Latest News

May 9, 2017

Regional spotlight: La Rioja, Spain

rioja-wine-region-spain

 

Nestled underneath the Cantabrian mountain range in northern Spain lies the country’s most celebrated wine region: La Rioja. Often referred to as Spain’s early answer to fine wine after receiving expert advice and guidance from Bordeaux winemakers in the late 19th century, who were looking for pastures new after the devastating effects of phylloxera on their vineyards.

 

Rioja established itself in the winemaking world over 150 years ago and wineries can be found the length and breadth of the region, almost 600 in total, stretching from Haro in the west to Alfaro in the east.

 

Haro is the pinnacle for winemaking in the region as many of the first wineries were established here at the end of the 19th century. The newly built train station replaced horse-drawn carts for transporting wine back over the Pyrenees Mountains to France. This area is known as Barrio de la Estación and has the world’s largest concentration of century-old wineries.

 

The region is divided into 3 zones, each very different to one another. They are:

 

La Rioja wine region map and soil type

Credit: winederlusting.com

 

Rioja Alta: The most western and also the highest zone of the region. The soils contain high proportions of iron and clay and when you factor in the cool temperatures from the altitude (700m at its highest point), this ‘terroir’ creates elegant wines with good tannin and acidity levels – perfect for ageing.

 

Rioja Alavesa: Nowadays this province is classed as belonging to the neighbouring region of the Basque Country, but was once part of La Rioja. Similar in style to wines of Rioja Alta, this northern-central zone is said to have the best vineyards in the whole region which are found on the south-facing chalk and clay soils. The climate is distinctly Atlantic and the Cantabrian mountain range helps to protect the region to some extent from the relentless wind and rain from the north.

 

Rioja Baja: The south-eastern zone where the climate is more Mediterranean and as you would expect, much warmer. The soils here are on large, flat ancient river beds and are very calcareous which bare resemblance to the galets pudding stones of the southern Rhone Valley. More approachable, early-drinking as well as good blending wine can be found here.

 

Know your Rioja: grapes and labels
Riojan wines are not only protected by Spain’s oldest wine classification system known as DOCa (Denominación de Origen) which was officially recognised in 1925, but it also the highest classification available: Calificada. This was awarded in 1991 and makes La Rioja the only place in Spain to have been given the honour.

 

The regions regulatory board establishes and maintains controls ranging from choosing permitted grape varietals, controlling maximum allowed yields to approving vinification and ageing techniques and even marketing and branding.

 

Les vignobles de La Rioja, appellation d'origine controlee. Les vignobles de La Rioja, appellation d'origine controlee.

 

Due to the diverse range of soils and climates in the region, there are many different grapes grown in order to provide the highest quality wines available. The principal varietals are:

 

Tempranillo: The king of Rioja and a native varietal. It is the most widely planted grape counting for almost three quarters of vineyards in the region. It is capable of producing wines with great ageing potential due to good alcohol levels, colour and acidity balance.

 

Garnacha: Grown all over Spain but supports Tempranillo extremely well in Rioja by adding aroma and body to blends.

 

Graciano: Another indigenous grape to the region which is far less known than Tempranillo, but just as complementary in blends by adding freshness and acidity. It is becoming more and more common to find 100% examples of this varietal, particularly from La Rioja Alavesa.

 

Mazuelo: The last of Rioja’s native varietals and the smallest in terms of production with less than 5% of total vineyard plantings. It falls short in terms of flavour profile, however has an abundance of tannin, acidity and colour which again blends very well with Tempranillo.

 

Viura: Many people associate Rioja with red wine, but there are also some fantastic whites to be found too. This is the main white varietal producing wines with beautiful floral aromas and great acidity which are ideal for both young and aged white wine. It is known as Macabeo in other regions of Spain.

 

As a result of the variety of grapes grown in the region and infinite blending options, there are of course many different styles of wine too. Riojan wines have great ageing ability and affinity to oak (usually American), which plays a decisive role in the winemaking process as the wine evolves and develops. However, winemakers in Rioja are constantly pushing boundaries therefore it’s important to know what’s in the bottle and what style of wine is best for your palate using the follow label chart as a guide…

 

rioja-wine-labels

Credit: riojawine.com

 

Joven: Young wines in their first or second year that see no oak in order to preserve their fresh, fruity flavours. Very easy to drink and often served chilled.

 

Crianza: Translating literally as ‘aged’, these wines are often in their third year and have spent at least one year ageing in oak casks and one year in bottle (6 months ageing in casks for whites).

