Monday, July 15, 2013

2005s maturing: La Croix St Georges (Pomerol) and Pontet Canet (Pauillac)

I bought a case of Croix St Georges back in 2008 based on strong reviews from Parker, hoping it would mature into a fine Pomerol as the Le Bon Pasteur promised to do. The first tasting was very tannic, much less open and rewarding than the Bon Pasteur. So I opened another bottle last week. It has indeed softened and opened. It does resemble the Bon Pasteur more, but it's still more tannic and less developed. I'd say it needs another couple years. It's got exotic spices to go with the cherry plum fruit and perhaps in 2 years it'll be a more interesting wine than Bon Pasteur. It's pretty good and fresh drunk tonight about 4-5 nights after first opening, with a cedary and saline component quite noticeable now but still plenty of plum and spice. I'm looking forward to watching St Georges develop.

Meanwhile, tonight is half-price wine night at old favorite 411 West Restaurant. Emily was supposed to accompany me and Francie but wasn't up to it, so we went and brought her take-home. I've been eyeing the most expensive wine on their list for a few years: 2005 Pontet Canet, a Pauillac that was long mediocre but which new ownership brought up to potential in recent years (reports Parker). So it was 96+ points from Parker and 95 from Tanzer in the great year of 2005. 411 has it on the menu for $250 normally, or $125 on Monday nights, which is a price below retail in a wine store (it's $139 at MacArthur in DC). I hoped it would be sufficiently mature to drink at nearly 8 years old and, to compensate for various recent stresses, finally ordered it tonight.  It's a great Bordeaux. It's deep, complex, blue and black berry melded with oak vanilla and exotic spice. It's a very tannic wine, with tannins softening but at glacial pace. Needs another 3-4 years to really drink to its potential. And to his credit Parker says it won't be ready till 2017. Still it was a hell of a glass of Pauillac even tonight, and characteristically so--dramatically less "feminine" than the 2005 St Georges.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

2005 Vieille Cure

Great nose of blueberry compote, plum and cherry. Deep purple color. On palate pretty austere, some veg. Not what one would hope-90 pts right now. It has enough tannin to last a good while but I'm not sure the fruit will outlast it. On the other hand there's also a good acid backbone so there's hope. 

Parker was very big on this one 93 points in 2008: La Vieille Cure’s amazing 2005 is even better than their terrific 2003 and 2000. The 2005 boasts an inky/ruby color as well as a gorgeously sweet perfume of charcoal, black cherries, black currants, and spring flowers as well as an underlying mineral component. Superb concentration, full-bodied power, wonderful symmetry, purity, and texture, and a multidimensional mouthfeel are all found in this fabulous sleeper of the vintage. Anticipated maturity: 2010-2020+

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

1989 Meyney (St Estephe)

This may be the last of our 1989 bordeaux purchased in honor of Emily's birth that year. Meyney was esp good in that year. Unfortunately the prior bottle we opened about 5 years ago was corked. This one was not. It was past its prime but very nice nonetheless. Opened at Medium Rare (essentially all you can eat steak and fries of surprisingly good quality) with Max, Laura, Emily and Taylor in attendance. What this bottle showed was how a bordeaux tastes when there's just no detectable tannin left. It was all berry fruit, a bit of spice and vanilla and pretty low acid. I suppose it could be called flabby, but I enjoyed it. Too bad we didn't have it 3 years ago, but it was by no means a mediocre bottle. Hard to rate it given its age; I suppose 89 points?

2007 Chateauneuf de Pape Janasse Cuvee Chaupin

Parker raved about this year and this particular bottle so procured 3 about 4 years ago. First one tasted was very good but young. 3 years later quite a difference. Just a beautiful expression of old vine grenache, intense cherry and strawberry fruit, sort of like fruit candy drops, overlaid by wintergreen and other spices and maybe lavender or other flowery notes. Tannin barely detectible and acid pretty low. All in all what I'd call a pretty glass of wine. The aromas are still a bid subdued compared to the up-front fruit on the palate. Don't know if this will get better with a couple more yrs in bottle. Probably. Meanwhile, I look forward to future bottle of '07 and also have a couple of '10's to drink. 94 points from me.

By the way I visited this wonderful Janasse vineyard with Francie, enjoyed generous personal tasting (no charge) and warm welcome from the owner family. Great memory.

Says IWC/Tanzer: Opaque ruby. Spicy raspberry and cherry aromas are complicated by garrigue and Asian spices. Sweet, focused red fruit flavors are given spine by zesty minerality and pick up an exotic floral quality with air. Expands nicely on the finish, leaving behind sweet lavender pastille and raspberry notes. 94 points.

The less restrained Parker 98 points==he says drink til 2031:
Made from 100% Grenache (60- to 80-year-old vines) aged largely in neutral oak foudres with a small amount in new barrels, the inky/ruby/purple-hued 2007 Chateauneuf du Pape Chaupin is the greatest example of this offering since the 1998, but it is even more concentrated than that wine. A cold terroir and sandy/clay soils have given the wine an extraordinary amount of acidity and freshness that serve it well in buttressing the fabulously concentrated, massively extracted, old vine Grenache. This blockbuster wine possesses enormous richness and density as well as an incredibly unevolved, young personality. Everything is there, including awesome aromatics, unbelievable layers of kirsch, raspberries, licorice, incense, and blacker fruits, and a finish that goes on for close to a minute. However, I would age this wine for 2-4 years and drink it over the following two decades or more. It is a tour de force in old vine Grenache as well as one of the vintage’s most compelling wines.