Monthly Archives: April 2016




42% Cabernet Sauvignon, 47% Merlot, 7% Cabernet Franc, and 4% Petit Verdot
N: sweet, with olive nuances, cosmetic overtones and primary fruit showing. Good underlying depth. My notes say “serious and mysterious”.
P: very forward. Big, but not too big. Blackcurrant and fruit paste flavors, and develops very well on the palate. Classic.

Branaire Ducru
65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 26% Merlot, 4% Cabernet Franc, and 5% Petit Verdot
N: fine, assertive, a little dusty. Somewhat one-dimensional and a touch green, with resin and menthol notes.
P: mouthfilling, but somewhat lacking in weight and richness. Good acidity. Very Cabernet and medium-light. Nice sweetness on finish but not very long.

Gruaud Larose
60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 31% Merlot, and 9 % Cabernet Franc
N: closed with some mint-eucalyptus notes
P: not showing well at the present time. Alcohol and tannin dominate. Hard finish. Needs to be revisited later on.



75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 17% Merlot, and 8% Petit Verdot
N: interesting, subtle, and a touch grassy, with black fruit liqueur and vanilla overtones. Promising.
P: heavy mouth feel. Starts out soft and then somewhat disjointed. Slightly hot aftertaste. Needs to be retasted at a later date because not showing well now.

Langoa Barton
54% Cabernet Sauvignon, 38% Merlot, and 8 % Cabernet Franc
N: winery aromas along with sweet subtle fruit. Notes of blueberry and coffee, but not very complex at this stage
P: amazingly soft, round, and sensual with a juicy tang. Winner.

Léoville Barton
86% Cabernet Sauvignon and 14% Merlot
N: very closed, but with some underlying mint, blackcurrant, and toffee.
P: more open on the palate. Big, penetrating, and loads of black fruit flavours. Long and authoritative. Very fine indeed.


Léoville Las Cases
85% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6% Merlot, and 9% Cabernet Franc
N: underlying fruit just emerging
P: considerable weight on the palate. Big, rich, and delicious with the classic blackcurrant flavors of this terroir. Develops beautifully on the palate with a zingy aftertaste. Very good, but perhaps not great.
I tasted the other wines from the Delon stable and particularly liked 2015 Potensac.
Also, 2015 is the first year that a second wine of Clos du Marquis – La Petite Marquise – was produced.

Léoville Poyferré
65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 26% Merlot, 3% Cabernet Franc, and 6% Petit Verdot
N: Powerful, inky, very Cabernet and rich, with jammy and medicinal overtones. The bouquet is confused at the moment and needs time.
P: Starts off rich and soft, going on to reveal tight a tight tannic structure and plenty of backbone. Unabashedly tannic on finish. Once could resume the taste by saying it segues from softness into harshness. The tannin will inevitably enable this wine to age well, but the balance is a little off.

Saint Pierre
75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 19% Merlot, and 6% Cabernet Franc
N: pure and youthful, with exuberant fruit in keeping with the château style. However, this is the antithesis of a fruit bomb. A little green, a little cosmetic, and there may have been a touch of acetic acid.
P: fluid, tangy, bright, and satisfying, with new oak on the finish. Great wine for mid-term drinking.

DSC02207 1024


66% Cabernet Sauvignon, 31% Merlot, and 3% Petit Verdot
N: bit withdrawn, but with underlying dark fruit
P: chewy and rich, but short. Good acidity, but this does not lead towards a long aftertaste, which is nevertheless fruity. The wine seems to lack overall richness and body at this stage.




60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 29% Merlot, 9% Cabernet Franc, and 2% Petit Verdot
N: just fine with hints of cherry
P: big, mouthfilling, textbook Pauillac but lacks weight despite its richness. New oak predominates on the finish. Not quite the same class as Clerc Milon.

77% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot, and 3% Petit Verdot
N: discreet sweet, typical Pauillac nose of medium intensity
P: Big, melts in the mouth with ripe fruit. Only a lack of depth and length keep it out of the top flight category. Lots of new oak, let’s hope they make sure to tone it down during ageing. Well-balanced, although not as complex as the Lynch Moussas.

Clerc Milon
51% Cabernet Sauvignon, 34% Merlot, 13% Cabernet Franc, 1% Petit Verdot, and 1% Carménère
N: sweet black fruit and cranberry overtones, crushed blackcurrant leaves
P: lovely, rich, full, straightforward, and long. A real crowd pleaser.