 

Reserva: They are only declared and made in the best vintages due to their good ageing potential. They have been aged for a minimum of three years of which at least one year will have been in oak casks (for whites, the minimum ageing is two years with at least 6 months in casks).

 

Gran Reserva: They are only declared and made in exceptional vintages and are simply the top wines available. They have been aged for a minimum of two years in oak and three years in bottle (for whites, the minimum ageing is four years of which one year is spent in casks).

 

If you’d like any more information on La Rioja wine region or would like some wine recommendations, please give me a call in the office on 01325 776446 or email me, andrew@bcfw.co.uk and I’d be happy to help.

 

Read More

May 3, 2017

The Ultimate Wedding Wine Guide

The Ultimate Wedding Wine Guide

 

Wedding season is upon us and with less than a month until I get married, I have put together my Ultimate Wedding Wine Guide with tops tips on choosing the right wine for you, how much you will need and some great ideas for all budgets. As with all weddings, planning and preparation is key and so my wine order has been sorted for a while now. If you need any help, please see my guide below or give me a call in the office to discuss.

 

Drinks on arrival…
Many people like to serve something sparkling for their drinks reception. Choose something that you enjoy. Whether you want to serve Champagne or go for a sparkling alternative such as Prosecco or Cava, the choice is yours. Many opt for sparkling cocktails for their drinks receptions such as Bucks Fizz or Bellini’s, these are better served with sparkling wine rather than Champagne as they are a touch sweeter and mix better with the fruit juice.

 

Food for thought…
Whether you are choosing your food, then your wine or your wine then your food, the two go hand in hand and should work together. Take into consideration the main flavours of both the food and the wine and make sure the flavours complement each other. If you are having a lighter meal, chicken for example, pick a lighter red, that won’t drown out the delicate flavours. Going for a red meat such as beef? Opt for a medium to full bodied red (depending on your preferred taste) that will stand up to the richness meat. At the end of the day, pick something that you and your significant other enjoy, it could be the best pairing in the world however, if you aren’t keen on the wine you won’t enjoy it!

 

A crowd pleaser…
Another thing I would suggest is that you choose wine that is fairly middle of the road, not in terms of quality (that should always be great) but in terms of variety. Don’t go too off the wall, you may love Gewürztraminer, however it is quite a distinct grape variety that may not be suited to the majority of palates.

 

How much?
Half a bottle per head usually does the trick, especially as there will be drivers and non-drinkers however it really does depend on your budget or even how generous you’d like to be. Decide on your budget and stick to it, believe me it’s so easy to get carried away with it all and before you know it you are well over what you had planned.

 

To The Happy Couple…
Bubbles are a must when it comes to the toasts. You only need a glass per person which can be a full glass or 2/3s full, this will be enough. As discussed earlier, if your budget won’t stretch to serving Champagne, Sparkling wine is great alternative.

 

wedding wine

 

 

We all know weddings take a vast amount of planning and when it comes to choosing your wine, it should be no different. Don’t leave it until last minute. Plan in advance, speak to your local wine merchant for some help and advice. Get them to help you choose, try a selection of wines and if you have enough time, why not attend a local wine tasting. This is a great opportunity to try a selection of wines and discover what will work best for you and your wedding.

 

Top Serving Hints for Wedding Wines… A few things to consider… If you are getting married in the summer, make sure your whites are well chilled, stick them in the fridge as early as possible to make sure they are cold enough, place in ice buckets/coolers on the tables to ensure they remain chilled once served. It might be worth chilling down your reds too, lighter reds are great served chilled especially on a hot summer’s day. For winter weddings, it is the red wine that you need to make sure is warm enough. There’s nothing worse than pouring a glass of freezing cold red wine. It is best to bring the wine to room temperature at least 24 hours before drinking, you can move it into the house, don’t leave it in the garage!

 

Think about all the other things that you may need when it comes to wine, glasses, ice buckets etc. Check whether your venue will provide these, if not, your local wine merchant may be able to help. At Bon Coeur, we offer free glass hire when you buy your wine with us, wine for larger orders is also available on sale or return.

 

This Ultimate Wedding Wine Guide can also be used to help you plan wine for events, dinners and other special occasions, please do give me a call in the office or email me amy@bcfw.co.uk and I would love to help you select your wines for your special event.

