Crush Live Auction
Crush – A Fine Wine Affair
Sunday, October 22, 2017, 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.
A benefit for the Belfry Theatre
at the Inn at Laurel Point
Sneak Preview of the 2017 Live Auction
Chapelle d’Ausone: 2005 (France)
Donated by Scott Fowler; Value for two bottles: $614
Château d’Ausone, a tiny and historic vineyard in Bordeaux, is one of only four St. Emilion estates – including fabled Cheval Blanc – to have its wines ranked as premier grand cru classé. And their so-called second wine, Chapelle d’Ausone, is almost as highly regarded as its big brother. Only about 500 cases were made of the 2005 Chapelle, and the reviewers are in agreement that the wine is full-bodied and stunningly concentrated. It’s been “drinking now” since 2015, and evidently has another 15 years to fully impress anyone lucky enough to get a glassful. The Wine Advocate’s Robert Parker gives this one a juicy 94 points, remarking: “It’s a pure, sweet, undeniably great effort in this vintage.” James Suckling of the Wine Spectator went 95 points, adding, “This is really beautiful with blackberry and spice aromas that follow through to a full-bodied palate, with silky tannins and a long finish.” Farr Vintners raved: “Amazingly aromatic. . . this wine is jam-packed with ripe, red fruit and has a lovely, silky texture. Lots and lots of body and a long, mineral, black cherry finish.” And wine doyenne Jancis Robinson simply noted: “A really lovely wine.” If you missed out on the two-pack at last year’s auction, here’s your second chance!
Château Pavie Decesse: 2001 (France)
Donated by Scott Fowler; Value: $151
The 23-acre vineyards of Château Pavie Decesse are situated on St. Emilion’s limestone plateau and are planted to 90% Merlot and 10% Cabernet Franc. This esteemed estate favours a style that combines opulent, rich, sensuous textures with minerality, freshness and concentration. Lushly hedonistic by Bordeaux standards, Pavie Decesse drinks well young, yet develops additional complexity when aged. The 2001 vintage has certainly won over the critics. The Wine Advocate hailed its “great intensity and . . . rich aromas of Asian spices, soy, black truffles, licorice, espresso, and intense cherry and blackberry fruit.” A few different scribes for Wine Cellar Insider gave it ratings of 93 and 94 and had enticing comments such as “Smoke, coconut, licorice, black and blue fruit, spice and minerality pair perfectly with the softly textured layers of rich, ripe, fruit.” Another writer gushed: “Thick, rich and luxurious, this opulently textured, sweet, plush ripe St. Emilion flows over your palate, ending with layers of chocolate covered cherries and blueberries. The perfect wine for hedonistic pleasure seekers.” Wow!
Château Ducru-Beaucaillou: 2000 (France)
Donated by Scott Fowler; Value: $324
Situated on two plateaus between Pauillac and Margaux, Saint-Julien is an important sub-region of the Medoc. And one of its most highly regarded “second growths” is Château Ducru-Beaucaillou, one of the oldest wine-producing estates in the Medoc. This château is known for its concentrated, flavourful and well-structured wines, and their silky 2000 vintage has been getting serious raves. James Suckling bestowed 96 points and high praise: “full bodied yet very finely textured, with good fruit concentration and length.” One could almost hear the Wine Spectator moan as it declared: “Full-bodied . . . with big, silky tannins and a long, caressing finish. Superb.” Most of the scribes at CellarTracker gave it ratings in the higher mid-90s and their comments were equally impressive: “Still drinking beautifully . . . charming and elegant”; “beautiful balance and complexit . . . a heavenly nose of cedar”; “terrific Bordeaux with expressive blackberry fruit and great complexity.”
Château de Beaucastel: 2005 & 2011 (France)
Donated by Earl Wilde (Vintage 2005) and Ame De Paoli & Cook St. Liquor (Vintage 2011); Value for 2 bottles: $250
Located in the southern part of the Rhone Valley, Château de Beaucastel is a revered producer of Châteauneuf du Pape, one of France’s most richly flavoured wines. The estate dates from the 1500s and the current winemakers use a very “hand-made” approach with their wines. This auction lot features two separate vintages. The first, from 2005, received several 95- and 96-point ratings. The Wine Spectator commented, “Packed with dark fig, currant and blackberry fruit shrouded by layers of tar, hot stone, bittersweet licorice and espresso.” Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate wrote: “Notes of blackcurrants, black raspberry, truffle, damp earth and cedar, with medium to full-bodied richness and depth.” And CellarTracker raved: “Wow wine! Unbelievably intense and saturated.” The 2011 was accorded nearly equivalent praise. The Wine Enthusiast bequeathed 94 points while noting: “An impressive wine by any measure . . . ample complexity and opulent fruit.” Another 94 rating came courtesy of the Wine Spectator, which said: “Very sleek and refined.” And International Wine Cellar deemed it “impressively elegant.” The consensus is that these wines would be gorgeous now, but are predicted to last at least another decade . . . if you can wait!
Château Cos d’Estournel: 2001, France
Donated by Scott Fowler; Value: $476
Many wine collectors pay particular attention to Bordeaux, which produces a treasure trove of superb wines that the world just can’t get enough of. Case in point is this lovely 2001 bottling from Château Cos d’Estournel, one of only five Grand Cru Classé-rated wineries in the Saint-Estephe region of southwestern France. The blend is 65% Cabernet Sauvignon and 35% Merlot. It has been getting rave reviews from name-brand critics like James Suckling (who rated it a 95) and Robert Parker (who gushed: “A beautiful effort…stylish, restrained yet substantial”). And Steve Tanzer of International Wine Cellar added: “Fat and sweet but shapely, with impressive density and underlying structure.” There is considerable consensus online that this wine will deliver even more if it cellars for another several years (Saint-Estephe wines tend to be robust, tannic, and slow to mature).
Château Leoville Barton: 1990 (France)
Donated by Anonymous; Value for two bottles: $508
Intriguingly, Château Leoville Barton has no château – it makes its wines at the adjoining sister property, Château Langoa Barton. But that hasn’t stopped this “second growth” St.-Julien property from producing one of the go-to wines of Bordeaux – especially for those who prize masculine and traditional wines that age heroically. The 1990 bottling is considered one of the great vintages, and it certainly won over wine maven Jancis Robinson: “Very, very rich and velvety. Meaty and seductive . . . very sweet and drinking beautifully now.” The WineSearcher scribes rated it between 91 and 94, with comments ranging from “sweet, evolved flavours with herbs and layers of cedar” to “lovely wine to enjoy now.” CellarTracker was even more impressed, with ratings in the mid-90s and assessments such as “lovely elegance” and “this is a fully mature and delicious old claret providing wonderful drinking now.” Is that roast lamb I smell?
Comte de Lauvia Armagnac: 1934 (France)
Donated by Anonymous; Value: $1,303
Three years ago Crush debuted a vintage Armagnac from one of the great houses of France – and here’s a third chance to acquire this otherwise unobtainable rarity. Armagnac hails from the region of the same name in Gascony in southwest France; it’s a single-distilled spirit that often spends greater time in oak barrels than its more famous cousin, Cognac. As a result, Armagnac can often have greater finesse and roundness than its more famous rival. Comte de Lauvia produces some of the world’s greatest Armagnacs, and has won innumerable awards at international tasting competitions. Their 1934 bottling is an extremely rare and valuable single-barrel vintage. Comte de Lauvia distills its brandy at a uniquely low strength to preserve more of its rustic character, resulting in a spirit of exceptional smoothness with intense flavours of prune, fig, wood, and forest fruits. To the eye this Armagnac has a deep coffee colour. The pleasing nose offers cloves and maple sugar, with hints of vanilla. On the palate, it is joyous; with an amazing rancio character, overlaid with honey, walnut, prune and coffee. This Armagnac is an unforgettable experience and has been called “Christmas in a bottle.”
Château Magdelaine: 2011 (France)
Donated by Scott Fowler; Value: $96
Sentimentalists should note that this 2011 Château Magdelaine is the final vintage of this esteemed grand cru classé, insofar as the venerable St. Emilion property has now been gobbled up by Château Bélair-Monange. This is old-school, traditionally made Bordeaux that, despite its predominance of Merlot (90%), tends to be lean rather than fleshy. Ratings for this vintage have been impressively high, including 94 points from Wine Enthusiast. James Suckling weighed in at 92 points, noting that the wine was “pretty and balanced with delicious ripe fruit and fine tannins.” International Wine Cellar also went 92 points, adding that they found it “suave and smooth on the palate, with excellent depth to its red fruit and spice flavours.” They rated it “a highly successful Magdelaine.” The palates at CellarTracker were in complete agreement, with scores ranging from 91-93 and comments such as: “Fine and polished, with good length” to “Full of great promise for the years ahead . . . a magnificent Magdelaine.”
Château Palmer: 2005 (France)
Donated by Paddy Stewart; Value: $475
Heading into the Medoc district of Bordeaux takes us to Château Palmer, a celebrated “third growth” from fabled Margaux. Made with a blend of 53% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Merlot, and 7% Petit Verdot, the dark-purple tinged 2005 has been universally hailed for its opulence, weight, and power. Although eager hedonists can pull the cork immediately, the ‘05 is expected to last beyond 2045. The Wine Advocate loved this vintage, lauding its delicious aromas of black currants, plums, and licorice, while giving it a heady 97 points. The Wine Enthusiast, equally impressed, commented: “A wine so effortlessly delicious that it’s easy to forget the power the Merlot gives it.” The Wine Spectator bestowed 95 points and raved about its “big, juicy, velvety texture and long aftertaste,” while International Wine Cellar joined the party with this hymn of praise: “Compellingly sweet and explosive on the palate . . . downright massive, not to say decadent. A pure liquid confection.” Sounds like splendour in the glass!
Boudreaux Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon: 2006 (Washington State)
Donated by Anonymous; Value: $76
Many years ago, Rob Newsom was drinking wine with a good buddy – Gary Figgins, the man behind Washington State’s legendary Leonetti Cellars. They were probably sloshing back quite a bit, because Rob readily took up Gary’s challenge to start his own winery. The resulting Boudreaux Cellars is an award-winning boutique operation that focuses on deeply complex reds that have been called “age-worthy and voluptuously textured” by Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate. The 2006 vintage inspired the Wine Enthusiast to rate it at 89 points and say, “Aromas of prunes and figs introduce a big, thick, chewy Cabernet with plenty of fruit power. Black raspberry, black cherry and black currant fruits swirl through layers of smoky wood.” The CellarTracker reviews averaged a bit over 91 points, with comments such as, “Huge . . . with nicely integrated tannins and blackberry, cherry, chocolate, and mint flavors.” This is the kind of big, brooding Cab that needs to decant for several hours . . . and would then be a great dinner companion for a juicy New York strip loin.
Sassicaia: 2013 (Italy)
Donated by Ame de Paoli; Value: $243
Tenuta San Guido Le Difese: 2010 (Italy)
Donated by Paddy Stewart
Sassicaia was one of the first of the so-called “Super Tuscans.” It created a sensation when it first came to market in Italy in the early 1970s, mostly because it defied strict winemaking rules and jettisoned traditional local varietals in favour of blending Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc. But much more than just a trendy rebel, Sassicaia proved to be truly impressive: it quickly won international acclaim and has long been one of Italy’s most collectable bottles. The 2013 vintage is clearly a magnificent performer: the renowned James Suckling bestowed an impressive 98 points, praising its “fabulous structure.” Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate went 97, while saluting the wine’s notable power and depth. And Vinous rated it “a jewel of a wine.” For years now, Sassicaia has had a little brother: Tenuta San Guido Le Difese. This auction lot helpfully includes a delicious 2010 bottling of Le Difese, which offers “drinking now” charm to sustain you while waiting for its big brother to emerge from your cellar several years hence. With its blend of 70% Cabernet Sauvignon and 30% Sangiovese, the bright and easy-going Le Difese was very popular with WineSearcher, which wrote: “The aroma has nice scents of blueberry and blackberry and the flavour is delicate, agile, with a sober elegance . . . and a long finish.” Viva Italia!
