Posts Tagged ‘Haut Medoc’

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.





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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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