History of Wine in Six Bottles

Did you ever think that wine history could be discussed in only six bottles? Well, Connor Smith from Le Dû's Wines is doing just that! He shares these six wines along with an excerpt from his "History of Wine 1453AD-Present" seminar. Enjoy! ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Connor Smith : "In May of 1453, the great city of Constantinople fell to the Ottoman Empire. Just two months later, the French reconquered Bordeaux, ending 300 years of English control. Though these two unrelated events were a long time coming, their combined effect would change the world of wine overnight. The prestigious sweet wines of the Greek world were no longer in reach for the Venetians that dominated Europe's trade routes. They would soon be replaced by English and Dutch merchants, who would navigate shifting alliances, advancing technology, and the very ends of the earth in pursuit of a decent glass. At Le Dû's Wines, we've always placed emphasis on the education of not just the wine drinker's palate, but the understanding of the cultural world that wine inhabits. In our recent History of Wine seminars, we took a deep dive into the story of wine across the millenia. Within, you'll find the 6 wines that accompanied 1453AD-Present, and a short description on how they fit into the epic tale." --Le Dû's Wines "History of Wine 1453AD-Present" Seminar 6 bottles through history available at Le Dû's Wines: 1. NV Equipo Navazos I Think Manzanilla Jerez-Xérès-Sherry Palomino Fino 2. NV J.M. Labruyere Prologue Propriétaire de Vignes Grand Cru Champagne Blend 3. 2015 Louis Jadot Domaine Gagey Les Drazeys Chambolle-Musigny Pinot Noir 4. 2006 Château Potensac Médoc Red Bordeaux Blend 5. 2006 R. López de Heredia Viña Tondonia Reserva Rioja Tempranillo Blend 6. 2017 Ridge Vineyards Geyserville Sonoma County Zinfandel Blend ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ A little about Le Dû's Wines : Founded in 2005 by NYC's original rockstar sommelier Jean-Luc Le Dû, the former wine director for Daniel Boulud. Burgundy is our Beatles - immortal and undeniably cool - but the selection traverses the world for those producers who fit our philosophy: small, family-owned artisanal producers who offer up some seriously killer wine. Hosting frequent winemaker events, live music, a popular seminar series , Saturday free tastings, and nonprofit fundraisers in a spacious location just a block from the Hudson, Le Dû's is both one of the city's great merchants of fine wine and a community pillar of the West Village.

Equipo Navazos

I Think Manzanilla Jerez-Xérès-Sherry Palomino Fino

Sanlúcar de Barrameda was the port that Christopher Columbus set off from in 1492. Just 1 year earlier, duties on wine exports from Sanlúcar had been abolished to take advantage of English merchants desperate for new supply after the loss of Bordeaux.

It began a centuries-long romance between Sherry and English wine lovers, as immortalized in Shakespeare's Henry IV Part 2, when Falstaff glorifies sturdy Spanish 'sack' over thin Bordeaux 'claret' and Rhine 'hock'.

But the honeymoon, quite literally, was not to last. Henry VIII's divorce from Catherine of Aragon drove a wedge between England and Catholic Europe, and left English wine lovers in need of a new source once again. But Sherry fanatics wouldn't have to go entirely without. When Sir Francis Drake sailed into Cádiz and burned the Spanish fleet in 1587, he carried away 2,900 butts of Sherry - enough to supply London for years - as his most famous prize.

(This is adapted from notes for Le Dû’s Wines ‘History of Wine 1453AD-Present’ seminar, where this wine was poured)
— a month ago

Severn, James and 1 other liked this

R. López de Heredia

Viña Tondonia Reserva Rioja Tempranillo Blend 2006

With the Wine Blight laying waste to her vineyards, France went from 8:1 exporter in 1870 to 6:1 importer in 1887. Legions of wine farmers faced total financial ruin. With no cure - or even a proper diagnosis - in sight, many saw no option but to flee to lands not yet affected.

The influx of institutional knowledge that flooded into former backwater wine regions like Rioja catapulted them into relevance, and soon matured into a world-class standard. The farmers had found respite, but couldn't run forever. By the time Phylloxera crossed the Pyrenees, however, there would be new ways to fight back.

French botanist Jules-Emile Planchon had a theory. If the blight was caused by a microscopic American insect as he suspected, perhaps grafted European varieties on American rootstock would be resistant. This would be confirmed by Missouri entomologist Charles Riley, and with millions of rootstocks supplied by Texas horticulturalist T.V. Munson, the Wine Blight was soon in remission.