 

Read More

April 25, 2017

Seresin Estate: Organically Biodynamic

Clive Douglas, Seresin Wines, New Zealand

Seresin Estate Winemaker, Clive Douglas

 

A new world winery with an old world approach, Seresin Estate was founded in 1992 by cinematographer Michael Seresin. It was in the early 1990s when Michael had the desire to create a winery that produced wine in the most natural way possible with no compromise on quality. This innovation is still at the forefront of the company spirit and is very much reflected through the wines.

 

Michael Seresin’s initial passion for organic farming naturally progressed into biodynamics with Seresin Estate becoming one of New Zealand’s first biodynamic wine estates. Fully biodynamic certified since 2006, Seresin remains the largest organic/biodynamic wine estate in New Zealand. Biodiversity plays a key part in Seresin’s farming; the vineyards are planted alongside olive groves, orchards and vegetable gardens as well as a good proportion of the land being inhabited with livestock.

 

Seresin Estate

 

Situated on the Wairau river terraces of Marlborough, New Zealand, Seresin Estate comprises of 60 hectares of vines over three vineyards: Noa, Tatou and Raupo Creek.

 

Noa has 45 hectares located in the centre of the Wairau Valley and is where the winery and cellar is located. The soils are typically alluvial, free-draining Waimakariri, planted with Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon, and Riesling. The vineyard is also planted with olive groves and orchards which plays an important part in the Estate’s biodiversity.

 

Tatou is located slightly west of the Noa vineyard and spreads over 15 hectares. Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir are planted here on the alluvial shingle soils which produces charming concentrated aromatic wines.

 

The largest vineyard is Raupo Creek with 52 hectares of rich clay soils located in the foothills of the Omaka Valley to the south of the Wairau Valley. Though not all planted with vines, Pinot Gris, Semillon, Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling and Viognier are the main varieties grown here, with the grass land which is unsuitable for vine growth is put to great biodiversity use for sheep and cattle.

 

seresin-estate-wines

 

It is from these vineyards, the stunning wines that we love begin their journey, skilfully crafted in the winery by winemaker, Clive Douglas to produce delicious wines true to their region and terroir. Feeling tempted? If you love good wine, give them a try… All are available by the bottle, why not make up your own mixed wine tasting case.

 

Seresin Estate Sauvignon Blanc 2014
Attractive nose of herbaceous and grassy undertones fused with gooseberry, passion fruit and minerals. More exotic fruit with a creamy complexity on the palate. Added fatness from a wee bit of Semillon that is well knitted together with plenty of freshness and minerality.

 

Seresin Estate Chardonnay 2014
Lovely nose of apples and pears, concentrated with rounded silky mouthfeel, good structure with a mineral backbone, hints of oak with an impressive focus. Good finish and length.

 

Seresin Estate ‘Leah’ Pinot Noir 2012
Our favourite of the Pinot Noirs we tasted… Our Princess Leah! The nose offers good concentration of summer berries with added damsons. Soft, subtle texture with blackcurrants, black raspberries and juicy damson. Rounded and generous yet well balanced with plenty of finesse and class. Marathon finish with a touch of toasted nutmeg.

 

Read More

April 18, 2017

Beaujolais is Back in Style… 2015 vintage is not to be overlooked

Beaujolais's Cotes de Bouilly

Cotes de Bouilly Cru of Beaujolais

Forget everything you have ever heard about Beaujolais. I really believe we are on the cusp of a new era in this understated French wine region. With Burgundy prices surging ahead it is my job as Head of Bon Coeur’s wine buying team to seek out new wines and help you discover the hidden gems. The 2015 Beaujolais vintage is simply stunning. We recently rounded up over 50 samples and set about tasting. The wines were truly exciting, the best I have tasted since 2009, potentially even surpassing this renowned “deckchair vintage”.

 

The fruit concentration and purity of Beaujolais 2015 is exceptional and in some cases rivals that of Burgundy and Rhone in quality, whilst offering unbelievable value for money.  Recently, it’s interesting to note that many wine critics and journalists have been talking about this untapped region with increased vigor and interest.  Over the last decade much investment has been received by the region and things have dramatically moved on since the 80s and 90s.   Many vineyards have now been taken over by the next generation who have got to grips with combining modern winemaking techniques with the traditions of working hard in the vineyards, reducing yields, hand-picking the grapes and working with the vines and terroir offered by each of the Beaujolais wine making areas.

