chateau-clement-pichon-haut-medoc-france-10521110A Cru Bourgeois at 10 years old, what is the likely hood this will be anything but dried out and limp? This is a surprisingly good wine, decanted for a few hours and poured into a Riedel glass. What makes this wine even better for me is the higher percentage of merlot which fills the mid palate. The 2001 vintage is not regarded as stellar but the old adage rings true ‘it is not the vintage but the bottle that counts’ Many wines from 2001 are being reappraised after they have matured and displayed charming resilience. There might be a few bargain 2001 Bordeaux’s out there so don’t necessarily pass them by.


See background from the Wine Cellar Insider

The history of what we know of as Chateau Clement Pichon dates back to the 1300′s, when it was known as La Motte Caupene. Over the centuries, the estate has been owned by a myriad of families including the Alesme family, who attached their name to Marquis d’Alesme in Margaux and the Pichon family.

Chateau Clement Pichon is owned by the Fayat family that also count among their holdings, Chateau La Dominique in St. Emilion as well as another estate in the Right Bank, Chateau Fayat in Pomerol. At the time of the purchase by the Fayat family in 1976, the estate was known as Chateau de Parempuyre. Chateau de Parempuyre was named after its location, a small, suburb in Bordeaux.

After the purchase, the property was renamed to include the name of its new owner, Clement Fayat. However, that was the initial name that was chosen. Clement Fayat wanted to name the estate Chateau Pichon. A lawsuit was filed by the owner of Chateau Pichon Lalande, due to the potential confusion in the marketplace and at that time, the property took on the name of Chateau Clement Fayat.

The chateau, created in 1881, was designed by the same architect that built Chateau Lanessan. The showy, almost gothic looking chateau only dates back to 1881 because the previous building was completely destroyed by a fire. Shortly after the purchase by the Fayat family, In 1981, the entire vineyard was replanted.

The 25 hectare Left Bank vineyard of Chateau Clement Pichon is planted to 50% Merlot, 40% Cabernet Sauvignon and 10% Cabernet Franc. On average, the vines are planted to a vine density of 6,500 vines per hectare in a terroir of gravel, sand and clay based soils. To produce the wine of Chateau Clement Pichon, the wine is vinified in temperature controlled, stainless steel vats. Malolactac fermentation takes place in vat. On average, the wine is aged in 50% new, French oak barrels.





La Ruelle

La Ruelle Wine Bar, a hidden gem off Dawson Street, is holding a wine tasting in conjunction with Martin Krajewski. Martin is the owner and proprietor of Chateau de Sours and Clos Cantenac. The tasting takes place on Thursday the 29th of November 2012 from 7pm. This is a great opportunity to taste through his range especially the World renowned Chateau de Sours Rosé and Petit Cantenac from St Emilion. To book a place or to get more information call 01 679 9544.


La Ruelle



Trip to Beaune Part 2

Apologies for the delay in this second installment but Christmas is a very busy period. Anyway we had an appointment at Louis Latour at 2pm. We headed for rue des tonneliers to meet with Anne and head for Corton. Corton is probably a 15 minute drive from Beaune and one of the more distinctive landmarks in this area  is the Chateau de Corton.

We were visiting Chateau Corton Grancey which is owned by Louis Latour. The vintage had finished 2 weeks previously so the cellars were a hive of activity. The winery is built into the hill of Corton so uses gravity to its benefit. We climbed up the stair to see a track where all the bins full of grapes can travel between vats. One thing about a winery during fermentation is the number of fruit flies everywhere – makes sense really. The free run juice had already been pumped into some of the blending vats so we saw workmen forking the grapes into bins to go to the presses. There is a fan in each vat to circulate air to disperse the CO2. We then walked the floor and went to the presses in time to see grapes being loaded into a vertical press. Great to actually see the theory in practice. Off to the tasting room.




