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Epic Bordeaux for an Epic Birthday!

Paris & Bordeaux

Tasted September 1, 2021 - September 12, 2021 by MC2 Wines with 915 views

Introduction

For people who like wine as much as we do and who like wine travel as much as we do the fact that we have never been to Bordeaux is a bit of a head scratcher. So it did not take much convincing when two friends reached out to say they were planning a trip and would be happy for some company. This trip had originally been conceived in 2020 but alas went the way all such trips in 2020 went. Very grateful that 2021 was different!

Thanks first of all to our friends who graciously planned the whole adventure and did such an amazing job of it. This is pretty much the ultimate Bordeaux vacation and you'd have to work to get it much better.

Thanks also to all of the producers (Edouard/Kelley, Nicolas A., Nicolas G., Pierre L., Jean, Charles, Edouard, Jean Charles, and Jean Pierre) who were such wonderful hosts and engaged with us both on the wine but also as people with all of their lovely stories. There is a different level of connection with the wine when you have been there than when you haven't.

Flight 1 - Wines during the first day.... (2 notes)

A half bottle over lunch and some pre-dinner sippers and felt like it made more sense to combine those into a single flight. The Jamet was lovely but much too young (ordered at L'Absinthe where I was impressed with the short but strong wine list).

Red
2011 Domaine Jamet Côte-Rôtie France, Rhône, Northern Rhône, Côte-Rôtie
From a half bottle this was the start to the epic Paris/Bordeaux holiday. Off a wine list that was short but I was quite impressed with. This did not disappoint. It's still much too young to really be consuming now and you could tell (it started very tight). Opened up a bit. Lots of good underpinnings here though and so I'd look forward to seeing it in more years.
2 people found this helpful Comment
Rosé - Sparkling
N.V. Veuve Clicquot Champagne Brut Rosé France, Champagne
A pre-dinner sipper. Small glass. Totally fine wine and who doesn't like pink bubbles but not the most interesting one that we'd had during the day and perhaps a bit of the opposite.
3 people found this helpful Comment

Flight 2 - Dinner @ Le Comptoir et les Caves Legrand (7 notes)

A restaurant which is clearly made for the wine lovers and so perfect for us. Small menu but the food was very well done. Great store which provided much of the wine for the evening. Lovely to get to meet Arnaud and others and share some bottles.

White - Sparkling
1966 Taittinger Champagne Comtes de Champagne Blanc de Blancs Brut France, Champagne
flawed
Alas this bottle bore a strong resemblance to a wine we opened last weekend (Guasti Dry California Champagne which was misnamed in many ways that didn't include Guasti or California). At auction you win some and you lose some.
Red
2012 Domaine du Comte Liger-Belair Vosne-Romanée France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Vosne-Romanée
Shockingly young. Quite powerful esp for a burg. This was less finesse (although I understand the 2013 had more of it) and more of the bold wine style. With time could be a nice wine although I tend to love the bit of ethereal that some burgundies do that this was quite far from. I will never really understand the pricing of these today though. This works as a village reasonably priced every day drinker but doesn't rise at all to the price level it trades at (to me).
2 people found this helpful Comment
Red
1928 Château Haut-Simard France, Bordeaux, Libournais, St. Émilion
Old wine is always fun and it's especially fun when it's actually still good as this bottle was. How a wine that is 93 years old still has some fruit to it is beyond me. How it gets better and better as you are drinking it is also surprising. But that is part of the fun. Amazing to think back to this time which corresponds with when my grandparents were quite little and the world was fully engrossed in the roaring 20's. This has plenty of tertiary notes and prob is a bit over the hill, but still such a treat and well enjoyed.
1 person found this helpful Comment
White - Sparkling
N.V. Krug Champagne Brut Grande Cuvée France, Champagne
The 168th edition. Never disappoints and still shows its pedigree even when quite young. It's a great wine and a lovely sipper. Also a perfect pairing with a slightly spicy mussel pasta that I ordered.
2 people found this helpful Comment
Red
2014 Thierry Allemand Cornas Chaillot France, Rhône, Northern Rhône, Cornas
This was an indulgence from some friends to let me feed my Rhone kick. It's also quite young and can use some more years but it is quite lovely. A bit of that black fruits, herbal and just a slight metallic tinge to it. I am a fan of these wines.
3 people found this helpful Comment
White - Sweet/Dessert
1996 Château Rieussec France, Bordeaux, Sauternais, Sauternes
As previous note mentions a darker golden color. A nice hint of sweet towards the end of the night.
1 person found this helpful Comment
White - Sparkling
N.V. Jacques Selosse Champagne Premier Cru Lieux-dits Extra Brut Mareuil-sur-Ay Sous le Mont France, Champagne, Champagne Premier Cru
Ah what a treat and definitely my WOTN. This was just lovely. A 2019 disgorgement so still fairly young but even in the few years since we've had this there's been evolution. It's spicy and brioche and just plain interesting. Keeps bringing you back. I am a major fan.
1 person found this helpful Comment

Flight 3 - Bubbles before Lunch (1 note)

The new P2 release.

White - Sparkling
2003 Dom Pérignon Champagne P2 France, Champagne
Fairly new release. This was actually drinking very well given the age (I think too young really). It has a bit more maturation to it than I would have expected. Plenty of life left, but I appreciated that there was more heft than just a young wine.

Flight 4 - Birthday dinner in Paris (19 notes)

For the evening we took over Restaurant Pages which is a lovely place with excellent food and just about perfect for the 16 of us. A wonderful collection of people who understand wine at a level that I will only aspire to. Lots of beautiful wines but that 34 Margaux was really something.

