ALBERT BICHOT 2015 Class and Tasting

ALBERT BICHOT is unique in terms of negoçiants in Burgundy with a business model more that of the owner of multiple domaines than a traditional negoçiant. Whether the grapes are estate grown or from other vineyards, Bichot farms their grapes and makes all their wines in their own wineries. No out-side wine is brought-in to be blended-and-bottled. Here the line between a negoçiant and a domaine gets very blurry. Based in Beaune but with wineries in Chablis, Vosne Romanee, Nuits St. Georges, Beaune, Pommard, and Beaujolais, Albert Bichot operates more like a collection of passionately run domaines … but domaines that have all the resources they could need. As to the vintage, 2015 (like 2005 before it) is that great vintage across most of France referred to as “the rising tide that lifts all boats.” In this tasting we have a unique producer making great wine from grapes it grows in top terroirs in a great vintage.

On Monday, February 12th at 7pm, please join me (Spec’s fine wine buyer Bear Dalton) at the Wine School at l’Alliance Française for a Tasting of Albert Bichot’s 2015s. We’ll taste through all 15 available 2015 wines including 8 whites (3 Chablis and 5 Cote d’Or) and 7 reds (2 Cru Beaujolais and 5 Cote d’Or) with special attention paid to the specificity of place and process of each wine. The tasting includes 5 grand crus.

The line up:
Bichot A.C. Chablis
Bichot Saint Romain Blanc
Bichot Santenay Blanc
Bichot Long Depaquit Chablis Les Vaucopins 1er Cru
Bichot Domaine Pavillon Meursault
Bichot Ch Gris Nuits St Georges Les Terrasses Blanc
Bichot Long Depaquit Chablis Mountonne Grand Cru
Bichot Domaine Pavillon Corton Charlemagne Grand Cru
Bichot La Madone Fleurie
Bichot Rochegres Moulin A Vent
Bichot Aloxe Corton Clos Marechaudes 1er cru
Bichot Ch. Gris Nuits St Georges Rouge 1er Cru
Bichot Corton Clos Marechaudes Grand Cru
Bichot Latricieres Chambertin Grand Cru
Bichot Domaine Frantin Grands Echezeaux Grand Cru

ALBERT BICHOT 2015 will cost $100.00 per person (Cash or Check) or $105.26 regular. The class will meet at 7pm on Monday, February 12, 2018 at l’Alliance Française. To purchase your ticket, please contact Susan at 713-854-7855 or coburnsusan2@gmail.com.

L’Alliance Française is the French cultural center in Houston. Located at 427 Lovett Blvd., l’Alliance is on the southeast corner of Lovett and Whitney (one block south of Westheimer and two blocks east of Montrose).

If you buy a ticket and will not be able to attend, please cancel at least 24 hours before the class or you may be charged. Later cancellations will not be charged if we can fill the seat. This is often case as we regularly have waiting lists for these classes.

With 40 years experience in the wine business and 30-plus years experience teaching about wine, Spec’s fine wine buyer Bear Dalton is one of the top wine authorities as well as the most experienced wine educator in Texas.

Vintage 2015 (Mostly) Cru Classé Bordeaux Tasting

Tuesday, January 16, 2018 at the Crystal Ballroom at the Rice

Spec’s will host over 30 Bordeaux chateau owners, directors, and/or winemakers presenting 62 mostly Cru Classé Bordeaux wines all from the suberb 2015 vintage in a standup- and-walk-around tasting format. This is our seventh time to host such a delegation from Bordeaux and each of the previous events have been smashing successes.

