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Gruaud, ZH, Sabon, Cailloux, Guiraud, Suduiraut, B


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Dinner notes:

With seared cumin crusted Ahi Tuna croustandes:

1997 Bollinger Grand Année Champagne – a relatively young wine made from 65% Pinot Noir, 35% Chardonnay, with 75% of the grapes from Grand Cru vineyards and 25% from Premier Cru. Excellent yeasty nose with crisp well fruited middle, tasty long, a very good wine with a very persistent finish.

With oyster timbales with crab sauce:

1999 Zind Humbrecht Brand Riesling – they can’t call this a grand cru because it is a monopole, but the quality is equivalent. Showing some colour now, the nose was more about sweet fruit than petrol, and it had a smooth almost oily texture in the mouth. Very enjoyable.

With braised sweetbreads with Madeira sauce:

1995 Roger Sabon Chateauneuf du Pape Cuvee Prestige – we thought this pair would make an interesting comparison. This wine was made from grapes from a 90 year old vineyard, with 55-60% Grenache, 10-15% Syrah, 10% Mourvedre and a mix of the other allowable varietals. The wine had nice colour, an excellent nose of dark sweet fruit and leather, was smooth and elegant on palate, with some soft tannin, and a good length. I don’t think it will change much, certainly not improve any from the way it is now, though it will hold a considerable time. Nice wine.

1995 Les Cailloux Cuvee Centenaire – another old vines (100+) offering that sees 18 months in new oak, unlike the Sabon. It is 80% Grenache, 16% Syrah, 4% Mourvedre. The colour was similar but the nose was markedly different, being an almost anise hoisin sauce exotic nose. Some acidity and some soft tannins evident, but this wine was also drinking beautifully, and the two of them were in a similar plateau stage of life. No rush, but also no reason to wait.

With duck magret and confit:

1983 Gruaud Larose - only slight bricking in the edges, an excellent Bordeaux nose with cedar and dark fruit and that lovely mature sense you get from well aged claret. Well balanced, good length and another waft of fruit at the end that was uplifting and left you with an even better impression of the wine. Perfect now and for a few more years.

1986 Gruaud Larose – a different story here. The nose is what I call a ‘darker’ nose, not yet as expressive as the 83 but allowing one a peek at snatches of interesting developments to come. It wasn’t as expressive in the mouth, and the tannin is a much stronger element, though not so hard that it interfered with assessment as it did when the wine was young. Nice length, but not as long as the 83. Given a few more years this is going to be very interesting.

With cheese:

1988 Ch. Guiraud – I have tasted these two Sauternes together several times and it is always interesting. The Guiraud is a nice medium straw colour, with a pleasant coconut nopse, medium sweet, with good length.. It had the best nose and was somewhat the fresher of the two. Still on the way up.

1988 Ch. Suduiraut – considerably more darkening of the colour here, and the nose not as interesting, the wine less sweet, but excellent length and a lingering after taste. This one was best on palate, with more complexity.

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