Posts Tagged ‘Bordeaux’

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




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Reserve de la Comtesse is the second wine of Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande

The following details are from the official website of Pichon Lalande

In the Bordeaux region the classified crus have mixed soils, but large enough tracts of land to make very rigorous selections. This led the owners to make several wines of different quality. Severe selecting is the guarantee of quality of a great wine, but also of a second wine.

Today, the second wines represent between 20 and 50 % of the total production of the Chateau. From the same soil, the second wine benefits from the same technology as the great wine, and also its reputation. They are generally excellent wines, though less robust and long lasting than their elders.

The archives kept at Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande mention the existence of a second wine as early as the XIXth century:

27 April 1890, shipping of four bottles of the vintage 1874 second wine to the Moscow exhibition.

In addition, the accounts book for the year 1874, that details the production of the year confirms that the second wine was rigorously selected.

The second wine of Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande, The Réserve de la Comtesse, was created and sold for the first time in 1973.

I tasted this wine last week and compared it to the Clos du Marquis that I had tasted previously. They are both second wines but from different commues and vintages. The Reserve showed great structure and offered so much more on the palate giving more fruit character, body and complexity. There are still large amounts of the primary fruit available on the palate but they are mixed with toasty oak and some chocolate character. Smooth, silky and oozing class this wine has a great length and is what you expect a classy Boreaux to taste like.

Unfortunately the retail price is at around €70

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This is the second wine of Ch Leoville Las Cases but is different to other second wines in that the vines are sourced from specific vineyards rather than coming from young vines or rejected fruit intended for Leoville las Cases.

1999 was not a superlative vintage and many commentators regard the wines as being thin or lacking concentration of flavour.

This wine had a ruby core extending to a tawny rim. The overall appearance was between bright and dull which is not being perjorative just reflecting it’s age. Initially the wine was quite tight but softened after 2 hours. Toasty oak on the palate mixed with blackcurrant that did not have as much depth or concentration as I would have expected. Soft tannin and medium acidity with slight bitterness on back palate. Aromas has some blackfruits with subtle hints of vanilla.

Nice wine but scanning the prices for this wine in Ireland it would certainly not be worth €40 – €50 and there is certainly much better value in a Cru Bourgeois from a good vintage instead

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The recession is biting deep into my wine budget at the moment forcing me to drink wine that I really want to keep. Hence this review of one of my favourite wines. Over the years I have tended to buy a few bottles of good Bordeaux every year and stash it away. I am reaping the rewards now but I wish I had bought some good red Burgundy also.

Aw poor rich kid with your gold shoes and ivory nose scratcher!

Sandwiched between Pauillac to the North and Margaux to the South, St Julien produces a style of wine that is not as feminine as Margaux or as powerful and concentrated as Pauillac but shares features of both appellations.

It’s wine are made predominatley with Cabernet Sauvignon with some Merlot and a smattering of Cabernet Franc.

The best sites lie on gravel terraces with underlying clay/limstone soils that offer good drainage and are especially suited for growing Cabernet Sauvignon.

There are 5 second class growths in St Julien and 2 third class growths of which Ch. Lagrange is one. I decanted this for about 4 hours which is probably enough time when you take into consideration the length of time it takes to finish the bottle will be about another 3 hours. There can be the danger of leaving it exposed too long and having the last few glasses lose their concentration.

This wine had a deep core and an expanding ruby rim. The aromas were refined with a medium intensity with the dark blackberry fruit mixing with some cedar notes. A hint of oak in the high notes (vanilla). The palate was rich but maintained its structure and had enough fruit concentration to balance the existing medium tannins. Great length and a superb wine.

This vintage retails for around €70+ but excellent Bordeaux at much lower prices are available in  great Independent wine stores like Bin no. 9, Redmonds, The Vintry etc

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On Monday the 12th October I was exhibiting 3 of our wines at the Bordeaux Tasting in Fallon & Byrne. There were about 15 suppliers showing around 100 wines. It was a tasting for the press and trade but the highlight was a Bordeaux Masterclass by Wendy Narby. The masterclass gave a brief but informative insight into the appellations of Bordeaux.

Interestingly the 57 appellations of Bordeaux are categorised under 6 groups, namely

  • Bordeaux & Bordeaux Superieur
  • Medoc & Graves
  • Cotes de Bordeaux
  • St Emilion, Pomerol & Fronsac
  • Dry White Wines
  • Sweet White Wines

Within these appelations there are the following classifications

  • The 1855 Classification
  • The Graves Classification
  • The Saint-Emilion Classification
  • The Médoc Crus Bourgeois Classification
  • The Crus Artisans Classification

There was far too much content for me to write about here so for detailed information on the wines of Bordeaux visit this excellent website  http://www.bordeaux.com

The 3 wines that I was showing were

  • Cheval Noir St Emilion 2004
  • Ch La Couronne St Emilion Grand Cru 2004
  • Ch Picard St Estephe Cru Bourgeois 2004


cheval noir2004


Cheval noir is not your typical Bordeaux in that there is no Chateau that is classified. It is a brand and the wine is made from vineyards within the St Emilion Appellation.

