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G-Day in Bordeaux

Herve Bizeul, owner of Clos des Fees in Roussillon and Tim Atkin MW

During the Vinexpo, on TUE evening (June 21st), some producers from Languedoc, Cotes du Rhone and Chateauneuf du pape showcased their wines at the Wine More Time bar in Bordeaux for the Grenache Day titled event. I presented myself at the entrance as a wine blogger from Romania and had no problem to be accepted at the event, even though prior invitations were requested. It also helped my prior communication via email and social networks with Mr Herve Bizeul, a former wine and gastronomical critic that purchased vines in Roussillon and is now the proudly owner of Clos des Fees.

There were plenty of producers in the bar, that were gladly pouring their wines directly from Magnums to be tasted. Many foreigners were also attending the event. I had the chance to speak initially in a bad French (my bad French) to the owner of the Australian Kilikanoon winery. We did chat for 15 minutes with difficulties, and, as Mr Nathan Waks turned to speak to his wife in a perfect English, I proposed him to switch to English, a language more familiar to me and apparently to him as well. My proposal was immediately accepted with great enthusiasm. I found out that he plays the cello and he had two Romanian colleagues that he was playing with in his orchestra. He had only good words to say about Romanians and invited me to visit his booth at Vinexpo next day and taste his wines. Unfortunately I did not manage to make it, as my visit to Vinexpo lasted only a day and it was pretty hectic.

I also recognized Mr Tim Atkin, a Master of Wine and a very active wine journalist in UK that was constantly tweeting as he was tasting wines. I approached him and introduced myself and even though he did not know me, he was very friendly. He did point a few wines to me to taste during the evening.

people tasting wine

There were plenty of wines from Chateauneuf du pape to taste, a lot of 2009s and a few older vintages: 2008, 2006 and 2005. Most of the 2009s I tasted, both from Chateauneuf du pape and Cotes du Rhone are rich and fat, usually with 15-15.5% alcohol, but the concentration of the fruit and the big tannins are enough to balance the alcohol. Big wines indeed. The Cotes du Rhone are more approachable for the moment and offer amazing drinking pleasure. Some of the wines I enjoyed were: Chateauneuf du pape Chateau de la Nerthe 2005, Chateauneuf du pape Domaine Vieille Julienne 2009 and its Cotes du Rhone, Chateauneuf du pape Domaine de la Janasse Chaupin 2009, Chateauneuf du pape Domaine Pierre Usseglio 2008.

Clos des Fees Grenache Blanc VV 2010

The wines of the night for me were the white 2010 Clos des Fees Grenache Blanc Vieilles Vignes and the humongous La Petite Siberie 2008. I already had the 2007 Grenache Blanc VV from Clos des fees and liked it a lot. See the post here. The 2010 is even better: at 14.5% alcohol the wine is rich, with a fresh nose and pure flavors of yellow flowers, spice and tropical fruit, with an amazing lively acidity and an intense and long fresh finish. (92/100) Mr Herve Bizuel kindly offered me a bottle as a gift, when I asked him if I could buy a bottle.

The most interesting wine at the event was by far his 2008 La Petite Siberie Clos des fees: a predominately  Grenache Noir wine, topped with a bit of Mourvedre/Syrah, coming from old vines from a small plot of about 1.4-1.6 ha where icy North-West winds blow more than 200 day per year – hence the name La Petite Siberie. The micro-climate is extreme and so is the wine. There is incredible richness, concentration with decadent layers of spices, black fruit and cocoa, a perfect balanced wine nonetheless, with great acidity and a touch of minerality. Silky mouth-feel and completely non-aggressive tannins keep everything in place. A very long finish leaves you craving for more. Around 15% alcohol, but useless to say there is absolutely no touch of heat. (95-96/100) The wine sells for 200 Eur for a regular 0.75 cl bottle, making it the most expensive wine in the Roussillon region.

The event was a good opportunity for people to sample good Grenache based wines. Outside, the streets were full of young people celebrating Fete de la musique. Every year on June 21st, all cities in France celebrate Fete de la musique. At every corner young people were playing live music in loud speakers, drinking bear and partying. A very big antithesis of the calm and boring Bordeaux I was expecting to find. Unbelievable partying atmosphere and hundreds of young people just having fun. What a night.

(shot with my photo camera)

Thanks for reading!

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  1. June 28, 2011 at 14:15

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