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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.

The wine club @ La Brasserie: June 24th session

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There was another session of the Wine Club started a couple of months ago by Emil from La Brasserie and me. Our aim has and will be to sample some of the most interesting and exciting wines from all over the world. The thematic for this session was mainly red Bordeaux, but there was also an intruder served blind after the 1999 Margaux.

2003 Chateau Cap de Mourlin St-Emilion

Garnet, dark red color. Developed and evolved nose, really over ripe profile, intense aromas of stewed dark cherry, prunes, Mon Cherry candy – almost like an Amarone, dark chocolate, cocoa, leather and mildly minty. There is also a toasty aroma. Fully integrated tannins, supple Merlot based blend, balanced, stewed red fruit and cocoa on the palate. Medium finish and at its peak. An enjoyable wine that can go well with food. (87/100)

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2005 Chateau Gruaud Larose St Julien

Very dark, red garnet color. A well developed and intense nose that shows clear class above the first St-Emilion tasted. Very different than the 2006 Gruaud Larose I had in December and over an year ago. I prefer more this 2005. Well developed and youthful nose, complex, showing freshness and beautifully alternating between gamey, blood beef, smoky and pencil shavings aromas to sweet and fresh red fruit, black tea and green coffee bean. Full bodied, it has a very healthy ripe tannins backbone that will ensure a long life ahead, but always staying on the elegant path. There is enough substance to please any fan of Bordeaux and to allow a good evolution, but this is not a powerful wine. It surprises how smooth it feels on the palate for a 2005. Generous flavors of black tea, mocha, black currant and graphite coat the palate. Long and fresh finish, with grippy tannins in the aftertaste. 13% alc (92/100)

2002 Chateau Pontet Canet Pauillac

Coming from an average and rainy vintage, this is a real success story.

Red garnet color with no signs of aging. Expressive, complex and youthful nose, admirable balance between smoky, minerals, graphite aromas, intense primary aromas: black currant and cassis, and secondary: tobacco, green bean coffee, tea leaves, with an enjoyable flamboyance of fruit. Full bodied and well structured, refreshing, fully ripe and sweet tannins, with generous flavors of cassis and black tea leaves on the palate. This combines power and elegance, already showing a smooth character with rounded tannins. Long finish, fruity, with additional coffee and black tea mild bitterness. This shows extract and richness, and does not have anything of the diluted character seen in other 2002 Bordeaux. 13% alc (93/100)

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1999 Chateau Margaux

The wine of the night for me and for most of the attendants.

Dark garnet color. Profound, well developed, youthful and maturing nose that smells and tastes differently with every sip. Complex and deeply aromatic profile, with aromas shifting from sweet ripe fruit, red and black currant, cassis, plums, to smoky minerals and even a hint of brett. The richness of its flavors and the depth on the palate is unmatched by any of the previous wines. Fully ripe and healthy tannins, smooth and velvety, but yet firm and assertive, always elegant and aristocratic, everything seems to be in the right place for this wine. Intense fruit, velvety texture, layered on the palate, with complex smoky and mineral flavors. Long finish, really fresh and very convincing. This seems to be in a perfect drinking period where it could stay for another few decades. 12.5% alc (95/100)

The blind tasted wine was a challenge launched by Emil to all of us. Initially presented as a 2007 Romanian Cabernet Sauvignon it did not convince anybody to be a Cabernet.

2007 GAJA Conteisa

After the 1999 Margaux any wine faces a great challenge to convince and impress. Yet this wine managed to do it.

Saturated ruby red color. Deep, complex and expressive already on the nose, it immediately seduces with its minty, pine needle freshness, dried rose petals, tar and additional layers of sweet red fruit, undergrowth and spice. Full bodied, perfectly ripe, round and sweet tannins, supple, intense and rich flavors on the palate mirroring the nose, with perhaps a deeper and fuller aromatic profile. Its amazing how balanced it feels. Elegant and feminine wine in spite of its mountain of tannins. Long finish, fresh and complex. 14.5% (94/100)

What a night.

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.

Chateau Giscours 2007 Margaux

September 6, 2012 Leave a comment

2007 was not a generous vintage for red wines in Bordeaux, it was certainly much better for the whites. Usually, the 2007 reds had unripe fruit, with herbaceous aromas, are rather thin on the palate, but the good part is that many are ready to drink already. There are certainly exceptions, but generally speaking that is the mark of the vintage.

Chateau Giscours 2007 Margaux

Dark red garnet color. There is a good intensity of aromas, a very nice and developed nose, with great typicality. There are exuberant aromas of smoky oak, black cherry, graphite, coffee and plenty of green vegetables: green bell peppers, asparagus and cut hay. Medium to full body on the palate, medium acidity, with friendly tannins, rather mellow considering its age, but well structured. Similar flavors on the palate, however the wine shows some lack of substance on the mid palate. Medium finish, a bit bitter, showing a mild presence of tannins in the aftertaste. The wine shows a good openness already and it drinks very well. The greenness is quite pronounced so I would suspect that this is the mark of the 2007 vintage. It is pleasant to drink as it is but I am not sure how much it will improve in time. There is no problem holding it for at least another 5 possible 8 years, but this is after all a vintage for short time enjoyment. (89-90/100)

I guess the problem with 2007 is that the quality is lower than the 2006 but the prices were a bit higher. So in many cases 2001 and 2004 can be better value for money, as the prices were much lower before the 2005 vintage. Consider your options and choose wisely.

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