Anthony Gismondi on Wine

The Post Hotel, Relais & Chateaux is the home of the Wine Summit Lake Louise 2004 the weekend of May 28, 29 and 30 in the heart of Alberta's Rocky Mountains.

The weekend will feature a series of comprehensive tastings of some of the world's greatest wines and several luxurious meals. Selected wineries for the 2004 event include Chateaux Latour (Pauillac, Bordeaux), Pesquera (Ribera del Duero, Spain), Bouchard Père & Fils (Beaune, Burgundy), Alvaro Palacios (Priorat, Spain), Fonseca Ports (Douro Valley, Portugal) and a selection of top labels from California based Artisans & Estates Vineyards & Wineries owned by Jesse Jackson. For more information about the attending wineries see below. Gor information on last minute tickets call go to www.winesummitlakelouise.com or call 1-800-661-1586

Friday Line-up

9:00 to 10:15 am: Artisans & Estates Vineyards & Wineries

Artisans & Estates, formerly known as Jackson Family Farms is owned by Jess Jackson and family, owners of Kendall-Jackson Wine Estates. The group has a fabulous collection of estates and several will be tasted at Lake Louise. The morning seminar will explore the three terroirs of California: mountain, benchland and coastal. Each offers a unique expression that tells the story of the wine's origin. Wines scheduled to poured include:

Cambria Estate Chardonnay 2000, Santa Maria Valley, Santa Barbara County, California

Matanzas Creek Sauvignon Blanc 2001, Sonoma County, California

Matanzas Creek Chardonnay 2001, Sonoma County, California

Matanzas Creek Merlot 1997 (Magnums), Sonoma County, California

Hartford Court "Three Jacks" Chardonnay 2001, Sonoma County, California

Cardinale Meritage 1996, Napa Valley, California

Cardinale Meritage 1998, Napa Valley, California

Cardinale Meritage 1999, Napa Valley, California

Stonestreet Legacy Meritage 1996, Sonoma County, California

Stonestreet Legacy Meritage 1997, Sonoma County, California

Stonestreet Legacy Meritage 1999, Sonoma County, California

Vérité La Joie 1998, Sonoma County, California

Vérité La Joie 1999, Sonoma County, California

Vérité La Joie 2000, Sonoma County, California

10:45 to 12:00 am: Pesquera Reservas

Alejandro Fernández is the living image of a self-made man. He always dreamed of starting his own winery and making great red wines while he was making a living doing different jobs as a young man.

Following in his father's footsteps, Alejandro would make wine each year from the grapes of his small vineyards but he would have to wait until 1972 to have his own winery. It had a small 16th century winepress where almost all the whole process was conducted. Ten years would pass before the Tinto Pesquera winery would look more or less the same as it does today. The ancient winepress, however, still survives.

The first years were not easy. It was common practice at the time to uproot vines and substitute them for irrigated crops like beetroot. However, Fernandez carried on planting vines and was the first to introduce the espalier system (in the "Viña Alta" vineyard) to the area. Some took him for a madman.

But time would put things in their place. More than 200 hectares of vineyards today supply the winery. Some vines grow on gravel terraces and others on high tablelands (like the "Llano Santiago" vineyard at over 1,000 metres above sea level). All of them provide their nuances to the renowned Pesquera red wines.

All the vineyards are planted with Tempranillo vines, the "queen of grapes" and the delicate variety in which Alejandro is a master. Today, the results of such great efforts are known and appreciated around the world. These are red wines in which the wood is enormously respectful to the fruit. Wines that gain in complexity and nuances as the years go by without losing their original character. These are Pesquera red wines.


"Pesquera" wines are always made from whole de-stemmed grapes. The grapes are macerated at a controlled temperature and the process lasts between two to three weeks. The grapes are then pressed. The resulting wine is poured without clarification directly into a subtle combination of American, Spanish and French barrels with different levels of toasting.

The wine is stored and decanted frequently for at least eighteen months in the barrel for "Tinto Pesquera" wines, and no less than 24 months for Reserva and Grande Reserva wines.

