French Dinner Notes

Notes from a French theme dinner in Vancouver.
While waiting for one tardy attendant, we decided to taste the first wine:
1990 Faiveley Mercurey 1 Cru Clos des Myglands - cherries and a hint of manure
in the nose told us immediately where we were in France. There was a surprising
amount of weight to this wine, with lots of acidity and a fair bit of tannin,
and some nice spice that came in right at the end. I was surprised it was that
old - it showed as a much younger wine would. Very nice.
After Mr. Tardy appeared, we settled in for some great grub and some
interesting (and hard to guess in some cases) wines.
With a prawn/seafood course:
1993 Chateau de Beaucastel Chateauneuf du Pape Roussanne Vieilles Vignes - I
figured (correctly) that no one would know what the heck to make of this one.
Fairly rare (500 cases) and usually expensive (c. $100 US), you rarely see this
about. It has taken on a lot of colour over the last 5 years, and we served it
a bit too cold, but allowed it to warm up. Coming to it with no preconceptions
would be hard - it looks like an old, probably oxidised white, yet when you
plug your nose into it, you get apple, tobacco, a bit of mango, and as it
opened a definite pear component to the nose, but no oxidation at all. Long,
smooth and interesting in the mouth, it even showed a bit of nutmeg right at
the end. A bit hard to match with food, but interesting on it's own.
2000 Clos Magne Figeac - (St. Emilion) - obviously a young wine, with a fair
bit of wood in the nose and something that steered us toward the Southern
Rhone. Sweet and ripe with some spice in the nose, we were surprised to be told
it was a petit chateau Bordeaux. I find I have a few of these in the cellar and
am pleased - it rinks well now, and should do so for perhaps 3-5 years.
with a wonderful concoction involving forest/wild mushrooms in a cream sauce:
2000 Rene Rostaing Cote Rotie - ripe bright fruit in this, and a youthful
colour. Good flavour concentration and dry at the end, not much tannin and
drinking well. Not a hint of violets in this nose, although there was another
floral element, and we had a hard time arriving at the right answer here.
1975 Ch. Beychevelle (St. Julien) - I figured I'd fool them with this one,
particularly as the light level in the restaurant was too low to really see the
colour of the edges of the wine. Garnet, with a cedar nose and some sweetness,
lots of acidity and a considerable remnant of tannin had most of them guessing
1990s and one going as far back as the 80s, but no one thought it could be
almost 30 years old. There is some bottle variation at this age; this was a
good bottle.
1995 Ch. Lagrange (St. Julien) - interesting idea, to pair the two big Julies
across two decades, but we thought it was another person's wine, which made
intelligent guessing even more challenging than normal. Warm sweet nose of
currant and vanilla and a whiff of coconut , good fruit in the middle, and
still lots of tannin, finishing firmly. I'd put this one away for 5 years
before trying another bottle.
1998 Ch. Beausejour Duffau (St. Emilion) - big sweet nose with berries and oak,
good fruit followed by ample tannin - lots of weight here and it ended with
slightly hard tannin that seemed to make it finish leaner than it started, so
I'd leave this one alone for awhile longer too.
with a large veal chop:
1997 La Fleur Petrus (Pomerol) - a nice surprise here - dark with a lot of
sweet up front fruit and cocoa in the nose, good concentration and length, very
pleasant indeed, and a great showing for this vintage.
1992 Ch. Ausone (St Emilion) - no way could I get the vintage here as I have
almost zero experience with either 1991 or 1992 wines. The nose showed a vague
cheesy note, with some fairly good fruit, and it finished with the sort of lack
of focus and a bit of sharpness that isn't surprising from the vintage, but it
was a pleasure to have th4e chance to taste any vintage of this rare wine. I
have now tasted 1970, 1982, 1983, 1985 and 1986, but adding to the 'collection'
of Ausone tastings is a long slow process.
With cheese:
1990 La Mission Haut Brion (Graves) - a great choice to leave for last. Dark,
with a lovely nose of sweet cedar with a hint of hoisin and soy, not much
tannin and fairly low acidity combined with excellent levels of fruit and good
length made this a very enjoyable wine.
1995 Ch. Lafaurie Peyraguey - then suddenly, at the end of the meal, appeared
glasses of complimentary dessert wine! Quite light in colour, and with a clean
lemony nose with some orange, it concealed what is probably considerable
residual sugar with excellent balance. It was an elegant wine, finishing with
some crispness. Lacking much botrytis, it didn't immediately shout out
'Sauternes'. I think this one needs a few years - it shows none of the familiar
coconut that has already developed in the 1994, for instance.
I was very surprised at the number of Bordeaux, and particularly in the
presence of so many right bank wines, as we normally see maybe 10 left bank for
every right bank wine that shows up at tastings. Good meal and enjoyable event.
Reply to
Bill Spohn
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Bill, I have some 1994 Chateau Lafleur in my cellar. Have you had this one. Parker insisted on a long term hold and I have not tried. Rated highly and been in my celler for years at 55 degree f.
Let me know if you think its time to start. Also is Chateaux Lafleur the same as Lefleur Petrus? I know its next door.
Reply to
Richard Neidich
No. La Fleur-Pétrus is a wine from the Moueix stable, right next to Pétrus, but never cared for in the same way as Petrus. Lafleur, otoh, formerly in the posession of the famous demoiselles Robin (together with Le Gay recently sold to a Begian millionairess), normally is much more expensive and regarded much higher. Today it's owned and managed by Jacques and Sophie Guinaudeau.
The Lafleur label:

