CellarTracker Bordeaux Trip

Bordeaux, France
Tasted Monday, May 23, 2011 - Thursday, May 26, 2011 by MattTM with 908 views

Flight 1 - Visit to Château Pontet-Canet (Pauillac, Bordeaux, France) (2 Notes)

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Château Pontet-Canet

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  • 2005 Château Pontet-Canet

    France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Pauillac

    (5/23/2011)

    The nose really stole the show here, truly wonderful. Captivating floral aromas upfront, along with prune, dark dried fruits, earth, currant, then giving way to fresh red and black berries. Gorgeous depth on the nose. Palate was a bit tight and not giving too much, especially compared to how open the nose was, although this was to be expected considering how young this is. More violet on the palate, along with black cherry, blackberry, a touch of blueberry, and some tart red plum. Plenty of silky tannins, lots of acidity, yet not overwhelming, and extremely dry. Long finish, with notes on blackberry at the end. Fantastic.

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  • 2010 Château Pontet-Canet

    France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Pauillac

    (5/23/2011)

    Barrel sample. Huge nose showing tons of black cherry, along with red plum, wild field strawberries, fresh blackberries, and some floral notes. Incredibly dense on the palate, showing lots of black cherry, blackberry, black licorice - anise, oak, black currant, and a touch of earthiness. Extreme acidity at this point, along with a ton of tongue numbing, lush, velvety tannins. Long+ finish, with some black cherry at the end. Fantastic.

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Flight 2 - Visit to Château Mouton Rothschild (Pauillac, Bordeaux, France) (1 Note)

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2010 Barrel Sample of Château Mouton Rothschild

  • 2010 Château Mouton Rothschild

    France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Pauillac

    (5/23/2011)

    Barrel sample. 94% Cab 6% Merlot. Great nose, while slightly elegant and restrained, the aromas meshed very well together and proved to be very attractive. Tons of sweet black currant on the nose, followed by aromas of plum, blueberry, spice, dark dried fruits, and a touch of leather. Black currant comes through again strong on the palate, which is to be expected from Mouton, along with notes of black cherry, tar, ripe blueberry, prune, and some clove spice. The 14% alcohol is evident, but not overwhelming. A moderate amount of chalky, drying tannins, with medium+ acidity. Long finish, with notes of cassis and tar at the end. All in all this is very well balanced, and surprisingly approachable given its age. This is already enjoyable. Fantastic.

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Flight 3 - Visit to Château Lynch-Bages (Pauillac, Bordeaux, France) (2 Notes)

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The barrel room at Château Lynch-Bages

  • 2004 Château Lynch-Bages

    France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Pauillac

    (5/23/2011)

    Lots of rich, dark dried fruits on the nose, along with a solid presence of dark cherry. Some floral characteristics are present, as well as plum and a touch of spice. Tobacco leaves a strong mark on the palate, followed by a fair bit of leather, complimented by more cherry, plum, boysenberry, and spice. Not a lot of tannin present, but the acidity is still quite evident. Medium finish, ending with notes or tart cherry. While showing OK presently, this clearly needs more time, but will be far from impressive. OK

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  • 2010 Château Lynch-Bages

    France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Pauillac

    (5/23/2011)

    Barrel sample. Inky, almost neon purple in the glass. The nose shows a solid amount of dark berries – blackberry, blueberry – along with dark cherry, cigar leaf, asphalt, some clove and black pepper spice, along with some floral characteristics. Cigar box pops up again on the palate, along with some black plum, dark dried fruits, leather, a touch of tart cherry, and a good amount of tobacco. Shows a solid amount of dusty tannins, with medium+ acidity. Long finish, ending with an interesting note of maple. Good.

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Flight 4 - Visit to Château Grand-Puy-Lacoste (Pauillac, Bordeaux, France) (4 Notes)

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The vines of Château Grand-Puy-Lacoste

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2010 Barrel Sample's of Château Grand-Puy-Lacoste and Château Haut-Batailley

  • 2010 Lacoste Borie

    France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Pauillac

    (5/23/2011)

    Barrel sample. Lots of plum coming through on the nose, along with some prune, a strong aroma of black pepper spice, and a touch of asphalt. A good does of spice follow up the nose with it’s presence on the palate, along with more plum, prune, some tar notes, and a bit of cigar. Not a lot of tannin, with average acidity. Medium finish, showing tar and plum at the end. Light – medium bodied, and quite mild overall.

