Here are full details of some of the Bordeaux wines tasted in the month of August with respect to location, terroir, history and tasting notes.
CLOS FLORIDENE 2012
SIZE - 31 hectares
LOCATION - Plateau of Pujor Sur Ciron, BARSAC, GRAVE Appellation (Left Bank) with calcareous clay soils
BLEND- 60% Semillon ; 39% Sauvignon Blanc, 1% Muscadelle
OWNERSHIP – Bought in 1982 by the legendary Wine maker and consultant of Bordeaux Denis Dubourdieu and his wife Florence Dubourdieu (name ‘Floridene’ has been derived from their names). Sadly Denis passed away in July 2016. We started off with a tasting of his wine to commemorate all the hard work he has put into Bordeaux in the last 30 years. Initially he bought the chateau as a small 2 ha plot but later added more plots from Chateau Montalivet. Denis Dubourdieu was one of the first winemaker in Bordeaux who initiated fermentation of white wines in oak barrels so as to render more intensity and a rounded expression.
TASTING - Dry, crisp white wine with opening notes of citrus, lemon rind, following through with aromas from stone fruits such as white peach and ripe golden apricots, some herbal notes of mint and white flowers from Semillon. Reasonably well rounded with medium acidity, a minor hint of minerality on its finish. Simple yet elegant expression. Good bargain Bordeaux white. (Sumilier 80/100)
Wine Spectator ratings – 91 and Decanter -90
CHATEAU BOUSCAUT 2008
SIZE- 54 hectares
LOCATION - Cadaujac, PESSAC LEONAN (Left Bank); Limestone, clay with some gravels and sand soils
BLEND - 70% Semillon ; 30% Sauvignon Blanc
16th Century – In existence since the 16th century and was called Haut Trichon.
1929 - Name changed to Bouscaut after being bought by Victor Place
1960’s - Fire destroyed entire chateau and it was rebuilt painstakingly as per original specification.
1968- Sold to New York investors, Wolhlstetter – Sloan
1979 – Bought by Lucien Lurton who among other Bordeaux estate also owns Brane-Cantenac and Durfort Vivens (classified as second growth)
2002 - Now managed by daughter, Sophie Lurton and husband, Laurence Cogombles. Lots of improvements made to the winery since 2002.
AVERAGE AGE OF VINES - 40 years old
DESCRIPTION – Vinification of Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon done separately in New French oak barrels. Also skin contact practiced for Semillon. Aged for 9-12 months in barrel before blending. This particular vintage of Bouscaut received special mention by Jancis Robinson! Robert Parker ratings usually 88 +
TASTING - Dry, gold colour, medium plus intensity, it has lovely crisp acidity along with some excellent complexity. The wine is now almost 8 years old and is reaching its peak maturity, shows signs of elegant ageing combining fruit notes of peach and lemon along with rounded vanilla, sweet liquorice, oily and toasty notes from oak. It finishes long with a strong aroma of honey, ground almond and hazelnuts at the end. A very harmonious balance of young fruit along with ageing tertiary notes, clearly demonstrating a mature rich wine, to be accompanied and enjoyed with dinner. A lot to be appreciated and savoured in this wine! (Sumilier 92/100)
(Wine Spectator – 91/100)
CHATEAU D’AGUILHE 2007
SIZE – 110 hectares but only 55 hectares cultivated so far
LOCATION – COTE DI CASTILLON to the east of St Emillion (East Bank), on the hills of St Phillipe- d’Aguille. Aguille means needle and the location of the chateau if of immense significance in terms of aspect. South facing it is on a plateau and other side is a huge valley. Slightly cooler than St Emillion, grapes take longer to ripen. Soil is a mix of clay and limestone
BLEND - 80% Merlot ; 20% Cabernet Franc
OWNERSHIP - One of the oldest chateaus in the Castillon history
13th century Once a Gallo- Roman Villa, it was converted into a mason-forte. In the medieval ages, it became a contentious location between French and English armies
18th century- Ownership changed from d’Albret family, and then to Leberthon family
19th century – Passed on to Etienne Martineau and his decendents. Vineyard started getting neglected and very little was done to promote winemaking standards.
1998 – Stephen Von Neipperg, a German aristocrat and landowner who improvised the vineyard and brought about huge changes pushing the standards of cultivation and wine making to that equivalent of other St Emillion quality. New Wine tourism strategy has begun, concrete vats put up, pulling of Cabernet Sauvignon and replacing with early ripening Merlot plantation, establishing sustainable and biodynamic viticultural standards.
AVERAGE AGE OF VINES- 30-35 years
DESCRIPTION – After vinification in concrete vats, wine is aged in 50% new French oak barrels for 12-18 months.
Tasting - Dry, ruby red and deep intensity, it has mature damson plum fruit notes, driven behind with spicy, liquorice, pepper, toast, oak and vanilla notes. Mild hint of ageing has begun with some chocolate and tobacco underlying notes. Overall well integrated wine with a good balance of alcohol, fruit concentration and acidity and possessing a good potential to age; Can drink now but can lay it down for another 4-5 years. (Sumilier 88/100)
(Wine Spectator – 90/100)
CHATEAU ROUGET 2008
SIZE – 18 hectares
LOCATION – Pomerol (Right Bank), next to Chateau La Croix de Gay. Soils of clay, limestone with iron.
BLEND – 85% Merlot ; 15% Cabernet Franc
OWNERSHIP – Goes back to the Roman Period. One of the top 5 oldest official Pomerol Crus established.