"Janus" is a wine that is different from the rest. It is complex, balanced, rounded, intense and full of nuances. Named after a Roman god, it is a wine that looks towards both the past and the future and merges together old and new winemaking techniques perfectly, expressing the best of both.

Wines scheduled to poured include:

Tinto Pesquera 2001
Pesquera Reserva Magnum 2000
Pesquera Reserva Magnum 1999
Pesquera Reserva Magnum 1996
Pesquera Reserva Magnum 1992
Pesquera Reserva Magnum 1991
Pesquera Reserva Magnum 1984

Friday May 28 2:00 p.m. to 3:15 p.m. Alvaro Palacios


Alvaro Palacios, whose family owns the prestigious Bodega Palacios Remondo in Rioja spent 2 years at Château Pétrus before setting up on his own winery in Priorat in 1989. From the outset, he set out to produce serious wine using fruit from low-yielding old vines and by applying the latest in winemaking techniques.

If anyone embodies the promise and spirit of "The New Spain" it is 38 year old Alvaro Palacios. His L'Ermita is widely considered to be the most important new Spanish wine in a generation. Alvaro studied enology in Bordeaux, while working under Jean-Pierre Moueix at Chateau Petrus. He credits his tenure at Petrus for much of his winemaking philosophy and for showing him the "Importance of Great Wines."

Alvaro was drawn to a remote and wildly beautiful area called Priorato, 60 miles from Barcelona. With its unique terroir of steep hills and terraces Alvaro believed that here he could make great wine. In 1993 he obtained what is regarded as the crown jewel property in Priorato, a precipitous, northeast-facing Garnacha vineyard on well-drained schist that had been planted between 1900 and 1940. Alvaro named it for a small chapel, or Hermitage that sits atop the Hill: L'Ermita.

The cream of the crop is the single vineyard wine L'Ermita, which was first produced in 1993. It is a blend of 80% Garnacha, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Cariñena, and is aged in new French barriques for up to 20 months. It is bottled unfiltered. It has intense concentration and enormous depth and a complexity which is simply staggering. Arguably the most individual red wine in Spain, it is certainly now the most expensive.

Alvaro Palacios has long had his eye on Bierzo, a long-forgotten region of exceptionally steep slopes, such as the Ermita vineyard, in north-west Spain. With his Bordeaux-trained nephew Ricardo, he has coaxed some old vineyards into life for their joint label, named Descendientes de J Palacios after their grandfather.

According to Jancis Robinson two wines from their first vintage 1999 are, like their prices, remarkable. Corullon is the more expensive version but the straight Bierzo is breathtakingly ambitious for a first attempt, still relatively tannic and in the vaguely red Bordeaux taste spectrum. This is in line with the theory that Bierzo's red grape speciality Mencia is related to Cabernet Franc. Others hold that genuine Bierzo Mencia is in fact the Jaen grape of Portugal.
Meanwhile, back at base in Rioja Baja, Alvaro Palacios has been adding a bit of gloss to the old family wine business Palacios Remondo.

Bodegas Palacios Propiedad Herencia Remondo 2001
Bodegas Palacios Herencia Remondo Gran Reserva 1994
Descendientes de J. Palacios Bierzo San Martin 2001
Descendientes de J. Palacios Bierzo La Lamas 2001
Descendientes de J. Palacios Bierzo Moncerbal 2001
Descendientes de J. Palacios La Faraona 2001
Alvaro Palacios L'Ermita 2000 80% Garnacha, 16% Cabernet Sauvignon, 4% Cariñena
Alvaro Palacios Finca Dofí Tinto Crianza 2000 Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Merlot, Garnacha, Mazuelo.

Saturday May 29 9:00 a.m. to 10:15 a.m. Bouchard Père

The company of Bouchard Père can trace their origin back to 1731 when Michel and his son Joseph Bouchard (who started as cloth merchants) established for themselves a wine merchant business in Beaune. At this time the Bouchards were able to purchase their first vineyard in Volnay which was in the hands of the family Carnot, hence, now their Ancienne Cuvée Carnot.

