Tag: Saint Julien

Institute of Masters of Wine Bordeaux 2014 in bottle Sydney tasting

Last weekend, the annual Institute of Masters of Wine Bordeaux tasting in bottle of the 2014 vintage took place in Sydney. I expected this to be a much more popular event than the previous year’s tasting of the 2013s (you can read my reviews of that tasting here) which was a poor vintage. But in fact, I would say there were substantially fewer people at the 2014 tasting. It is hard to imagine that an equivalent event, with say most of the leading estates assembled of Burgundy or Piemonte, would be so quiet.

The good news is that I tasted through nearly all of the wines, and was able to do so at some leisure. My short notes and observations follow. In short, I would describe the 2014s as a classic Bordeaux vintage, with many very good wines. I have put an asterisks next to the best wine of each appellation, on this tasting.

Pessac-Léognan

Château Bouscat. Merlot dominant (55%). Iron earth, capsicum aromas. Herbal, oak. Good

Château de Fieuzal. 48% cabernet sauvignon and 45% merlot. Aromas of tomato stalk, red fruits. Firm tannins and acidity on the palate. Good to Very Good

Château Malartic-Lagraviere. 52% cabernet sauvignon and 40% merlot. Deep colour, attractive pencil lead aroma. Saturated fruit, good intensity and structured palate. Very Good

*Château Smith Haut Lafitte. 62% cabernet sauvignon, 30% merlot, 6% cabernet franc and 2% petit verdot. This was the highlight of the Pessac-Léognan group. Velvety, blackcurrant aroma, with pencil lead notes. Crisp acidity coupled with long length on the palate. Outstanding

Domaine de Chevalier. 65% cabernet sauvignon and 30% merlot. Somewhat muted aroma of pencil lead and blackcurrants. The palate has firm tannins, acid and structure. Good to Very Good

Haut-Médoc

Château Belgrave. 66% cabernet sauvignon and 32% merlot. Aromas of capsicum and cardamum. The palate has very firm acidity and a greenness. Good

Château Cantemerle. 47% cabernet sauvignon and 38% merlot. Capsicum aromas. Palate has firm acidity and presents as very young. Good

Margaux

*Château Boyd-Cantenac. 70% cabernet sauvignon and 21% merlot. Floral, blackcurrant, pencil lead and quite opulent aromas. Structured tannins and firm palate. Very Good to Outstanding

Château Brane-Cantenac. 77% cabernet sauvignon and 21% merlot. Floral, blackcurrant and brooding aroma. The palate has very high acid and somewhat angular tannins. Good to Very Good

Château d’Issan. 77% cabernet sauvignon and 23% merlot. Earthy, leathery aroma. Firm acidity and gentle balance on the palate. Good to Very Good

Château du Tertre. 58% cabernet sauvignon and 20% cabernet franc (possibly a typo). Pencil lead, refined blackcurrant aromas. High acidity on the palate, almost piquant. Good

Château Giscours. 70% cabernet sauvignon and 20% merlot. Herbal, capsicum aroma. Firm acidity, green palate. Good to Very Good

Château Kirwan. 58% cabernet sauvignon and 36% merlot. Pencil lead, chocolate aroma. The palate is firm, structured with some bitter tannins. Good to Very Good

Château Lascombes. 50% merlot and 45% cabernet sauvignon. Earthy, ripe fruit aromas. Ripe, structured fruit on the palate, with good length. Very Good

Château Pouget. 58% cabernet sauvignon and 31% merlot. Floral and quite aromatic. Firm acidity, good length. Good to Very Good

Château Rauzan-Gassies. 70% cabernet sauvignon and 26% merlot. Restrained, neutral aroma. Structured, classic palate with good length. Very Good

Château Rauzan-Ségla. 56% cabernet sauvignon and 42% merlot. Glossy, oak aroma. Intense palate. Very Good

