Sunday, November 28, 2010

Various things written down on Sunday evening

For my last posting I tasted a ship load of wines, so this posting will be nothing more than a short hello. As I've said before, maintaining a blog takes a lot of work, and time, which I do not always have, especially not towards the end of the year. So this will be an 'easy' posting, mentioning some things that I think are worth mentioning.

WineLife Magazine. For those of you who read Dutch, the new WineLife is out. A special Champagne issue, with only one shortcoming, the great Champagnes that I import (Barnaut, Ulysse Collin and Georges Laval) are not listed. But one of the articles (about Champagne) is from me, and there's a very interesting article about cruising Burgundy by Jan van Roekel.

There was a bubbly party for the launch of this new WineLife issue, and for the presentation of the first book from Huib Edixhoven (sorry guys, again written in Dutch). I will see him tomorrow and I have to admit to him that I didn't start reading yet... But I hope his book will have lots of success!

On our way home from that party, a little light in the head from all Jacquesson etc., we decided we wanted to eat something very French. Unfortunately the very French restaurant was full, but then, at once, we were in total luck: in another street I heard someone say "they have a Beaujolais Nouveau evening". They what? They appeared to be talking about the restaurant across the street, and upon further investigation I saw that they were pouring Château Cambon made by Marcel Lapierre's son Mathieu (read: one of the best Nouveaus around). We popped in and were very happy to hear that there was exactly one last table available!

We had blood pudding and Boeuf Bourguignon, and had a guest at our table! It appeared that the importer of this wine (one of the importers) was present that evening. So we emptied several lovely Cambons with Rein Dieben from Wijnkoperij de Loods (Breda). Needless to say we had a great evening.

In the meantime several of 'my' wines ended up in several publications. Much praise this time for Château Brown rouge 2005 (Pessac-Léognan, as a result almost sold out), Yves Martin's Sancerre Chavignol, Champagne Ulysse Collin, Delecheneau's Nouveau Nez, and even some more wines. I still have to update the press-section of my website...

Well, there's no chance for me to be bored. I also had a great Grand Bordeauxs tasting where the most popular wines were the Clos du Jaugueyron 2006 (as always), the G de Château Guiraud 2009 (also as always) and the Château du Tertre 2006. That year I worked at Du Tertre, so I'm glad it is being received so well! I'm almost sold out for this lovely Margaux, and that's both a good and a bad feeling.

Finally worth mentioning: at my eBay auction a La Tâche 1989 fetched just over 900 euro's. A good catch for the buyer, but what a lot of money! And then to realise: at the time the wine just hit the market, it was sold for 'just' 150 euro!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Bordeaux 2008 UGC tasting Brussels

The Bordeaux 2008 vintage is about to loom up on the horizon. The wines have all been bottled, and the bottles are resting quietly at the châteaux - read: stabilizing and maturing - before they will leave Bordeaux in the course of 2011.

However, some bottles left earlier. They were opened at one of the Union des Grands Crus tastings that are traveling around the world. Yesterday the royal procession halted in Brussels.

Haut-Bailly, Giscours and Du Tertre 2008
It was an interesting tasting, and my intention was to taste all reds. I almost succeeded, but towards the end of the tasting an unexpected turn of events had the effect that I missed some important wines. Among these are favourites like the two Bartons, the two Pichons, Pontet-Canet and Lynch Bages, and all Saint-Estèphes...

The result: this posting cannot be complete. But luckily there are plenty of accounts of these UGC 2008 tastings, e.g. you might check out Neal Martin's stories on the 2008s (login required).

Let's start with a general impression. The picture is good but varies. I have tasted plenty of wines that did not convince me (these I have not listed in this posting). A few were easy and light, OK for the short term but not especially exciting. Some wines were dull without fruit, or without a so-called mid-palate - empty wines. A few were over-extracted and/or were showing unpleasant, unripe tannins. But luckily these failures belong to a minority. Most of the wines range from correct to good, and even to great.

I will pick out the best that I tasted:

PESSAC-LÉOGNAN
- Dom de Chevalier rouge 2008 (8,5+) good sweet-purple fruit, well-structured, good tannins, hint oak, freshness
- Haut-Bailly 2008 (8,5) pure, male, tough, broad, closed, complete, minerality, long future ahead
- Smith Haut Lafitte rouge 2008 (8,5) big and impressive, very dark, black fruit, exciting depth, minerality
- De Fieuzal rouge 2008 (8+) soft, seductive, complete, sort of junior chevalier
- Les Carmes Haut-Brion 2008 (8+) good freshness & structure, attractive fruity juice
- Latour-Martillac rouge 2008 (8) open and inviting, well-structured, harmonious, spirited
- Pape-Clément rouge 2008 (8) seducing, oak & sweetness, souplesse, not my no. 1 but good wine
- Larrivet-Haut-Brion rouge 2008 (8-) animal nose, bit medicinal, attractive minerality, hearty and also a bit hard now
- La Louvière rouge 2008 (8-) good classic wine, bit oaky, complete & good value
- Carbonnieux rouge 2008 (7,5+) bit closed, but pure & hearty juice

