Barell Tasting Of 2020 Burgundy

On April 5th I was invited to attend a barrel tasting of 2020 Burgundy. Specifically, the 2020 Burgundy in the portfolio of Fredrick Wildman & Sons distributor.

The tasting was for members of the trade and was a great opportunity to get some sort of idea how the 2020 vintage turned out as well as the opportunity to sample some of the finest wines in the world.

The whites are already bottled while the reds were just out of the barrel. My impression of the vintage was that the whites were drinking beautifully now, just enough fruit with balanced acidity. The reds were fruit forward, some were drinking nicely right out of the barrel, but lacked the structure for long term aging. The reds are definitely wines to be enjoyed sooner than later.

The tasting was held at Quality Bistro restaurant at 120 West 55th Street in Midtown Manhattan.

White

2020 Chateau Fuisse Pouilly Fuiseé “Tete de Cuvee”: Medium gold, closed nose of honey, medium fruit with a nice balance.

2020 Famille Vincent Bourgogne Blanc: Light gold, floral nose, medium body with tropical fruit notes, nice balance.

2019 Domaine Bruno Clair Marsannay Blanc “Source des Roches”: Light gold, green herbs on the nose, juicy, melon notes, good grip.

2020 Domaine Faiveley 1er Cru Puligny Montrachet “Champs Gains”: Medium gold, honey and tropical fruit on the nose, medium fruit with melon notes and honey with lemon curd notes on the finish

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Red

2020 Domaine Jean-Luc Burguet Bourgogne Rouge: Clear light purple, green herbs on the nose, chewy young fruit with a nice grip.

2019 Domaine Bruno Clair Marsannay “Les Grasses Tetes”: Clear medium purple, green herbs and crushed red fruit on the nose, chewy, smoky, silky red tannins, long finish.

2020 Domaine Humbert Freres Fixin Vieilles Vignes: Clear medium purple, cigar box on the nose, chewy, silky red fruit, nice grip.

2020 Domaine Humbert Freres Gevrey Chambertin: Clear light purple, tobacco smoke on the nose, silky, dusty red fruit and balanced. Nice wine.

2020 Domaine Meo Camuzet Nuits St George: Opaque medium purple, crushed blueberry and tree bark on the nose, chunky black fruit with slate notes, nice acidity.

2020 Domaine Meo Camuzet Vosne Romanee 1er Cru “Les Chaumes”: Opaque dark purple, roast meat notes on the nose, silky red fruit, slate notes, good grip.

2020 Domaine Virgile Lignier-Michelot Morey St Denis 1er Cru “Faconnieres”: Opaque dark purple, green herbs on the nose, chewy with tobacco and slate notes on the fruit, firm, silky tannins.

2020 Domaine Virgile Lignier-Michelot Clos de al Roche Grand Cru: Opaque dark purple to black in color, silky, chewy red fruit ending with slate and silky tannins.

2020 Domaine Faiveley Gevrey Chambertin 1er Cru “Les Cazetiers”: Opaque medium purple, tar and crushed red fruit on the nose, chewy and dense, black licorice, silky tannin with bitter almonds notes on the finish.

2020 Domaine Faiveley Corton Grand Cru “Clos des Cortons”: Opaque dark purple, barnyard and crushed black fruit on the nose, silky and dense with a hit of tannin and some heat at the end.

2020 Olivier Leflaive Volnay 1er Cru “Clos de Angles”: Opaque medium purple, crushed rock notes on the nose, chewy fruit with slate and firm tannins.

2020 Comte Armand Pommard 1er Cru “Clos des Epeneaux”: Opaque dark purple, silky red fruit, moderate tannins and acids.

2020 Domaine Michel LaFarge Volnay 1er Cru “Clos du Chene”: Clear light purple, a perfume of violets and tobacco, juicy and smoky with moderate tannins and acid.

2020 Domaine Dominique Gallois Gevrey Chambertin “En Justice”: Opaque dark purple to black in color, slate and roast meat on the nose, juicy red fruit.

2020 Domaine Labruyere Moulin a Vent “Le Clos Monopole”: Opaque dark purple, green herbs on the nose, silky dusty fruit, good balance.

