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
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.
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.
- posted 16 years ago