It’s not often that you get invited to taste Bordeaux first growth wines that you have only dreamed about in the past. So when a small parcel of first growths became available, 12 of us bought £4,000 of wine between us – to taste not to invest. In anticipation of the big night we all turned up early to a brilliant surprise: tank samples of ten M Chapoutier 2014 Selections Parcellaires from the Rhone Valley.
Saint-Joseph Les Granits
2ha, 100% Marsanne
Old vine Marsanne planted on steep granite slopes. Aromatic with good minerality to the wine. Honeysuckle on the finish
Ermitage Blanc De L’Oree
3.5ha 100% Marsanne
70 year old vines planted on rolled pebbles and sand giving high quality grapes. Concentrated amazing wine with honeysuckle and hazelnut showing well. Long fresh finish
Ermitage Blanc Le Meal
2ha 100% Marsanne
From the Meal vineyard that has fluvioglacial alluvial soil. 50 year old vines. Brilliant exotic freshness with citrus hints and roasted almonds. Huge complex finish
Ermitage Blanc L’Ermite
0.5ha, 100% Marsanne
Chapoutier’s oldest Marsanne, some vines over 100 years old. Situated at the top of the Hermitage hill on poor granite and shallow soils. Intense minerality brilliantly balanced wine with great structure. Will age.
Chateauneuf du Pape Croix de Bois
5ha, 100% Grenache
Quartzite pebbles on red sandy clay. Lots of aromas to this wine with red fruit, plum and a hint of spice, full bodied concentrated with warm dry tannins.
Chateauneuf du Pape Barbe Rac
4ha, 100% Grenache
The vineyard is full of galets, red clay and ferruginous sand. 90 year old vines. On tasting lots of fleshy red fruit. Very concentrated with an impressive length.
Crozes Ermitage Rouge Les Varonniers
3.2ha, 100% Syrah
From 60 year old vines on granitic slopes with south east exposure to the end of the Hermitage Hill. Elegant spicy fruit well made with great density and a concentrated finish.
Saint Joseph Rouge Les Granits
2.5ha, 100% Syrah
Chapoutier’s oldest Syrah, planted on poor, stony granitic soil, restrains excessive vigour. Smokey nose, concentrated spicy fruit with tight tannins and a long persistency.
Cote Rotie La Mordoree
3ha, 100% Syrah
From the steep schist terraces located on the Cote Blonde. 70 year old vines that produce small yields. Good structure, dry, concentrated hot fruit with an elegant spicy finish.
Hermitage Rouge Le Meal
2.2ha, 100% Syrah
200 metres altitude hillside with high terraces with shingle and clay. 50 year old vines. Great perfumed wine, rich black fruits with powerful but velvety tannin.
Ermitage Rouge Le Pavillion
4ha, 100% Syrah
From lieu-dit Les Bessards with granitic subsoil. 65 year old vines. A damson, plum nose with balanced acidity and aromas of liquorice and tobacco. A concentrated elegant finish.
Ermitage Rouge L’Ermite
3ha, 100% Syrah
80 year old vines planted on poor soil sat the top of the Hermitage Hill. Ripe blackcurrant, fruity, menthol, black pepper with a fresh long finish. Great potential.
The Bordeaux selection
Chateau Margaux 1961
Complex nose with spicy cedar, coffee and a touch of raisin. Lots of red fruits and caramelised onions with great intensity and a very good length. Still showing very well.
Chateau Lafite-Rothschild, Pauilac 1990
A herbal minty nose, dry balanced acidity, ripe dark fruits with a nice hint of cedar and spice. Dry balanced tannins with a long fruity bouquet on the finish.
Chateau Latour, Pauillac 1980
Oaky nose. Hot fruit with crisp acidity and a touch of tobacco. Medium bodied with a lot of wood tannins and a berry fruit finish. A harmonious wine.
Chateau Latour, Pauillac 1983
A nose of caramelised onion. Medium bodied with a stylish bouquet of black fruits and raisins. A very good finish to the wine, but not as concentrated.
Chateau Latour, Pauillac 1985
A very good concentrated nose with damson, plum, blackcurrant, vanilla and a touch earthy. Off dry crisp acidity and dry tannins and some herbatious nose
Chateau Latour, Pauillac 1982
The best wine of the night from all 12 of us. Caramelised onion with a hint of primary dark fruit, tobacco, coffee and a hint of spice. Off dry with stern concentration lots of overripe fruit vanilla, tobacco, but with a touch of balsamic. A long dry finish.