White - Sparkling
2003 Krug Champagne Vintage Brut France, Champagne
From a magnum. This wine was the first vintage Krug we had right as we were going down the wine rabbit hole and so I have a bit of a special place for it. Wine is much too young probably to really be drinking. It's young and fresh and I think perhaps not very evolved from the bottle we had maybe 8 years ago. Long life ahead of it.
1 person found this helpful Comment
White - Sparkling
N.V. Drappier Champagne Brut Nature Dosage Zero France, Champagne
This was an older disgorgement - best guess maybe from the early 90's - but honestly you would have been hard pressed to tell from the wine which was still very young and fresh and crisp.
1 person found this helpful Comment
White - Sparkling
2002 Drappier Champagne Grande Sendrée France, Champagne
As with many other bottles that we started with this was quite young but I remember thinking there is some great stuffing here for aging.
1 person found this helpful Comment
White - Sparkling
2012 Philipponnat Champagne Extra Brut Clos des Goisses France, Champagne
A pre-release bottle which made it's way to our dinner. Small pour. Also very young but with good potential. '12 is a great year although I'm not sure I'm yet convinced that it's quite the level of '08. A wine to check in on again in 20+ years.
1 person found this helpful Comment
White - Sparkling
2016 Chartogne-Taillet Champagne Blanc de Blancs Heurtebise France, Champagne
From a magnum. Interesting to see my last note because I had a very similar impression with this one. It is tight. There's a lot to like about it but I think it will need a reasonable amount of additional time. I tried following it through the evening hoping there would be more evolution but always it was very tight and shy and never quite got to opening (was also though never able to just leave it in a glass and forget about it as they were looking to turn the glassware over for each flight).
1 person found this helpful Comment
White - Sparkling
1990 Ruinart Champagne Dom Ruinart Blanc de Blancs France, Champagne
From a magnum. For me one of the wines of the evening. This was really just wonderful. It has some good age and that extra character that comes with it but it is still quite a young wine. Funny because it would pour a slightly golden color and with time in the glass the color would fade a bit. Very lovely. Happy to see we have a bottle resting.
1 person found this helpful Comment
White - Sparkling
N.V. Krug Champagne Brut Grande Cuvée France, Champagne
Red label so probably from the 90's we think. Man these are good with some age. Also a contender to me for WOTN. Get more of the nuttiness in it. It's got the age tones but honestly is still quite young and fresh and could have had a long life ahead. Would love to find more of the old ones of these.
4 people found this helpful Comment
White - Sparkling
1955 Heidsieck & Co. Monopole Champagne France, Champagne
From a magnum. This is where old champagne goes when it has not quite been stored correctly but to be honest that flaw doesn't bother me as much as some. This is oxidized and has more of the caramel flavors to it. Lower bubbles - almost a still wine. It's still enjoyable.
1 person found this helpful Comment
Red
1979 Pierre André au Château de Corton André Corton-Renardes France, Burgundy, Côte de Beaune, Corton Grand Cru
First blind which is always a truly humbling experience. I got that it was Burgundy but more because I was playing the person who brought it. It is a riper style and in surprisingly good shape given the age of the wine. Drinking quite nicely.
1 person found this helpful Comment
Red
1960 Château Petit Faurie de Soutard France, Bordeaux, Libournais, St. Émilion Grand Cru
Not entirely sure I have the right wine here as the label very clearly said 'Souchard' which doesn't seem to exist in the CT database. This was also blinded and left me thinking that perhaps our very strong showing with the 1960 Montrose last weekend was not a fluke but in fact because 60 is a better year than it gets credit for being. This was clearly Bordeaux and with some age but drinking pretty nicely.
1 person found this helpful Comment
Red
1981 Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Richebourg France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Richebourg Grand Cru
Probably one of the best birth year wines I've had and I wouldn't have expected that since 81 is not the easiest year and few ppl suggest burgundy as a place to get wine from. Still, this is that lightness and precision that the best burgundys have. Drinking very well.
1 person found this helpful Comment
Red
1999 Domaine de Montille Pommard 1er Cru Les Grands Épenots France, Burgundy, Côte de Beaune, Pommard 1er Cru
From a magnum. Next to an 81 Richebourg and so didn't probably get the proper level of attention it deserved but I remember thinking that it was a nice classic burgundy.
Red
1959 Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Pauillac
Some debate on whether there might have been a flaw in this bottle. To me that translated that it perhaps didn't quite have the depth you might expect from this year but it was still a very tasty.
1 person found this helpful Comment
Red
1934 Château Margaux France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Margaux
Just wow. Two bottles and they were quite different. Interesting to hear folks debate which was the better bottle. I think some might be where you were in the pours (for the first bottle I was towards the end so mine was a bit crunchy in style). Wish we had double decanted for sediment but alas didn't have the right apparatus for that. This was really special though. Still very much alive. Black fruits and almost a bit of jam. I was a big fan. Special to get to drink them this old and glad that both bottles were drinking.
2 people found this helpful Comment
Red
1961 Château Calon-Ségur France, Bordeaux, Médoc, St. Estèphe
Very excited for this one as we'd had a bottle the previous weekend which was off. This wasn't in peak form I wouldn't say, but it was still enjoyable. There's kindof that herbal spice cabinet note that I enjoy in the CS wines.
1 person found this helpful Comment
Red
2006 Bodegas Vega-Sicilia Ribera del Duero Único Spain, Castilla y León, Ribera del Duero
From a magnum. Surprising to me that very few Unicos have gotten 100 points. I would have thought given the consistency in the wine that most every year would be one (at least in a retrospective vertical - it is true that young these wines are not that approachable). And crazily enough, 15 years is still very young. This wine was big and brash and just needs 20-30 years.
2 people found this helpful Comment
Red
1964 Bodegas Vega-Sicilia Ribera del Duero Único Spain, Castilla y León, Ribera del Duero
More the right age for an Unico I think (coming on the heels of a 2006 out of magnum). This has a lot to like and something that gives me a bit of pause. There's an almost stewed character to the fruit in it which I think probably is not quite right. Still enjoyable but not 100%.
1 person found this helpful Comment
White - Sparkling
1992 Philipponnat Champagne Brut Clos des Goisses France, Champagne
Ending an evening with old champagne should become a tradition. This was really beautiful. Good age character and yet still very fresh which is a perfect combination. More years to go. Not a year I think of for champagne but Charles said he believes wine should be made in every year (as it is in most every other region) and there is something to learn about what that year is. Interesting as many producers were saying 2021 was perhaps the hardest year in their lifetime and still there will hopefully be a 2021 Clos des Goisses.
2 people found this helpful Comment
White - Sparkling
1969 Moët & Chandon Champagne Cuvée Dom Pérignon France, Champagne
The last bottle that we had of this was just rocking so I was hoping for a similar showing here. This one is more tired. A bit oxidized. Caramelized. Drinking totally fine and nice at the end of the evening.
1 person found this helpful Comment

Flight 5 - A Bistro Lunch..... (1 note)

Found this place around the corner from our original reservation and right next door to the spot that we'd hoped to go but it was totally full and done. Nice little wine list with a bunch of smaller producers from the Rhone that I've wanted to try.

Red
2018 Pierre Gaillard St. Joseph France, Rhône, Northern Rhône, St. Joseph
After a disappointing first try for lunch (beautiful setting, terrible wine list) we find ourselves in a little bistro with lots of off the beaten path wines. This is one I’d heard of and so we gave it a shot. Lovely wine at this price point. Good precision and acid and darker fruits and hint of metallic. Paired with a beef stew and it was a nice combination.
2 people found this helpful Comment

Flight 6 - Dinner @ Vantre (7 notes)

First but not our last time here. The food was good, but it's really about the wine list which is a full book with lots of gems and then wines that aren't even included yet (always better when a restaurant goes that way rather than the other).

White - Sparkling
2012 Pierre Péters Champagne Grand Cru Cuvée Speciale Blanc de Blancs Les Chetillons France, Champagne, Champagne Grand Cru
It’s baby killing but this is still a beautiful wine. Almost weightless in the bubbles and yet flavorful. Great elegance to the wine. Bottle went quickly as you might expect.
1 person found this helpful Comment
White
2001 Domaine Jean-Louis Chave Hermitage Blanc France, Rhône, Northern Rhône, Hermitage
Released from the domaine 6 months ago. Perhaps the 2001 Rhône whites are finally coming around. This is honey and stone fruits and powerful. It’s a full mouthful. Very enjoyable.
1 person found this helpful Comment
White
2006 Alexandra Couvreur Bourgogne-Aligoté France, Burgundy, Bourgogne-Aligoté
Served blind and we got burgundy and some view of age but not the Aligote part. Given we were seated next to one of the best somms in the world who also was befuddled I’d say it’s ok. The thing that stands out the most to me is the oak. Aged three years in used oak but it still transferred something. Not my style of wine. Reminded me too much of a Chardonnay.
1 person found this helpful Comment
Red
2014 Michel Grisard Vin de Savoie Priez Saint Christophe Tradition France, Savoie, Vin de Savoie
Super interesting unicorn wine. This was the last year produced. 100% Mondeuse (not sure I've ever had that grape on it's own). These wines are produced high up in the Alps. Higher tannins which are very fine. Slightly unripe red fruits but in a good way. This is a wine that feels like it could age for years. Real treat to get to try.
3 people found this helpful Comment
Red
2011 Domaine du Comte Liger-Belair Echezeaux France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Echezeaux Grand Cru
Very young. This is a Burgundy made for people who like Bordeaux. Bigger wine. Tight. It opened up with some time, but it's still really younger than we should be drinking now. It's a nice wine, but it misses that Burgundian elegance that I enjoy. Perhaps with more time as it finds itself.
1 person found this helpful Comment
Red
1983 Château Ausone France, Bordeaux, Libournais, St. Émilion Grand Cru
One of the wines I was most excited about for this trip as it's a producer that I really love and a great year. This was also a bit young although not as much as the Burgundy. Opened and decanted. Drinking nicely with a bit of air in the glass. Some darker red fruits that are just shy of being sweet. A bit of cigar. Very enjoyable.
1 person found this helpful Comment
Red
1979 Paul Jaboulet Aîné Cornas France, Rhône, Northern Rhône, Cornas
Recommendation from Vantre when I asked for an old Rhone from Cornas and noted that I'd rather have the right wine than the Instagrammable one. This was the recommendation. Only a few bottles left. It's pretty feral. Lots of animal and a bit of horse blanket and fairly intense and ferrous. Last wine of the evening and it worked for that.

Flight 7 - Afternoon overlooking St Emillion (2 notes)

Drinks looking out over the valley and it seems clear that’s a view that will never get old.

White - Sparkling
N.V. Bollinger Champagne France, Champagne
Afternoon bubbles overlooking the wine country. This is an easy bottle. One that fades a bit from the foreground and gives space for new conversation and appreciating the company and place.
White - Sparkling
N.V. Philipponnat Champagne Royale Réserve Brut France, Champagne
An older disgorgement (unsure when but maybe 80’s or early 90’s?). Very fresh in comparison to what you might expect looking at the bottle. Just a bit of added heft. Drinking nicely.

