château Cheval Blanc
A Masterclass from Château Cheval Blanc
Cheval Blanc is one of the finest Châteaux in Bordeaux, famed for producing what is arguably the greatest wine of all time: 1947 Château Cheval Blanc. Opportunities to taste back vintages from this famous estate alongside the winemaking team are few and far between, so when the possibility arose, we leapt at the chance. The result was a unique tasting at ...
BY FINE+RARE,
ON February 7, 2019
Château Lafite-Rothschild - Bottled Finesse
Château Lafite-Rothschild - Bottled Finesse
Last week we took a look at Mouton-Rothschild; this week we profile its fellow Bordeaux first growth, the iconic Château Lafite-Rothschild, one of the most famous estates in Bordeaux, if not the world. “The quintessential wine of elegance” Château Lafite-Rothschild is characterised by sophistication and finesse. Neal Martin of the Wine Advocate describes it as the “quintessential wine of elegance”, ...
ON October 19, 2015
Thomas Duroux: Château Palmer Interview
Thomas Duroux: Château Palmer Interview
Over his 16-year career as CEO of the estate, Thomas Duroux has come to know Château Palmer’s identity, its nuances and its ability to evolve better than anyone. He has an intimate knowledge of the last 70 vintages of Château Palmer and admits he has already tasted the 2010 vintage more than 100 times during its evolution over the last 10 years. But the decision to ...
BY Gavin Smith,
ON September 17, 2020
Château Cheval Blanc Masterclass at FINE+RARE
Château Cheval Blanc Masterclass at FINE+RARE
The Right Bank First Growth Château Cheval Blanc is an icon of Bordeaux, considered to have created some of the region’s greatest ever wines. Robert Parker has called it “one of the most elegant and noble wines in all of Bordeaux”, and many consider it to enjoy the honorary status of the Right Bank First Growth. However in many ways, there ...
BY Judith Abbott,
ON February 1, 2017
Château Mouton-Rothschild – Bordeaux Wine Royalty
Château Mouton-Rothschild – Bordeaux Wine Royalty
We profile the glamorous wild-child of Bordeaux wine-making in the first of our series of posts on iconic producers...  Neighbour to fellow first-growth Lafite-Rothschild, Ch. Mouton-Rothschild is one of the icons of Bordeaux and one of three first growths to be found in Pauillac, home to the most regal and aristocratic of Bordeaux reds.  For any collector of fine wine, it is often ...
ON October 12, 2015
Château Haut-Brion – The Insider’s First-Growth
Château Haut-Brion – The Insider’s First-Growth
For the last of our profiles on the Bordeaux first-growths we move away from Medoc to Pessac, to examine Chateau Haut-Brion – a first-growth of incredibly quality boasting no fewer than six 100 point Robert Parker scores. The connoisseur’s grand vin The only first growth of Pessac, this estate is set apart from its rivals in both geography and style ...
ON November 11, 2015
Château Ausone: The Ethereal Estate of Saint-Émilion
Château Ausone: The Ethereal Estate of Saint-Émilion
Visiting Chateau Ausone during En Primeur Week, we were fortunate enough to spend some time with owner Alain Vauthier and his son Edouard (who has grown up working at the Chateau) to discuss the changes afoot at Saint-Emilion’s most prestigious address. Chateau Ausone has, without question, been producing some of the finest wines in the world for many decades, but ...
ON April 12, 2019
Château Cos d'Estournel: The singular gem of St. Estèphe
Château Cos d'Estournel: The singular gem of St. Estèphe
Ahead of next week's 2018 En Primeur release, we explore what makes St. Estèphe's Cos d’Estournel such an extraordinary estate... The last three vintages of Cos d’Estournel (2018, 2017, 2016) have shot the lights out in terms of critics’ scores. A hat-trick of potentially perfect wines, as judged by the Wine Advocate, is a rare accolade - even more ...
