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Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Dynamite showing for '03 Bordeaux at EWS!

As most of you know, EWS tastings are blind. I am writing my notes in the order the wines were tasted. The consensus vote tallies for wine of the night are listed at the end of my impressions. Enjoy!

Pichon Lalande
Lightest color in the first flight of 5, exhibiting a more ruby shade. Promising nose of fig paste, meat, underbrush, green olive and a touch of cranberry. While there was a broad spectrum of subtle nuance in the nose, the palate was more than full w/ big time body and a boat-load of tannin. Chunky texture lead to a powerful finish which left a lovely rose petal note to linger nicely. At this moment in the game, the fruit is very un-delineated and speaks much more softly than the tannin. Assuming it's closing down a bit, 7-8 years down the road she'll certainly merit more pleasure, and a higher score. 91 points.

Bellevue Mondotte
Aromatics were DEEP, w/ plumb, touches of prune, and decadent chocolate that sparked like lightning rods through the nostrils. Sexy, jammy blackberry preserve filled a gorgeous palate that was marked w/ power, richness and purely ripe hedonism. The generous texture allowed the wine to glide away effortlessly to a 1 minute finish. The proprietors of Bellevue coaxed a seamless marriage of fruit and wood. WOW! 98 points.

Pape Clement
Precise aromas of ripe tobacco and creme de casis were buttressed by sweet toast in beautiful fashion. While intensity built nicely on the palate, the structure was taut and surrounded by dry tannin. Plenty of chocolate, black currant and wood seemed to poke through, but were clearly hidden this evening. Give Pape 5-7 years before you try her again. 93 points.

The darkest, deepest purple color of the flight. The color was backed by the most tight and backwardly fashioned juice that this taster sampled throughout the evening. Plenty of gravel, mineral and pure black currant loomed quietly, while spots of wild blueberry managed to poke through in the nose. Olive, tobacco, and rich black fruits lay on top of big time tannins that are certainly ripe, but their abundance seemed to clip the finish. The overall impression I was left w/ was that the wine currently is plagued by a hollow and austere impression, but I know this is only one ounce of what this 50 pounder has to offer. Plenty of upside, but 90 points for now. DON'T TOUCH!

The nose initially struck me as somewhat blowzy, but became more attractive in time. Violet, currant and exotic rose petals came to light...hell, it was flower central! She picked up a healthy dose of black pepper to balance the crushed berry fruit. Although the heavy duty tannins need a few more years to settle down, Pavie had sweetly supple texture and should drink well fairly young. No controversy here Jancis. 94 points and prune free.

Sweet cherry, vanilla, coffee and soft red fruit nose was inviting, but seemed a tad superficial to me at this point (yeah I know it's primary, but...c'mon). Notes of merlot-esque plummy spice, cola, tobacco and mineral in the palate had me thinking right bank all the way (oops). The focus on the finish improved w/ time, still loaded w/ sweet oak. Tasty as hell, but didn't seem to have the same class as I'd hoped. 94 points none the less.

Brainare Ducru
Initially it was very tight, but what a coming out party Brainare had! Pounds of chocolate, plum, licorice and floral tones sucked you in like a vacuum. Big time richness, verging on pure decadence. Mocha toast kissed the super-ripe fruit flavors so sinfully that I declared this St. Julien to be the 'Pride Mountain Vineyards of Bordeaux!' Bob Foley must have had a part in it...anyways, the steal of the night- I'm on my way to Wine Searcher this puppy as I type! 96 points, BRAVO! Don't be afraid to drink her now, she's virile!

Leoville Poyferre
A boatload of Indian spices (such as curry, cumin and chili powder) filled the air so vividly, I assumed Cos d'Estournel due to it's distinct spice profile. Flowers, rich cassis and mocha spice were present in copious quantities, clearly stamping Poyferre's place on the 'big time wine' category. The loads of dark fruits and bitter chocolate simply wouldn't quit as they sailed on the ripened-to-perfection tannic backbone. Unreal...just wait 5 more years and then see what happens. 99 points.

The big leagues have officially named their captain. Brooding nose of bay leaf, grilled meat, spicebox, purple fruits, currants and tobacco were surreal in their purity and penetration. What a powerfully FULL body! Rich, cashmere textures surrounded leather and mocha coated black currant fruit in seamless fashion. Phenomenal weight, symmetry and grace. 100 points (my first) and my wine of the night.

Lafite Rothschild
Scents of gravel, rose petal, toast and currant are sensual and impressive in their elegance, but the true beauty was in the plushness of the body. There were no rough edges whatsoever, and incredible density to match. My guess was Angelus...yep, battin' a thousand aren't I? 96 points.

Clos Fourtet
A lovely integration of decadent black cherry and oak were expressed in the nose, as well as notes of anise and smoke. The attack began gorgeously, but wasn't as seamless as the previous wine in the flight. Plenty of scorched earth and pressed berry flavors danced their way through the finish. 94 points.

The shocker of the evening. The nose was purely candied, w/ licorice and sweet chocolate that were flat out sexy. The palate penetration was phenomenal, it reminded me of a top flight Achaval Ferrer Malbec. Pure raspberry ganache, plush and generous w/ the most impressive length of all the wines tasted during the evening. A young Latour as candied and sexy? Hell has frozen over. 97 points.

Plenty of grilled herb, roasted fruits and dried flowers gave off a unique first appeal. While the wine offered a tad less immediate opulence, the fruit was lovely on entry (and faded a bit on the finish for me). A classic claret and unmistakable upside. 95 points, a consensus wine of the night.

Cos d'Estournel
Smoke, burnt rubber, tar and mushroom filled the air in a distinct fashion from it's peers. Black fruits, which were a tad overshadowed by the now rough tannin and chewy texture. Still a bit on the austere side...but isn't this what young Bordeaux is supposed to taste like? Anyhow, the nose and it's CDP qualities must have hooked Bob in as he put this wine in his top 3. Tremendous upside, but for now I score her at 94 points.

Final tally of scores (votes for 1st, 2nd and 3rd are added):
  1. Angelus 124
  2. Cos d'Estournel 106
  3. Montrose 91
  4. Leoville Poyferre 54
  5. Latour 52
  6. Pavie 44
  7. Lafite 42
  8. Clos Fourtet 37
  9. Ausone 20
  10. Branaire Ducru 20
  11. Pape Clement 18
  12. Margaux 14
  13. Bellevue Mondotte 13
  14. Pichon Lalande 4