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Virginie de Valandraud St-Emilion Grand Cru Bordeaux 2009

Bordeaux 2009 @ Mezzo 03/09/12

Bordeaux 2009 – WOW! Not since the 2005 vintage Bordeaux (of which I did three separate tasting in the space of a week) have I felt the need to write ‘wow’ in capital letters. I was a bit nervous to see if the wines lived up the the massive hype for a couple of reasons. First and foremost after the last three Bordeaux vintage dinners 2006, 07 & 08 we needed some joy. And secondly I had bought quite a bit En-Primeur.

Thankfully the wines were stunning. Once again Patrick had the unenviable task of picking the wines but the representative sample was great for an overview and there was not a dud amongst them.

Champagne to start

Lanson 2002 Vintage Champagne The third time we have started with this wine. It is still charming although it has only been a couple of months it seems to have softened and broadened a little making it all the more drinkable.

Bordeaux 2009

Cantemerle Haut Medoc 5th Growth 2009 Smoke, spice, graphite, red currants, hint dried green herbs, pepper. Firm but elegant oak tannins, hints of gravel, lean and very very long, floral and red fruited core. Hint bitter. Stunning wine for the money and could easily have been mistaken for being of much higher quality than its lowly 5th Growth ranking.

D’Issan Margaux 3rd Growth 2009 Plums, choco, terracotta, violets, red, spicy. Dirty, meaty, earthy, core of dark fruits, black currants and dark choco. This was a beautifully elegant wine that was infact my favourite for its perfume and simplicity.

Phelan Segur St Estephe Cru Bourgeois 2009 Fragrant, blue/purple fruits, primary, meaty, hint hand soap. Silky, good flesh, fine tannins, very lean, tight core, hint hollow? Builds intensity on finish. Black currants, hint chalky, high acid. This and the Cantemerle were the cheapest on the table but both punch well above their weight.

Batailley Pauillac 5th Growth 2009 Herbal, spice, hint of green mint/peppermint, oak becomes prominent. Pepper, spiced meats, cinnamon. Plums, oaky, choco, flesh, spice, dry tannins, hint bitter. Great harmony. This was voted equal wine of the night along with Leoville Barton. It is a young and exuberant wine that has a long time to go before it fully matures.

Leoville Barton St Julien 2nd Growth 2009 Dense, cool, plums, fragrant, spearmint, violets & roses, spice, very perfumed, bubblegum. Vibrant, crunchy, blue/purple, structured, sweet fruited, hint short? Primary and raw. This was the second most expensive wine on the table and it was impressive but extremely young. For three times the price of Phelan or Cantemerle you’d certainly grab three bottles of the others if you were going to drink the wine now. In 15-30 years time it may be another story. However, Options wine number one might just turn that thought on its head.

Clos Fourtet St Emilion Premier Grand Cru Classe 2009 Dark, smoke, graphite, oak, cardomom, complex, hint of jam at core. Silky, weighty, dark, choco, firm, clean, tart red fruits, red liquorice, hint bitter, briary. The most expensive wine on the table and the only Right Bank wine. I think it suffered for that in part as most didn’t enjoy it where I found it quite lovely but perhaps too expensive. We also had a discussion about the fact Robert Parker gave this wine 100 points out of a possible 100. Was this wine perfect? Was it better than the Leoville or Batailley? Over time will it become perfect.

Options Wine # 1

Cantemerle Haut Medoc 5th Growth 1995 Kevin brought this along to complement the 2009 we were having and it was stunning.
Dry, green leaf, tobacco, spearmint, dry leaves, earth, prune, plums, spice.
Sweet fruits, clean, cool, elegant.
Unfortunately noone picked it as being the Cantemerle but this wine was stunning. Exactly why you buy and store Bordeaux. If you could bottle this and sell it you would….

Options Wine # 2

Pichon Lalande Pauillac 2nd Growth 1979 Patrick’s favourite Bordeaux producer and a wine he holds close to his heart.
Green olives, tea leaf, earth, stone, currants.
Dry, lean, clean, sweet core, red fruits, red currants.
Can be summed up as “Pretty, floral, red and vibrant”. There was a mustiness to it but more an age rather than cork issue. It was stunning old Bordeaux that still had a fair whack of tannic power.