Sunday, 24 July 2011

Gruaud Larose

I had once again the chance to savor the succulence and fruitful and very various Gruaud Larose St Julien Bordeaux.

What was nice this time that i had a few vintages to savior at once.

A bit of history first
L'Abbe Gruaud, worthy representative of the Noblesse de Robe, which typified the Pre-Revolutionary Ancien Regime of France, initiated the story of the château in 1725. He wanted a wine with elegance and power and was rapidly successful. Early records of the famous Bordeaux wine-broker Lawton spoke of the wines of a certain “Sire Gruaud” in 1755 - a century before its official classification - which produced 60 casks of premium wine always sold at high price. Gruaud had already made its reputation in Saint Julien and abroad. Thanks to the family of Joseph-Sébastien de Larose, son-in-law and heir of L’Abbé Gruaud, the wine not only made a reputation but also made a name for itself : Gruaud Larose. Over nearly 300 years, the château produced some iconic wines made of finesse when young and of elegance after a long ageing. And always with an underlying powerful structure. In that sense, every vintage reminds us that Gruaud is the soil, the tannins and the terroir, and Larose is poetry, aromas and bouquet.


Yes I tasted vintage 1998, 2000, 2001, 2003.

Gruaud 1998, yet coming well to age this wine still shows plenty of adventure and surprise.
The nose needs a little time to awaken but little by little it reveals intensity and suspicion of deep red fruits, spice and some oak. Its like a lost paradise but not first class, it lacks some straight points to be called "a hit right on the spot" but nonetheless it will take you on a ride.

The palate starts with a certain strength invades the walls of your palate and than hits with a burst of BlackBerry, slight cherry and currants, a mid palate that holds well with under layers of spice and a wood base. The end holds fairly well and satisfying.

A wine that stands its ground but i think that the wine of kings as they call it could bring more of its own identity and not trying to please certain palates.

Gruaud Larose 2000, yes this amazing vintage is really one of the best vintages this Chateau had in the last 10 years, truly remarkable. (did not taste 2009 and 2010)
The nose starts with the avalanche of fresh, juicy appealing red fruits. It is sway and very seductive, the oak is well set and the acidity in pure fashion.

The palate is taken by absolute delight and poesy, cheer attitude, the freshness and fruit burst is crunchy and smooth. This wine has still life in it so even for safe keeping you are making here a safe bet and it really will get ready to its optimum around 2013. It will give fire and delight till 2030+,
so yes if you can lay your hands on this vintage you will see each bottle tells its own story, a personal story, maybe your story.

Gruaud Larose 2001, yes this vintage i called the silent vintage as for many it started out not so well.
But it was what I call a late shiner, yes it took some time as we all thought this one would crumble.
Well even so it has not such a life span as a 2000 it has surprisingly a very good punch to give.

The nose is a bit shy but the little leather mix up with the fruits, tobacco and pepper as a spice were all little under layers of the overwhelming fruit on offer.

The palate is medium and characterful, a variety of levels of the traditional red fruits, the spice and the oak gave this wine a reason the shout. The acidity works it balance it had a fairly good lasting not too short. It's just a wine that will not live the distance but good value for money and great to enjoy

Gruaud Larose 2003, Now the nose to start of with is somewhat a bit disappointing. It gradually opens up and reveal this warm dens fruit indicating also the year of heat and you can smell it how deep the sun has penetrated the fruit. So there is for me a lack of variety in this wine and not their best.

On the palate it feels a bit tight and lazy, as the acidity is there but not pronounced and so not fresh. What it does give is the intention and good will of trying to produce a good wine. The end is somewhat a bit sharp but having tasted it after it was open for 1 hour it went down a lot and got much softer. Don't get me wrong its far from a bad wine but it does not come into the category of their good vintages.

In all I did enjoy each of them and it was good to interact with the wine and try to distinguish the years and the attitude towards the wine.

I give this house on 100 a 89 to 93.

Do try it out and let me know.
until next time drinks reasonably and responsible

bye.

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

en primeur 2010

Yes as every year it is around this time that all the houses have finally released their wines and of course the price tag.
According to many insiders they predict that the 2010 vintage will be about 5% dearer than the already massive price hiked 2009.

So I do really think that we are here at a cusp of reflection and wonder where all this will lead. Well a problem will arise for this new wine investment trend as the prices of 2009 have hardly increased in value in the last year!! There is a game going on here with buyers refusing to buy and sellers siting on stock they need to sell. But with vintages like these, the sellers know and if they can play their cards right that they have a good longevity in these wines and sooner or later the market will be in demand. Of course that is as I said, if you can play the waiting game.

