Friday, December 22, 2006

2002 Bordeaux – a pleasant surprise

I have been invited to attend a 2002 Bordeaux trade tasting recently and was all curious about the wine given the challenging climatic conditions of this vintage. Actually, I was told by my negociant that this vintage is a great value for money if I were to serve them in restaurants. Whatever this means, I was not sure what to expect when I saw the wine list in my invitation flyer.

Arriving at Marriott Hotel in a rainy afternoon, I strolled into the tasting room packed with trade professionals who have decided to turn up on time despite the weather. This is certainly a good start as far as local practice goes.

The tasting is organized in a sit-down format, 7 glasses per person. The wine to be tasted are in the following order: Domaine de Chevalier, Chateau Petit Village, Chateau Palmer, Chateau Figeac, Chateau Pichon Longueville Baron, Chateau Cos d’Estournel and Cahteau Saduiraut. The respective vineyard representatives were invited to speak on each wine as we taste. As 2002 is a relatively young vintage, I am looking for longevity qualities such as the wine’s acidity and phenols.

Domaine de Chevalier, presented by Mrs Olivier Bernard.
Two wines from this vineyard – Domaine de Chevalier Blanc and Chevalier Rouge. We started with the white wine which is a lovely refreshing Sauvignon Blanc with a dominated nose of cut grasses, hints of citrus fruits. The palate has good natural acidity, notes of mineral and lemon. The wine has a lingering finish which is important to suggest its aging potential. I think this wine will improve given another 2-3 years.

The Chevalier Rouge strikes me as having a good vigor with an upfront nose of berries. I discovered a rather distinct vanilla nose in the wine although it is mentioned that there is only 20% new oak used here. It has a good structure and great tannins. The texture is rather smooth for this young wine. I may suggest that this wine is ready to drink in 3 years given the palate composition.

Chateau Palmer, presented by Mr Bernard de Laagne de Meux
This is a masculine wine (compared with the Chevalier Rouge) with a great nose of blackcurrants and plums. Medium to full bodied with a relatively pronounced tannins. The wine has long length, leaving behind a lasting impression on my palate. The aging potential is high, probably another 8-9 years before drinking.

Chateau Petit Village, presented by Mr. Christian Seely
This is a much mellow wine compared with the previous samples. It has a good nose of blackcurrants and even hints of chocolates. The palate is quite pleasant but it is not as distinctive as the Palmer. Its tannins are balanced. I think this wine is an easy drinking one.

Chateau Pichon Longueville, presented by Mr. Christian Seely
It has a beautiful deep ruby color and a nose of toastiness. The palate is full bodied and rich with black fruits. The tannins are ripe and inviting. I would imagine that it is a great wine to pair with a braised meat dish. The toasty tobacco like finish is a stimulant to most simply cooked food. I think the wine is almost ready to drink for the less patient ones. It will benefit from a quick decanting to bring out the multi-layered aroma of the wine.

Chateau Figeac, presented by Count Eric d'Aramon
This wine strikes me immediately as an easy drinking one. Its aromatic nose of fruitcake and blackcurrants in addition to a medium bodied style makes it a likeable wine. The wine possesses a famine character which is pleasant in almost all occasions.

Chateau Cos d’Estournel, presented by Jean-Guillaume Prats
I was secretly looking forward to this wine when I was showed of the wine list at the invitation. Its deep purple color coupled with the nose of black fruits and spices gives an overall elegant impression. The wine is rather full-bodied with defined structure, tannins are balanced. This winery continues to bring great surprises even in a challenging vintage. The wine can benefit from a few more years of aging (may be 3-5 years).

Chateau Suduiraut, presented by Mr. Christian Seely
This wine reminds me of a Barsac style instead of Sauternes. It is full-bodied, sweet with some hints of citrus notes on the palate. There is a lack of intense honey nose as in a Botrytised wine. This is a great companion to lighter cheese and is delicious even on its own.

Overall impression of 2002 Bordeaux vintage is great. Although it is not as musculine as its 2000 counterparts. I think the wineries have made exceptional efforts to create fine wines given the climatic challenges.

Copyright of Wine Treasures Pte Ltd

By Cher Lim
Wine Treasures Pte Ltd



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