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Second-Label Bordeaux
The term “second label” is most often associated with Bordeaux châteaux, and refers to a wine made from the same vineyard as a chateau’s flagship wine and often from the same blend of grape varieties. But for various reasons this wine has not been chosen for the house’s primary cuvée, possibly because it comes from a vineyard’s younger vines, or from vines with a less favorable aspect within the vineyard. The production process for a second label is generally less costly, with less new oak used, although the wine benefits from the same expert personnel that makes the primary wine. Ideally a second-label wine should share some of the distinctive characteristics of the flagship wine, but it will be more approachable at an early age, and of course it will be less costly. We will be trying two whites from Smith Haut Lafitte in Graves (one from vineyards unrelated to the main cuvée, making it a “second wine” rather than a “second label”). Two from Pomerol, on the Right Bank, made by prestige châteaux L’Eglise-Clinet and Vieux Château Certan. Two from Médoc—a St-Estèphe and a Pauillac from top estates Cos d’Estournel and Pichon Lalande. Finally a red Graves made by Haut Bailly. I might throw in a couple of surprise bonus wines. We’ll meet back at Brasserie Cognac East, where we’re seated in their private (and very purple) upstairs room. 2015 Hauts de Smith Blanc Pessac-Léognan $30 Vinous 92 – 100% Sauvignon. Fresh and lively in the glass, with terrific balance and class. Sauvignon Blanc notes are front and center. Crystalline purity and chiseled feel. This is more of a side project, as the wine does not share any sort of lineage to the white Grand Vin in the way the Le Petit Haut Lafitte Blanc does. 2015 Petit Haut Lafitte Blanc Pessac-Léognan $33 Vinous 93 – Very pretty. Bright, floral and nicely sculpted, exuding class, especially for a second wine. Simply impeccable. 80% Sauvignon Blanc and 20% Sémillon taken from parcels that inform the Grand Vin. Lemon confit, melon, chamomile and jasmine add lovely shades of nuance. 2014 Petite Église Pomerol $37 Wine Advocate 91 – Pure Merlot, always a little gem and probably deserves more respect from cognoscenti. Gorgeously pure bouquet with ebullient red berry fruit. Medium-bodied with supple ripe tannin, pure red cherry and strawberry coulis intermingled with stone and a touch of blood orange. Wonderful precision. Just superb and doubtless great value. 2014 Gravette de Certan Pomerol $55 Wine Spectator 91 – Lovely, with a stream of raspberry confiture, while light mint, star anise and black tea notes weave in and out. The long and refined finish has a light mineral accent, while the fruit sails on. Quietly one of the best second wines in Bordeaux. 2014 Pagodes de Cos St-Estephe $50 Jancis Robinson 17+/20 – 55% Cabernet Sauvignon, 43% Merlot, 2% Petit Verdot. Very sweet and charming. A mineral streak and some real freshness too. Very forward and very ripe, St-Estèphe style. Gorgeous already. (2015 review) Fragrant. Round and a truly gorgeous texture. Real vitality and pure 2014! (2017 review) 2010 Réserve de la Comtesse Pauillac $65 Jancis Robinson 17/20 – Very dark crimson with a bright rim. Exciting and intriguing with a balsam note on the nose. Round and charming already – and such gloss! Some light saltiness. Very savory after all the ripeness. Insistently gorgeous. 2014 Parde Haut-Bailly Pessac-Léognan $35 Vinous 92 – A generous, juicy wine. Red cherry, plum, spice and herbal notes. Succulent and inviting, it’s a terrific choice for drinking now and over the next few years. Silky tannins add to the wine's finesse and sheer appeal. (2017 review) A very serious wine at this level. Savory herbs, tobacco, smoke, gravel and black fruits. A firm spine of tannin and kick of acidity on the finish rounds things out. Delicate and finessed, but with plenty of depth. 56% Merlot, 30% Cabernet Sauvignon and 14% Cabernet Franc. (2015 review)

Brasserie Cognac East

963 Lexington Avenue · New York, NY

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    Past Meetups (41)

    • Baden

    What we're about

    Hello fellow wine lovers. This meetup will provide an opportunity for gay men with an interest in wine and food to meet each other and explore various categories of wine while dining out in New York BYOB restaurants.

    For each dinner meetup, a theme will be chosen and the wines will be provided by the host, who will disclose the identities of the wines (along with ratings, reviews, and prices) when the meetup is announced. The wines will be carefully chosen as good examples of their type and offer a good price-quality ratio. To facilitate dinner-table discussions and to ensure that everyone is able to taste and retaste all the wines, attendance will be capped at 10 men per dinner. To cover the cost of the wines, attendees will pay a fee when RSVPing. Then at the restaurant, each attendee will pay for whatever food he orders.

    I am the organizer of an identical (though not gay-specific) meetup group based in Westchester County. It has proven very successful over the past year, and it made me want to launch a New York City version just for gay men who have some knowledge of wine and want to expand their tasting experience and meet other guys who share their interest. Check out my Westchester group to get an idea of what the events are like: (

    I've earned the Diploma of Wines and Spirits from the Wine and Spirit Education Trust, and look forward to sharing some interesting bottles over good food and conversation.

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