Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Clos de la Roche Cuvée Vieilles Vignes 1997 Domaine Ponsot

This is an experiment. Just tweeted that Jan van Roekel and I open a Clos de la Roche Cuvée Vieilles Vignes 1997 from Domaine Ponsot, and that we will blog about this (monumental) wine simultaneously. Perhaps an annoying experiment, because it is not the most relaxed way of drinking a great wine... we'll see.

Also posted a picture of the bottle on Twitpic, which I can reproduce here:

Impressive nose! on Twitpic

Stupid: I can rotate this photo in Twitpic, but not save the rotation...!

Anyhow, the wine: as said, the nose is impressive. Warm and a bit matured, round and a bit oaky. I would call this seductive. This is what I love about a good Burgundy: it combines richness with elegance: the wine is not heavy (and it shouldn't be).

For now we prefer the nose over what we taste in the mouth, and I decided to slightly chill the wine. Just a tiny little bit to give this old man a bit of freshness in the mouth. Nose is complex, taste lacks a bit of life now, is a bit austere... but what can we expect?

Jan says: also some vegetal tones in the nose, wet forest floor, tomato juice, a bit spicy and matured.

Some facts in the meanwhile: Domaine Ponsot is the biggest proprietor of the grand cru Clos de la Roche, he owns 3,34 hectares of the total of 16,9 hectares, i.e. close to 20%! Not all of this will be old vines. Ponsot is known for picking very late, one of the latest of the côte. According to Clive Coates, who gave this wine an impressive 19/20 score, the wine should be drunk between now and 2015. Tasting the wine, our impression is that there's no real reason to keep this wine any longer − it would surprise us if this is getting any better than it is right now.

Second glass, slightly chilled. The wine is even getting better! This touch of freshness works well. Especially in the mouth, the wine now displays a fresher round-sweet (yet lean) corpus. Beautifully mature and soft.

Halfway the bottle we receive a Direct Twitter Message from Neal Martin, surprised by the coincidence that we are playing with exactly this wine: he says that he just published a vertical today about this wine. Lucky him, we only have one vintage here! But indeed a coincidence.

Back to the wine. It is just lovely now. I think we will leave it at this, and simply enjoy the wine and finish the bottle. Thanks for your attention.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Michael Broadbent's influence

Despite the warm weather I just uncorked a Bordeaux. Normally I would have poured a slightly chilled red Loire or so, but it is Michael Broadbent who made me long for a Bordeaux today. He wrote in Decanter's Bordeaux issue 2010, the highly interesting special Bordeaux issue that appears once every year.

Let me quote the nestor of wine writing: "It [Bordeaux] is never overpowering; it refreshes the palate […]", and: "Claret gives pleasure; it is contemplative, companionable, subtle, mellow, hospitable. It is for drinking and thinking."

Broadbent is not talking about modern style Bordeaux ("modern, opaque, sweet, fruity, full-frontal reds with a headache-making alcohol content" - Broadbent in the same article), but about the classics. Decanter asked him to list 10 favourite wines and these are the ones he picked, both top end wines and petits châteaux: Mouton-Rothschild (1945), Margaux (1953), Cheval Blanc (1947), Figeac (1949), La Conseillante (1966), Grand-Puy-Lacoste, Cissac, Chasse-Spleen, La Tour de By and Climens (1937).

The fact only that one is able to make such choices…! The wine that I'm enjoying right now is Château Cambon la Pelouse 2004 (Haut-Médoc). Surprisingly good stuff. On the one hand velvety and seductive, with sweetish ripe fruit, and on the other hand leniency, freshness and joy. And a very Bordeaux dark depth.

As a matter of fact, with this I simply finish this posting - to fully enjoy this lovely claret.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Bordeaux 2009 recommendations & top sellers

The long Bordeaux 2009 campaign train has passed. The dust has settled, and what remains is the summer calm.

Well, fortunately this is not entirely true: sales continue. Now that we have the complete picture for the 2009s we see people adding some extra wines, while others are only just now starting to make their pick. I can only say, if you want to buy 2009, do not wait too long as wines get sold out now. For example, yesterday the last Château Latour was sold, today the last Château Clinet.

In this posting I present 3 short-lists: the Bordeaux 2009 top sellers (from the Bolomey Wijnimport offers), and my personal Bordeaux 2009 recommendations, split in one list with affordable wines, and one list with - more expensive - grand classics.

Bordeaux 2009 sales top 15
1. Château Ormes de Pez 2009 (Saint-Estèphe)
2. Château Cantemerle 2009 (Haut-Médoc)
3. Clos du Jaugueyron 2009 (Haut-Médoc)
4. Château Poujeaux 2009 (Moulis-en-Médoc)
5. Château Cantenac-Brown 2009 (Margaux)
6. Château Chasse-Spleen 2009 (Moulis-en-Médoc)
7. La Parde de Haut-Bailly 2009 (Pessac-Léognan)
8. Château Grand Corbin-Despagne 2009 (Saint-Emilion Grand Cru)
9. Château du Tertre 2009 (Margaux)
10. Château Duhart-Milon Rothschild 2009 (Pauillac)
11. Château Pontet-Canet 2009 (Pauillac)
12. Château Raymond-Lafon 2009 (Sauternes)
13. Château Gloria 2009 (Saint-Julien)
14. Château La Tour du Pin 2009 (St-Emilion Grand Cru)
15. Château Léoville-Barton 2009 (Saint-Julien)

Note: this is not a general top 15, but the top 15 for Bolomey Wijnimport (see list). Quantities sold are also the result of the amount that is or was available, and the result of what is recommended. So there is an overlap with the next lists, the recommendations.

Bordeaux 2009 personal recommendations: best-value wines
(recommendations only for wines that are still available)
Château La Tour du Pin 2009 (St-Emilion)
owned and made by neighbouring Cheval Blanc, costs a fraction!
Clos du Jaugueyron 2009 (Haut-Médoc)
biodynamic, small-scale, original & pure, true personal favourite
Château Grand Corbin-Despagne 2009 (St-Emilion)
organic wine, Jane Anson: "the Pontet-Canet of the Right Bank"
La Parde de Haut-Bailly 2009 (Pessac-Léognan)
energetic second wine of the stellar Pessac Château Haut-Bailly
Château Ormes de Pez 2009 (Saint-Estèphe)
one of the Best Value 2009s, from the Lynch Bages team, great!
Château Gloria 2009 (Saint-Julien)
very good and convincing, affordable wine from grand cru vineyards
Alter Ego de Palmer 2009 (Margaux)
lovely Margaux, and a true bargain compared to the grand vin

Highly recommended - and still available - grand classics
− Château Giscours 2009 (Margaux)
− Château Rauzan-Ségla 2009 (Margaux)
− Château Langoa-Barton 2009 (Saint-Julien)
− Château Smith-Haut-Lafitte 2009 (Pessac-Léognan)
− Domaine de Chevalier rouge 2009 (Pessac-Léognan)
− Château Nénin 2009 (Pomerol)
− Vieux Château Certan 2009 (Pomerol)
− Château Rieussec 2009 (Sauternes)

For prices and other details see the complete Bordeaux 2009 offers.

The tasting notes for these wines can be found in the april-postings on this blog.