April 18, 2017

Bordeaux En Primeur 2016: Day 6

One of those special days….

We are lucky in the wine trade to have quite a few days of “work” which our friends and customers would view as anything but. This was just that sort of day. Fitting therefore that we had been joined overnight by Percy and Adam, the team was now at full strength, and at maximum height too!

Unsurprisingly it started with a very early departure from Bordeaux town center, we headed to the right bank. First stop was Clos Saint Martin a tiny exclusivity of ours in St.Emilion. This estate, run and owned by Sophie Fourcade, is an absolute gem. Almost uniquely 15% of the wine is aged in amphora and then the other 16 barrels they make (yes only 16) is aged in barriques from 5 different coopers…this is micro Bordeaux if ever there was. The 2016 easily rivals the stellar 2015 which is not something I though I’d say this time last year – so impressed was I with the 2015.

From here we dashed to the other side of St.Emilion, on the Pomerol border in fact, to taste at CHEVAL BLANC. As an aside I have always loved the fact that in Neal Martins book “Pomerol” he included one “outsider”, this was Cheval Blanc. I am not quite sure why but Mr Hodgson was so excited he headbutted the tasting room cabinet…The explanation of the wines was very interesting here, 100% new wood is apparently used but I couldn’t find even a trace of that character in the wine. One also gets to taste Yquem, LVMH link you see, and the 2016 is promising indeed!
The crisscrossing continued as we headed back to St.Emilion town and to AUSONE. Very few of the team, and certainly not me, had been before to this traditional icon of the commune. Situated as it is right next to Belair-Monange (same owner if you go back far enough). The wines, and there are a few, showed well.

Then a rapid drive back, past the perfect gravel of Cheval Blanc to taste, and interview Olivier Berrouet, at Petrus. The wine is, as one would expect, superb in 2016, all the positive aspects of the vintage – freshness, balance, poise, persistence – shining through in spades but with that extrovert Petrus edge on top. The 2015/2016 pairing here rivaling 1989/1990 for sure. Adam asked Jean-Claude Berrouet – winemaker from 1964-2008 and father of Olivier – which vintage might have parallels to the 2016 the answers were: 1971, 1975, 1998. Now that is a line-up or stellar proportions.

Lunch was taken early at Le Tertre in St.Emilion town. Rather hideous sound track aside they looked after us well. The temperature was now above the mid 20s and feeling more like June than April.

The Mitjavile family were to dominate the early afternoon, never a problem! L’Aurage first and Louis (Lou-Lou). We tasted down in the new cellars, Guy doing an interview that you’ll be able to see soon. The 2016 here is the 10th vintage and continues the upward curve. Lou-Lou joked that he’d make us late for his father to return the “favour” of some other visitors.

To say that Francois was rather swamped at Tertre Roteboeuf wouldn’t be far from the truth, so popular are these wines and is this man! He revels in it though. People often comment that this estate is Burgundian in many ways, I get this but disagree…this is what more Bordeaux should be like! You taste from barrel and re-taste other wines, it is impossible to leave (which we eventually did after an interview) without a smile on your face!

And so to the last visit of the day. To a Dane known for making Spanish wine but now in St.Emilion. Peter Sisseck has taken a circuitous (see Marus I told you I’d get this into the report) route back to Bordeaux where he trained. Rocheyron’s first vintage was 2010 and the 2016 sees further improvements and a stunning end product. Something of tradition is building here as well – that of tasting the soon to be released vintage, 2016 in this case, of Pingus, Flor de Pingus and Psi. What a way to end a day!

The trek back to Bordeaux on a Friday evening was a frustrating one BUT we were going back to Chez Dupont for a second time and good food and chat awaited us…

I started this day’s post by saying how this was a special day, this is why:

Clos St Martin
Cheval Blanc
Tertre Roteboeuf
Roc de Cambes
Flor de Pingus


Wines tasted so far: 278
Wines drunk: 26
Topics of discussion at lunch: Vinyl vs CDs vs digital, films, a little politics.
Topics of discussion at dinner: Dogs on long journeys.
After dinner round: 4 x Calvados, 1 x Cognac (8x coffee)


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