Started with the whites and I was pleasently surprised to note that the majority of the white wines wines do not see any oak ageing. We has a considerable line up in front of us.Louis Latour Whites 11 white wines and 5 red. Considering my hangover was making me tetchy I was initially reluctant to taste them all but then when will I get this chance again?  The list of whites were as follows. Louis Latour Chablis 2010, Chablis 1er Cru 2009, Macon-Lugny Les Genievres 2010, Pouilly-Fuisse 2010, Meursault 2009, Corton-Charlemagne Grand Cru 2009.

Reds Marsannay 2009, Cote de Beaune-Villages 2009, Aloxe-Corton 2009, Chateau Corton Grancey Grand Cru 2009.  We got a good appreciation of the Louis Latour portfolio and the wine highlight was the Corton Grancey.

We headed back into Beaune and then out for the night. For dinner we went to Le Gourmandin. I have been here before and enjoyed it previously. In future I would steer clear. The food was average and the waiter complied to the stereotype of rude, French waiter, in short he was a w**ker. I should have gone with my instinct and headed for Ma Cuisine. After dinner we headed for Bistro Bourgignon and tasted through a number of wines. One of the the staff  gave us a free glass of a  white from the Challonais which they thought we would like. It was quite heavy on the oak however but just goes to show some people’s perception of what they think tourists like to drink. We also got chatting to an American couple; the wife worked in NASA and the husband had changed career to become a scuba instructor. They had been travelling for a month through Europe. Not jealous.

Next day was Saturday and Ireland v Australia in the Rugby World Cup. It was 10 am so we had coffee while we watched. There were some Aussies watching the game beside us and as I was a bit groggy I could not understand why they were cheering for Ireland. Turns out they were kiwis, Watson. What a morning. We had to have some Cremant to celebrate. This was to be our last day in Beaune and we had an early start the following day. It was lunch time and we strolled around looking for somewhere nice to eat and we came upon a delightful restaurant which I can’t remember the name of but if I do remember I will post it because the food was inexpensive and really good.

After a relaxing lunch we headed to Marches Aux Vins. Now some people might think this is just a bit gimmicky and for tourists but I always go when I am in Beaune because it is good fun and the wines were actually good with maybe one or two exceptions.

Sorry for the delay in putting this together but hopefully I will be posting with some regularity soon.





Trip To Beaune part 1

I am just back from a short trip to Burgundy, well specifically Beaune where I got to visit the cellars of Joseph Drouhin and the Chateau Corton Grancey owned by Louis Latour. Beaune is not easy to get to and other than hiring a car you will have a number of transfers to make. I flew to Paris, got the RER to Gare de Lyon, the TGV to Dijon and the TER to Beaune. There is a slightly less complicated journey if you fly direct to Lyon and get the train to Beaune but I was meeting my friend in Paris.

We arrived in Beaune at around 2.30 and headed straight for Drouhin’s Offices and cellars on Rue Enfer. We were greeted by Frederic Drouhin, the Great Grandson of Joseph and taken down to the cellars by Jean-Pierre Cropsal.

In theses cellars they age some of their most prestigious wines and walking past the barrels you will see the names of famous climats and appellations such as Clos des Mouches and Gevrey-Chambertin. The tour was short and we proceeded to the tasting room to taste and compare a number of different wines. The whites were first and the line up was impressive.

We started with St Veran 2010 which was fresh but with ripe fruit and decent length, then straight into the Domaine Drouhin Vaudon (Drouhin’s property in Chablis) Chablis Grand Cru Les Clos 2008 which is way too young but showing it’s pedigree in it’s concentration, finesse and length.  Then Puligny Montrachet 2009 was lighter in body but concentrated and expressive with some of the oak showing through and finally the Clos des Mouches Blanc 1er Cru 2009 was the pick of the bunch, the finesse of these better wines is so apparent when tasted against a village appellation.

