JJ Buckley Fine Wines Blog

Learn what makes wine more meaningful and memorable. We explore the people, places and stories behind some of the world's finest and unique wines. Join us!

First Growths First: Harbingers of the Vintage

by Chuck Hayward

Let the madness begin! Save for the elite critics who arrived in Bordeaux one or two weeks ahead, en primeur week officially opened on Monday. We arrive early enough to get acclimated and rested up, as that first day offers an important opportunity get a sense of the vintage before later diving into the really big tastings hosted by negociants and the Union des Grand Crus (UGC).

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Bottomless Pours at Chateau Margaux

by Chuck Hayward

Here in Bordeaux, two words inspire more reverence than any others: First Growth. Thanks to the 1855 classification system, there are only five First Growths (Lafite, Latour, Haut Brion, and Margaux, with Mouton added to the group in 1973), and they are widely considered to produce the finest wines from the Left Bank.

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No One-Trick Pony: Recapturing Rusticity at Pontet-Canet

by Chuck Hayward

The cool breeze of a spring day in Bordeaux carries with it wisps of dust, which settle between the forty-year-old vines that line the gravelly vineyard of Pontet-Canet. The hoofs of horses drawing plows kicked up the dust, as they are charged with turning the earth on this stately property. The “old ways” of producing classic Bordeaux are new again in a vineyard accustomed to producing world class wine of power and elegance in a manner that preserves its piece of earth with great care.

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Homage á Bages: Dinner with Jean-Charles Cazes

by Chuck Hayward

Not surprisingly our trip to Bordeaux is not ALL about the wine: this is France after all. During the day, our entire focus is on tasting wine (upwards of 100 today alone). But once the sun sets, we get treated to some of the greatest food in the world.

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Trial by Jury: Aged 'Value' Bordeaux

by Chuck Hayward

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.

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