In 1791 when France's revolutionary government started to sell confiscated properties, the Bouchards were able to buy their now famous Vigne de l'Enfant Jésus in the Beaune Premier Cru of Grèves, plus other parcels in Les Teurons, Les Avaux, Clos de la Mousse and Marconnets. Then followed the purchase of their current home, the Château de Beaune in 1810.

If you consult any publication from the late 1980's to the mid 1990's BP&F are usually described as producers that 'could do better' or are 'less interesting' or even 'mediocre'. In 1995, however, the company moved from the 9th generation of Bouchard control to the Henriot family from Champagne. Publications have since talked about 'big improvements' or from 'strength to strength' or of a 'quality boost'.

So what is the current position? It is already well documented that major investment in the vineyards and wine production areas followed the acquisition by Henriot so we won't spend any time on this subject. Today BP&F are a major player with extensive vineyard holdings to augment their négociant wines; 130 hectares in total, 12 in Grand Cru vineyards, 74 in the 1er Cru's and are still adding to their 'collection'. If we restrict ourselves purely to the Côte d'Or, then approximately one third of the wines which are produced come from their own vineyards the rest come from grapes (rather than part finished wine) purchased from growers with whom BP&F have long-term contracts. The split is roughly 60% of production for red wine and 40% for the whites.

In 1998 Fèvre sold its holdings to the Champagne house Joseph Henriot and the winemaking was taken over by the young and dynamic Didier Seguierand. The percentage of new oak used for maturation has now been reduced and the wines are now better than ever  

William Fèvre is one of the best and certainly most vocal producers in the region. He was at the forefront of the battle to restrict the expansion of the Chablis appellation arguing the superiority of Kimmeridgien soils over the richer and more fertile Portlandien clays on which many of the newer vineyards have been established.

The Fèvre Domaine extends to over 50 hectares including a remarkable 17 hectares of Grand Cru Vineyards. For many years Fèvre was perhaps best known as one of the most prominent exponents of oak aged Chablis. His Petit Chablis and basis Chablis see no oak whatsoever while some of the Premier Crus are barrel-fermented and all of the Grand Crus are.


It seems that the hype is already starting to build - for both red and white wines. The Burgundy region was indeed blessed at harvest time. Given that I live only 140 miles from Beaune, and 'enjoyed' a miserable wet September, it must be with a little magic that there was blue sky and warm sun for the whole of the harvest. Millerandage is a word to be heard in many places i.e. small, concentrated grapes with thick skins. I've already tasted around 30 2002's and despite their short time in barrel, most of them seem remarkably concentrated and very drinkable. And even at this early stage - yes - the general view is that they could be exceptional. I'll defer until the elevage is closer to completion.

Bouchard Père & Fils Tasting Wines:

Domaine William Fèvre Chablis Grand Cru "Bougros" 2002

Domaine William Fèvre Chablis Grand Cru "Les Clos" 2002

Domaine William Fèvre Chablis Grand Cru "Les Preuses" 2002

Bouchard Père & Fils Meursault Genevrières 2002
Bouchard Père et Fils Meursault Perrieres 2002

Bouchard Père et Fils Meursault Goutte d'Or 2002
Bouchard Père et Fils Le Montrachet 2002
Bouchard Père et Fils Corton Charlemagne 2002

Bouchard Père et Fils Beaune Chevalier Montrachet 2002

Saturday 10:45 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Chateau Latour
Today the estate of Chateau Latour consists of 65 hectares of vineyards. The 47 hectares which surround the Château, the heart of the estate, are called "l'Enclos". Only the grapes from these 47 ha make the "Grand Vin de Château Latour".

This vineyard has a typical Médoc topography, with a gentle rise in the ground, bounded on the north and south by two small streams, and on the east by the "palus", the low lying meadows by the river. But the "Enclos" benefits from a very unique terroir that combines optimized sub-soil nutrition for the vines, the Gironde river which tempers extreme weather conditions, and a typical Médoc climate, largely influenced by the Atlantic ocean, which allows the grapes to reach maturation under favourable conditions.

There is a perfect association between the Cabernet Sauvignon and this terroir, as it represents around 75% of the total planted. This grape variety manages to take the best out of this poor gravels soil by digging deep to its resources and water, in the layers of clay underneath. This very selective nutrition will naturally bring concentration, deep colour and tannic structure to the wine.