Croizet Bages
73% Cabernet Sauvignon, 27% Merlot
N: forthright, pure, and open with some hints of black fruit jelly
P: very tart as well as weak and watery on the palate. Simple fruit juice flavors. I really wish I could be more positive for this consistently disappointing wine.

Grand Puy Ducasse
63% Cabernet Sauvignon, 37% Merlot
N: discreet, in fact overly so
P: much better on the palate with a velvety texture and good tannin on the aftertaste. This estate is doing better.

Grand Puy Lacoste
74% Cabernet Sauvignon, 23% Merlot, and 3% Cabernet Franc
N: deep, seductive, brambly and black fruit bouquet. Very promising.
P: round, medium-light and seemingly slightly diluted. Not overdone in any way. Tart, refreshing acidity. A thirst-quenching sort of wine for people who like elegant,digestible Bordeaux. Very good.



Haut Bages Libéral
65% Cabernet Sauvignon and 35% Merlot
N: sweet and simple with a touch of greenness and ash
P: fluid texture and on the light side but picks up on the surprisingly long, attractive finish. One to watch out for.

Lafite Rothschild
91% Cabernet Sauvignon et 9% Merlot
N: delicate and feminine, very much in the château style with cedar and floral nuances giving way to subtle Cabernet fruitiness.
P: 2015 Lafite proves that not just Merlot has tannin that melts in the mouth! The wine deploys its charms with great finesse. The body is on the light side and seemingly low in alcohol. More a satiny than a velvety texture. Very fine.

97.1% Cabernet Sauvignon, 2.6% Merlot, and 0.03% Petit Verdot
N: relatively closed, with some menthol overtones
P: big, chunky, and penetrating with all the hallmarks of the château. Unrelenting progression of flavors into a zippy, tremendously long aftertaste. Super concentrated, but also elegant. Huge ageing potential.
The second and third wines were also good. As well as wines from the most recent vintage, Latour served 2010 Pauillac, 2009 Les Forts de Latour, and 2000 Latour to en primeur tasters. Not that Les Forts were in any way disappointing, but both the 2015 and 2010 vintages of the Pauillac “over-performed” and represent excellent value for money.



Lynch Bages
70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 24% Merlot, 4% Cabernet Franc, and 2% Petit Verdot
N: very deep with strong blackcurrant and a little clove on the nose
P: medium-heavy mouth feel. Certainly round and attractive, but overwhelmed by the oak at this stage. A wine made to last, but need to be re-tasted at a later date.

Lynch Moussas
75% Cabernet Sauvignon and 25% Merlot
N: nice balance between sweet fruit and oak, nuances of spring flowers
P: stalwart with medium-heavy mouth feel. Fairly assertive with good long aftertaste showing candied black fruit and new oak. Very good. Sleeper.

Mouton Rothschild
82% Cabernet Sauvignon, 16% Merlot, and 2% Cabernet Franc
N: some talcum powder and beeswax on the monumental nose. Virile, deep, and promising.
P: Rich and big on the palate. As good as the bouquet is, the flavors are even better, including some olive nuances. Great velvety texture, balance, and a long aftertaste. The absolute epitome of Cabernet Sauvignon. Radically different from Lafite tasted just one hour previous because this is – comparatively speaking – a bruiser. Regal. Wonderful.



Pichon Baron
77% Cabernet Sauvignon and 23% Merlot
N: lovely characteristic black fruit (especially blackcurrant) along with biscuity and brambly nuances
P: pure and fresh. Great balance and texture, length and grip. Beats the Comtesse and the best Pauillac at the UGC tasting.

Pichon Comtesse
68% Cabernet Sauvignon, 29% Merlot, 2% Cabernet Franc, and 1% Petit Verdot
N: coffee/vanilla with sweet pure fruit. Lacks complexity at this point and is a little spirity.
P: beautiful feminine Pauillac that stops just short of great because the requisite volume is just not there. Nevertheless round and attractive with a tangy tea tannin on the finish.

Pontet Canet
65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 3% Cabernet Franc, and 2% Petit Verdot
N: sweet and captivating with some floral overtones (iris)
P: not as easygoing on the palate as the nose suggests. Great balance between roundness and backbone. Restrained. Classic, with very pure fruit. Wonderful transition from softness to long mineral aftertaste.