La Paulée de NY: Verticals Tasting 2022

La Paulée de New York is Daniel Johnson’s homage to La Paulée de Meursault, a three-day long end of grape harvest festival held in Meursault, Burgundy in France. The festival itself was a revival of the end of harvest banquet that the medieval monks threw for their growers and workers.

Mr. Johnson brought that festival to New York in 2000 and after a one-year hiatus it’s back in New York City. It’s several days of tastings and wine dinners featuring the red and white wines of the Cote d’Or of Burgundy.

They threw two tastings, the Grand Tasting in which they poured 100+ wines from the current vintage release, and the Verticals Tasting in which each producer poured at least three different vintages of their wine.

I attended the Grand Tasting in March 2020 which was held just a few days before the lockdown, it was the last major tasting for me for almost two years. This year they were showcasing the 2018 and 2019 vintages to make up for the lost year. This year I didn’t attend that tasting but was able to make it to the Verticals Tasting. It was a little smaller in size than the Grand Tasting but was a great opportunity to drink Burgundy with some age to them. It was well worth the 10am start time.

The tasting took place at the event space Second in the Eventi Hotel at 849 6th Avenue in Manhattan.

Some highlights:

White

2011 Domaine du Duc de Magenta Chassagne Montrachet 1er Cru “Clos de la Chapelle”: Light yellow, toasty nose, roasted nuts and lime on the finish.

2012 Domaine Christian Moreau Chablis Grand Cru Les Clos “Clos des Hospices” en magnum: Dark gold in color, ripe tropical fruit on the nose, dusty, nutty on the finish.

2014 Bouchard Pere & Fils Corton Charlemagne Grand Cru: Light yellow with honey and cinnamon on the nose, mouthful of fruit with a nice balance

2015 Domaine Eleni & Edouard Vocoret Chablis 1er Cru “Les Butteaux”: Light yellow with a floral nose, nice balanced fruit ending with a firm finish

Red

2006 Domaine de la Vougeraie Clos de Vougeot Grand Cru: Clear light red, tar and cigar box on the nose with earthy, tobacco fruit and a long finish.

2007 Benjamin Leroux Volnay “Clos de la Cave du Ducs” Monopole: Clear light brick, beautiful nose of earth and barnyard with tobacco and cigar box notes on the long finish.

2009 Chandon de Briailles Corton Grand Cru “Les Bressandes” en magnum: Clear light red, plummy tobacco on the nose with silky bright red fruit and green herbs on the finish.

2009 Domaine Faiveley Echezeaux Grand Cru: Light brick, crushed raspberry and earth on the nose, silky red fruit ending with silky tannins and a long finish.

2010 Domaine Simon Bize Savigny les Beaune 1er Cru “Aux Vergelesses”: Clear light brick, cigar box on the nose, bright red fruit ending with mouth coating tannins.

2010 Joseph Drouhin Chambertin Clos de Beze Grand Cru: Clear light brick, tar and tobacco on the nose, silky, earthy fruit with firm acids and tannins at the end.

2010 Domaine du Comte Liger-Belair Vosne-Romanee 1er Cru “Aux Brulees” en magnum: Clear light brick, crushed blueberry on the nose, red toasty fruit with a silky finish.

2011 Domaine Faiveley Nuits St. Georges 1er Cru “Les Saint Georges“: Light brick in color, cigar box on the nose, nice balanced fruit with a long finish.

2011 Derey Freres Fixin 1er Cru “Les Hervedets”: Light brick, cinnamon, smoky tobacco and ripe fruit on the nose, chewy and nicely balanced with a long finish.

2011 Pierre Morey Pommard 1er Cru “Grand Epenots”: Clear light red, closed nose of crushed black fruit and dried herbs, silky red fruit with a nice balance.

2012 Antoine Donnedieu Clos de Tart Grand Cru monople: Clear light red, barnyard and green herbs on the nose, tight and tart.

2013 Domaine d’Eugenie Vosne-Romanee 1er Cru “Brulees”: Clear light red, perfume of crushed red fruit and cinnamon, bright red fruit with some earth notes on the finish.