The Merlot represents 20% of the Grand Vin, and plays an important role in regulating and softening the Cabernet Sauvignon. It is planted mainly on the lower parcels of the "Enclos", where the gravels layers are a little less deep, and where the marls and clay layers can be reached more easily by the vines. This will bring roundness and power to the final wine.

Two other grape varieties, the Cabernet Franc and the Petit Verdot, make up respectively for 4% and 1% of the total planted vineyard, and are in most cases mixed in with the parcels of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot.

An old Médocaine proverb says that "only the vines that overlook the water are capable of producing wines of great quality". It is this very privileged setting, located only 300 meters from the Gironde River that bestows all its uniqueness upon the Château Latour wine.

In front of Pauillac, the estuary is 7 km (4 miles) wide. Therefore, the extreme weather conditions, and more especially the spells of excessive cold, are tempered. One striking example of the importance of the river occurred in 1991, during the night of the 20th to the 21st April: that night, a severe frost hit the entire Bordeaux region, with an average of 70% losses in the vineyards but the "Enclos" of Latour lost only 30% of its production!

This capacity to soften the winter and spring temperatures also allows the whole vegetation cycle to develop in advance at Château Latour, always several days ahead if compared with vineyards more distant from the river, and therefore allows earlier harvests.


In addition to this regulating function, the Gironde actually constructed and shaped the Médocaine sub-soil. Located at 2.5 km (1.5 miles) south of the city of Pauillac, the Château Latour vineyard lies on a large brow of gravels that culminates at 15 meters high, in front the lower land called "palu" and the Gironde River.

The top soil consists of a layer 0,6 to 1 meter thick of gravels (pebbles) which was formed in the Günzian, at the beginning of the Quaternary, and carried out from the Pyrénées and the Massif Central by the Gironde when the glaciers melted (beginning of the Quaternary). Only vines can grow on such a poor pebble soil. These natural conditions force the roots of the vines to make their way down to find their vital nutrition. Therefore the vines are only pumping the minimum, a very concentrated and dense alimentation that adds eventually to the wine's complexity. All along the vegetation cycle, these gravels contribute to the maturation of the vines by absorbing the heat of the sun, and reflecting it, even at night. These layers of gravels are very permeable and allow the water to run down to the sub-layers of marls and clays, situated just underneath. This richer sub-soil plays an essential role in summer, when the drought prevents the vines from finding water. These layers capture the water and are able to provide a minimum alimentation to the vines, allowing them to stay "alive" and active until the end of the maturation cycle, and thus to optimize the sugar level in the fruit. As a consequence, the roots of the vines at Château Latour, and especially of the older vines, are installed very deep in the sub-soil (up to 5 meters). These marls and clay layers are essentially found near the Gironde, and are mostly replaced by sand (thus losing the hydrous regulation capacity) when one moves away from it. This exceptional combination of layers of gravels in the top-soil, then clay and marls underneath, gives the soil of Château Latour an amazing singularity.


Thanks to the influence of the Atlantic Ocean nearby, the Médoc climate has the generous characteristics of an oceanic climate as well as its capricious aspects:

- Mild winters with occasional cold spells.
- Springs are usually divided in two parts, the first being cool and damp, and the second mild but often rainy.
- The summers are often warm and at times humid until mid-July, when it becomes much drier.
- The beginning of autumn, from Sept. 10th to Oct. 20th, is often warm and sunny, which allows the grapes to be gathered under favourable conditions.

Vine-growers and tractor drivers work all year round on the 600,000 vine-plants (about 10,000 per hectare) of Château Latour.

