Rob Moshein - Austin Wine Guy
AWG in Bordeaux Day 4
June 29, 2010Wednesday: The long and Winding Road…
The wines are good. Elegant, sturdy wines, about 50-50 Merlot - Cab. Nice dark cherry tones, bright acidity and a lively modern style. I liked them all. We had a lot of fun with their "entry level" wine, call "L'Agassant" in French, meaning the "devilish" one. which we all agreed should be labelled for US markets as "Kique D'agASSac" as it was kick-ass! At under $20 on US shelves it would do well, should it ever arrive on our side of the pond. It showed a playful bright fruit style, friendly acids and medium elegant tannins. The Grand Vin was classic Medoc, nice rich nose of cherry and meaty earth. Solid structure, again elegant and age worthy, but pleasant enough now. Very dedicated to being sustainable and exploring Organic methods. They are rejecting the old ways and experimenting with more modern, earth friendly techniques.
Off to Pauillac! More pouring rain, but lively chatter along the way among all the Buffs and Mutineers, Barbara and of course Charlie. Famous names are whizzing by in the rain: Lafite Rothschild with a huge crane looming over the winery as part of a major re do, Mouton Rothschild, sadly the Comtesse was in Paris so an impromptu and unannounced courtesy visit was not recommended by Charlie. A brief break in the weather as we pull up to…
Château Margaux! Just a brief minute for a few photos. Ahh Margaux…Sadly no time (nor more saliently no appointment) for degutastion. Now every Chateau road sign is a familiar name… We pull into the hamlet of Bages, long neglected and restored to storybook charm by the Cazes family. Lunch at Lavinal, the restaurant owned by the Cazes family and next door to Lynch-Bages itself.
Off again, to Ch. Fleur la Mothe. in Pauillac. Greeted by Henri Boyer one of the trio of professional consulting oenologists who bought the property in 2008, and are now making their own wines.
Back down again to Pauillac for our ne plus ultra visit at Lynch Bages. The most slick, modern and elegant place we visited, of course. Also, while the most interesting wine wise, was also the least "fun". There was zero personal connection here. The young lady giving us the tour had only been working there since September. She couldn't really answer our more technical questions. She was most professional and courteous, yet, well, it lacked the "sympa" of elsewhere. The old winery from 1855 is a museum. Mutineer Ian doing some cool shots there with the ancient equipment and we Buffs. Off to the tasting. OK, this part is epic (see, Alan, I'm learning). A clean glass for each of the 11 of us for each of the Five wines we tasted.
What's not to like about Lynch-Bages? It is always a great quality wine. Supple, rich but never heavy. Signature dried cherry tones and great acids. Fabulous depth but never leaden on nose or palate. The 09s, well, sadly, live up to the hype and press. Worth the money? Well, the 1st tranche release prices are $150 per bottle in the US, expect it even higher later. They are great wines, They should cellar well and be great to drink around 2015 or so. I find it hard to get really excited by wines over $125 max, as the huge increase in price delivers only a minimal increase in sheer quality. The first growth prices will hover around $1000 per bottle when they hit the US market. I suspect only investment bankers and billionaires will be buying most of them. The great news is that there will be hundreds of smaller chateaux who also produced killer wines (read as "epic" for the younger crowd) which will be $20. THESE are the wines you should be looking for. As I said to one winemaker, "every idiot and his brother made great wine in 2009. The real skill is making great wine in a difficult vintage." Now, the hype and over inflated prices will, as a result, make the 2008 and 2007 vintages much more affordible. Invest your money in the better producers who still made really good wines in these overlooked vintages and you will have a much better bargain than the high profile 2009 wines. Don't always buy into the price hype of upper tier Bordeaux in superior vintages. Great wineries always make great wines year in and year out!
Next stop was up to St. Estephe, to Chateau Serilhan. A family property, who's current owner was a Corporate executive in the US and Europe, who inherited the place. Didier Marcelis is a direct, engaging man, with a clear sales pitch.
He graciously hosted us for dinner. We drove up to the northern most tip of the Medoc to a lovely spot on the Gironde (la Riviere). p
Off into the late evening darkness back down to Saint Estephe for an overnight at Chateau Pomys. A rambling 17th century Chateau which had once been the hunting lodge of the Seigneur d'Estournel and part of the larger property where Cos d'Estournel winery still stands, sans a chateau proper. There is talk, we heard, of Cos reuniting the two together. Arriving around midnight, we find that we Buffs, Barbara and Andrew from Creative Feed, and Mutineers are the only guests. Yep, ten people alone in a three story Chateau/hotel, overnight. Now "if" some people had decided to explore out into the darkness, they "might" have found a way to break into the ancient stone tower and they "could" have clambered up to the top. Now, I was the reasonable one, heading to bed instead of staying up all night drinking wine and rowdy horseplay in the darkness. Ok, that's partly because I couldn't FIND the others, but also, the responsible elder in me was dead tired. I don't recover from an all night drunk as easily as the 20 somethings. However, it WAS hilarious to hear the next morning that Mutineer Alan was throwing rocks at a third floor room who's lights were on trying to get their attention. Alan's room was next to mine, so I revealed that he was throwing rocks on the windows of his OWN empty room! It was that kind of night.
And so to bed, while the frogs croaked in the darkness, and the occasional scream of Megan's from jumping spiders breaking the bucolic night.
Austin Wine Guy