Saint-Émilion

**Château Angélus. 50% merlot and 50% cabernet franc. This was the wine of the tasting. A seamless expression of blackcurrant and cedar. On the palate, lovely balance and phenomenal length. Outstanding

*Château Cheval Blanc. 55% merlot and 45% cabernet franc. Another outstanding wine, not surprisingly. More tobacco and red fruited aroma. Lovely balance and long length. Outstanding

Château Balestard La Tonnelle. 70% merlot and 25% cabernet franc. Tomato, red fruit aromas. Pleasant red fruit on the palate. Good

Château Bellevue. 100% merlot. Plums and soy aroma. Medium-firm tannins and plummy palate. Good to Very Good

Château Cap de Mourlin. 65% merlot and 25% cabernet franc. Red fruit and cedar aroma. Very firm tannins and red fruits on the palate. Very Good

Château Corbin. 90% merlot and 10% cabernet franc. Redcurrant, plum and spice aroma. Medium-firm tannins and red fruited palate. Good to Very Good

Château Grand Corbin. 70% merlot and 25% cabernet franc. Restrained aroma of earth and attractive red fruits. Firm acidity and good length on the palate. Very Good

Château La Tour Figeac. 75% merlot and 25% cabernet franc. Earthy, blackcurrant generous aroma. Soy, red fruit, medium-long length and medium-firm tannins. Very Good

Château Laroze. 66% merlot and 29% cabernet franc. Pencil lead, red fruit aroma. Plush palate with great length. Very Good

*Château Troplong Mondot. 91% merlot and 7% cabernet sauvignon. Spiced blackberry aroma. The palate has saturated fruit, full flavour, great intensity and structure, cedar and long length. Outstanding

Château Trottevieille. 58% cabernet franc and 40% merlot. Aroma of smoke and leaf. Firm structure, leafy, good length. Good to Very Good

Pomerol

*Château Clinet. 90% merlot and 9% cabernet sauvignon. Aroma of soy, plum. Deep colour. Medium-firm tannins and structured palate. Very Good to Outstanding

*Château Gazin. 95% merlot and 5% cabernet franc. Velvety aroma, tomato and red fruits too. Firm tannins, structured and good length. Very Good to Outstanding

*Château Nenin. 68% merlot and 32% cabernet franc. Plums, restrained yet rich aroma. The palate has pencil lead characters and is both opulent and regal, with good length on the finish. Very Good to Outstanding

Château Petit-Village. 72% merlot and 16% cabernet franc. Blackberry and spice aroma. Capsicum, structure and good length on the palate. Good to Very Good

Saint-Estèphe

Château Calon Ségur. 66% cabernet sauvignon and 13% cabernet franc. Ripe, blackcurrant, restrained aroma. High acid, structured palate with medium length. Good to Very Good

*Château Cos d’Estournel. 65% cabernet sauvignon and 33% merlot. Ripe, delicious aroma of blackcurrants and blackberry. Full tannins. Outstanding

*Château Montrose. 61% cabernet sauvignon and 30% merlot. Ripe, cedar and blackcurrant aroma. Structured palate, full tannins and long length. Built to last. Outstanding

Saint-Julien

Château Beychevelle. 51% merlot and 39% cabernet sauvignon. Lovely aroma, pencil lead, blackcurrant, classic. Firm tannins, good balance and good length on the palate. Very Good to Outstanding

Château Lagrange. 76% cabernet sauvignon and 18% merlot. Capsicum and black fruit aroma. High acid, capsicum character but classic. Good

Château Langoa Barton. 54% cabernet sauvignon and 34% merlot. Muted aroma and palate. Seemed out of condition. Not rated

Château Leoville Barton. 83% cabernet sauvignon and 15% merlot. Pencil lead, gorgeous blackcurrant aroma. Firm tannins, good length. Very Good

*Château Léoville Marquis de Las Cases. 79% cabernet sauvignon and 11% cabernet franc. Blackcurrant, classic aroma. Palate has ripe, saturated fruit and great length and balance. Outstanding

