Sunday, April 29, 2012


The 10 glasses from the Bordeaux Connoisseur tasting at Willow Park Wines and Spirits

The bottles arranged for the tasting - a wonderful lot

Host for the event James Sichel showing a map of Bordeaux

Afterward guests headed to the 2009 Bordeaux launch

Marlene Howard of Thirsty Cellars pours for the crowd

Kenton pours wine for a guest

Beginning with a spectacular (quite an apt word when a 1998 Chateau d'Yquem is involved) and informative Bordeaux Connoisseur tasting hosted by James Sichel, and proceeding with the 2009 Bordeaux launch Willow Park Wines and Spirits evening of Bordeaux was an undoubted success.

Sichel, whose family operates Maison Sichel which owns Chateau d’Angludet and Chateau Palmer guided guests of the Bordeaux Connoisseur tasting through a tasting of 10 Bordeaux wines. 

1.  2005 Chateau Pavillon Blanc - "Light spices on nose coming from the oak.  Pure flavours with power on the back of the palate. This wine ages well."

2. 2007 Chateau Angludet - "When we bought this property it was run down and growing cereal. The soil is gravelly and poor with rolling hills.  Ripe fruit flavours, sweet tone to it, nice nose delicate on palate with good length.  Good for drinking today.  It is just not expensive enough."

3. 2006 Chateau d'Armailhac - "This was a good vintage in Bordeaux.  Fresh acidity.  Red berry fruit with tones of oak.  One of my favourite vintages I can drink a lot of this."

4.  2004 Chateau Clinet - "There are a few superstars in this area and Clinet is one of them.  2004 was the vintage of the viticulturist because it was a complicated growing season. Clinet has been getting great reviews so get it now before the price goes up."

5.  2001 Chateau Palmer - "This was purchased in 1938 by my grandfather.  This shows the importance of blending - complimenting of varieties characteristics.  Cabernet Sauvignon is the collarbone of the wine but can be edgy.  Merlot is the flesh.  Petit Verdot gives colour, depth, flavour.  There is a delicacy, a silkiness.  It has aging potential."

6.  2003 Chateau Leoville Las Cases - "This was a horrendously hot summer.  As we are not allowed to irrigate because of the AOC, the vines were stressed.  It is extraordinary that this property succeeded - it has more to do with the wine making than viticulture.  Ripe tannins key in 2003." 

7.  2002 Chateau Gruaud Larose - "Nice charming wine.  It does not have the concentration of the Leoville 2003."

8.  2000 Chateau Monbousquet - "Showing full potential now.  Freshness, acidity.  Quite my type of wine - freshness, crunchy fruit."

9.  1999 Chateau Pavie - "Blend of three soils - the valley which is gravelly and sandy; the hillside which is clay; and the plateau which is limestone.  More elegant than powerful."

10.  1998 Chateau d'Yquem - "It is difficult to produce a great bottle year in year out. This is the best Sauternes out there.  The acidity is important to offset the sweetness.  There is a concentration of sweetness, flavour a level of finesse and delicacy not heavy always fresh.  They harvest berry by berry because each grape is not necessarily affected by Botrytis.  Tastes beautiful - it's rot but it's noble rot.  An extraordinary iconic wine."

Afterward guests of the Bordeaux Connoisseur Tasting proceeded to the 2009 Bordeaux launch which saw a sizable crowd with many a raised glass to what is for many the wine capital of the world. 

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