Le Grand Tasting

Carrousel du Louvre, Paris
Tasted Friday, November 30, 2012 - Saturday, December 1, 2012 by Cesar Riviere with 947 views

Introduction

This tasting features more than 300 domains picked by Bettane and Desseauve. Most wines presented were from France but some foreign wineries were represented.

Flight 1 - Clos Saint Jean, Chateauneuf du Pape, 2010 in bottle and 2011 samples (7 Notes)

I tasted those wines on day 1 and day 2 and they were truly outdebating everything I've had at the Grand Tasting. Vincent Maurel considers his 2010 over his 2007 and told me he has been expecting four 100s form RP for his 2010s (Chimere included). He does't have the 2011s in his heart, ranking them between 2008 and 2009; and he is expecting his 2012s to be really close to his 2010s. 2011 and 2012 will be, anyway, extremely heterogenous vintages in CdP.

  • 2011 Clos Saint Jean Châteauneuf-du-Pape Blanc 90 Points

    France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Châteauneuf-du-Pape

    (11/30/2012)

    Very fresh and delicate, it's a nice and innocent definition of white CdP. Good job although the final is quite short.

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  • 2011 Clos Saint Jean Châteauneuf-du-Pape 90 Points

    France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Châteauneuf-du-Pape

    (11/30/2012)

    Again, a fresh and fruity -though not showy- ballad in CdP. There is plenty of berries underlined by "orange confites". Nice job! (89-91)

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  • 2011 Clos Saint Jean Châteauneuf-du-Pape La Combe des Fous 95 Points

    France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Châteauneuf-du-Pape

    (11/30/2012)

    Denser and more structured, it opens the door to great complexity of Maurel's cuvees. This vintage seems more tannic than usual, and I love that.
    (94-96+)

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  • 2011 Clos Saint Jean Châteauneuf-du-Pape Deus-Ex Machina 97 Points

    France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Châteauneuf-du-Pape

    (11/30/2012)

    Dense! Dense! Dense! Dense! This wine is a true perfume! It's full of potential! Brilliant, it has the masculine tannicity that will define the great 2011 CdP.
    (97-98+)

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  • 2010 Clos Saint Jean Châteauneuf-du-Pape 92 Points

    France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Châteauneuf-du-Pape

    (11/30/2012)

    More closed and tannic than it was a year ago, it's still gourmand and fresh, full of berries and guarigues. Not as smooth as the previous wines, it's nice!

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  • 2010 Clos Saint Jean Châteauneuf-du-Pape La Combe des Fous 99 Points

    France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Châteauneuf-du-Pape

    (11/30/2012)

    WOW! get that in your mouth, close your eyes and enjoy the synesthesia provoked by the some masculine tannins full of every provencal flavors you need in a great CdP. An awesome showing really flirting with perfection on the second day (I'm considering the three digits here), this Combes really is full of potential and marks down the heights of what V. Maurel already calls the vintage of the century.

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  • 2010 Clos Saint Jean Châteauneuf-du-Pape Deus-Ex Machina 100 Points

    France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Châteauneuf-du-Pape

    (11/30/2012)

    Man do I like to write notes on Clos St Jean's wine...they're all GREAT. Triple packed, this wine is closer to a cocktail you would order at a bar than a wine to pair at a gastronomic restaurant -i.e. drink it for itself!-, and to be more precise, it's a MOLOTOV cocktail. Wonderful effort by the Maurel, it ranks in my pantheon of wine.

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Flight 2 - Two great cuvées from Deutz (2 Notes)

Flight 3 - A Terrible Grand Cru: Figeac (3 Notes)

I heard this property was for sale... Sincerely hope the eventual owners will put this name back on the track..

Flight 4 - Cos d'Estournel (4 Notes)

A great example of a domain not playing faire game at the tasting. The wine presented were not representative of the greatness this domain can reach, and it does't seem to disturb the representatives... Too bad.

Flight 5 - Chapoutier (4 Notes)

Same here... very disappointed.

Flight 6 - Canon and Rauzan-Ségla (3 Notes)

Flight 7 - Bouchard (3 Notes)

Flight 8 - William Fevre (5 Notes)

The 2009 are way more approachable right now, good potential on the 2010 though.

Flight 9 - A GREAT surprise: Mordorée RdB 2011 (1 Note)

After this + Clos St Jean 2011, I get that, again, CdP will have some stars in its newborn vintage.

Flight 10 - Disappointed: Les Cailloux (4 Notes)

Flight 11 - Bodega Contador (4 Notes)

On the paper, this winery was supposed to present their Contador, but they just offered their commercial wines. El predicator white really surprised me while the red 2010 definitely needs age; I would advise going on the 2008 and 2009 first.

Flight 12 - Beaucastel (1 Note)

Flight 13 - Unnecessary fanciness: Perrier Jouet (1 Note)

  • 2004 Perrier-Jouët Champagne Belle Epoque 89 Points

    France, Champagne

    (11/30/2012)

    I wasn't impressed by the regular cuvée from this domain but what a disappointment when it came to the Belle Epoque! This champagne cost 100+€ and I would not give more than 20€ for it... Not impressive at all.

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Flight 14 - Some great, expensive champagnes: Ruinart (3 Notes)

Flight 15 - Brane Cantenac (1 Note)

  • 2009 Château Brane-Cantenac 92 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Margaux

    (11/30/2012)

    Very velvety and soft, it's a great Bordeaux 2009. I don't see how this wouldn't seduce. Nice effort and kudos to those who bought it en primeur..!

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Flight 16 - Two ports: Fonseca and Taylor (2 Notes)

Flight 17 - Delas (4 Notes)

This winery produces top notch wines at, still, reasonable prices. Highly recommended.

Closing

The average quality of the wine presented was pretty nice. I was blown away by Clos St Jean and Delas; and some Champagnes did perform extremely well. Some domains though don't play fair by displaying only their "weak" or commercial wines thence receiving lower scores. Cos d'Estournel was a perfect example with scores between 75 and 89.

Such a tasting is a great opportunity to discover a wide range of wines, but nothing substitutes the visit one can make at a winery.

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