Friday, December 26, 2014

Most of the guests who stay here wouldn’t know the difference between Bordeaux and Claret


Wine is a constant reminder that God loves us and loves to see us happy
The rules of engagement were very simple, "bring a Bordeaux". Chateau, classification, AOC, vintage - all were left to the participants' discretion. Except we let an outsider white in, because we didn't have enough Bordeaux blancs and the venue, Halutzim 3, simply has too many tasty starters that beg for white wines.

Chateau Lafleur, Pomerol, Les Champs Libres, 2011

The first Lafleur white, ever, but our bottle was corked. But enough to obscure the vibrant acidity. This should have been a very lively wine.

Vigneti Massa, Colli Tortonesi, Montecitorio, Derthona, 2010

This wine is made of an almost extinct grape, Timorasso, that was rescued by Walter Massa. Amazingly enough, this is the second vintage I've shared with the same group (probably because everyone has been receiving travel advice in Northern Italy from the same source - Ido Lewinsohn). An interesting blend of sweet fruit, tumeric and minerals. A dry wine, detailed with fair complexity and good length. I can understand why Walter Massa fell in love with the grape.

Chateau Coucheroy, Pessac-Leognan, 2010

This breaks my private rule that if the name of the chateau is obscure, it's a Graves, as opposed to a Pessac. Whatever, this is fresh and tropical, almost New Zealand in character, but with greater focus. Very cute.

Clos du Marquis, Saint Julien, 2000

Saint Julien is Home. This, of course, was once the second wine of Leoville-Les-Cases, but is today a separate estate as far as vineyards and facilities go, and would rank as a growth if it was an actual chateau, based on its intrinsic quality. This evening, it was easily the tastiest wine, with currant fruit painted in bold strokes and framed by earth and cedar, well balanced as a Saint Julien should be.

Chateau Talbot, Saint Julien 4me Cru, 2000

Deeper and darker than the Clos Du Marquis, with a hint of brett. No real spark, despite the depth, and looking over past notes, the last 2000 Talbot was exactly the same - a  character study of a stodgy, conservative uncle you wish you liked more - while the 2009 was cut of similar cloth.

Chateau Giscours, Margaux 3me Cru, 2000

Two steps up over the Talbot. At least. Nuanced and sexy, yet firm and structured, with funky, supple sweetness that carries easygoing magic. Overall, the best of the night, with loads of potential.

Chateau Leoville-Barton, Saint Julien 2me Cru, 1995

This caused a glitch. The initial pour at the start of the evening showed a disease free wine. However, by the time we reached it, the winemakers in the group thought they spotted TCA, then backed off from that claim. Myself, I get TCA easily and TCA in a 19 year old wine would break anyone's bones. So not TCA. But any wine that makes you search for signs of TCA has some kind of fault, so I'll go by my initial notes, which probably represent the Leoville-Barton at its best: classic Left Bank claret, with cedar and minerals, and so long, harmonious and tasty that it's easy to dismiss its complexity.

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