Saturday, 8 September 2012

Chateau Trotanoy at The Ritz with Edouard Moueix

Thursday night was Chateau Trotanoy at The Ritz with Edouard Moueix, which, let's face it, is never going to be a hardship. We started with Delamotte Blanc de Blancs NV which in my own biased way I recon is almost unbeatable for value, it is elegant, given more age than most standard NV's and just sets things of perfectly.
We moved through to dinner and after introductions we were onto the first wine of the night L’Espérance de Trotanoy 2009 from magnum, actually all the wines except the 1982 were from magnum. L'Esperance was a new creation in 2009, it was also made in 2010 but not as yet 2011. Ordinarily the wine that in 2009 made L'Esperance would have been used my Moueix in their more generic "Moueix Pomerol" but stood out in 2009 so this label was created. The wine is expressive on the nose, packed with red as well as black fruit. The structure is not overbearing, the palate is a little muted now but this wine will be a great drinker in 2-3 years giving an idea of Trotanoy without pretending to be the real deal. A good warm up.
One of the reasons for this dinner was that Trotanoy is unquestionably one of Pomerol and Bordeaux biggest names but it has often lived in the shadow of Petrus, well this is no longer the case, after a slight lull in the mid 80's the quality has been in s steep rising curve. This evening put this into focus. I am clearly biased but that aside Trotanoy has always been a big favourite of mine.
Some background: The estate, of 7.2hectares, was bought by Jean-Pierre Moueix in 1953 (being one of the lucky few not to freeze in 1956) and is planted with 90% Merlot & 10% Cabernet Franc on a mix of gravel & clay and heavy clay with an approximate production of 20,000 bottles.
With Squab Pigeon with Cep Purée we had Trotanoy 2001 & 2000. The 2001 as a vintage in Bordeaux, even now, is still often overlooked caming after the great 2000. The wines are superb and very balanced. This is certainly the case with this Trotanoy that I gave 18/20, it is starting to show well now but has the balance as well as an elegant structure, if you were to have two cases I would try a bottle now and go from there but if you have just one case then I would leave another 2-3 years, a seriously enjoyable wine with grace and serious charm in bucket loads. The 2000 (19/20) probably just got the nod as "wine of the night" for me. It is very very Trotanoy - dense without being crude, rich, masculine and serious, brooding dark fruit and a firm but balanced structure, in bottle another 4-5 years is needed for further layers to come out. Very impressive indeed.
The next course was a very good Venison Wellington, Madeira and truffle jus with Trotanoy 1995 & 1990. The 1995 (18/20) has a similar structure and elegance to the 2001. I really enjoyed the beginning of a secondary character. 1995 is a slightly forgotten vintage as often seems to be the case when the right-bank does better than the left, think 1998 (where Trotanoy is a wine of the vintage candidate!). I would say this is starting to be at its peak now but has a long drinking window ahead of it. The 1990 (17.5/20) is flattering, luscious and flamboyant, it is open and ready for drinking the structure appears lighter than the predecessors, I would say now and over the next 5-10 years it will be lovely...I wonder if there is a third dimension to come but I've been wrong before and it is pretentious to see instant gratification as a bad thing. As an aside it was interesting to hear both Edouard and Adam (Brett-Smith) talk about the fact that 1990 as an En Primeur vintage was a very slow and unpopular campaign for two reasons, there was little money and desire to buy in 1991 the financial position being what it was and secondly that the vintage followed 1988 and 1989 and at that time three "great" vintage in a row was not thought usual or may be even possible. The market and the UK trade's orders for the vintage only grew when people realised 1991 was going to be a write off.
The final course was Welsh rarebit and mushrooms on toast with Trotanoy 1982. This is from a massive harvest and one that had both quantity and quality in abundance, a rarity ever since. Coming from bottle rather than magnum this had a mighty impressive colour with little sign of 30 years of evolution. The balance again was lovely the fruit still showing well, masculine but softening, of the mature vintages I found this more marginally more complex that the 1990 and I gave it 18/20. It was lovely.
In summary this Chateau is a serious one and when there are some "new-fangled" and over-oaked "monsters" on the right bank these days this is the opposite, masculine wine with fruit but balance and a wonderful "drink-me digestibility"...this is what proper Pomerol is all about!

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