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  • 2010 Château Haut-Batailley

    France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Pauillac

    (5/23/2011)

    Barrel sample. Great nose on this, framed by lots of big, crisp black cherry, showing plum, clove and black pepper spice, raspberry, and a bit of blueberry. Following up the nose is a strong showing of black cherry on the palate, along with some tart plum, asphalt, and black pepper spice. Moderate tannins are evident, with medium+ acidity. Medium bodied, with a long finish, ending with notes of black cherry. I thoroughly enjoyed this, especially if the price remains competitive like in previous vintages. Good.

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  • 2010 Château Grand-Puy-Lacoste

    France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Pauillac

    (5/23/2011)

    Barrel sample. Huge, wonderful nose, showing beautiful aromas of sweet rich black cherry, plum, prune, lead pencil, ripe blueberry, and some floral notes. While great as well, the palate is a touch more restrained then the nose. Stewed black cherry, slightly sweet plum, blackberry, cranberry, and a touch of mild black pepper on the palate. Full bodied, with a solid amount of silky smooth tannins, and medium acidity. Long, dry finish, ending with notes of black cherry. Very good.

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  • 2005 Château Grand-Puy-Lacoste

    France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Pauillac

    (5/23/2011)

    Fantastic nose, flaunting aromas of cassis, graphite, lead pencil, dark dried fruits, violets, cherry, black plum, all wrapped in a suitable amount of oak. Lots of dark plums come across on the palate, followed by cherry, prune, graphite, cigar leaf, and some lead pencil. Full bodied, with medium+ acidity and gripping, chalky tannins. Long finish, ending with notes of cherry and lead pencil shavings. For this being barely over 5 years old, this wasn’t as tightly wound as I expected it to be, and was actually approachable right now. However, there is no denying that many more years in the cellar will serve this well. Very good.

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Flight 5 - Visit to Château Pichon-Longueville Baron (Pauillac, Bordeaux, France) (4 Notes)

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Château Pichon-Longueville Baron

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  • 2010 Château Pichon-Longueville Baron

    France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Pauillac

    (5/23/2011)

    Barrel sample. What an outstanding nose on this, showing tons of dense dark plum, black currant, asphalt, tobacco, some clove spiciness, and a nice touch of charred oak. Great structure on the palate, which was dominated by black cherry, along with some cassis, tobacco, clove, and a bit of tar. There is no shortage of chalky tannin present, with medium+ acidity. Long+ finish, ending with notes of cherry and tar. There is no doubting this wine has outstanding potential, and will be fabulous down the road. Fantastic.

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  • 2009 Château Pichon-Longueville Baron

    France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Pauillac

    (5/23/2011)

    Barrel sample. While not as forward as the 2010 at the present time, the nose was still wonderful, showing lots of plum, graphite, cassis, and tar, along with some leather and a touch of fresh mint. However, the palate isn’t hiding in the slightest, showing copious amounts of cassis, cigar leaf, lead pencil shavings, oak, slightly sweet black cherry, and a touch of tar. Dense and full bodied, with dusty mouth drying tannins and medium+ acidity. Long+ finish, ending with a note of cassis. Little doubt this will be outstanding with some time under its belt. Fantastic.

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  • 2008 Château Pichon-Longueville Baron

    France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Pauillac

    (5/23/2011)

    Amazing nose, with a heavy presence of coffee bean, followed by rich black currant, dark plum, graphite, charred oak, lead pencil shavings, and rich dark dried fruits. Following up it’s display on the nose comes a coating of espresso on the palate, along with black cherry, dark plum, cassis, prune, pencil shavings, and some tar. Medium+ acidity, along with moderate drying tannins. Long finish, ending with a note of coffee bean. Very classically styled, and having tasted this now twice in the last 6 months, this confirms my admiration for this wine. Well balanced, and great structure. Fantastic.

