January 29th 2010
Nicolas Thienpont is an incredibly busy man. He not only owns three chateau in the Cote de Francs (including Puygueraud where he spent his childhood) but manages and makes the wine at some of the most respected properties on the Right Bank, including Pavie Maquin, Larcis Ducasse and Berliquet. And lest he should ever have an idle moment he has also recently started working with Ch Poujeaux on the other side of the river.
We were absolutely delighted that he and his son Cyrille who is also involved in the family business came over to London to host a tasting and dinner for some of our clients. Concerns that the simultaneous translation of Nicolas’ words of wisdom would leave us feeling a little like the UN General Assembly were quite unfounded. Nicolas is very understated but both eloquent and amusing. His love of his work is inspiring and nothing was lost in translation thanks to Ben Kennedy. However as Nicolas himself said, “The wines speak for themselves.”
The notes below were provided by Robin Kick, our wine buyer.
Puygueraud 07 – a round and soft 2007 that reveals youthful notes of toasty oak and red cherry. Impressive concentration for a 2007, this should start drinking well before the 2005 and 2006. A real pleaser.
Puygueraud 06 – The 2006 opens up with an attractive nose and a rich, velvety palate of chocolate and ripe bramble fruit. Notably dense, this will require several more years in the cellar (despite Parker’s drinking dates of 2009 – 2012).
Puygueraud 05 – Unsurprisingly, this was the belle of the bar and offered exceptional balance between power and finesse. It offered a palate that still delivered sweet fruit yet which was becoming wonderfully savoury as well. The structure will require a couple more years to soften, but it is a beauty.
Puygueraud 04 – Meaty with a Bordelais nose of pencil lead, dried fruits and leather, this is a delicious 2004 that offers a notable amount of concentration and complexity. Considering 2004 was a more challenging, ‘classic’ vintage, this was the wine that showed off Nicolas’ talent best in my book.
Puygueraud 03 – True to the vintage, the 2003 displayed a rich and ample palate of fleshy fruit with underlying notes of tobacco and herbs. Evolved yet still youthful, it finished on velvety nose of chocolate and spice. A hedonist’s delight.
Puygueraud 97 – A bit closed and reduced when first opened, with a little air, this wine came alive displaying evolved notes of leather and dried cherries. Though not as powerful as the other vintages, it was still holding its own for a 1997.
Berliquet 08 – A deep brooding wine that offered a saturated purple colour and a velvety rich palate. Notes of black plums and treacle.
Larcis Ducasse 08 – Similar in flavour profile as the Berliquet, it nonetheless has a more grown up feel to it with its amplified complexity and concentration. Very focused and pure, this will need quite a few years in the cellar.
Pavie Macquin 08 – A very different wine from Larcis despite being right next door. More red, juicy fruit with a plump velvety palate. Crunchy yet ample, this will be drinking earlier than Larcis. A flirt of a wine.
Charmes Godard Blanc 07 – a very different Bordeaux Blanc that tastes nothing like most Bordeaux Blancs (apart from Monbousquet Blanc and perhaps Lynch Bages Blanc). This is mostly due to its unusual combination of varieties – 70% Semillon, 20% Sauvignon Gris (popular on Right Bank) and 10% Muscadelle. It offers a poised, crisp palate of pear, preserved lemons and almonds. It is more of a food wine than a quaffing one. Notable concentration and length.
Puygueraud 00 – Masculine and sturdy with savoury notes rounded out with chocolate and spice. This is a big wine that demonstrates Puygueraud’s ageability well. Very 2000.
Larcis Ducasse 04 – A wine that really displayed the terroir and the vintage, this full-bodied yet discreet wine reveals dark berry fruit and smoky bacon notes. Fine tuned yet powerful.
Pavie Macquin 04 – Again, a wine of terroir and vintage, the 2004 is velvety and ample opening up to notes of roasted coffee and ripe red bramble fruit. More opulent and layered than the Larcis. Though starting to drink well now, this wine could age for some time to come.
Pavie Macquin 01 – I tasted three bottles which were all slightly different yet which all displayed 2001’s wonderful purity and poise. This is a lady with loads of class and finesse. As Nicolas said, it’s only downfall was to follow the 2000. A delicious, beautiful wine.
Pavie Macquin 98 – Again, three bottles that showed more variation that the 2001. The first was quite brooding and tight, but the second was gorgeous with loads of deep and velvety power. The third bottle was in between. Overall, it is an impressive masculine wine that is representative of the vintage.