Château Leoville Poyferre. 60% cabernet sauvignon and 35% merlot. Capsicum, blackcurrant, austere aroma. Palate with firm, structured tannins. Very Good

Château Talbot. 62% cabernet sauvignon and 32% merlot. Blackcurrant and gloss aroma. Firm tannins, somewhat acidic but classic. Good to Very Good

Pauillac

Château Batailley. 82% cabernet sauvignon and 15% merlot. Earthy aroma, brettanomyces? Capsicum, blackcurrant and acidity on the palate. Good for now

Château Croizet-Bages. 61% cabernet sauvignon and 37% merlot. Blackcurrant and capsicum aroma. Firm tannins and classic palate. Good to Very Good

Château Lynch Bages. 69% cabernet sauvignon and 26% merlot. Deep colour, blackcurrant aroma. Saturated fruit and great length on the palate. Very Good to Outstanding

Château Lynch-Moussas. 79% cabernet sauvignon and 21% merlot. Blackcurrant, earth and smoke aroma. Medium tannins and pleasant finish. Good

Château Pichon Baron. 80% cabernet sauvignon and 20% merlot. Blackcurrant and refined fruit aroma. Great length, balance, plushness and firm tannins. A favourite, but slightly shaded by a couple of Pauillac wines this year. Very Good nonetheless

*Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande. 65% cabernet sauvignon and 22% merlot. Blackcurrant, refined aroma, pencil lead aroma. Long length and lovely balance on the palate. Outstanding

*Château Pontet-Canet. 65% cabernet sauvignon and 30% merlot. Blackcurrant, refined earthy aroma. Great length, structure, blackcurrant and tannins on the palate. Outstanding

Sauternes

Château Doisy Daëne. 85% sémillon and 14.5% sauvignon blanc. Spice, marmalade aroma. Not particularly viscous. Fresh. Good to Very Good

Château Suduiraut. 95% sémillon and 5% sauvignon blanc. Vanilla, marmalade aroma. Long length, full body but grace and balance on the palate. Very Good

*Château d’Yquem. Last, but not least. 80% sémillon and 20% sauvignon blanc. Marmalade, spice, complex aroma. Viscous, full length, full body and ultra unctuous palate. Outstanding

IMW Annual Bordeaux tasting – 2013 vintage

Held in Sydney by the Institute of Masters of Wine on the weekend, this was a first close local look at the 2013 vintage of Bordeaux. The 2013 vintage in Bordeaux was, of course, rather dire. It saw a dismal spring, an early summer and catastrophic flowering. The vintage culminated with tropical weather at the end of September, with heavy rain and high day and night time temperatures combining to produce an outbreak of rot. Phrases along the lines of “the worst vintage in recent memory” abound in the media.

In short, then, expectations were low. I can’t recall an Australian en primeur campaign at all. It did not surprise then to see lower numbers at this tasting. However, it did provide an opportunity to look quite carefully and methodically at what is a very large bracket of wines. And my takeaways were rather surprising. There are a number of good wines made in this vintage, the best being medium bodied with resolute tannins and quite long length. Perhaps a few may even be affordable on these shores. Some felt that the Saint-Juliens showed best. My view was a little different. I felt that in fact the better producers produced the better wines in most cases. Short notes follow.