18th century – owned by Bayonne Family, Pierre Bayonne was the Mayor of Pomerol ; prospered and was valued very highly in the Right Bank
1992 – purchased by Labruyere family (Jean-Pierre) who also own many estates in Burgundy (Mersault) and Beaujolais and now in California. Now his son, Eduard runs the estate. He hired Michel Rolland, the renowned wine consultant who has greatly improvised the wine-making techniques. Cabernet Sauvignon plantations were uprooted and replaced by Merlot that suits clay better.
AVERAGE AGE OF VINES– 28 years
DESCRIPTION – Fully hand harvested, fermentation takes place in a combination of wooden vats and stainless steel tanks. 50% aged in new French oak barrels for 15-18 months.
Tasting - Fruit forward and overtly rich in concentration, the notes of black cherries and black plums, ripe raspberries are very prominent. Some earthy and chocolate notes of ageing starting to develop and mid palate has a highly remarkable spice content with focused notes from pepper, cloves, liquorice and vanilla. Tannins are fine-grained, greatly smooth and silky. The texture is plush and creamy with a supreme balance of oak, fruits and alcohol. Impressive intensity with a bold pronounced body. (Sumilier 89/100)
(James Suckling – 90/100; Jeanie Cho Lee – 84/100)
CHATEAU GRAND PUY LACOSTE 2007
LOCATION- Rated by 1855 Bordeaux classification as 5th classified growth. One of the oldest estates in Pauillac (Left Bank), Medoc. Grand Puy was a gravelly hillock opening into the Garonne river. Soils are deep coarse big gravel and clay
SIZE – 90 hectares (55 ha under production)
BLEND – 75- 80% Cabernet Sauvignon, 17-20% Merlot and 3-5% Cabernet Franc
Grand Puy Lacoste and Grand Puy Ducasse were all one part of one big Grand Puy property which later broke up in the process of inheritance and divisions with daughters marrying into different families. In 1750, part of it went to Pierre Ducasse and became known as Grand Puy Ducasse (also a 5th Classified growth).
Grand Puy Lacoste was known by a different name, Guiraud in the medieval period and belonged to one family (Guiraud) until in 1978, it was given to the daughter of the family as dowry to a man Francois Lacoste and got the name Lacoste.
With the World Wars, came recession and the property was sold to a well-known business magnate cum socialite Raymond Dupin, when complacency struck in. Raymond then employed Jean-Eugène Borie who later bought the estate in 1978 and started the modernization of the chateau and the vineyards. It was passed on to his son, François-Xavier who with his wife manage the property and have continued pushing the quality of wines to such high standards, that its recent vintages have been rated and priced as highly as the best premier crus of today. He has a daughter, Emiline who has now started getting involved in a huge in promoting the estate. His sons Lawrence and Pierre have also now joined his business and most likely will take over the estate in the near future.
AVERAGE AGE OF VINES – 38- 40 years
DESCRIPTION - Exclusively hand harvested with a long period of maceration (2-3 weeks), post vinification ageing in barrels (75% in new French oak) for 16-18 months.
Tasting- Deep intensity with colour changing from ruby to garnet, showing a fine bouquet of black cherries, ripened cassis, mint and thyme, green pepper following on with vanilla, pepper, liquorice and spice cedar. Palate is impressive with linear and intensely pronounced acidity backed by ripened black fruits and the cedar and spice peppercorns are equally powerful ending with coffee and earthy tobacco notes. The wine is supremely complex and is only just about showing some signs of ageing and there is a good chance that this wine will go well past another 10-15 years. Supremely well balanced with supple, ripe and fine grained tannins very high in number and quite dense, which gives it the complex structure and a full body despite being modest on alcohol. Remarkable wine with an exceptionally long finesse for what was a challenging vintage! (Sumilier 91/100)
(Jancis Robinson – 16.5/20 and Wine Spectator – 87/100)
CHATEAU LEOVILLE BARTON 2007
LOCATION – Located on St Julien, Medoc. Classified as Second Growth. Smallest of the Leoville Estates (others, being Poyferre and Las Cases also classified as Second Growth). Leoville Barton don’t have their own winery. All vinification done in Langoa Barton Winery which also belongs to the same family. It is classified a third growth chateau. Langoa Barton makes slightly lighter wines, while Leoville is considered to be the macho expression of the Medoc wines. Soil composition is gravelly with sand and clay.
SIZE – Around 40 hectares
BLEND – 70- 72% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot and 8-10 % Cabernet Franc
OWNERSHIP - Was purchased by Hugh Barton, an Irishman in the 19th century and has been within the family since then. His son, Ronald inherited the property and since he did not bear any children he passed it on to his nephew Anthony Barton in 1983 who now runs the estate along with his daughter Lilian Barton.
AVERAGE AGE OF VINES- 35 years
DESCRIPTION - Hand picked, fermented in wooden vats and aged in French oak barrels, 50% in New Oak barrels for 18 months.
TASTING - Deep intensity with pronounced aromas of black currants and black berries, herb flavours of thyme and anise, powerful blast of spicy notes of crushed black peppercorns, cloves, cardamom, toast and nutmeg. Although the wine is still young (even though its almost 10 years old), there is only a mild hint of complexity and ageing emerging so far from cedar and meat showing there is a big potential for it to further age for the next 15 years. It has deeply packed ripe and supple tannins that lends itself to a brazenly bold structure; hugely expressive and harmonious with equal expression of fruit and oak. For a difficult vintage they have managed to really pull off a fine production and come out with a bold and complex wine which is what makes them different to the rest of Bordeaux. This wine does have a long lasting impact on the palate, with lingering toast and spicy notes. (Sumilier 93/100)
(Decanter rated 87/100; Wine Spectator – 92/100)