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The world’s best wine vintage – 1947 or 1945? Tastingbook tasted all the best wines from these two great vintages.

If the wine producers from different regions were asked to name the best vintages from their winemaking history, the most would name 1947 or 1945 as one of the great ones. If we then compared them together there would be most likely only one vintage that the most if not every producer had named on list – 1947.

We wanted to test that theory and we tasted them agains each other and the winner was 1947 – by far.

The vintage 1947 was a magical vintage. It remains in the history as one of the only vintages that all well-established quality wine regions in the world were blessed with superb weather conditions. The heat waves  were experienced all around the world and for instance the whole Europe was bating under scorching sun and experiencing a heat wave  during the summer. This resulted very concentrated and highly ripe grapes. The producers had challenges to handle the very ripe grapes with high sugar levels as there was a constant risk of bacterial contamination in less hygenic cellars that had no artifical cooling systems. As there was no technology to use, many invoked on huge blocks of ice to cool the room temperautre down and even putting ice in their fermentation tanks.

This vintage has proven to yield very long lasting wines from all around the world. The wines are marked with sweet and ripe fruit character and warming alcohol. Due to the poorly hygenic winemaking facilities, many of the wines show volatile characters. Some might find this as a fault, but for many mature wine lovers this feature is even a preferred character. However, when buying the wines from this vintage, one should be aware that there is high level of bottle variations and the risk of having highly volatile wines is remarkably high.

 

Tastingbook’s TOP 10 wines from 1947&1945 tasting  (66 wines tasted)

1. Château Lafleur  1947  99p

2. Château Margaux 1947   98p

3. Château Cheval Blanc 1947  98p

4.Château Pétrus 1947  97p

5. Château Ausone 1947  97p

6. Château Petrus 1945  95p

7. Château d`Yquem 1947  95p

8. Château Leoville las Cases 1945 95p

9. Château Margaux 1945   94p

10. Dom Pérignon 1947  94p

 

 

1947 This year produced some of the greatest wines ever made in Bordeaux. The Right Bank was the most succesful. Château Cheval Blanc and Pétrus produced not only the best wines of the vintage but the best wines of the wineries from all times. The Left Bank did also well, but was not at the level of the Right Bank. Château Margaux represents one of the best wines from Left Bank. White dry Bordeauxs are outstanding quality as well as Sauternes which produced very intense and lusciously sweet wines with less botrytised character.

The end of the war was celebrated with what proved to be an outstanding vintage—the 1945. This can be seen as the beginning of the rise of quality Bordeaux wines.

1945 was an exceptional year throughout the whole France, from Côte-Rôtie to Bordeaux. Due to the warm and dry conditions, the grapes were very concentrated and produced an extraordinary, but unfortunately small yield. The harvest in 1945 was an early harvest, which started on the same date as 1982, September 13. The wines began life with massive levels of tannin and took quite a few decades to develop. Due to the high tannin levels, many of the wines still show well today.

 

 

For sale: 1945 Chateau Mouton-Rothschild. Starting bid: $6,375. Previous owner: convicted wine counterfeiter.

 

U.S. federal marshals are facing one of the toughest sales jobs they’ve ever had. Better known for auctioning off stolen cars and drug dealers’ yachts, they’re now bringing down the gavel on more than 4,700 bottles of wine from the private cache of Rudy Kurniawan, convicted of fraud in late 2013 and sentenced to 10 years in prison. He gained widespread fame for snookering luminaries of the wine world into spending millions of dollars on fake bottles of Chateau Petrus and Domaine de la Romanee-Conti.

 

On Thursday, federal marshals will use a front loader to smash 548 bottles -- more than a hundred gallons of wine -- they believe have been faked and, of course, recycle the glass. The rest, about 90 percent of Kurniawan’s collection, is being sold in two online auctions (Nov. 24 - Dec. 8 and Dec. 1 - 15) at www.txauction.com.

A number of prominent wine experts, winemakers, collectors and victims of the fraud fear that the U.S. is extending Kurniawan’s legacy by putting phony bottles on the market. That would further taint the labels Kurniawan counterfeited and mean his knockoffs could be sold again for decades to come. The marshals expect to net $900,000 to $1.2 million for the victims, compared to the $29.4 million Kurniawan owes them.

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Vintage Report

The end of the war was celebrated with what proved to be an outstanding vintage—the 1945. This can be seen as the beginning of the rise of quality Bordeaux wines.

This vintage of the century—1945—already showed signs of greatness at the beginning of the harvest. The growing season started in Bordeaux early, but a harsh frost in May took a large percentage of the crop. After the frost, the situation improved and conditions just got better and better. The small crop ripened early, thus allowing the harvest to begin on 10 September.