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  • 2003 Château Pichon-Longueville Baron

    France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Pauillac

    (5/23/2011)

    Served blind. Coffee bean comes through strong on the smoky nose, along with some sweet black cherry, plum, dark chocolate, tar, and some spice. More black cherry and plum on the palate, as well as some tar, charred oak, espresso, cigar box, lead pencil, and clove spice. A decent amount of dry, chalky tannins, with not a lot of acidity. Long finish, ending with lots of coffee and a touch of spice at the end. I had this pegged as older than an ’03, while it showed dense ripe fruits, it was also drinking more mature and subdued than most of the 03’s I’ve tasted recently. Very good.

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Flight 6 - Visit to Domaine de Chevalier (Graves, Bordeaux, France) (3 Notes)

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The incredibly entertaining Remy Edange of Domaine de Chevalier

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  • 2010 Domaine de Chevalier

    France, Bordeaux, Graves, Pessac-Léognan

    (5/24/2011)

    Barrel sample. Big nose filled with aromas of fresh dark cherries, cassis, earth, a nice strawberry element and some charred oak. Lots more cassis follow up on the palate, as well as black cherry, cranberry, spice, and a bit of asphalt. A moderate amount of mouth drying chalky tannins are showing, with medium acidity. Long finish, with some black currant coming through at the end. Very well balanced, yet more elegant than the other barrel samples tasted so far. Very good.

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  • 2005 Domaine de Chevalier

    France, Bordeaux, Graves, Pessac-Léognan

    (5/24/2011)

    Great nose on this, giving off beautiful aromas of cassis, black cherry, plum, lead pencil, charred oak, asphalt, and some nice floral elements. Tons of cassis on the palate, along with black cherry, plum, black pepper, a bit of tar, and some graphite. Very well balanced, with medium acidity and some dusty, slightly gritty tannins. Long dry finish, with a note of cassis at the end. Elegant yet structured, this will be a beauty with some more time in bottle. Very good.

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  • 2010 Domaine de Chevalier Blanc

    France, Bordeaux, Graves, Pessac-Léognan

    (5/24/2011)

    Barrel sample. Amazing nose. Bright and fresh, emitting beautiful aromas of ripe tropical fruits. Lots of pineapple, passion fruit, lychee, lemon and lime citrus, and some floral violet notes. I would have been happy spending the afternoon with my nose in the glass. Luckily, the palate did follow in it’s footsteps. Creamy yet crisp, with more tropical flavors. Guava, grapefruit, lemon peel, lime, and a nice note of minerality, followed by a touch of charred oak. Great medium+ acidity to balance it all off, with a medium+ length finish, ending with a note of pineapple. A real knockout. Outstanding.

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Flight 7 - Visit to Château Smith Haut Lafitte (Graves, Bordeaux, France) (2 Notes)

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A row of Château Smith Haut Lafitte situated in Daniel Cathiard's personal cellar

  • 2007 Château Smith Haut Lafitte

    France, Bordeaux, Graves, Pessac-Léognan

    (5/24/2011)

    Big nose, showing copious amounts of smoky oak, along with dark plum, cherry, tar, and black pepper. The palate displays a lot of black plum, along with black cherry, blackberry, currant, dates, and more smoky oak. There was a lot of smoke character on both the nose and palate, which apparently is a characteristic that mostly comes from the terroir. Medium acidity, with a slight amount of fine tannins. Medium finish, ending with a note of black plum. Good.

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  • 2008 Château Smith Haut Lafitte Blanc

    France, Bordeaux, Graves, Pessac-Léognan

    (5/24/2011)

    Nice fresh nose, exhibiting a lot of floral aromas, along with some crisp pear, petrol, tart lemon oil, and orange peel. The palate is a touch mellow and with an oily texture, showing lemon, white peach, apricot, minerals, and some smoky oak. Medium acidity, with a short-medium finish ending with a note of lemon. Good.