Calon Ségur
82% Cabernet Sauvignon, 16% Merlot, and 2% Petit Verdot
N: sweet, spirit (but discreetly so), and chocolatey
P: melts in the mouth. Sleek, rich, and no off-putting hard-ass tannin whatsoever. Great acidity but inconclusive impressions on the aftertaste. Give it time to judge accurately. Big changes at this estate showing through.

Cos Labory
55% Cabernet Sauvignon, 41% Merlot, and 4% Petit Verdot
N: not very expressive
P: juicy and starts out soft, then goes on to show slightly harsh, but not outright rough on the palate. Good length and some gumminess on the aftertaste. Better than I have known this château in the past.

Lafon Rochet
55% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Merlot, 3% Cabernet Franc, and 2% Petit Verdot
N: rather closed, but with subtle vanilla and fruity notes
P: tight, tangy, balanced, with great black fruit flavors and good grip and length. Nothing to excess. A class act. Lacks richness, but this will probably come with age.

DSC02567 1024

67% Cabernet Sauvignon, 29% Merlot, and 4% Cabernet Franc
N: Bright, open, chocolate overtones, very promising
P: Big wine. Overtones of sour fruit, with finely-grained tannin and definite minerality, but harder than Pontet Canet tasted just before. Silky long finish. Wine of character.




A few remarks:

It is impossible to taste everything, but I did evaluate a great many wines over an intense 4-day period. Seeing as I am reserved about numerical rating, especially for wines at the beginning of barrel ageing, there are no scores.
Also, I have not mentioned color because most young Bordeaux of this caliber has a lovely deep color – not to mention the fact that it is deucedly difficult to describe colors with words!

I have included the proportions of grape varieties in the final blend because this can vary considerably from year to year.

N = nose
P = palate




Brane Cantenac
70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 26% Merlot, 3% Cabernet Franc, and 1% Carménère
N: soft, very pure sublimated cherry – and cherry vanilla ice cream! – aromas.
P: lovely balance between fruit, sexy texture, and acidity. Good sappy fruit. Clearly a boring wine no longer.

Cantenac Brown
61% Cabernet Sauvignon and 39% Merlot
N: bit old-fashioned, but floral and attractive
P: both soft and chewy with a satisfying zing on the aftertaste. Very good third growth. The future looks bright for this estate.

72% Cabernet Sauvignon and 28% Merlot
N: indeterminate and mostly absent
P: heavy, ponderous mouthfeel. Big, but lacks delineation and subtlety. Converging berry fruit, but a little clunky and dry.


60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 35% Merlot, and and 5% Petit Verdot
N: sweet typical Margaux aromas as well as some coffee nuances and a little tankiness that will undoubtedly disappear over time.
P: heavy mouth feel. Classic. Good tannic grip, but never overriding the Margaux magic. Great acidity. Good ageing potential. A wine to follow.

69% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Merlot, 1% Cabernet Franc, and 5% Petit Verdot
N: subtle dark berry fruit with some caramel nuances
P: plush, sensual, and melts in the mouth. Develops well into a characterful aftertaste. Considerable finesse.

70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Merlot, and 5% Petit Verdot
N: lacks personality at this stage
P: much better on the palate with a good, generous mouthfeel. Sturdy, but not very smooth and fizzles into a hard, dry (oak) finish. Needs to be tasted again after bottling.


50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 35% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc, and 5% Petit Verdot
N: attractive and cherry and chocolate nuances, as well as marked floral overtones. Seductive.
P: the liveliness and aromatics continue onto the palate, which has a silky texture. Very good this year.

50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 47% Merlot, and 3% Petit Verdot
N: some vinification odors, but deep berry fruit in the background
P: lovely velvety texture with a lipsmacking finish. Soft, well-made, typical of its appellation. Very good.

Malescot Saint-Exupéry
70% Cabernet Sauvignon and 30% Merlot
N: not very expressive, but some underlying spirity fruit and a perfumed quality
P: nice, rich mouth feel with a great balance thanks to fresh acidity. Good, lingering black fruit and tarry aftertaste with textured tannin. Very successful.


87% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Merlot, 3% Cabernet Franc, and 2% Petit Verdot
N: fragrant, sophisticated, and extremely pure, with the subtle perfume of spring flowers. Long caressing aftertaste. Fresh with velvety tannin. Superb example of soft power.