The red wines are, however, majestic creatures, which have matured at an exceptionally slow pace due to the heavy tannic structure and are just now eminently drinkable. The vintage turned out even better on the left bank. The wine of this particular vintage is indubitably the Mouton-Rothschild, although the Château d’Yquem challenges the Mouton with its brilliance.

In the rush for third place, the two strongest candidates are the Haut-Brion and Pétrus. 

 

1945 was an also exceptional year throughout the whole France, from Côte-Rôtie to Bordeaux. Due to the warm and dry conditions, the grapes were very concentrated and produced an extraordinary, but unfortunately small yield. The harvest in 1945 was an early harvest, which started on the same date as 1982, September 13. The wines began life with massive levels of tannin and took quite a few decades to develop. Due to the high tannin levels, many of the wines still show well today.

When seen from the perspective of Bordeaux winemakers, the 1940s can be considered a bittersweet decade. Even though Nazi-occupied Bordeaux was mostly spared the havoc wrought by the war, life under occupation was uncertain, mingled with fear and oppressive.  Where the horrors of war left bitter memories, nature gave Bordeaux perhaps its finest decade ever. At least when considering legendary wines. This was the decade that produced two of the most highly renowned wines: the Mouton-Rothschild 1945 and Cheval Blanc 1947. In addition to this, the Mouiex family put the Pomerol region on the map in 1945, when it was granted exclusive rights to sell Pétrus. 

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Vintage Report

Port Vintage Report: Classic Vintage, full-bodied, deep purple and sweet, with a large concentration of fruit and tannins. First post-War Vintage. Bottled in Portugal, owing to English restrictions. Almost all producers declared production. Low production year. Dry year, with a very hot summer, and only a few rains at the end of August. Early harvests, starting in the first half of September.

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1945 Following effects from Polio as a young man President Roosevelt died on April 12th 1945. Following the defeat of Germany in early 1945 the war officially ended in Europe on May 7th 1945 ( V-E Day ). President Harry S. Truman orders the use of the new Nuclear Bombs developed by ( Robert Oppenheimer's team ) the first an atomic bomb nicknamed "Little Boy" on Hiroshima, Japan, and after the 2nd atomic bomb nicknamed "Fat Man" over the city of Nagasaki, Japan 5 days later Japan surrendered August 14th 1945 ( V-J Day ) .

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The 1945 Petrus by John Kapon

For many years now, I have heard the story of this particular batch of 1945 Petrus.  When Wilf Jaeger tells you that it is the best bottle that he’s ever had, it’s hard not to listen.  It just so happens this batch rested comfortably in the ‘Imperial Cellar’ for many years, and for most of those many years I had to hear Wilf and Eric tell me over and over how great it was, digging my desire a little bit deeper with each recollection of their magical evening, which also saw 1945 Trotanoy as a distinguished runner-up. 

Low and behold, the last four bottles turned up in our record-setting May auction, and immediately after the sale, I made my move on the buyer, who happened to be the top buyer of the sale.  I asked if we could share one together, my treat, as I had to have this bottle before it disappeared forever like that girl you never asked out in high school.  I was determined for that not to happen again.  Call me a cork dork if you must J.

My first evening in Hong Kong this past week saw the 1945 Petrus make its way to the dinner table, at long last.  First, we started with a 1955 Leroy Mazis Chambertin, a generous contribution from my newfound best friend.  The Leroy had a truffly, mushroomy, sous bois nose at first, with some dirty earth and soupy bouillon followed by secondary rose and citrus aromas.  Its acidity was still extraordinary, and my host told me after my first sip the story of how one evening, this bottle showed even better than all the top Bordeaux, including a 1947 Cheval Blanc.  ‘The power of Burgundy,’ I wrote to myself.  The wine got better and better with each sip, shedding some of its dirt to reveal chocolaty flavors with borders of various nuts.  Hints of tomato joined the trifecta of citrus, chocolate and earth flavors, and the wine fleshed out in the glass as well.  However, it couldn’t top the Bordeaux that would follow on this night, and possibly even suffered a point accordingly (94).