Even so buyers have slammed the brakes and are reluctant to buy, interestingly enough most traders have made more money than last year.
So its swinging between a silk handkerchief and a concrete wall. I do talk mostly here for the first 5 growth of Bordeaux, the top ranked St Emilion, Graves and Pomerol's, which is a fraction of the whole production of the Bordeaux region, its about 169 first wines here and some producing just about 12,000 bottles.

Here a little guide through some of those beautiful wines. Prices are Ex cellar meaning not what you will see on the shelves in the shop.


St. Estephe

The highest score this year is awarded to :
Chateau Montrose with 96-99+ pts at approx £1528 case
Cos d'Estournel 95-97 pts at approx £2100 a case
Chateau Calon Segur 92-94+ pts at approx £650 a case
Chateau Lafon-Rochet 92-94 pts at approx £314 a case
Pagodes de Cos de Cos D''Estournel 90-93 pts at approx £400 a case
Chateau Ormes de Pez 87-90 pts at approx £260 a case


Pauillac

The highest score this year is awarded to:
Chateau Lafite Rothschild with 98-100 pts at approx £9,000 a case
Chateau Latour with 98-100 pts at approx £10,000 a case
Mouton Rothschild with 97-100 pts at approx £5.900 a case
Chateau Pichon Longueville Baron with 95-98 pts at approx £1,487 a case
Chateau Lynch-Bages with 95-97 pts at approx £1,191 a case
Chateau Duhart Milon with 94-96 pts at approx £1,000 a case
Chateau Grand Puy-Lacoste with 93-96 pts at approx £613 a case
Chateau Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande with 92-95+pts at approx £1,500 a case
Carruades de Lafite with 91-94 pts at approx £2.900 a case
Chateau Clerc Milon with 91-93 pts at approx £500 a case
Chateau D'Armailhac with 89-92 pts at approx £340 a case

St.Julien:

The highest score this year is awarded to:
Chateau Ducru-Beaucaillou with 96-98+ pts at approx £1,500 a case
Chateau Leoville Las Cases with 95-98 pts at approx £2,000 a case
Chateau Leoville Poyferre with 93-95 pts at approx £990 a case
Chateau Branaire Ducru with 93-95 pts at approx £510 a case
Chateau Gruaud Larose with 92-94 pts at approx £509 a case
Clos du Marquis with 92-94 pts at approx £383 a case
Chateau Leoville Barton with 91-93+ pts at approx £803 a case
Chateau Talbot with 91-93 pts at approx £415 a case
Chateau Langoa Barton with 90-92 pts at approx £496 a case
Chateau Beychevelle with 90-92 pts at approx £665

Margaux

The highest score this year is awarded to:
Chateau Margaux with 97-99+ pts at approx £7,900 a case
Chateau Palmer with 95-97 pts at approx £2,200 a case
Chateau Lascombes with 94-97 pts at approx £780 a case
Chateau D'Issan with 94-96 pts at approx £530 a case
Chateau Giscours with 92-95 pts at approx £466 a case
Pavillon Blanc de Margaux with 91-93 pts at approx £1,100 a case
Chateau Kirwan with 90-93 pts at approx £480 a case
Pavillon rouge de Margaux with 90-92 pts at approx £1,600 a case
Alter Ego the Palmer with 90-92 pts at approx £540 a case

Pessac Leognan (Graves)

The highest score this year is awarded to:
Chateau Haut Brion with 98-100 pts at approx £8,000 a case
Chateau la Mission Haut Brion with 98-100 pts at approx £7,000 a case
Chateau Branon with 96-98 pts at approx £940 a case
Chateau Haut-Bailly with 95-97 pts at approx £947 a case
Chateau Smith-Haut lafitte with 95-97 pts a approx £796 a case
Chateau Pape Clement Rouge with 93-95+ pts at approx £986 a case
Chateau Malartic-Lagraviere with 92-94 pts at approx £520 a case
Domaine de Chevalier Blanc with 92-94 pts at approx £740 a case
La chapelle de la Mission Haut Brion with 91-93 pts at approx £1,200 a case
Domaine de Chevalier Rouge with 91-93 pts at approx £560 a case
Chateau Carbonnieux with 91-93 pts at approx £550 a case
Clos Floridene with 90-93 pts at approx £150 a case
Latour-Martillac with 90-92 pts at approx £230 a case