The La Fleur-Pétrus label:

Incidentally I have been to a La Fleur-Pétrus vertical yesterday. The 10 vintages were known (64, 75, 79, 82, 85, 88, 85, 90, 98, 2000) but served blind in two flights of five, and disclosed after each flight. All chateau bottlings. TNs in order of serving.
2000 Young colour; classic, inky, ripe merlot, but slightly austere; finesse, milk chocolate, but also austere, juicy, fine length. 90
1998 Medium colour; closed-in and restraunt, does not quite open up; rather austere and short, my guess: a cork problem (fruit scalping). Other thought it brillant - there was much argument about this wine. 84
1975 Ripe colour; elderly nose (1964?); mocha and coffee, silky, but with good power, very ripe, but beautifully attractive. Had an extremely strange behaviour in glass: This description held true for the first 10 minutes. The the wine died under our eyes, until only oxidation and acidity remaind. Strange enough, 20 minutes later, with the last sip, it was back again. A true enigma. 91
1988 Medium colour; fein, soft, round nose, absolutely timeless, now on its drinkability plateau (where it probably will remain a very long time); silky texture, atraktive, clean, medium length. 90
1964 Slight cork, getting worse and worse. A pity, especially as chateau bottlings are difficult to find, Van der Meulen are seen more often.
Reply to
Michael Pronay
Politically incorrect jest: Yiddish required. I thought Le Gay was sold to an Israeli who has renamed it "Le Faigele" for the domestic market..............groans
Reply to
Joe Rosenberg
So the 1994 Chateau Lafleur that I have--Not lafleur Petrus is ready to drink?
Or should I use Parkers notes and hold off a few more years?
Reply to
Richard Neidich
Please help me, Joe; is "faigele" of the same origin as the German "Veilchen", i.e. violet? Or what other etymology plays here?
Btw, in the old gascon dialect, "gay" is pronunced as if written "gaille" in French, i.e. not Englisch "gay", but something like "gahh-ye".
Reply to
Michael Pronay
Faigele" for
Joe, I'm not sure I should reply to this but some of us who don't have Yiddish do have Leo Rosten's, "The Joys of Yinglish".
Reply to
James Silverton
yes Michael if you recall from history or Mel Brooks' version of To Be or Not to Be(an old Jack Benny -Carole Lombard classic in Chaplin's Great Dictator mode), gays had to wear something purple (a triangle symbol?) like jews wore a star of david under a National Socialist regime.
Reply to
Joe Rosenberg
Unfortunately the only '94 Lafleur I've had was corked. But over last year I'd say that '94 Pomerols have mostly shown well (big thumbs up for Nenin, l’Evangile ; one good and one so-so Clinet, and a so-so Trotanoy). No hurry, but with some decanting can be drunk now. Overall the Pomerols have more fruit and less hard tannins than some of their compadres. Dale
Dale Williams Drop "damnspam" to reply
Reply to
Dale Williams
the word faigele (spelling optional) is used usually to identify a male who is homo or bi sexual or someone is effeminate in manner and appearance. Usually the term is proceeded by the word "little".
If you listen to Mickey Katz's records(father of Joel Gray) who was a Yiddish Spike Jones often times he will work the phrase into his lyrics which like Al Yankovich parodies popular song i.e. Instead of "Shrimp Boats are coming" the Katz version is "Herring Boats are coming with bagel & lox" Anyhow the Greatest Schticks CD of Mickey Katz has in its liner notes has one of the people who did the remaster work listed as Ivan "Faygeleh". So its in that sense of fun I used the word.
Reply to
Joe Rosenberg

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