Monday, January 24, 2005

Bordeaux Night - January 2005

Over the last year we have had some turnover in our tasting group, as one of our tasters departed our fair city for greener pastures. He was replaced by three new wine geeks, two of whom joined us this night. Just to make sure these uppity newbies were put in their place, we dove right into Bordeaux. This was a lot of fun - four tasters, four great wines, and one big headache the morning after. Here are the results:

First Place – 1999 Chateau Carbonnieux (Pessac Leognan)
Chris' Carbonnieux easily won with three first place and one second place ranking. I described this wine as very aromatic, with scents of violet, strawberry, cedar, spice (nutmeg, pepper), cocoa, butter, hazelnut - a lot going on here! I recall it was very 'fruit forward', more like an Aussie, but very well balanced and 'hearty'. This had a very long finish, and should continue to improve. Good thing - I went out and bought the last bottles in town. Note this was not highly ranked by Parker (86). Cost C$65.

Second Place – 1999 Chateau Montrose (St-Estephe)
On paper my Montrose should have won. 'George' garnered one first place (Pramod), two second place and a third place ranking. I described this wine as aromatic, but more subtle than the Carbonnieux - scents of violet, white flowers, cherry, mint, cloves, vanilla, butter, some prunes "not intense, but elegant". This was a well balanced, elegant, medium-bodied Bordeaux with a long finish. I rated this equal to the Carbonnieux on taste, but just a little behind on the nose. Cost C$77. (RP 90)

Third Place – 2001 Carruades de Lafite (Pauillac)
My Carruades de Lafite garnered one second place and three third place rankings. I described this wine as aromatic and "pleasant but uncomplex and not very intense" - subtle scents of violet, strawberry, mint, and butter caramel. On the palate this was a more austere wine with harsher tannins. A long finish, giving hints this wine may get better. At C$49 a 'value' winner? (RP-87)

Fourth Place – 1999 Chateau Gruaud Larose (St-Julien)
The Gruaud Larose was everyone's least favourite. Somebody had to lose, but at C$74? I described this wine as very aromatic "powerful, without finesse, overpowering tannins" - scents of violet, apple, blackberry, green pepper, pine, musk, tobacco and cocoa. On the palate this was very dry with firm tannins. Reasonably well balanced, but with a surprising short finish. Drink now. "Elegant but lacking depth, complexity." (RP-89)

  1. Did we make a 'discovery' with the Carbonnieux? I noticed more recent ratings for this Chateau are up - maybe we 'found' it first!
  2. Nice to see we got to try four different Bordeaux villages/regions.
  3. Darn newbie won!