No need to introduce Louis Roederer Champagne house that has been the Champagne of the Queens and Kings of Europe and Tsars of Russia since its the late 19th century. Or even Cristal, their prestige cuvee, available commercially since 1945, which, along with Dom Perignon and Krug, has been considered as the standard of high quality and luxurious Champagne.
Founded in 1776 under the name of Dubois Pere et Fils, it was renamed Louis Roederer in 1883 by its new eponymous owner, who inherirated the Champagne House from his uncle.
The 1990 Cristal possesses a lovely texture and a long finish, enhanced by yeasty, bready toasted notes, which mingle with aromas of yellow fruits, hay and elderflower. The balance and acidity don't fell to impress as well. Really nice experience in the glass. I love it. (Tasted last on 18.7.2012)
2000 Chateau Cos d'Estournel 2eme Grand Cru Classe Saint Estephe Bordeaux France
Flagship of the Saint-Estephe appellation, the most northern fief of classified growth in the Haut-Medoc region, Cos d'Estournel has had an essential role on keeping the public interest on the appellation; which somewhat always seems in the shadows of other appellations.
Despite the tremendous efforts from such classic as Montrose, Calon Segur and Cos, which, over the last decade worked hard to change that reputation and restore the public image of the appellation, producing fleshier, more opulent wines with riper fruit and richer texture, the wines from Saint Estephe still don't seem to have the appeal of those coming from the neighboring appellations to the south.
For this 2000, that I tasted many times, and specifically for this particular bottle: Nose is discreet and slightly woody. The palate is unfortunately to young and a bit tight at present. The tannins and the oak predominate overall, challenging the balance and harmony of the palate and masking the fruit. Otherwise the texture is fairly complex and rich, and the wine presents very good potential, yet for now it is too tight, tannic and closed. Not ready in my opinion, the tannins need to settle down and integrate. We will have to get to this one in a few more years. (Tasted last on 29.10.2012)
The finish is also quite dry; yet it is not surprising though as Saint Estephe wines are usually drier and more austere than most of their counterparts from the Haut-Medoc region, which may explains why consumers favor other appellations. Saint Julien, which offers the best compromise in terms of overall balance, fruit and structure, are usually fruitier; Margaux are more feminine and subtle; and Pauillac are the richest in texture and strongest in structure; while Moulis Listrac can be rustic and earthy.
1990 Chateau L'Evangile Pomerol Bordeaux France
The nose is rich of wild aromas mingling with underbrush, mushrooms, venison, game, very autumnal. The palate is rich, complex, with nice weight and length, well framed by integrated yet present tannins. Although still a bit young, it showed nice potential and decanting was needed. Let it rest for at least 45 minutes before serving. Very nice overall but still a touch too tight and chewy for my taste. The tannins may not please everybody at this time, yet the wine showed very good potential, texture and structure. We will definitely have to go back to this one within the next few years to observe the evolution. (Tasted last on 29.10.2012)
Light, bright red showing unripe cherry aromas mingling with earthy, smoky, mineral notes on the nose. Slightly tight, it needs to open up. The palate is also light with green notes, sign of lack of ripress. Yet nothing major or even unusual for the vintage, as 2004 was not a very good vintage in Burgundy, more like a do-your-home-work-then-pick-and-choose type of vintage.
However, this 2004 nice, subtle refreshing and juicy red cherry flavors occupying the mid-palate somewhat help to forget the first impression. And the spicy, peppery nuances mixed with the mineral touch in the finish, allowed me to conclude that in the end, it is a fine example of a good wine for an ok vintage. (Tasted last on 18.07.2012)
Not everybody can pretend to be a Saint Emilion Grand Cru Classe A. And despite what some people may think about Bordeaux classification and especially the controversial right bank, most Chateaux were classified depending on their respective qualities, the price they fetched at that time, but also their reputation and the consumer's demand (i.e. the more demands, the higher the price and the value, hence a confirmation of the quality).
And that fact still hold strong even today. Some producers, Chateaux owners and wine trade professionals as well as wine critics may want to see certain things changing. And it is true that the tremendous efforts and quality achieved by some estates should be rewarded. Yet, the Bordelais hate changes and love the comforting idea that things will never change and things will continue routinely as they have been for the past 30 years.
In short, as long as interested buyers will be able to speculate on quality and prices before the release of the wines and continue to source and buy wines as a lucrative investment instead of for their own consumption and as long as there will be people rich enough to pay for them, then everything will be fine. 15 years ago London was strong, then New York became stronger for a while, and a few emerging countries like Brazil showed great potential and now Hong Kong and Beijing are the place to sell for Bordelais negociants who litterally turned their back or even abandoned their previous clients to concentrate on the Asian world where most of the world money has been for the past 4 years (although, it is now slightly decreasing and slowing down, but this is an entirely other subject....).
Coming back to that 1992 Cheval Blanc, I was quite impressed and it was a nice surprise as I said earlier. It lacked a bit of concentration and felt slightly diluted but it is normal for a bad vintage compared to a regular or even a good one. However, it was still focus and balanced and pretty expressive, with interesting fruit flavors, good acidity and tannic structure. Spicy, earthy, underbrush, smoky finish. Lovely and interesting overall. (Could it be a fake??? I do not think so, as we inspect the wines that we buy for the company about 3 times before buying, especially when we buy from Auction houses like Chistie's, Sotheby's, Zachy's, Acker Merrall & Condit, Spectrum, amongst others).
That's all for today, I have plenty more short tasting notes in my tasting books, so it is not good bye but to be continued with the next post.....
LeDom du Vin