2010 Grand Cru Saint-Émilion from Les Vignobles Valade ... and more!

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Your devoted tippler with Paul and Cédric Valade
We are truly excited to bring back the spectacular 2010 Château Valade, Grand Cru Saint-Émilion and 2010 Château Brisson, Castillon Côtes du Bordeaux and introduce the 2011 L’Etendard de Château Valade, Grand Cru Saint-Émilion from Les Vignobles Valade. As if that weren’t enough, we are also offering the stellar 2009 L’Etendard de Château Valade in half-bottles.

There can be no doubt about it, our dealings with Château Valade are a family affair. It all started many years ago with Charles and Huguette Pacaud, owners of Domaine la Croix Chaptal and their wonderful wines from the Terrasses du Larzac in the Languedoc. In time we met one of their twin daughters, Héloïse who works in Bordeaux and is the partner of Cédric Valade.  Céderic makes dynamic, powerful Saint-Émilion Grand Cru. Then we met Cédric’s parents, Paul and Lorette Valade who, it so happens, are one of the top producers of delicious Castillon Côtes de Bordeaux. So there you have it, the genealogy of this fortnight’s splendid offering.

Les Vignobles Valade                                          

The modern and gleaming Château Valade winery
The Valade family founded their wine business in Castillon Côtes de Bordeaux (formerly Côtes du Castillon) way back in 1878 with Château Brisson and Château Le Peyrat. Since then, five generations have managed the estate, the latest being Paul and Lorette Valade who have been doing so for the past thirty years. And now they have now been joined by son Cédric who extended the family’s vinous holdings to Saint-Émilion in 2007.
The Valade elixirs biding their time in oak

The Valades have a well-earned reputation for being masters of Merlot. They know absolutely everything there is to know about their vineyards, right down to the individual vines in their 30 hectares on the hillsides of Côtes du Castillon and 3.5 hectares on the slopes of St-Émilion. The family personally looks after every aspect of vineyard maintenance and wine production to ensure that the wines they offer are truly outstanding. The vines are trained by high trellises where disbudding, leaf thinning, green harvesting (thinning the bunches) and ultimately harvesting are all done by hand. Yields are kept low and are strictly managed and everything possible is done to enhance the biodiversity of the soil.

Equal care is taken in the winery. A new cellar was built in 1991 and extended in 2001 that includes all of the modern equipment that can be found in the best French estates and a new chai (cellar and tasting room) was completed last year. Winemaking includes pre-fermentation maceration at cool temperatures, gravity flow transfer, gentle pneumatic pressing and so on. The wines are aged in French oak barrels carefully selected to marry with the unique characteristics of each vintage (I was particularly impressed by the excellent use of wood in each of the samples I tried).       

The Vintage Ratings in Saint-Émilion

The ‘Wine Spectator’ rates the 2010 vintage in Saint-Émilion at 98/100; the 2009, 96/100 – both classic; the 2011, 91/100 - outstanding.

Robert Parker adds, “This (the 2010 vintage in Bordeaux) is clearly another very great vintage in Bordeaux. When I first discussed the wines, I didn’t think it exceeded in overall quality of the Bordeaux that was produced in 2009, 2005 or perhaps even 2000, but I think it is safe to say that, other than the 2009, this vintage has turned out slightly better than 2000 and is as impressive as 2005.”

The Les Vignobles Valade Wines on Offer

We are very pleased to offer you two truly wonderful Saint-Émilion Grand Cru from Les Vignobles Valade – the 2010 Château Valade and the 2011 L’Etendard de Château Valade (the second wine of Château Valade) along with Paul Valade’s exceptional 2010 Château Brisson, a top-rated Castillon Côtes de Bordeaux. The Valades have also created the mixed case Vignobles Valade Sampler for us that includes two bottles each of our featured wines. They all come in six-bottle cases (the Ch. Valade in wood). And, as a special treat, Cédric has made available a very limited quantity of 2009 L’Etendard de Château Valade in half-bottles.   

A couple of notes of caution – first these are not your father’s St-Émilions and second, I do hope you have a cellar and can keep your cotton pickin’ fingers off them for at least a couple of years, preferably more. These wines are huge, full-bodied, fruit forward and complex mouthfuls that really should have a few years of rest before assaulting. But I can assure you that these superbly well made wines will reward you many times over for your patience and self-control. The Château Brisson is a similar story – patience will pay dividends for sure.

We will be taking your orders for the superb wines from Les Vignobles Valade to the LCBO on Friday, February 12th.


