With the wonderful dinner from the night before having possibly affected the quality of sleep there was a slight weariness as we embarked on the trip to the Union de Grand Crus (UGC) tasting of the Margaux commune. We also managed to be 30 minutes early, this would not normally be a problem as we’d have a coffee but we never drink coffee during the day in these tasting weeks – too strong a flavour. This tends to one of the more variable of the communes and it did appear that way this year.
From that tasting we went to one of the communes leading lights, Chateau Palmer, there is no doubting the quality of wine produced here but the attitude to pricing is am ambitious one. There was a quite heated discussion on pricing and more specifically the need to engage the consumer. We left on good terms with smiles all round but it was a good skirmish.
When you go to Chateau Margaux during en primeur you always expect Paul Pontalier (keep an eye for the video!) to have a ‘glass half full’ line on the wine, he knows how to sell! His views were good, “best of the non-legendary vintages in the last 20 years”…it seemed to be a very fair assessment.
Kirwan, where the wine continues to improve was our last stop off before a hearty lunch at the institution that is the Lion d’Or, we washed this down with a couple of bottles of Frank Phelan 2009, it seem right given where we were going later that evening.
Ducru Beaucaillou is always a stylish welcome and no change here, a big bold wine also, very ‘Cabernet’ but very impressive.
That left the rather pleasant prospect of just two first growths to go on the tasting front. Lafite itself was a little tricky to get mush nose from but the texture and structure suggested a serious and dense example. Following was Mouton where the whole range was more fruit forward, sweeter in essence. Having, by this stage, now tasted all the first growths it is very difficult to split them for two reasons: Firstly the quality is high, secondly, the styles are very different, this is a good thing. Personally I would lean towards Haut Brion and Latour with Mouton next but there was no consensus amongst the team.
Mr Marus had a black tie dinner in town that evening the rest of us were delighted to be going to a dinner at Phelan Segur to celebrate 30 years of the Gardinier family’s ownership. It was a stylish evening with a lovely line up and excellent food:
Tattinger Comtes de Champagne 2005
Phelan Segur 2001 – Magnum
Phelan Segur 1996 – Double Magnum
Phelan Segur 1989 – Imperial
The long drive home was rather quiet…
46 wines sampled (36 tasted and 10 tasted/consumed)
242 wines sampled (195 tasted and 47 tasted/consumed)