Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Last Day of The Primeurs: St.Emilion et Pomerol

The last day of the Primeurs and today was time to concentrate on St.Emilion, Pomerol and Lalande de Pomerol, only two appellations but a lot of wine to get through!

I started at the Circle Rive Droite held at Château Grand Barrail which has a bit of everything from the right bank and it’s great for tasting the generic Bordeaux red and white wines.

I began with the Bordeaux whites that were showing very well indeed and I can safely say our Laithwaite Sauvignon 2011 is certainly up at the top. Here are my scores out of 5 and brief notes:

Thieuley aromatic grassy, rich fruit limey acid 4.7
Magrez Frombrauge: peach, limes, lovely balance 4.7
Thieuley Cuvée Francis Courselle: Brioche, ripe melon good acid 4.4
Reynon (Dubourdieu): gun flint, citrus, balance 4.1
Thieuley Clairet: fresh strawberry fruit, lots of flavour 4
Haut Bertiniere Grand Vin: gun flint, vanilla 3.9
Hostens Picant: cheese hint, fatter 3.8
Haut Bertiniere Elegance (Blaye): zesty, fresh simple 3.8
Cote Monpezat: green apple, sample problem?

And the reds:

Reignac: nice wood, cassis 4.5
BalTHVS: good tight, coffee 4.5
Thieuley Francis Courselle: ripe, creamy wood 4.5
Girolate: rich, elegant, good tannin 4.4
Mirambeau: spicy, intense 4.2
Thieuley: fresh fruit and drinkable style 4
De Tastes: good fruit, 4
Penin les Cailloux: concentrated fruit 4
Mont Perat: more fin 3.9
Penin no SO2: lots fruit, strawberry milkshake 3.9
Beaulieu Grande Reserve: black fruits, acid+ 3.8

I made a stop at the always-exciting tasting at Jean-Luc and Muriel Thunevin's house in the heart of St.Emilion. Jean-Luc and Muriel always invite friends from around France, Spain and Italy to present their wines alongside their Bordeaux.

Here are my scores for the very impressive Thunevin range:

Valandraud: amazing nose, lovely tannin balanced acidity 4.9
Clos badon: big rich fruit 4.7
Virginie: great fruit, class 4.7
Valandraud Blanc: leesy nose, phenolic but lots of fruit 4.5
Virginie Valandraud Blanc: good acid and lime: 4.4
Bel Air Ouy: good fruit, nice body and tannins 4.4
3 de Valandraud: quite lean? 3.8

Always nice canapes served in the lovely little garden and plenty of friendly faces of people I know so I stuck around for a glass of Haut Carles 2009 Fronsac and some delicious snacks. Glad to see an old friend from the Midi, Mr Serge Rousse serving up the trays of nibbles! Great ambiance, that’s what counts, ‘grand merci’ to Jean-Luc and Muriel.

After the bite to eat I tasted some of the non Bordelais or ‘etranger’ wines. Very interesting. Here is what I liked:

Domaine Buisson Charles, Meursault 1er Cru’s Les Cras, Goutte d’Or, Bouches Cheres and Charmes
Château Capion Languedoc
Franchetti and Passopisciaro Sicily
Aalto Ribera Del Duero

And a lovely Rueda Verdejo but someone kept talking to me and I forgot to write it down!

Back to right bank wines and I made my way to the UGCB St.Emilion Grand Cru Classe tasting at the impressive Château Soutard. Since Francois Deligneris (a friend and owner of the infamous wine bar ‘L'Envers du Décor’ in St.Emilion) sold the property it has had a lot money ploughed into it and the whole exterior of the Château has been cleaned and a new cellar built.