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Flight 8 - Lunch at Château Smith Haut Lafitte (4 Notes)

  • 2001 Château Cantelys Blanc

    France, Bordeaux, Graves, Pessac-Léognan

    (5/24/2011)

    A nice pleasant nose on this, with aromas of stewed pear, peach, salmon berries, candied ginger, and a touch of charred oak. Much more subdued on the palate, yet showing some nice flavors of toffee and caramel, along with some peach, apricot, and lemon. Low acidity, with a short finish, ending with a note of peach. Light, easy drinking. OK

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  • 2009 Les Hauts de Smith Blanc

    France, Bordeaux, Graves, Pessac-Léognan

    (5/24/2011)

    Beautiful nose, exhibiting lots of smoky charred oak, along with some melon, pear, a touch of spice, and a floral component. More charred oak follow through on the palate, as well as some sweet pear, red apple, a bit of mandarin orange peel, and some minerality. Medium acidity, with a long finish, showing sweet pear at the end. Not a ton of complexity, but was thoroughly enjoyable. Good.

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  • 2006 Château Smith Haut Lafitte

    France, Bordeaux, Graves, Pessac-Léognan

    (5/24/2011)

    Nice rich nose, showing a ton of prune, along with a good amount of dark plum, blackberries, asphalt, earth, and what I would describe as crushed rocks. Lots more prune carries through to the palate, marred with black plum, black cherries, asphalt, graphite, lead pencil, as well as some currants thrown in. A good amount of chalky tannins are evident, with medium acidity. Very dry. Long finish, ending with notes of prune and plum. Well balanced, and was actually quite approachable, and was already showing some maturity. Good.

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  • 1998 Château Smith Haut Lafitte

    France, Bordeaux, Graves, Pessac-Léognan

    (5/24/2011)

    From magnum. Enjoyable nose exhibiting a solid amount of plum, followed by cassis, black cherry, cigar box, tar, lead pencil, along with some clove spice. In turn, the slightly feminine palate shows a nice balance of cherry, dark plum, spice, prune, and cigar leaf. Some drying tannins are still hanging around, but not in abundance. Medium acidity, combined with a long finish with notes of rich plum at the end. This was drinking young and fresh, with great balance. Good.

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Flight 9 - Visit to Château La Mission Haut-Brion (Graves, Bordeaux, France) (2 Notes)

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Château La Mission Haut-Brion

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The barrel room at Château La Mission Haut-Brion

  • 2007 Château La Mission Haut-Brion

    France, Bordeaux, Graves, Pessac-Léognan

    (5/24/2011)

    This opens with a huge nose, showing a good layer of spice and tar, along with a dose of plum, back cherry, prune, and a subtle hint of coffee bean. I found the nose was much more open than the '07 Haut Brion which we tasted along side this. Moving on to the palate, which was showing even bigger than the nose. Lush dark plum, a coating of chocolate, dark cherry, a bit of prune, and a touch of tartness to cap it off. Very dry, with medium acidity, and a moderate amount of dusty tannin. Medium+ finish, ending with notes of chocolate, spice, and plum. Very good.

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  • 2007 Château Haut-Brion

    France, Bordeaux, Graves, Pessac-Léognan

    (5/24/2011)

    While more subdued on the nose than the ’07 La Mission Haut Brion tasted along side, this displayed a gorgeous nose showing a lot of floral characteristics, along with some chocolate, raspberry, cherry, cranberry and tart plum. The palate really stole the show however, coming through strong with more chocolate, plum, black cherry, espresso, tobacco, a bit of clove, and some smoky nuances. Great structure here for an ’07, with a good dose of acidity and a lot of chalky tannins, albeit slightly elegant in style. Well balanced, with a long+ finish, ending with notes of cassis and tart cherry. Fantastic.

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Flight 10 - Visit to Château d'Yquem (Sauternais, Bordeaux, France) (1 Note)

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One of the many historic structures at Château d'Yquem

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Pouring the 2007 Château d'Yquem

  • 2007 Château d'Yquem

    France, Bordeaux, Sauternais, Sauternes

    (5/24/2011)

    Fantastic, captivating nose that would bring a smile to any wine lovers face. Gorgeous layered aromas of sweet creamy honey, soft chewy caramel, apricot, apple sauce, honeysuckle, and some lovely floral components. Fortunately, the palate does not disappoint. Dense and oily in texture, while exhibiting great structure, showing a strong element of apricot, followed by honey, ripe pear, candied peach, apple sauce, and a touch of spice that just coats the tongue. Great acidity brings everything into a perfect balance to compliment the full bodied nature of this wine. Long finish, leaving a note of fresh honey behind on the palate. Outstanding.