The list of well-known and highly regarded Bordeaux wineries includes …
Pomerol: Chx. Clinet, Gazin, Croix St. Georges, and La Pointe (along with 2nd vin Ballade de La Pointe)
St. Emilion: Chx. Canon la Gaffeliere, Clos l’Oratoire, Daugay, Grand Corbin Despagne, La Confession, Larcis Ducasse, and Pavie Macquin
St. Georges St. Emilion: Ch. Cap St. George
Castillon: Chx. d’Aiguilhe and Ampelia
Francs: Ch. Puygueraud
Bordeaux: Chx. Croix Mouton and le Conseiller
St. Estephe: Chx. Phelan Segur, Lafon Rochet, and les Ormes de Pez
Pauillac: Chx. Pichon Lalande (with 2nd vin Reserve de la Comtesse), Pichon Baron (with 2nd vin Les Griffons), Pibran, Lynch Bages (with 2nd vin Echo de Lynch Bages), Grand Puy Lacoste (with 2nd vin Lacoste Borie), Clerc Milon, d’Armailhac, and Haut Bages Liberal
St. Julien: Chx. Branaire Ducru, Leoville Barton and Langoa Barton, Leoville Poyferrre, and Talbot
Margaux: Chx. Giscours, Cantenac Brown, Ferriere, du Tertre and Brane Cantenac (along with 2nd vin Baron de Brane)
Haut Medoc, Moulis, Listrac: Chx. Cantemerle, Chasse Spleen, Camensac, Mauvesin Barton, and Senejac
Pessac Leognan Reds: Chx. Carmes Haut Brion, Carbonnieux, Domaine de Chevalier, Smith Haut Lafitte, Clos Marsalette, and Haut Bailly with 2nd vin La Parde de Haut Bailly
Dry Whites: Domaine de Chevalier, Smith Haut Lafitte, and Blanc de Lynch Bages (2014)
Sweet Whites: Chx. Suduiraut (along with 2nd vin Lions de Suduiraut) and Coutet

As you can see, We’ll be tasting great wines from every Major appellation in Bordeaux.
The tasting will open at 4:30pm and run until 8:30pm, giving you ample time to taste the wines and visit with our guests from Bordeaux. The tasting will include a spread of artisanal cheeses and breads chosen to help absorb the wines and refresh the palate. We will taste from Riedel Degustazione (tasting) glasses. The Vintage 2015 Mostly Cru Classé Bordeaux Tasting will cost $100.00 per person (including a 5% discount for cash or check, regular price is $105.26). To purchase your ticket, please contact Susan at 713-854-7855 or coburnsusan2@gmail.com.

The Crystal Ballroom at the Rice is located in downtown Houston at 909 Texas Avenue between Travis and Main. Valet Parking will be available.

If you buy a ticket and will not be able to attend, please cancel at least 24 hours before the event. No shows and later cancellations will be charged.

BLOGGING BORDEAUX: Day Eleven (April 8)

The Home Stretch
Friday Morning, 8am. Everyone seems to be on their game today and that’s good thing because we are heading out to the offices of Bordeaux negoçiant Joanne for a warehouse tasting today where we will pick up some wines we missed.

The idea of UGC week is that the trade comes to Bordeaux and cycles through a number of large tastings organized at designated chateau where trade members can taste the wines of 20 or more chateaux from a given area (say Margaux for instance) in one location. It started off as a good idea but there were problems. A lot of the people pouring the wines either had no technical information on the wines or were indifferent to the people they were pouring for. Sometimes the samples were off and often they were off temperature but again, the pourers were generally indifferent. And, as often happens at big, annual events, the social aspect began to get in the way of efficiently tasting and recording tasting notes. In ordered to taste better samples and gather more information, I began to schedule more and more tastings at chateaux but we still had to attend the big cattle call tastings to taste everything we needed to evaluate. Then came an invitation from Joanne to visit their warehouse and have the opportunity to taste ALL the UGC wines in one location while seated at a table with the option to plug in the computer for note taking and with someone there to provide technical information (such as the blend) on all the wines. Doing this would free up more time for more appointments at chateaux so we scheduled to visit Joanne on Friday morning of UGC week. That was five years ago and I have never looked back.

When we walk into Joanne, we’re escorted to a private tasting area for just our group (and maybe a couple of others – this year it was two friends from the Liquor Control Board in Ontario). We are handed a catalogue of all the wines available to taste and check off the ones we want to taste. Then the fun begins. University interns pour the wines and we can rock through a lot of wine in a fairly short period of time. This year, we tasted through over forty wines in under three hours. A few were re-tastes but most were wines we had missed either knowing we would taste them at Joanne or because of the stomach bug – the “Grand Mal (big bad) de Bordeaux” – that had been going around all week.

