Chateau Palmer 2004

90++ points

Margaux. 13%

Weird wine. At first it seemed disappointly lacking concentration with tannin, acid and oak dominating fruit. Then with food it transformed with aged oaky flavours coming forward. Soon as the food was gone it went back to being ordinary.

The next night the difference with food was less extreme.

I suspect this will be best in 10 more years. But it’s a risky bet.

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Chateau Rauzan-Despagne Reserve 2010

88+ points

Bordeaux. 13.5%

Probably deserves even higher points given its low price. It’s normally impossible to find decent claret even in Bordeaux for under 10 euro. This was only 8 euro.

Note this is not the Grand Vin but their cheaper ‘Reserve’.

Modern, very clean, fresh, not souped up. Got better over a few nights. Cherry fruit, of the vintage or just its youth?

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Chateau PĂ©desclaux 2009

94+ points

Pauillac. 13% (on the label but very likely higher)

I thought I had reviewed this but in checking I see I haven’t. I have tried this many times, it never fails to impress. When I first tried it in 2012 I was amazed that such a concentrated young wine could be so approachable. I called it “Pomerol comes to Pauillac” which is sort of true.

It’s an oddity, but not that odd. What it clearly is is very good. A wine to challenge first growths for a fraction of the price.

This is the sort of wine I always imagined that California at its best could produce. Sadly I’ve not seen this, maybe they can?

So this has the flavour. Does it have the balance to turn into something ethereal and fine? Time will tell. I think it will turn out very well, but (strangely for Bordeaux) I’m not super interested it’s that good already!

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Chateau PĂ©desclaux 2010

89+ points

Pauillac. 13% (most likely higher)

Tasted alongside the 2009 over several evenings there is some similarity, the house style but they are very different vintages. 2010 is supposed to be more classic, but very tannic and concentrated. That’s not how this seemed. It’s certainly less forward, less flamboyant, but also lighter.

The 2009 you’d think wouldn’t be my style but the sheer quality bowls me over. It’s top classed growth quality. 2010 Pedesclaux doesn’t seem in the same league. It reminds me a bit of 2009 Ch.Chantermerle, which is very very good for its price but no giant slayer.

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Chateau Baron de Pichon- Longueville 2002

91+ points

Pauillac. 13.5%

Very interesting wine. Classy. Showing both house style and the distictiveness of the vintage. It’s quite bold, ripe, with a fair degree of oak. It’s not herbaceous yet there is a seam of vegetal tone. 2002 was a good cabernet year but nothing like the ripe vintages of 2005 or 2009. And it’s not so pretty and fresh as 2004. It’s quite serious but not austere. Long life still ahead.

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