Tignanello: 2011 (Italy)
Alvaro Palacios Priorat Les Terrasses: 2005 (Spain)
Belle Glos Clark & Telephone Vineyard Pinot Noir: 2012 (California)
Donated by: Ross Woodland; Value for three bottles: $290
One of Italy’s original “Super Tuscans,” Tignanello was created by the fabled Antinori family, one of Tuscany’s most historic winemakers. But despite its legendary status, this iconic wine is under-priced compared to many other premium brands. The 2011 vintage was well reviewed, with the scribes at WineAlign according it 92 points and lots of praise: “Quite intense and complex . . . with bright fruit.” Next it’s the southwest corner of Catalonia, there to consider the great virtues of Priorat, one of Spain’s standout wines. The 2005 Alvaro Palacios Priorat Les Terrasses is made from a luxuriant blend of old-vines Garnacha (Grenache), Carignan, and Cabernet Sauvignon. A wine reviewer from the L.A. Times loved its “deep plummy flavours of earth and wild herbs,” while a rather informal critic from CellarTracker gave it a 94 and this rave: “For the money this stuff is absolutely killer juice.” Finally, it’s off to California’s Central Coast to consider the Belle Glos Pinot Noir from the Clark & Telephone Vineyard. The folks at CellarTracker rated it 94, with this comment: “Incredible . . . deep, powerful and concentrated.” And Anthony Gismondi was also clearly a fan: “Juicy, supple, black cherry, chocolate, licorice, and cinnamon flavours.” In short, this auction lot is a trio of taste treats!
Bodegas Muga Cava Conde de Haro Brut Vintage: 2011 (Spain)
NV Gonzalez-Byass Jerez-Xérès-Sherry Palo Cortado Apostoles (Spain)
Altos de Torona Rías Baixas Rosal: 2016 (Spain)
López de Heredia Rioja Reserva Viña Tondonia: 1998 (Spain)
La Rioja Alta Gran Reserva 904: 1995 (Spain)
Alvear Montilla-Moriles Pedro Ximénez de Añada: 2003 (Spain)
Donated by: Ernest Sargent; Value: $300 for six bottles
Dubbed “wines for a Spanish meal” by its gourmet donor, this sextet of fine Spanish potables is the enticing framework for a serious feast. Starting things off is the Bodegas Muga Cava Conde de Haro 2011, a charming and lively sparkler redolent of tangy fruit and floral aromas and flavours; Wine Enthusiast gave it an 89. The sherry course features NV Gonzalez-Byass Jerez-Xérès-Sherry Palo Cortado Apostoles, a very complex, concentrated, and intense sipper that has gorgeous flavours of roasted nuts, toffee, caramel, and nougat. “Wow . . . hedonistic!” exclaimed one of the scribes at CellarTracker. Next up is Altos de Torona Rías Baixas Rosal, a high-intensity white characterized by flavours of stone fruits combined with hints of mango and passionfruit. Noted one fan at CellarTracker: “Big, bold, zesty, citrusy, good for a party.” It would be great with smoked seafood. The reds start with the 1998 R. López de Heredia Rioja Reserva Viña Tondonia, a soft and charming Rioja rated in the low 90s. Comments ranged from “elegant” to “very feminine and long on the finish.” The next red, older and grander, is La Rioja Alta Gran Reserva 904, from the prized 1995 vintage. Characterized as “very impressive and expressive,” this is textbook old-school Rioja: vanilla rich, harmonious and well balanced, with notes of black cherry, leather, and dried dates. And dinner concludes with a bottle of Alvear Montilla-Moriles Pedro Ximénez de Añada. Pedro Ximénez is a unique Spanish varietal that makes an intensely sweet, dark dessert sherry that is pure delight. Syrup-thick and oozing aromas and flavours of salted caramel, maple, dried apricot and orange marmalade, this beauty got 91 points from Wine Spectator. Wow!
Penfolds Bin 389 Cabernet Shiraz: 2013 (Australia)
Donated by Everything Wine; Value for 1.5 litres: $160
One of the oldest and most acclaimed wineries in Australia, Penfolds is best known for its legendary Grange, considered the country’s most collectable wine. Penfolds produces many marvelous wines, and few are as impressive as their Bin 389 Cabernet Shiraz. The 2013 vintage, a blend of 51% Cabernet Sauvignon and 49% Shiraz, has been getting lots of critical acclaim, with ratings ranging from 91-96. The comments are equally notable, with Decanter calling it “a broodingly youthful ‘baby Grange’ combining chocolate, cassis and blueberry Cabernet aromas with the sweeter cinnamon, camphor and pepper notes of Shiraz.” The Wine Spectator was clearly smitten, writing: “Plump and generous, with opulent ripe plum, black cherry and fresh mint flavors that gain extra dimension from mocha, gingerbread and toasted cumin seed notes.” And the Australian Wine Companion praised it for being “balanced and utterly persuasive.” This beauty is a guaranteed crowd pleaser – and with a magnum, you can easily afford to share!