 

The French region of Beaujolais can be found approximately 30 miles north of Lyon.  For red Beaujolais AOC wines it is the Gamay grape that dominates; producing lighter styled reds, which are low in tannin and in good vintages can be very approachable.  The Beaujolais region is comprised of 10 Crus (areas of distinct terroir and styles), namely, Brouilly, Chenas, Chiroubles, Cote de Brouilly, Fleurie, Julienas, Morgon, Moulin a Vent, Regnie and Saint Amour.

 

Here I have selected my top six Beaujolais 2015, rest assured, you will not be disappointed. All drinking well now and will cellar for the next 3-5 years, if you’d like some advice, please do give us a call.

 

moulin-a-vent-stephane-aviron

Moulin `A Vent, Vieilles Vignes, Stephanie Aviron 2015
Serious nose of concentrated black fruits. Impressive and inviting. Seductive black fruits woven with violets. Gorgeous velvety texture with serious length. Touch of coffee fused with an amazing collage of black fruits and spice. Simply amazing. A MUST. Bravo. Drink now to 2024. JG

 

henry-fessy-cote-de-brouilly

Cotes de Brouilly, Henry Fessy 2015
Bright, vibrant summer berry and cherry nose with good concentration. Wow. Generous ripe fruits with wonderful freshness and energy. Red berry core that flows onto a long finish with a generous seasoning of spice. Drink now to 2020. JG

 

domaine-jean-loron-l'or-de-Pierres-beaujolais

Beaujolais, L’Or de Pierres, Jacques Charlet 2015
Attractive, pure and vibrant summer berries with added black raspberries. More floral on the palate with violets, ripe raspberries, plums and blackcurrants. Lovely texture and a charming summer wine. Drink now to end of 2018. JG

 

domaine-jean-loron-chateau-de-fleurie-fleurie
Fleurie, Chateau de Fleurie 2015
Wonderful, vibrant nose with violets, tayberries and cherry fruit, fused with spice. Lovely velvety texture with a luscious, ripe concentration of blackcurrants and cherries integrated with cinnamon. Uplifting acidity that adds another dimension. Great stuff. Drink now to 2020. JG BEST EVER

 

domaine-jean-loron-clos-des-poulettes-julienas
Julienas, Clos des Poulettes, Jacques Charlet 2015
Named after Julius Caesar. Impressive, forward, concentrated nose. Wow, multilayered with luscious black fruits, pepper, nutmeg and cinnamon with a velvety texture that is well knitted together. Superb wine and a steal at this price. Drink now until 2020+ JG

 

domaine-jean-loron-cote-du-py-morgon
Morgon, Cote du Py, Vieilles Vignes, Jacques Charlet 2015
Cote du Py is a hillside in Morgon that produces the best and most concentrated wines of Morgon. Inspiring concentration with ripe, seductive black fruits. More masculine style with power, charming earthy undertones, cinnamon and tobacco that makes the wine stand out. Very Good. Bravo. Drink now to 2022. JG

 

If you’d like any advice, please do give us a call in the office on 01325 776446 or email wine@bcfw.co.uk and we’d be happy to help.

 

Read More

April 8, 2017

Bordeaux 2016 En Primeur: Day 5, Friday 7th April

Chateau Climens

Bérenice of Chateau Climens

 

Friday. The last day of our marathon tasting tour of BDX16.

 

A nice lie in rising at 7am to pack the car up and head to Sauternes, after our nightmare trip last year we gave the Rocade an extra half an hour for their appalling traffic arriving at Chateau Climens with 7 mins to spare.

 

Bérenice was on great form and so was her beautiful 2016 Climens, wonderful purity on all 12 barrel samples we tasted from different pickings in total there were two main “tries”; the first 28th September to 7th October and then the second from 18th to 22nd October as the quality of the botrytis was first class.

 

Chateau d'Yquem, Sauternes

 

From Chateau Climens we headed to Chateau d’Yquem, partly so Robert and Andrew could see the property, partly to remind ourselves on how the 2016 was showing and compare it to the Climens.

 

Chateau Pape Clement

 

We then headed to Chateau Pape Clement to taste Bernard Magrez’s impressive range of Cru Classé. Pape Clement was a real delight with plenty of power yet wonderful freshness and elegance. With still the taste in our mouth we headed to the airport to catch our flight back home and thoughts turn to the dark, sophisticated Theakstons with a creamy top… With just over 60 chateaux visited in 4 1/2 days of intensive tasting, black teeth which would even frighten the mother-in-law and roughly about 500 wines tasted, we feel we have a good understand about the vintage.