Flight 8 - Dinner @ Belair Monange (8 notes)

A special treat with some wines that are contenders for WOTT to me (esp that 1924). So very interesting and Kelley and Eduoard were amazing hosts.

White - Sparkling
2000 Louis Roederer Champagne Cristal Brut France, Champagne
The setting is a terrace at an absolutely stunning chateau in Bordeaux at sunset with yummy hors d’oevres and even better company. Needless to say this wine was fantastic. It’s a rounder style of champagne. A bit more dosage than is the rage these days but that also creates more interest with age. It’s just beginning to show some although still young. Very accessible. Very enjoyable.
1 person found this helpful Comment
White - Sparkling
2000 Taittinger Champagne Comtes de Champagne Blanc de Blancs Brut France, Champagne
After the 2000 Cristal. This is a leaner style and a bit less expressive and tight. That being said there’s a promise to this wine and a ceiling which might be higher even than the Cristal which I find interesting. Opened a bit in the glass. Tasty wine.
Red
1924 Château Belair (Dubois-Challon) France, Bordeaux, Libournais, St. Émilion Grand Cru
My WOTN. This was straight ex-Chateau (no label even) which just goes to show how the wines that have sat quietly with no vibrations and travel can pretty much love forever. Perhaps a greener vintage and for some that was less positive but for me it made the wine even a bit more interesting. There is still fruit. And a wonderful acidity. It’s a beautiful wine and worthy of an extended contemplation. I suspect it will be a candidate for WOTT (wine of the trip) for me.
Red
1959 Château Magdelaine France, Bordeaux, Libournais, St. Émilion Grand Cru
From a magnum. Amazing how the red fruit jumps right out at you. Much more muscular than the ‘24. This was big and bright and constantly evolving. Had been double decanted and it continued to shift in the glass (eventually with some more darker fruits and just a hint of allspice or similar). I don’t get much of the normal musty old Bordeaux (library, cigar, leather). This wine had the maturity from the age and yet seemed incredibly well preserved.
2 people found this helpful Comment
Red
1990 Château Trotanoy France, Bordeaux, Libournais, Pomerol
Also from a magnum. The ‘90 was the baby wine at the table and this is a wine that is built for a truly long life ahead. Powerful and lush and fresh and truly tasty.
White - Sweet/Dessert
1942 Château Bel-Air Sainte Croix du Mont France, Bordeaux, Entre-Deux-Mers, Sainte Croix du Mont
Funny because we were expecting this to be dry and yet there is def some residual sugar to it. Bottle didn’t seem like it was quite right which was a shame.
White - Sweet/Dessert
1955 Château Rieussec France, Bordeaux, Sauternais, Sauternes
End of the night sweet snd to be fair I traded part of my glass for more red wine which I really enjoyed. This is definitely older and it’s the nectarines you get if you bake them in the oven with sugar and maybe even a sprinkling of brown sugar all the way down to full caramelisation. It’s a wine where I just want a little bit because it packs power in that. Drinking nicely. Interested to see how the second bottle goes.
Red
2009 Château La Fleur-Pétrus France, Bordeaux, Libournais, Pomerol
Very similar to my last note. This is a really lovely wine that just needs a lot more time but man will it be something if it gets it. There’s a strength and power and big fruits that are a touch brooding at the moment but will blossom I suspect. This seems like one of those wines that will take some time to evolve but then can be special.

Flight 9 - Sunday lunch (5 notes)

Again overlooking the valley and a fun set of wines. Perhaps a bit less luck here with the Cristal which was a shame, but that happens.

White - Sparkling
1996 Moët & Chandon Champagne Cuvée Dom Pérignon France, Champagne
Bought the bottle in town on our morning walk and popped it maybe an hour later over lunch. This was just singing from the beginning. There's that sweet spot where the wine is still fresh and yet it's had time to mature and this was just heading into there. A bit more toasty and some nutty notes and just very fresh and bright.
3 people found this helpful Comment
White - Sparkling
1990 Moët & Chandon Champagne Cuvée Dom Pérignon France, Champagne
Very different than the bottles we've had before of this wine. It opened tight and restrained and took quite some time to come around. Still quite enjoyable but this is the more reticent and quiet one next to the bright and bubbly 1996.
White
2007 Bonneau du Martray Corton-Charlemagne France, Burgundy, Côte de Beaune, Corton-Charlemagne Grand Cru
What can I say. It's white burg which is not my jam but is the jam of basically every other person who drinks wine and so I took a small pour and thought eh and everyone else thought how lovely and no premox and very fresh and what a good pairing with the lobster.
White - Sparkling
1983 Louis Roederer Champagne Cristal Brut France, Champagne
Absolutely no 'pop' to this bottle so it is a still wine but it's also 'still' Cristal which isn't really a bad thing. Lots of age here and perhaps a touch musty when it first starts but it opened up nicely and by the time we were pairing with cheese it was really nice.
Red
1998 Château La Fleur-Pétrus France, Bordeaux, Libournais, Pomerol
From a magnum and double decanted and then poured. This was very different than the last time. Lots of power and finesse and very bright and the red fruits quite prevalent but I didn't get the leather. Maybe a bit of that library but a fresher and bright one. Just starting to lose the baby fat and ready for business.

Flight 10 - An afternoon in Pomerol (1 note)

Perhaps afternoon is a bit of an overstatement but we did take a drive around Pomerol and then a stop at La Fleur Petrus. Very interesting to see how close all of the vineyards are and to understand a bit more on the soil (I feel like I always hear about the blue clay but much was gravel and it is interesting how even driving by you can notice quite a difference).

Red
2018 Château La Fleur-Pétrus France, Bordeaux, Libournais, Pomerol
After a week where most everything has some age this is just young and yet there is a lot of promise there. I'm not sure I agree that it's not made for the long haul. For sure the tannins are quite fine and soft and it is elegant in style for Bordeaux but there is a nice acid to the wine and I suspect it could go for quite awhile. Fun to see the potential and what the early wine is like.

Flight 11 - Pizza dinner (5 notes)

When I was growing up Friday nights were always pizza night. In Bordeaux it is Sundays and it was nice to have a bit less busy evening and a bit more simple. But of course lots of wine!

White - Sparkling
2003 Egly-Ouriet Champagne Grand Cru Brut Millésimé France, Champagne, Champagne Grand Cru
Also out of a mag and part of our Bordeaux purchases which included only champagne and burgundy and actually no Bordeaux. Paired with pizza which is a surprisingly nice combination (even if St Emillion perhaps could use an enterprising pizza person who makes a better pie). Very young as you might expect.
White
2015 Domaine Jamet Condrieu Vernillon France, Rhône, Northern Rhône, Condrieu
I don't think I even realized that this wine existed as it doesn't seem to make it's way to the US. It's that perfect style of Rhone whites where it's powerful and structured and yet there's a lightness to this wine that is surprising. White flowers and honey. Very tasty. Often I find myself going back to the reds at the table but here I was going back to this quite often.
Red
1928 Château Haut-Simard France, Bordeaux, Libournais, St. Émilion
flawed
Fill level was quite low but we took a chance and unfortunately it didn't work out. Nice to have gotten to try it earlier in the week though.
Red
1958 Vieux Château Certan France, Bordeaux, Libournais, Pomerol
Vehmently disagree with the note before (too old to give pleasure), but I'm guessing their bottle might not have been stored as well. This was drinking just lovely. It's still got some fruit which was surprising and of course more of an older Bordeaux style. In a good spot to drink, but didn't seem like it was going anywhere too quickly either.
White - Sparkling
N.V. Chartogne-Taillet Champagne Hors Serie France, Champagne
End of the night bubbles which probably isn't exactly the right time to be appreciating this but still it jumped out of the glass at me. There is something about these wines that are champagne and yet very different than your standard champagne and so they almost force you to step back and take notice. It's like a bit of spice cabinet and herbal in nature. I really enjoyed.

Flight 12 - Lunch at Chateau Berliquet (with Canon) (6 notes)

Purchase in the last few years for the Chanel group of wines which includes Canon. This was an utterly charming outdoor courtyard with a view looking down the valley. Perhaps also one of the best non-chocolate desserts I've ever had that pairs with wine (a fig tart using figs from the property).