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Flight 11 - Visit to Château de la Rivière (Fronsac, Bordeaux, France) (3 Notes)

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Château de la Rivière

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The entrance to the cellar of Château de la Rivière

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The historic tasting room buried deep inside the cellar of Château de la Rivière

  • 2005 Château de la Rivière

    France, Bordeaux, Libournais, Fronsac

    (5/25/2011)

    Lots of dried fruits on the nose at first – raisin, dates – followed by a strong showing of plum, as well as black cherry, blackberry, and some strawberry thrown in. The palate was extremely tight, really not giving much at this point in time. What I could manage was red plum, black cherry, tart red currant, cranberry, and black pepper on the palate. A fair bit of chalky tannins were displayed, with medium+ acidity. Medium finish, ending with notes of tart red plum. OK.

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  • 2008 Château de la Rivière

    France, Bordeaux, Libournais, Fronsac

    (5/25/2011)

    Great nose. At first a big dose of freshly ground coffee beans come through, followed by rich black cherry, plum, chocolate, dates, all wrapped in a bouquet of oak. The palate does not disappoint, showing a generous amount of espresso, as well as leather, black plum, bitter chocolate, cassis, red cherry, and a touch of cranberry. Medium acidity, along with some light dusty tannins. Medium finish, ending with notes of coffee bean and leather. Already enjoyable, this was drinking well. Good.

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  • 2001 Château de la Rivière Aria

    France, Bordeaux, Libournais, Fronsac

    (5/25/2011)

    100% Merlot. Huge nose, showing off aromas of coffee bean, chocolate, rich black cherry, dark plum, a touch of blueberry, asphalt, and leather. Still a tad tight on the palate, giving off black currents, rich chocolate, espresso, and some bitterness in the form of red plum and boysenberry. Tons of acidity, along with a generous amount of dusty, drying tannins. Long finish, showing notes of coffee and chocolate at the end. This clearly needs more time in bottle, but shows good potential down the road. Very good.

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Flight 12 - Visit to Château La Conseillante (Pomerol, Bordeaux, France) (1 Note)

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2010 Barrel sample of Château La Conseillante

  • 2010 Château La Conseillante

    France, Bordeaux, Libournais, Pomerol

    (5/25/2011)

    Barrel sample. Ok, where to begin. Completely captivated by the nose, which was not shy in the least. Huge, kicking off tons of ripe fruit in the form of blackberries, black cherry, dark plum, cassis, with a touch of raspberry, all wrapped in a layer of toasted oak. From there the palate did not disappoint. Wonderful, rich dense flavors of cassis, plum, sweet fresh blackberries, asphalt, toasted oak, along with a fabulous floral component in the form of violets. Velvety with fantastic texture, and extremely well balanced. A copious amount of fine tannins melded with a generous amount of acidity. What seemed like a never ending finish faded away leaving behind a note of cassis at the end. This is close to perfection for me, and I would have to say was my wine of the trip. Outstanding!

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Flight 13 - Visit and dinner at Château Coutet (Barsac, Bordeaux, France) (4 Notes)

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Château Coutet

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The barrel room at Château Coutet

  • 2010 Château Coutet

    France, Bordeaux, Sauternais, Barsac

    (5/25/2011)

    Barrel sample. This was something special. Seductive sweet nose of candied ginger, apricot, ripe pear, peach, candied orange peel, as well as some honey and a touch of spice. Complimenting the nose was a viscous, tongue-coating palate of sweet ripe Bartlett pear, gingerbread, candied tangerine peel, honey, minerals, combined with some gorgeous floral characteristics. Medium+ acidity brings this together to show a ton of complexity, yet great balance even in this young stage of its life. Long+ finish, ending with a note of honey and ginger spice. Fantastic.

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  • 1998 Château Coutet

    France, Bordeaux, Sauternais, Barsac

    (5/25/2011)

    A ton of sweetness coming through on the nose, showing ripe pear, dried apricot, gingerbread, a generous amount of spice, along with caramel and salty toffee. Moving on to the palate the caramel really shows strong, as well as red apple, pear, salt, dried apricot, some petrol, toast, cinnamon, some smoke, and a lot of nutty characteristics. I found this wine to be quite spice heavy all the way around. Full bodied, with medium+ acidity to help bring it together. Long finish, with notes of caramel and spice at the end. Very good.