2014 Domaine Jean Marie Fourrier Vougeot 1er Cru “Les Petits Vougeot”: Clear light brick, pumpkin spice on the nose, silky red fruit ending with silky tannins.

2014 Jerome Galeyrand Gevrey-Chambertin “En Croisette”: Clear light brick, toasty, earth nose, chewy black licorice fruit ending balanced and long.

2015 Yvon Clerget Pommard 1er Cru “Rugiens”: Clear medium red, crushed black fruit on the nose, ripe and chewy black fruit ending with silky tannins.

2015 Nicolas Rossignol Volnay 1er Cru “Chevrerz”: Clear light red, red smoke on the nose, silky red fruit with a nice balance.

Some Bordeaux 2022

Traditionally at this time of year many of the wine and spirit distributers have their portfolio tastings. These tastings are open to members of the trade who will make buying decisions or for those who need to educate themselves on the products of a particular distributer. They can show up and browse the portfolios for something in particular or to search for something new. Some of the tastings showcase the whole portfolio in which case there may be 100+ wines and spirits available to sample. Sometimes they have smaller, more intimate tastings that showcase a niche category.

On March 2nd one of those distributors, Fredrick Wildman & Sons held an invite only small tasting of some of their upper tier Bordeaux from their portfolio. It was a mix of current releases (2018) with some older vintages that were available for sale. When Bordeaux is drinking well, it’s a nice experience.

The tasting was held at Benoit restaurant located at 66 West 55th Street in Midtown Manhattan.

Some of what I sampled:

2014 Chateau Carbonnieux (Pessac-Leognan): Dark red with a purple rim, tobacco and crushed red fruit on the nose, silky and chewy red fruit, beautifully balanced with a long finish.

2018 Chateau Haut-Bailly (Pessac-Leognan): Black with a purple rim, nose of sweet tobacco, chewy black fruit, silky tannins with a great balance.

2015 Chateau Troplong Mondot (St.-Emilion): Black with a purple rim, toasty crushed black fruit on the nose, silky and chewy with a long finish.

2018 Chateau Canon La Gaffeliere (St.-Emilion): Dark red to black with a purple rim, dark chocolate and sweet tobacco on the nose, silky red fruit with crisp tannins at the end, long finish.

2018 Chateau Clos de L’Oratoire (St.-Emilion): Black with a purple rim, sweet strawberry on the nose, dense and tight with a tight finish.

2016 Chateau Gazin (Pomerol): Black with a purple rim, toasted oak on the nose, chewy and tight with silky tannins.

2016 Chateau Jardin de Petit Village (Pomerol): Black with a purple rim, toasty red fruit on the nose, chunky black fruit ending with a good dusty grip.

2010 Chateau Lascombes (Margaux): Dark red to black with an amber rim, perfume of tar and dark leather, silky dark fruit with a beautiful long and balanced finish.

2015 Chateau Cantenac Brown (Margaux): Dark red with a purple rim, smoky nose, tight with green olive notes on the firm finish.

2016 Brio de Cantenac Brown (Margaux): Dark red with a purple rim, big nose of cigar smoke, tight with bell pepper notes on the firm finish.

2014 Chateau Lagrange (St. Julien): Dark red to black with a purple rim, nose of sweet tar, black leather and cigar smoke, dense and tight with wet slate notes, tight acids at the end.

2014 Chateau Leoville Poyferre (St. Julien): Dark red to black, sweet perfume of tobacco, mint and crushed black fruit, chunky with silky tannins with dark chocolate, black fruit and bitter bark on the finish.

2015 Chateau Talbot (St. Julien): Dark purple, brambly nose, chewy with dried leaf notes, balanced with a long finish.

2018 Chateau Leoville Barton (St. Julien): Dark red to black, crushed strawberry on the nose, chewy and dusty green fruit ending with moderate tannins and acids.

2018 Chateau Gloria (St. Julien): Black with a purple rim, stinky nose of crushed black fruit, chewy black fruit with a good grip and long finish.

2018 Chateau Branaire Ducru (St. Julien): Dark red to black, sweet nose of pixe stick and green fruit, silky, dusty black fruit ending with moderate to low tannins and acids.

