Join us this evening for a rare look at the great 1959 vintage – 60 years on.
1959 was one of those landmark years that seemed successful almost everywhere. Bordeaux and Burgundy – our principal focus this evening – perhaps makes the year especially prominent in the minds of enthusiasts. It was also great across many classic regions in Europe, and in the still tiny but emerging regions beyond those shores too. In Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley for example, there was just one family estate – pioneer Gaston Hochar and his son Serge (who debuted with 1959) at Château Musar. That wine is included tonight, alongside another Mediterranean-influenced wine – Chapoutier’s Châteauneuf-du-Pape, for a sense of breadth.
Vibrant tangy-ripe wines were produced in The Loire, sunshine and chenin blanc’s natural acidity combining to give us a very tasty Anjou from Moulin Touchais, as well as the beautiful Le Haut Lieu Moelleux 1er Trie from Gaston Huet in Vouvray. In Germany, so great was 1959 for ripeness and botrytis that it was the first time some famous estates ever made the most nobly nectary wine of all – Trockenbeerenauslese. A great Rheingau Riesling example features tonight from the exalted Kiedricher Gräfenberg vineyard.
From Burgundy this evening we have a plethora from the best terroirs including an interesting comparison of Grands Echezeaux from both Leroy and Domaine de la Romanée-Conti. Musigny from Bouchard, Clos Vougeot from Faiveley, and Volnay-Santenots from Ampeau round this flight out. A large crop of healthy grapes here in 1959 produced generously fruity, fully-ripe style wines.
The best of 1959 from Bordeaux is represented tonight too by Châteaux Latour, Mouton and La Mission Haut-Brion. If its near neighbour 1961 was the year of crop-reduced ripe vintage power, flash and concentration, 1959 feels more nuanced, more classical, more svelte, more refined in expression, notably generous in fruit, ripe in tannin and low (for the era) in acidity. All three wines tonight have, from time to time, garnered perfect marks from critics. They’re favourites of mine too, and I look forward to seeing them side by side.
All in all tonight’s selection offers something of the breadth of 1959, while also giving us enough key focus on Burgundy and Bordeaux to understand the style of 1959 in those two classic regions. These rare single bottles, carefully sourced, will enable us to celebrate vintage 1959 – 60 years on from the harvest. I look forward to sharing this single-table event with you at one of our favourite places – the Chief Executive Suite at Hong Kong’s Grand Hyatt hotel.