Thursday, March 31, 2011

Beware of Prestige Bottlings

In case you're wondering, the 1990 Marcoux reported on below is the regular and not the VV Prestige bottling that received the very high ratings from Robert Parker and which now sells for $600 to $700 a bottle. I don't buy Prestige bottlings of Chateauneuf du Pape for two reasons: 1) they are too pricey for my budget and 2) they are nearly always given special treatment with new oak and small barriques. I also resent the fact that many domaines put their best grapes into these special bottlings which get high ratings and, in turn, command high prices. My experience, when I have tried the two side by side is that I prefer the traditional bottling and that it nearly always ages better than the more expensive cuvee. For example, the regular bottling of 1998 Domaine de la Mordoree Lirac in my cellar is drinking beautifully. Its higher priced sibling, Cuvee de la Reine des Bois, from the same vintage is worth pouring down the sink. As for the 1990 Marcoux, here is what one taster had to say in a CellarTracker review: "beautiful wine. very soft. well balanced. full of roasted fruit. i think that it was better than the VV that i had a short time ago." With some things in life, you get what you pay for; with wine, that is not always the case.


  1. Great post, love your blogs/ reviews. For someone just starting a cellar on a budget your reviews of older vintages gives me hope for the future.

  2. Thanks Jason. I'm glad you find the blog helpful. What you want from the blog is exactly what I want to provide.

    If I had bought a case of both Marcoux cuvees, of course, I could have sold the VV for a huge profit to finance purchases of better but less sought after wines. I must admit I've followed that course myself at times. But there is no shortage of good cellar worthy wines if you don't fall for the trap that only highly ranked, highly priced wines will age.

    Chante Cigale, incidentally, did not continue at the level they reached in 1978. I was disappointed by many of their wines in the 1980s and 1990s. They have good property, though, and I have read good things about recent vintages. Chante Perdrix, on the other hand, and Clefs d'Or are excellent wines that often get overlooked.

  3. I find your posts refreshing because you don't always head for the most prestigious wines, too often I find critics aren't willing to review "lesser" wines, maybe they don't have time or they don't cellar them as long as you do. I must admit I have a growing stock of Bordeaux and burgundy(Pontet Canet & Beaucastel) but I must say I do like a a nice aged Spanish wine. Much friendlier on the wallet. Keep up the good work, you are giving me hope!