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  • 1976 Château Coutet

    France, Bordeaux, Sauternais, Barsac

    (5/25/2011)

    Some interesting petrol and sulfur components on display upfront, followed by a heavy does of nutty aromas, as well as dried apricot, dried peach, and dates. Ground nuts really take the forefront on the crisp palate, followed by some nutmeg spiciness, petrol, dried apricot, salty toffee, and a touch of coffee bean. Medium bodied, with medium acidity, and not a lot of sweetness remaining. Medium length finish, ending with a note of mixed nuts. I had the pleasure of enjoying this along side Aline Baly, who mentioned that 1976, similar to 2011 so far, had an extremely hot and dry spring. Could be a glimpse into what is to come for the 2011 vintage if the rest of the growing season follows the same path. Good.

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  • 1989 Château Coutet

    France, Bordeaux, Sauternais, Barsac

    (5/25/2011)

    Beautiful yet graceful nose, exhibiting a generous amount of honey aromas, along with some apricot, stewed pear, a lot of floral components, all capped off with a light touch of spice. Following up the nose was a delicious, viscous palate of more honey, sweet ripe pear, red apple, ginger, a touch of nuttiness, and some floral components. Along with this was a nice hit of spice on the mid palate. Medium bodied, with medium+ acidity. Medium length finish ending with a note of honey. Very good.

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Flight 14 - Visit to Château Margaux (Margaux, Bordeaux, France) (2 Notes)

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Château Margaux

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  • 2007 Pavillon Rouge du Château Margaux

    France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Margaux

    (5/26/2011)

    Elegant, yet rich nose giving off a strong aroma of cassis, followed by blackberries, cigar box, plum, and a touch of tar. Complimenting the nose is a slightly tart palate composed of lots of dark plum and tar, as well as cranberry, cherry, raspberry, cigar leaf, and some clove spice. Extremely dry, with mouth-puckering chalky tannins, along with an abundance of acidity. Medium+ finish, ending with a note of black currants. Fresh and elegant, in a non over-extracted traditional sense. OK.

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  • 2007 Château Margaux

    France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Margaux

    (5/26/2011)

    Huge, rich nose kicking off a ton of espresso and black cherry, along with aromas of chocolate, cassis, cigar leaf, and some nutmeg spiciness. A fantastic and complex nose which makes this very enjoyable. Following up the nose is a slightly tart palate, composed of black cherry, coffee bean, tobacco, cigar box, some clove spice, and a hit of tart currents. Elegant mouth feel, with great balance. A solid showing of smooth drying tannins, with medium+ acidity. Long finish, ending with notes of coffee and chocolate. Very good.

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Flight 15 - Visit to Château Rauzan-Ségla (Margaux, Bordeaux, France) (2 Notes)

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Château Rauzan-Ségla

  • 2010 Château Rauzan-Ségla

    France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Margaux

    (5/26/2011)

    Barrel sample. Wow. Huge, rich, dense nose displaying a ton of cassis, along with some mocha, dark stewed plum, a hit of spice, as well as some cherry aromas. Not quite as dense on the palate, which I welcomed, yet showed great texture. Espresso, black and red currants, cherry, a hit of oak, some floral components, and a slight touch of tart plum cap off the palate. Medium+ acidity, with a good dose of fine dusty tannins, brings this all together to a wonderful balance. Long finish, with a note of mocha at the end. Fantastic.

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  • 2006 Château Rauzan-Ségla

    France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Margaux

    (5/26/2011)

    Beautiful nose, with the first impression being the floral characteristics, followed by cherry, dark plum, prune, figs, leather, a hint of lead pencil, and a touch of fresh mint. Seemed a bit tight to me on the palate, yet was not completely hiding. Leather, dark plum, black cherry, some nutmeg spice, espresso, cigar leaf, along with tart currants round out the palate. Great balance, with medium acidity and a moderate amount of smooth tannins. Medium+ finish, ending with notes of cassis and espresso. Very good.

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