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4 vintages of Chateau Ducru-Beaucaillou

December 16, 2016 Leave a comment

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It’s been a while since I posted on this blog even though my drinking habits grew and expanded with some serious wines. Just could not find the drive to write. This time however I felt compelled to share my experience drinking this absolutely exceptional vintages from Chateau Ducru-Beaucaillou.

This is a producer that sits on top of my short list of Bordeaux producers, a winery that I visited in 2011 and was impressed over the last years by the continuous quality of its wines every single vintage. Even in 2013 that seems a bleak vintage for red Bordeaux, Ducru-Beaucaillou managed to produce a wine that is deemed to be the wine of the vintage.

Met last night with 6 friends at La Brasserie Bistro&Lounge in Herastrau to drink these wines. Initially the plan was to have only the 2005 and 2009 that were bought from a store in Monaco, but I volunteered to bring bottles of 2006 and 2010. The two bottles of 2005 and 2009 were uncorked at noon together with 2006, while the 2010 I uncorked personally around 18:30 and left to breath in a decanter until about 9:00 pm.

Just a few things before the tasting notes:

  • quality for Ducru-Beaucaillou is at its highest and it has been like this since 2003 when the new management team came on board.
  • the 2009 vintage got a perfect 100 points from Robert Parker and at its launch was the most expensive Ducru ever released.
  • 2010 was awarded a 98 points by Parker and 100 points by James Suckling. When it was released Bruno Borie made a brilliant move by releasing the wine 10% cheaper in price compared to 2009, giving more confidence to its buyers that it is a well established and customer concerned producer. I know this because I was in Bordeaux when it was released.
  • 2005 is a vintage that will be spectacular even over the next 20-30 years from now.

And now the wines:

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The bottle of 2006 Chateau Ducru-Beaucaillou had a more than usual development and the wine felt 10-15 years older than it should actually be. This is not a general case for the 2006 Ducru as this wine can age. I had unfortunately the bad luck to purchase this particular faulty bottle. The wine shows over mature flavors and there is no point rating it as it is just an isolated case. NR

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The 2005 Chateau Ducru-Beaucaillou is a completely different story and from now on things start to get spectacular. This 11 years old wine combines freshness, complexity of aromas that came with aging and fresh fruit, developing nuances with every second and every sip in the glass. Still a bit shy on the nose compared to 2009 or even 2010, but very complete and balanced in every single way. Tannin is polished and velvety and bites the gums only in the long finish, rich fruit merrily gives flesh to its strong tannin structure that does not interfere at all on the palate. Very long. (96-97/100)

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2009 Chateau Ducru-Beaucaillou comes with fireworks, like a carousel that takes your senses to new highs when you least expect it and believe this is it, what else can it be ? This wine evolves in so many nuances as it sits in the glass and breathes that everybody was keeping their nose in the glass continuously like hunting dogs following the paths of their prey. It has everything: rich and lavish fruit, freshness, purity of aromas, complexity and depth, incredible depth actually. Taste is a symphony that swings again between rich sweet fruit, mineral freshness and rich sweet velvety tannin that pinches your gums from time to time just as a reminder of its greatness. This is a King-Kong wine. (99/100)

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2010 Chateau Ducru-Beaucaillou would have certainly benefited from extensive aeration but it did not last much in the glasses. This was the biggest surprise of the night as it changed completely from the first to the last pour in the glasses. Initially shy and not very convincing on the nose, it did benefit from being served from Zalto Bordeaux Grand Cru glasses. Last 2 glasses were spectacular. There is certainly more minerality and freshness, and least lavish fruit here compared to 2009, but there is more precision, focus and intensity on the palate. This has a more classic Bordeaux side, where pencil shavings and paprika step a bit more forward, however fruit seems to be fresher and very well represented. More supple, cleaner, more precision and more serious on the palate. Gravelly tannin, rich red fruit, cassis, graphite, coffee, there are so many things happening here. Another kaleidoscope and multi layered wine that I somehow feel closer to my heart. Very, very long finish as well. (99/100)

There was another bottle of 2000 Vega-Sicilia Unico opened after this wines but it showed a more developed character than normal. I am sure it was just an isolated bottle, as another Unico 2000 that I had in September was excellent.

