Ever year the Wine Media Guild does a Bordeaux tasting and lunch at Felidia restaurant in NYC. This year we had the wines from three top Chateaus along with a representative from each one. It was a very interesting tasting going back to 1978.
The speakesr were John Kolasa – Chateau Canon, Edouardo Moueix- Chateau La Fleur Petrus and Jean-Michel La Porte – Chateau La Conseillante. Chateau Canon St. Emilion
Mr. Kolasa began by saying that wine is a happy match between grape variety and soil type. The current blend is 65% Merlot and 35% Cabernet Franc.
The different plots of vines total 54 acres of very uniform soil types, which is the first hint that Chateau Canon is unusual with respect to the rest of the Saint Emilion area. The soil is a combination of limestone containing fossilized starfish covered by a thin layer of clay left behind by a prehistoric lake which constitute an ideal environment for the grape varieties, The different steps in the vineyard management calendar are scrupulously respected throughout the year. Chateau Canon manages its plots sustainably, ensuring perfect ripeness and making it easier to identify the best batches of fruit, which are vinified separately. The policy is clearly to foster environmental preservation.
2001 There was an oaky vanilla component to this wine which seemed to overwhelm all the other aromas and flavors. I did not find this in any of the other Chateau Cannon wines that I tasted.
2005 This is a classic vintage and it will age.
2008 This was a mixed vintage some very good wines but no great ones. However you can but the better ones at a good price.
1998 This was a very successful vintage and I found it drinking very nicely now but it will last for a few more years.
1989 This was a true classic vintage. The wine is ready to drink and it had a soft, smooth feel on the palate
1978 This was the wine of the afternoon for me and I had a lot of agreement. It is classic old Bordeaux with a background of leather, a touch of spice and lingering berry aromas and flavors.
Chateau La Fleur-Petrus Pomerol the wine is made from 90% Merlot (30 years old vines) and Cabernet Franc (50 years old vines) There are 2,600 vines per acre.
There are 47 acres of vineyards and the soil is mainly gravelly with some clay. The hand- picked grapes are sorted using an optical system. Traditional fermentation takes place with 16 to 20 days maceration in concrete and stainless steel vats. The wine is aged in French oak barrels, 50 % new. Mr. Edouardo Moueix said that today the Chateau is composed of three major blocks, within 500 meters of one another. They are situated at an altitude between 35 and 38 meters, along side some of Pomerol’s top chateaux’s as its neighbors. The last parcel was purchased in 2012.This terroir is mainly gravelly soil. The plateau of Pomerol is between 30 and 40 meters.
2008 -This was a successful vintage
2009 – This is one of the great vintages of the last 60 years and already a bench -mark for its power and natural concentration
2010 This is a big well-structured tannic wine that needs another 15 or 20 years to develop
2012 This is a wine that is very up front with ripe fruit, It was drinking very well for such a young wine.
Wines with lunch
1998 Drinking very well and a wine you can drink now or hold for a few years
2001 Classic vintage-underestimated after the fanfare of the 2000. It is a remarkably well -balanced wine and drinking very nicely now.
2006 This was big tannic wine that will age
Chateau La Conseillante Pomerol Mr. Jean-Michel Laporte said that 80% of the vines are Merlot and is grown in soil the is mostly clay, the combination of soil and Merlot makes the wine round, deep and smooth. The remaining 20% is Cabernet Franc, which grows in gravel soil and contributes structure and freshness.
The soil composition is 60% grey clay and 40% sandy gravel, resting on red (iron) clay. There are 11.8 hectors of unbroken vineyards. There are 6,500 vines per hectare on average, the training system is double guyot and the age of the vines is 34 years. There is optimal phenolic ripeness and harvesting is by hand in low – capacity, open trays.
Sorting of the grapes is on 4 tables by hand and by machine. Pre-fermentation cold maceration takes place for 2 to 5 days. The wine is vatted for 3 to 4 weeks in 22 temperature controlled epoxy coated concrete tanks. A vertical wine press is used and the separate aging of the pressed wine takes place. The wine is aged 50 to 80% new oak barrels, from a number of carefully selected coopers for 18 months. There is racking using air pressure very 3 months and 2 to 3 fresh egg whites are used per barrel.
2001 This is a well- balanced wine that is ready to drink now
2005 This wine needs time to age.
All three speakers made the point of the importance of having the right terrior for the grapes that you are growing.
In answer to the question how do you know when the grapes are ready to be picked, one of speakers answered when I pick them. However they all agreed that they have the best modern equipment to tell when the grapes are ready to be picked than they had 25 or so years ago. That is one of the reasons that today’s wines will not taste like the wines from 30 years ago!