2016 Chateau Lynch Bages (Pauillac): Black with a purple rim, mint, tobacco and some barnyard on the nose, tight with silky tannins and crushed rock notes on the fruit.

2014 Chateau Phelan Segur (St. Estephe): Black with a purple rim, crushed black fruit and mint on the nose, tight fruit that lighten ups at the end.

2015 Chateau La Croix Bonis (St. Estephe): Dark red, nose of sweet spice and tree bark, dusty, silky tannins with a good grip.

Grand Crus of St-Emilion Tasting

The Association De Grand Crus Classes De Saint-Emillion held their 2021 tasting tour in the USA on November 8th in New York City and in San Francisco on the 10th.

In New York the event was held at the Metropolitan Pavilion event space at 123 West 18th Street in Manhattan.

Bordeaux is one of the most famous wine regions in the world with many well known classified growth wines. The Appellations and vineyards are on the right and left bank of the Gironde estuary. The wines are blends of legally permitted varietals but mainly Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petite Verdot.

On the Right Bank the most famous communes are Saint-Emilion and Pomerol. While they are permitted to use the classic Bordeaux varietals, a distinguishable characteristic of the wines of the Right Bank is that Merlot is the predominate grape in the blend.

At the tasting the Chateau were showcasing their 2018’s along with another older vintage. I was getting a lot of nice aromatics but not surprisingly the wines were hard as nails at this point. Like most Bordeaux they will need a few more years in the bottle to become approciable.

Some of the wines I sampled:

Chateau Chauvin

2015: 80% Merlot. Opaque dark red with an amber rim, black fruit and crushed rock on the nose, silky fruit with green olive notes on the dusty finish.

2018: 88% Merlot. Dark red to black, crushed black fruit and spices on the nose, juicy black fruit with firm tannins.

Clos des Jacobins

2016: 80% Merlot. Clear medium brick, perfume of black olives and oak, tight dusty tannins on the red fruit.

2018: 80% Merlot. Opaque dark red, graphite and crushed red fruit on the nose, peppery black fruit with firm tannins.

Couvent des Jacobins

2015: 85% Merlot. Dark red to black with a purple rim, sweet perfume of tar and tobacco, silky black fruit with bitter almonds on the firm finish.

Chateau Dassault

2016: 73% Merlot. Opaque dark red, tar and black plum on the nose, chewy black fruit with olive notes on the firm but balanced finish.

2018:75% Merlot. Opaque dark purple, sweet perfume with burnt notes with ripe vegetable on the finish.

Chateau de Ferrand

2016: 80% Merlot. Opaque dark red with a purple rim, crushed rocks and graphite on the nose, chewy black fruit followed by big tannins.

2018 73% Merlot. Opaque dark red, crushed black fruit on the nose, green olives on the fruit with firm tannins.

Chateau Faugeres

2011 85% Merlot. Opaque dark red, black olives, mint and tar on the nose, minty red fruit, getting some heat at the end.

Chateau Fleur Cardinale

2016 74% Merlot. Clear dark red, ripe fruit notes on the nose, silky red fruit, moderate long balanced finish.

2018 74% Merlot. Clear dark red, perfume of crushed red fruit, juicy with bitter almonds and firm tannins on the finish.

Chateau Fonplégade

2015 95% Merlot. Clear dark brick with an amber rim, black olives and tar on the nose, tight, dark fruit with a mouthful of tannin.

2018 90% Merlot. Opaque dark purple, sweet perfume of violets, tight red licorice fruit with firm tannins.

Chateau Franc Mayne

2011 90% Merlot. Opaque dark brick with an amber rim, perfume of black olives and violets, dusty firm tannins with gun metal notes on the fruit.

2018 90% Merlot. Dark red to black, crushed dark fruit and black licorice on the nose, juicy and tannic.

Chateau La Marzelle

2012 75% Merlot. Black in color with a purple rim, toasty notes on the nose, chewy, juicy dark fruit with firm tannins on the long finish.

2018 75% Merlot. Dark red with a purple rim, cooked fruit and crushed rocks on the nose with red fruit on the crisp finish.

Chateau Villemaurine

2016 80% Merlot. Opaque dark red, perfume of tobacco and crushed dark plums, green herbs on the red fruit with firm tannins.