Pessac-Léognan
Château de Fieuzal. 13% abv. 65% CS, 30% M, 5% CF. Not a really deep colour. Cassis and leaf aromas. Firm, dusty tannins, fresh acidity and medium-full bodied. G-VG

Château Smith Haut Lafitte. 13.5% abv. 55% CS, 35% M, 10% CF. Always a favourite. 2013 has tomato bush and stemmy/leafy, herbal character. High tannins and medium-full body on the palate with good length and some cassis. VG

Haut-Médoc

Château Belgrave. 12.5% abv. 70% CS, 30% M. Earth, ferric aroma, cassis. A bit Coonawarra like. Palate with medium bodied, cassis, slightly hollowed out and mid range tannins. G

Margaux
Château Boyd-Cantenac. 13% abv. 66% CS, 29% M, 2% CF, 3% PV. Medium intensity of colour. Lots of chunky oak on the nose, fruit hidden. Medium-full body, medium-firm tannin and mid range length. Palate much better. VG

Château Brane-Cantenac. 13.5% abv. 84% CS, 14% M, 2% CF. Medium intensity of colour. Stemmy, oak and blackcurrant nose. High acid and firm dusty tannins. Ferric and earthy. G-VG

Château Cantenac-Brown. Not shown. Apparently pre-assessed as cork tainted, bretty or both so didn’t taste. NR

Château d’Issan. 13% abv. 60% CS, 40% M. Lovely oak, lovely ripe blackcurrant fruit and plenty of wood smoke. Dry medium-full tannins, medium-long length and medium body. G-VG

Château Lascombes. 12.5% abv. 55% CS, 40% M, 5% PV. Lots of refined Frenck oak. Mid range tannins that are quite grippy and dusty. Great length. VG

Château Rauzan-Ségla. 13.5% abv. 58% CS, 39% M, 2% PV, 1% CF. Medium colour. Refined blackcurrant. Fine oak. High acid, dusty tannins, really good length. G-VG

First Growths
Château Angélus. 13.5% abv. 62% M, 38% CF. Is there much point rating this bracket? All are outstanding. Richer than the Cheval Blanc, the Angélus has aromas of red fruits and lightly smokey oak. Full body, firm but not dusty tannins, long length, terrific balance. O

Château Cheval Blanc. 13% abv. 49% M, 3% CS, 48% CF. Refined integrated red fruit nose. High tannins, long length, amazing balance. O

Château d’Yquem. 13.5% abv. 30% SB, 70% S. Botrytis marmalade aromas. The palate is full bodied with glorious refreshing acidity, long length and a viscous body. Outstanding wine. O

Saint-Émilion
Château Dassault. 13% abv. 75% M, 20% CF, 5% CS. Sweet fruit, lovely French oak, medium intensity colour. Fuller body with medium tannins, medium-full length and medium-high acid. Subtle. VG

Château La Fleur. 13% abv. 92% M, 8% CF. Sweet red fruit, medium intensity of colour, restrained savoury oak. Medium-full body, medium-high tannins and a balanced mid range length and savoury fruit profile. G-VG

Château Pavie-Macquin. 13.5% abv. 85% M, 13% CF, 2% CS. Evident tears, mid range depth of colour. Restrained cedar oak aroma, spice, graphite, smokey oak. Palate is fuller bodied, more viscous, medium tannins, red fruit and long length. VG

Château Trotte Vieille
. 13% abv. 54% M, 2% CS, 44% CF. I almost never “get” this wine. Wood, stemmy aroma. Medium-full body, medium-high tannin, really a lot of tannins actually, quite good length. G-VG

Château Valandraud. 14% abv. 65% M, 25% CF, 5% CS, 4% M, 1% C. Rich, baked fruit, with cedar/pencil oak and lots of new French oak. Full body, medium-high tannins, medium acidity, long length, wood character evident. VG

Pomerol
Château La Conseillante. 13% abv. 80% M, 20% CF. Herbal, leaf, clove, tomato bush aroma. Medium-full body, medium tannin and length. Very balanced. VG

Château Petit Village. 13.5% abv. 70% M, 20% CF, 10% CS. Cedar, spicy and red fruits. Palate has medium-high tannin, medium-full body and more structure and long length. VG

Saint-Estèphe
Château Calon-Ségur. 13% abv. 85% CS, 7% CF, 6% M, 2% PV. Mid range colour. Blackcurrant, high tannins, medium body and good length. VG

