Posts with the label "lafite"


A First Class Dinner – The 1996s at 20

A First Class Dinner – The 1996s at 20

Monday 1st February 2016
by Tom Jenkins

Opening and drinking the hallowed wines of Bordeaux’s ‘First Growths’ is always an event. These magnificent estates have graced the tables of the great and the good for centuries and continue to hold an appeal like no other wines from the Medoc or Graves.

1996 is one of our favourite vintages of the last few decades. It seems like only yesterday that England was losing to Germany on penalties and Dolly the sheep was born. It was a year that favoured the gravel terroirs and Cabernets of the Medoc, producing reserved, classic wines -  wines with structure and complexity. Following the commercially attractive 1995s, the 1996s were not universally well received, although their then expensive release prices now look very equitable…  Now at the ripe old age of 20, we decided this was an anniversary we definitely wanted to celebrate.

UGC Week: Bordeaux 2014 - Day three, the Bordeaux rollercoaster continues

UGC Week: Bordeaux 2014 - Day three, the Bordeaux rollercoaster continues

Wednesday 1st April 2015
by Tom Jenkins

To coin an overused Bordelaise phrase, the wines of the Medoc are not ‘homogenous’. 

There are stars and there are stinkers. Let’s start with the good. Lafite is regal, a really aristocratic wine with beautifully delineated flavours. In very much the same mould, Pichon Lalande backed up their wonderful 2013 with a spellbinding 2014. They utilized their Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot in the 2014 and the result is spectacular.

Hervé Berland looked supremely confident, and well he might; Montrose is a beauty: precise, pure and refined. Pontet Canet is back on form and mixing it with the very best  – chapeau Alfred, a great sport for playing along with our Chairman’s April fool’s ruse and a restrained, classic, handsome 2014 in his cellars. Duhart like big brother Lafite is a beauty – this is tense, defined and very impressive. Bruno Borie’s wines all excelled. Often we just focus on Ducru Beaucaillou, however, Lalande Borie is possibly the best effort we have tasted from this estate and Croix de Beaucaillou is a notable effort too. Calon Segur 2014 is a slight change of direction. The Denise Gasqueton era is over and the new style seems to be for more power and extraction, but there is still a Calon charm. It didn’t sit well with some of the traditional Calon fans in our team, but it is mighty impressive. One other wine from the northern Medoc which deserves special mention is Chateau Meyney. This wonderful terroir close to Montrose and Phelan Segur, owned by the Credit Agricole group is finally realising its potential. This will be one of the best value buys of this campaign!

UGC Week: Bordeaux 2012 - Day three

UGC Week: Bordeaux 2012 - Day three

Friday 12th April 2013
by Tom Jenkins

By now we were well and truly in the groove and in the familiar surroundings of the northern Medoc, so it was time to unveil fifty shades of red cord picture courtesy of Peter Richards MW). Appointments were booked thick and fast, so pace and concentration were the order of the day.

Our first stop was Cos d'Estournel to taste with Aymeric de Gironde, ironically from the Loire region of France, but clearly destined to succeed in Aquitaine. Aymeric, formally of Pichon Baron has jumped into Jean Guillaume's loafers and he is a charming and capable substitute; we wish him all the best. He joined after the harvest and vinifications, so 2012 is not his baby, but you can sense his passion for the wine as he hosted our tasting. Views varied from good, bad and indifferent. There's certainly some charm and precision, but we were not wholly convinced - maybe we give it the benefit of the doubt...

Next stop Calon Segur; the first vintage since the death of Madame Gasqueton. Thankfully Toby didn't ask how she was and the tasting passed without incident. We were charmed by the Grand Vin, which is typically graceful and elegant and will no doubt be very yummy in a few years’ time.
Tasting Bordeaux 2009 at Southwold, under snow

Tasting Bordeaux 2009 at Southwold, under snow

Monday 21st January 2013
by Tom Jenkins

Despite the freezing conditions, many of the great and good from the wine trade made the annual pilgrimage to Suffolk to re-taste the much vaunted 2009s.

This was the vintage of the century, a vintage that boasts 17 hundred point wines, so how do they stack up three and a bit years on? Well the first observation is the tannins. From barrel, these were almost undetectable. Most of our notes referred to silky, velvety tannins, mainly masked by opulent fruit. Today, the wines are quite obviously tannic. They have lost some of that hedonistic quality and have gained in structure. This all bodes well for long term storage, but may put impatient souls off...

Another surprise was just how big a gulf there is between the top names and the low-mid-range Clarets. vignerons and negociants declared 2009 to be a 'great', 'homogenous' vintage with quality produced from top to bottom. They are right, many of the smaller estates have produced their best wines in 2009, but from the evidence of this tasting, you cannot expect to obtain First Growth quality on a cru bourgeois budget. At the affordable level the likes of Gloria, Clos des Quatre Vents, Poujeaux, Roc de Cambes, Lafon Rochet, Langoa Barton and Haut Batailley all had very strong showings and offer very good QPR (quality price ratio).
Video: Charles Chevallier from Chateau Lafite

Video: Charles Chevallier from Chateau Lafite

Monday 9th May 2011
by Tom Jenkins

The director of the hottest Chateau in Bordeaux talks to Hew Blair and gives a very interesting, succinct comparison between 2009 and 2010. 

If you wanted to describe the differences between the two vintages in a single sentence you'd be hard pushed to do it better than this...
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