(This is adapted from notes for Le Dû’s Wines ‘History of Wine 1453AD-Present’ seminar, where this wine was poured)
— a month ago

Severn, James and 1 other liked this

J.M. Labruyere

Prologue Propriétaire de Vignes Grand Cru Champagne Blend

The 17th century saw an explosion of beverage options in Europe. Spirits were coming into their own, flavoring with hops was finally the standard for beer, and chocolate, coffee, and tea began flowing from overseas. Wine was no longer the only kid on the block, and had to offer something new to stay on top.

Sparkles in wine due to second fermentations were nothing new, but it was the leap in English glassmaking technology in the 1620s with coal-firing that allowed them to be harnessed. No longer would there be constant risk of bottles exploding from pressure, and bubbles came ever more into vogue - much to the chagrin of the great advocates of still blanc de noirs Champagne, Dom Perignon and the Marquis de Saint-Evremond. But there was no holding back the tide, and by the end of the century sparkling Champagne was the drink of choice for high courts across Europe.

(This is adapted from notes for Le Dû’s Wines ‘History of Wine 1453AD-Present’ seminar, where this wine was poured.)
— a month ago

Peter, Claire and 3 others liked this

Château Potensac

Médoc Red Bordeaux Blend 2006

When the 1855 World's Fair convened in Bordeaux, it was a high water mark for Napoleon III's France. Among the attractions was a classification of the city's most esteemed wine estates. It was one of the first major example of categorization of wine estates and regions, and embedded in stone some of the most famous names in wine: Latour, Lafite, Yquem.

But the happy days were not to last - by the time Napoleon III led the nation into disaster against Prussia 15 years later, there were invisible, insidious agents afoot in the vineyards of France.

The louse Phylloxera could only survive the trans-Atlantic crossing with the advent of the steamship. First recorded in the Languedoc in the early 1860s, it was assaulting unclassified and First Growth alike by 1875. The Great French Wine Blight would be prove to be perhaps the most earth-shaking flashpoint in modern wine history.

(This is adapted from notes for Le Dû’s Wines ‘History of Wine 1453AD-Present’ seminar, where this wine was poured)
— a month ago

Severn, James and 2 others liked this

Louis Jadot

Domaine Gagey Les Drazeys Chambolle-Musigny Pinot Noir 2015

The French Revolution detonated everything about the old order of France, and wine was no exception - far from it. The great vineyards of Burgundy, that had been tended to and ached over by Benedictine and Cistercian monks for centuries, were confiscated and auctioned off to the petite bourgeoisie in Paris and Dijon. The Napoleonic inheritance code, which guaranteed an even split between all children, led to these ancient plots being further divided up with each passing generation.

It wasn't long before there was a multitude of disinterested Parisians who owned a few vines in the Cote d'Or as their birthright. Négociant houses, such as Louis Jadot, popped up to make deals with these small landholders, aggregate their scattered plots, and bring their wine to the world.

Modern Burgundy is still very much a reflection of its transformation during the Revolution, with some of the world’s most famous and valuable land portioned out into tiny parcels. It’s no wonder demand outstripped supply long ago!

(This is adapted from notes for Le Dû’s Wines ‘History of Wine 1453AD-Present’ seminar, where this wine was poured)
— a month ago

Severn, James and 2 others liked this

Ridge Vineyards

Geyserville Sonoma County Zinfandel Blend 2017

The first European grapes were planted in what is now the U.S. in the 1600s, where Spanish missionaries in New Mexico needed sacramental wine. But Phylloxera was ever-present near the eastern population centers, so the earliest American wine industries were built on hybrid grapes. Cincinnati's sparkling Catawba was America's first cult wine, followed by cultivars like Norton, Isabella, and Concord in Missouri and Virginia. The sleeping giant began to awaken in the 1850s, when Agoston Haraszthy began importing high-quality vine material to California.

It all came crashing down with Prohibition in 1920. Not only were vineyards ripped up and knowledge lost, but the American palate became soft and sweet. Low-quality fortified wine from whatever grapes were available became the standard of the American wine industry.

Things began to shift in the 1960s. Robert Mondavi brought dry table wine, varietally labeled, back to the forefront. Boutique producers like Ridge began to creep toward European quality standards. The 1976 Judgement of Paris blind tasting, a sweeping victory for the Americans, proved that the New World wine was here to stay.

(This is adapted from notes for Le Dû's Wines 'History of Wine 1453AD-Present' seminar, where this wine was poured)
— a month ago

Severn, James and 1 other liked this
P A

P A Premium Badge

@Connor Smith Connor Enjoyed reading your history of wine in six bottles. Thanks and Cheers from Canada 🍷🇺🇸🇨🇦