Château Cos d’Estournel. 13% abv. 78% CS, 20% M, 2% CF. Cassis, earth, ferric character. Drying high tannins, but great length. VG-O

Château Montrose. 13% abv. 68% CS, 29% M, 3% PV. Cassis, blackcurrant and fruity aroma. Medium/medium-full body, dry high tannins and good length. VG-O

Saint-Julien
Château Langoa Barton. 13% abv. 65% CS, 30% M, 5% CF. Mid range intensity of colour. Tomato bush aroma. Palate of medium-high tannins, high acid, but balanced. G-VG

Château Leoville Barton. 13% abv. 85% CS, 15% M. Mid range colour. High acid, dusty tannins. Iron filings and leaf. VG

Château Leoville-Las-Cases. 13% abv. 74% CS, 12% M, 14% CF. A wow aroma. Refined oak, blackcurrant. So evocative. Balanced palate, long length, refined, high tannin but fine indeed. VG-O

Pauillac

Château Batailley. 13% abv. 4% M, 94% CS, 2% PV. Meaty, farm and earth aroma. Medium tannins and length. G

Château Lynch-Bages. 13% abv. 72% CS, 20% M, 6% CF, 2% PV. Tomato bush, steam, leaf and cassis. Medium-full body, high dusty tannins and blackcurrants. VG

Château Pichon Baron
. 13% abv. 82% CS, 18% M. Iron earth, cassis, blackcurrant, earthy aroma. High dusty tannins, long length. VG-O

Château Pontet-Canet. 13% abv. 30% M, 65% CS, 4% CF and 1% PV. Earth, blackcurrant, really vivid fruit. Fullish bodied, high tannins, tea leaf and red fruit edge gives unusualness. Good length. G-VG

Sauternes
Château Suduiraut. 13.5% abv. 93% S, 7% SB. Caramel, brown sugar aroma. Full bodied, viscous, medium-long length, fresh acidity. VG

Clos Haut Peyraguey. 13.5% abv. 95% S, 5% SB. Lemon, spice, and seemingly not that much botrytis. Medium-full bodied and mid range length. G

A few 1989 Saint-Juliens: Léoville Barton, Beychevelle and Gloria

Yet more excellent wine.  This time I had the fortune to taste three Saint-Juliens blind from the heralded 1989 Bordeaux vintage.  Neither vintage, grape variety nor region was disclosed in the tasting.  All three wines presented very well.  The Léoville-Barton in particular presented as a very typical Saint-Julien.

Chateau Léoville-Barton 1989, Saint-Julien
I last tasted this wine in 2014 (see my post here) finding it lighter and subtler compared with this tasting.  In fact, the wine is more like it was 6 years earlier when tasted in 2011(see my post here).  Diligent storage, I expect, is the common connection.  Tasted in March 2017, the 1989 Léoville-Barton has aromas of blackcurrants, smoke and a certain peppermint character.  The palate has quite long length and rather delicious tannins.  In its drinking prime, this is a great example from the 1989 vintage.  (Alc: 12.5%, Region: Saint-Julien, Bordeaux, Rating: Very Good to Outstanding, Would I buy it based on this tasting? Yes if storage assured, Drink: now, Tasted: March, 2017)

Chateau Beychevelle 1989, Saint-Julien
The Chateau Beychevelle presented as the lesser wine next to the Léoville-Barton, and displayed considerably more tertiary aged characters.  It’s frankly not unlike an older Yarra Valley cabernet in style.  The 1989 Beychevelle’s aroma is perfumed, with an expression of mature blackcurrants.  The palate has taken on a leafy character, with flashes of sweet fruit so distinctive in cabernets that are starting to dip out of their prime drinking window.  (Alc: NA, Region: Saint-Julien, Bordeaux, Rating: Good, Would I buy it based on this tasting? Curiosity would get the better of me – it’s an ’89 Bordeaux, Drink: now, Tasted: March, 2017)