Marquis de Terme
60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 35% Merlot, and 5% Petit Verdot
N: some cherry, good fruit, good potential
P: develops nicely on the palate, starting out round and ending with a soft, pure, mineral finish. Very well made. Marquis de Terme is on the up-and-up.

57% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Merlot, 14% Cabernet Franc, and 4% Petit Verdot
N: soft, beguiling, subtle, and elegant with talcum powder aromas
P: medium-light with a pure mineral aftertaste. A feminine wine that would shine with refined food.


Prieuré Lichine
66% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, and 4% Petit Verdot
N: fine and deep with floral and plummy aromas
G: heavy, almost syrupy (!) mouthfeel. Thick and with cosmetic nuances. Oak overwhelms at this point. Dry finish. Care should be taken with moderating oak influence if time alone does not, as I fear, do the trick.

Rauzan Gassies
84% Cabernet Sauvignon and 16% Merlot
N: fruit… as well as soy sauce aromas.
P: better on the palate. Some greenness there, but there’s a fine texture. Old school and an improvement over past vintages.

Du Tertre
70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc, and 10% Petit Verdot
N: straightforward, slightly spirit
P: sweet and showing bright fruit. Maybe a little weak on the middle palate, but still very nice with good grip. Surprisingly, a little hotness going only with the impression on the nose.


A few remarks:

It is impossible to taste everything, but I did evaluate a great many wines over an intense 4-day period. Seeing as I am reserved about numerical rating, especially for wines at the beginning of barrel ageing, there are no scores.
Also, I have not mentioned color because most young Bordeaux of this caliber has a lovely deep color – not to mention the fact that it is deucedly difficult to describe colors with words!

I have included the proportions of grape varieties in the final blend because this can vary considerably from year to year.

N = nose
P = palate




50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 47% Merlot, and 3% Petit Verdot
N: slick and relatively simple with good fruit.
P: an impression of sweetness. A successful commercial style with a fine finish. A winner, and a wine for claret lovers who are after value for money.

74% Cabernet Sauvignon, 23% Merlot, and 3% Petit Verdot
N: inky, cosmetic, and floral. Delicate and slightly smoky.
P: good mouth feel and develops well on the palate. Chewy. A wine of substance. Only reproach is that it is a little short.

59% Cabernet Sauvignon, 27% Merlot, 8% Cabernet Franc, and 6% Petit Verdot
N: open, generous, sweet, and enticing with a biscuity element.
P: heavy mouthfeel, which is surprising for Cantemerle. Round, rich, and with medium body. Merlot seems to come through more than its proportion in the final blend would suggest, especially on the long aftertaste. One of the best wines.


59% Cabernet Sauvignon, 27% Merlot, 8% Cabernet Franc, and 6% Petit Verdot
N: soft and a little plummy with unexpected citrus peel aromas!
P: A bit odd, with cough lozenge flavors. Shows marked acidity that bodes well for ageing. There’s a little greenness on the long gummy blackberry aftertaste with a textured, velvety, and slightly hard finish. Not a tremendously classy wine, but a good one. Worth looking into if the price is right.

85% Merlot and 15% Cabernet Sauvignon
N: not very attractive at this stage, with some mint (reminder: the bouquet at this point is not paramount).
P: a middle-of-the-road wine starting out soft and then showing considerable acidity. Very supple and best enjoyed within the next five years.

La Lagune
60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 35% Merlot, and 5% Petit Verdot
N: not terribly expressive, but there is some good fruit accompanied by sweet oaky and blackcurrant notes.
P: wonderful plush mouthfeel, and there’s a good tannic backbone to support everything from beginning to end. Only drawback: the aftertaste is not very long.

La Tour Carnet
60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 35% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 5% Petit Verdot
N: almost New Word exuberance of black fruit jelly with a cosmetic aspect
P: sweet and big. In fact, a little too big and assertive, but with a nice aftertaste. A successful modern style, but care should be taken with the role of oak in the rest of the ageing process.





70% Merlot and 30% Cabernet Sauvignon
N: ripe with candied fruit nuances. Some grassy notes and a little sulfur.
P: juicy and round at first, then rather acidic with plenty of oak (70% new barrels) on the aftertaste. A commercial style and certainly acceptable, but not showing very well. Needs to be retasted later.