Here are the highlights of the Joanne tasting:
Ch. CANTEMERLE, Haut Medoc, 2015 (92)
Ch. La LAGUNE, Haut Medoc, 2015 (91+)
Ch. du TERTRE, Margaux, 2015 (91+)
Ch. CANTENAC BROWN, Margaux, 2015 (93+)
Ch. GISCOURS, Margaux, 2015 (94+)
Ch. d’ISSAN, Margaux, 2015 (93+)
Ch. BRANE CANTENAC, Margaux, 2015 (94+)
Ch. RAUZAN SEGLA, Margaux, 2015 (94-95)
Ch. LASCOMBES, Margaux, 2015 (93)
As these and our other scores for Margaux wines show, this was fine year for that appellation.
Ch. LALANDE BORIE, St. Julien, 2015 (91+)
A re-taste from the day before with much better results due to a better sample.
Ch. BEYCHEVELLE, St. Julien, 2015 (94+)
Ch. MEYNEY, St. Estephe, 2015 (93+)
Ch. LAFON ROCHET, St. Estephe, 2015 (93++)
A wine to reckon with this year due to improved facilities and a new consultant in the person of former Petrus winemaker Jean Claude Berrouet.
Ch. PAPE CLEMENT, Pessac Leognan Rouge, 2015 (94+)
Tasted at the recommendation of Joanne’s Dan Snook. Quite enjoyable 2015 after some years of way too much extraction.
Ch. CARBONNIEUX, Pessac Leognan Rouge Rouge, 2015 (94-95)
Ch. CARBONNIEUX BLANC, Pessac Leognan Blanc, 2015 (94-95)
Best young Carbonnieux wines of my career.
DOMAINE de CHEVALIER, Pessac Leognan Rouge, 2015 (94++)
Much better here than at the chateau on Monday.
Ch. CANON, St. Emilion, 2015 (95-96)
The guys tasted this on Wednesday but I was by that time a casualty.
Ch. CLOS FOURTET, St. Emilion, 2015 (95
Ch. la DOMINIQUE, St. Emilion, 2015 (95)
Tasted at the recommendation of Joanne’s Dan Snook. Improved facilities and new team have made abig difference.
Ch. TROPLONG MONDOT, St. Emilion, 2015 (94-96)
Ch. NENIN, Pomerol, 2015 (94)
Ch. DOISY VEDRINES, Barsac, 2015 (93-95)
Ch. COUTET, Barsac, 2015 (94)
Ch. DOISY DAENE, Barsac, 2015 (94+)
Clearly a fine vintage for Sauternes.

After Joanne, we had two more appointments: 3:30pm back at Ch. Haut Brion so James – who had missed Haut Brion on Monday due to the big bad – could experience bliss and 5:15pm at Borie Manoux as we had all missed getting good notes on those wines for the same reason.

At Ch. Haut Brion, the wines were consistent with Monday with the reds as a group showing a bit better on Monday (at La Mission) and the whites as a group showing a bit better on this second visit.

Finally, we went to Borie Manoux to taste through the range of chateaux owned by the Casteja family (who were our hosts for that fabulous dinner on the Sunday prior). Owner philippe Casteja actually poured and provided the technical details for our tasting

Here are the highlights of the Borie Manoux tasting:
Ch. BEAU-SITE, St. Estephe, 2015 (91+)
Brilliant white gravel and sand terroir overlooking Calon Segur.
Les HAUTS de LYNCH, Haut Medoc, 2015 (90+)
2nd wine of Lynch Moussas with some of the grapes coming from outside the Pauillac appellation.
Ch. LYNCH MOUSSAS, Pauillac, 2015 (92)
LIONS de BATAILLEY, Pauillac, 2015 (91)
New 2nd wine of Ch. Batailley.
Ch. BATAILLEY, Pauillac, 2015 (94+)
My “reference standard” in Pauillac.
Ch. la CROIX du CASSE, Pomerol, 2015 (91+)
DOMAINE de l’EGLISE, Pomerol, 2015 (93+)
La DAME de TROTTEVIELLE, St. Emilion, 2015 (91+)
Ch. TROTTEVIELLE, St. Emilion, 2015 (96-98)
Premiere Grand Cru Classé St. Emilion at a very high level with a small part of pre-phylloxera vines.