For food we had fresh pasta ravioli with funghi porcini and osso bucco with fresh shaved white truffles, risotto with funghi porcini, and New Zealand lamb chops. The pairing between 2005 Ducru and lamb chops was perfect. For me lamb and well aged Bordeaux is a match made in heaven.

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Dinner with Dom P Rose, Pavie, Troplong Mondot and Krug

March 25, 2016 Leave a comment

IMG_20160324_203336Had dinner last night with a small crew of friends and between the 4 of us we shared some excellent wines. Started the night with Champagne Krug Grande Cuvee NV (I did not take a note of the ID sadly as Olivier Krug pointed to me early in the morning on Instagram) that is fresh and intense, showcasing great craftsmanship. It sports smoky citrus fruit, Granny Smith apple and fine pastry on the nose, and cleanse the mouth with razor sharp acidity and great freshness. Weightless on the palate in spite of its good intensity, it fades quickly from the glass. (94/100)

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First red wine, 2001 Chateau Pavie, was decanted and aerated for about 2 h before being poured and it just got better with time in the glass. Very dark red garnet color. Initially a bit heady but quickly recovered and showed a complex and maturing but youthful nose filled with clean aromas of ink, plums, mint and cedar, later shifting to truffles. Beautiful nose. On the palate it is full and supple, gravely tannin still assertive on the finish, with good richness of texture, layers of blue fruit and mineral freshness. Long finish that lingers. This is superb today. (94-95/100)

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A big surprise for me was Contador 2011, a Spanish red wine from Rioja that sells at super premium prices. It might have been too young today but I do not see the hype for it. The color is purple opaque. Nose is intense but today is too much oak influence. Rich aromas of dolce de lecce and Christmas cake cover any other aromas. It is smooth on the palate, with plenty of rich black fruit, and there is more focus here. Fairly long finish with dark chocolate and blueberry fruit. (91-92/100)

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Popped and decanted on site with very little time to breath was the spectacular 2010 Chateau Troplong Mondot, a 99 points wine according to Robert Parker. The wine deserves it. This has a deep dark red garnet color. Nose is complex, youthful and so rich and intense. The wine states 16% alcohol on the back label but this is so well hidden and balanced under its rich layers of black fruit, fresh minerality and a skyscraper structure of smooth tannin, and every sip is like a revelation. Rich, heady, lavish sweet fruit, chocolate and ink on the palate, this is really good. Long finish. This might very well become a 100 points wine on the 10 years tasting from the vintage. (98/100)

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There was a 2006 Chateau d’Yquem served from a half bottle but somehow it did not manage to find my glass. So last wine was Champagne Dom Perignon Rose 2003, a wine that I am personally worried how often I tasted this year. The inconvenient side is that every time it usually ends a long line of great wines and I cannot get the full grip of it. However, its vinosity is unquestionable, this is a wine especially designed for fine gastronomy. And considering its high price, how could that be different ? (96/100)

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Ended the night sooner than other times but the two red Bordeaux wines were stunning and I am still thinking about them the second day.

1975 Chateau d’Issan Margaux

November 4, 2013 Leave a comment

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When it comes down to old vintages it is all about good bottles of wine rather than good wines. It is certainly the case here: I had another bottle of this wine with a lower fill level couple of months ago and it was long past its best, with pronounced signs of oxidation.

This time a top shoulder fill level bottle was a totally different story.

1975 Chateau d’Issan – Margaux

The color was medium ruby with a light orange rim. Popped and poured the wine remained fresh and clean for the whole 1h 30 min while it was consumed. This is a mature bottle of wine that managed to preserve itself very well. On the nose the medium intense aromas show coffee, smoke, brett, pencil shavings and amazing light, fresh red currant and cherry fruit. Medium body, light tannins and refreshing acidity keep everything in place, velvety mouth-feel, discreet, fresh but still present light red fruit flavors, coffee and tobacco. Short to medium finish, but fresh and very pleasing. (88-89/100)

A great surprise and extremely pleasurable with veal fillet.

