Judgement of 2010

DGS had a long hiatus. Since J’s last hosting in February, we haven’t done anything. The old list was out of date; maybe 50% of the people on the list we were either no longer in contact with, or they had moved away.

Liguel was itching to have a Bordeaux/Napa taste off though – Lida’s convinced that Bordeaux wines are tastier than the Napa ones; but Mig is more keen on getting good value for money – so we dusted off the webs on the DGS list, started a new one, and set up a marathon tasting.

Twelve people, 11 bottles (including 3 doubles).

Chat Teyssier ‘Grand Destieu’ St. Emilion 2006
Robert Parker 91 “An exceptional effort, the inky/purple-hued 2005 Grand-Destieu exhibits plenty of tapenade, black cherry, licorice, and toasty oak characteristics along with medium body, firm tannins, and serious potential as well as purity. The extravagant black raspberry and currant fruit, lavish richness, and long finish are brilliant! Anticipated maturity: 2013-2022.”

Chateau Malmaison Baronne Nadine de Rothschild 2006
Wine Spectator 90 TOP 100 2009 Rank 84 “Blackberry and raspberry jam aromas follow through to a full body, with very soft tannins and pretty berry and currant character. This is seamless and well done for the vintage. Best after 2012. 8,330 cases made.” ~J.S.

Chappellet Mountain Cuvee 2007
Wine Spectator 92 “Chappellet winery always seems to over-deliver on quality for the price, thanks in large part to the estate’s 100 acres of vines on Pritchard Hill, high above Napa Valley. The 2007 is a blend of 51 percent Cabernet Sauvignon and 46 percent Merlot, with a dash of Malbec, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. The wine is rich and seamlessly mouthfilling yet complex and beautifully structured. It?s ready to drink in the short term?it brought out the best in the beef?but will do fine in the cellar for a few years. I rated it 92 points, non-blind. It sells for $29, a bargain by most Napa standards.” ~ T.F.
— This was the third wine of the night, a Californian. Compared with the Rothschild, it had a much fruitier nose, but a little less complex. General consensus: great wine for the price.

Chat Leoville Barton St. Julien Medoc 2006
Wine Spectator 94 TOP 100 2006 “There’s a great dark color to this, with intense aromas of cedar, wood, new leather and crushed blackberry. Full-bodied, with loads of fruit and a firm, powerful palate. Long and mouthpuckering. A muscular baby. Best after 2015. 18,750 cases made.” Robert Parker 91+ “Not surprisingly, this wine is closed, masculine, but super-rich, with a denser, more complete and full-bodied style than its sibling, Langoa Barton. Some toasty vanillin is apparent in the black currant aromas intermixed with tobacco leaf, cedar, and spice box. The wine is full-bodied and has a boatload of tannin, not unusual for this estate, as well as an impressively pure, long finish. Everything is here, but this wine, made with uncompromising vision, is meant to be cellared for an exceptionally long period of time. Anticipated maturity: 2020-2035.”
— Eh, for its price, most of us were quite disappointed by the taste – almost sour, and very mouth puckering. That was after we left it sitting in the decanter for a couple hours. Perhaps it just needed much more time, but there were definitely better wines to sip on that night.

2006 Chateau Larcis-Ducasse Saint-Emilion Grand Cru
“Since 2002, this great terroir has been fully exploited by the dynamic duo of Nicolas Thienpont and Stephane Derenoncourt. Following the monumental 2005,a legend in the making, it is hard to get excited about the 2006, even though it is an outstanding effort. While more austere and not as concentrated as its predecessor, it is an impressive blend of 89% Merlot and 11% Cabernet Franc displaying a deep, dark ruby color as well as a striking bouquet of powdered rocks/minerals, sweet cherry and plumlike fruit, and hints of Christmas fruitcake and spice box. It is an elegant, medium-bodied, moderately tannic, pure effort possessing outstanding density. Give it 2-3 years of bottle age and drink it over the following 15-20 years.” 91 Points Robert Parker, Jr.
— We tasted it next to the St. Julien, and it was a clear relative favorite, for both the price and the smoothness.

Chatequ DuTertre 2005 Margaux
‘Du Tertre is one of the finest values amongst the Bordeaux classified growths and has been consistent since 1978. Under the recent ownership of Eric Albada Jelgersma, it has improved dramatically, and this is an estate consumers should keep a close watch on as prices remain fair.’ Robert Parker

Wine Advocate Even in the highly acclaimed 2005 vintage, Du Tertre remains under most consumer’s radar. Made by essentially the same winemaking team as Giscours, this cuvee exhibits a dense purple color, followed by earthy, truffle, smoky blackberry, floral, and cassis aromas. It is a beautifully pure, medium to full-bodied wine with abundant but sweet tannin, fine opulence, a multilayered texture, and a long finish that is neither aggressive nor astringent. Cellar it for another 3-4 years, and consume it over the following 20-25. Score: 90. —Robert Parker, April 2008.
— We drank this next to the Hall. Mig was trying to convince everyone that the Hall was a better value ($15 cheaper at $32), but in the end, even he had to concede that the Margaux was a more superior wine in complexity, smoothness, and taste. We did prefer the berry-spice nose of the Hall over the “smelly Frenchmen” stink of the Margaux, and Yeming brilliantly corrected this problem by blending the two wines together. Best of both worlds.

Hall Wines Cabernet Sauvignon 2006
Wine Spectator 94 “A rich, dense, concentrated style, this is full-bodied, focused and pure, with hints of mocha and black licorice rounding out the core currant, plum and black cherry flavors. Focused and persistent, with a long finish.” “Our 2006 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon is an orchestral m􁪽lange of hand-selected fruit from our Hardester, Napa River Ranch, Bergfeld and Sacrashe vineyards. Each distinctive terroir interweaves complementary components which culminate in a preeminent Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, a gestalt of balanced, rich, concentrated character. The inviting deep ruby color and rich aromatics of cassis, roasted espresso bean and dark ripe plum follow through with flavors of blackberry, cr􁪽me cassis and hints of graphite that linger relentlessly. Rewarding now, this wine will continue to impress for 5-10 years.” ~ Winery notes

Chateau La Tour Carnet Haut-Medoc 2006
Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate (WA): 91-93 “Owned by Bordeaux empire builder Bernard Magrez, this estate has been on fire … qualitatively speaking … since 2001. The 2006, another topnotch effort, underwent two de-leafings (one in early summer and one a few months later) and two crop-thinnings, which explain the tiny yields. There is also a severe triage after the wine is made. A final blend of 60% Merlot, 31% Cabernet Sauvignon, and the rest Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot has resulted in a wine with a lovely perfume of sweet black currants, truffles, incense, and smoke. With sweet but noticeable tannin, medium to full body, brilliant concentration and purity as well as terrific precision and style, this stunning effort is unquestionably a sleeper of the vintage.”

At the end of the night, when we got a little too tipsy to properly taste the wines, we broke out Mig’s favorite table wine, the Columbia Crest. By then, to be honest, it tasted better than the St. Julien (although I think that if I were to compare them side-by-side with a fresh palate, I might have still made the same choice). That’s when we started playing Lida’s favorite game, Dirty Charades. 🙂 Good, clean fun.


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