Whew! What a day. What a trip.
With that, the tasting is done but the fun is just beginning.
Lots of evaluation to be done, commentary (as opposed to travel log) to be written, and the pricing dance is about to start.
Stay tuned.

BLOGGING BORDEAUX: Day Ten (April 7)

Gentlemen, start your Livers …
Thursday Morning, 8am. On the road to Pauillac. Which is a full hour north of where we’re staying at Bordeaux Lac on the north side of Bordeaux (not far from the old German U-Boat pens).

First stop, Ch. Pichon Baron to taste AXA-owned properties, arriving in the rain. Much to my surprise, AXA managing director Christian Seely (who does office at Ch. Pichon Baron) is standing behind the tasting bar to pour the wines. This is new. First comes Ch. PIBRAN (90+) and then the two 2nd wines of Pichon: the merlot dominant Les TOURELLES de LONGUEVILLE (92) and the Cabernet Sauvignon-dominant Les GRIFFONS de LONGUEVILLE (92+) followed by Ch. PICHON BARON (94+) and Ch. PETITE VILLAGE (91) and finally Ch. SUDUIRAUT (93). Are these scores too low? Maybe. Quite possibly. It could be that I was still a bit out of sorts that morning. Or it could be that that is just how they showed. I did not have a second chance to taste these wines – and we did not have time to linger – so I’m stuck with what I’ve got.

From Ch. Pichon Baron to Ch. Grand Puy Lacoste is maybe five minutes and in that time the sun came out and the skies cleared. Warmly greeted by the ebullient and professional François Xavier Borie (yet another of Bordeaux’s great gentlemen) and his daughter Amelie, we tasted 2nd vin Ch. LACOSTE BORIE (92+), Ch. HAUT BATAILLEY (93+), and Ch. GRAND PUY LACOSTE (96-98+ and wow, wow, wow!).

On to Ch. Lynch Bages where we were greeted by the limping (scooter accident) but ever genial and entertaining Jean Charles Cazes who has several years back taken over the properties from his father – University of Texas alumnus (petroleum engineering) and former Pauillac mayor – Jean Michel Cazes. We tasted St. Estephe Ch. Les ORMES de PEZ (92+), Pauillacs ECHO de LYNCH BAGES (92+) and Ch. LYNCH BAGES (95), and Bordeaux Blanc BLANC de LYNCH BAGES (94).

Next came Ch. Mouton Rothschild were we’d taste Ch. d’ARMAILHAC (93), Ch. CLERC MILON (93+), PETIT MOUTON (94), and Ch. MOUTON ROTHSCHILD (97-99) and then across the road to Ch. PONTET CANET (96-98) before we stopped (in the rain) for a lovely lunch with the delightful Veronique Dausse of Ch. PHELAN SEGUR (94+).

There is a lot of talk, especially from producers in Pessac-Leognan and Margaux (that didn’t get the late season rains) that “poor St. Estephe and Pauillac and St. Julien” got too much rain too late and so are less good. It appears that, at least at those chateaux with well-draining deep gravel-sand terroirs, that late rain wasn’t much of an issue. This 2015 is the best Phelan I have ever tasted.

Leaving lunch (and still raining), we head for Ch. COS d’ESTOURNEL (94-96), then Ch. Montrose to taste Ch. TRONQUOY LALANDE (91+), La DAME de MONTROSE (92), and Ch. MONTROSE (94-96) before a sprint over to Ch. Calon Segur. At Calon, we tasted Ch. CAPBERN (92+, from a separate terroir close to Tronquoy Lalande), 2nd vin MARQUIS de CALON (93+, another of those 2nd wines that can be mistaken for a grand vin), and Ch. CALON SEGUR (95-97+). I’d say St. Estephe made a more than respectable showing.

Now on to one more Pauillac, Ch. Pichon Lalande before we finish the tasting day in St. Julien. With estate manager Nicolas Glumineau, we tasted RESERVE de la COMTESSE (93) and Ch. PICHON LALANDE (96-98).