The red wines were equally impressive with the line up as follows. The Chorey les Beaune 2008 was fairly simple and possibly didn’t show as well coming after the whites. The Gevrey-Chambertin 2008 was still young showing good concentration of fruit, balanced acidity, medium plus body and medium finish, no thin wine here. The Chambolle Musigny 1er Cru 2008 was much more seductive with violet perfumed notes and almost sweet dark cherry flavours mixed with clove and vanilla spice. Finally we tasted the Clos des Mouches 1er Cru Rouge 2009. Mouches does not refer to flies but to bees. ‘Mouches a miel’ means honey flies.

We thanked our hosts and headed for Place Carnot and on to Rue Monge. Rue Monge has 2 of my favourite places in Beaune. First is Magnum where you can sit outside and catch some Sun while drinking a glass of Cremant and the second is Bourgogne Bistro where you can do exactly the same but have a meal also. 

Although in the dead centre of Beaune I have never felt I was being treated as a tourist in these places, this cannot be said of a number of other establishments. Part des Anges comes to mind where I have never received the genuine welcome you get in the former.







I love Ron Burgundy

I mean I love Red Burgundy, Pinot Noir.

Good red burgundy is expensive. However, I have on occassion found good Pinot Noir that does not break the bank, within context.  I have found a cracking wine which retails at €30 but certainly punches above its weight and it does not come from Burgundy.

People mention Otago and Oregon as offering superb Pinot Noir but little mention is made of Australia. Stonier Reserve Pinot Noir 2005, from Mornington Peninsula in Victoria is superb.

James Haliday has given this wine 94 points which again is only 1 of a number of accolades and good reviews. One other great thing about this wine is that it is in screwcap. So after 6 years this wine still tastes great and from tasting it,  it will age for a few more years to come. I am going to keep a few bottles and taste them over the next 3 years and track their evolution.

A Little spiel on Pinot Noir from Mornington on the Wine Australia Website.

Pinot Noir – There is an enormous range of styles to the region’s flagship variety, from a haunting elegance and lingering intensity through to the more complex, structured and rich expression of the land. The constant factor is the clear varietal character which is clearly pronounced throughout the different sub regions of the Peninsula. From cherry and raspberry flavours with soft tannins in the higher areas to more tannic, elegant yet assertive wines with plum fruit in the warmer areas. Mornington Peninsula winemakers understand Pinot Noir vines are fussy – they choose their homes with fastidious care, insisting on precise combinations of temperature, humidity, aspect and ripening time. Such special conditions are difficult to find in Australia, but the cool, green rolling hills and valleys of the Mornington Peninsula provide a perfect home’


By the way I polished off the remaining bottles at the weekend.


What are the odds of tasting three faulty wines in the space of a week?  One was in a pub/restaurant where I just thought the wine was crap but it was only after I had left that I started to think about what might have been wrong with the wine. Another I bought in a good independent wine shop and the final wine was one that I regularly drink. Apart from being oxidised the other common denominators were that they were all chardonnay and all from Burgundy – albeit one from Macon and the other two were Chablis.

I tend to drink Chablis regularly so am attuned to the taste and profile, what I found most surprising was that in the space of a week a wine that I had regularly tasted up to that point was still fresh with good fruit and indications that it would last another year or 2. Now it may be that I was unlucky and that other bottles of the same wine will be ok but it has made me change my preference for a particular Chablis producer

There has been much discussion about prematurely oxidised Burgundies or premox if you like. The alledged causes vary from lowered sulphur levels, corks to battonage – especially extensive stirring of the lees after malolactic fermentation.

The main detectable fault for oxidised wine is the darker colour, the sherry nose and the flavour of bruised apple. With age this is what can happen to wine anyway; it is a problem when the wine should have potential to age.

Here is a Chablis that is not oxidised and one which is fast becoming my new favourite. Drouhin Reserve de Vaudon 2008. Typical Chablis flavours of citrus and green apple, but soft as it has been aged 12 months in oak – none of which is new. Available is most good independent off licences and wine shops

Happy St Patrick’s Day