 

In conclusion, it is a unique vintage due to its low maturation over the summer and the Indian summer helped ripen the tannins yet the cool nights helped maintain freshness and acidity. The result is lower alcohol levels than normal so most wines are coming in at a healthy 13% ABV, rather than 14+% in vintages such as 2009 & 2010. The best wines have this wonderful ripeness and purity with plenty of freshness and energy that makes you want to drink them straight away. It is a very good year without being exceptional, therefore scoring the vintage 9 out of 10. It’s impossible to pull out a particular region or grape varietal; Cabernet Franc has done really well which can often struggle with ripeness. Cabernet Sauvignon on the left bank seems to have slightly outperformed the Merlot if you analyse many of the blends compared to their vineyards holdings. On a Sauternes front, it was a bit of a mixed bag as the purity and quality of the botrytis is very good, however, some of the wines are very high in grams of sugar with wines like Chateau Coutet having 153 grams per litre. Great for those with a big sweet tooth! Dry whites in places lacked a bit of focus and density, charming in places but I would score 8 out of 10.

 

Our wines of the vintage and personal favourites will be published next week. We hope you’ve enjoyed our trip and thoughts, let’s hope for fair prices.

Read More

April 7, 2017

Bordeaux 2016 En Primeur: Day 5, Thursday 6th April

UGC Margaux tasting at Chateau Kirwan

UGC Margaux tasting at Chateau Kirwan

 

After a welcomed later start we left after a good breakfast for our first appointment Chateau d’Issan at 8:30am arriving with 10 mins to spare, before diving into some excellent wines from both d’Issan and Pedesclaux; their sister property in Pauillac. These were attractive wines with wonderful balance and vibrancy, sure to be on our recommendations list if the price is right.

 

From d’Issan to Chateau Palmer to be bowled over by their 2016, left on a huge high. From Palmer we had an hour before our appointment with their neighbour, Chateau Margaux so we headed to Kirwan for the UGC Margaux tasting. The star performers were Chateau Malescot St Exupery, Chateau du Tertre and Chateau Giscours. However, the overall quality was indeed very good.

 

Dufort Vivens

 

Realising that Dufont-Vivens wasn’t at the tasting, we took a quick detour for an impromptu tasting which was well worth the effort. Possibly the best from this Chateau, I have tasted in a long time.

 

The 2016 Chateau Margaux was seriously good, probably not quite the power of 2015 however, not far behind.

 

Stopping for a quick lunch at Le Lion d’Or at Arcins (recommended if you’re ever in the Medoc). As you would expect it also has a rather good wine list, however the dedication of the our tasting team meant that only water was served, to save our palates for a busy afternoon…

 

Chateau Cantemerle

UGC tasting at Chateau Cantemerle

 

Ch. Cantemerle was our next stop for the UGC Medoc tastings, impressive wines all round. Ch. Cantemerle was excellent and Ch. Belgrave was a lovely big surprise.

 

Then on to a negociant tasting to taste some interesting and vibrant cru bourgeois. Ch. Tour St Bonnet was a cracker, Ch. Senejac shone with an array of others.

 

Chateau Haut Bailly

 

With only 50mins to get from the Medoc to Haut-Bailly in Pessac we set off in haste. For once the ‘Rocade’ motorway was kind to us and we arrived at the Chateau with 5 minutes to spare where once again we tasted some glorious wines showing real class.

 

A quick stop off at UGC Pessac tasting at Ch. Carbonnieux before heading to our final First Growth at Ch. Haut Brion to taste the Clarence Dillon range. La Mission and Haut Brion have been toned down with alcohol to normal levels (relief for my delicate palate), after last year’s blockbuster 15.1% ABV.

 

From Haut Brion we headed to our last tasting of the day at Ch. Smith Haut Lafitte. Sadly, our luck changed and we got stuck in gridlocked traffic making us 45 minutes late for our tasting. Thank you to Florian, the winemaker, for patiently waiting for us before presenting and talking us through his beautiful and charming 2016’s.

 

Before heading back to Bordeaux Lac, Monsieur Blatch called to say the steaks were on the BBQ, we hastened our pace. Very generously he has allowed us over a large glass of Raymond-Lafron 2009 to publish his vintage report and Sauternes report for our customers. Thanks Bill, great steaks too… will publish next week.