2010 Château Valade - Saint-Emilion Grand Cru – 14.5% Alc./Vol.               $53/$318case of six
This is a really wonderful wine. It is comprised of 95% Merlot and 5% Cabernet Franc rigorously selected from the estate’s best plots of vines averaging well over twenty-five years of age. The wine is neither filtered nor fined and is aged in oak barrels (80% new and 20% one year-old) for twelve months.  It is a dark plum colour, almost inky with a huge, almost hyper-concentrated nose of stewed plums and black currents, cocoa, cedar, tobacco, forest floor, wet stones, mint and vanilla. It all carries through in the mouth with lovely, silky tannins - big, round and very long. This very well-made wine clearly illustrates the wine maker’s mastery of oak. Remember, it is in its infancy and really should be hidden away for three, preferably five years. If the temptation to try a bottle is too much, decant it in the morning for the evening’s meal. It will be a perfect match for confit de canard and game. And, it comes in a special wooden box. Only 8,000 bottles were made. Order your St-Émilion Grand Cru treasures now.


2011 L’Etendard de Château Valade – Saint-Emilion Grand Cru – 14.5% Alc./Vol.                     $34/$204 case of six 
The Marvellous 2011 L’Etendard de Château Valade is made from 90% Merlot and 10% Cabernet Franc. Hand-picked and sorted, the grapes gently pressed and the juice undergoes malolactic fermentation in oak barrels. The wine spends twelve months in oak barrels (thirty percent renewed annually). It is a bright ruby color with a nose that reveals aromas of candied black fruits, exotic spices, notes of cedar and touches of toasted bread. This big, powerful, full-bodied wine from a great year is dense and lively with elegant tannins and excellent length. It is hard to believe it is a second wine. In due course, it will go wonderfully with roasts and barbequed steak. If you must drink it right away, make sure to decant it several hours before serving. It will be ready to drink in about four years and will keep for at least a decade more, properly cellared, of course. Order this very well-priced Saint-Émilion Grand Cru now.


2010 Château Brisson – 14.5% Alc./Vol.                                                                $29/$174 case of six
http://ei.isnooth.com/multimedia/c/8/d/image_1607896_full.jpegThe delicious, stylish 2010 Château Brisson was made from 85% Merlot and 15% Cabernet Sauvignon from vines averaging well over thirty years of age. After a traditional vinification, this Castillon Côtes de Bordeaux was aged for 12 months in oak (30% new). The wine was racked every three months and fined with egg whites. It is a dense plum colour and offers up an intense nose of raspberries, strawberries, black currants, exotic spices, vanilla and a trace of wet pebbles. In the mouth it is medium-bodied, well-balanced, elegant, supple, complex and long. A fine match for rare steaks or roast beef, this absolutely delightful quaff needs a couple of hours in a decanter before broaching, if you must drink it now. It will keep very nicely for at least five years and likely more.

"Floral nose with nice red fruit like raspberries and crushed strawberries. Some cocoa powder and vanilla. Sweet refined fruit on the palate with good body and a beautiful texture. Long and elegant with a beautiful juicy acidity. Beautiful depth of fruit." Reviewed by: James Suckling - 92pts. Order your superb Bordeaux bargain now!


Vignobles Valade Sampler – 14.5% Alc./Vol.                                                 $39/$234 case of six
This is a great way to sample each of the Valades’ superb, Saint-Émilion Grand Cru and Castillon Côtes de Bordeaux wines. You receive two bottles of the luscious 2010 Château Valade, two bottles of the delightful 2011 L’Etendard de Château Valade and two bottles of the wonderful 2010 Château Brisson. Great wine; great vintages, great value. Order your most yummy Saint-Émilion Grand Cru and Castillon Côtes de Bordeaux mixed six-pack now.


2009 L’Etendard de Château Valade – Saint-Emilion Grand Cru – 14.5% Alc./Vol. – Half-Bottles                  $20/480 for 24
The stunning 2009 L’Etendard de Château Valade is made from 90% Merlot and 10% Cabernet Franc. Hand-picked and sorted, the grapes gently pressed and the juice undergoes malolactic fermentation in oak barrels. The wine spends twelve months in oak barrels (thirty percent renewed annually). It is an inky crimson color with a nose that reveals aromas of blackberries, exotic spices, notes of cedar and touches of toasted bread. This big, powerful, full-bodied wine from a very, very good year is dense and lively with elegant tannins and excellent length. It is hard to believe it is a second wine. In due course, it will go wonderfully with roasts and barbequed steak. This can be savoured now, although I would decant it a couple of hours in advance. It will keep for at least a decade or more, properly cellared, of course. Just ten cases of 24 available. Order this very well-priced St-Émilion Grand Cru in small bottles now.