White - Sparkling
2003 Dom Pérignon Champagne P2 France, Champagne
Maybe even a bit better than the bottle that we had last week although actually I think part of it was this bottle was served at a slightly warmer temperature and so the wine shines through a bit more. Interesting to try to hit the sweet spot on champagne so you get the character of the wine but also the light chill. It's almost a buttery toast in this case. Drinks pretty well.
White
2020 Domaine de L'Ile Côtes de Provence Porquerolles Blanc France, Provence, Côtes de Provence
This is the white wine version of Provence rose. It's bright and refreshing and very light. You can taste that it's made on an island and at times it seems almost like water (but in a good way) to me and yet there are some layers of flavor here. The perfect wine for a hot summers afternoon. It almost makes you feel like you are hanging out on a boat.
Rosé
2020 Domaine de L'Ile Côtes de Provence Porquerolles Rosé France, Provence, Côtes de Provence
Again this is the very light and bright and refreshing style of rose (similar to the white). It's easy to drink. Some fruit but there's that sea breeze next to it that makes the wine a bit more interesting. Enjoyable.
1 person found this helpful Comment
Red
1961 Château Rausan-Ségla France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Margaux
Drank side by side with the 1961 Canon as a comparison across the Chanel Bordeaux brands and perhaps as a birthday tribute to a good friend with a bit of leeway taken for the year. This bottle did not seem to be straight ex-Chateau (label more torn and faded) and it was very good, but the age was also more apparent here.
Red
1961 Château Canon France, Bordeaux, Libournais, St. Émilion Grand Cru
This wine might have been my surprise of the day. I generally don't understand Canon as a producer although I feel like I ought to since I like a lot of the right bank bordeaux and this is one of the good ones but this wine helped me understand it a bit better. This was pristine. A wine that I might have called decades younger except that there is a bit of maturity to it. It's got a lifetime ahead of it, but it was pretty stunning on this day and made me rethink my opinion of the Chateau.
Red
1926 Château Canon France, Bordeaux, Libournais, St. Émilion Grand Cru
Another one of those truly special wines (which this trip seems to be the wines from the 20's so I guess that's a learning). This was drinking very well and hard honestly to tell that much age from it. If blinded might have said 60's.

Flight 13 - Tasting @ Cheval Blanc (1 note)

If asked to pick a favorite wine from Bordeaux this would probably be it. It's almost always my WOTN when paired up against other things. Sadly the place itself didn't quite live up to my vision of the wine. Tour was canned and felt gimmicky (the vines we looked at were 100 years old - nothing else was close to that on the property). Less than 50 minutes from start to finish. They built a completely modern style winery next to the old chateau. It didn't quite feel right.

Red
2011 Château Cheval Blanc France, Bordeaux, Libournais, St. Émilion Grand Cru
I'd like to say you can separate the wine from the circumstance around it and I think with CB it was kindof possible. So while I would not recommend a visit and I wouldn't drink this wine anytime soon I would say that there's a lot to like in the potential there. It's got that richer fruit feel that is well balanced with the earthiness from the CF. A pretty winning combination.

Flight 14 - Pre-dinner sipper, dinner wines, after dinner drinks (5 notes)

This evening we had an evening bottle of champagne because who doesn't and then headed into the village of St Emillion for dinner. Lovely little place that had some very good food but a tourist's wine list and then back to the Chateau to enjoy some more. Overall a nice evening out.

White - Sparkling
2006 Charles Heidsieck Champagne Brut Millésimé France, Champagne
Very tasty set of bubbles. There is something about the mouthfeel of a CH that is more distinctive. Everything is always very light and it has that 'melt in your mouth' feel which is really great. Easy to go down on a warm summer afternoon.
White
2019 Château Suduiraut Le Blanc Sec de Suduiraut France, Bordeaux
Totally fine white wine that just doesn't really stand out to me.
Red
2018 Domaine des Roches Neuves Saumur-Champigny La Marginale France, Loire Valley, Anjou-Saumur, Saumur-Champigny
Complete baby. We asked for it opened as quickly as possible and decanted and still it wasn't anywhere near where it would be in a great spot (I suspect we'd have had to leave it decanting overnight for that). It is really interesting though and I do like Loire wines which are bold and structured and I think might age for many years. Darker fruits and then almost a forest floor style.
Red
2004 Château Canon France, Bordeaux, Libournais, St. Émilion Grand Cru
Opened and decanted before we left for dinner so it probably had 2-3 hours before we were drinking it. A bit more refined than the 2000 we had next to it this was the more approachable of the two although still more dark and brooding style of fruit.
Red
2000 Château Canon France, Bordeaux, Libournais, St. Émilion Grand Cru
Opened and decanted before we left for dinner so it prob had 2-3 hours before we drank it. Very young and still quite tight but opened a touch in the glass. Powerful wine with a big structure.

Flight 15 - Lunch @ D'Yquem (7 notes)

This is one of those bucket list items I think for most major wine lovers and even though I'm not a major sweet fan I'd have to say it was pretty special. A phenomenal set of dishes and a real pleasure to hear all of Pierre's stories. For someone so soaked in the wine world he is very down to earth and quite lovely.

White - Sparkling
2003 Dom Pérignon Champagne P2 France, Champagne
This is becoming the theme wine of the trip - 3 times already! It's again drinking better than the average younger Dom. More toasty and nutty in style. Still quite young and I think can use some more age so would suggest laying them down.
White
2015 Y de Yquem France, Bordeaux
This is a special and always enjoyable wine. It's funny how my brain makes me think there's more sweetness here than I think actually exists. It's round in style and honey and a nice acid to it. Very interesting wine.
White
1966 Lur-Saluces "Y" France, Bordeaux, Bordeaux Supérieur
From a 375. Pours a deep golden color. What an interesting wine! I have never had one of these with much age and it's quite a bit different. You get some of that carmelization and maybe almost fruit compote. In the beginning it's almost maybe a touch sweeter, but with some time that seems to shift away. Really interesting.
White - Sweet/Dessert
1989 Château d'Yquem France, Bordeaux, Sauternais, Sauternes
This is one of my favorite years of this wine. Funny because when we first started drinking it everyone talked more about the 90 but I think the 89 is superior mostly because there's a lovely freshness to this wine. Still there. Delicately sweet. Not quite cloying but it does skirt on that edge. Rich and elegant at the same time. Paired with a boeuf course of all things and surprisingly it was right there. The salty and sweet. Very nice.
White - Sweet/Dessert
1966 Château d'Yquem France, Bordeaux, Sauternais, Sauternes
The surprise bottle of the meal and at times I think I almost preferred this one. It is very fresh. A bit less sweet than the '67 that it was poured next to and without the power that exists in that one. But given how this wine goes and my reduced level of sweet tooth at times this was really quite nice. Still has that D'Yquem finish where you've just the memory of spun sugar.
White - Sweet/Dessert
1967 Château d'Yquem France, Bordeaux, Sauternais, Sauternes
This was the best of the bottles and a really superior year in general. And this bottle was drinking great. Interesting to compare to the '66 next to it which was a very nice bottle. Here though there was more power, more sweet, just generally more. It's D'Yquem so there's elegance in that power and a crispness at the finish which still lingers. This vintage reminds me a bit of eating wagyu meat - it's lovely but a little bit can go a long way.
White - Sweet/Dessert
1934 Château d'Yquem France, Bordeaux, Sauternais, Sauternes
I think this is the oldest vintage that we have tried and in that way it is very fun. It was overshadowed by the '67 and maybe even a bit by the '66 but here you get even more history and '34 is a vintage that we've really enjoyed on the trip so far. This is still beautiful. You don't really sense that much difference in age between this and the wines from 30 years later which is shocking. It's perhaps a bit darker and maybe there is some rum caramel there but generally it's still that very refined and precise sweetness which is oh so light at the end and then just lingers.

Flight 16 - Dinner @ Canon (6 notes)

A second chance to raid the cellar a bit at Canon and something that was incredibly educational for me. I will admit I was a bit skeptical to spend so much time at this Chateau on this trip as it's never quite stood up to me compared to so many others but spending two days with the wine and learning the estate and terroir and really seeing how incredibly well it ages has me reconsidering my stance.

