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Day 6 and 7 in Bordeaux - Printable Version

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- TheEngineer - 08-07-2011 11:44 PM

Day 6 and 7 Bordeaux

We left Burgundy feeling great about the wine and the people that were behind them. Never had we felt closer to the product, the land and the producers. Three days of trekking up and down the region only leaves you with the need to return for a much longer period of time.

It was with this mindset we set off for Bordeaux. We drove from Dijon down to Lyon to drop the car off and then took a short flight to Bordeaux. It was in this flight that I found the best place in the world to exchange British Pounds for Euros….on an EasyJet flight. When most places were giving me about 0.85 euros per pound (for 50 GBP), I gave the flight attendant my 50 GBP and got in exchange 56 euros and a coke! Gotta remember that.

First stop was an early morning visit to St. Emilion and Chateau Troplong Mondot. We stopped off at the town first to see if I could get a memory card for my camera and some breakfast. We had smelled the croissants baking from miles away….we walked around the visitor’s center and onto the ledge where the cafes were and wow…..the view our was insane. You look over the town and then into the vineyards. This was a breathtaking view. I will definitely return here just for the view alone.

But onto the first session with Troplong Mondot. I’ve enjoyed the wines from here in the past so was interested to see the ops. You drive past the town and up into the vineyards. They are by the watertower that they try to hide with tall trees. Facilities are immaculate and the new cave is very nice though I could have done without the Crystal lamps hanging down above the barrels. Quite the difference from Burgundy!!. The spittoon was the waterfall of wines that is behind us. Nice tasting room. They also showed us the hall that can be rented out now. The wine tasted was a 2006 which is great as I’ve not had that one yet.

2006 Chateau Troplong Mondot – deep in color, we are in Bordeaux and Saint Emilion at that. Nose is very tight dark fruits, tobacco, cedarwood, a bit of menthol and spices. On the palate, also a bit reserved but lush and smooth, taste per palate, some nice crush stones on the minerality front. Long finish good structure.

Next visit was Pape Clement and that was back in Bordeaux area so we made a mad dash back across and arrived on time. More evidence of money. If I had time to play golf, I would not see lawns as perfectly manicured as this one. The gardens were impressive. The facilities were impressive. Church choral music would start as we moved through the wine storage rooms. The reserved wines were mostly in large formats so definitely size envy for the big boys club. But tasting was back in the retail area. I had not known that you could buy wine at the Chateau in Bordeaux so was unprepared for this. We tried a trio of wines from the B Margrez stable.

2009 Chateau Frombrough AC Bordeaux: 40% Semillion, 40% Sauvignon Blanc, 20% (could not catch) I thought it was oxidized, my friend thought it was corked. They opened up another bottle for us. The cellar master appeared to taste the wines and confirmed that they are as they should be. The second bottle was a bit fresher but over a very short period of time, I thought mine became quickly oxidized and my friend thought it was corked. Either way, not something I wanted to drink . Slightly smokey, more oxidized characteristics, a bit orangey, quite the structure but nothing to return to.

2007 La Crois de Perennes: Almost bakery like, cake on the nose, blueberry, mostly merlot we were told, tannic still but medium length with short finish, oak is intrusive. Not excited. Funny thing, the large French group that is in there tasting with us are buying tones of the wines.

2007 Pape Clement: Lush to watch on pour, deep dark berries, a touch of herbs but pleasant, it is very tight, a bit of mushroom on the nose that grows larger with more air. Highly structured. Good wine but compared to the 2007 Pavie I had the other day, this is leagues behind for the same vintage.

I walk back out into the vineyards, the grapes appear to be several weeks behind the ones from Saint Emilion. Terroir?? I was greatful for the visit and the guides were great but today the wines did not show that well.

The day ended with a tasting at Lynch-Bages. We had a bit of time so went up to Pauillac for lunch along the river. Lovely but expensive so we just ate omlettes. We walked around the rehab village that the Cazes are putting money into. Lovely places, especially the bakery where we dropped some serious euros. I also ended up buying a few things at the gift shop. The tour at Lynch-Bages was great and we had a great tasting, the first of many 2010 barrel samples.

2005 Haut Bages Averous 59% CS, 26% Merlot, 15% CF – Very nice, elegant deep dark berries, medium bodied and length, not totally integrated yet, bit of wood still out there, but solid, slightly spicy, good acidity and persistence. Just a hint of austerity midpalate more likely due to the phase that it is in.

2004 Lynch Bages 84% CS, 9% Merlot, 5% CF, 2% PV – a very clean nose, deep fruit driven, nicely balanced, elegant, a bit austere again but bottle was just opened. A bit of black tea at the end of the palate. Medium + bodied, and good length.

2010 Lynch Bages Barrel Sample – 79% CS, 13% Merlot, 7% CF, 1% PV. WOW, this is an intense and thought provoking wine. I’ve never had a barrel sample quite like this, in that I would have taken it to dinner if they gave it to me! Blackberries, blue berries, intense nose, dense, explosive is the right word. But over it all a great balanced, nothing poking out, great structure is unobtrusive under the wine and the fruit but focus in on it and it is massive. Great acidity, great freshness. Long persistence, I could taste it all the way back to Bordeaux. We DRANK most of this bottle while in the tasting room. It would be probably the wine of the trip if not number two but always right up there. Insane experience. I will remember this one for a long time. I’m glad I’ve got my hands on a few even though they are much more expensive than the 09’s

Day 7 Bordeaux

Today was to be another long day of tasting or so we thought. First up was Pontet Canet. We have been fans of Pontet Canet for many years as it was always the little wine that punched well above its weight but more recently, the prices have been ,…well,….high. It is no longer for us the value option, this year at $179 a bottle, it is now priced outside of what we want to spend on wine (but I still got some.).

2010 – Bottles in July 18, 65% CS, 30% M, 4% CF, 1% PV – We tasted in the barrel room. They noted that this is the area for the professionals to taste so we were appreciative but frankly, there are so many aromas in the barrel room that it is hard to taste in there. It is hard to smell beyond the aromas of the room and so to some of my friends the PC lagged behind the LB if only by a bit. This wine is explosive as well. Tannic to be sure, but the black fruit is all over the palate. Tight but elegant and full bodied, I now understand the term precision in a red wine. Ripe and lush texture and super long finish but still fresh. Forbiddemal.

2008 – Frankly quite similar to 2010 in profile, but berries and oak is not quite integrated. Very pretty on the nose full bodied and greath length. Classic but does not reach the highs of the 2010.

Mouton Rothschild – I had been calling and sending in letters to no response. I found out why. They are closed to visitors due to the renovations to the Chai…err…new Chai. Lovely location

Lafite Rothschild – I had not appointment and thus no hope in hell.. still I wanted to walk the grounds and see If there were any cancellations. There were none.

Pichon Comtesse de Lalande – Beautiful property.
2004 Pichon Lalande was available for tasting – very pure wine, very pretty, cedary, elegant, grippy and still needs time. Great nose, deep dark berries, slightly sweet almost, some soy. 53% CS, 35% M 5% CF, 7% PV. Good supple body. Very enjoyeable.

We were suppose to go to Branaire Ducru which I’ve enjoyed more of lately but my our car was broken into so we had to spend the rest of the afternoon with the Gendarmerie……

Oh well…….


- winoweenie - 08-08-2011 12:46 PM

As usual well-written, concise, and enviable as all git-out! WW


- TheEngineer - 08-09-2011 07:19 AM

Thank you sir! More bordeaux to come soon. I've just gotta get some time to type.

Mike