Monday, October 05, 2009

1999 in Bordeaux: a Pessac Leognan and a St-Emilion

When I first started collecting the wines of Bordeaux I lived for the vintage reports. The problem is that vintage reports are an overall, or "average", view of mother nature's gifts over a broad geography. When you use these reports for a large region like Bordeaux, you are bound to pick up few clunkers in a great vintage and a few gems in an "off" vintage - vintage reports are pretty good guide, but you can never be to sure.

For example, tonight's two wines were excellent, despite coming from a difficult 1999 vintage that was not notable for late season rains and rot that apparently plagued many producers.

Tasted here before (1,2), the 1999 Chateau Carbonnieux (Pessac Leognan) served up musty, woodsy, black cherries, later rewarding us with some basil, thyme and pencil shavings. Blinded I was thinking it was the St-Emilion - soft and velvety smooth...its elegance nearly masking an enduring finish of wet, black earth. Deliciously Bordeaux.
cork. 12.5% alcohol
Score: 17.5/20
Price: C$65 (SAQ)

On my right was another repeat, the 1999 Moulin St-Georges (St-Emilion). A glassful of toasty new oak, old leather and black cherries to sniff, a chameleon as it shifted and changed over the evening. Spicy, crisp blackberries on the palate over substantial tannins, which presented this offering as a touch more awkward. Greater presence and complexity, but a touch rougher around the edges - in a very good way.
cork. 13% alcohol
Score: 17/20
Price: C$65 (LCBO)

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