During each of the last twenty years, I have traveled to Bordeaux to take part in the Union des Grands Crus (UGC) En Premiere week. After almost forty years of working professionally with Bordeaux wines and twenty years of regularly visiting Bordeaux to taste and learn and buy, I feel like I know my way around the city and the region and the wine. And I realize now that this is my twentieth UGC tasting in Bordeaux and that, with these UGC trips and other trips with cusmomer and for Vinexpo, I will soon (by the end of this trip) have spent a full year over last twenty in Bordeaux. A year in Bordeaux. Twenty years in Bordeaux. Either way you think of it, it is a major milestone. It makes me reflect on the wines and the people and the places. It makes think about what I’ve learned about Bordeaux with my size 9EEE cowboy boots on the ground during the second half of my coming-up-on-forty-year wine career.
First day was business and tasting appointments with two negoçiants: Barriere and Ballande et Meneret. Both appointments were more about looking at values and new properties rather than evaluating 2015s which will start in earnest on Wednesday after I pick up my colleagues from Spec’s at the Bordeaux Airport. First stop for them: Ch. Latour. Followed by Gruaud Larose and an early dinner and then an early turn in.
Highlights of the first day: The few 2015s I tasted were frankly delicious (Beychevelle showing great) but it is way too early to start making pronouncements about the vintage. However, I did taste two wines that really got me going. The first was a basic St. Emilion (not even Grand Cru) that has decided to be all it can be:
Ch. TRUQUET, St. Emilion, 2012
A unique blend of 20% Cabernet Sauvigon (yes, Sauvignon) and 80% Merlot grown on a gravelly area (rare for St. Emilion) near Ch. Figeac fermented and aged all in concrete tanks. Deep-red in color with well formed legs; dry, medium-bodied with freshly-balanced acidity and medium phenolics. Supple, fresh, oddly gravelly-cabby baby Figeac. Delicious red fruit. Fresh and alive in the mouth. Simple (in the best way) and pretty. YUM. BearScore: 91+.
This is a find. When it comes in (it will be a while), it will be under $15 a bottle. Could be (along with Ch. Tour Salvet) the new house Bordeaux.
The second was a perfectly aged older wine from favorite producer:
Ch. GRUAUD LAROSE, St. Julien, 1995
A perfectly aged blend of 64% Cabernet Sauvigon, 26% Merlot, 7% Cabernet Franc, 3% Petite Verdot. Medium-deep-red in color, and with well formed legs; dry, medium-bodied with still freshly-balanced acidity and medium-chewy phenolics. Dusty, developed tobacco nose with sweet developed perfectly drinking red fruit, oak, and dusty gravel. Supple and still fresh. Absolutely Delicious. Stunningly good. BearScore: 96+. We tasted this at the office and drank some with lunch. And we can get some for Spec’s. It should be about $160 (assuming a reasonably stable Euro) a bottle when it comes in and it will be coming direct from the chateau.
Gotta go now. More to come.