Monday, May 25, 2015

Three Bordeaux First Growths In One Day

For my week long visit in Bordeaux I decided to sign up with the Bordeaux Wine Experience. It would have been difficult for me to get access to the leading chateaux on my own. It turned out to be a good decision. On the first day, we visited the three first growths in Pauillac, Mouton Rothschild, Lafite Rothschild and Latour. I will not report on the visits themselves here, it would take up too much space, but mainly review the tasted wines. The soil in Pauillac is coarse gravel and sand, washed up from the Gironde. This allows the vine roots to go very deep and pick up nutrients from different depths. The gravel reflects the sunlight and heats up the soil at night, helping with the ripening process.

Chateau Mouton Rothschild is a modern, quite showy Chateau, in particular with the gallery of paintings which shows the labels of each vintage since 1945. I get to taste the three wines from the three adjoining properties from the 2014 vintage, from barrell. While I am used to taste from barrell in Australia, it is quite hard in Bordeaux because of the high tannin levels and acidity in the wines. The Chateau d'Armailhac tastes of redcurrant and is quite a fruity wine, not very intense. The acidity overwhelms the fruit (86 points). The Clerc Milon, which is often called a second label, shows more complexity. The redcurrant fruit is more intense, and there is some chocolate on the palate as well. The wine is quite balanced (91 points). While these two wines have 50 and 58% Cabernet Sauvignon in the blend, it is 81% in the Mouton Rothschild. The rest is 16% Merlot and 3% Cabernet Franc. The 100% new oak dominates on the nose at this point. The colour of the wine is dark purple, and the redcurrant and blackcurrant flavours are more intense. The wine is vibrant on the palate, with a sweet core and some spice. It is quite acidic, yet powerful with silky tannins and a long, elegant finish (96 points).

New maturation cellar at Mouton

Over at Lafite Rothschild,it is a different story. Here we taste the 2001 Lafite. It consists of 86.5% Cabernet Sauvignon and 13.5% Merlot. The bouquet is much softer, with blueberry and blackberry flavours. The wine delivers a beautiful and very elegant mouthfeel. This is partly due to the wine being 14 years old, but not only. The Mouton tasted before will taste bolder in 14 years. This Lafite is still fresh, but is starting to show some earthy characters as well. I found the wine very balanced between fruit, oak and tannins. The acidity is still strong and the wine feels young at this point (97 points).
                        Old bottles from Chateau Lafite Rothschild

No comments: