Thursday, November 10, 2005

2 Bargains in Bordeaux

Bordeaux is going through a crisis right now. The world is producing Cab left and right so it pays to taste non-ranked castles because your favorite one may turn out to be cheap. After a tasting of 18 Bordeaux yesterday, I am happy to report that my number 1 and 3 were under $30.

Chateau Simard 1990 is available for less than $30 from at least 5 different retailers (check The nose is terrific as well as the palate exhaling flavors of a walk in the forest (soil, mushrooms), some fine chocolate and some rich vegetal. All the tertiary flavors from an aged Saint Emilion are in there. It's at peak but you can still drink it in 2006. A good quality aged Bordeaux of 15+ years for less than $30. Don't wait.

Haut Batailley 2002 was the most promising of the night. You get all the flavors Pauillac is made of (blueberry, blackberry, liquorice) but they are all very shy. They are hinting at you and then whispering "Give me some time". For $20 at Zachy's and Sherry Lehman, I will give this "teenager" wine another 5 years before peak.

My number 2 had wonderful Chocolate, coffee and roasted lamb flavors. Blackberry was the lingering note. But at $56, Chateau Couspaude 2000 is fairly priced.

For $30, you can drink a 15 years Saint Emilion at peak and for $20 you can stock up on a good quality Bordeaux that should be great in 5 years. Bordeaux is in trouble but it means VALUE.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

The only time when taste gets in the way

Your taste should never get in the way of your tasting notes but yesterday, I couldn't get over it.

The sherry tasting turned sour and I declared aged sherry my worst Nightmare.
Aged Paolo Cortado and Oloroso smelled and tasted rotten orange and fungus.
I hope to avoid old sherry at the exam or I won't keep it academically correct.
"Those are my raw tasting notes and I stick to it Sir."

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

One plateau, two styles

The Pomerol tasting I did last week left me bitter.
Sure, Pomerol are phenomenal, approachable and pleasant but what's wrong with the rift ?
The plateau where the best Pomerol estates are located is split along two styles.

Clinet 94-90, L'evangile 94 and Bon Pasteur 82 (the Rolland Boys) were shooting for “jammier” red fruits and coffee/chocolate on the palate. Usually lighter in tannins they can feel alcoholic, especially Clinet 90 and Bon Pasteur 82. We were all challenged to find any other aromas aside of those two usual suspects.

Chateau Vieux Certan and Conseillante were showing wonderfully, expanding the scope of flavors. The Supremes spells C&VCC.

For Conseillante, the nose of the 95 was showing eucalyptus, herbs of Provence and laurels. The palate showed red fruit and some blackberries with a touch of liquorice (for the 95-90). Figs, persimmon and orange peel expanded the palate of the 90.

The nose of Vieux Chateau Certan (90-82) was playing with herbs and spices, among them laurels and aromatic herbs. Some cassis and prunes expanded the nose of the 1990. The 82 had a phenomenal flavor never smelled before (sorry, I have to retaste). The palate was full of meaty flavors, closer to a leg of lamb. The 90 was expanding on leather and red velvet cup cake*.

My finale question is "does overripe fruits hamper the flavor profile of old vintages"? From this tasting, it certainly does and not for the best.

Red velvet cup cake is made from cocoa, buttermilk and cream cheese frosting.