Thursday, 25 February 2010

Clos de Tart 2008....

Having last tasted the Clos de Tart 2008 wines on Day 5 in Burgundy back in November it was great to get the chance this morning to taste the final assemblage, albeit not in final bottle as it will not be bottled unitl April/May. The release of the 2008 will be April and we will be doing a Masterclass with Sylvain Pitiot on 15th April.

I thought the two wines were showing very well (you never quite know with cask samples) and for those lucky enough to get some 2007 I think there will be a massive amount of enjoyment over the years in comparing the two vintages as I feel the quality level is similar but the wine different in profile. To be crude I feel the 2007 will peak earlier and the 2008 is a "keeper" as below...

Les Forges de Tart 1er Cru 2008 - Pungent, spiced but very precise, gorgeous lanolin nose of good oak in the background. The palate is a more Pinot expression...good length and weight. Impressive and just begs to nosed time after time...for me an 18/20

Clos de Tart 2008 - Stylistically similar to the Les Forges but with more power, density and weight. A more broad-shouldered and masculine wine. Darker fruits but still that tell tale spice. Palate is dense and everything is there even if it shows less than the Les Forges (it should) at this stage. A keeper! 18-19/20

Not even time for 11's yet.....

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

DRC 2007.....not bad for a Monday!

For the first time I can remember (and amazingly this was my 11th vintage) the DRC Press Tasting was on a Monday. As is traditional now the wines are shown to the press just after bottling, which was done in the last two months. The Domaine de la Romanee Conti wines are amazingly easy to taste at this young stage. I have always thought it would not be the case even as little as 3 months later when they start to become constrained by bottling. It’s always a massively exciting tasting regardless of the vintage as you are dealing with the very essence of terroir. The tasting takes a relaxed yet studious tone, there is very little talking at all, whilst Aubert is almost always in attendance, as he was again this year, there is no speech or presentation. The wines are “left” to do the talking themselves. The wines (no Vosnee Romanee 1er Cru Duvault Blochet this year) are tasted in the order below with the Montrachet never shown (more of that later!), the notes are my own and brief….I’m not a massive fan of scores so there aren’t any….each wine taken on its merits, it’s not a competition after all…..

– Beautifully “Pinot”, red fruits, elegant and feminine, good acidity and poise, long finish…very impressive.

Grands Echezeaux – Immediately less obvious than Echezeaux, fruit red again with a hint of something darker, a leafy note and more impressive on the palate than nose at this stage.

Richebourg – As with last year tasted before the Romanee-St-Vivant, Richebourg was more gutsy with a masculine edge, serious and more brooding to me.

Romanee-St-Vivant – Classy and a little more “showy” than the others so far, red fruit again, rich and a touch decadent, the biggest (good) surprise for me.

La Tache – As is often the case (almost always for me) the most obviously performing wine and, if I were pressed, the most impressive, richness and splendor combined, brilliant texture, hidden structure too.

Romanee Conti – The nose showed more than some years, exquisite balance and harmony, palate tighter and giving less away…so impressive and true.
With the tasting over before 12.30 it was brilliant to have a brief window for Aubert to present the wines and vintage to the entire C&B Team, the samples were minute - it’s amazing how far a bottle can go – the entire press and home team requiring less that 2 bottles of each wine!! Aubert is always clam when speaking and manages to make something very complex sound simple. “A vintage that will be for the nose” being one of the more memorable quotes.

From 1 Thomas More Street those that were lunching - Adam, Alison, Rachel and & I were hosting Aubert, Serena Sutcliffe MW, Anthony Hanson MW & Remington Norman MW - moved on to Lunch at C&B Paternoster Square. The post tasting Lunch has been a tradition, a massive personal highlight, and a thank you to Aubert for as long as I can remember. It is a good chance to relax and get the views of some of the wine world’s biggest names. Exciting though this is for me there is nothing to rival the fact that we now taste the Le Montrachet 2007 at lunch. The 2007 was a spectacular wine, especially when you consider it was the last picked of the wines (17th September) and you can well see it. A gorgeous young gold colour and exotic nose, to make an almost farcical comparison it reminded me of the 2005 with a dash more zest and acidity…you could drink it now or at anytime over the next ?? years….as Adam’s tasting note says, Noble Wine. The other wines at lunch were the 2007 Echezeaux, Romanee-St-Vivant & La Tache. In particular the La Tache shone again for me. Conversation flowed – everything from the Hospice auction to Le Corton to the En Primeur 2009 campaign in Bordeaux - but one question I wanted to ask Aubert, because we get asked it a lot, was which vintage the 2007 wines reminded Aubert of. He said the weather was so unique that it was hard but eventually he said a civil marriage (no churches) of 1997 and 2004.

The only problem for me now is what on earth do you do on Tuesday when your Monday is that good?

Wednesday, 3 February 2010

two 2006's in bottle

With the big tasting of 2006 Bordeaux in Southwold recently (it has been variously written up by Jancis Robinson and more) I thought it would be a good idea to serve - blind - two Bordeaux 2006's from two of our strong Bordeaux connections, there was another reason for one of them but I'll come on to that later. The lab mice for this tasting was the private sales team (if you want an opinion this is where to go) at 9am on tuesday (hoping it will have been the first drink of the day)...

All they were told was that the wines were from the same vintage and were both from Bordeaux in the £200-£400/cs price bracket.......

Wine 1 - La Grave a Pomerol 2006 (sells at £235ib/cs). Overall score 17 and the view on drinking was now onwards but with no great rush so let's say 2010-2016. Now what is strange about this score given that we can be quite a critical lot, and yet gave an unknown wine 17 (the scores ranged from 16-17.5+), is that it gets a shocker of a write up from Mr Parker and a poultry 80 points. We'll have to let him off as it only has one note and that was a year ago. I will see if it get re-tasted now it is bottled.

Wine 2 - Roc de Cambes 2006 (£155ib/cs(6)). Overall score 18 with scores from 17.5 to 19 with the view on drinking being 2011 (although it is pretty "sexy" now) to 2016+. There are no score from the critics but I was so impressed by the 2005 Roc when I tasted in Bordeaux that as soon as I heard the 2006 was good I bought some then.

The contrast in the wines was marked and great to see. The La Grave a more classically inspired wine with such good fruit and decent grip but the sort of claret you can get stuck into. The Roc was more dense (but not heavy) had a richer texture and a little more "lip-gloss". As we have found over the years this is a great wine to serve blind to someone as it punches well above it's weight! If you see it available the 2002 and 2004 are really worth buying too and there is a common thread with them and this 2006.

So that's that...a 17 and an 18, just good wines at a very fair price