Tasted Thursday, March 29, 2012 - Wednesday, April 4, 2012 by dcwino with 1,214 views
After suffering from allergy, I was relieved to head to Bordeaux. Despite having to book two separate flights, my trip was going well until I found out that my luggage didn’t arrive. Then no GPS to rent meant my trip to Chateau Siaurac became an adventure as my brain was in sleep mode considering it was 3 am eastern time. Thankfully I had a printout of the direction and with God’s help, I arrived at the Chateau.
Paul the proprietor kindly greeted me to my room and I just crashed for a couple hours.
Kelly talking to Paul woke me up. Kelly was in better shape than I. We sat out on the lawn as it was a glorious day. Unfortunately the pollen count was as high as in DC. After enjoying the sun for awhile, we headed to St Emillion. It is becoming a ritual that we go to the wine bar where Alain Vauthier and other vignerons hang out daily. Kelly ordered 2008 J.M. Boillot Chassagne-Montrachet which once again confirmed that the 08 whites are great.
Six of us sat down for a late dinner. The dinner at the Chateau Siaurac is always wonderful and this was no exception. We started with a nice pate that went well with the 2003 Göttelmann Münsterer Rheinberg Riesling Spätlese. The dinner was a slowly cooked young veal dish with vegetables that were wonderful.
The 08 CRD wines were easier to taste than the 07s. The 08s in general seem to show fresh fruits and good structure. Unfortunately more than half of them displayed dry tannins and some chateaus extracted too much and used the new oak which made the tannins even drier. If you are interested in buying the 08 CRDs, I would only buy those who got good scores from all the critics and cellar them for minimum of ten years.
On Friday night, Chateau Siaurac kindly hosted GJE members and the CRD producers for a wonderful dinner. After finishing a glass of the 86 Comtes de Champagne, some of GJE members had a mini session to drink the Coche and the Gaja. After the dinner, we also drank the Egon Muller and the Dunn.
The Saturday dinner was hosted by always kind Catherine Péré-Vergé. We first tasted the 11s at the chai. After tasting the 08 Lindaflor La Violeta, Kelly and I agree that this may be a great ringer to a cult cab blind tasting. The dinner wines were 2004 & 2006 Montviel and 2001, 2004 and 2008 Le Gay. I was pleasantly surprised by how the Montviel showed the Pomerol typicity with truffle, black fruits and mushroom.
*I ran into Neal Martin who was hard at work. He took a while to taste through the 11 and the property’s Argentine wines, joining the dinner only at the last moment as the last guest.
I was pleasantly surprised by the freshness and concentration but as noted by others, a lot showed dry tannins. The highest rating for me was around 94. I clearly preferred Pomerol. Overall, Jeff Leve’s assessment is right on the money.
For the past three vintages, I tasted the wines consulted by Stephane Derenoncourt, Michel Rolland and Hubert de Bouard. Stephane’s wines are always fresher and in 2011 the tannins are rounder while showing the freshness. All the wines of Stephane showed well.
Catherine Péré-Vergé invited GJE for a lunch at Chateau Le Gay. I got a chance to re-taste the wines which were showing well once again.
Alexandre was clearly excited about the 11. I enquired about the 10 and he kindly poured the wine.
The wines of Gerard Perse are quite fresh.
As I mentioned before, I have been very impressed by the wines that are consulted by Stephane. The wines seem to carry more freshness while not losing the sweet fruits. If these wines are the good communal representation, Grave and the right banks have done extremely well where the left bank have done very poorly.
*I initially considered not scoring the wines of Boxwood but ended up posting my ratings so that hopefully people will not waste their money. It is close to undrinkable.
Kelly W received the invitation to Le Gay and this dinner and I sort of force myself and got the invitation of my own thanks to Jean Pierre, a jovial event organizer.
It was another magnificent day in St Emillion. There was every vintages of Chateau Pavie starting 1995 to 2010. The room was slightly too warm and having tasted so many 2011s earlier in the day, the wines seem a bit matured than I am used to. The stylistic change in pre vs post Perse wines was drastic and for my palate definitely for better. Perhaps the key to this set of TNs is not whether the 00 or 05 should have gotten higher scores but how all Perse era Pavies had excellent and consistent showing and none showed much weakness. I tasted upto the 06 then walked outside to join Kelly and Marie who were enjoying the weather and sipping champagne at the terrace as I was wined
The restaurant was freshened up only a month earlier and the setting was magnificent but the dishes were even more impressive. Great fresh ingredients that are well understood and perfectly executed. The dinner wines were quite impressive, in particular the 08 Monbousquet Blanc which was bold, fresh and complex. It was a great event and my sincere gratitude goes to Mr. Perse.
