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Cellar Favorite: 1991 Araujo Estate Wines Cabernet Sauvignon Eisele Vineyard

cellar favorite, Cellar Favorites, United States: California

Neal Martin, Jun 2024

Now, here's a rare old bird. The 1991 Cabernet Sauvignon Eisele Vineyard was the maiden vintage after Bart and Daphne Araujo purchased the revered vineyard from Joseph Phelps. In fact, according to Frédéric Engerer, who served this wine blind in London, this was the very last bottle in the original cellar, the estate having been sold to Artémis Group in July 2013. It brought back fond memories of a complete vertical a decade ago in London, and I dug out the accompanying article that I penned for Wine-Journal.

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Cellar Favorite: 1924 Bouchard Père & Fils Chassagne-Montrachet Rouge

cellar favorite, Cellar Favorites, France: Burgundy

Neal Martin, June 2024

Since the vintage ends with the right digit, I was tempted to add this wine to my Centuries Of… article. Frankly, this bottle was so amazing, defied logic to such a degree, and was so astounding that it had to be placed on its own pedestal, which is this Cellar Favorite. I did not choose it because readers can just go out and procure a bottle; instead, this is a pertinent reminder of wine’s longevity and that consumers don’t necessarily need to forage for blue chip growers or even the most esteemed vineyards. Perhaps the message of this particular Cellar Favorite is to keep an open mind.

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Cellar Favorite: 1988 Robert Mondavi Winery Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve

cellar favorite, Cellar Favorites, United States: California

Neal Martin, Jun 2024

A vertical of Robert Mondavi Winery’s Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve back to the maiden vintage remains one of the best tastings I have ever participated in. It was one of the few occasions where guests refused to leave because the bottles were so good.

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Cellar Favorite: 1947 Château Gilette Doux

cellar favorite, Cellar Favorites, France: Burgundy

Neal Martin, May 2024

Château Gilette, located in the village of Preignac, is an unorthodox Sauternes estate that has furrowed its path for decades, eschewing the use of oak barrels to undertake extended élevages in concrete vats that can last up to 20 years. I’ve been lucky to experience a couple of extensive verticals over my career and composed a detailed standalone piece in my Wine-Journal days. My last visit was ten years ago, so I’m overdue a return.

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Cellar Favorite: Castello di Ama - Looking Back at the 2006s

cellar favorite, Cellar Favorites, Italy: Tuscany

Antonio Galloni, May 2024

I vividly remember the first time I truly fell in love with Castello di Ama wines. It was 2009. After we had gone through the releases, Lorenza Sebasti and Marco Pallanti opened a few older wines. It was at that moment that I started to understand how well these wines can age. In the years that followed, I had the good fortune to report on several verticals.

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Cellar Favorite: 1994 Penfolds Grange and 1975 Bin 95 Grange Hermitage

cellar favorite, Cellar Favorites, Australia

Neal Martin, May 2024

During my time in Bordeaux tasting barrel samples, I spend most evenings essentially harvesting tasting notes for my annual “Centuries Of…” article that will appear in due course. Ironically, perhaps the best bottle of wine with a vintage ending in four was not from either the Left or Right Bank but from Australia.

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Cellar Favorite: 1930 KWV Muscadel Bin 14 Late Bottled Vintage

cellar favorite, Cellar Favorites, South Africa

Neal Martin, May 2024

Ancient South African ports have a cult following, and though they are not cheap due to demand, they represent outstanding value compared to other wines.

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Cellar Favorite: 1938 Paul Jaboulet Aîné Côte-Rôtie

cellar favorite, Cellar Favorites, France: Rhône & Beaujolais

Neal Martin, Apr 2024

When someone whispers into your ear, particularly my ear, that you will never drink this bottle again, the aforementioned ear perks up. The 1938 Côte-Rôtie from Paul Jaboulet Aîné had lived its entire life in a cool dank cellar over in the West Country, so factor in perfect provenance. Though the bottle states Jaboulet on the label, it is more accurate to look at this as an amalgamation of all the growers in Côte-Rôtie at the time since hardly any bottled themselves.

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Cellar Favorite: 2016 Domaine de la Grange des Pères Vin de Pays de L'Herault

cellar favorite, Cellar Favorites, France

Neal Martin, Apr 2024

It must have been a decade ago when I attended a vertical of Domaine de la Grange des Pères in London. Then, it was revered as arguably Languedoc’s only true cult wine and, combined with its price tag, I was rather put off.

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Cellar Favorite: 1993 Domaine de Chevalier

cellar favorite, Cellar Favorites, France: Bordeaux

Neal Martin, Apr 2024

Last October, I was in Bordeaux during the autumn Porte Ouverte days, when locals can tour châteaux and attend evening dinners, many of which are inexpensive to take part in. I was tasting the 2021s on the same day as Domaine de Chevalier’s soirées, and proprietor Olivier Bernard invited me, along with around 200 other guests. With so many people, you need a large bottle!