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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