St. Emilion

The highest score this year is awarded to:
Ausone with 98-100 pts at approx £13,000 a case
Chateau Beausejour Duffau Lagarosse with 96-100 pts at approx £2,400 a case
Chateau Troplong Mondot with 96-98+ pts at approx £1,150 a case
Chateau Cheval Blanc with 96-98+ pts at approx £9.900 a case
Chateau Pavie with 95-98+ pts at approx £2,600 a case
Chateau Larcie Ducasse with 95-97 pts at approx £600 a case
Clos Fourtet with 95-97 pts at approx £766 a case
Chateau Figeac with 93-96 pts at approx £2,000 a case
Chapelle d'Ausone with 92-94 pts at approx £1,700 a case
Chateau Bellevue with 91-94 pts at approx £2,600 a case

Pomerol

The highest score this year is awarded to:
Petrus with 98-100 pts at approx £25,000 a case
Chateau Le Pin with 96-98 pts at approx £10,900 a case
Vieux Chateau Certan with 96-98 pts at approx £2,300 a case
L'Evangile with 96-98 pts at approx £2,400 a case
Chateau Clinet with 95-98 pts at approx £1,050 a case
La Conseillante with 95-98 pts at approx £1,700 a case
Chateau Le gay with 95-97 pts at approx £1,000 a case
Clos de L'eglise with 92-95 pts at approx £1,200 a case
Feytit Clinet with 92-94 pts at approx £540 a case
Nenin with 90-92 pts at approx £495 a case

So here you have it, a majority overlook on the big winners and sadly also taken in count that if you are not well off for the least, buying cases will be a thing from the past as it is always more advantageous to buy cases. When these wines will be available they might well increase at about another 35 to 40% and than add another 15% if you buy individual bottles in retail.

Well as always drink responsibly and when you lay your hands on one of these beauties, please drink it at the right time with the right person or people.

untill next time.
H.






Saturday, 9 July 2011

Ruinart the collection

        
Image result for ruinart logo

I attended a masterclass as assistant on an event named Masterpiece.

What is it all about?  Well it is actually a collection of antique art dealers getting together and showcasing their most exquisite Art/Antiques at hand. This is not like the Frieze Art fair where you have new works from existing Artist.
No at Masterpiece you really find amazing pieces to buy, or if you walley isn't that solid just watch which are hundred and hundred of years old from all walk and forms of life. Real truthful classic collections.

The reason why I want to talk about this, is simply because I had the opportunity to attend and serve alongside Gerard Basset world sommelier 2010 a Ruinart Master class. Ruinart was one of the main sponsors of the event and so this house wanted to showcase to, their craft and collection from the house that is the oldest in the Champagne history (we talk making bubbles, Gosset is the oldest house making wine at first)

I always wanted to have an opportunity like this, and it is not every day you are able to taste the whole range Ruinart and especially the Dom Ruinart in several vintages.

As with all champagne tastings, you always start with the Brut NV here on this occasion the R de Ruinart. Ruinart is a chardonnay based house but the NV has a blend of the three grape varieties Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinto Meunier. For me it has never hit me with great enthusiasm. It is a champagne well constructed and has layers of fruit and acidity, a fair complexity but a bit heavy for me.

Ruinart  the oldest champagne house and part of the group LVMH, is based in the heart of Reims, next to Veuve and Pommery. The house itself isn't big, compared to the giants like Moet &Chandon, Veuve Clicquot (also part of LVMH), Laurent-Perrier.......The birth of this house dates back to 1729 but were not making Champagne then, the first house making Champagne is Gosset.
Image result for r ruinart

Move on to.... 

The Ruinart Blanc de Blanc is straight away a different persona and more to my liking. 100% chardonnay which is the significant of the word Blanc de Blanc (white of white) you have also Blanc de Noir (white from black). There is softness, fruits in abundance, lightness, freshness a big crowd pleaser. A champagne with great complexity, structure and endurance.  

Image result for ruinart blanc de blanc brut
It was the first time I tasted a Ruinart Rose, and to be honest I was truly surprised and enchanted by it. Its delicate red fruits all over the nose with rose petals and slight almonds aromas and when it hits the palate it arrived with kindness and great subtlety. Many attendance would have loved to go for another glass. I do recommend it if you have the chance.


Image result for ruinart blanc rose
Than we came to the big one. The Dom Ruinart.
Well I can truly say that this one is amongst the best champagnes made. It's 100% chardonnay, the house identity and it will move you, seduce you, flirt with you, be in control of you. It swings from joy to pleasure, complexity in greatness a master in his class. 