Veuve Cliquot Brut Champagne: N/V (France)
Donated by Everything Wine; Value for 1.5 litres: $143
Veuve Cliquot, founded in 1772, is one of Champagne’s best-known producers and has a large portfolio of sought-after sparklers. This particular magnum is non-vintage yet offers an abundance of the charm, vivacity and complexity you associate with this iconic brand. Veteran B.C. wine scribe Anthony Gismondi rated it a 91 and had this to say: “It opens with spicy, citrus, baked apple honey fruit character followed by bits of brioche and vanilla. The palate is rich and creamy with more citrus, nutty, toasty, green apple, cherry, mineral flavours with a touch of orange on the finish. A citrusy style with good intensity.” Wine Align’s Steve Thurlow praised its “very good length” as well as its “elegant mousse.” And WineSearcher rated it an impressive 93 points, finding it a refined and subtle Champagne that is “precise yet streamlined . . . a beautiful rendition of minimalist elegance.” A bottle of bubbly is always a fun-filled symbol of celebration and luxury, and Veuve Cliquot is one of those rare brands that have become synonymous with fine Champagne. Cheers, indeed!
Château Haut-Bergey, Pessac-Léognan: 2006 (France)
Château Carbonnieux, Pessac-Léognan: 2006 (France)
Château Gloria, St. Julien: 2011 (France)
Château Caronne Ste. Gemme, Haut-Medoc: 2005 (France)
Château Petit Bocq, St. Estèphe: 2005 (France)
Château de la Cour d’Argent, Bordeaux Supérieur: 2005 (France)
Donated by Ian & Gloria Back; value for six bottles: $256
Here is this year’s Bordeaux “party pack,” and it’s a good one . . . not least because three of the six wines come from the splendid 2005 vintage. These are great examples of the more affordable wines produced by Bordeaux; so, rather than waiting for a special occasion, pull one out when impulse strikes and have a casual but memorable dinner where the wine has a pedigree French accent! Here are a few of the highlights. Château Haut-Bergey is considered “one of the top under-the-radar wines” of Pessac-Léognan by Robert Parker, and the 2006 earned ratings of 90 and 91 by Wine Advocate and Stephen Tanzer’s International Wine Cellar. Château Gloria, located in the St. Julian region, got an impressive 89 points from Decanter for its 2006 (“gentle seduction on display . . . and a sense of unforced pleasure”). And from the region of St. Estèphe comes Château Petit Bocq, which got consistently high reviews . . . and high praise (“restrained and elegant” and “great dark fruit . . . perfect food wine”). It’s hard to imagine a value-priced six-pack with more to offer a lover of fine Bordeaux.
Mosstowie Single Malt: 1975 (Scotland)
Donated by Peter & Helen Malcolm; Value: $500; Minimum Bid $400
Crush has recently begun including Cognac and Armagnac in its auction repertoire, and here’s another delicious first: a classic single malt from bonnie Scotland. The Mosstowie “Spirit of Scotland” is both a beauty and a rarity. Mosstowie was a “virtual distillery,” insofar as it was just a pair of Lomond stills tucked inside Miltonduff Distillery, located in Speyside. Short-lived Mosstowie was always a small-batch whisky; and given that those stills ceased operation in 1981, this is an auction-worthy spirit indeed! The colour of oloroso sherry, Mosstowie offers beguiling aromas of heather honey, vanilla fudge, toffee, dried apricots and orange marmalade. On the palate, the joyous fruitiness continues, although with more of an emphasis on pear and grape juice, as well as hints of barley sugar, ginger and citrus. There is a slightly oily texture and a very long finish. Mosstowie is a lighter whisky, and one of great charm. Notes MaltReview: “This is a whisky that’s about appreciating a piece of whisky history as much as the liquid itself, and it’s very enjoyable because of that fact.”