2018 80% Merlot. Opaque dark red, red flowers on the nose, concentrated red fruit with firm tannins.

2018 Belles Grives Beaujolais Morgon

 

 

Beaujolais is the southernmost district in Burgundy. While Pinot Noir is king in most of Burgundy, here the Gamay grape is the primary red varietal. In the hierarchy of Beaujolais the Crus are at the top of the quality pyramid. There are ten: Julienas, Chenas, Moulin-A-Vent, Fleurie, Chiroubles, Morgon, Regnie, Cote de Brouilly and Brouilly. I think that the Cru Beaujolais are underated wines with a good price to quality ratio.

 

2018 Belles Grives Beaujolais “Morgon

Clear medium red, dusty red fruit and cherry candy on the nose, juicy with green herb notes on the fruit, tightens at the end with silky tannins. Feeling some heat at 14.5%.

 

 

2019 Gerard Bertrand Cote des Roses, Languedoc

 

 

Summer is here, more rosé.

Gerard Bertrand is a French wine grower with a vast portfolio of wines from the South of France.

They make several different rosé. This one is from the Languedoc region and is packaged in a pretty bottle with an etched rose on the bottom.

The wine is a blend of Grenache, Syrah and Cinsault. 

 

2019 Cotes des Roses: Light pink in color, ripe cantaloupe on the nose, nice mouthfeel of light cherry and raspberry, nice balance. 

 

 

La Paulée de New York 2020

 

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This year was the 20th anniversary of La Paulée de New York which was held from March 4-7. The week included seminars, tastings and some very expensive dinners. The Grand Tasting was held on Saturday afternoon at the Pier Sixty event venue located at 60 Chelsea Piers on the far west side of Manhattan overlooking the Hudson river.

In the U. S., the festival alternates between New York City and San Francisco and showcases the latest vintage of the Burgundian wines to be released. At the Grand Tasting on Saturday afternoon over 50 wine professionals were on hand to serve the wines from over 40 domains of Burgundy. A team of top-notch chefs prepared “petits plats” for guests to nosh on while they sampled the various wines. Members of the Confrerie des Chevaliers du Tastvin were on hand to serenade (a capella style) the wine drinkers.

The event is Restaurateur and Sommelier Daniel Johnson’s homage to the annual La Paulée de Meursault in Burgundy. That originally began as a end of harvest festival thrown by the Burgundian growers for their guests and field workers and was revived in the early twentieth century as an annual event for the growers and their guests.

The 2017 vintage was a much better year for Burgundy than Bordeaux. The later suffered through epic frost while Burgundy was able haul in the biggest crop since 2009.

This was one of those tastings that I could have spent 2-3 days tasting through all the wines. There were over 150 of some of the most famous (and expensive) wines in the world to taste. I really enjoyed the whites, in general they were very elegant and balanced wines with just enough of the tropical fruit and oak notes to make them interesting. The reds were light in color with restrained fruit and firm acids, very old world style.

Some of what I sampled:

2017 Vintage

Domaine Etienne Sauzet

Puligny Montrachet: Light gold, closed nose lemon curd, nicely balanced fruit.

Puligny Montrachet 1er Cru Les Perrieres: Light gold, nose of fresh herbs, moderate fruit with a firm but juicy finish.

Bienvenues Bâtard Montrachet: Light gold, spicy cinnamon on the nose, moderate fruit with a firm, balanced finish. 

Domaine Roulot

Meursault “A Mon Plasir” Clos du Haut Tesson: Light gold with tropical notes on the nose, earthy, tart fruit, good balance. 

Domaine Bernard Moreau

Chassagne Montrachet: Light gold, tropical nose, dusty, tropical notes on the fruit, nice balance. 

Chassagne Montrachet 1er Cru Vergers: Light gold, rosemary and tropical fruit on the nose, moderate fruit, pineapple, firm and balanced finish. 

Chassagne Montrachet 1er Cru Morgeot: Medium to light gold, cinnamon and tropical fruit notes on the nose, fruit forward, drops at the end. 