White - Sparkling
N.V. Delamotte Champagne Brut France, Champagne
Drank next to its big brother Salon 1997 served single blind for me and double blind for others. This is a wine that punches well above it's weight class. It's not the Salon for sure. Very fresh and bright and easy to drink. Didn't really have any complexity to speak of but pretty sure this was also the most recent disgorgement. There were guesses though of DP and considering the difference in price that's quite impressive.
White - Sparkling
1997 Salon Champagne Blanc de Blancs Brut France, Champagne
It's been a bit of time since we've had any Salon but decided it was worth a check-in. Served single blind next to a Delamotte NV (so the two ends of the spectrum) and I was intrigued to see my first impressions. This is a weighty wine for a chardonnay for sure. It started more in what I'd usually think of with the hints of vanilla and very bright and light but almost seemed to darken in the glass and bring about a bit more deeper flavors. Was very enjoyable but I think the price has maybe gotten to the point where it's not worth it.
1 person found this helpful Comment
Red
2001 Château Canon France, Bordeaux, Libournais, St. Émilion Grand Cru
The baby of the evening and despite a nice decant I'm not sure we ever got to see it fully strut it's stuff. Good to know though that was a great vintage for Canon. Lots of the stuffing and interesting to drink next to some of the older wines to see what it could be someday.
Red
1978 Château Canon France, Bordeaux, Libournais, St. Émilion Grand Cru
Our friends had mentioned that this is a favorite QPR vintage and boy is it. Drinking really well. It was pnp'ed and while it was tasty from the start it was the bottle I went back to at the end and had evolved quite a bit (and in a good way unlike the 47). Still that very dark and brooding fruit. One of the things I'm learning to appreciate about Canon is the age-ability of the wine and how very fresh it can stay even >40 years.
1 person found this helpful Comment
Red
1955 Château Canon France, Bordeaux, Libournais, St. Émilion Grand Cru
Initial impression was very positive. This wine needed some time to evolve but it came out of the gate fairly powerful. Not quite as pretty right away as the '47 that we drunk next to it but where the '47 started strong and then shifted more to brett this continued to open up with the black fruits and jam and fig and similar. Very lovely wine and perhaps my favorite of the day.
Red
1947 Château Canon France, Bordeaux, Libournais, St. Émilion Grand Cru
We had almost the opposite experience of the previous note. When we first opened this was lovely and structured and blackberry jam and maybe a hint of truffle and lavender and as it sat in the glass with more air the brett started to come out and it ended the evening as a combination of all of those flavors plus horse blanket. An interesting evolution because it started to me as the clear winner but the '55 overtook it.

Flight 17 - Tasting of Pichon Comtesse (5 notes)

First learning - the winery goes by Pichon Comtesse rather than Lalande these days. Very clear style across the wines and I must say between this and the lunch I was quite enchanted. This is a producer I often seek out and have really enjoyed in the past and it looks like I will continue to do so moving forward.

Red
2016 Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Pauillac
The oldest wine of the tasting and sometimes I think (esp when that is a more accessible vintage) that that makes people more inclined towards it. It's certainly a nice wine. More CS than most of the others (75%, 21% Merlot, and 4% CF). This was dark cherry and drying tannins and it reminded me a bit honestly of the Rutherford dust you see in some Napa wines. It's very young but has a nice life ahead of it.
5 people found this helpful Comment
Red
2017 Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Pauillac
Again the drying tannins although here they are more fine than in the 2016. A bit chalky in style. Dark red fruits that feel like they were picked maybe a few days before they hit ripeness. I suppose this was not the best year in Bordeaux but this was also the only wine among our group who did not get any takers for being best in the flight. 70% CS, 23% Merlot, 6% CF, 1% PV
1 person found this helpful Comment
Red
2018 Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Pauillac
One of my favorites of the flight and a wine that benefitted from more time in the glass (although again much too young to be drinking now). This was more fruit forward than some of the others and the fruit was a bit riper. The tannins were fairly big but they softened with some time. It's a very well structured wine and makes me think that it could be something special with more time. 71% CS, 23% Merlot, 5% CF, 1%PV
4 people found this helpful Comments (1)
Red
2019 Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Pauillac
My other favorite of the tasting and yet very different from the 2018 which was bold and powerful. Here the finesse is very apparent. The first word that came to mind for me was round. Tannins fine. Elegant and approachable even right now. Not sure how that bodes for longevity although if it did last this would have a certain level of delicateness even with the Pauillac power. 71% CS, 23% Merlot, 6% CF
3 people found this helpful Comments (2)
Red
2020 Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Pauillac
For many this was a favorite wine in the tasting and certainly it could be the inbetween of my favorites (the '18 and '19). It's again got a bit of that lightness and delicate style of the '19 with just a bit more power. The piece that gave me pause is the finish is a quicker here. Red fruits. A bit less ripe. Bright. Will be interesting to see how it goes with time. 77% CS, 17% Merlot, 6% CF

Flight 18 - Lunch @ Pichon Comtesse (9 notes)

This lunch cemented for me the quality of PC. It’s a fantastic wine and this was one of the best line-ups. That ‘82 is in the top wines ever produced hands down.

White - Sparkling
2006 Louis Roederer Champagne Cristal Brut France, Champagne
A few more years and this champagne is softening into itself plus who doesn't like champagne? I am appreciating the Cristal style a lot on this trip. This is like orange blossom and a bit rounder of a mouthful while still being very fresh.
White - Sparkling
1996 Louis Roederer Champagne Cristal Brut France, Champagne
I am nitpicking here but this was not the best bottle of this that I have ever found and this is a wine that I know blows me away so that was a bit sad. It's still quite tasty. Just a touch less fresh? But the age is coming and filling out the roundness of the wine and there's a bit more complexity than with the '06 we had right before. Enjoyable.
White
2011 Y de Yquem France, Bordeaux
Straight up lime blossom. It's a bit chalky and even if I may say a bit of minerality. Very round and soft and yet there's a precise edge to the wine. I think this was a cooler vintage and that freshness comes through. Drinking incredibly well. For me a step up from the white burgundy we were meant to have (:-)).
2 people found this helpful Comment
Red
1989 Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Pauillac
There was real debate on whether this was the wine of the group and it's a valid conversation. Glad to see that we are fairly deep on these because it is a great wine and is probably just now going into drinking window. Still has all of the fruit but developing more secondary notes as well.
Red
1986 Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Pauillac
I feel a bit for this wine as I know that it's a good one and yet it got completely overshadowed in a line-up of 80's that included one of the best versions of my birth year and then 82 and 89. There's perhaps a bit less lift here than with those others, but still very tasty and a wine I'd be happy to drink any day.
Red
1982 Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Pauillac
This is straight up one of the best wines ever produced I think. There was some debate in our group on whether the '89 trumped but to me it was not a contest. This wine is bright and fresh and fruit and cigar smoke and elegant and powerful all at the same time. It is just about perfection. A real treat to get to try.
Red
1981 Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Pauillac
Another real treat but mainly because this is my birth year and I'd actually opened a bottle for my birthday earlier in the year and it was corked. This was not. In very good shape (as you might expect since we were at the Chateau). Not quite as vibrant as the '82, but there's life here (the difference to me is this finishes a touch shorter). Nice Bordeaux from a tough year for Bordeaux.
Red
1970 Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Pauillac
Funny because I have a very strong memory of the wines from the 80's and less of an impression here although I think it was much fresher than I expected it to be (you don't get the feeling there's an extra decade here) and drinking very nicely.
Red
1961 Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Pauillac
A very pretty wine and really special to get to try it. It is not quite the level of the '82 for me but it is in a nice drinking window right now (where the 82 you kindof get the feeling you might even be a bit early).

Flight 19 - Tour of Latour (3 notes)

A special treat as this isn’t the easiest winery to manage to get a visit with and our guide was very knowledgeable. I have spent almost no time with the second and third wine so it was interesting to get to try those as well.

Red
2016 Pauillac de Latour France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Pauillac
More accessible than the others which makes sense as this is the wine that is meant to be more drinkable now. There's an austereness to the style of wine which comes across as almost a bit brawny. Dark fruits. It's all structurally there.
1 person found this helpful Comment
Red
2015 Les Forts de Latour France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Pauillac
Slightly softer and a bit more forgiving than the '16 Pauillac but with lots of structure to it, tannin, some earth, a bit of black fruit. You can tell they are siblings.
Red
2012 Château Latour Grand Vin France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Pauillac
Dark and brooding. This was the first wine where Latour did not participate en premier and instead decided to hold the wine for an extra 6+ years to let it age. It has done that but there's still a lot of time left. This is a wine made for your children or maybe your children's children. The best word I had for it is huge. It's tight but somehow there's so much there.
2 people found this helpful Comment

Flight 20 - Dinner w/Latour @ 1925 (7 notes)

Jean and Pierre were consummate hosts and this was a very fun evening. Wines starting with the reds served blind (but of course we knew the producer).