ON May 31, 2019
Rhône 2017: Inside Châteauneuf-du-Pape with Stéphane Usseglio
Rhône 2017: Inside Châteauneuf-du-Pape with Stéphane Usseglio
Stéphane Usseglio is the man at the helm of Domaine Raymond Usseglio in Châteauneuf-du-Pape. Understandably he has gained an unrivalled insight into the area surrounding the historic village at the heart of the southern Rhône. Speaking with FINE+RARE, he shares his interpretation of the nuances of Châteauneuf-du-Pape, an appellation so often considered a place of homogeneity, when it is in ...
ON March 15, 2019
The Wines of Lebanon: A Phoenician Phenomenon
The Wines of Lebanon: A Phoenician Phenomenon
Lebanon's Lost Legacy: Viticulture Most of Chateau Musar’s wine is grown in Lebanon’s Beka'a Valley, a fertile plain about 30km east of Beirut, situated between Mount Lebanon on the west and the Anti Lebanon mountains to the east. Despite being more southerly than the great wine regions of Europe, the Beka'a’s elevated altitude of on average around 1000m above sea ...
BY Gavin Lucas,
ON June 11, 2020
The five most read features in 2020
The five most read features in 2020
This year saw us publish over 120 articles. From producer interviews and region guides to vintage reports, here are the five pieces that proved most popular Musar: a year-by-year vintage guide This summer we delved into the history of Chateau Musar – the iconic winery that has long proven the potential of Lebanese terroir. As well as offering a ...
BY FINE+RARE,
ON December 31, 2020
What to look out for this February
What to look out for this February
A varied palette of releases in February will satisfy even the most esoteric of collectors. From some of the biggest releases of the year from Leroy and Domaine d’Auvenay to lesser-known beauties from Switzerland, these are wines and spirits you won’t want to miss Valpolicella from maestro Romano dal Forno   February sees the annual release from Valpolicella’s pioneering Dal Forno estate. The sad news is there will be no new Amarone ...
BY Gavin Smith,
ON February 5, 2021
2019 Bordeaux En Primeur - Week 5 Update
2019 Bordeaux En Primeur - Week 5 Update
With the Duclot collection case released on Friday, featuring one bottle of all the First Growths (apart from Chateau Latour), along with a bottle of Petrus, Ausone, Cheval Blanc and Yquem all from the 2019 vintage, we mark the end of what has been arguably the most memorable en primeur campaign for many years and for so many reasons. The quality ...
BY Gavin Smith,
ON June 25, 2020
Bordeaux 2017: EP Round-Up Week VIII
Bordeaux 2017: EP Round-Up Week VIII
It’s like waiting for buses. None show up and then they all come at once. This has been the concertina effect that has come to epitomise the 2017 EP campaign in which most of the top Chateaux have ended up releasing their wines at the same time potentially each sabotaging the other in terms of maximising their exposure on release. ...
ON June 15, 2018
Pomerol: A Tale of Two Vintages
Pomerol: A Tale of Two Vintages
We report from a visit by Pomerol Séduction, an organisation promoting eight top wines from the iconic Right Bank appellation in Bordeaux. On the tasting table were Bordeaux 2012s and 2015s - two very different vintages that both have stories to tell. As the scramble for this year’s En Primeur offerings from Bordeaux reached its climax last week, the FINE+RARE Team saw ...
ON June 28, 2016
Emeline Borie Introduces a Progressive New Approach in Pauillac
Emeline Borie Introduces a Progressive New Approach in Pauillac
Emeline Borie has big shoes to fill as she takes on her newest role as the President of Pauillac. Emeline was elected in October of last year, taking over from the larger-than-life Jean Michel Cazes, the owner of Chateau Lynch Bages. Emeline however is no stranger to Pauillac, having been born and raised at Chateau Grand Puy Lacoste, one of ...
ON July 12, 2018
A Mixed Vintage
A Mixed Vintage
When Bud Cuchet and I visited Bordeaux in early October all looked set fair for a very good vintage. There are few better barometers of a vintage’s quality than the faces of the men tasked with making and selling the wine, and there were smiles all round as we inspected the vineyards in the beautiful October sunshine. Sadly, whilst we ...