After Pichon comes Ducru Beaucaillou where we tasted Bruno Borie’s two Listrac wines – Ch. DUCLUZEAU (90+) and Ch. FOURCAS BORIE (91) – which may be the cleanest, least funky wines of Listrac, followed by the his St. Julien wines Ch. LALANDE BORIE (90 here but a better sample the next day at Joanne got 91+), La CROIX DUCRU BEAUCAILLOU (93 and now a separate property, no longer a 2nd vin), and Ch. DUCRU BEAUCAILLOU (97-99 and the best young Ducru I have ever tasted. Ethereal).

We end the tasting day at Ch. Leoville las Cases running only 25 minutes behind (which unfortunately is about normal). Normally this is not one of my favorite tastings as 1) it always seems to come at the end of a long day and 2) I have sometimes (often) struggled to understand these wines. Not this year. The two Medoc-appellated wines from just north of the Haut Medoc appellation of St. Seurin de Cadourne CHAPELLE de POTENSAC (91+) and Ch. POTENSAC (92+) were fresh and lively. The St. Julien former 2nd vin, now separate property CLOS du MARQUIS (94+) now has its own second wine called La PETITE MARQUISE du CLOS du MARQUIS (92). Which brings us to the main event: 2nd vin Le PETIT LION (94) and Ch. LEOVILLE Las CASES (96-98, most enjoyable young Leoville las Cases of my career).

At this point we were all feeling heathy enough to go to the river front in Pauillac and sit outside for a sip of Champagne and nibble of jambon before the drive back to Bordeaux. Nothing cleans your mouth up – and gets the purple off your teeth – after a long day of tasting young red Bordeaux like Champagne.

A great day, despite the rain but it’s not over. We have an hour plus drive ahead of us to get to a great party at negoçiant Archie Johnston’s house where the Champagne and oysters are flowing freely, the conversation about the new vintage and Bordeaux in general is intelligent and lively and, later in the evening, some jewels like 1982 Ch. Haut Brion and 1955 Ch. Lafite get drunk.

But wait, there’s more. We still have Friday to go. Stay tuned.

BLOGGING BORDEAUX: Days Seven & Eight (April 4 & 5)

And then it all went south …
Monday Morning, 8am. One of my guys is down with a stomach bug and can’t go that day. We figure he can sleep it off and this too shall pass and the rest of us head out to Pessac Leognan (which actually is south of Bordeaux) for the day starting at Ch. Carmes Haut Brion. After a great visit (super Cabernet Franc-dominated wine from a clos inside the city of Bordeaux – 95-96) and being asked not to publish or post any pictures of the visually-arresting-but-site-appropriate-ultra-modern new winery designed by Phillip Stark, we headed to La Mission Haut Brion where we tasted through Domaines Clarence Dillon’s three red second wines: Dragon (92), La Chapelle (93), and Clarence (95-97), three red grand vins – Ch. Quintus (95-96), Ch. La Mission Haut Brion (96-98), and Ch. Haut Brion (98-100), and three white wines – Clarté (92), Ch. La Mission Haut Brion Blanc (97-99), and Ch. Haut Brion Blanc (98-100).

As we were leaving La Mission, another of my guys started down the stomach bug path. Instead of going on to our next appointment at Ch. Carbonnieux – which we tasted later in the week and found both the red (94-95 and maybe the best Carbonnieux red ever) and the white (also 94-95) to be excellent, we took him first to the coolest McDonald’s ever (big golden arches, ‘50s diner decor and a pink Cadillac in the outdoor seating area) for a Coke in a futile attempt to settle his stomach and then back to the hotel. We then went to the store for some stomach-settling food and drink (for when they were ready) and to the pharmacy for anti-stomach-problems drugs. Once they were somewhat settled, my last guy and I headed back out to Ch. Haut Bailly (95-96 with the most Cabernet Sauvignon they have ever put in the blend), Domaine de Chevalier red (94+) and white (94), and Ch. Smith Haut Lafitte red (95-96) and white (95-96).