White - Sparkling
N.V. Jacquesson & Fils Champagne France, Champagne
Always nice to start a meal with some bubbles and this was no different. Interesting as picked by the winemaker of Latour and there's some similarities to me in the style of this and that (mostly the austerity).
White - Sparkling
1995 Salon Champagne Blanc de Blancs Brut France, Champagne
Not every day that you are drinking 90's Salon on back to back days but life is pretty good. This was showing a touch more age than I would have expected. It's got that vanilla but less exaggerated. Bright. Maybe a bit more toast? But drinking nicely.
White
2018 Château-Grillet (Pinault) Condrieu La Carthery France, Rhône, Northern Rhône, Condrieu
What a super treat to get to drink. We love these wines. It's somehow both very round and a mouthful and yet in that seems to melt a bit. Honey and some stone fruits and a wonderful elegance to it.
Red
2015 Les Forts de Latour France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Pauillac
Served blind but when you are having dinner with a winemaker it's usually a pretty good guess it will be one of the wines from his estate. Funny because we'd just had this a few hours before at the winery. We were able to get that it wasn't quite as bold as the Grand Vin so the Les Forts, but not the exact year. Clearly young. Need to learn more on my recent Bordeaux vintages although we never drink those since not ready.
Red
2005 Château Latour Grand Vin France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Pauillac
Served blind and this wine I got although when I blind I play the person more than the wine. This seemed like the Grand Vin - there is a bigger heft to it than the Les Forts. Still quite young. A good vintage. I don't agree with the CT drinking window starting in 2022 - this has many years to go before it will really be ready. But interesting to peek at the potential.
1 person found this helpful Comment
Red
1982 Château Latour Grand Vin France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Pauillac
Interesting that the last time I also got the barnyard. For many this was the WOTN but I just couldn't get past that. Not that it's a flavor I don't like, but I expect it more from Rhone than Bordeaux and it doesn't always allow other flavors to express so much. A nice wine but missing the panache of the '71.
Red
1971 Château Latour Grand Vin France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Pauillac
From a magnum. The surprise wine for me. I've only had one other '71 Bordeaux (an HB) and it seems maybe this is an overlooked year (or good wineries produce great wine even in the tough years). This was still amazingly young, but there was just a peek of what a well aged Latour could be. Slightly less wound. Slightly more forgiving. Still so much power but with a hint of softness. Fun to try.

Flight 21 - Tasting @ Haut Brion/La Miss (7 notes)

Probably I should know this as HB is one of my go-to’s, but I honestly didn’t expect it to be in the middle of the suburbs. There’s almost no other vineyards around and you kindof wonder how that’s possible given the quality and history of HB. La Mission is a truly beautiful property. Clear that a lot of love went into it. HB is gearing up for it’s refresh (will be closed for 3 years).

White - Sparkling
2006 Krug Champagne Vintage Brut France, Champagne
Again it’s really much too young to be drinking now but not always the best access to aged wines when traveling and it’s easy to find yourself drinking through all of your champagne in Bordeaux. First glass of the day and it’s showing nicely if a bit more closed than you’d hope. Some extra complexity that PN brings to the blend. Nice way to start a tasting.
White
2010 Château Haut-Brion Blanc France, Bordeaux, Graves, Pessac-Léognan
I don’t think I’ve had much experience with these wines but it’s very easy to see why they inspire such a cult following. This bottle was very fresh and bright and a bit light. I think it ends up being served perhaps a hint cooler than the average white wine and that works well to showcase the acidity in the wine. Light honeycomb in a glass. Very elegant. We got to try an earlier bottle that had a bit of oxidation in it and showed a lot more evolution than the one that was poured for us so it’s a wine to keep an eye on.
Red
2000 Château La Mission Haut-Brion France, Bordeaux, Graves, Pessac-Léognan
Funny to see my note from a year and a half ago because I had a similar impression here. This was opened and decanted maybe 2 hours before we were drinking it, but it did seem a bit tight and quiet (mainly to me - the others got more from the wine). It’s definitely very young and even in the glass looked younger than the 2005 HB that we had alongside.
Red
2005 Château Haut-Brion France, Bordeaux, Graves, Pessac-Léognan
Also young and a bit tight to me. Interesting to try the La Miss next to the HB - these vineyards are a stone’s throw from each other and it’s the same viniculture team and there is maybe some consistency to the style but the final wines definitely have their differences. This has a bit more mellowness to it if I can describe it like that. Would be interesting to see the wine in another 20-25 years.
Red
1960 Château Haut-Brion France, Bordeaux, Graves, Pessac-Léognan
Agre really does change wines and makes them a lot more expressive. We did this blind and we were all over the map in terms of years but some of that is because wines that come straight from the cellar (which we’ve been lucky to have quite a few of this trip) do seem to taste fresher than you would expect and I think we’re all looking to connect that. It comes across as not one of the really great vintages - lacking the power you would expect from that - but is still quite tasty. Our friend who’s birth year this is thought it was his favorite Bordeaux ever from that year. Yes a bit more herbal and cigar than fruit but that is true of HB in general and part of its charm.
Red
1996 Château La Mission Haut-Brion France, Bordeaux, Graves, Pessac-Léognan
Sometimes you get a wine in just a really nice spot. This bottle was that to me. It seemed like everything was very well balanced. A vintage that isn’t the house favorite as it was picked on the earlier side when the vines had ripeness and right before rain was forecast and the rain ended up being short and followed by some weeks of sunshine. Still that slightly herbal quality and maybe a background of black fruits. Does not feel like a vintage that will last forever, but is one that is drinking really well now.
1 person found this helpful Comment
Red
2016 Château Quintus France, Bordeaux, Libournais, St. Émilion Grand Cru
Very young wine but a chance to check in on the St Émilion project. There is a difference when you are trying a wine and you have been to the place and can picture it. Dark and brooding although this was a straight pnp and we didn’t have time to really let it evolve. It’s very young, but I imagine a good buy for Bordeaux at the moment and a wine that is on the rise.
1 person found this helpful Comment

Flight 22 - Dinner @ Cos D'Estournel (8 notes)

We ate at the Maison which is also a hotel. Nice laidback style of food served family style. This is a producer we’ve not spent a lot of time with and I don’t have a good reason for why. It is certainly a bit austere in style, but the 1985 was really delicious and I think I might need to start looking at buying more.

White
2016 Château Cos d'Estournel Blanc France, Bordeaux
Warmer vintage and so this was a bit more round and fleshy - maybe green apple and some slight mineral notes. It’s again served a touch on the cold side which I think helps bring out the acid in the wine. Fun to compare next to the 2017 which was a cooler vintage and comes across as more green citrus.
White
2017 Château Cos d'Estournel Blanc France, Bordeaux
Drank next to its big brother the 2016. Where that was more round and honey and apple this was much more lime and mint and blossom. Reminded me just a touch of some of the Ygrec 2011 that we had the other day. Tasty wine.
1 person found this helpful Comment
Red
1911 Château Cos d'Estournel France, Bordeaux, Médoc, St. Estèphe
Opened and the cork was in poor form so had to do a decant and thus served early in the evening. This was one of those wines that kept feinting. At first seemed totally fine and like it would have an upward trajectory and surprise you with how good it could be (maybe in the first 5-10 mins) and eventually started a strong nosedive (around min 20) which made it essentially undrinkable within the hour. Never quite got to a ‘happy’ place, but it is interesting to drink so much history. After all this wine was in bottle before WWI even started. All tertiary and maybe even whatever the fourth level down would be. But interesting.
Red
1969 Château Cos d'Estournel France, Bordeaux, Médoc, St. Estèphe
flawed
Pity but so it goes with old wines
Red
2000 Château Cos d'Estournel France, Bordeaux, Médoc, St. Estèphe
From a magnum and served blind which always complicates things a bit. For a vintage with the accolades of 2000 there does seem to be a certain mutedness and approachability to the wines. It’s definitely young but you feel that more from the lack of complexity than from any difficulty in drinking the wine. This was drinking well but I think the two that followed shone more as you’d expect with some more years.
1 person found this helpful Comment
Red
1989 Château Cos d'Estournel France, Bordeaux, Médoc, St. Estèphe
A few years later and ex-Chateau and this wine is in a truly great place. You can taste the slightly more austere style of the wine but this was a big year and you get a nice fleshiness from that. I think I come out more for the ‘85 because it was a bit more complex and I kindof gravitate towards some of the less fruit forward versions but this was really nice.
1 person found this helpful Comment
Red
1985 Château Cos d'Estournel France, Bordeaux, Médoc, St. Estèphe
Wow - drinking really nicely. This is in just the right window and was my WOTN. It’s a bit more earth and forest than it is fruit but that’s ok because there’s still that wonderful vibrancy of a great wine. Just in a great spot.
White - Sweet/Dessert
2010 Tokaj Hétszőlő Tokaji Aszú 5 Puttonyos Hungary, Tokaji
A nice way to finish the dinner with a bit of sweet although this is pretty serious sweet (something like 25x more than a champagne). A small glass goes a long way. It is though well integrated into the wine and the acid is great and overall it’s enjoyable.

