Friday, January 27, 2012

Chateau L'Hermitage

Country: France

Region: Bordeaux

Subregion: St. Emilion

Classification: Grand Cru, Great Growth of St. Emilion

Production: Less than 600 cases

Grape: Primarily Merlot, but a variatal of the classic grapes of Bordeaux are generally included in each vintage.

Crate design: L'Hermitage is one of the few Bordeaux crates made with color. There are actually two different colors; green and yellow. The picture is also very unique, and has a Roman numerical design for it's artwork.

Rarity: Extremely rare. With less than 600 cases made worldwide, there are fewer than 600 Chateau wine crates made per vintage.

Crate designation: Exclusive Class ($50.00)

Our opinion/history: L'Hermitage scores highly by critics and is a prestigious winery, but it's also under rated in the mainstream. The crate's design is very unlike any other Bordeaux winery. It's also one of the first Garagistes wineries, which is basically the "garage-cult" wine of the Bordeaux AOC (loosely similar to Napa cults). The vineyard is tiny and has a very small production. The chateau was established in the late 1700's and has a solid following among wine collectors.

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Thursday, January 26, 2012

Ciacci Piccolomini d'Aragona

Country: Italy

Region: Montalcino

Production: Varied based on the winery's single vineyards. Only the best productions are bottled.

Grape: 100% Sangiovese Grasso

Crate design: This is a very unique and artistically designed wine crate. The lid has a large and deeply engraved picture of the winery's cote of arms, and is a flip-top with latch in front. The front side is also deeply engraved with the text: "Brunello Di Montalcino".

Rarity: Very rare. Ciacci Piccolomini only offers the best they have to offer, so if any part of the wine production aspect isn't perfect, they simply don't bottle and sell it.

Crate designation: Collector's Class ($35.00)

Our opinion/history: The Ciacci Piccolomini d'Aragona wine label is a culmination of several single vineyards. The winery's process is similar to a Burgundian-style single vineyard establishment. One contrast from Burgundy is that Ciacci Piccoliomini also specializes in Olive Oil. Burgundian wineries only offer wine. Ciacci Piccolomini Wines are only made at optimal times. This makes their wine crates fairly sparse, as they don't make wine every year.

This crate was featured in: Biking in Dallas

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Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Domaine Jacques Prieur

Country: France

Region: Burgundy

Sub-region: Meursault

Classification: Grand Cru

Production: Varied based on Jacques Prieur single vineyards

Grape: 100% Pinot Noir

Crate design: Domaine Jacques Prieur has one of the highest detailed crates in the world. The design with the most detail is the picture of the winery. This is on the long front side of the crate shown above. One short side is also branded.with the Jacques Prieur emblem.

Rarity: Uncommon. Burgundian wine crates in general are alot less common than Bordeaux. Domaine Jacques Prieur as a winery doesn't produce crates for all of their single vineyards, and they don't produce wooden wine crates every year.

Crate designation: Collector's Class ($30.00)

Our opinion/history: The great thing about Jacques Prieur is the detail of their designs. There are a few different styles, but they are all pictures of the same vineyard and chateau.

The winery was established in 1898, so it is still fairly young. The vineyard does however sit on some of the most pure and fertile land in Burgundy, and they've had alot of success in the past 100+ years. They produce a total of 9 Grand Cru class wines and 2 Premier Cru. Each is from a single vineyard from three different sub-regions of Burgundy.

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Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Stag's Leap Pillar Rock

Country: USA

Region: Napa Valley

Sub-region: Stag's Leap District

Classification: Napa Cult

Production: Extremely small. Less than 800 cases per vintage year.

Grape: Over 90% Cabernet Sauvignon

Crate design: Pillar Rock produces a beautifully designed oversized crate. The front of the lid has the Pillar Rock logo, and the other four sides are engraved with the Pillar Rock text. There are also carved handles on the left and right sides. The most attractive part of this crate is the unique foam inserts as shown above.

Rarity: Extremely rare. Pillar Rock has a very small production, and therefore very few crates available.

Crate designation: Exclusive Class ($150.00)

Our opinion/history: Pillar Rock is currently owned by the founder of Screaming Eagle: Arlie Jean Phillips, who had sold his shares of Screaming Eagle in 2006. It seems that Phillips had sold his shares in Screaming Eagle to "slow down" a bit. There is a strong chance that his aim is to take Pillar Rock and reproduce the effect he had on Screaming Eagle .

I'm guessing that Phillips wasn't too fond of retired life.. I'm very glad he wasn't!

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Monday, January 23, 2012

Chateau Clerc Milon

Country: France

Region: Bordeaux

Sub-region: Pauillac

Classification: Fifth Growth, Grand Cru

Production: Varied based on the single vineyard

Grape: 46% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Merlot, 12% Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and Carmenere (2%)

Crate design: Clerc Milon has a simple but unique picture of two Renaissance characters dancing. It's not an especially high detail design, but it frequently catches your eye.

Rarity: Uncommon. The Clerc Milon winery doesn't have an especially large production, so there aren't that many crates available per vintage.

Crate designation: Exclusive Class ($50.00)

Our opinion/history: There has been a great deal of issues that Clerc Milon faced since the beginning of the 19th century. The label was originally created by Jean-Baptiste Clerc; the owner of the land and winery. During this time, Chateau Clerc Milon was placed under the 1855 Classification as a Fifth Growth winery. After that, everything seemed to go down hill..

The winery is a bit of a mystery, as it's been broken up from it's original size, the pieces sold off, and a variety of estate owners purchased plots of what was originally Chateau Clerc Milon. during the entire 20th century, it's not clear exactly what land pieces were originally Clerc Milon lands and which weren't.

Currently, the Chateau Clerc Milon label is owned by the Rothschilds, and they have been able to regain some of the greatness which was once the Clerc Milon label. The mysterious allure of the winery however still remains.

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Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Wood Wine Crate & Box Profiles: Louis Jadot

Country: France

Region: Burgundy

Sub-region: Beaune

Classification: Grand Cru

Production: Varied based on the single vineyard

Grape: Pinot Noir for Reds

Crate design: The Louis Jadot logo is a very high detail picture. The design is of the ancient Greek "Head of Bacchus", and has become one of the most recognizable aspects of the Louis Jadot label.

Rarity: Uncommon. The Louis Jadot label is comprised of over 100 single vineyards on the same property, and most of these single vineyards have a small prodution. Since the Louis Jadot label is so attractive, most wine collectors who acquire a case of the wine with the crate usually keep the whole package.

Crate designation: Exclusive Class ($50.00)

Our opinion: Louis Jadot was my first personal favorite. I keep a small collection, and have all the Louis Jadot crates from every single vineyard that produces them. The wines are excellent as well!

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