 

Read More

April 6, 2017

Bordeaux 2016 En Primeur: Day 4, Wednesday 5th April

Calon Segur, St Estephe line up

 

In anticipation of another big day in Bordeaux, we left at first light, with a long drive up the Medoc. Our first tasting of the day kicked off with Calon Segur at 8.30am where we talked through the 2016 vintage with my old friend Laurent Dufau, a very informative and engaging meeting; really liked their entry level St Estephe, Capbern. A really pretty wine with lovely texture, energy and purity. Calon Segur did not disappoint, in fact it shone. From Calon Segur we headed to Montrose to taste Tronquoy- Lalande, Dame de Montrose and Chateau Montrose. As you would expect Montrose was the winner in terms of power and structure, however, the wine that really impressed me was their second wine, Dame de Montrose.

 

Sticking to our schedule we followed Montrose with Cos D’Estournel and Chateau Lafite. This year, Cos has been toned down a little, now around 13% alcohol, although powerful, the tannins were very fine and it oozed harmony and class. The tasting at Lafite was also impressive. Duhart Milon and Lafite were outstanding. For me the Lafite was the best since 2010..it had real power yet such sophistication.

 

Chateau Mouton Rotschild new label

David Hockney’s Mouton Rothschild 2014 label design. Credit: Château Mouton Rothschild/David 
Hockney, who was a close friend of longtime Mouton owner Baroness Philippine de Rothschild, has paid tribute to her by using the words ‘In tribute to Philippine’ both above and below the image of two wine glasses. One glass is full and one empty. The estate said that this symbolised the ‘constantly renewed miracle of the birth of a great wine’.

 

Sun still shinning we headed to Chateau Mouton Rothschild for an equally impressive tasting. I was charmed by D’Armailhac and Petit Mouton and really impressed by Clerc Milon and Mouton Rothschild. The team were delighted to see a fellow Yorkshireman in the spotlight with David Hockney illustrating the label for Mouton 2014.

 

Chateau Grand Puy Lacoste

 

Still with two more tasting to do before lunch we headed back into Pauillac town to Grand Puy Lacoste to taste the very pretty Lacoste Borie and my personal favourite mid-range Pauillac, Grand Puy Lacoste. Emilie talked us through the wines, unfortunately she informed us that Haut Batailley had been sold to the Cazes Family from Lynch Bages and was therefore unavailable to taste.

 

From Grand Puy Lacoste it was back across Pauillac town to Pontet Canet. This wine is definitely back on top form offering wonderful purity, generous fruit and serious focus. Not at the dizzy heights of the 2009 and 2010, however, definitely in the 94-95 points category, although I try not to score wines from the barrel. It was Robert’s pick of the day.

 

Chateau Batailley

 

After an impressive lunch at Pontet Canet with “guess the vintage” for the lunch wine, (Robert and Andrew, the En Primeur rookies guessed rightly as 2007, beating six of us seasonal pros!!) we then headed to the UGC St Estephe and Pauillac tasting at Chateau Batailley where we speed tasted a whole host a great wines.. Les Ormes de Pez, Cos, Latour, Lynch Bages and Batailley to name a few.

 

From Batailley, our next stop was to Leoville Lascases to taste all the Domaine Delon wines…I sometimes struggle with the Leoville Lascases at this stage from the barrel, however, I think it is the best I have tasted from the barrel, which I put down to the lateness of the harvest and quality of the tannins.

 

Ducru Beaucaillou was next, Lalande Borie showed really well, often one of our St Julien star buys. The La Croix de Beaucaillou, has changed its name again to La Croix Ducru-Beaucaillou. Both it and the Ducru Beaucaillou I felt were too big and concentrated for my palate, more suited to Robert Parker’s taste I think.

 

With half an hour to spare before our tasting at Chateau Latour we headed to the UGC Saint Julien tasting at Chateau Talbot, here we only managed to taste half the wines before rushing to Latour, tasting the 2005 Latour, their latest release. It really is a tough job at times!

 

Pichon Lalande

 

From Latour we when to Pichon Comtesse Lalande and Pichon Longueville Baron to re-taste the wines we had tried at the UGC Pauillac tasting. Both these wines showed much better at the Chateau. Pichon Lalande was my favourite…looks like it could be in my top 10 again this year. Absolutely gorgeous. It’s doesn’t have the muscle and power of the Baron but has wonderful purity and focus. A queen amongst nobles.

 

With half an hour before the UGC closes at 6pm we had just enough time to taste the second half of the UGC Saint Julien’s before heading back to Bordeaux Lac for a quick change, brush of teeth and into Bordeaux for dinner.

 

Another huge day and our first on the left bank with 14 Chateaux and tastings complete. Not much rest as we are due back in Margaux at Chateau D’Issan at 8.30am tomorrow!

 

Read More