Chateau Gloria 1989, Saint-Julien
Chateau Gloria presented in a more modern style, with aromatics of blackcurrant and bay leaf.  Bay leaf characters featured on the palate, with good length on the finish.  (Alc: 12.5%, Region: Saint-Julien, Rating: Very Good, Would I buy it based on this tasting? Yes, Drink: now, Tasted: March, 2017)

Read more:
www.leoville-barton.com
beychevelle.com
www.domaines-henri-martin.com/en/chateau-gloria

Other vintages reviewed (Léoville-Barton):

Vintage Rating Review
2007
Outstanding
1996
Good to Very Good

A couple of Saint Julien 07s; Château Léoville Barton 2007 and Château Langoa Barton 2007

2007 wasn’t a great vintage in Bordeaux, and I found few of the 07s as new releases compelling.  However, now with nine years of age, these two wines both showed extremely well and are in their drinking prime.  Experience increasingly suggests that the poorer vintages in Bordeaux can still provide a great deal of enjoyment; let them settle for five to ten years and drink them sooner.  It saves money too, as unlike Australian producers, prices tend to be vintage adjusted.

Here I had the fortune to taste these two wines blind.  Château Léoville Barton and Château Langoa Barton are neighbouring vineyards in Saint-Julien, the former the larger with 51 hectares under vine, and the latter 17 hectares.  I was about to recommend a wonderful Italian app that painstakingly identifies the vineyards of Saint-Julien (www.enogea.it/en/product-category/apps/) to add visual context, but it seems to have disappeared from our App Store.  Both vineyards sit more or less in the middle of the appellation between the towns of Beychevelle and Saint-Julien off the D2.

Château Langoa Barton 2007
Developing, blackcurrant, earth, cassis and cigar box aromas.  Medium bodied, fresh acidity and prodigious length.  In its drinking prime.  Wow territory for a 2007.  (Alc: 13%, Region: Saint-Julien, Bordeaux, Rating: Outstanding, Drink: now to 2021)

Château Léoville Barton 2007
Blackcurrant, licorice and ferrous aromas.  Seems riper and fuller bodied than the Langoa Barton.  Long length, licorice, earth, firm tannins, iodine and bitters characters on the palate.  Slightly richer, more languid and less formed than its neighbour.  Wonderful finish.  (Alc: 13%, Region: Saint-Julien, Bordeaux, Rating: Very Good, Drink: now to 2026)

Read more:
www.leoville-barton.com

Clos du Marquis 1996

The Clos du Marquis is a rather excellent wine from the Domaines Delon in Bordeaux, whose stable includes esteemed second growth Château Leoville Las Cases and its second wine, Le Petit Lion de Marquis de Las Cases.  The vineyards for this wine come from the Saint-Julien appellation on the left bank of the Gironde estuary, and are surrounded by Léoville Poyferré, Léoville Barton and Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande.  To further set the scene, the 1996 vintage is regarded as an exceptional year by the estate.  Unfortunately, particularly after this longish introduction you might say, I am sorry to report that the first bottle proved to be comprehensively corked.  The good news however was that there was more.  The second bottle was outstanding and in its drinking prime.  The ’96 Clos du Marquis has aromatics of blackcurrant and cigar box and is unmistakably Saint-Julien in style.  The palate has long length verging on opulent.  Saint-Julien is really growing on me of late, and may soon rival my fondness for Pauillac, Saint-Estèphe, Margaux and, well, most of the rest of the region.

Rating: Very Good to Outstanding
Abv: Not Recorded
Price: $100+
Vendors and website: http://www.domaines-delon.com
Tasted: 2015

Le Petit Caillou Saint-Julien 2009

Le Petit Caillou is the second wine of Bordeaux classed growth Chateau Ducru-Beaucaillou in Saint-Julien.  Its label – reminding perhaps more of Christmas wrapping paper than a typical Bordeaux label – should not put you off.  Inside the bottle is a very classic Bordeaux left bank style wine from an outstanding vintage (2009).  Its aromatics remind of tobacco and sweet blackcurrants.  The palate has length, balance and continues the tobacco and blackcurrant theme.  Drink now, or over the next decade.

