Académie des Cinquante Saint-Emilion Tasting

Restaurant Bolenius *, Amsterdam, NL

Tasted January 18, 2020 by Xavier Auerbach with 220 views

Introduction

A very interesting experiment. I tasted all 24 wines for the tasting (20) and lunch (4) blind before the tasting, in random order and not knowing what the theme was (except that it would probably be have something to do with claret). We wanted it to be as intuitive and direct as possible. It took me about 45 minutes to go through them all. Between 11.00h and 13.30h we tasted the same 20 wines (in a different order), partially blind, partially half-blind, partially non-blind. The four wines at lunch were non-blind. I have recorded all my notes here as faithfully as possible. I am happy that I seem to be relatively concistent in a "laboratory" situation like this, but allowances have to be made for bottle difference, difference in context (which other wines are in the flight) and the power of the label...

Flight 1 - The Thienpont second XI - blind (3 notes)

Red
2015 Château Puygueraud France, Bordeaux, Libournais, Francs Côtes de Bordeaux
89 points
Tasted blind twice. (1, wine 13) Very light, hint of bubble gum, not much length, 88. (2) Youthful appearance, classical nose, starting to mature, the fruit is ripe but there is not a lot of it, firm and slightly drying tannins, powerful and complete, slightly hot finish, 90. Seems to be drying out. Bottle difference?
2 people found this helpful Comments (2)
Red
2015 Château La Prade France, Bordeaux, Libournais, Francs Côtes de Bordeaux
90 points
Tasted blind twice. (1, wine 5) Youthful, lots of cherries on the nose, floral, finely grained tannins, transparent, not very complex, cool, 90. (2) Youthful appearance, ripe cherries on the nose but quite drying and raw on the palate, lacks charm, 89. Bottle difference?
Red
2015 Château Alcée France, Bordeaux, Libournais, Castillon Côtes de Bordeaux
93 points
Tasted blind twice. (1, wine 8) Lots of ripe fruit, very powerful structure, precise and complete, still tight on the finish, 93. (2) Youthful appearance, still quite purple, cool and chalky, classical nose, fresh, nicely managed but firm tannins, high quality oak, elegant and floral, concentrated, tight finish but very good length, 92. The latter score probably a bit cautious because it was still early in the tasting. I completely misread this wine in 2017, when I tasted it at Pavie-Macquin.

Flight 2 - Dassault / Bellefont - Half Blind (4 notes)

Red
2005 Château Dassault France, Bordeaux, Libournais, St. Émilion Grand Cru
92 points
Tasted blind (wine 3): Rich nose, classical palate, lots of tannins, potential, 92. Tasted semi-blind: Lovely warm nose, slightly meaty, toasty, ripe fruit, relatively generous and supple, broad, accessible, 92. Two different impressions with the same score.
1 person found this helpful Comment
Red
2009 Château Dassault France, Bordeaux, Libournais, St. Émilion Grand Cru
91 points
Tasted blind (wine 17): Slightly earthy, shows age, complete, sturdy, lacks some aromatic finesse and length, 90. Tasted semi-blind: Relatively fresh and floral nose, toasty, firm and tannic, quite extracted, good length but drying finish, 91.
Red
2005 Château Bellefont-Belcier France, Bordeaux, Libournais, St. Émilion Grand Cru
flawed
Tasted blind (wine 10): Strange nose, tannic, hard to asses, not rated. Tasted semi-blind: Slightly odd nose, vegetal, raw palate, extracted, bell pepper, lovage. Not easy to assess, not rated. Phew: I am consistent here!
1 person found this helpful Comment
Red
2009 Château Bellefont-Belcier France, Bordeaux, Libournais, St. Émilion Grand Cru
91 points
Tasted blind (wine 6): big tannins stick to the teeth, evolution, lacks some fruit, complete, 92. Tasted semi-blind: mature, evolution, toast, ripe fruit and big tannins, raw finish. Not very harmonious, 90. The impressions are not dissimilar, the score is slightly different.

Flight 3 - Modern and classical, 2009 and 2000 - blind (4 notes)

Red
2009 Château Figeac France, Bordeaux, Libournais, St. Émilion Grand Cru
93 points
Tasted blind twice. (1, wine 14) Hint of walnut, rich fruit, well balanced, lovely balance, finesse, length, 92. (2) Classical style, well balanced, harmonious, floral and fresh, intellectual style, transparent, precise, tannic but flowing, very good length, 93. Similar notes, the first one showing that it is easy to underrate Figeac when tasting very quickly.
Red
2009 Château Rol Valentin France, Bordeaux, Libournais, St. Émilion Grand Cru
93 points
Tasted blind twice. (1, wine 11) Concentrated, complete, high quality oak, finely woven tannins, subtle, 94. (2) Sweet fruit, full and concentrated, generous, silky, rich, modern, rounded, 92.
Red
2000 Château Figeac France, Bordeaux, Libournais, St. Émilion Grand Cru
89 points
Tasted twice blind. (1, wine 9) Very earthy, slightly pedestrian, clay? Lacks length, 89. (2) Sweet and sour style, lifted, vegetal, unknit, lovage, raw, unpleasant, 88. Two very different notes, but it is clear that there are problems here. I also refer to my 2014 note.
1 person found this helpful Comment
Red
2000 Château Valandraud France, Bordeaux, Libournais, St. Émilion Grand Cru
93 points
Tasted blind twice. (1, wine 21): classical, nothing out of place, lovage, very mature, tannins, nothing exceptional, 91. (2) Good concentration, opens up nicely, well managed tannins, long finish with a hint of toast, rich but classical style, warm spices, playful, nuanced, lovely length, 94.