Our first visit of the left bank always starts at Chateau Haut Brion and La Mission Haut Brion which is always a pleasure. Grand Jury Europeen’s tasting session has been held at the second floor private tasting room of the chapelle with Mr. Delmas and the prince. This year, it was just with Mr. Delmas.
Chateau Haut Brion along with Chateau Latour are my favorite Bordeaux and based on my past conversation with passionate Bordeaux lovers, a lot of them seem to prefer Haut Brion as well. I find it interesting that despite the preference, Haut Brion never gets the same kind of demand as Latour and Lafite. Is it because Haut Brion and La Mission Haut Brion are in the middle of suburb of Graves? I have no idea.
I love Burgundy but have no idea how to identify the different communes when tasted blind. Not so here. The wines of La Mission Haut Brion are bold, masculine, fresh and expressive where the wines of Haut Brion are noble, gentle and precise showing a great deal of inner energy not unlike a great Musigny. The continuity does not only apply to the reds but also to the whites. Overall I really loved the 11s at the property and in the case of La Mission, I preferred it over the 10.
Although some of the high end wine lovers are highly critical of Pape Clement and the wines of Mr. Magrez for being too manipulated, Château La Tour Carnet Château Fombrauge and Château Les Grands Chênes represent very good value. I thought all showed quite well perhaps a couple points below last year. Both the Magrez Fombrauge and Pape Clement were a few points below the 10s (93-95 pts).
We first tasted Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot separately. This clearly demonstrated that Merlot is the grape of 2011. Cabernet Sauvignon felt a bit diluted and tired.
Dominique Befve joined us for lunch. He has always been passionate about Chateau Lascombes. He expressed his excitement for the new owner’s, MACSF insurance group, commitement to Chateau Lacombes. I enquired whether there will be a stylistic change in wine making and he said no.
Apparently the yield in 2011 was terrible. Mr. Pontallier mentioned all the positive aspects of the vintage but also professed that this is not like the 09 or 10.
It is always wonderful to visit Chateau Pichon Longueville. Jean-Rene Matignon, the technical director of the chateau received us as usual. Christian Seely was also there to greet us. Jean-Rene kindly opened the 09 and the 10 which was quite educational. Most of us preferred the hedonistic nature of the 09 over the freshness and the purity of the 10.
This is one of the most beautiful Properties in Bordeaux for me. I tend to prefer Pichon Comtesse to Pichon Longueville with some age on but I definitely preferred the 11 Longueville.
Out last stop was at Leoville Poyferre. Mr. Cuvelier greeted us. I found out from a fellow GJE member that Mr. Cuvelier took the monumental task of replanting the vineyards which is now paying off.
Four of Grand Jury Europeen members got together at one of our favorite spots in Bordeaux. Laurent Vialette who’s mission is to experience as many great bottles of wine as possible in life brought some great wines and I added the 92 Leflaive BBM. We ordered the 09 Coche, the 08 VR 1er and the 08 La Tache off the list. This dinner like the ones from the past was memorable. Great friends drinking great wines.
Kelly and I got thirsty and stopped at Willi’s to share a bottle of white and enjoy people watching. BTW, I have been coming here and find the food very good although we didn’t get a chance to eat this time.
We wanted something simple and Kelly was able to get a last minute reservation through his friend. There is nothing pretentious about the place and very local. The dishes were superb. We noticed the table next to us were enjoying their wines and we sent three glasses of the 05 Foucault breze and in turn they poured the Domaine Gramenon Côtes du Rhône which was delicious and drank a lot better than the 09 CM Les Feusselottes that cost 5 times more.
It was another ‘dream come true’, meeting so many great people who share my passion for wine. Kelly and I talked about how we felt out of place amongst the European GJE members but a few years later, we feel right at home with them. I must thank Mr. Francios Mauss for kindly hosting us once again.