We started with the 1998, The house Ruinart actually does take their time to release their top cuvee.
Every aspect of  how a top Champagne should be was in place and indicates that this one will go for quite some time. It was not entirely saying I am ready, I am at my optimum. But you could feel it and realize that this was craftsmanship. 1998 was not the exceptional vintage but a good vintage nonetheless, even here indicating the true craftsmanship of a top Champagne. 

Then we went through the very interesting average vintage of Dom Ruinart 1993 magnum, it had a deep and intense flavour and well balanced fruit, but it lacked of depth and character. But for an average vintage and already aged 18 years it was a good surprise and still drinkable pleasantly. 

We ended the class with the remarkable magum Dom Ruinart 1996. It was till extremely fresh, the fruits were overwhelming and the acidity was perfectly placed, it was elegant, full of joy and superb. A vintage that has many many years to go still and will amaze you once you sipped that wonder of a Champange.
Image result for dom ruinart

In all Dom Ruinart is a superb champagne and stands firmly in the top class champagne ever produced.

Until next time please do drink responsibly.







imbibe 2011

My apologies as it has been awhile but i have been a bit short for time to write some blogs, well guess what now you will get 2 in a row.

First of all i like to talk about imbibe 2011, its the UK on-trade drinks trade for professionals. It is more orientated on bars but there were quiet a few wine merchants on show as well.

We and in we i mean me and the wine supplying company i work with called Eminent Wines. We were there in force as we wanted to highlight our choices in wines and all the other attributes the company represent.
Eminent wines does not just do wines, it also does luxury wine accessories, wine tourism, wine investment, designing and maintaining of wine cellars, Wine properties. Yes quiet a bit but it all works and fit in the ethos and image of Eminent Wines.

We had also the champagne house Gardet on show as we are expanding the Brand to the public. It is a house with a very good range and appealing structure. www.champagne-gardet.com

We had wines from Alsace, Loire, Languedoc Roussillon, Bordeaux, Provence Bulgaria and Japan. With some unusual elements there we got quite some attention especially as we were there to promote the 18 carat Swiss Gold leave Vodka from Struder. http://www.davisimmo.eu/pr/info1.php/currentlanguage=nl/modulecode=Project

It has such an appeal and many found it a great vodka, the link above will show all the other assets they posses and very innovative as well.

So many professionals did come to the fair but imbibe is predominately centered on the bar trade and so spirits. We had many bar man from all different parts of the UK passing by, of which some really need to get a grip on the consumption aspect. There was especially towards the end of the day some that had clearly too much abuse on the alcohol.
I personally had a problem with that as when you walk into this market you need to be responsible of the product you work with, here in this case alcohol.
Clearly for a part of them it seems like not sinking in the seriousness of the business as bars, clubs, pubs and restaurants get constantly bombarded with government attacks on the abuse of alcohol.
So each time taxes go up it is always in the alcohol and tobacco trade.
Anyway i wanted this of my chest.
In general there was as for the wine department quiet some representation and sadly as we were so busy for the 2 days i had not the time to check out the competition.
But according to many of the on-trade we had a very well selected set of wines on offer.

The wines from Valentin Zusslin were in particularly very well perceived. http://www.zusslin.com/

The dry muscat was in particularly impressive. It comes at you like a book from which you see the cover, you implant a perception and once on the other end you wonder what just happen. This dry and ripe fruitful appearance already tells you on the nose that something is totally against the odds of what you thought it would be. On the palate is sways and waltz you in a rhythm full of joy and surprises. The fruits and acid accomplish well the work that's been put in.
As I said at the end you wonder what just happened, a wine fit for dinner and suits white meats and fish.

We have also the impressive and surprising Magrez-Aruga from Japan, a white wine with such a delicacy it takes time to get use to it but once you have captured the essence of it, you will definitely like it.
It is so delicate in it white fruits and zest that it will appear like powdered fruit with a sudden boots of fresh lemons and minerals. The palate will be gently touched with is frail and simple structure, but it is that simplicity that will amaze you as at the end it becomes somewhat a bit more complex and variable warm and lasting. http://www.bernard-magrez.com/content/en/?

We also had great success with our wine accessories. Yes if you want some cool design items for your wine and champagne than look no further. L'Orvevrerie d'Anjou. http://www.lorfevreriedanjou.com/
These luxury items will blow your mind away, absolute quality and top style, browse their site and i am sure you will agree with me.

In all it was exhausting the 2 days but fruitful and interesting.
As I just have checked the time and it is a bit late so i will add my blog on masterpiece London 2011 tomorrow till than i say be good and drink responsible.

xx H.