ON April 18, 2013
La Place de Bordeaux explained: what it is and how it works
La Place de Bordeaux explained: what it is and how it works
Formed of layers of négociants, courtiers and châteaux, La Place de Bordeaux is not a place at all, but the complex distribution system for the region’s wines – and increasingly the top wines from around the world. Here’s everything you need to know about how it works In Bordeaux, you can’t buy wine directly from producers. Instead wines are sold ...
BY Gavin Smith,
ON August 31, 2020
2018 Bordeaux En Primeur Round Up #5
2018 Bordeaux En Primeur Round Up #5
Following last week’s Bordeaux hiatus due to the VinExpo wine fair in Bordeaux, we expected a busy week to follow. The week saw a flurry of very well priced “value-buy” favourites come out and quickly sell out! This included Chateau Leoville Barton and highly anticipated Domaine de Chevalier. Chevalier has proved to be the ultimate value pick of the vintage ...
ON May 24, 2019
Bordeaux 2015 En Primeur: Critic Value Picks
Bordeaux 2015 En Primeur: Critic Value Picks
Both Neal Martin and Jancis Robinson have published lists of their possible bargains for Bordeaux 2015 En Primeur. Buy wines that have been released and set alerts for those coming soon... With all the top critic scores published for En Primeur 2015, we now await the releases from Bordeaux's big guns. In the meantime, as many of the critics predicted, ...
ON May 6, 2016
Bordeaux Safari March 2018 Travelogue
Bordeaux Safari March 2018 Travelogue
Bordeaux Safari - Day 1 A small group of eager wine lovers are picked up from the airport and driven direct to the magnificent Chateau Le Pape in Pessac (a recently renovated Chateau owned by Chateau Haut Bailly) surrounded by vineyards. The interior has the classic grandeur of Bordeaux heritage chic mixed with all the modern comforts and a permanent ...
ON March 23, 2018
Bordeaux En Primeur 2017: Week 1 Round-Up
Bordeaux En Primeur 2017: Week 1 Round-Up
With just under 100 wines released through 'La Place de Bordeaux' this week, the En Primeur campaign kicked-off with the surprise release of Chateau Palmer and its second wine, Alter Ego de Palmer, on Monday morning. Despite the Wine Advocate and Vinous only having released their overview of the vintage, the positive overall response from the trade provided enough confidence ...
ON April 27, 2018
2019 Bordeaux En Primeur - Week 2 Update
2019 Bordeaux En Primeur - Week 2 Update
A huge week of releases from Bordeaux, so much so that the campaign is looking like its going to be a quick one - blink and you might miss it! With so many releases this week including some of the biggest names in any campaign - Chateau Palmer on Monday, Chateau Cos d’Estournel on Wednesday and Chateau Lafite on Friday - we thought ...
BY Gavin Smith,
ON June 4, 2020
Market Outlook February 2013
Market Outlook February 2013
The Market in January Burgundy 2011 The 2011 Burgundy en-primeur release circus has been well-received, along with the circus of tastings that come with it. The key commentators have generally agreed with Fine+Rare’s verdict on the vintage and have reported positively on the quality: Jancis Robinson finds ‘fruit, delicacy and terroir definition’ in the wines, and Allen Meadows puts overall ...
ON February 1, 2013
Bordeaux 2019 - En Primeur Update
Bordeaux 2019 - En Primeur Update
The wine world should have descended on Bordeaux this week to taste the 2019 vintage from barrel and make their assessments, with the chateaux initially due to release the wines from mid-April onwards. However, it comes as no surprise, the biggest event of the fine wine year is currently on ice. While the Bordelais speculate on the en primeur ice thawing somewhere ...
BY FINE+RARE,
ON April 2, 2020
FINE+RARE 2019 Bordeaux Discovery Case
FINE+RARE 2019 Bordeaux Discovery Case
Our 2019 Bordeaux Discovery Collection Case, features top value picks from across the region. While the top Chateaux and their Grand Vins often steal the limelight, there are a plethora of wines that offer staggering value in this mecca for Cabernet and Merlot based wines. Many of these wines are in fact the lesser-known projects from some of the finest viticultural ...
BY FINE+RARE,
ON July 1, 2020

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