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23 April, 2014

Ex chateau with impeccable provenance

Provenance is the most important word in the world of wine collecting.

Any sophisticated wine drinker will know ex chateau is a rare gem since you are drinking from a bottle that comes directly from the Chateau that have never been out of professional storage in Bordeaux. There is no better way to ensure that a wine has been lying undisturbed in a temperature controlled since its birth. Provenance plays the major role to determine its value of every single bottle of our ex chateau wines. If a wine experiences a temperature of 30 degree for just 1.5 days, this can degrade its color, aroma and aging potential.

An example; Clerc Milon 86 was ex chateau item, beating all top wines like Cheval Blanc and Ausone and many others with 100% consensus vote. During one wine tasting event, everyone fell off their chair when the result was revealed! The freshness of ex chateau is impeccably unbeatable! This is the power of ex-chateau wine conditions. If you keep some Clerc Milon 86 and drink with ex chateau side by side, you will immediately taste its freshest at its best no matter how good the provenance of other stock is!

Serious drinkers will always try to access ex chateau stock; there is no qualm about it!

Another time, we did an experience on wine provenance with 2 magnums of Pichon Lalande 1993. One is bought from Carrefour and the other from ex chateau. We blinded folded the bottles. We invited some guests to test. Immediately upon drinking, the guest can point out the glass that holds the wine from Carrefour, citing it tasted really tired and weaned out.

Not surprisingly, the same guests exclaimed ex chateau in the other glass remains so fresh and crisp and hold much longer in the glass!

So yes, you might wonder what is it about ex chateau that stands out so strongly among its counter peers? The reason why ex chateau reigns its excellency in provenance is largely affected by storage and transportation issue. For example, inside the bottle, the wine can become oxidized or “cooked” if expose to incorrect temperature or kept in dry conditions. On the outside, the labels and packaging can be spoilt by long term dampness, short term condensation or reckless transportation/handling.

Do you know what’s the perfect and essential environmental factor for wine storage?

Good wine has to keep in 13 degree constant temperature with average humidity of 75% and minimal exposure to UV light and vibration/movement.

According to World Food Logistics Organization (WFLO), they state that high or fluctuating temperature is the greatest hazard to wine:

“ Any elevated temperature above 60F (16C) accelerate the maturation process, may change their varietal character or their sense of origin (known as terroir) and can shorten the life expectancy of a wine, especially white ones”

“Temperatures above 75F (24C) greatly and untypically age most wines, leading to undesirable aroma, flavor and color changes.

The WFLO’s storage guideline stipulates that wine should be stored between 10C and 16C and never above 30C not even for 30 minutes!

Since the wine market increasingly recognize that provenance of ex chateau is the key, factor such as temperature, handling and storage will greatly affect the wine outcome. That’s because buyers are willing to pay more for proven stock, say in the wine market, and ex chateau wine sold by merchant usually call an average premium of 12%.

Chateaus rarely sell their wines directly to end consumers around the world. Chateau usually have their own appointed French distributor, the top one being Negociants which have the worldwide network with local distributors. How Negociants transport and handle is that they will carefully transport wines from various chateaus in France to their local warehouse before shipping them internationally. To ensure provenance is maintained, important consideration include timing of transportation to avoid heat in the summer, how experienced the shipping company is, custom clearance and the correct judgment on whether to use refrigerated containers which are more expensive.

Many wines are very sensitive to heat and vibrations as a result of constant movements. If the importer lacks attention to these important handling details, it can significantly increase the chance of spoilage. This is a serious matter since it will drastically affect the provenance of your wine and ultimately its condition from the winery to your dining table.

Also in 2012, world first growth Chateau Latour shock the wine world by introducing a revolutionary approach in an ultra-conservative Bordeaux by offering Ex chateau stock. It’s announced their 2011 vintage would be their last to sell in traditional en primeur approach. Instead, Latour’s wines will be preserved at the Chateau until it’s matured for release and drinking. When the wines are ready to drink, only the world’s famous wine merchants will have priority access to their library stock direct from Bordeaux. The first vintage of Latour ex chateau stock that are offered are: Forts de Latour 2005 and Chateau Latour 1995. This measure guarantees provenance and excellent storage.

Is the ex-chateau Latour 1995 worth the extra money? According to Jane Anson at New these Latour ex-chateau wines have special back labels on the reverse of each bottle stating that the wine is shipped from the chateau and has never moved from Pauillac. This would have appeal big time to wine enthusiast and investors especially to China collector where provenance is questionable due to fake wine and ample fraud cases.

Bear in mind chateaus don’t keep wines, especially older vintages like ‘80s. They won’t have enough storage space to keep so many vintages, plus they’d rather sell it upon release to keep up with cash flow.

Another provenance marker is original wood case. Original wood case is an exceptionally important criteria of buying wines because it’s signify provenance. Serious wine collectors often find an original wood case of their prized wine. The importance of wine provenance in original wood case is further stress for older wines. Concerns like how wine is stored during its lifetimes and how many times it has changed or transferred hands to hands has a weighty effect when you finally opened it months or even years later.

That’s the reason why I cherish bottles that come in original wood case and with known provenance.

Ta-Da! Showing you guys my recent purchase of Pichon Lalande 59, Rausan Segla 53 in their original wood cases :

Now, did anyone notice anything special with my Pichon Lalande 59 wooden case? My wooden case came with the kris cross wooden pegs at the back of the box. It’s intricately made and back in those days, they hand crafted the wooden case. My case is hand made, awesome!

Speaking of which, I have been getting top notch service from my chateaus manager, all thanks to our excellent connection. In wine business, relationship meant so much more than just buying wine alone.

Being a VIP customer, I get to enjoy perks most others don’t. Like I am able to buy ex chateau stocks on priority list. They will often contact me and ask if I want more of the wine before they release to other customers. Certainly nice of them to put me beforehand but they make me a bit nervous too, as I have to worry about storage problem if I keep buying! Perhaps that’s a “good worry”. As you probably know, ex chateau stock moves extremely fast and once gone, it is really difficult to get hold again. Plus the fact ex chateau volume are also very limited in supply so quick decision making really gets me going real fast everytime. But I can’t complain anymore, being able to access to their ex chateau stocks as VIP customer is a blessing for any wine lover.

Ok, moving on… More picture galore from Calon Segur 96, an ex chateau! Just a glance of my wooden case, did you know when it’s released from Chateau? Yes, it’s only released this year. Did you guess it correctly? Simply look at the back, it’s stamped EXP:2014!

Nice! Here is an identity card of my Chateau Calon Segur…
A Certificate of Provenance!

Some chateau goes a bit further to send you a certificate that states the original wood case is sold with the owners’ name. For example, on my Mouton Rothschild certificate, they place my name inside

So yes, provenance in all my wine purchase meant everything to me because they signify quality. For expert drinker like me, provenance is like wearing a dignified badge on my bottle.

Have you checked out Fine Wines latest wine list? Recently we have truck loads of wine coming to my wine cellar, bringing your favorites and cream of the crop wine. If you need any wine or in a mood of wine, wait no more, check out our wine list now!

“Accept what life offers you and try to drink from every cup. All wines should be tasted; some should only be sipped, but with others, drink the whole bottle.”
― Paulo Coelho, Brida


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