Rating: Good to Very Good, Abv: 13.5%, Price: $40s, Vendors: http://www.wine-searcher.com/, Website: http://www.chateau-ducru-beaucaillou.com, Tasted: 2015

Short notes – d’Armailhac 2010, Talbot 2005 and Bowen Shiraz 2005

I am afraid I can only offer glimpses of these wines as I was too busy drinking them.  All are highly recommended.

Chateau d’Armailhac 2010, Pauillac
Brooding, structured, cedary and closed.  Tannic power.  The last glass (of the bottle) opened up with some delicious ripe tannins hidden away.  This wine will last decades.  Revisit in 10 years.

Chateau Talbot 2005, Saint-Julien
Left bank appellation Saint-Julien holds increasing fascination, I’ve always liked Chateau Talbot, and 2005 is one of the great Bordeaux vintages.  Hard to find fault then.  This wine has ripe fruit, depth and length.  It’s the complete package, and an outstanding wine.

Bowen Estate Shiraz 2005, Coonawarra
Bowen Estate do something right with their shiraz.  Chocolate, intense plums, full and rich palate, long length, still young and fresh at 10 years and a low $20s price.  Crazy.  Outstanding wine.

Château Léoville Barton 1989

This is the second time I’ve tried the ’89 Léoville Barton, the previous occasion being at a very good wine dinner that I attended back in 2011 and wrote up here.  Four years on, the wine retains its elegant and light fragrance of cigars and ash, although there seem more cherries this time than blackcurrant.  The palate has some notes of bay leaf, cherry and a medium length finish that rather hides itself away.  While towards the tail end of its best drinking period, there is nonetheless enjoyment to be had here and the wine deserves a certain amount of credit for reaching 25 years of age gracefully.

Rating: Good to Very Good, Abv: 12.5%, Price: n/a, Vendors: http://www.wine-searcher.com/, Website: http://www.leoville-barton.com, Tasted: 2014

A weekly wrap; 16 March 2014

It’s not every week that I can look through a number of subregions in the Languedoc-Roussillon, some stellar old white Burgundies from Chassagne-Montrachet dating from the 1980s and early 1990s, some old Bordeaux from 1986 and 1989, and one of the best vintages of Mount Mary’s cabernet that I’ve tasted.  Being routinely time poor, it will take me a little while to write up each wine, but here are links to the wines posted this week so far:

Very Good
Calmel & Joseph Les Terroirs Faugères 2011, $18

Good to Very Good
Calmel & Joseph Le Pic Pic Saint Loup 2010, $36

Good
Yering Station Village Cabernet Sauvignon 2011, $24
Calmel & Joseph Les Terroirs Minervois 2011, $18

Amiral de Beychevelle 2008

Amiral de Beychevelle is the second wine of the distinctively labelled and well known Saint-Julien estate, Chateau Beychevelle.  In 2008, in the Amiral de Beychevelle, this estate has fashioned a very good and classic Bordeaux left-bank wine, a blend of 62% cabernet sauvignon, 31% merlot, 5% cabernet franc and 2% petit verdot.  My long held view has been that the second wines of the great Bordeaux estates produce good value wines that often closely resemble their more expensive siblings.  They are, however, not always easy to find in Australia.

The specifics?  The 2008 vintage is ruby in colour with a medium to pronounced level of colour saturation.  It opens to a classic medium intensity aroma of blackcurrant and cigar box.  On the palate, this is a classicly proportioned wine, with evident tannins, enjoyable length, medium acidity and blackcurrant flavours.  In a word, “classy”.  Drink over the next 10 years.  89 points

Abv: 14%
Price: $78
Source: sample
Tasted: January 2012