Degustare de vinuri mature din Bordeaux

September 11, 2013 Leave a comment

Degustare vinuri vechi frantuzesti

Zilele acestea mustul este pe buzele tuturor, producatori si consumatori, si la propriu si la figurat. Cum noi vrem sa fim altfel, va propunem o degustare de la polul opus acestui trend de inceput de toamna: vinuri mature. Frantuzesti, in marea lor majoritate, din Bordeaux, ca sa fim mai exacti, plus un spaniol pentru varietate.

Asadar, vinurile:
• 1975 Chateau Montrose, St-Estephe (CT 91, JMQ 96, Jancis R 18/20)

• 1979 Chateau Haut Bailly, Pessac Leognan (JMQ 92)

• 1985 Chateau Pontet Canet, Pauillac (CT 89)
• 1995 Chateau Pontet Canet, Pauillac (CT 91, ST 90, Decanter 18/20)

• 1990 Clos du Marquis, St-Julien (CT 90, WS 90, Decanter 18/20)
• 1996 Clos du Marquis, St-Julien (JMQ 92, ST 90)

• 1982 Murrieta Casstillo Ygay Eticheta Blanco, Rioja

Legenda: CT – CellarTracker; ST – Stephan Tanzer; WS – Wine Spectator; JMQ – Jean Marc Quarin

Ne intoarcem la locatia de inceput a degustarilor noastre, restaurantul Dada. Degustarea va avea loc joi, 19 septembrie 2013, de la ora 19:00, la restaurantul Dada (Str. Matei Voievod nr. 94bis). Sunt 10 locuri disponibile și fiecare costă 320 de lei, sumă care include vinurile, aperitivele și prezența noastră agreabilă.

Rezervări la +40722 141 879 (Nicușor) sau +40723 240 102 (Cosmin) sau pe email: cosmin.grozea@gmail.com si nicusor.cazan@gmail.com

2000 Chateau d’Yquem Sauternes

February 4, 2013 2 comments

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Last SAT was a very special one as during the same day I had several outstanding wines culminating with this legendary producer. On the same day I had a line-up of 3 Sauvignon Blanc’s: Saxenburg Private Collection Sauvignon Blanc 2011, Michel Redde Champs de Billon 2006 and La Spinetta Langhe Sauvignon Blanc 2006, all three outstanding examples and pure expressions of different terroirs and vinification processes. It followed a 2006 Trapiche Malbec Single Vineyard Adriana Venturin, showing the purity, richness and silkiness of Argentinian Malbec at its best. There was also a 2004 Clos des Papes Chateauneuf du pape prior to the sweet wine.

In the evening a friend decided to make a pleasant surprise and popped up a 2000 Chateau d’Yquem from the fridge. It is my third vintage of Yquem I try after 1996 and 1981. My mind and my heart still goes to the 1996.

Everybody probably knows that Chateau d’Yquem is the epitome of Sauternes, the producer and his wine being legendary for their pedigree, quality, aging potential and also being the only wine from Sauternes that qualifies in the Fine-Wines market as investment wine.

2000 Chateau d’Yquem Sauternes

Deep gold, light amber color. Well developed, very intense, elegant, complex and beautiful nose, combining sweetness and freshness almost to perfection. There is a kaleidoscope of aromas and just like the actors of a play that come gradually on the stage and give their performance, one can gradually feel aromas of saffron, caramelized pineapple, botrytis, baked quince, pear, peach and the amazing mint and fresh citrus fruit shaving components that build the sensation of freshness. Full bodied, seamless texture that feels like liquid silk in the mouth, outstanding balance between sweetness and acidity, that makes the palate both unctuous and lively, like a synchronized couple of dancers. There are layers and layers that wash the palate with pure and intense flavors of quince, pineapple, caramel, lemon and orange rind marmalade, with a light touch of Indian spices. Very long finish that reminds of orange and tangerine marmalade. It really makes you feel special when drinking this wine. (94-95/100)

SAT was a really good day.

