After a few years' absence, once again I was able to attend the annual tasting put on by Altaya Wines. We are friends with the boss, and some of the best wines I've drunk have been with him... and very often brought by him... so I do try to come and support him when I can. For the first time this year, I was invited to the trade tasting session instead of the one for the general public - and this caused the boss to raise an eyebrow when he saw me...
There's always a good range of wines from across the world at Altaya's tastings, and each year some of the winemakers and proprietors make the trip over to attend. I always try to stop by the booth if I know a principle is there, but I didn't make it to see Patrick Maroteaux from Branaire-Ducru or Stephane Ogier. I did taste through the range of Pol Roger that Hubert de Billy poured for me, though... and made sure to stop by and see Rolf Binder himself and Rick Burge from Burge Family.
I started with the whites and Champagnes, and waited to get to the reds. Unfortunately there was just too little time, and I didn't go through the wines quickly enough, so I missed out on a lot of great reds...
2012 Vincent Girardin Puligny-Montrachet - a hint of toast, a bit flinty, with lemon.
2012 Vincent Girardin Chassagne-Montrachet - nose was more open, with more toast, more lemon, and more flint. Sharper nose, with more acidity here but reasonably round on the palate.
2012 Vincent Girardin Meursault - more flint here, a little pungent. Leaner on the palate, with good acidity balance.
2012 Vincent Girardin Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Cru Le Cailleret - nose was more open and beautiful, with more butter, vanilla, and ripeness.
2012 Vincent Girardin Corton-Charlemagne - more sweetness and ripeness, beautiful! Bigger nose of toast.
2012 Les Héritiers du Comte Lafon Mâcon-Uchizy - fruitier, more tropical, with flint. Slightly lean on the grippy finish.
2012 Les Héritiers du Comte Lafon Mâcon-Milly-Lamartine - more pungent with lots of oak, slightly rounder on the palate.
2012 Comte Lafon Meursault 1er Cru Charmes - nice nose of lemon citrus, a bit of toast and flint. Kinda lean on the palate.
2013 Beaucastel Châteauneuf-du-Pape Blanc - very sweet and tropical nose of peach and lychees, with some minerals. A little ripe on the palate.
2012 Beaucastel Châteauneuf-du-Pape Blanc - bigger nose, more pungent, less fruit but still with lychee and stone fruit notes. Rounder and sweeter on the palate.
2012 Les Hauts de Smith Blanc - lemon, pipi de chat, muscat grapes, minerals, and flinty. First whiff was pungent, then suddenly very perfumed. Light and lovely on the palate.
2012 Smith-Haut-Lafitte Blanc - nose was more open and elegant, with lemon, muscat grape, and a bit of pipi de chat but less pungent. Nice and buttery.
2011 BOND Quella - softer, more fragrant, oaky, and sweet.
2011 BOND Vecina - oaky, sweet and ripe on the palate.
It's great to see so many wineries showcasing their wines - a testament to the success of Altaya Wines. Hopefully next year I will taste a little faster...