1981 Chateau de Pez

DSC_0617A friend of mine who runs his own wine blog (http://barrelsecrets.wordpress.com), has a few older Bordeaux bottles in his wine rack. Most of them stored properly, however not perfectly. One of them is this 1981 Chateau de Pez, St. Estephe. De Pez is one of the oldest estates in Bordeaux. Total production is 150.000 bottles a year, from 39 ha. These vineyards are planted with Cabernet Sauvignon (45%) and Merlot (48%) predominantly, and some Cabernet Franc (4%), Petit Verdot (3%) and some Malbec (1%). In recent vintages, Malbec is almost solely used in their second wine (Les Salles de Pez). However, in the 80’s, the Malbec did end up in their main wine. Ullage = 1,5cm.

Starting off, the color is quite youthful for a 32-year-old wine. Brick coloured rim but deep, red hue in the center. A lot of sediment. On the nose, old spices played the leading role. Rosemary, thyme and oregano. Lead pencil. I missed the fruit. We didn’t have high expectations of this wine, but this first impression wasn’t too amazing. Wet, forest floor. Soil. Some earthy components, mushrooms. Classic maturated BDX aroma’s, but lacking in depth. The same went for the palate. It had some stewed, vague red fruit, there were some tannins left, but all nothing too crazy. Then we decided to decant it. Best_idea_ever.

Bottle had been opened for an hour now, and this 32/yo woke op. Amazing warm spices. Cinnamon, koffie, cloves, white pepper. Fresh, vivid strawberry and raspberry. Hints of cacao and caramel. This guy had been sleeping for 32 years, so I guess you need some time to wake up, then. Fine by me: the result was one of the best matured Bordeaux I have ever tasted. Absolutely phenomenal.

Obviously, drink this now if you come across this wine with this filling level. I am not sure whether there is another Ch. de Pez which turns out to be as good as this one, but take the guess. 1981 is a rather confusing vintage, but this is a fine example of the qualities. Benchmark old Bordeaux. This left me speechless. 97+

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NV Ulysse Collin “Les Maillons”

DSC_0608More bubbles! This time a lesser known producer: Ulysse Collin. Based in Congy, Ulysse Collin produces champagne since 2004. After having done internships at Selosse (which is a nice wink to my previous post), he started out on a parcel just over a hectare planted with chardonnay thus creating Blanc de Blancs. In 2006, they started with their single vineyard Blanc de Noirs, which is called “les Maillons”. Les Maillons is only 0,6 ha small, giving a total production per year of 4500 bottles.

Let’s start. First thing that struck me was the color: it has almost a pink hue over the deep, golden color. The wine needed a little time in the glass to open up. At first, it was rather tight, notes of bread, toast and herbs. Sage, oregano and rosemary,herbs I like to call “cold herbs”. After 15 minutes or so, fresh, vivid red fruit made its appearance. Cherry, raspberry.

Palatewise, the toasty character also came through. The red fruit certainly showed up, however the acidity had some rough edges. Very cleaning and focused minerality. The herbal notes also come through on the palate. The mousse is quite hard, I have to say. Pleasant and good length.

This is a very exciting glass of champagne. It has character. It forces you to think about it. It needs to be thought about. Some additional bottle ageing might come in helpful. For now: this is an intelligent wine. Not for anybody, but I think it is a very good effort. Looking forward to taste more of Ulysse Collin.

First encounter: Jacques Selosse, Version Originale

DSC_0605So, yesterday was some sort of hazing: for the first time in my life, I was going to drink Jacques Selosse. The incredibly famous producer from the Champagne has set the bar for Champagne with his wines. We drunk the Version Originale (VO). Degorgement 14/12/11. This is a Blanc des Blancs (100% Chardonnay), non-vintage. 3600 bottles a year. Selosse ferments and matures his base wine on oak barrels. In his own words: he creates Burgundy with bubbles.

Colourwise: deep green/golden hue. On the nose aroma’s of tropical fruit, subtle but obvious use of oak. Warm spices (cinnamon, clove, star anise), peach, but very evident citrus fruit “to keep things fresh”. Hint of smoke. A very intriguing nose.