2009 Blanc de Lynch Bages

November 21, 2012 1 comment

I had this wine over two days and, retrospectively, this was probably the best way to understand and judge it. Just uncorked and poured on the first day the overall impression was rather disappointing considering the pricing.

2009 Blanc de Lynch Bages

Color is pale yellow lemon with some green reflections. On the first day the nose is quite restraint, the aromas are discreet and the wine seems somehow not expressive. On day two the nose gets more intense, showing good freshness, bright fruits, acacia, grapefruit, smart oak and peach. Medium bodied, fresh, pleasant citrus and stone fruits, bananas and a touch of vanilla, and a medium finish with an exotic fruit flavor. Considering the behavior I would dare to recommend decanting this wine for 2-3 hours before drinking it. It would allow its flavors to shine and make the overall tasting far more enjoyable. (91/100)

A line up of Bordeaux: 2006, 2007 and more 2008’s

November 5, 2012 Leave a comment

I tasted a few Bordeaux wines last weekend, coming from different producers representative to their appellation: Ch l’Arrosse from St-Emilion, Reserve de la Comtesse the second wine of Ch Pichon Lalande from Pauillac, Ch Lascombes from Margaux, Ch Phelan-Segur from St-Estephe and Fugue de Nenin (2007) the second wine of Ch Nenin from Pomerol. There are some words to be said before going to the actual tasting notes.

Some of these producers: Arrosse, Phelan-Segur and Lascombes, use massive, heavy bottles, the ones that Ducru-Beaucaillou (using since 2003) and Cheval Blanc use, also very similar to New World Argentinian Malbec special bottling. Having a bold bottle will it make a bigger impact on the consumer and sell better ? Because from the transportation point of view, the cost will increase, making the wine more expensive, while environment friendly wine drinkers will not appreciate it either. Why change a tradition of almost 100 years that worked perfectly well. Working on the cork, now that’s a different story.

Aside from the 2007 Fugue de Nenin Pomerol which was quite modest and probably not getting any better with aging, the 2008 is a vintage that is drinkable already and also being able to hold well. Most of the wines I tasted have good extraction, pleasant fruit and approachable tannins, with very nice drink-ability.

The star of this line up was Chateau Lascombes 2006, and not necessarily because of the older vintage.

Reserve de la Comtesse 2008 Pauillac

Deep red garnet color. Fresh red fruits, cedar nose, very minty and fresh. Structured, mouth filling, full, coffee, tobacco, firm grip, yet still minty and fresh. Medium plus finish, with coffee and red currant aftertaste. Harmonious overall. (88-89/100)


Chateau Phelan Segur 2008 St-Estephe

Deep red garnet color. Fresh, minty, with warm forest floor, a light rusty note that disappears quickly after aeration and a hint of meat mixed with fresh red fruits. Also a good Cabernet Sauvignon like profile with shades of green vegetables. Full, structured, firm tannins, yet pleasant and welcoming, expressive flavors of espresso on the palate. Medium plus finish, chewy tannins, lingering flavors. Classic wine. (89/100)

Chateau Lascombes 2006 Margaux

The wine of the line up. Surprising blend for a Margaux: 50% Merlot, 45% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Petit Verdot.

Deep red garnet color. Complex and a step above all the others from the get go, more expressive, beautiful minerals, enticing: graphite, smoke, cassis, blackcurrant and meat. Mineral palate, full, lush, convincing, a really nice wine, complex. Medium plus  finish, mineral and red fruit. (91/100)

Chateau l’Arrosse 2008 Saint-Emilion

Red garnet color. Cedar, dry plums, vanilla, red fruits, feminine, rather restraint on the nose. Completely the opposite in the mouth: full, plump flavors on the palate, with plums, red fruits, a touch of figs, grippy tannins and also a bit of heat. Medium finish, with roasted coffee and hints of oak. (88-89/100)

If Lascombes was the best wine of the line up, the best quality/price ratio is Ch Phelan Segur.

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