March 9, 2011

UGC 2008 tasting

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Tonight I attended a tasting of the 2008 vintage from Bordeaux, organized jointly by the Union des Grands Crus de Bordeaux and Watson's Wine Cellars.  Initially I wasn't very interested in the event, but then I thought it would be interesting to re-taste some of the wines I had already tasted on my trip to Bordeaux 2 years ago, and see how the wines have evolved after bottling.

As I expected for an event which was open to the public, it was like a zoo... or as the Chinese would say - like a market.  There were lots of people everywhere, all trying to make their way in front of the bottles for a sample.  Good thing Bordeaux wines are made in large quantities and châteaux can afford to open lots of bottles at tastings like this all around the world...

Here are the wines which I am re-tasting:

2008 La Conseillante – tropical coconut, a little pruny, ripe and sweet, and alcoholic.  A little dry on the palate.  Jean-Michel Laporte, Director and winemaker whom I had first met at the château 2 years ago and again last December, was pouring the wines.

2008 Haut-Bailley – green peppers, smoke and a bit animal. Véronique Sanders, the winemaker whom I missed meeting on our trip 2 years ago, was pouring the wines.

2008 Branaire-Ducru – sweet, fruity, minty, exotic and lovely.  We met Patrick Maroteaux 2 years ago, and he was here tonight.

2008 Rausan-Ségla – lead pencil, smoke, a little sweet fruit and a bit green.

2008 Pichon-Lalande – smoky, exotic spices, not bad at all!  A hint of sweetness on the finish.  I was surprised to see Sylvie Cazes behind this table and not behind the one for Lynch-Bages, but apparently she had been appointed Director of this château last month.

2008 Clerc-Milon – lovely nose of coffee, fruit and smoke.  Very classic.

2008 d’Armailhac – a little too pungent with prominent sulfur notes.  Smoky.

2008 Langoa Barton – minty with spices.  First wine where I felt the tannins as it was so concentrated.

2008 Léoville Barton – coffee, smoke and still a bit alcoholic.

Wines tasted for the first time.

2008 Lascombes – lots of animal, leather, smoke, lead pencil, Asian spices.  Very open and lovely.

2008 Brane-Cantenac – minty, a bit sweet and tropical.  Henri Lurton, who participated in the 2009 tasting I attended last year, was pouring the wines

2008 Clinet – smoky, meaty, sweet with notes of oak.  Ronan Laborde - who was also at the 2009 tasting last year - was here again, and I heard compliments from the crowd on his good looks…

2008 Angélus – very sweet, lots of coconut butter, exotic, caramel and buttery popcorn.  I loved this wine.  We actually missed visiting the château 2 years ago, so I'm glad to finally be able to taste the wine.

2008 Talbot – muted, a bit dusty and dirty.  Not enjoyable at all.  Took only a small sip and poured out most of my glass…

2008 Beychevelle – a bit sweeter, smoky with wood notes.

2008 La Lagune – minty, a bit smoky with lead and forest notes.

2008 Figeac – a little smoke and some oak, and a bit sweet.

2008 Canon-la-Gaffelière – much more concentrated, with forest and mint notes.  Not bad.  Comte Stephan von Neipperg was here.  The Specialist didn't quite like the "fake camera".

2008 Canon – very open and lovely nose, which was very well-balanced in terms of acidity.  Lovely smoky notes.  The Specialist much preferred the "real camera".

2008 Grand-Puy-Ducasse – smoky, alcoholic and oaky.  Not great.

2008 Gruaud-Larose – smoky, animal, a bit sweet, toffee, oak and exotic spices. 

2008 Troplong Mondot – lots of coffee and smoke.

2008 Domaine de Chevalier Rouge – coffee, smoke, a bit of wood.

2008 Smith-Haut-Lafitte Blanc – big nose of pipi de chat and smoke.  Very powerful, and quite enjoyable.

2008 Smith-Haut-Lafitte Rouge – ripe berries and a bit of smoke.  Not as good as the Blanc.

2008 Pape Clément – coffee grinds, smoke and leather.

2008 Guiraud – plastic, orange and honey.

2008 Lafaurie-Peyraguey – much lighter with minerals, a bit urethane and floral.  Almost more like a dry white.  Sweet on the palate, though.

2008 Climens – orange marmalade but more complex and fragrant, with honey, a hint of botrytis, honeydew melon.  On a different level compared to the previous sweet wines.  Lovely.

2008 Rayne Vigneau – plastic bad nose, served colder and more muted.

2008 Doisy-Daëne – more minerals, pungent, pipi de chat and orange rind.  Fabrice Dubourdieu - who came for the 2009 tasting last year - was here again.

2008 Coutet – richer, more honeyed and fragrant.

2008 Sigalas-Rabaud  - plastic, sweet on the palate but not as sweet on the nose.

I think my favorite wines of the evening were La ConseillantePichon-LalandeLascombesAngélusCanonGruaud-LaroseSmith-Haut-Lafitte Blanc and Climens.

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