Arriving into London on a uncharacteristically humid October morning with ominous yellow skies lit up by a misty sun, gave something of an apocalyptic landscape over the Houses of Parliament. Maybe too much talk and not enough substance, especially with the consternation of Brexit, could it be actually beginning to take its toll on the world! Some say it had more to do with a Hurricane called Ophelia, but we are not 100% convinced!
Anyway, time to get out of the heat of Dante’s Inferno and go join a union! And what a union, none other than that of the Union des Grands Crus de Bordeaux who just happened to be in town to showcase the 2015 vintage. Now, it’s not every day you get the chance to sample so many top class Bordeaux in just one room, and since we had been sent our very own personal invite, it was an event that we weren’t going to miss!
We soon found ourselves back at Lindley Hall in Westminster, our previous visit here was for the SITT Trade & Press Tasting last month, and we can certainly say that a good time was had by all! Today however, we were looking forward to simply concentrating on just one wine region – Bordeaux and not just any old Bordeaux, but some of the most prestigious wines and producers. Chateaux belonging to the 1855 Classification, Premier Grand Cru Classe, Grand Cru Classe, Grand Cru, Cru Bourgeois and lots more! Oh Mr Darcy!
And if that wasn’t enough, the entire Great British wine establishment had all come out to play, including ‘Wine Jedi’ Jancis Robinson – we swear that after meeting her we actually levitated!
It has been said, or more rightly the wine oracles of Bordeaux have said, that the 2015 is a more approachable vintage with softer, rounder edges that the 2016, which they describe as a bit more toned and butch-like in its character, the 2014’s are pretty good as well so they say, but don’t mention 2013… ssh!
Then again, every vintage in Bordeaux is an outstanding one (according to some sources)! We say, make up your own mind! This is where doing a bit of homework can usually actually pay dividends.
At todays event, there were around 110 producers, all with their 2015 vintage on show and to taste – now it would be great to list them all (because we did manage to taste everyone – we know, we know – the professionals that we are)!
Instead, we have put together a list that we hope will give you a bit of a flavour of the day:
Crus De Graves
Château de Chantegrive Blanc – Fresh with a fine citrus fruits, yellow blossom and herbal notes. Structured
Crus De Pessac-Léognan
Château Bouscaut Grand Cru Classé Graves Blanc – Bright in the glass with a delicate nose, but really comes to life on the palate, with a silky rich mouthfeel bursting with tropical fruits, yellow flowers, tight acidity and a long finish
Château Latour-Martillac Grand Cru Classé Graves Blanc – Some decent colour to it, fresh and round, layered, minty herbs, citrus fruits and wild flowers
Château Malartic-Lagravière Grand Cru Classé Graves Blanc – Asparagus, bell pepper, herbal with a citrus tang, textured and rounded
Château Pape Clément Grand Cru Classé Graves Blanc – Nice touch of oak vanilla spice that plays along nicely with the lemon citrus fruits and hints of herb
Château Smith Haut Lafitte Grand Cru Classé Graves Blanc – White meadow flowers and minty herbs, fresh but rounded, and a long finish
Château Les Carmes Haut-Brion Rouge – Plenty of primary fruits, especially blackcurrant with a herbal tang, a touch of spice and a structured body
Château de Fieuzal Grand Cru Classé Graves Rouge – Wild sour berries meet savoury animal nuances, structured, grippy, it means business!
Château Haut-Bailly Grand Cru Classé Rouge – Structured, meaty, savoury with plenty of dark fruits to boot that are lifted by the spicy oak
Château Malartic-Lagravière Grand Cru Classé Rouge – This wine possessed lots of depth to the fruit, blackberries and blackcurrant mix with tight fresh acid and taught grippy tannins
Crus De Saint-Émilion
Château Beau-Séjour Bécot Premier Grand Cru Classé ‘B’ Rouge – Blood/ruby with plenty of spicy liquorice, nice woody elements, and dark fruits bursting through, along with fine tannins on the finish
Château Canon-la–Gaffelière Grand Cru Classé ‘B’ Rouge – Plum and cherry fruit entwined around a rounded body and long finish
Château la Couspaude Grand Cru Classé Rouge – Mmm… spice and all things nice, dusty dark fruits, tobacco leaf and a hint of bacon
Château Grand Mayne Grand Cru Classé Rouge – Lifted, herbal with blackcurrant spice – so fresh!
Château Pavie Premier Grand Crus Classé ‘A’ Rouge – Animal, spicy with minty damson, fine tannins, balanced
Château Troplong Mondot Premier Grand Cru Classé ‘B’ Rouge – Deep, savoury, spicy fruits, lifted acidity and fine grained tannins – nice!
Crus De Pomerol
Château Beauregard Rouge – Big, bold and butch! Meat, blood, spicy liquorice stick, balanced with a decent structure
Château Clinet Rouge – Solid, ripe dark fruits, cherry spice, lifted acidity and a grippy finish
Château La Croix De Gay Rouge – Taught, and straight out of a workout, tight, fresh, spicy and savoury – oooeeer!