Pierre-Yves Colin-Morey

Corton Charlemagne Grand Cru: Light gold, tropical fruit and cinnamon on the nose, minerally with crisp acids at the end.

Bâtard Montrachet Grand Cru: Medium gold, tropical fruits and cinnamon on the nose with tropical fruit notes and lemon on the long finish. 

Olivier Laflaive

Chassagne Montrachet 1er Cru Abbaye de Morgeot: Medium gold, spicy tropical fruit on the nose with tropical fruit notes on the nice balance.

Meursault 1er Cru Blagny Sous le Dos d’Ane: Medium gold, toasty nose, lemon tart fruit with a firm finish. 

Bouchard Pere & Fils

Chevalier Montrachet Grand Cru: Medium gold, mashed peaches on the nose, moderate peachy fruit, great balance. 

Beaune 1er Cru Vigne de L’Enfant Jesus: Light brick, red leather on the nose, green herb notes on the balanced and long finish.

Joseph Drouhin

Beaune 1er Cru Clos des Mouches Blanc: Light gold, toasted pineapple on the nose, moderate tropical fruit with oak notes, nice finish. 

Beaune 1er Cru Clos des Mouches Rouge: Clear light red, pretty perfume of spicy berries, silky fruit with a nice balance.

Clos de Vougeot Grand Cru: Clear light red, spicy perfume with oak notes on the light fruit. 

Domaine Genot-Boulanger

Meursault 1er Cru Les Boucheres: Light gold, spicy tropical fruit on the nose, spicy, juicy fruit, long finish. 

Domaine de Montille

Meursault 1er Cru Les Poruzots: : Light gold, green herbs and tropical fruit on the nose, juicy fruit with lime notes, good balance. 

Corton-Charlemagne Grand Cru: Light gold, toast and tropical fruit on the nose, toasty lime fruit, crisp finish. 

Beaune 1er Cru Les Sizies: Light red, red leather nose, silky red fruit and red leather notes on the firm finish.

Louis Jadot

Corton-Charlemagne Grand Cru: Medium gold, sweet candy and toast on the nose, juicy with a firm finish. 

Beaune 1er Cru Aux Cras: Light red, roasted earth on the nose, dusty, juicy fruit with firm acids at the finish. 

Domaine Yvon Clerget

Clos Vougeot Grand Cru: Light to medium red, floral nose with sweet fruit and a tight finish.

Domaine Nicolas Rossignol

Volnay: Light purple, dried leaves on the nose, crushed rock on the fruit, good grip.

Domaine Jean Grivot

Nuits Saint Georges 1er Cru Ronciere: Light brick, dried herbs on the nose, medium body fruit with good balance and a long finish. 

Domaine Hudelot-Baillet

Chambolle Musigny Vielles Vignes: Clear medium red, black licorice on the nose, juicy fruit with a nice balance.

Chambolle Musigny 1er Cru Les Cras: Clear medium red, toasty tar on the nose, silky fruit and nicely balance.

Bonnes Mares Grand Cru: Clear medium red, tarry black fruit on the nose with silky red fruit and a firm balanced finish. 

Domaine Comte Georges de Vogue

Chambolle Musigny Vielles Vignes: Clear medium red, sweet perfume of strawberries with a tight and silky finish. 

Chambolle Musigny 1er Cru: Clear medium purple, pretty nose of sweet, dried herbs, juicy red leather on the fruit, nice balance.

Bonnes Mares Grand Cru: Medium brick, red leather and herbs on the nose, silky red fruit on the firm and balance finish.

Domaine Dujac

Morey Saint Denis: Light red, red leather nose with moderate juicy fruit, balanced. 

Clos de la Roche Grand Cru: Light red, dried herbs on the nose, dusty red fruit with firm, mouth watering tannins at the finish.

Domaine Duroché

Gevrey Chambertin 1er Cru Lavaut St Jacques: Clear light purple, damp earth and rosemary on the nose with strawberry notes on the fruit ending with firm acidity. 

Echezeaux Grand Cru: Clear light red, strawberry and earth on the nose, red cherry fruit with rosemary notes on the finish. 

Domaine Jean-Marie Fourrier

Gevrey Chambertin 1er Cru Cherbaudes: Light clear red, earth and herbs on the nose, silky finish with some heat at the end.

