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Achleiten is a legendary vineyard in the Wachau village of Weissenkirchen with Smaragd designation—the top category in the ripeness classification of white wines in Austria's Wachau Valley. Smaragd-designated wines are made from the ripest grapes in the Wachau and have a mandated minimum alcohol level of 12.5 per cent, which is difficult to reach in such colder regions. It is famous for wines with an inimitable mineral character. Dry stone walls dating back to the 12th century, which mount the steep slopes with silicate-rich soil, dominate this vineyard's landscape. Gneiss is the prevailing subsoil in the upper terraces, and dark, schistous amphibolites dominate the lower terraces.

Scores such as 94Falstaff and 93 Decanter are adequately high; other reviews are to publish shortly. Falstaff wrote, 'Fine nuances of fresh tropical fruit, delicate passion fruit and mango, mineral-lemon notes, and a hint of orange zest. Juicy, light white fruit, soft blossom honey, fresh acidity, light-footed, sticks well, delicately salty finish, and has excellent ageing potential.' Edited.

RP93. The intense colour of a very ripe cherry. Exquisite nose combining black fruit and a note of fall undergrowth. The harmonious palate, ample attack, and velvety, soft, smooth tannins. A generous wine to age.

Gilbert and Gaillard 97. Another brilliant effort from this estate, the 2004 Lascombes (a blend of 50% Merlot, 45% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 5% Petit Verdot) exhibits a deep blue/purple hue along with a sweet perfume of blueberries, black raspberries, cherries, incense, smoke, and spring flowers. While abundant, underneath the full-bodied richness of fruit and depth is a structured wine. As it sits in the glass, an espresso roast character (no doubt from new oak) also emerges. Enjoy this pure, structured, fleshy beauty between 2010-2025.

Updated: Mar 10

Dense purple and weighty, Kirwan 2010 is still muscular yet relatively closed. In great contrast to the 2000 and 2012 that we tried in a roll, this 2010 is tangy and elegant; lilac, purple flowers, mineral, red currant, and cherry notes mingle together and carry through the focused finish. Long, bodied, tensioned. 2010 is blend with 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 35% Merlot, 9% Cabernet Franc and 6% Petit Verdot. Farr mentioned that the Boissenots had consulted here since 2007 (replacing Michel Rolland), and the wine is now less new-oak, less late-picked and less jammy in style. Kirwan is now a wine of classic Margaux elegance. There is good purity and structure, well-rounded tannins, and attractive red fruit. Still, it will need some time to open.

Kirwan 2010 is controversial if you read most of the tastings from better-known Bordeaux wine tasters.

Robert Parket et al. and VertdeVin think this wine is not for now. Awarded it 92+, RP et al. say in the style of vintage 2010, Kirwan 2010 is, as always, a blockbuster with the more masculine side of the appellation providing density, power, a big body, loads of fruit, extract and richness. However, RP et al. wrote this is not for now. Awarding it 95 points, VertdeVIn gives a contrasting tasting, saying the nose is elegant and aromatic and offers gourmandize, a certain richness, and concentration (but full of control). Vertdevin wrote this wine should be decanted so that the red and black fruit from primary through secondary to tertiary stages are to develop. It will have a good length if you oxygenate it enough. We find ourselves more in agreement with VertdeVin, at least with this: decanting dramatically helps.

The other camp(GG and WE) thinks it is time to crack a bottle of Kirwan 2010. Gilbert and Gailliard thought this wine was ready. They gave 95 points and commended its alluring, refined nose of fresh red fruit with subtle oak; its fleshy, fruit-driven attack, warmer mid-palate framing evident tannins. Wine Enthusiast awarded it 94 points, commending this total fruity wine's balance structure(acidity and ripeness) and its new black-currant character. It will develop relatively quickly but could hold at its peak for many years.

Two roads(views) diverged, though are not obliged to take anyone, but then took the other, each maybe just as fair.

This is a consolidation of the tasting and papers

written from 2006 to 2013. These write-ups had been with the orginal site Wine and Beyond, Yahoo, until the service stopped by Yahoo in September 2013.


For years I have been working with wines, either buying it, selling it to wine companies, lecturing and writing about it, and, not unimportantly, enjoying it with friends. If any of the articles on this site are worth reading it is due to my teachers, my mentors, my peers and friends, my students, and in particularly my editors who ignite in me a desire to communicate in wines.


Clinging to the trellis of wine, I started to get more and more involved with estates and winemakers, by supporting them with consultancy in communication and marketing. The more I spend my time outside Hong Kong, the more I sense a desire to be part of the international wine family.


Writing about wine represents a moment of reflection, curiosity, atitudes and a desire to analyse often hidden structures and history, in an effort to make the wealth of wine accessible to a targetted, and hopefully larger audience.


I am not sure if I can wine proivde more accessible to all through this blog. But I am sure to write in wine means being involved in wine and  to remain as impartial and objective as possible.


Kevin Tang.

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