On the palate, the expectations the nose created are fully met. Amazingly small and vivid bubbles. The warmth of the oak comes through – however perfectly embedded -, together with ripe stone fruit, tropical fruit, some spices (cinnamon!). Minerality, flint, wet rock. Enourmous length and depth. This goes on forever. This really does taste like a very big white Burg that got some bubbles. What I found the most interesting and amazing part of this wine is the amount of layers the palate got to offer. Your first sip gives you richness, creamyness. But if you keep your taste buds open for the next part, there are those spices, these tropical fruits and this palate-cleaning minerality.

Needless to say: this is an exceptional wine. Unfortunately, Selosse gained in popularity over the last few years (good for him, though), so his wines begin at 85+ euro’s. Fortunately, it is worth every last penny. Amazing.

2008 Azienda Pier “Asnas”

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A blend of Barbera, Nebbiolo and Petit Verdot. The nose gives away Barbera by showing amazing violets, strawberries and very lively red fruit. Though Nebbiolo makes his appearance with roses and black tea. Little forest floor/funkyness as well. On the palate firm but supple tannins, red and dark fruit. Hint of cacao. Good length and acidity which keeps the wine very quaffable yet exciting.

Drink now plus 3yrs.

At 16 Euro’s amazing value for money. 91  points.

Available at Chabrol Wines Amsterdam (Haarlemmerstraat 7 and Overtoom 444): WEBSITE

2010 Blanc de Chasse-Spleen

Ahh, white Bordeaux. There is something about white BDX to me and I’m not sure what. It might be the fact that still Bordeaux is renowned 99% for it’s reds and it’s maybe that, that lowers your expectations when opening a white Bordeaux. It’s kind of the same with red Loire. They get me quicker and more easily, because I still link that area to its more famous white wines. The same (in colourwise the opposite way) is key with white Bordeaux.

Mostly made from Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon, however in some white Bordeaux Muscadelle makes an appearance too. The wines are aromatic, and good friends with oak. In general, all good white Bordeaux have at least seen oak for a couple of months.

So, here we have Blanc de Chasse-Spleen: the white, rarer brother of Ch. Chasse-Spleen. Located in Moulis-en-Medoc, of all of the 113 ha Chasse-Spleen owns, only 2 ha is used for its white. Made from 65% Sauvignon Blanc and 35% Semillon.

Tasting note:
A clear wine, lemon, gold coloured medium intensity. Clean nose of medium+ intensity, developing with aroma’s of tropical fruit, spiciness and minerals. Some smoke and vanilla due to oak. Stone fruit, lemon fruit, all fresh. Green apple.

On the palate, the wine is dry. Good acidity, good intensity. Flavours of ripe fruit, both citrus and stone fruit again. Apricot, pineapple. Some vanilla. Lots of minerals. Long finish. Very good structure. The acidity keeps the wine exciting. Oily, palate covering flavours and acidity and minerality that cuts through. This wine is packed with flavour. This is clearly young, though not too young for my palate. It can cellar for another 5+ years but certainly drinkable now. It will improve as the oak is not fully integrated in the wine in my opinion and might be a little off-balance now. However; this is nuance.

I think this wine is very good, and an amazing example of how exciting white Bordeaux can be. At a suggested retail of €25, this is something you should buy two bottles (at least) of: one for now and one in 5 years.

Cheers!

2004 Anne Leflaive Puligny-Montrachet “Les Pucelles”

Wow.. This was a convenient surprise of one of the people we had a glass of wine with last Friday. From his own cellar, bought at an auction. Domaine Leflaive works 100% biodynamically and organically. It is one of the more legendary domaines. They possess about 3 ha in Les Pucelles. 12 months of oak (1/3 new).

Tasted blind.

NOSE: Toast, vanilla, warm spices, hint of cinnamon. Tropical fruit, stone fruit. Fresh and stewed. Amazing amount of layers in the nose. This is serious stuff. We pretty quickly narrowed it down to white Burgundy.

PALATE: Flavours of oak. Minerals. Tart citric flavours. Tropical fruit, apricot, nectarine. Loads and loads of minerals. Amazing depth. Good complexity. This is developing, but has ages of ageing potential left.

One of the more interesting wines I have tasted. This is a benchmark white Burg. If premox doesn’t kick in, this could get extraordinary over time.

Suggested retail E170,-

Cheers!