Château Petit-Village Rouge – Bright cassis, with liquorice stick dipped straight in there, layered and forthcoming, great finish
Crus De Listrac-Médoc
Château Fourcas Hosten Cru Bourgeois Rouge – Plenty of depth with dark polished blackcurrant and plums – clean and precise
Crus De Moulis-en-Médoc
Château Chasse-Spleen Cru Bourgeois (Exceptionnel) Rouge – Ruby – Garnet. Spicy, liquorice, clove meet dark fruit, fresh green pepper and herbs. Mouth-filling, structured with a long grainy tannic finish
Château Maucaillou Cru Bourgeois Rouge – Earthy, pine, gets along nicely with meaty bacon tones, fresh and grippy
Château Poujeaux Cru Bourgeois (Exceptionnel) rouge – Polished, spicy, meaty with blackcurrant jelly, clean precise acid
Crus De Haut-Médoc
Château Citran Cru Bourgeois Rouge – Ripe dark concentrated fruits, well made and definitely more-ish!
Château De Lamarque Cru Bourgeois Rouge – Dark, spicy and bold! Dark, grippy, big and fresh!
Château La Tour Carnet Quatrièmes Crus (Fourth Growth) Rouge – Big and meaty, concentrated and fresh, fine tannins
Crus De Médoc
Château La Tour De By Cru Bourgeois Rouge – A walk through the woods on an autumn day, with a fresh cool breeze, added spice and savoury overtones
Crus De Margaux
Château d’Angludet Cru Bourgeois Rouge – Wow! Lifted red fruits including wild strawberries, perfumed and floral, which marry nicely with spicy savoury tones
Château Brane-Cantenac Deuxièmes Crus (Second Growth) Rouge – Liquorice and clove spice dance with the dark cherry fruits amidst a finely tuned body
Château Desmirail Troisièmes Cru (Third Growth) Rouge – Meaty, smoky bacon plays merrily with lifted floral violet and rose notes, structured and balanced
Château Durfort-Vivens Deuxièmes Crus (Second Growth) Rouge – Taught, tight, with bright fruit, bell pepper and savoury elements
Château Labégorce Cru Bourgeois (Supérieur) Rouge – So bright, so fresh, so clean and well shaped! Plenty of fruit backed up with woody spice
Château Marquis de Terme Quatrièmes Crus (Fourth Growth) Rouge – Blackberry jelly combines with woody spice, lifted by fresh acidity, and finished with fine grained tannins
Château Monbrison Cru Bourgeois Rouge – Elegant, floral with bright fruit, fine and fresh
Château Prieuré-Lichine Quatrièmes Crus (Fourth Growth) Rouge – Deep and concentrated with a decent streak of acidity
Château Rauzan-Ségla Deuxièmes Crus (Second Growth) Rouge – Perfumed, with fragrant wild roses, violets, herbal hints and bright fruit. Poised
Crus De Saint-Julien
Château Beychevelle Cinquièmes Crus (Fifth Growth) Rouge – Attention! Structured, bright, spicy and just right!
Château Branaire-Ducru Cinquièmes Crus (Fifth Growth) Rouge – Ooooooo! Earthy, spicy, liquorice stick dipped, more-ish dark fruits
Château Lagrange Troisièmes Crus (Third Growth) Rouge – Lifted, floral and tightly woven fruit in a well looked after body
Château Langoa-Barton Troisièmes Crus (Third Growth) Rouge – Polished cherry and blackberry fruit, with sleek oak. Well crafted
Château Léoville-Poyferré Deuxièmes Crus (Second Growth) Rouge – Medicinal with an underlay of bright fruit, fine and structured
Château Talbot Château Léoville-Poyferré Quatrièmes Crus (Fourth Growth) Rouge – Precise, tight, taught, with spicy fruit marrying nicely
Crus De Pauillac
Château Batailley Cinquièmes Crus (Fifth Growth) Rouge – Meaty, savoury, hints of bacon and liquorice spice – what’s not to like!
Château Grand-Puy-Lacoste Cinquièmes Crus (Fifth Growth) Rouge – Lifted spicy nose with polished bright fruits, pleasant freshness and fine tannins
Château Lynch-Bages Cinquièmes Crus (Fifth Growth) Rouge – Perfumed, floral, bright and lifted – so fresh!
Château Lynch-Moussas Cinquièmes Crus (Fifth Growth) Rouge – Gamey, meaty and spicy with grippy tannins
Château Pichon Baron Deuxièmes Crus (Second Growth) Rouge – Dark brooding cherry and blackberry fruits, garner with floral notes and an upward lift from the fresh acidity, structured and precise
Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande Château Pichon Deuxièmes Crus (Second Growth) Rouge – Savoury nose with fruits shining through on the palate – plenty of structure and plenty to give
Crus De Saint-Estèphe
Château Cos Labory Cinquièmes Crus (Fifth Growth) Rouge – Lifted fruits, a nice touch of spice, and floral notes. Elegant
Crus De Sauternes Et Barsac
Château Bastor-Lamotagne Blanc, Sauternes – Oh dear! Ooooooooooo dear! Fresh orange and apricots, ginger spice and a touch of brown sugar – mouth coating and cleansing
Château Coutet Premiers Cru (First Growth) Blanc, Barsac – Lemon drizzle cake – just pour it all over us!
Château Doisy Daëne Deuxièmes Cru (Second Growth) Blanc, Barsac – Floral with herbal overtones, lemon curd and so fresh
Château De Fargues Blanc, Sauternes – Rich, honeyed apricots, just a hint of herb. Mmm…
Château Guiraud Premiers Cru (First Growth) Blanc, Sauternes – Organic. Candied fruits, citrus peel, figs and herbs, mouth coating and mouth pleasing
Château Suduiraut Premiers Cru (First Growth) Blanc, Preignac – Rich Honeyed, orange marmalade – oozing and fresh
And with our heads truly spinning, from all the talent on show, the friendly and informative producers, and the great and the mighty from the wine world, had made for an absolute corker of a day! Here’s to next years!