Flight 23 - Lunch @ Lynch Bages (13 notes)

I’ll be honest - this is a producer that I was a bit split on. I’ve had some great wines, but it always seemed to me like this was a good value and then the price went up quite a bit and it wasn’t the same value and so we haven’t bought much. I will say though I was incredibly charmed by the place (which is a bit funny to say since it’s a brand new facility and much more in the modern style). So less perhaps the buildings themselves (which are clearly top technology) but some of the touches like leaving the original winery (which is where many of the bottles we drank were made - it was in use up until 1975). Also listening to the stories of Jean Charles and Jean Pierre who have a wonderful take on what they are trying to do with the place. Funnily enough we ran into Englishman’s Claret here (for better notes see his) and so fun to meet fellow CT wine lovers.

Rosé - Sparkling
2008 Billecart-Salmon Champagne Cuvée Elisabeth Salmon France, Champagne
From a magnum as an aperitif. This is light and fresh and a bit fruity. I wouldn’t say closed down, but it’s very primary in nature. Suspect you would get a lot more if you’d laid it down for 20 years but this was bought to ensure we had sufficient champagne for the trip because who wants to start a meal without champagne?
6 people found this helpful Comments (2)
White
2020 Château Lynch-Bages Blanc de Lynch-Bages France, Bordeaux
I don’t think I realized how many of the Bordeaux estates make a white although I suppose it makes sense as it can get quite warm in the summer and there’s a point where you’d rather drink white. Originally made as a wine for the family but when the customs officials did not accept that then it was adjusted to be a wine for sale. Very popular and very reasonable. Most of these seem to do best served a bit on the chilled side. This was a nice version tending towards the honey with just a small background of lime. Mostly SB but also includes Semillion and Muscadet (first one we’ve had with the later).
Red
1928 Rosier Grand Vin Haut-Bages France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Pauillac
I wouldn’t say this is the best wine in the world but it’s incredibly interesting and to hear the story behind it from someone who lived much of it is pretty incredible. This was a small plot of landed owned by the Rosier family and made by the father. During the 30’s the family sold the land to Lynch Bages and then the son ended up being the cellarmaster there for 30 years after he came back from the Great War. Today there are tank elevators in the new building all named for the six original employees of the grandfather and one of them is after this man. Wine had been reconditioned (as you can tell from the label). It’s old though and a bit tired (and perhaps had more travel in the last week and a half of it’s life than the first 83 years). Kindof stewed red fruits. Fun to try and even better as Jean Pierre shared the story and even brought some old pictures from the time.
Red
1947 Château Lynch-Bages France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Pauillac
Started off pretty strong and was even some folks favorites although with time it faded a bit (fair for a wine that is older than my parents). To me this was always more secondary - leather spa and a bit of library and just a bit of saddle oil. It’s good though as an old Bordeaux and really fun to get to try.
Red
1949 Château Lynch-Bages France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Pauillac
Funnily enough we ended up with two bottles of this wine at the tasting but what can you do? This was all different to me than the other wines and not entirely sure why. I get pretty which makes me think more like dried flower petals. Then something I can’t quite put my finger on. Less fresh than the wines around it but again we’re before both of my parents were born so wine like that is always a treat.
Red
1953 Château Lynch-Bages France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Pauillac
First wine where the fruits are there even if there are a bit dark and slightly stewed. Another strong shower in the early times although I think it hurt being right next to the ‘55 which was just a revelation for me.
Red
1955 Château Lynch-Bages France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Pauillac
One of my learnings of this trip is we need to get and drink more ‘55s. This was the WOTD easily and the one that I savored down to the last drop. It’s very fresh. Black fruits. I get an impression of cut grass or maybe just springtime with that growth in the air. Crazy for a wine that is coming up on it’s 70th birthday. There’s the extra structure of age. And overall just a very enjoyable drink. Really great. Many thanks to Englishman Claret for sharing.
Red
1966 Château Lynch-Bages France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Pauillac
One of my favorite vintages of old Bordeaux and I’d say this was a perfectly nice example of a standard old one although again suffered from being on the heels of the ‘55. Also part of the journey this last week and a half and as such there was perhaps a bit of grit in there. Old library and musty pages. Still nice.
Red
1982 Château Lynch-Bages France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Pauillac
In the younger crowd this was my wine and have now had back to back really great experiences with it (although always different it seems). This is bright and fresh and darker red fruits and then today I was getting almost a sense of cinnamon (which is odd, but really complemented the wine well). Delicious.
Red
1990 Château Lynch-Bages France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Pauillac
Many of the others were picking this in their top wines and perhaps it will get there but for me today it was still a bit closed down a primary although with the potential to do a lot more. It’s clearly fresh and lively but as I said very primary which is more pronounced on the heels of the old wines. Some pepper. Darker fruits. Give it time.
Red
1996 Château Lynch-Bages France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Pauillac
This is the wine to drink while you are waiting for your 90 and 00 to come around. It is open and ready for business and while I don’t think it’s going anywhere quickly I also don’t think it’s getting any better. It’s a good old aged Bordeaux. Not the power that some of those other vintages have but the secondary is more in the foreground and the background is some black fruit and it’s in a nice spot.
Red
2000 Château Lynch-Bages France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Pauillac
Still incredibly young and incredible tight and a bit less expressive (a theme this week on the trip - the 2000’s aren’t quite what I’d expect but hopefully it is just a question of time). While it’s young it is approachable or at least there are softer tannins. Darker wine. There’s power here lurking I think. Give it more years.
2 people found this helpful Comment
White - Sparkling
1985 Louis Roederer Champagne Cristal Brut France, Champagne
From a magnum. We poured first glass at Lynch Bages and then finished on the terrace at Pichon Comtesse. Initially there was some concern that there weren’t enough bubbles similar to the 83 we had earlier in the week but I was happy to find that it’s just old champagne and they are there although of course not as pronounced as the young ones. This is a sweet spot wine for me. I really enjoy the complexity that comes from old champagne where there’s a touch of oxidation and the wine is a hint caramel and esp with these old Cristals where there’s some more RS and so it rounds out the wine. Drinking very nicely.

Flight 24 - Afternoon/evening at the Chateau (5 notes)

After such a busy week we ended up not having dinner plans this evening and honestly that was quite nice. In the future I think we should always look for an opportunity when staying in a Chateau to spend a night enjoying it. Pizza was the food of the day and I’m happy to report it was significantly better than St Emillion if a bit of a long line and wait. I missed some wines as I had a call, but I think got most of the important ones.

