Thursday, 25 February 2010

He’s Gone (But only for a moment)!

Just when I thought things were finally calming down after the 2009 vintage and Spring had arrived …

I hadn’t realised the sudden change in season had also encouraged the mighty JMS to migrate south from London to his home town of Bordeaux since the New Year!! But I have learned and after 4 years, I was ready and waiting!

So with not a moment to spare, 2010 was underway with meetings, tastings, down to the Chai, back to La Clarière, Château visits, lunches, dinners, lists, more tasting, more visits, more driving fast, back again to the Chai, more meetings, more lists!

No time to write up the blog over the last 2 days but we finally finished tasting the last of our 60 Bordeaux wines from a batch of 2009’s at 7pm. No sooner had JMS’s tasting glass touched the table, he was dashing to his car for the drive to Toro in Spain, and he was gone – phew! Seems the whirlwind never stops! But he will be back tomorrow evening so I have the day to recover and organise all the notes and ideas.

During the week we visited some very small hidden gems in our home appellation of Côtes du Castillon. JMS has been here for 17 years and still couldn't find some of the unknown 'petit château' that we had whittled down from a huge blind tasting of contenders for our soon to be released Castillon 09' Chai primeur offer.

First a great discovery at Château Tertre Bel Air. The wines are from a true viticulture stock and when there are no signs – not even on the Château itself – you get that exciting feeling that it might be an amazing find!

It was an amazing find. The father and son team are experts in the vineyards and take 3 generations of experience and the ripe, aromatic, velvety taste and mouthfeel points straight to high quality grape growing.

Next up was Château Peyrou situated at the opposite end of the Côtes du Castillon towards St Emilion, where the limestone begins to meet clay creating supple and fleshy wines. The wines were amazingly expressive of the area they and certainly a wine ready to drink a little earlier than the ‘Plateau wines’.

Back in the car and back towards the limestone plateau where the opposite happens and clay now meets the limestone. The wines from Château Roque Le Mayne are just like the soil – there is supple round fruit but with a backbone structure coming from the more mineral and complex limestone soil. Incredible!

The last Château we visited was Château Mangot with vineyards that lie on pure limestone the result is very structured and tighter wine with great ageing potential. They also had lots of pieces art around the cellar including this superb barrel sculpture!

So that's four different wines all within 3km of each other! And it is a mind blowing thought that every grape-growing area, from the biggest to the tiniest in every country all over the world, has this subtle diversity and that is exactly why wine discovery is so exciting!


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