Château Aney represents the only estate from the Left Bank of Bordeaux in our portfolio, and it’s no coincidence. In the heart of a landscape dominated by prestigious first growths—many of which are owned by banking groups and other multinational corporations—family-run Aney is an exception to the rule of big houses producing exorbitantly priced wines. Its situation, right in between Saint-Julien and Margaux in the heart of the Médoc, is favorable to making reds that mimic the character of many grands châteaux: the gravelly soils here are ideal for Cabernet Sauvignon, giving firmly structured wines with stony tannins capable of long-term aging. The top-notch terroir and consistent execution by the Raimond family has earned Aney “cru Bourgeois” status, a rank awarded to estates left out of the Classification of 1855 that nonetheless make classic wines of great quality and typicity. When we refer to an old-fashioned claret, this is exactly what we’re talking about.
Château Aney was built in 1850 by the family that gave it its name. The domaine thrived and earned Cru Bourgeois status, but by the mid-twentieth century the land was no longer being farmed and the château had fallen into disrepair. In 1972 Jean Raimond and his son, Pierre, bought the property, rehabilitated the vineyards, and refurbished the winery and cellars. This marked a new era for Château Aney; which fittingly achieved Cru Bourgeois status for a second time in 1978. Today Pierre runs the estate along with his son, David, producing wines of class and elegance. Château Aney’s wines have finesse and balance that make them both approachable now and perfect for longer aging.
Often considered the wine capital of the world, Bordeaux and its wines have captured the minds, hearts, and wallets of wine drinkers for centuries. For many, the wines provide an inalienable benchmark against which all other wines are measured.
Bordeaux is divided into three winegrowing regions with the city that gives the region its name in the near geographical center. The “right bank,” or the area located east of the Dordogne River, produces wines that are predominantly Merlot with small amounts of Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon. The “left bank” is located to the west of the Garonne River and produces wines dominated by Cabernet Sauvignon, with Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Malbec and Petit Verdot.
The third region, Entre-Deux-Mers, lies between both rivers and produces white wines from Sauvignon Blanc, Sémillon, and Muscadelle. Though technically in the left bank, it is worth noting the appellation of Sauternes, which produces arguably the world’s most famous sweet wines from Sauvignon Blanc, Sémillon, and Muscadelle as well.
Though many top Bordeaux wines are sold en primeur (in advance of their bottling) and often through a middleman known as a negoçiant, Kermit has always preferred to purchase directly from the winemaker. For more than three decades he has sought out small producers, who make classic Bordeaux wines and are willing to play outside the negoçiant system. This ethic has led to longstanding relationships, excellent prices, and perhaps most important—wines of great value and longevity.
Every three or four months I would send my clients a cheaply made list of my inventory, but it began to dawn on me that business did not pick up afterwards. It occurred to me that my clientele might not know what Château Grillet is, either. One month in 1974 I had an especially esoteric collection of wines arriving, so I decided to put a short explanation about each wine into my price list, to try and let my clients know what to expect when they uncorked a bottle. The day after I mailed that brochure, people showed up at the shop, and that is how these little propaganda pieces for fine wine were born.—Kermit Lynch
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