Bordeaux Wine Tasting, Monday, January 24, Conclusion
Conclusion of my 2008 Bordeaux Union Tasting notes, held on 1/24/11 in Chicago:
Chateau Gazin, Pomerol, 2008
Mineral and dark fruit nose, with a hint of iron. The palate is light, but very dry, with green fruit and intense tannins. This bottle most assuredly needs time in the cellar, perhaps 4-8 years.
Chateau La Conseillante, Pomerol, 2008 ***
The nose is elegant with pomegranate, grapes, and minerals. The palate is explosive with a hint of smoke, rich fruit, slight tannins, and a fabulous finish. This wine does not lack the pizazz that some of the other young Bordeaux bottles did that day. It was fresh and an excellent representation of Pomerol.
Chateau La Lagune, Haut-Medoc, 2008
A nice nose of cloves, mint, and cigar box. The palate is a tad thin, with very young juice, cherry, and grape flavors.
Chateau Brane-Cantenac, Margaux, 2008
Tea and fresh herbs on the nose; basil and thyme. The palate has the flavor of Michigan Cherries, tea, and mint, but is very green. Needs time in the bottle, upward of 5 years.
Chateau Lacombes, Margaux, 2008 ***
Cloves and chocolate on the nose, with creamy vanilla on a second swirl. The palate is very balanced, with vanilla, excellent deep fruit, cocoa, smooth tannins, and a dry finish that yearns for further enjoyment. Love it!
Chateau Prieure-Lichine, Margaux, 2008 ***
Also a beautiful representation of Margaux, the Prieure-Lichine is a beautiful wine. With aromas of ripe strawberries, rose petals and soft perfume, who couldn't be enticed to savor the full, delicate, round deep red fruit palate? Having sampled the 2002 from our club, I know what potential this wine has in a futures program. It's good now, and I think a few short years in the cellar could bring even more roundness and balance to this wine. One of my top picks of the day.
Chateau Beychevelle, Saint Julien, 2008
Cedar, deep berries, dark plum and other stonefruit aromas on the nose. The palate is ripe with cedar on the front, big juice in the middle, and a clean, cloves finish.
Chateau Branaire-Ducru, Saint Julien, 2008
Unfortunately, I think the bottle was off... the nose was spicy and woody, but had an "off" scent. The fruit was somewhat lacking in depth, but was on the verge of ripe plum, and there was a slight metallic taste on the back of the palate, telling me the bottle was possibly corked. An unfortunate incident that does happen in our business, but I do hope to try the '08 Branaire-Ducru again soon.
Chateau Leoville Barton, Saint Julien, 2008
Just a hint of cedar on the nose with a lush scent of dark cherries. The palate had plenty of dark fruit, a nice tannin structure, and a big presence.
Chateau Leoville Poyferre, Saint Julien, 2008
Soft raspberry and light spice on the nose... a very approachable first impression. The palate has a very nice light cherry flavor and a good, smooth ending, but something seemed to be lacking in the middle... there simply wasn't the depth I found in several other of the St. Juliens.
Chateau Clerc Milon, Pauillac, 2008
The nose was filled with red fruit and sweet, mild spice. Cherry and mild cedar flavors on the palate were pleasant on this easy, light Bordeaux. It is very nice now.
Chateau Grand Puy Ducasse, Pauillac, 2008
Beginning with a wonderful nose of lavender, red and black fruit, and a hint of ground pepper, the palate, unfortunately, is a bit scattered. It was difficult to hone in on the flavors, and had a very dry, tannic finish. Perhaps after a few years in the cellar, this will flourish.
Chateau Pichon-Longueville, Pauillac, 2008 ***
Ending on a very good note is the Pichon-Longueville... great nose of cedar, dark plum and other stonefruit, and blackberries. The palate has a good balance of spice and cherry fruit, as well as a good balance of acid and tannins. Despite my exhausted palate from the end of a long journey through Bordeaux (all within the walls of the Drake!), I remember very clearly being impressed with this bottle.
So concludes my notes from the Union des Grand Crus de Bordeaux Vintage 2008 tasting. It was a fantastic journey, and having sampled the "restaurant" vintage of '08, I simply cannot wait to dive into the "grand vintage" of 2009 next season. Thank you very much to the wonderful suppliers, winemakers, and owners who showcased their amazing selections, and thank you to the Drake for a beautiful setting. Cheers!