Thoughts on Les Forts | 1995 & 1997 Les Forts de Latour

Posted by admin in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Les Forts de Latour is the “second wine” of Château Latour and takes its name from an historic plot in the “Enclos” – 120 acres of vines that surround the Château and overlook the Île de Patiras in the Gironde estuary. Les Forts was first released under that name in 1966.

The grapes for Les Forts come from the edge of the Enclos and further afield in Pauillac. More Merlot goes into Les Forts than into Latour’s “Grand Vin”.

The proportion of oak barrels used to age Les Forts is typically 50-60% of the finished wine; for the Grand Vin the entire production is put into new barrels. Les Forts is therefore lighter and ages quicker than the Grand Vin.

Two nice examples have been spotted in Mayfair recently.

The Merlot grapes for the 1995 Les Forts caught some rain when they were harvested in mid-September (after a very dry summer) but no dilution is apparent. This was the first really good Bordeaux vintage since 1990.

There was more rain in 1997 than in 1995. The Les Forts ’97 has less depth than the ’95. But, like other 1997 red Bordeaux wines that I’ve had in recent times, it has lasted better and longer than might have been expected.

My quizzical expression is because the photographer asked if we were drinking Les Forts de Latour for lunch.

I’m sure you know what the response was… 👎

Share This Post

Nineteen Eighty-Four… | Château Mouton Rothschild 1984

Posted by admin in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The 1984 grape-growing year in Bordeaux sounds like something from a dystopian novel by George Orwell.

Cold, dry weather in February, March, and May; a sunny April, June, July, and August that caused the grapes to ripen slowly and unevenly (because of the sudden changes of temperature); cold and wet weather in September; and then Hurricane Hortense uprooted trees and caused widespread power failures in early October.

Finally, the sun came out when the Mouton Rothschild vineyards were harvested from 5th to 12th October – after Hortense had passed (unlike some of Mouton’s Bordeaux neighbours), and temperatures reached 32°C.

The final Orwellian twist to our vinous version of Nineteen Eighty-Four was the release price of Mouton and other wines, which was twice as high as the superior 1982s.

Nowadays, Mouton 1982 is four-times as much as 1984

The Merlot grapes in the Médoc were mostly unusable in 1984 but this was not really an issue for Mouton, where very little Merlot goes into the finished Cabernet Sauvignon-focused wine.

On that basis, it might be the best red wine of this tricky Bordeaux vintage.

The 1984 Mouton label was by the now 95-years old Yaacov Agam.

His work is often brightly-coloured, abstract, and makes use of light and sound – which is why he was the ideal choice to design the 1999 Eurovision Song Contest trophy, won by Charlotte Nilsson of Sweden… 🎶 🏆

  • Château Mouton Rothschild 1984 label
    Chateau Mouton Rothschild 1984 (1 x 75cl bottle)
Share This Post

Comet tales | Château Lafite Rothschild 1985

Posted by admin in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Château Lafite Rothschild 1985 has an embossed comet on the bottle to commemorate the visit of Halley’s Comet that year…. 🍷 💫

On 13th March 1986, the European Space Agency spacecraft Giotto approached the nucleus of Halley’s Comet at a distance of 596 kilometres. The comet had been visible from earth since late 1985.

“Comet years” have often been great French wine vintages: 1811 (Halley), 1858 (Donati), 1861 (C/1861 J1 [sic]), and 1985 (Halley again). Halley also passed by in 1835 but that’s not known as a good vintage.

Back on planet Earth, the 1985 Bordeaux winemaking year began with an exceptionally cold January, which (unlike 1956) didn’t damage the vineyards much (because the vines were dormant). Many château gardens were not so lucky.

In February, a meeting was held of château owners, merchants, and brokers at which it was decided that the 1985 wines would be released at the same price as the 1984s (which were nearly twice as much as the superior 1982s).

It was the driest September on record and hotter than 1959 or 1982, though not as hot as 1961 or 1964, and the largest red wine crop to date, exceeding 1982 by 12%.

In those days there was no green harvesting (removing grape bunches to boost the quality of the remaining bunches).

Château Lafite Rothschild 1985 was offered to UK consumers at about £400 per case, which made it the then most expensive vintage in real terms of the 20th century.

Depending on your taste, 1985 – not 1982 – is the finest vintage of the 1980s.

Lafite 1985 is a perfumed fine wine with a beautiful flavour and texture – absolutely perfect for drinking now now now.

