April 19th 2011
The sun that greeted Day One of our tasting trip and the dinner we had at Le Boucher (punctuated by a few Poires), only served to fully enthuse the tasting team of Johnny Goedhuis, David Roberts, James Low and Julian Chamberlen. Our first glass (and what a start) was Angludet with Ben Sichel. We very much enjoyed it but sadly for us it is a scarce resource. It was then off to Palmer, where the highest ever levels of alcohol were recorded but with very impressive and great breeding.
We met Emmanuel Cruze at Issan next (such a stunning property) and he was deservedly feeling very happy, likening this vintage to a blend of one third 2009 and two thirds 2005. “Very Bordeaux in style”, it had fine tannins and was very “˜buvable’, suggesting this is a Cabernet vintage.
We were greeted by a long line up of wines at Ulysse Cazabonne with François and Stephanie. Beaumont, Malescasse, Chasse Spleen and Rauzan Segla impressed and indeed encouraged us on our way to an alfresco lunch at the Golf Club du Margaux- no time for Tiger antics! John Kolasa hosting magnificently and Segla 2005 were just a delight and we will, I am sure, buy some more. The other bonus was to have the Wertheimer family’s horse man there, Pierre-Yves Bureau. We are now fully tipped for the Derby! Then, it was to see the delightful and exuberant Maria at Brane-Cantenac, tasting both 2009 and 2010. The former was oozing charm and the 2010 was dense, rich, sweet and lovely with very low yields of 39 ha/hl.
Next, to Ch. Margaux for simply the greatest moment of the day- Paul Pontalier thoughtful, reflective and extraordinary in both his ability to make and communicate about wine. These were unquestionably the wines of the day. Pavillon Rouge was the best he has ever made from the strictest selection. It had pure expressive concentration and lovely length, totalling 38 percent of production. Then we tasted a gorgeous, expressive, impressive and exemplary Ch. Margaux, again 38 percent of production. Key, in his eyes, to the success of 2010 was the long drought from June 20th until after harvest, concentrating the grapes. It was not however as hot as 2009 so freshness was experienced. Pavillon Blanc simply had to be swallowed.
To Talbot next, to meet “˜man mountain’ Eugene, a great négociant friend who, with his diminutive nephew, exclaimed all of the remaining wines of the day to be “excellent”- Connetable and Talbot Caillou Blanc. Then we were off to Gloria and St. Pierre, where leather jacket was the order of the day. A brief “pression” stop and now we are en route to Grand Puy Lacoste for tasting and dinner – more news tomorrow!