A year at Château Latour takes place as follows:
 - Pruning from November to March. Only two branches are left ("guyot double" pruning system), and three buds on average on each branch;
 - March-April: replacing of the defective "carrassons" (wood peg), "acanage" (tying up the vine-plants) and bending the branches; 
 - End of April-May: complantation, which means vine by vine and not by complete plot, when it is dead or in decline. Therefore vines of very different ages can be found in the same plot. 
This type of vineyard management implies that the grapes of young vines are identified in order to be picked separately during the Harvest; one has to pass a second time to pick the older vines of each plot. Replanting a complete plot is then decided when it has reached its limits, i.e. when the land needs to "rest" for one or two years. On average, a parcel of 2 hectares should be replanted every four years. When the choice of the parcel to replant has been made, one stops planting new vines eight years before its complete removal;

- April until the harvest: the soil is ploughed on a regular base in order to be aerated and to prevent the grass from growing;

 - End of July: green harvest (thinning the green grapes), especially on the young vines. Some of the bunches are removed -only 8 are left on average on each vine stock- thus improving the concentration of the plant nutrition; 
- June until September: "relevage" (tying-up the shoots on wires), "rognage" (cutting) every two weeks in order to limit and to trim the growth of the vines,

 - August-September: keeping up the vineyard before the harvest,

- September (and even October certain years): harvest.
Besides these intensive and specific tasks, a draining system has been set in the subsoil at the beginning of the 19th century in order to help the water to flow more efficiently in the sub-soil.
Upon arrival at the "cuvier" (vat house) the stalks are removed from the bunches and the grapes crushed.
The juice, pips and skins are then lightly pumped into the fermentations vats, following three criteria: geographical parcel origin, the age of the vines and the grape varieties.

The alcoholic fermentation usually takes about a week.
Then the maceration (with all the skins and pips) lasts an extra three weeks.
These transformations take place in thermostatically controlled stainless steel vats. After this period of four weeks, the wine is removed from the vats in order to be separated it from the "marc" (composed largely of the grape skins). It is then returned to clean vats to undergo the malolactic fermentation which transforms the malic acid in the wine into lactic acid.
This benefits the wine by making it rounder and more supple with added of finesse.
Once both fermentations are completed, frequent tastings are held to decide the final destination of each vat into one of the three wines: Château Latour, Forts de Latour or generic Pauillac. The wine is finally drawn off into oak casks in December.

Then the maturing in barrel starts, and will last about 18 months.

Until the beginning of the summer following the vintage, the wine remains in the first year cellar, but the barrels are not sealed. Instead, a glass stopper is placed over the bung hole which allows for the gaseous exchange to continue between the wine and the atmosphere. Absorption of wine into the wood as well as evaporation combine to reduce the level in the cask, this requires regular (twice weekly) replacement and is known as "ouillage" (topping up).

Also, approximately every three months the cask has to be racked, an operation which involves separating the clear wine from the lees at the bottom. Each wine is thus racked 6 times.

In July, before the heat of the summer sets in, the casks are transferred to the underground cellar (or second-year cellar), so that the wine may continue its ageing exposed to small fluctuations of temperature. The casks are positioned with the wooden bung turned to the side, in such a way that the bung remains immersed in the wine, causing the wood to swell and therefore creating a hermetic seal.
Thereafter, the topping up is no longer necessary.
Racking, however, must be continued every three months.

Finally, during the course of the following winter, the wine is fined. The fining allows the collection of the remaining particles which are in suspension in the wine and draw them to the bottom of the cask. One month before bottling, the wine undergoes its last racking and is then transferred into vats, where the final blending will take place before bottling.
The date of bottling is determined by tasting. It means that the wine may remain in cask for up to eighteen months. It is necessary to wait until the wine has lost the vigour of its early youth, yet still retains its richness and its flesh. The corks are severely selected, and controlled again just before being introduced in the bottling machine.

The labelling and packing in wooden cases is done immediately prior to dispatch, thus ensuring an impeccable presentation. Indeed, all the bottles are wrapped by hand inside a fine white tissue paper.

The bottling process lasts two months. Then the consumer should wait a few months more before finding the bottles on the market (that is, nearly two and a half years after the harvest), and many years before tasting them...