White - Sparkling
1969 Moët & Chandon Champagne Brut Impérial France, Champagne
Very aged champagne. It’s mostly more acid now although some roundness I guess as well. A bit tired but it should be with that. Still enjoyable to try and drink.
White
2001 Coche-Dury Meursault France, Burgundy, Côte de Beaune, Meursault
The good news is my wallet is still safe from white burgundy. Just a small sip and it tastes like white burg. Perhaps a nicer version of it, but nothing that fits with what I most want to be drinking.
White - Sparkling
N.V. Billecart-Salmon Champagne Extra Brut Meunier Rendez-Vous No.1 France, Champagne
Just a fun wine and not one that you see all too often. Paired with a pizza which is always a good combination (esp as we got better pizza this time). Kindof spicy notes prob from the Meunier. Young and not really that complex but it’s enjoyable and mostly a bit educational.
Red
1996 Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Pauillac
Not as detailed notes as this was the wine poured at the end of the pizza and going into the evening. It’s really nice though. We opened and decanted for maybe a few hours and it was in a lovely spot.
1 person found this helpful Comments (2)
Red
1995 Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Pauillac
Served next to the ‘96 although with just the one glass and me spending my time enjoying that I drank this quite late and just a smaller pour. Equally enjoyable though. It’s also on the young side but with the multi-hour decant very approachable and tasty.

Flight 25 - Drinks & dinner w/Guillame @ Intercontinental | 1925 (14 notes)

We're back again to the heart of the Bordeaux bistro scene with Pierre and team. Another lovely dinner and a fun line-up of wines (very bummed on the Cristal though :-(). Evening was pretty much blind although we'd brought 7 of the wines so I was single-blinded for some of them. Humbling (humiliating?) experience as always but lots of great and fun wines in here. And what a special champagne line-up to start on the rooftop with a view of downtown Bordeaux at sunset. Also hard to complain about our fellow dinner companion Napa who helped me finish the bacon on my burger that I was less keen on.

White - Sparkling
2009 Bérêche et Fils Champagne Premier Cru Le Cran Ludes France, Champagne, Champagne Premier Cru
A champagne that I generally am a fan of. More interesting. Has that nice Pinot blend to it that gives you a bit more of a spicy characteristic. We drank it relatively quickly so it didn't have time to blossom in the glass the way it often does, but I'm sure it was heading there.
White - Sparkling
2007 Larmandier-Bernier Champagne Grand Cru Vieille Vigne du Levant Extra Brut France, Champagne, Champagne Grand Cru
I'll admit this is a producer that I've never really given enough focus to. It seems we do own a few of these (this is what happens when you have somewhat broad champagne buying - you don't even remember what's in your cellar) but I haven't thought of them as someone to focus on. This was lovely though. We took a bit more time with this bottle and so gave it the change to open a bit. It's lemon curd and light and bright and very much a blanc de blanc in that nice and light and just slightly mysterious way.
2 people found this helpful Comment
White - Sparkling
N.V. Jacques Selosse V.O. Blanc de Blancs Extra Brut France, Champagne, Champagne Grand Cru
Served blind and you'd think that this would be easy because he has such a very distinguished style and yet not at all. I think maybe because he has such a different style it was a bit harder. I was in the world of Pinot because there was some spice and herbal to it. But that is really just his oxidation causing the different flavors. It's an interesting wine and constantly evolving. Poured a very dark yellow in the decanter and a lot lighter in the glass. Lovely to drink.
1 person found this helpful Comment
White
2015 Didier Dagueneau Pouilly-Fumé Silex France, Loire Valley, Upper Loire, Pouilly-Fumé
I fully expected to get blinded on white burgundy so I only took a tiny pour. And while the rest of the group was totally sure it was white burg I was not because this wine was not offputting for me and so often the white burgundys are. There's a cleanness that makes you think less oak, more stainless. A sortof brightness to the wine. Young but always drinks well.
1 person found this helpful Comment
White - Sparkling
1994 Taittinger Champagne Comtes de Champagne Blanc de Blancs Brut France, Champagne
This is drinking like a 70's or 80's champagne and in that sense it's really good. There's definite oxidation and the bubbles are much more muted but it's nutty and interesting and a hint of freshness to it. This is a producer I've really liked in the 90's and perhaps it is because they get to that aging just a bit faster and I like the taste of aged champagne. Not sure it was a perfect bottle but it was drinking incredibly well.
White - Sparkling
1979 Louis Roederer Champagne Cristal Brut France, Champagne
flawed
This was completely undrinkable which is a huge shame because I love this wine. Got it for a semi-reasonable price for this wine but definitely not cheap by any definition so feeling pretty bummed.
White
1982 Château Laville Haut-Brion Blanc France, Bordeaux, Graves, Pessac-Léognan
Beautiful bottle and beautiful wine. It was served blind for many at the table and it's not the easiest wine to pick out because it has so many of the best parts of a bunch of different regions. I'm amazed at the elegance that these whites can display. Aged nicely and a real treat to get to try (also direct from the Chateau wine shop which never hurts).
1 person found this helpful Comment
Red
1973 Château La Mission Haut-Brion France, Bordeaux, Graves, Pessac-Léognan
Super fun wine because it was the birth year of one of our friends at the dinner and so just very kind to bring it. This was drinking well to me. A bit overshadowed by the bottle we had after which surprised me in being my WOTN. Not sure why the difference. This was very well aged and leathery and cigar smoke and all of that.
Red
1993 Château Haut-Brion France, Bordeaux, Graves, Pessac-Léognan
My WOTN and a great example of how HB pretty much always makes good wine regardless of the year. This was shockingly good and even more shockingly good when we realized it was a '93. First - it's young and fresh and bright and honestly I thought maybe more like a 2000 or a 2005. But it's also fairly approachable. And already a bit interesting and so there was a conundrum there when tasting blind. Overall though just a pretty fantastic wine.
Red
1983 Château Haut-Brion France, Bordeaux, Graves, Pessac-Léognan
Now we're down to the last two so this is single blind for me and as a result i know what it is because HB and Margaux are diff wines. This is almost a bit herbal and more old bordeaux and drinking very well. Glad to see the wine holding up so well esp at the end of a multiweek journey around the country. Very enjoyable and could easily have been a contender for WOTN if the '93 wasn't just so shocking.
Red
1969 Château Margaux France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Margaux
There was some initial concern on this wine mostly because it had quite the trip to make it to this table (including a back and forth between London and Paris twice although thankfully when the weather was on the cooler side). Perhaps it's a bit tossed up as a result, but honestly I still thought it was lovely. There's just a touch of that plushy, more red velvet that I associate with Margaux. A strong showing and a wine I'd happily order again.
1 person found this helpful Comment
Red
2006 Château La Mission Haut-Brion France, Bordeaux, Graves, Pessac-Léognan
Off the wine list to almost finish out the night. I guess in keeping with the theme we had of a lot of HB but makes sense given our company. This not quite as good at the others but it's also a lot younger and so hasn't come as far along. I'm noticing a theme that I tend to even blind gravitate a bit more towards HB than Miss but I haven't figured out exactly why that is.
1 person found this helpful Comment
Red
1979 Château La Mission Haut-Brion France, Bordeaux, Graves, Pessac-Léognan
flawed
Unfortunate but they do happen when you are drinking old wine.
White - Sweet/Dessert
1955 Château Rieussec France, Bordeaux, Sauternais, Sauternes
The color on this is dark crazy tea (like when it's been steeping for over an hour) and I was a bit unsure but this is still delicious. There's acid which keeps some freshness and the sugar is all fully in play and more burnt caramel and all of that. A little bit goes a long way.

Closing

Some takeaways from the trip for me (many of these self-obvious but it was interesting to experience them real-time).

- There is a reason everyone chases the ex-Chateau wine especially when it has age. Vibration does make a difference over all of those years and even a week of moving things around more significantly can have an impact on the wine.
- Belair Monange is an up and comer in St Emillion and you just need to look at the vines and the grapes (and compare to some others) to see there is a lot of love and work there and it’s a label to keep an eye on.
- Canon deserves a second look and a more open mind from me. The ‘55 and ‘61 were phenomenal. It has the chops to age forever. I need to be more open especially to the old ones (in fact in the time since I started this note I've already bought a few bottles)
- 1955 as a vintage is pretty impressive and should be looked out for
- Cos has a pretty austere and
- 2000 as a vintage hasn't convinced me yet although maybe it will with more time
- Old wine always >>>> than young wine. You can drink a young wine and enjoy imagining what it will be one day, but it's never straight enjoyable on its own
- Wine tastes differ and interestingly enough our sensitivities to different things differ (e.g. I notice barnyard sometimes a bit more than others). Fact of life and it's ok
- Champagne should be served with every meal - preferably before and after

And many other things. Much better understanding of the estates and the wines and most importantly the people. Looking forward to continuing to connect. Not sure how to top that one although many more places to go (even within Bordeaux we prob just scratched the surface of wines that we like)!

Sante!

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