45% Merlot, 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 5% Petit Verdot
N: sweet to the point of being confected with hints of violet and some reduction.
P: silky soft. Very Médoc with fine-grained tannin. Well-balanced within a fairly narrow register. Strong new oak on the finish.

Fourcas Hosten
54% Merlot, 45% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 1% Cabernet Franc
N: fresh berry fruit and molasses with a little reduction
P: round, upfront, very juicy. Dry tannic finish. On the whole, a crowd-pleasing wine the will be enjoyable young. Not typical of its appellation.



Chasse Spleen
% Cabernet Sauvignon, % Merlot, % Cabernet Franc, and % Petit Verdot
N: deep, but suave, promising nose
P: medium-heavy mouthfeel. Marked acidity. Very fruity and slightly dilute. Long aftertaste. Made to last. Stands out from others at this tasting.

50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 42% Merlot, 2% Cabernet Franc, and 6% Petit Verdot
N: rich, chocolaty, floral, and smoky – fascinating.
P:  rich as well on the palate, with a heavy mouth feel. Long. Delicious. Fine effort. Unquestionably of great growth stature. Derencourt and Thienpont are consultants.


Next installment: Saint Julien

Prior to posting my notes about 2015 great growths

I took 4 days off from work this month to taste 2015 Bordeaux great growths. This was a fantastic experience and despite living in Bordeaux for many years, I still find it thrilling.

The experience is as much about people as wine: meeting château owners, technical directors, etc., as well as members of the wine trade from all over the world.

The organization of en primeur tastings is quite incredible. Hats off to the Union des Grands Crus for receiving hordes of professionals and even providing everyone with gourmet lunches at famous estates. The system in Bordeaux is well and truly unique in the world of wine. It also creates a lot of jealousy, especially since the price increases at the most famous estates since 2005…

The whole en primeur system is presently being called into question. This is because older wines from fine vintages can often be found at the same or even lower prices than futures. This has left consumers bewildered or even bitter. They ask themselves “What’s the point”? This has led to much naysaying, as well as predictions that “the bubble will burst” and that the great growths will be brought to their knees. Color me sceptical on that count… I have seen this happen only once in my (considerably long) lifetime, in the 1970s. However, I do not think it will occur again now.

For a start, it is well-known that exports to China declined significantly in 2013/14. However, word does not seem to have spread that the 2015 figures were up by 31% in volume and 25% in value. China’s interest in Bordeaux is here to stay. The market has become more mature and the Chinese are buying more intelligently. But they are still buying. Massively. And they remain Bordeaux’s number one export market.
You have only to see the wry smiles on the faces of winegrowers when asked “What vintage does this remind you of?” or “Do you think that this is more of a Left Bank or a Right Bank vintage?”. So many people don’t seem to understand the sheer size and complexity of Bordeaux, and the fact that making generalizations is like walking on eggs. Still, in this age of “Wine for Dummies” pronouncements will be made.  But not by me!
There is an urban myth that samples are doctored to make them more flattering to journalists, critics, and major buyers. In fact, this is not totally false. Several château owners freely admitted that the wines we were tasting were blended to give a better idea of what the wine will be like down the road. And that they were not the actual final blend at the present time. This is only worrying to the extent that one places blind faith in how representative such young wines are, or should be…
In the past, the en primeur tastings were spread over a 3-month period. Now they take place very early and in a short time span. And, as we all know, leading critics give numerical scores at this early date – ones that have a huge effect on the market. One can disagree with the very premises of scoring systems, but they are inevitable. People like to quantify things that cannot be quantified, and be made to feel secure. So be it.
I will be posting my (non-numerical) notes, for what they’re worth, in the near future.
All the best,

1998 Margaux and 1998 Lafite

Bordeaux may be a provincial city, but it is a tremendously cosmopolitan one, and wine lovers from all over the world always end up here one way or another. Dinner at my house on Saturday included people from several continents. The lingua franca was English.


We started off with a fine Champagne. Francis Boulard has many fans and his Les Rachais is arguably the top of the range. The 100% Chardonnay vines are grown organically and are an average age of 43 years old. Les Rachais is a “brut nature” with zero residual sugar. The wine is aged in barrel, undergoes malolactic fermentation, and is neither fined nor filtered. It is much appreciated and well noted in France. For what it’s worth, I see that it has received a score of 93+ from Parker.
We found the wine bone dry but gracious and ethereal. A great aperitif.