Mannochmore Single Malt: 1984 (Scotland)
Donated by Peter & Helen Malcolm; Value: $300; Minimum Bid $250
The only prospect more delightful than sipping your way through a grand single malt is to have two to choose from. Which brings us to our second Scottish offering, the 1984 Mannochmore. Like the Mosstowie, this also hails from fabled Speyside, which is prized for its sweeter, slightly lighter-bodied whiskies. Although Mannochmore is a youngster by Scottish standards – it was built in 1971, albeit on the site of a defunct distillery that was founded in 1876 – it has earned an enviable reputation as a producer of premium whisky. This particular year was selected by independent bottler Gordon & Macphail to be part of their Connoisseurs Choice series, and was bottled in 1994. This is a rare whisky and tasting notes are very hard to come by. The one review that turned up assumed, due to colour, that the Mannochmore had been aged in a sherry cask. They noted that the sweet and soft nose featured orange, chocolate, coffee and red fruits. On the palate were hints of spice, surprising smokiness, lots of wood and more chocolate. The finish was rated, “Long, spicy, and warming.” Slàinte!
Caymus Cabernet Sauvignon: 2014 (Napa)
Extracted from the cellar of an anonymous Belfry patron by Ross Woodland
Osoyoos Larose: 2005 (Okanagan)
Donated by Anonymous
Value for 1.5-litre & 3-litre bottles: $475
Every cellar needs some sturdy yet lush California Cabs in the racks, and here’s a great one. The 2014 Caymus Cabernet Sauvignon has a Napa pedigree, and further benefits from their excellent 2014 growing season. The Wine Advocate gave this one 94 points, then praised its “kiss of blackberry and cassis fruit, a full-bodied mouthfeel with ripe tannin and long finish,” before adding, “This is lush, full, intense and pure.” Wine.com bestowed a 91 prior to noting, “Ripe and rewarding . . . as one of Napa Valley’s most well-known wines, it remains one of the consistent beacons of the vintage.” And Wine Spectator was also a fan, praising this vintage’s “easy-going plum, black cherry, loamy earth and blueberry flavours.” And this bottle is a generous magnum – yum! And to get the party really going, let’s head to B.C. for a notable double magnum. Considered one of the premier collector wines from the Okanagan, the “grand vin” from Osoyoos Larose is a marvelous Bordeaux blend, one that combines Old World classicism with New World flair. According to celebrated B.C. wine scribe John Schreiner, “This is an elegant wine with silky tannins . . . polished and rather pretty. WineAlign’s John Szabo rated it 91, finding it “impressively flavourful.” Natalie Maclean gave it a 90 and added: “Lovely dark rich fruit with pepper and dark spice . . . full-bodied, generous and supple. The consensus seems to be that although not likely to benefit from further aging, the 2005 will hold its own for several more years. But if you can put your hands on some garlic and a juicy lamb roast, why wait? And given that this is a double magnum, make sure to invite several guaranteed-to-be-grateful guests!
Bricco Asili Faset Barbaresco: 1997 (Italy)
Donated by Shellie & Mike Gudgeon, Il Terrazzo; Value: $150
Piedmont, in northwest Italy, is the motherland of Nebbiolo, one of the world’s great grape varietals. Distinguished by strong tannins, high acidity, and a distinctive bouquet often described as “tar and roses,” the best expressions of this grape come from the Piedmontese sub-regions of Barbaresco and Barolo. Although Barolo has traditionally gotten top billing, in recent years Barbaresco – thanks to the efforts and passion of a new generation of dynamic winemakers – has come to be seen as equal to its more celebrated neighbour. And if you want to find out what all the excitement is about, check out this 20-year-old beauty that has been slumbering in perfect storage conditions in the cellar at Il Terrazzo. This particular Bricco Asili Faset Barbaresco has consistently received ratings in the low to mid 90s from such as Wine Spectator and Wine & Spirits. The comments are revealing, particularly this rave from CellarTracker: “Silky, sophisticated and feminine on the palate with lovely fruit purity and definition. Everything is in order. Great balance and length.” Or as another wine scribe noted: “Fantastic! All one can expect from a good Barbaresco.” Given that this wine isn’t currently available anywhere, it should be of considerable interest to collectors.
Vignettes by Robert Moyes
Please note that all lots and values are subject to change.