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Bordeaux Varietal Dinner


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Notes from a tasting at a local French bistro, on a theme of Bordeaux varietals.

2000 La Louviere blanc – clean pleasant nose with mineral and a hint of kumquat, medium body, decent length. I doubt this will improve.

1986 Potensac – slightly dusty mushroom and plum nose, with a lightly pewrfurmed overtone, this wine was nothing like most of the 86s, being soft in the mouth and medium bodied, ready to go and won’t improve with further cellar time. I took it for a more recent vintage.

1981 Cos d’Estournel – nice pull by the owner of this as 1981 is seldom on the tip of anyone’s tongue. Darker wine with some oriental spice showing in the nose, supple in the mouth with tannin still evident, good balance, still decent fruit. It had nuances of mushroom and later orange peel in the nose, which was the most interesting facet of this wine. I’ve tasted this twice before and think this was the best of the three, which surprised me as I’d have expected it to be heading down by now.

1986 Pontet Canet – I sniffed this and the next wine and for a couple of minutes the noses seemed very similar – until this one closed up and the next one blossomed. Still tight in the mouth with pretty solid underlying tannins, this wasn’t giving much now and I’m not sure where it is headed.

1966 Pontet Canet – the last note Parker has on this is from 1990 when he wrote it off as a hard tannic closed wine starting to lose fruit. Well……not this bottle! A nose of leather, olive and plum, with better fruit showing on palate than the 86 had been able to muster and good length. This seemed much younger than this and kept developing in the glass. I expect Parker hit this when it was in a hard closed stage and he never thought it would turn around (reminds me of the 75s). Nice wine that fooled me into thinking a decade or two later!

1996 Havens Bourriquot – my wine, as I have lots of Bordeaux but always like to test peoples preconceptions about wine. I figured this wine, made from cab franc and merlot would come across as less American and more French.. It was so much younger than the last group and had a purple colour in comparison,. The nose was big and relatively ripe, with dark fruit and cocoa. Lots of concentration and length, it was a pleasurable wine that did have them thinking it was probably Bordeaux, but it might have carried it off better if it had been presented in a flight of 1995/6 Bordeaux. A very good showing by the new world, I thought.

2001 Black Hills Nota Bene – another entry from the new world, this time BC. This wine is made from cab, cab franc and merlot (the blend varies in percentage each year) and is hard to get as it always sells out quickly. Sweeter nose, juicy on palate with good length, and I think it held it’s head up if not having the same polish as the old world wines. It worked quite well with cheese.

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