Five years in my making, and sixty-five years in the bottle, it was finally time for this 1945 Petrus.  This was an original, no doubt about it bottle.  Perfection came to mind upon first whiff, as its nose was a kaleidoscope of greatness, as if every great quality from all the Pomerols I’ve ever had were right there in my glass.  Aromas of plum, chocolate and royal garden marched into my nose with style and precision.  Fine was an understatement, as its elegance and breed were of an Olympic equestrian level, carrying over to its fruit, which was elegant but at the same time beyond wealthy.  Its concentration was golden, as in bars not bracelets.  I could not get over its density, both in the nose and on the palate.  The 1945 was all that and then some, and it seduced me like a gorgeous woman whispering in my ear, ‘I’ll be whatever you want me to be.’  Its color was still dark and vibrant; this wine could last another fifty years without issue.  Its royal garden qualities upgraded to Versailles status, and flavors of mocha abounded on its dense and deft palate, with nice traces of chalk on its finish.  There were pinches of wild herbs emerging, in a rosemary meets wheat way, as well as a baked goodness in a coconut direction, but not quite coconut.  Our sommelier noted, ‘strawberry.’  The chef at Otto E Mezzo, Hong Kong’s version of Mario Batali, gushed that it was ‘so young and so healthy.’  What was so great about this bottle, and this vintage for the Right Bank in general, is that it still possessed a tension to its fruit, unlike 1947, which produced concentrated and much sweeter wines in general.  I can only hope to taste this nectar again in my lifetime, but I strongly suspect that it will be difficult to achieve the heights that this bottle achieved.  It touched my soul (99+).

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The best wines of the 1945 vintage