SAINT-EMILION & POMEROL
- Pavie-Macquin 2008 (8,5) open, spontaneous berries, inviting, freshness, good mid-palate, slender and powerful 8,5
- Trottevieille 2008 (8,5) lovely tempting wine, round, good freshness, juice & structure, wow
- La Conseillante 2008 (8,5) fresh with a medicinal touch, warmth and breadth, grows in the mouth, convincing
- Canon 2008 (8,5) soft and broad, seducing, good structure, complete, well-stuffed, very good wine
- Canon-la-Gaffelière 2008 (8++) dark fruit, quite fresh, pure, good stuff
- Larcis Ducasse 2008 (8++) fresh and forward, mineral, chalky, nice
- Figeac 2008 (8++) closed, dark, structured, difficult now, long
- Beau-Séjour Bécot 2008 (8++) seductive, freshness, oak, good juice, some sweetness, approachable, energetic
- La Tour Figeac 2008 (8+) open, red berry fruit, hearty, pure and a bit tough now
- Troplong Mondot 2008 (8) seductive yet very powerful, good ripeness, big extraction
- Larmande 2008 (8) again this strikes me as an interesting wine, powerful, well-stuffed, probably good value
- La Pointe 2008 (8) tempting and robust, energetic, mineral, bit chalky
- Dassault 2008 (8-) berries, freshness, well-shaped, quite special
- Clos Fourtet 2008 (8-) freshness on the the nose, but lacks some fruit

Note: interesting wines such as Fonroque and Grand-Corbin-Despagne were not present.

MÉDOC, HAUT-MÉDOC & MOULIS
- La Lagune 2008 (8) elegant wine, slender line, pure and mineral, hint of oak
- Poujeaux 2008 (8) quite closed, depth and mystery, power, good stuffing, freshness, balanced and for later, classical, some licorice
- Citran 2008 (8-) classical wine, freshness and blood, harmonious, good value
- La Tour de By 2008 (7,5+) modest, classic nose, green hint, intense and powerful, freshness, energy, great value value
- Cantemerle 2008 (7,5+) modern Médoc, bit oaky and less pure, but tasteful and fleshy

MARGAUX
- Giscours 2008 (8,5) elegant and convincing, refined, precise, dark fruit, minerality, crescendo
- Monbrison 2008 (8++) fresh and forward, some oak, tempting wine, friendly, pure and stylish
- Brane-Cantenac 2008 (8++) closed, good stuffing, no hardness, quite powerful, complete wine, well-balanced
- Du Tertre 2008 (8+) very open and talkative, interesting, sappy, freshness, healthy fruit
- Rauzan-Ségla 2008 (8+) dark and quite supple, matière, blackberries, energy and power, long
- Durfort-Vivens 2008 (8) modest nose, then spicy, pivotal, striking, surprisingly good
- Rauzan-Gassies 2008 (8) pure, straightforward, supple juice, not heavy, pleasant
- Dauzac 2008 (8) sexy oak, blackberries, warmth, some breadth, quite complete and very approachable
- Siran 2008 (8-) junior Rauzan-Ségla, dark and lively, pure and for later
- Cantenac-Brown 2008 (8-) open, a bit pointed, not so fruity, bit astringent now, but promising whole

SAINT-JULIEN & PAUILLAC (incomplete)
- Branaire-Ducru 2008 (8++) touch of oak, darkness, classic power, very good
- Gruaud-Larose 2008 (8++) dark too, very cabernet, good freshness, well-shaped
- Talbot 2008 (8+) dark power, then friendly in the mouth with healthy, attractive fruit
- d'Armailhac 2008 (8) freshness, good matière
- Beychevelle 2008 (8) again darkness and depth, bit sober, power
- Clerc-Milon 2008 (8-) open, friendly and quite round, then… texture is felt, the future-securing tannins
- Batailley 2008 (7,5+) tempting, round, some astringency, quite good

By the way, this posting would have been incomplete anyhow: there were no premier grands crus to taste… The conclusion: Bordeaux 2008 is a true value for money vintage. Good quality, and 'cheap' compared to 2009. The 2008 prices are gradually increasing now, but there are still some very interesting deals to make.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Tasting weekend in pictures

Last weekend was the biggest Bolomey Wijnimport tasting ever. Preparation took a lot of time, but the result was great. Sunday 31 October some 175 to 200 visitors came to a beautiful penthouse overlooking the IJ to taste 40 wines, and meet the winemakers Coralie Delecheneau (Amboise), Hubert Montigny-Piel (Orléans) and Olivier Collin (Champagne).

Hubert Montigny-Piel with his colleague EleonoreHubert Montigny-Piel with his colleague Eleonore presenting his popular Orléans rouge (pinot meunier, Wijnalmanak 3 stars), his blanc (unoaked, pure chardonnay) and his Orléans Cléry cabernet franc.

people tastingSome serious tasting is going on here; thanks to Saskia Bongaerts (left) from Saskia's Huiskamerrestaurant catering was perfect

Coralie Delecheneau pouring her wineCoralie Delecheneau is pouring her lovely Montlouis Pétillant Naturel 'Nouveau Nez' (organic)

We ended the day with about 25 people in Saskia's Huiskamerrestaurant where we had a great French dinner. I mean: where in Holland do you start with a Salade de Gésiers...?

dinner afterwardsThis is me saying something to Helen at the dinner in Saskia's Huiskamerrestaurant.

The next day, Monday 1 November, was for the sommeliers and the wine writers. A quiet but not too quiet day and I was glad that a number of Dutch opinion leaders on wine had accepted the invitation to come to the tasting.

Bas van der Flier, Hubrecht Duijker, Nicolaas Klei and Dwayne PerreaultBas van der Flier, Hubrecht Duijker, Nicolaas Klei and Dwayne Perreault

Huib Edixhoven (Vindict) talking to Olivier Collin. Also listening: Marijn Smit (Vyne) and Sjoerd de Groot (Perswijn)

René van Heusden, Frank Jacobs, Karel de Graaf and Mark van den Reek tasting with Coralie DelecheneauRené van Heusden, Frank Jacobs, Karel de Graaf and Mark van den Reek tasting with Coralie Delecheneau

Many thanks to all of you who visited the tastings in Amsterdam! And thanks Jan and Igor for all the help! Will be repeated next year.