Theme: Bordeaux Wines (French)
Our lovely host and hostess provided the wine. The TWITs needed to only bring $20/person to help cover the cost of the wine.
Our lovely host Mr. Rheinallt & hostess Ms. Valerie were prepared with an amazing PowerPoint presentation, numbered bottles, and hand-outs. This was probably our most informative and educational meeting in the history of TWITs. Very well done!
"A couple of TWITs ago," Rheinallt said he had conversed with Mr. Matthew about having an educational TWITs that focused on a specific region. Rheinallt and Val have a love of Bordeaux wines, and so the idea was born.
The main varietals (Les Cepages) found in Bordeaux are:
5 reds: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Malbec, Cabernet Franc, Petit-Verdot
3 whites: Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon, Muscadelle
If you are standing in Bordeaux City facing the sea, all of the appellations to your left of the Garrone river, are considered Left Bank Bordeaux. All of the appellations to your right (and right of the Dordogne river) are considered Right Bank Bordeaux. The area between the rivers is called "Entre Deux Mers" or "between two waters".
The Left Bank Bordeaux wines are predominately Cabernet Sauvignon - based. The Right Bank Bordeaux wines are predominately Merlot - based. Bordeaux winemakers love to blend wines, so you may be unlikely to find a single-varietal wine there.
To begin, we focused on the Left Bank. In 1855, Napoleon III, introduced a Bordeaux Wine Classification system. He went to the Medoc and told the winemakers to submit an application. 58 winemakers (or Chateau's) applied. Brokers ranked the wines according to the Chateau's reputation and trading price (which at that time translated to the quality of the wine).
The original 5 Chateaus to win First Growth were: Chateau Lafite Rothschild (Paillac appellation), Chateau Mouton Rothschild (Paillac appellation), Chateau Latour (Paillac appellation), Chateau Margaux (Margaux appellation), and Chateau Haut-Brion (Pessac-Leognan and Graves appellations). 14 Chateaus placed 2nd Growth, 15got 3rd growth, 10 received 4th growth, and 14 received 5th. etc.
You may recognize the names of the 5 Chateaus, this is because they still command quite a hefty sum per bottle. This is because you are paying for the name - similar to the fashion world. If you can afford such wines, more power to you, but those of us in TWITs tend to be a bit more frugal. Thus, if one knows where the great wines are made, one can find some amazing wines, from Chateau's very close-by these "big name" appellations, with high-quality wines of same or similar terroir, vintage, and for much less money.
The wines selected for tonight's tasting start in the North side of the Left Bank, moving South. We'll most likely experience strong masculine tannins, heavy tannins, leather, and then as we move down into Margaux we'll find more feminine wines, finely textured, silky, and smooth.
Moving to the Right Bank: Premier Grand Cru Classe:
Chateau Angelus, Chateau Ausone, Chateau Cheval Blanc, Chateau Pavie
Rothschild paired up with Robert Mondavi to make Opus One.
Rothschild is pronounced "Roths-sheeled"
Rothschild always commissions an artist for their labels. In 1958 the label was done by Salvador Dali, he drew a lamb as "Mouton" is like mutton or "sheep" in French. In 1973 the label was done by Picasso. In 1975, Andy Warhol, In 2004, Prince Charles himself painted something. In 2010 the label was by Jeff Koons. It's always a big question "who is going to do the label this year?"
Haut-Medoc is prononced "oh-med-AWK"
Graves means gravel
St. Emilion does not offer wine tastings :(
There is a separate classification just for St. Emilion wines.
Pomerol has no classification.
Chateau Petrus in Pomerol is quite expensive, mostly Merlot wine. You may recall "The Barclay's Five" who ran up a 44,000 pound tab at Gordon Ramsey's restaurant once. Article. They drank three exceedingly rare and costly bottles of Château Pétrus from the 1945, '46 and '47 vintages that evening.
TWITs Tasting Notes:
Welcome Wine: 2011 Chateau Graville-Lacoste Graves
Mr. Rheinallt and Ms. Val opened up the evening with a very nice white wine (or Bordeaux Blanc) from the Graves appellation of Bordeaux.
1) 2005 Chateau Phelan Segur St. Estephe - Le Caveau price $60
55% Cabernet Sauvignon, 45% Merlot - 13.5% alcohol
nose: florals, chocolate, mushroom
palate: dark fruits, lovely, honey
color: ruby, garnet
easy drinking, it has had some time to breathe.
2) 2009 Chateau Bernadotte Haut-Medoc - Le Caveau price $35
47% Cabernet Sauvignon, 47% Merlot, and the rest Petit-Verdot - 13.5% alcohol
nose: port-like, perfumey, jammy, oaky raisin, richer, cigar box, this smells French!
palate: fruit, more grip,
3) 2008 Chateau Malescot-St-Exupery Margaux - Le Caveau price $50
50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Cabernet Franc, 35% Merlot, 5% Petit-Verdot - 13.5% alcohol
nose: perfumey, old lady in the mall, Chanel, honeysuckle, daffodils, not pungent,
palate: strong woman, softer tannins, started acidic then smoother
4) 2009 Chateau Picque Caillou Pessac-Leognan - Le Caveau price $30
50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 50% Merlot - 13.5% alcohol
nose: citrus on top, orange, creamy citrus, chocolately citrus, orange flower, graphite, limestone, chalk, thicker nose, rich nose,
palate: copper, metallic, nickel, white pepper, spice, buttery, acidic,
pairings: would go well with lamb or shellfish
5) 2009 Chateau Beauregard Ducasse Graves - Le Caveau price $20
55% Merlot, 40% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Cabernet Franc - 13% alcohol
nose: grand marnier, minerality
palate: cumquat, drier, very elegant
6) 2009 Clos des Jacobins Saint-Emilion Grand Cru - Le Caveau price $60
75% Merlot, 23% Cabernet Franc, 2% Cabernet Sauvignon - 14.5% alcohol
nose: jammy, rich,
palate: blackberry, cherry, spicy, big, bold, the Merlot finesses the Cab Franc.
7) 2009 Chateau La Croix Romane Lalande de Pomerol - Le Caveau price $30
80% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon from 25 year old vines - 14% alcohol
8) 2009 Chateau Saint Vincent Sauternes - Le Caveau price $20
80% Semillon, 10% Muscadelle, 10% Sauvignon Blanc - 14.5% alcohol
9) 2005 Chateau Tour du Haut-Moulin Haut-Medoc - Vino Venue price $33
This bottle was donated by Ms. Abbie and Mr. Matt as option for Welcome Wine, but we ended up saving it for the end of the night.