Bordeaux v Burgundy event

The Square Restaurant - London
Tasted Sunday, July 17, 2011 by pjaines with 561 views

Introduction

The annual CellarTracker event where the best of Bordeaux go up against the best of Burgundy. This year The Bordeaux folks went for more mature wines which seemed a better match against the Burgundy wines. A truly exceptional evening where Yquem and Le Montrachet came bottom of my list, giving an idea of the quality of the wine we all drank.

Flight 1 - Champagne (1 Note)

  • 1995 Moët & Chandon Champagne Cuvée Dom Pérignon Oenothèque

    France, Champagne

    Drank over two different bottles which showed a touch of variation. The first bottle was much more restrained with more crisp fruit but the 2nd bottle was deeper with very rich brioche notes, hazelnuts and funky yeasty notes. The bubbles are being replaced by a more nuanced and still wine - excellent if you like your champers on the richer side (which I do)

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Flight 2 - The white wines (4 Notes)

  • 1978 Château Laville Haut-Brion Blanc

    France, Bordeaux, Graves, Pessac-Léognan

    Holy moly - this is a serious wine that needs to left alone in the glass for 20 minutes to let the aromatics come out and tickle the nostrils. So so so so restrained yet complex in an understated way. Lemon oil, grassy notes and some sweet honeyed notes that build up into a whisper of quality. Grrrrrrrr.

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  • 2000 Domaine Leflaive Bâtard-Montrachet

    France, Burgundy, Côte de Beaune, Bâtard-Montrachet Grand Cru

    Like sticking your head in a box of matches that have all been struck at the same time. Big, deep, flinty nose and palate - it is actually hard to get past this to be honest. I would struggle to drink more than a glass of this but on its own merits this has incredible depth. On the palate this is more forgiving with a more nuanced palate. I loved the glass I had but I would love the whole bottle? I prefer a touch more freshness in my whites but I can admire the quality on show here.

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  • 1988 Louis Latour Montrachet

    France, Burgundy, Côte de Beaune, Montrachet Grand Cru

    Deep gold colour - a very shy nose that expanded over 30 minutes but fell somewhat short of my heightened (and rather excited) expectation. Very pure palate that was very nuanced. I think this suffered from being compared against the rather flashy Leflaive Batard-Montrachet. Very nice stuff, but I was left wanting a touch more. A sign of age? Who knows.

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  • 2001 Domaine de Chevalier Blanc

    France, Bordeaux, Graves, Pessac-Léognan

    This was like taking a rubber band to a nuclear bomb fight - it was up against Montrachet,78 Laville Haut Brion and Leflaive Batard Montrachet. Nevertheless it came out with at least its modesty in-tact. Very young but over 30 minutes this started to show up some interest notes of sauvignon blanc notes with the richness of the semillion. Lemons, peach and white flowers. This is just far too young and to be honest needs to be enjoyed over 1-2 hours in a big ass glass that lets the flavours come out. I think this will be very nice, but needs time and a big glass to let the wine reveal its complexity. Needs time to open up.

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Flight 3 - Red flight#1 (4 Notes)

  • 1990 Château Gruaud Larose

    France, Bordeaux, Médoc, St. Julien

    If you had to explain what mature Bordeaux was to an alien then you would use your cosmic laser gun to shrink-wrap this and teleport it to far off planets and show them this wine. Not a wine to shout and scream from the rooftops but it oooooozes mature Bordeaux from every single pore. This may not win any awards or get Parker all excited, but it is in a place right now that should be much more appreciated. Excellent.

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  • 1982 Château Palmer

    France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Margaux

    Oh man oh man how sexy is this wine. Apparently this wine had done a world tour on various container ships and still it arrives dressed in silk and as fresh and elegant as Audrey Hepburn. Incredible note - earthy, soy sauce, sweet fruit, refined elegant, precise, wonderful. On the palate this is ethereal - maturity in excelsis. The only downside was the finish was a touch short, but this is really a minor criticism. Why buy 1st growths when you can get stuff like this for a fraction of the price. Truly brilliant.