Les Forts de Latour 1996
Les Forts de Latour 1999
Les Forts de Latour 2000
Les Forts de Latour 2001

Chateau Latour 1982
Chateau Latour 1988
Chateau Latour 1995
Chateau Latour 1996
Chateau Latour 1997
Chateau Latour 1999
Chateau Latour 2000
Chateau Latour 2001

Saturday 2:30 p.m. to 3:45 p.m. Fonseca Guimaraens

Fonseca Guimaraens was founded in 1822, when Manuel Pedro Guimaraens acquired control of the Fonseca & Monteiro Company through purchase of the majority of the Fonseca holdings. As a condition of the sale of his shares to Guimaraens, the departing Fonseca stipulated that his name be retained.

Not long after this purchase, Manoel Pedro Guimaraens, a supporter of the liberal cause in the 'War of the Two Brothers', was forced to flee Portugal hidden in an empty port wine cask. He settled in England, where his company remained based until 1927, when the headquarters of the firm returned to Portugal.
During this period, Fonseca grew rapidly in reputation and importance. By 1840, the firm had become the second largest shipper of Port Wine and in 1847 the first Fonseca vintage port was shipped to England.

Family has been a part of every Fonseca Vintage Port. Frank Guimaraens made all the vintages beginning with the 1896 through to the 1948. His daughter, Dorothy Guimaraens, following his death, made the 1955. Bruce Duncan Guimaraens, great-great grandson of the founder, made every Vintage from 1960 through to the 1992. As for the 1994 Vintage, Bruce Guimaraens' son, David Guimaraens was responsible for this extraordinary award winning port wine. This remarkable continuity of winemaker is clearly evident in the wine.

Fonseca Guimaraens remains one of the leading Port wine houses. It maintains its ardent quest for quality, complexity and structure, the house maintains its position as one of the leading wine producers in the world.

Today Fonseca Guimaraens is still a family wine shipper, with a house style that produces beautiful luscious dark berry fruit that has the intensity, structure and balance to last for decades. Bruce Guimaraens, who has now passed the baton to his son David Guimaraens, have both been committed to maintaining the Fonseca style of Port. David is the 6th generation Guimaraens to be involved in the industry.
David Guimaraens, Wine Maker

With David Guimaraens' leadership, in the field of winemaking, Fonseca has been at the forefront of winemaking and viticulture:-

Providing field support for his grape suppliers.
Optimised batch planting, for increased quality of the vines.
Developing Fonseca's own style of temperature controlled piston vats.
Improving the grape carriers to ensure grapes arrive fresh at the winery in perfect condition.

This dynamic wine team is constantly working to ensure that the quality of Fonseca Ports brings both toe-curling enjoyment and appreciation to its consumers

Leading the way for the industry, the winemaking team has developed new technologies to bring Port wine into the 21st century. After a decade of intense empirical research, new piston paddle vats, known as 'port-toes', have been designed to increase the quality of all non- vintage port wines, leaps ahead of the present technology. Fonseca will continue, for as long as possible, to use the traditional stone 'lagares' to make it highest quality vintage port.

A Quinta do Panascal Vintage Port is produced only when a general Fonseca declaration is not made, as this wine forms the backbone of a Fonseca Vintage Port blend. The decision to bottle a Quinta do Vintage is taken when the wine is judged to be of exceptional quality. The wine will spend two years ageing in vat before being bottled and will be released when it is ready to drink, normally 10 years after the harvest. These wines are lovely and intense and show great fruit, balance and structure.

In years when Fonseca does not 'declare' a classic vintage, it selects the finest grapes from its own vineyards to yield a small quantity of this superb wine, which is produced exactly as a declared Fonseca Vintage. Beautifully structured and perfectly balanced, Guimaraens Vintage Ports show Fonseca's superb marriage of power and breed in a slightly lighter, earlier-maturing style.

In exceptional years Fonseca will make the decision to 'declare' a classic vintage port. Only the finest wines, selected for their great intensity, depth and aging potential, are bottled under these vintage labels. On average this happens three times a decade. Renowned for their voluptuous rich fruit, mouth-filling density, tannic structure and 'grip', they are wines of breed, balance and great complexity.

Fonseca Port 1963
Fonseca Port 1970
Fonseca Port 1985
Fonseca Port 1992
Fonseca Port 1994
Fonseca Port 1997
Fonseca Port 2000

Written By: Edited and Posted by GOW Staff
News Release
News Release