This past Thursday I attended a tasting sponsored by Le Cercle Rive Droite de Grands Vins de Bordeaux (The Right Bank Circle of Great Bordeaux Wines). This organization is composed of 139 chateaux and 19 appellations located on the right bank of the Gironde. The theme of the event was “From Barrel to Bottle” featuring the recently bottled 2011 vintage as well as previous vintages.The event was held at the French Consulate which is located on 934 5th Avenue. The consulate is in a mansion overlooking the park and pretty much looks like a museum inside. It’s always interesting to try a horizontal of similar wines to compare the differences in producers. Since it was right bank wines, Merlot is the dominant grape. Wines out of the barrel are a little tough to figure out since the wines haven’t had much of a chance for the flavors to mesh together and they can taste grapey. After tasting through a few producers, my opinion on the 2011 vintage is that they are going to be “restaurant wines” That is, wines that will be ready for short term consumption and not wines that need to be laid down for years. Which is not a bad thing in itself since most of us don’t have the resources or patience to lay down cases of wine for several years. From almost all the 2011’s I tried I got lots of extraction, dark purple to black colors, very dark berry fruit with none of the lip-smacking tannins and tingling acids that I’ve gotten from barrel samples from other vintages. In fact there were a couple that I would be happy to pop open and have with dinner tonight. Each winery poured their 2011 and an older vintage, usually an 08 or 09, though there were exceptions.
Some of the wines I enjoyed: From Fronsac, the 08 Chateau Fontenil, mint black berry on the nose, juicy, nice frame of tannins and acid on the finish. The 08 Haut-Carles, barnyard nose, velvety, chewy tannins, finishes a bit hot (14.5%). From Canon-Fronsac I enjoyed the 09 Chateau Gaby. Dark, some forest-floor on the nose, earthy, juicy, concentrated fruit with a balanced finish. From Pomerol I enjoyed the 06 Clos L’Eglise. Beautiful tarry, black fruit dusty nose, mouth coating tannins and long finish. The 09 Chateau Vray Croix de Gay. Black in the glass, toasty nose, velvety with firm tannins and a long finish. From Saint-Emilion Grand Cru I really enjoyed the 06 Magrez Fombrauge. To me it had the classic Bordeaux nose of green olives, some smoke, silky, balanced with a long finish. It’s always nice to try a mature Bordeaux, the 2000 Chateau Corbin-Despagne was dark purple with dried leaf and stewed fruit, cedar and tobacco on the nose. It was a very interesting wine. The 09 Chateau Le Prieure Grand Cru was black in the glass, very concentrated with firm tannins on the finish with great fruit.