I found the 2011 St.Emilions an elegant style with good fruit but acidity fairly high, maybe a year that will age well? Here are my scores:

St Emilion Grand Cru Classe
Figeac: blackcurrants, perfumed, elegant, 4.6
Larcis Ducasse: ripe fruit, good weight long 4.6
Clos Dubreuil: concentrated, rich 4.6
Dassault: plum cake, sweet fruit, raisons 4.5
Fourtet: red berry, bramble, nice balance 4.5
La Gaffeliere: plum, ripe palate 4.5
Beausejour Becot: black fruit, tight very cassis, good acid and spice 4.5
La Dominque: perfumed, elegant rich 4.4
Grand Mayne: spicy, mocha, nice tannins 4.4
Canon la Gaffeliere: rich cassis, lovely palate 4.4
Troplong Mondot: riper fruit, weight 4.3
Franc Mayne: cassis, good concentration, fine 4.2
La Couspaude: dense nose, toasty, rich 4.2
Larmande: spicy, nice fruit 4.1
Cap de Mourlin: raisins, fruit driven 4.1
Balestard La Tonnelle: savoury, elegant 4.1
Fleur Cardinal: grilled, cassis, good rich palate 4.1
Bellefont Belcier: rich cassis, good grip 4
Villemaurine: perfumed, elegant 4
Trotteveille: elegant, acid, light 4
Soutard: cassis, classic palate 4
Clos des Jacobin: good wood rich 3.9
Fonplegade; gamey, tight 3.6
La Marzelle: savoury, tannins 3.4
La Tour Pin Figeac: minty, acid+ lacks body 3.2
Pavie Maquin: stewed fruit, acid 3.9

St. Emilion Grand Cru
La Garelle: Brett! 1
La Croizille: raisons, over ripe 2
Magrez Frombrauge: nice fruit, fresh and elagant 3.9
Mangot: elegant, fine tannin 4.1
Pressac: rich elegant, balanced palate 4
Frombrauge: elegant, charming 4
Mangot Quintessence: riper dense great palate and spicy 4.2
Mangot Todeschini: tight, grip on palate 4.2
Pas de l'Ane: toasty+, light palate 3.2
Sansonnet: perfumed, acid+ elegant style, good finish 3.8
Clos Dubreuil: closed, dense, mocha 3.9
Petit Figeac: tight, hard 3.3
Boutisse: good barrel and weight 3.8
Grand Destieu: peachy fruit, raisiny 3.7

I made a little detour to Château Fleur de Bouard in Lalande Pomerol for two reasons: to taste Château Angelus also owned by Monsieur De Bouard; and to see the amazing cellar built and designed by Patrick Lejeune, stainless steel cone vats hanging from the ceiling, WOW!

My tasting notes:
Angelus: brooding dark fruit, spice and power, velvet and long 4.9
Carillon de l'Angelus: dense, smoky, earth black fruit, silky elegant long 4.4

Back onto the original route and to beautiful (hence its name) Château Beauregard for the Pomerol tasting.

The top Pomerol wines were just superb and I think the best of the 2011 Bordeaux vintage; Château Petit Village almost perfection, my notes:

Petit Village: elegant ripe classy fruit, great balance 4.9
La Conseillante: blackberry leaf, tight, structure, powerful finish 4.9
Gazin: ripe plum, dense long 4.9
Beauregard: sweet blackcurrants, ripe, elegant velvet 4.8
La Clemence: aromatic+ perfumed, lovely 4.8
Le Bon Pasteur: dense, tar, concentrated 4.7
Clinet: herbal, black fig, nice acid 4.7
La Croix de Gay: spicy, savoury, cassis, big tannins but ripe 4.6
Clos du Clocher: spicy, savoury, tight plum fruit 4.5
La Pointe: ripe plums, tight 4.5
Rouget: white fruits, black plum, structured 4.5
La Gomerie St E: elegant, good fruit 4.4
La Fleur de Gay: savoury, tight, cinnamon 4.3
Clos Beauregard: peach lift, plum 4.3
La Cabanne: creamy cassis, perfumed, fruit but shorter 4.3
Manoir de Gay: cherry liquer, elegant 4.2
Fayat: ripe red fruit, long 4.2
Montiviel: sweet plum, leaner 4

It was a long day and I started dreaming of a cold beer at the Comptoir but on the way home I passed Château La Couspaude where Michel Rolland’s wines were being presented, couldn't resist having a nosey so nipped in for a quick taste. Place was empty apart from one person… Michel Rolland himself! His wines have been added to my tastings but the AOC Bordeaux Fleur Saint Antoine was excellent for a non classe wine.

Bottling 2010 Grand Chai Montagne St.Emilion tomorrow morning and then off to Bergerac’s Cave Sigoules to prepare the all-new 2011 Fontclose AOC Bergerac white.

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