 

Grand Cru des Bordeaux New York 2020

 

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The Union des Grands Crus de Bordeaux is a trade organization that promotes the Grand Cru wines of Bordeaux, France. At the beginning of each year they sponsor a world-wide tour where they showcase the current vintage that is being released. The U.S. and Canadian portion of the tour will make stops in Toronto, Montreal, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago and Washington DC and on January 20th, the tour arrived in New York City. The event as usual, was held at Cipriani restaurant at 110 East 42nd Street in midtown Manhattan across the street from Grand Central Terminal. It’s the former Bowery Savings Bank which was constructed at a time when banks were built to be opulent places of commerce. A trade tasting was held in the afternoon and Sotheby’s auction house held a tasting for consumers at the same venue in the evening.

The 2017 vintage in Bordeaux was not the best of vintages. It was the “year of the frost” where the worst frost in living memory created conditions that had yields coming in at about 40% lower than the previous year. There were fewer wineries attending this tasting than there were in previous years as many wineries did not make a wine or made very little wine from the 2017 vintage. 

In tasting through the wines, no one would confuse them for the lush and fruit forward wines of a Napa Valley Cabernet. In general for this vintage, I was finding a lot of lean red fruit with red cherry aromas and bitter cherry flavors on the finish. Many, not surprisingly for young wines, were hard edged, but many had low tannins and acids. I was not getting the type of concentration in these wines that I had gotten from the 2015 or 2016 vintages. I think these will be wines to be drunk in the short term.

 

Vintage 2017

Pessac-Leognan

Chateau Haut-Bailly: Clear medium red, toasty nose, tight with big tannins at the end. 

Saint-Emilion

Chateau Canon-La-Gaffeliere: Opaque medium to dark red, pretty nose of black fruit and graphite, dusty red cherry fruit with firm tannins. 

Chateau Canon: Clear medium red, cooked fruit notes on the nose, tight with crisp acids and firm tannins. 

Clos Fourtet: Opaque dark red, crushed black fruit on the nose, juicy, graphite black fruit ending with a firm, silky finish. 

Chateau Larcis Ducasse: Opaque medium red, sweet red cherry on the nose, moderate silky and dusty fruit with moderate tannins and acids at the end. 

Chateau Pavie Macquin: Cloudy dark red, crushed black fruit and mint on the nose, tight red cherry fruit with tongue coating tannins at the end.  

Chateau Villemaurine: Medium clear red, floral black cherry on the nose, bright dark fruit with a bitter cherry finish. 

Pomerol

Chateau La Cabanne: Clear medium brick, dark chocolate on the nose, juicy red fruit with silky tannins and firm acids. 

Chateau Clinet: Clear light amber, red cherry graphite on the nose, tight, silky tannin on the firm finish. 

Chateau Gazin: Clear medium red with some tar and earth on the nose, tight, red cherry fruit, low acids. 

Haut-Medoc

Chateau Cantemerle: Opaque medium red, graphite notes on the nose, tight red fruit with big tannins and acids on the finish. 

Chateau Citran: Opaque medium red, candy red cherry on the nose with juicy red fruit and moderate acids. 

Chateau Coufran: Medium to light brick, sweet red cherry on the nose, light black fruit with a chewy finish and moderate tannins. 

Chateau La Lagune: Opaque medium red, dusty red leather on the nose, tight fruit with bitter red cherry at the end. 

Margaux

Chateau Giscours: Medium to brick in color, toast and wet earth on the nose, moderate chewy fruit with dark chocolate on the finish, nice balance. 

Chateau Kirwan: Clear medium red, crushed black fruit and some earth on the nose with bright red fruit ending with moderate tannins and acids. 

Chateau Rauzan-Gassies: Clear medium red, crushed black fruit on the nose, chewy, toasty red cherry fruit with a firm finish. 

Chateau du Tertre: Opaque medium red, toasty dark chocolate on the nose, bright dark fruit, firm finish. 

Saint-Julien

Chateau Beychevelle: Medium purple, green olives on the nose, light fruit with olive notes, balanced finish. 