Important Note
The LCBO is the only entity authorized to sell beverage alcohol in Ontario. Arthur Sellers & Company and Arthur’s Cellar Wine Club do not sell or markup beverage alcohol, but rather, arrange for customers to purchase it from the LCBO. Our prices indicated above and on our website include the LCBO sale price plus a fee to cover the cost of sourcing, handling and marketing the wine. The LCBO’s sale prices are available on request.

LCBO Delivery Notices!

The LCBO has started to mail out delivery notices to all our Members who order wine. This notice is being sent when the wine has arrived from overseas and has been cleared for delivery by the LCBO. The form letter is two sided, one with the numeric details of the transaction and the other with pick-up instructions. Please note - the pick-up instructions do not apply to our Members.

Why?

First, they instruct our Member to pick up the wine at the LCBO’s warehouse loading docks at 33 Freeland Street in Toronto. Our Members don’t have to do this – we either cause the wine to be sent to an LCBO retail store that is conveniently located near our Member or we personally deliver the wine.

Second, they infer that our Members owe them for the wine and warn that they will be penalized if the wine is not picked up within a prescribed period of time. Our Members have already paid for their wine and don’t owe any additional money. We look after payment for them.

Please disregard these form letters when you receive them.

We have requested that the LCBO either correct the message or not send it at all. We also asked that they send the message electronically (they have the e-mail addresses of everyone who orders) to save money and be environmentally responsible. They have thanked us for our suggestions and we hope they will act on them.

Why is the LCBO sending out these notices?

When we inquired, we were told that this has always been their procedure; they just haven’t been following it.

We can surmise that it is in response to last year’s ruling by the Information and Privacy Commission of Ontario (IPC) ruling that the LCBO stop taking personal information from wine club customers. In a subsequent Ontario Superior Court of Justice appeal hearing, the case was remitted back to the IPC for reconsideration, i.e., the LCBO and the other involved parties were told to work out their issues between themselves. A key point in the ruling was, “it is not clear whether the IPC actually made a clear or consistent finding on the issue of whether the LCBO's customer is the club or the club member.” Since then, the LCBO has been determined to make certain that we are all fully aware that it is they who control the customer relationship when it comes to the purchase of beverage alcohol in the Province of Ontario.

To reinforce this point, they have instructed us to prominently post the following wherever we display our prices:

The LCBO is the only entity authorized to sell beverage alcohol in Ontario. Arthur Sellers & Company and Arthur’s Cellar Wine Club do not sell or markup beverage alcohol, but rather, arrange for customers to purchase it from the LCBO. Our prices indicated above and on our website include the LCBO sale price plus a fee to cover the cost of sourcing, handling and marketing the wine. The LCBO’s sale prices are available on request.

If you have any comments for the LCBO, please address them to Margaret Plant, Supervisor, Private Ordering (margaret.plant@lcbo.com) and copy Archie Karanxha, Acting Manager, Specialty Services (arqile.karanxha@lcbo.com) and Geoff Allaire, General Manager Operations, Toronto Retail Service Centre, Vintages Warehouse (geoff.allaire@lcbo.com).

All this reminds me of a very old joke. It seems that a little devil was involved in a most unfortunate tangle with one of Toronto’s Red Rockets that resulted in his tail being severed. He was rushed to the Toronto General Hospital but was refused admission. The ER receptionist explained, “I am afraid you will have to take him to the LCBO ... they are the only ones in Ontario allowed to retail spirits.”


Kate joins the team!
We are delighted to announce that our eldest daughter Kate (shown here with a bottle of Penfolds Grange from her birth year!) has officially joined the Arthur Sellers & Company team. She is an avid wine enthusiast with a very fine palate and is renowned for her frequent thirsty assaults on Arthur’s Cellar. Kate will be assisting us with the day-to-day operation of our wine club and will introduce our fine wines to her market demographic (recognizing that this old tippler needs a little help marketing to the younger aficionados of the fruit of the vine). Please join us in welcoming Kate to our wonderful world of wine.

Where’s My Wine??
Generally, it will take three to four months from the time you order your wine till it is delivered. To find out where your next treasure is on its long journey from Europe, just click on Delivery Status in the side bar to the left. We update it regularly.

About our website

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