No need to wait until the next perihelion of Halley’s Comet in July 2061… ☄️

  • Château Lafite Rothschild wine for sale at Arden Fine Wines
    Château Lafite Rothschild 1985 (1 x 75cl) PLEASE CONTACT US IF YOU’RE LOOKING FOR THIS WINE!
Share This Post

Tower of strength | Château Latour 1970

Posted by admin in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Summer 1970 in the Bordeaux wine growing areas was just about perfect. The warm and sunny weather enabled the grapes to ripen in ideal conditions.

Château Latour picked its grapes from 28th September to 17th October. The resulting wine was uncompromisingly tannic. In its early days it was a wine that was chewed rather than drunk.

The 1970 vintage of Latour was released ex-château at 40,000 francs per tonneau – the traditional unit of pricing and of sale in Bordeaux, with one tonneau equivalent to four 225-litre barriques, or 1,200 bottles in total.

This equates to about £2.62 per bottle, which would be about £32 today…

Latour is arguably the best wine of the 1970 Bordeaux vintage.

There were other very good wines from Bordeaux that year (Mouton RothschildHaut-Brion and Petrus, for example) but most of them have not endured as long and well as the Latour ’70… 🍷

  • Petrus Pomerol by Valentino Monticello in Bacchus and Ariadne
  • 1970 Chateau Mouton Rothschild label by Marc Chagall
    1970 Chateau Mouton Rothschild (1 x 75cl) PLEASE CONTACT US IF YOU ARE LOOKING FOR THIS WINE
  • Chateau Haut-Brion 1970 for sale at award-winning Arden Fine Wines in Mayfair, London
    Chateau Haut-Brion 1970 (1 x 150cl magnum) SOLD
Share This Post

Entente Cordiale | Château Mouton Rothschild 2004 and King Charles III

Posted by admin in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

What does King Charles III and Château Mouton Rothschild have in common with Picasso, Dali, and Warhol…? 

An Art Deco label was commissioned from the poster artist Carlu for the 1924 Mouton Rothschild label.

To commemorate the end of the war, 1945 was the second vintage of Mouton to feature a bespoke label.

  • Château Mouton Rothschild 1945
    1945 Château Mouton Rothschild from Faringdon House SOLD

Every vintage since 1945, Mouton has enlisted an artist to design a new label.

To mark the centenary of the Entente Cordiale (“Cordial Agreement”) – a series of agreements signed on 8th April 1904 between the UK and the France – the then Prince of Wales was asked to contribute a work for the 2004 Mouton label.

Prince Charles’ watercolour shows a French landscape and is signed “To celebrate the 100th Anniversary of the Entente Cordiale – Charles, 2004”.

  • Buy Château Mouton Rothschild 2004 from Arden Fine Wines in Mayfair, London. Mouton Rothschild 2001 price. Chateau Mouton Rothschild labels. Mouton Rothschild 2004 label. Chateau Mouton Rothschild 2004.
    Château Mouton Rothschild 2004 (1 x 75cl)

In October 2021, Prince Charles revealed that his 1969 Aston Martin DB6 Volante had been converted to run on bioethanol made from surplus English wine and cheese – but not, apparently, red wine from Château Mouton Rothschild… 🍷⛽️

Share This Post

Pavillon of Splendour | Pavillon Rouge du Château Margaux 1988–1992–1995–1997

Posted by admin in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

A “second wine” has been made at Château Margaux since the 18th century, though Pavillon Rouge du Château Margaux was not named as such until 1908.

Production of Margaux’s second wine halted in the 1930s. It was not made again until the arrival  in 1977 of the chateau’s new owner André Mentzelopoulos. To improve the quality of the “first wine” or “grand vin”, more Pavillon Rouge was made.

Nowadays, about ⅓ of Château Margaux’s grapes go into the grand vin; ⅓ into Pavillon Rouge; and ⅙ each into the third wine (Margaux du Château Margaux) and an anonymous fourth wine, sold since 2009 in bulk to Bordeaux wine merchants.

(Are you keeping up? Good.)

Four excellent examples of Pavillon Rouge came in and out of our Mayfair office recently.

From the top, the 1988 has smoothed out over the years and is now probably in its prime.

1992? Well, it rained a lot in the spring and then during the September-October harvest… A light vintage of Pavillon Rouge that can still be enjoyable.

