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Showing posts from December, 2007

La parde, les demoiselles, l'esquisse et le jaugueyron

Last week I threw a tasting for a group of friends. We tried quite a lot of Bordeaux's. Before I dive into the details of my personal favourites and/or discoveries, these are the wines that were appreciated the most by the whole group (with the average rating from the group between brackets):

1. Frank Phélan 2004, Saint-Estèphe - 2nd wine of Château Phélan-Ségur (8.4/10)
2. L'esquisse de La Tour Figeac 2001, Saint-Emilion - 2nd wine of Château La Tour Figeac (8.3/10)
3. Château Belle-Vue 2004, Haut-Médoc (8.1/10)
4. Clos du Jaugueyron 2003, Haut-Médoc (8.1/10)
5. Le Jardin de Petit-Village 2005, Pomerol - 2nd wine of Château Petit Village (8.0/10)


All five great wines. My personal favourites partially overlap (Frank Phélan, L'esquisse de La Tour Figeac and Clos du Jaugueyron), but there were two more wines that I found really convincing: Clos des Demoiselles and La Parde de Haut-Bailly. Below you find the tasting notes of my favourite five:

1. Clos des Demoiselles 2003, Listrac-…

Chateau La Fleur Morange 2005

This month an interesting blind retasting of the Bordeaux 2005 vintage was organised by Decanter magazine. Jancis Robinson attended, and reported. I didn't read much about it on the internet - unless the fact that there were some real surprises - so I thought let's make a small posting about it.

The big names did not stand out during this tasting. Where Cheval Blanc 2005 was Robinson's favourite right bank wine at the initial en primeur tasting (19.25/20), this icon was now granted only 15 points with two question marks... so maybe there was a problem with the bottle. But let's focus on the 'winners'. Three wines stood out by far. One well-known, Château Valandraud, Jean-Luc Thunevin's ultimate garage wine (18/20), and two rather unknown wines: Château Fonplégade (18/20) and Château La Fleur Morange (19/20!).


A modern trio. The Valandraud story is well-known. Fonplégade has apparently improved after the American Steve Adams took over the château from Antoine…

Visit to Burgundy, part II

One thing that I do not understand about the French is that they do not have a hook for the shower head (and also no tray for the soap). Combine this inconvenience with old taps that are extremely difficult to adjust, and the result is that you start your day with an annoying fight with your shower. But it also ensures that you arrive perfectly awake at your first domain visit. Which was good, because both visits were highly interesting this day. And fully English spoken, so it was easier to talk about all kinds of nerdy wine details. Both visits are about guys from abroad coming to Burgundy to make an adventurous dream come true. Both in their own way.

Saturday morning 8 Dec: Mischief and Mayhem, Aloxe-Corton
Mischief and Mayhem is the story of two friends starting a winery. One is Michael Ragg, who runs the domain in Aloxe-Corton with his wife Fiona, the other is Michael Twelftree, who flies over from Australia a few times per year, to be present at the key moments in the winemaking p…

Visit to Burgundy, part I

This weekend I visited Burgundy with my friend and Burgundy-connoisseur Jan van Roekel. He is creator of the Burgoholic website and had only been four times to Burgundy this year, so he thought it would be a good idea to visit a fifth time. Today I will write about our first day, later I will add a Burgundy part II story about Day II. In short: we had a number of very inspiring meetings with great winemakers, we visited some mouthwatering wine stores, and we spent quite some time in exciting restaurants.

Friday morning: Domaine Jean Tardy, Vosne-Romanée
On 25 March 2006 I attended a comprehensive tasting in Nuits-Saint-Georges, with many wines from many Côtes-de-Nuits appellations. In the Vosne-Romanée corner Guillaume Tardy introduced me to his wine; it appeared to be my best encounter that afternoon. I asked him where I could buy his wines, but these seemed difficult to find, so he sold me two bottles "under the counter". I promised myself to visit Guillaume in the future. N…

Mood altering cognac

I have always blithely said I preferred armagnac to cognac – which was really just a knee jerk opinion formed years ago due to one brutal hangover from drinking too much cognac, and then, a few years later having one or two glasses of armagnac one day after a long lunch.

Last week I went to cognac. Less than two hours from Bordeaux but a whole different ball game. The grapes are still there, but it is the distilleries, at least at this time of year, that are the stars of the show. The aim was to understand a bit more about the place, and because I have an article to write about their booming sales – 163 million bottles sold in the last 12 months from October 06 to October 07. The most ever since the appellation was founded in 1939.

Two distillery visits were organised by the BNIC – the local cognac board. The first was to Ragnaud-Sabourin, a small family owned operation near Segonzac and the second to Frapin, also family owned, but on a bigger scale, in the same area.

Both are owner/dist…