It is typically 50% Merlot with the other 50% made up from Cabernet Sauvignon & Cabernet Franc. The high propoertion of Cabernet is evident giving good structure and. It has a few years ageing now so tannins are softening and it is quite an easy drink. Certainly an hour or two in the decanter will help. Widely available in Leading Independents from €18.99 or less when on offer.


La Couronne

Chateau La Couronne is much more what I expect from St Emilion. It is situated within the Appellation of St Emilion Grand Cru but is not classified. There is a big difference in quality between St Emilion Grand Cru and St Emilion Grand Cru Classe!

La Couronne has 60% Merlot, 25% Cabernet Sauvignon & 15% Cabernet Franc. Nice aromas of plum and cassis. The palate is smooth and supple with plum fruit and blackcurrant notes. Still a few years left. Typically retailing for €22-24




 Chateau Picard is a Cru Bourgeois from the Medoc Appellation of St Estephe where the wines are known to be the most tannic and structured of the Medoc. This area is slightly cooler so the grapes may take longer to ripen but in a very hot year they can make excellent wines that are not overripe.

2003 was a very hot year in Bordeaux and when some producers were unsure of what style of wine to make, Ch Picard took advantage of the heat and make a well balanced, structured yet fruity wine. Available in Independent wine stores at a price of €27.99+



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P9050176When it comes to age worthy wines I have always been more of a grab a granny rather than a cradle snatcher. I bought a case of Camensac 2005  En Primeur in 2006 and have been resisting the urge to try the wines for some time. Buying En Primeur can be a gamble unless you research well beforehand but luckily I had been to Bordeaux for the En Primeur tastings so at least I had some idea of what I was buying. Tasting 200 + wines over 2 days is not as fun as I had imagined and to be honest most are so tannic at that stage that it can be hard to get an accurate idea of their potential. What I did note was that some wines were overripe and extracted and a waste of an outstanding vintage.

In 1855 Camesnsac was classified as a 5th Growth. Many commentators suggest that the wine rarely lives up to the classification but in 2005 Camensac was taken over by the owners of Chasse Spleen and Gruaud Larose so it is possible that we may see a return to its former glory.

 camensac 2005 copy

On Sturday afternoon I decanter the wine and left it for about an hour. I had a small class to check on its progress and noted that the nose was still quite tight. The colour remained opaque in the core and there was a brief rim that still retained the youthful purple. On the palate the wine was still tight and concentrated so still too early to start drinking and it was only 4pm also.

At around 7pm I tried the wine again and it had evolved nicely at this stage. There were hints of vanilla and blackcurrant/plum on the nose with cedar and tobacco in the background. The fruit had opened up and was rounder but there was still a great concentration of dark fruit. This has plenty of potential to develop for another 6 years at least. I will try to drink one every year from now on and track its development. The wine cost about €23 when I bought it but would  be over €40 to buy it today.

camensac 2004


A note on the label change. When I opened the case I actually thought that I had got the wrong wine. The label has changed from the 2004 vintage and I can’t say that I am a fan of the new design.

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Sociando Mallet 98 copyWhen is a Cru Bourgeois not a Cru Bourgeois? The fact that Sociando Mallet is not a classified property is shocking but to also lack Cru Bourgeois on it’s label seems scandalous. In fairness I think Jean Gautreau just opted out of the Cru Bourgeois system himself and after the whole mess that ensued from the 2003 reclassification maybe he was right. For more information on the Cru Bourgeois classification visit the Wine Doctors excellent website. Now back to Socaindo Mallet. I had a look in my deminishing wine cellar and came across this gem that I had forgotten about. The recession dictates that I actually drink wine now instead of just laying it down. I was having filet steak for dinner so this seemed almost serendipitous. I decanted the wine and left to breathe for 6 hours. I regularly decant any decent Bordeaux in the morning and find that it has fully opened out by late afternoon. I poured the wine into a Riedel Sommelier Bordeaux glass that someone gave me by mistake  – they did not realise the value and neither did I. After a few swirls the aromas released some cedar notes and hints of dark fruit. The palate was rich and silky with restrained fruit flavours of blackcurrant,  liquorice and spice that lingered…Can’t remember how much I paid for it but I don’t think you would get much change out of €50 considering the age etc. 9/10 or 4.5 stars. I am sure there will be a few fine wine sales in the run up to Christmas so there may be options to pick up a few gems like this.

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