The 1995 Pavillon Rouge is one of the best made in the late 20th century. A well looked after example like this one is still going strong.

Margaux du Château Margaux was introduced for the 1997 vintage, using grapes and/or tanks and barrels that were considered unworthy of the first wine or second wine.

In my recent experience, Bordeaux red wine of this vintage has lasted much better than was widely expected. The 1997 Pavillon Rouge benefited from the more rigorous selection and has endured well.

  • 2004 Pavillon Rouge du Château Margaux
    2004 Pavillon Rouge du Château Margaux (12 x 75cl) SOLD
  • 1999 Pavillon Rouge du Château Margaux
    1999 Pavillon Rouge du Château Margaux (12 x 75cl) SOLD
  • 1995 Pavillon Rouge du Château Margaux (12 x 75cl case) SOLD
    1995 Pavillon Rouge du Château Margaux (12 x 75cl case) SOLD
Share This Post

“How to spot counterfeit fine wines” published by Family Office Magazine

Posted by admin in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

“How to spot counterfeit fine wines” by Stuart George – Founder & MD of Arden Fine Wines – has just been published in the Spring 2023 issue of Family Office Magazine.

Family Office Magazine is the premier gateway to the Family Office and UHNWI International Community.

It is the most prominent publication in this sector and is an authority on Family Office news and events.

#ArdenFineWines #Mayfair #London #finewine #rarewine #fakewine #counterfeitwine #familyofficemag #familyoffice #familyoffices #familyofficemagazine #UHNWI #wealth

Share This Post

Bleu-Sky Thinking | The red wines of Chêne Bleu

Posted by admin in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Chêne Bleu (“Blue Tree”) estate, near Mont Ventoux in Provence, is overseen by my good friend Nicole Rolet.

The splendid wine portfolio includes the two reds Abélard (mainly Grenache) and Héloïse (mainly Syrah), named after the Medieval power couple whose illicit romance ultimately condemned them to forced separation and tragedy.

Astralabeis the “teenager” (or illegitimate offspring 🤔?) of Chêne Bleu’s family of reds. It’s a Grenache-Syrah blend, named after the son of Héloïse and Abélard. The 2018 is the current vintage.

(I had a bottle of the 2016 recently and it was excellent. Even though it’s ostensibly a relatively modest Ventoux red wine, Astralabe is a wine that benefits from a few years’ ageing.)

We also have available some 1.5-litre magnums of Abélard 2010 and 2011 and 3-litre jeroboams of Héloïse 2011.

Perfect for sharing with a couple of like-minded friends (as I did)…

Chêne Bleu wines at Arden Fine Wines in Mayfair, London
Share This Post


Posted by admin in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

From my friend Vic Mills:

“Hi Stuart,

Greetings from a sunny Thames Valley and Project Front Foot.

A busy quarter for the project culminated in our recent four-day hack around Western Europe delivering kit to refugee cricketers, clubs and communities in Germany and France. 1400 miles over four days. A big ask, even by our standards. Not too much time to rest and regroup, either, as we start all over again with an early summer kit appeal. As ever, do feel free to forward the newsletter to likely interested parties. Hope this finds you well.

Best wishes


Share This Post

Talkin’ ’bout a Revolution | 1968 Château Latour

Posted by admin in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

There were a lot of distractions from winemaking in 1968: the Prague Spring; the May strikes and protests in France; and the civil rights movement, opposition to the Vietnam War, and assassinations of Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy in the USA.

The 1968 Winter Olympics were held in Grenoble, France, in February and were largely trouble-free – unlike the 1968 Mexico City Olympics in October.

The weather in late Winter / early Spring in Bordeaux in 1968 was not dissimilar to winter 2023 in London: mild, wet, and sometimes very cold… Hardly conducive to growing grapes!

It snowed in Bordeaux on 6th April. But the second half of April was much nicer and the grapevines grew quickly.

Rain and mist in early June and August slowed down the vines’ progress.

And it was still raining during the harvest in late September and early October…

It might have ended up as wretched as 1965 or 1963 but by 1968 a severer selection of grapes was done by the more conscientious Bordeaux estates and better wines were made.

The ’68 clarets were fruity and charming (like 1997 in my time, perhaps).

Château Latour made arguably the best wine of this unloved vintage.

It’s not at the level of 1961, 1966, 1970, 1975, 1982 (or even 1899) – but always worth a look

Share This Post