Chateau Branaire-Ducru: Clear medium red, toast and graphite on the nose, light fruit with a bitter cherry finish. 

Chateau Lagrange: Clear medium red, minty nose, dusty dark chocolate fruit with crisp acids. 

Chateau Leoville-Barton: Medium red, tarry nose, moderate black cherry fruit, firm but balanced. 

Pauillac

Chateau d’Armailhac: Clear medium red with some cooked vegetable notes on the nose, light fruit with very tight tannins on the finish. 

Chateau Clerc Milon: Medium to light red, dirt and sweet red fruit on the nose, tight with big tannins. 

Chateau Duhart-Milon: Clear medium red, stinky nose, moderate dusty fruit with a bitter cherry finish. 

Chateau Grand Puy-Lacoste: Clear medium red, dusty nose with tight red fruit and crisp acids. 

Chateau Lynch-Bages: Opaque medium red, red cherry and graphite on the nose, light red fruit with high acids at the end. 

Chateau Pichon Barton: Clear medium brick, chocolate on the nose, chewy bitter cherry fruit with a firm but balanced finish. 

Chateau Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande: Opaque medium red, tar and red cherry on the nose, light and tight with low tannins and acids on the finish. 

Saint-Estephe

Chateau Ormes De Pez: Light red in color, graphite on the nose, tight red fruit, nice grip. 

Chateau Phelan Segur: Cloudy medium red, red pixie stick and toast on the nose, tight, light closed fruit with low tannins and acids. 

Sauternes/Barsac

Chateau Suduiraut Chateau Riessec
Chateau Guiraud Chateau de Fargues
Chateau Doisy Daene  

 

 

Bastille Day Fête 2019

 

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July 14th is Bastille Day, the national holiday of France. It celebrates the storming of the Bastille on July 14th, 1789 and the birth of the modern French nation.

FIAF (french institute alliance francaise) is the “country’s leading French language and cultural center” founded nearly 120 years ago to promote French arts and teach French language and is now housed in the heart of Manhattan at 22 East 6oth Street. For over twenty years they have hosted New York City’s largest public celebration of France’s national holiday.

It was a three-block long party on East 60th Street with French themed food booths, French products and a stage with continuous live music throughout the afternoon.

Of course there were a couple of wine tastings as well, a Summer in Provence tasting and a Champagne, Cocktail and Jazz party which I attended. At the party they served five very drinkable Champagne and a specialty cocktail while being serenated by Avalon, a four-piece Jazz band.

 

Champagnes:

Laurent-Perrier Cuvée Rosé

Pol Roger Reserve

Delamonte Brut

Besserat du Bellefon Bleu Brut

Michel Gonet Brut Reserve

 

Cocktail: “La Quatorze Juillet

Made with Routin vermouth blanc, Giffard rubarbe liquour, Giffard Menthe Pastille (a pepperment flavored liquour), a couple of dashes of Angostura bitters and topped with a slice of cucumber. It was very refreshing.

 

 

Côte du Rhône Festival

 

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The debut Côte du Rhône festival was held on June 23rd and promised to be “a free flowing wine and food experience in Manhattan”.

The event was held at the event space Second at 849 6th Avenue in Manhattan. It was a walk-around tasting with a French wine bar theme. There were also a couple of seminars thrown in. To accompany the generous quantity of wines that were served were pates, terrines, salumi, mussels, cheeses and pasta.

The Rhone is the second largest wine appellation in France and the Rhone AOC was established in 1937. The appellation is divided the into four classifications; Cote du Rhone, Cote du Rhone Villages, Cote du Rhone Villages + a village name and Cru wines which come from 17 defined crus.

The region is coming off of a couple outstanding vintages of 2015 & 2016 and I’ve tried some nice wines from across the classifications at every Rhone tasting that I’ve been to this year.  Viognier based whites are in general lush with peach and tropical fruit notes while the rest of the whites have nice minerality and floral notes. The reds have nice concentration with meaty notes on the Syrah based North Rhone reds with red fruit and earth notes and approachable tannins on the rest.

They hosted a Trade/Media tasting in the afternoon and opened the doors for the consumers later that evening, it was an enjoyable Sunday afternoon.