Thursday, May 5, 2022

LeDomduVin: Last night's wines

Last night's wines...

Once again, an exciting lineup!

2014 Louis Roederer Brut Vintage Champagne France 
Estimated Average Market Price: HKD 795  / Euros 95 / USD 100

Beautifully crafted and balanced, crisp, fresh, complex, and rich in a graceful way, refined, offering subtle floral, apple, citrus zest, and yellow stone fruit aromas and flavors, mingling with gentle and enticing toasted brioche notes and mineral nuances. Really satisfying. Looooooooooove it. Recommended to drink it at cellar temperature, 11-15°C. 


Petite apparté: When it comes to serving a white or a champagne/sparkling wine super cold, the general rule of thumb is that you only do it when the wine is mediocre or bad (and you have nothing else to serve instead), as serving it super cold will restraint, or even mask, its aromas and flavors, making it more subdued, and thus more palatable. As good wines, particularly very good wines, do not need to be served super cold, cellar temperature is usually perfect and recommended for the wine or champagne to fully express its potential.       


2018 Bachelet Monnot Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru "Hameau de Blagny" Burgundy France
Estimated Average Market Price: HKD 600  / Euros 72 / USD 76

One of my favorite white Burgundy producers of these last 5-6 years, I have always been delighted with their wines' consistent quality, balance, elegance, minerality, and overall precision. And yesterday, once again, was no exception. What a delightful and sophisticated wine, racy, classy, elegant, delicate, and charming, yet layered and ample, with that glycerine sensation coating the whole palate from the beginning to the seamless, long-lasting finish. Can't get enough of it. Looooooooooove it.

2016 Louis Latour Batard-Montrachet Grand Cru Burgundy France
Estimated Average Market Price: HKD 3,250  / Euros 390 / USD 415

Unfortunately, the bottle didn't show well. It seemed slightly oxidized, showing signs that it had evolved, presenting a weird acidity, unbalanced and not integrated. Definitely not up to Bâtard-Montrachet standard. Maybe a bad bottle, yet, strange as this wine was stored in a professional wine fridge since I bought it. It's too bad, as I bought a few cases of this specific wine for various events at the end of last year. I remember the wine being much better 6-8 months ago. I will have to open another bottle soon to ensure it was just a singular incident and that the problem does not concern/apply to the rest of the bottles I bought.   

2016 Bouchard Père et fils Corton-Charlemagne Grand Cru Burgundy France
Estimated Average Market Price: HKD 1,560  / Euros 187 / USD 199

Attractive aromas combining orchard fruits, floral scents, earth, and beeswax with buttery and mineral notes. The palate is relatively fresh and harmonious, aromatic, reasonably well balanced, and overall focused, yet, to my palate, it lacks a "je ne sais quoi" of presence and personality to make it better. Enjoyable but not necessarily exciting, especially at this price.  


Petite apparté: Once again, I'm not going to make any friends by saying that, but, (and although I'm aware that these wines above are 3 distinctive wines made by 3 very distinctive wine producers, with their own respective terroir, winemaking methods, techniques, taste, and even personality), comparing them, confirms, (once again), my belief that (except a few exceptions maybe), great wines are (more often) made by small, conscientious, diligent, attentive to details and passionate small producers, rather than by large producers (Maisons or Domaines) and/or Négociants.  And, the same goes for Bordeaux, ranking and price do NOT make the wine nor the quality of it. I rather drink a very good Burgundy or Bordeaux for around HKD 300-600, than drink a disappointing or even bad one at HKD 1,000 or more, and clearly regret it was not worth paying such a hefty price for it.       


2001 Château Brane Cantenac Margaux Bordeaux France
Estimated Average Market Price: HKD 990  / Euros 118 / USD 126

First, 2001 was a relatively low to average, complicated vintage that produced thin, restrained, tannic, astringent, and often green, herbaceous wines in Bordeaux (in general). Depending on the wine, I consider it a mediocre to lousy vintage (even if the "Bordelais" will try to tell you otherwise). In their defense, I must admit that, for some wines, the vintage 2001 has evolved and developed quite nicely, offering much better wines to drink now than in the last 2 decades. In their first decade, most 2001 Bordeaux wines were not showing well, even poorly in some cases (green, astringent, thin, lacking weight and harmony). And although some develop nicely in the last 10 years, most remain awkward, even unpleasant.

Consequently, it will be difficult for me to tell you that this Brane Cantenac is a "great" wine. Because, no, it isn't. Yet, and don't get me wrong, it remains a pleasant, so-called "Classic" (*), Margaux from a challenging vintage that has evolved (nicely in some cases as mentioned, but not for all). Yet, it remains rather thin and light and lacks complexity and depth for my palate.

(*) Call that chauvinism or ego, but instead of admitting it is not a very good vintage, Bordeaux people prefer to say and/or refer to such difficult vintage as "classic old-style" Bordeaux.  

2012 Château La Mission Haut-Brion Cru Classé des Graves Pessac-Léognan Bordeaux France
Estimated Average Market Price: HKD 1,975  / Euros 238 / USD 252

I have said it before and will repeat it, Chateau Haut-Brion and La Mission Haut-Brion are in my top 10 best Bordeaux wines, the former being the number 1  on my list, as I looooove Haut-Brion. Coming from a vintage that was also not the most simple and far from being amongst the best of the 2010s, this La Mission Haut-Brion showed some potential and boasted a crisp, fresh nose with aromas of red and dark berries mingling with floral, earthy, and herbaceous notes. In short, this wine is still young and shows some edges that may need some time to round down. Yet, overall, it is a quite aromatic, structured, and layered wine, yet medium-bodied and relatively light in sensations, despite a fairly long finish with some interesting attributes (which helps to appreciate it more). Nice. Yet again, it does not display the richness and complexity known to La Mission with better vintages.  

Cheers! Santé! 


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