Tuesday, 17 January 2012

2003 Chateau 2003 Lynch Bages 5ème Cru Classé Pauillac: A gem if not a bargain

2003 Lynch Bages: Simply stunning.

I was lucky enough to share a bottle of this last night with a good friend who kindly donated it to the cause at London's finest steakhouse, which offers corkage on a monday.

It needed a couple of hours to open up, even using an aerator. But what a treat.

I can't put it better than Robert Parker himself, who gives it 95 from 100 points:

"This sexy, evolved, dense ruby/purple-tinged 2003 reveals notes of smoke, herbs, black currant jam, licorice and graphite. Full-bodied, opulent and flamboyant, it is another example of a stunning 2003 northern Medoc that can be drunk now or cellared for 10-15 more years. Score: 95"

If you are lucky enough to try this wine, my advice is to decant it for at least two hours before you even take a sip. It changes dramatically as it opens up.

Or you could try Tim Ferris's hyperdecanting technique, but it feels like sacrilege to me.

Saturday, 7 January 2012

Northern Beaujolais: The Society's Exhibition Juliénas 2010

According to the Wine Society in the UK:

"Juliénas is one of the northernmost crus; some say this was where the first vines were planted in Beaujolais and the name harks back to Julius Caesar."

That's some history. I had a the privilege of sharing a bottle of this over Christmas, alonside some other northern Beaujolais wines.

This was one of the best I tasted and is a gem at the price (less than £9 a bottle)

Surprisingly robust, sappy, (a common and accurate term for wines of this area it seems) yet with a fragrant and complex nose, it went superbly with the leftover turkey and lashings of bubble and squeak. (Don't be fooled by the picture on Wikipedia: Done right, it's a superb dish)

Highly recommended. A subtle yet full tasting gem.

Monday, 2 January 2012

Chateau Gruaud Larose 1998: A fine full bodied Saint-Julien

I shared a bottle of Chateau Gruaud Larose 1998 with a friend over Christmas, as a bit of a treat given the price (Around £45). Here's a little bit more about it.

With a mix of 57% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 6.5% Cabernet Franc, 4% Petit Verdot and 2% Malbec it's a big bold Saint-Julien wine. Robert Parker give it an 88, which I'd say was about right.

For around that price (£40-50) I'd suggest that Chateau Meyney 1989 is more of a bargain, if you can call it that within this price range. That wine scores over 90 from Parker, and deservedly so.

But the Gruaud Larose is still a lovely wine. Big bold, deep red/purple colours, intense fruit and a hint of age give way to a lengthy, full and supple finish. It's very full-bodied for a Saint-Julien wine, which is one reason I loved it. Jancis Robinson calls it "crimson" coloured, which describes it perfectly.

The 2008 and 2009 wines seem to be doing very well in terms of Parker scores.

More on that here.

No doubt the 2010 has been massively over-priced and will come down in 2011. We will see.