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  • 1995 Domaine Armand Rousseau Père et Fils Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru Clos St. Jacques

    France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru

    The ultimate definition of a wine that changes in the glass. Tasted alongside the 88 and at first this was crisp, firm and shy but over 2 hours revealed a great balance of structure and mulchy forest floor. Cloudy appearance and reeks of farmyard. Sweet, stinky, mature and with acidity that keeps everything in check.

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  • 1988 Domaine Armand Rousseau Père et Fils Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru Clos St. Jacques

    France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru

    I'm quite new to this whole Burgundy lark but despite the high prices and hit-or-miss character of the wine when you taste wines like this you can forgive all the short comings. Funky, mulchy, dirty, wonderful fruit that tastes of the terroir. Not for those who like crisp, 4-square wines. Me like.

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Flight 4 - Red flight #2 (3 Notes)

  • 2000 Sylvain Cathiard Vosne-Romanée 1er Cru Aux Malconsorts

    France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Vosne-Romanée 1er Cru

    A great Burg that suffered from the competition on the night - firm fruit that is starting to show maturity but needs more time. Crisp cherry notes with secondary characteristics starting to show through. On its own, a great wine. Against Richbourgs probably not a fair comparison.

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  • 1982 Château Léoville Barton

    France, Bordeaux, Médoc, St. Julien

    This really cannot be almost 30 years old. Deep colour with a primary nose of black fruit and leafy cabernet notes. Quite crunchy on the palate - still so young and with depth and an earthy nature that points to years ahead of it. Barton all the way - these wines need a long time - I would almost say that this needs more time. Incredible.

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  • 1982 Château Léoville Poyferré

    France, Bordeaux, Médoc, St. Julien

    Slightly corked (...queue a rather animated debate at the table) but despite its short comings you still have to consider the following - it was as black as death and those nose was still young. The fruit still shone through and showed incredible depth and complexity. Almost 30 years old. Seriously? This is still young. Good stuff despite the corked element, without it this would have been astonishing. 2 lessons. #1. Dont buy first growths. #2 - age your bordeaux.

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Flight 5 - Red (4 Notes)

  • 1998 Domaine Anne Gros Richebourg

    France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Richebourg Grand Cru

    The only thing that stopped this wine being truly memorable was because of the Grivot Richebourg tasted alongside it. Pure fruit, amazingly clear appearance with tightly wound up earthy notes. Jeez - needs another 10 years.

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  • 1989 Domaine Jean Grivot Richebourg

    France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Richebourg Grand Cru

    Oh man, how wonderful is this stuff. Crystal clear with an incredible nose of laser-like precision of mushrooms and sous-bois. Fine fine fruit on the palate that is very precise and linear - nothing sticks out of place, this is just a wonderfully reserved and elegant Burgundy without any funkyness - just brilliant wine that whispers quality. Truly brilliant.

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  • 1982 Château Grand-Puy-Lacoste

    France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Pauillac

    Oh so young. Seriously. Iron filings, cherries, earth and deep, dark fruit that has such amazing structure - it is still tightly wound up but reeks of Bordeaux. Long, rich finish that tastes like a wine 20 years younger.

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  • 1982 Château Lynch-Bages

    France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Pauillac

    Tasted alongside other 1982s this was young and firm - classic Lynch Bages notes of beef stock but with brooding depth and cedar notes. Deep colour and lingering finish. Monumental.

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Flight 6 - Sweet whites (1 Note)

  • 1994 Château d'Yquem

    France, Bordeaux, Sauternais, Sauternes

    Is there such a thing as a poor Yquem? Maybe. I found this rather disappointing, with a short and burnt finish. All the usual Sauternes notes but without getting anywhere the complexity of the 2003 La Tour Blanche I had recently (at 10% of the price to boot). Bah!

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Closing

Wine of the night was the amazing Grivot Richebourg followed by the Palmer 1982.

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