All-in-all, the wines of Pessac-Leognan rocked but as we were leaving Smith, my stomach was beginning to rock, too. Back to the hotel, call and cancel on a dinner at Ch. Haut Brion with Prince Robert of Luxembourg (I don’t even want to know what wines I missed) and by 7pm, I went from feeling rocky to I-want-my-mommy. Being alone and sick in a hotel room sucks. Of our group, Richard was the last man standing.

So now you know why the blog posts are so late in coming.

Tuesday Morning, 8am. Still too sick to go. Cancel morning appointments and reschedule Ch. Margaux from 11am to 2pm. Back to bed.

Tuesday, 1:10pm. We suck it up and get back on the road. First stop: Ch. Margaux for a tasting in their blending room on the second floor of the new Norman Foster-designed winery building (stunning). Really excellent Pavillon Rouge (95-96+), Outstanding Margaux (97-100), and stunning Pavillon Blanc (96-99). So-far-so-good. Thank you Ivanhoe Johnston and Aurelien Valance for working out that rescheduling.

On to Ch. Ferriere where we were greeted by owner/winemaker Claire Villars Lurton and treated to a tour of an absolute jewel box of a Margaux chateau and a fine tasting of the wines she and husband Gonzague Lurton make at their properties: Ch. La Gurgue (91+), Ch. Ferriere (93), Ch. Durfort Vivens (93), and Ch. Haut Bages Liberal (Pauillac, 93+).

On to St. Julien and Ch. Branaire Ducru (30 minutes late) where we are greeted by and taste with owner Patrick Mar0teaux (one of the true gentlemen of Bordeaux). His 2012 Duluc (the 2nd vin) is showing very well (91+), as are the 2011 (92+) and 2012 (93+) Branaires but the 2015 Ch. Branaire Ducru (95-96+) was the star of the show.

Then a quick stop to taste Chx. Gloria (93+ and as good a Gloria as I can remember) and Saint Pierre (94+).

And so on to Ch. Leoville Poyferre to taste with Anne Cuvelier and Thierry Gramon. Here we got Ch. Le Crock (St. Estephe, 92), Ch. Moulin Riche (93), and Ch. Leoville Poyferre (96-98) along with a warm welcome and an American flag flying at the chateau.

After stops to taste Ch. Senejac (Haut Medoc, 92+), Ch. Talbot (St. Julien, 94+), Ch. Camensac (Haut Medoc, 92), and Ch. Chasse Spleen (Moulis, 91+), we headed back to Margaux (now 45 minutes behind schedule) to taste at Ch. Pontac Lynch.

At 6:45pm, we pulled into Ch. Pontac Lynch in a cloud-of-dust to meet owner Marie-Christine Bondon and her team including my favorite dog in Bordeaux, Bijoux (who is beginning to show his 10 years but is still up for greeting visitors). Here we tasted her located-on-sandier-terroir, just-east-of-the-Margaux-appellation, behind-Ch. d’Issan-Haut-Medoc Ch. Pontac Phenix 2012 (91) and 2014 (91+) first. Then we tasted the touching-Ch. Margaux-on-the-north-and-Ch. d’Issan-on-the-south-east-and-Ch. Palmer-on-the-south-west-and-Ch. Rauzan-Segla-on-the-west (How’s that for a good address?) Ch. Pontac Lynch 2014 (93) and 2015 (94++). While this 2015 was far from the highest score of the day, it was my favorite wine of the day and this was my favorite stop of the day. Why? Because Pontac Lynch is a throwback. The winery is old school (compact, concrete tanks, basket press, non-fancy barrel room) and the wines (both the Pontac Phenix and the Pontac Lynch) are that very pure, very elegant, fruit-and-terroir, non-extracted, lighter-colored style that you don’t see much at all anymore. They are a pure pleasure and are frankly delicious.

Bear@PontacLynch

At Ch. Pontiac Lynch with chateau owner Marie-Christine Bondon. 

By the end of the day on Tuesday, we were still feeling a bit rocky but we had persevered to taste 25 wines between 2pm and 7:30pm.

More soon.

BLOGGING BORDEAUX: Day One (3/29/16)

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.