Name Tb Producer Location
1 Romanée Conti 99.7 Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Burgundy, France
2 Bonnes Mares Grand Cru 99.0 Domaine Georges Roumier Burgundy, France
3 Château Rieussec 99.0 Château Rieussec Sauternes, France
4 Château Mouton-Rothschild 98.8 Château Mouton-Rothschild Bordeaux, France
5 Niepoort Vintage 98.3 Niepoort Douro, Portugal
6 La Mission Haut Brion 98.3 Château La Mission Haut-Brion Bordeaux, France
7 Château Haut-Brion 98.2 Château Haut-Brion Bordeaux, France
8 Château Lafaurie-Peyraguey 98.0 Château Lafaurie-Peyraguey Bordeaux, France
9 d'Yquem 97.6 Château d'Yquem Bordeaux, France
10 Richebourg 97.0 Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Burgundy, France
11 Vosne Romanée 97.0 Tollot-Voarick Burgundy, France
12 Chambertin 97.0 Domaine Armand Rousseau Burgundy, France
13 Château Gazin 97.0 Château Gazin Bordeaux, France
14 Chateau Leoville-Barton 97.0 Château Leoville-Barton Bordeaux, France
15 Vintage Port 96.8 Taylor's Douro, Portugal
16 Château Latour 96.8 Château Latour Bordeaux, France
17 La Tâche 96.7 Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Burgundy, France
18 Hermitage La Chapelle Blanc 96.7 Paul Jaboulet & Âiné Rhône, France
19 Château Calon Ségur 96.6 Château Calon-Ségur Bordeaux, France
20 Vintage Port 96.5 Quinta do Noval Douro, Portugal
21 Clos des Lambrays 96.5 Domaine des Lambrays Burgundy, France
22 Hermitage La Chapelle 96.1 Paul Jaboulet & Âiné Rhône, France
23 Port Vintage 96.0 Cockburn's Douro, Portugal
24 Clos de Tart 96.0 Mommessin Burgundy, France
25 Lafleur 96.0 Château Lafleur Bordeaux, France
26 Vintage Port 96.0 Graham's Douro, Portugal
27 Chateau Certan de May 96.0 Château Certan de May Bordeaux, France
28 Chateau Lynch-Bages 96.0 Château Lynch-Bages Pauillac, France
29 Krug Vintage 96.0 Krug Champagne, France
30 Le Chambertin 96.0 Louis Jadot Burgundy, France
31 Cheval Blanc 96.0 Château Cheval Blanc Bordeaux, France
32 Musigny Vieilles Vignes 95.9 Domaine Comte Georges de Vogüé Burgundy, France
33 Borgogno Barolo Riserva 95.5 Borgogno Piedmont, Italy
34 Vieux Chateau Certan 95.5 Vieux Château Certan Bordeaux, France
35 Marqués de Riscal Gran Reserva 95.5 Marqués de Riscal Rioja, Spain
36 Pétrus 95.4 Château Pétrus Pomerol, France
37 Château Palmer 95.3 Château Palmer Bordeaux, France
38 Château Grand-Puy-Lacoste 95.3 Château Grand-Puy-Lacoste Bordeaux, France
39 Musigny 95.3 Domaine Comte Georges de Vogüé Burgundy, France
40 Clos Fourtet 95.0 Clos Fourtet Bordeaux, France
41 Château Coutet 95.0 Château Coutet Sauternes, France
42 Clos des Goisses 95.0 Philipponnat Champagne, France
43 Schloss Vollrads 95.0 Weingut Schloss Vollrads Rheingau, Germany
44 Château D´Armailhac 95.0 Château D´Armailhac Pauillac, France
45 Château La Tour Blanche 95.0 Château La Tour Blanche Bordeaux, France
46 Léoville-Las Cases 94.8 Château Léoville-Las Cases Saint-Julien, France
47 Vintage 94.5 Piper-Heidsieck Champagne, France
48 Latour-à-Pomerol 94.1 Château Latour-à-Pomerol Bordeaux, France
49 Mönchslauffen Ferdinand Pieroth 94.0 Ferdinand Pieroth Rheinhessen, Germany
50 Château L´Evangile 94.0 Château L´Evangile Pomerol, France
51 Château Gruaud-Larose 94.0 Château Gruaud-Larose Bordeaux, France
52 Château La Croix-de-Gay 94.0 Château La Croix-de-Gay Bordeux, France
53 Château Climens 94.0 Château Climens Bordeaux, France
54 Richebourg 94.0 Grivelet-Gusset Burgundy, France
55 Echézeaux 94.0 Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Burgundy, France
56 Château Suduiraut 94.0 Château Suduiraut Bordeaux, France
57 Château Guiraud 94.0 Château Guiraud Bordeaux, France
58 Château Beychevelle 93.8 Château Beychevelle Bordeaux, France
59 Ruchottes-Chambertin 93.8 Thomas Bassot Côte de Nuits, France
60 Château Cos d'Estournel 93.5 Château Cos d'Estournel Bordeaux, France
61 Château Margaux 93.1 Château Margaux Bordeaux, France
62 Brunello di Montalcino 93.0 Biondi Santi Tuscany, Italy
63 Bouchard Hautes-Côtes de Beaune 'Les Prieurés' 93.0 Bouchard Aîné & Fils Bourgogne, France
64 Clos Vougeot 93.0 Unknown Producer Burgundy, France
65 Grands Echézeaux 93.0 Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Burgundy, France
66 Musigny 93.0 Henri Bahreze Burgundy, France
67 Château La Conseillante 93.0 Château La Conseillante Bordeaux, France
68 Montrachet 93.0 Marquis de Laguiche Burgundy, France
69 Domaine de Chevalier 93.0 Domaine de Chevalier Pessac Leognan, France
70 Marques de Riscal Reserva 93.0 Marqués de Riscal Rioja, Spain
71 Vintage Champagne 92.9 Bollinger Champagne, France
72 Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande 92.5 Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande Bordeaux, France
73 Vina Real Gran Reserva 92.0 C.V.N.E /Cune Rioja, Spain
74 Trotanoy 92.0 Château Trotanoy Pomerol, France
75 Richebourg 92.0 Domaine Leroy Burgundy, France
76 Ermitage L´Ermite 92.0 M. Chapoutier Rhône, France
77 Musigny 92.0 Morin Pere et Fils Burgundy, France
78 Château Belair 92.0 Château Belair Saint-Emilion, France
79 Barolo 92.0 Fontanafredda Piedmont, Italy
80 Chambolle Musigny 1er Cru Les Amoureuses 92.0 Domaine Comte Georges de Vogüé Burgundy, France
81 Lafite-Rothschild 92.0 Château Lafite-Rothschild Bordeaux, France
82 Château Canon 91.7 Château Canon St. Emilion, France
83 Barolo Monfortino Riserva 91.5 Giacomo Conterno Piedmont, Italy
84 Château Pontet Canet 91.5 Château Pontet Canet Bordeaux, France
85 Château Haut-Marbuzet 91.3 Château Haut-Marbuzet Bordeaux, France
86 Unico 91.0 Bodegas Vega Sicilia Ribera el Duero, Spain
87 Montrose 90.4 Château Montrose Bordeaux, France
88 Château Larcis Ducasse 90.0 Château Larcis Ducasse Bordeaux, France
89 Château Petit-Village 90.0 Château Petit-Village Bordeaux, France
90 Romanée St. Vivant 90.0 Maison Louis Latour Burgundy, France
91 Ayu Dag Aleatico 90.0 Massandra Crimea, Ukraine
92 Alupka White Port 90.0 Massandra Crimea, Ukraine
93 Brunello di Montalcino Riserva 89.0 Biondi Santi Tuscany, Italy
94 Côte-Rôtie 89.0 M. Chapoutier Rhône, France
95 Château de Figeac 89.0 Château de Figeac Saint-Emilion, France
96 Chambolle Musigny V.V 88.3 Domaine Grivelet Burgundy, France
97 Kabinett 88.0 Schloss Vollrads Rheingau, Germany
98 Château de Rayne Vigneau 88.0 Château de Rayne Vigneau Bordeaux, France
99 Château Angelus 88.0 Château Angelus Bordeaux, France
100 Château Ausone 88.0 Château Ausone Bordeaux, France

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