Foie gras and toast usually means Sauternes in Bordeaux, but I figured a full, rich white Burgundy from a very ripe year should also marry very well.
I might add that trade professionals in Bordeaux freely acknowledge that the great white wines of Burgundy are among the best in the world.



Bâtard-Montrachet is a grand cru with about 12 hectares of vines (Le Montrachet and Chevalier-Montrachet each have 8 hectares, Bienvenues-Bâtard-Montachet has 3.7 hectares, and Criots-Bâtard-Montrachet has 1.6 hectares).
Leflaive is by far the largest owner of vines in Bâtard-Montrachet (a quarter of the vineyard) and the domaine has a stellar reputation.
Jasper Morris in his book “Inside Burgundy” writes that Bâtard reflects “weight and power rather than vibrancy and elegance”.
After this lengthy explanation I’m sad to report that despite the reputation of the vineyard and the producer, this was not a memorable wine. It was not prematurely oxidized or corked, just blah, neutral and flabby. When you consider the price, this is very disappointing.
It must be due to the vintage.


Fortunately, Ian and Maureen had contributed a rare white 99 Château Pape Clément which saved the day. This was pretty much the polar opposite of the Bâtard: light gold in color, with a zippy nose and vibrant acidity to match the richness. People often think of Bernard Magrez’s wines as being a little overdone. This was not at all the case here. The wine shone and went well with the foie gras. It also has years of life ahead of it.
The main course was milk-fed lamb, accompanied by 3 red wines.

DSC02134 - Copie
The first one was a fun, rather than a serious wine: a 100% varietal Carménère from the Côtes de Castillon that I mentioned in an earlier post about a visit to that appellation.
Carménère is genetically related to Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, and Sauvignon Blanc. This variety was extremely widespread in Bordeaux in the 19th century, but when the vines were grafted they produced less and were also much more subject to coulure. So, Carménère all but disappeared in Bordeaux. However, it is making a modest comeback in the Libourne region.
Our 2012 Carménère came from Château Lapeyronie the Côtes de Castillon. The wine was a little sharp, but it’s always fun to taste oddball wines like this, as well as instructive to get a handle on varietal character. This Lapeyronie was great as an introductory wine, but no one is expected to take it seriously in the Bordeaux hierarchy.



Received wisdom is that 1998 Right Bank wines are wonderful and that Left Banks ones are much less so… Parker’s vintage chart gives the former a full ten points higher! Less damning, Jancis Robinson, notes “Very good on the Right Bank but a less starry performance in the Médoc, whose 1998s are a bit stolid, means that these wines, and their equally successful counterparts in Graves have tended to be overlooked”.
Féret says that “the 1998 red wines are balanced, powerful, and generous” but that “Merlot-based wines are better than Cabernet-based ones”.
Well, Lafite and Margaux are poster children for Cabernet: 70% for the former and 75% for the latter. What would their 1998s taste like 18 years down the line?

The wines were served blind. Margaux was fairly evolved with earthy, musky aromas and mostly resolved tannins. There was some dryness on the finish. Lafite was clearly the more enjoyable of the two. In color, bouquet, and flavour it was pure and zippy, with much life ahead of it. A joy.
The tasting notes are a little skimpy, but you know how it is when you are the host…

As for the last wine, I wrote in a blog post last year: “Ch. Laville in Preignac (AOC Sauternes) produces a late harvest Riesling-Gewurtztraminer blend! Of course, this is not entitled to the appellation, but not only is it very rare – dare I say, a unicorn wine? – but also quite delectable, with the zippiness and spiciness of its two main components. It will be an excellent one to serve blind one day when I am feeling particularly sadistic…”
Well, friends, that day had arrived, and the wine was indeed served blind at the end of the meal.
Of course, hell would freeze over before anyone nailed this! But everyone loved it. There were candied fruit flavors of apricot and other white fruits and somehow it seemed more like a late harvest than a botrytized wine. But above and beyond it’s oddball quality, the wine was also very tasty.


We ended the meal with a glass of Crème de Cassis from Mouton Rothschild. This seemed not very alcoholic (16-18°) and everyone enjoyed the sweet concentrated flavors.