Last week I got the opportunity to taste some back vintage Bordeaux at Bella Vino Stony Point. We had 8 wines on tap for the evening from all over Bordeaux, from St. Emillion to St. Estephe.
We started off the evening with the one white of the list and the youngest wine of the evening.
Wine 1 – 2007 Chateau Ducasse Bordeaux Blanc (100% Sauvignon Blanc) $18 – Made by winemaker Herve Dubourdieu, most famous for his Sauternes, he uses the leftover Sauvignon Blanc to make this wine. This wine was fairly round so my guess it was aged Sur Lies since no oak was used in its production.
Nose – mineral, apricot and grapefruit
Taste – citrus, star fruit and slate
Mouthfeel – medium body, round in the middle with slight crispness at the end
Finish – quite long for a Sauv. Blanc
I prefer Sauvignon Blanc’s to be crisper than this one was. It was an enjoyable wine but for $18 you can find a lot better examples of the varietal.
Wine 2 – 1998 Chateau Simard St. Emillion (70% Merlot, 30% Cabernet Franc) $35 – This wine is usually released after 10 years of aging and the vineyards are a stones throw from the first growths.
Nose – leather, tar, cherry, red currant
Taste – dusty reminiscent of grandmas house, leather and raspberry
Mouthfeel – full body, with leathery tannins
Finish – long, dry with nice balanced acidity
Wine 3 – 1998 Chateau Le Castelet Pomerol (100% Merlot) $32 – 1998 was a great vintage in Pomerol, that led to smooth age worthy wines. There was some debate on whether or not this wine was corked or if it had some induced brett that went a bit too far. I thought it was brett personally, the aromas didn’t give me the same nose and taste that TCA usually does.
Nose – red raspberry, cassis, cedar and funk (reminiscent of brett)
Taste – cherry, leather, cranberry, fresh raw green pepper, bandaid??
Mouthfeel – medium body, very fuzz tannins
Finish – long, very dry, even for a ’98 this wine could use some time
Wine 4 – 2001 Le Pardre de Haut-Bailly Pessac-Leognan (mostly Cabernet Sauvignon with Merlot) $40 – This is a second wine from this producer so it allows greater value from the region.
Nose – smoke!, blackberry (except for the smoke, the nose was fairly tight)
Taste – black cherry, eucalyptus and vanilla
Mouthfeel – medium with dusty tannins
Finish – long, dark fruit flavors hanging on till the end
Wine 5 – 2002 Chateau Les Ormes de Pez St. Estephe (70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc) $31 – From vineyards both North and South of the town of St. Estephe on the left bank of Bordeaux, this wine is another good value from the region.
Nose – red fruit, cooked greens, nice funk
Taste – blackberry, anise, blueberry and stinky cheese
Mouthfeel – medium to full body with dry fuzzy tannins
Finish – long with a lingering flavor of red apple peel
Wine 6 – 1999 Chateau Pontet-Canet Pauillac (61% Cabernet Sauvignon, 34% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc) $62 – Classified as a 5th growth, the vineyards for Pontet-Canet are neighbors to 1st growth Mouton Rothschild.
Nose – earth, barnyard, horsey (but in a good way), bright cherry
Taste – cedar, leather and menthol
Mouthfeel – very “rustic”, medium body, fuzzy tannins and nice acidity
Finish – very long with lots of earthy notes
Wine 7 – 2001 Chateau Lagrange St. Julien (65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 28% Merlot, 7% Petit Verdot) $62 – From the heart of the Medoc, this 3rd Growth, is the only one in line up to include Petit Verdot.
Nose – espresso, black currant, wet earth
Taste – black cherry, raspberry, cocoa, vanilla
Mouthfeel – medium body, nicely integrated acidity and dusty tannins
Finish – medium to long in length with blueberry flavors creeping up at the end
Wine 8 – 1985 Chateau St. Pierre St. Julien (75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc) $98 The grand finale of the evening so to speak, this 4th Growth was very smooth, evident of its 23 years of aging.
Nose – horse stall, broken raw bell pepper, raspberry
Taste – cedar, cherry, red currant, earth
Mouthfeel – very smooth and round with medium body and a touch of acidity on the mid palate
Finish – long and smooth, the tannins were very well integrated yet still present enough to provide nice structure
The ’85 definitely was the highlight of the bunch, great funk, great fruit, super integrated tannins and acidity. My second fave was the ’99 Chautea Pontet-Canet with its great earthy, horsey notes, but it could’ve used a bit more fruit to go with it. 3rd favorite was the Chateau Simard (which I bought), great fruit, nice complex layers and a good price point. If you could have combined those two, it would have been perfect for my palate.
Bella Vino mangager Brad Hemp (middle)
We did end up opening another bottle of the Chateau Castelet to settle the TCA/Brett debate and I when I left the jury was still out. It definitely didn’t have the same nose but I still got abundance of brett on the flavor profile. The difference could’ve been that we popped and poured the second bottle and the first bottle was open for 2 hours, but if it was TCA it would’ve been there no matter what. Oh well…
Thanks to Brad and David for the great tasting, it was definitely a great education for the palate.
Bella Vino Stony Point
9200 Stony Point Parkway
Richmond, VA 23235
Phone (804) 272-3202
Fax. (804) 272-3203