Flight 4 - Pavie Macquin - half blind (3 notes)

Red
2000 Château Pavie Macquin France, Bordeaux, Libournais, St. Émilion Grand Cru
92 points
Tasted blind (wine 7): cherries, earth, evolution, well-matured, tight, sturdy, lovely nose, 91. Tasted semi-blind: mature, flowing, energetic, cool and mineral, beautifully developed, spices, elegant, firm but finely grained tannins, balanced and long, 93.
1 person found this helpful Comment
Red
2009 Château Pavie Macquin France, Bordeaux, Libournais, St. Émilion Grand Cru
94 points
Tasted blind (wine 19): hint of walnut, more playful and complex than wines 17/18 (Dassault 2009, Grand Mayne 2009), deeper too, spicy oak, length, finesse, 93. Tasted semi-blind: rich and warm but floral, beautifully expressive, rich and accessible but fresh and structured, a beautiful wine with a great future, 94.
Red
2005 Château Pavie Macquin France, Bordeaux, Libournais, St. Émilion Grand Cru
93 points
Tasted blind (wine 23): lovely classical aromas, good fruit, slightly tough structure, 92. Tasted semi-blind: concentrated and rich but harmonious, classical, cool and elegant style, playful and refined, 93.
1 person found this helpful Comment

Flight 5 - The 1998 vintage - blind (4 notes)

Red
1998 Château Grand Mayne France, Bordeaux, Libournais, St. Émilion Grand Cru
91 points
Tasted blind twice (1, wine 15): classical nose, fully mature, cedar, firm tannins, beautiful, 93. (2) Fully mature, little fruit left, drying finish. Drink up, 89. Bottle difference?
Red
1998 Château Pavie France, Bordeaux, Libournais, St. Émilion Grand Cru
94 points
Tasted blind twice. (1, wine 22): has depth, playful and refined, beautifully integrated oak, elegant tannins, 94. (2) Volatile nose, rich but unknit and with drying tannins. Not correct? Not rated.
Red
1998 Château Angélus France, Bordeaux, Libournais, St. Émilion Grand Cru
94 points
Tasted blind twice (1, wine 20): concentrated, complete, classical, high but refined tannins, complex, 93. (2) Rich, elegant, Pomerol-like gravelly warmth, firm but well managed tannins, flowing and elegant, long and playful, 94.
Red
1998 Château Canon-la-Gaffelière France, Bordeaux, Libournais, St. Émilion Grand Cru
92 points
Tasted blind twice (1, wine 4): crunchy Cabernet fruit, slender, elegant, refined oak, slightly drying, 91. (2) Mature but lively appearance, spicy and rich but fresh and cool, firm and tannic, rich and refined, 93.

Flight 6 - The stars of the show - non-blind (2 notes)

Red
2000 Château Pavie France, Bordeaux, Libournais, St. Émilion Grand Cru
92 points
Tasted blind (wine 12): open, lovage, mature, harmonious, pleasant tannins, rich aromas, slightly light structure, finesse, 91. Tasted non-blind: rich and impressive, but not as expressive as a few years ago, spicy, deep, mature, well managed tannins, long and powerful, but has lost some of its magic, 92. Note: I was told that the wine continued to develop well after the tasting and had gained at least another 3 points by the end of the evening. Longer decant required?
Red
2000 Tertre Rôteboeuf France, Bordeaux, Libournais, St. Émilion Grand Cru
92 points
Tasted blind (wine 16): a lot like wine 15 (Grand Mayne 1998) but not the finesse, and also a bit drying, 91. Tasted non-blind: rich and exciting, meaty, quite youthful, impressive but lacks true star quality today, 92.

Flight 7 - Lunch (4 notes)

White
2016 Château Les Charmes-Godard Blanc France, Bordeaux, Libournais, Francs Côtes de Bordeaux
90 points
Tasted blind (wine 1). Lovely fruit, slightly tropical, pleasant oak, freshness and minerality, juicy, not very deep or refined but attractive. Correctly identified.
Red
1999 Les Fiefs de Lagrange France, Bordeaux, Médoc, St. Julien
89 points
Tasted blind (wine 2). Slightly tight, shows age, little fruit, light, evolution.
Red
2009 Château Grand Mayne France, Bordeaux, Libournais, St. Émilion Grand Cru
91 points
Tasted blind (wine 18): youthful, cherries, firm tannins, a bit coarse, slightly blunt finish, 89. Drunk non-blind at lunch: good fruit and spice, cool terroir notes, powerful and concentrated, not really refined, rich but steers on the classical side, 91.
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White - Sweet/Dessert
2007 Château Clos Haut-Peyraguey France, Bordeaux, Sauternais, Sauternes
94 points
Tasted blind (wine 24): beautifully matured, honey, subtle, tropical fruit, delicately oxidative, age, playful, complex, wonderful oak. Correctly identified.
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