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© John Farren

Meeting 421 -" Vintage Bordeaux"

Speaker: Chris Gutch
Friday 15thth February 2019: Neville Hall, Waltham St Lawrence


       It was a great pleasure for us to welcome Chris Gutch again following his excellent earlier presentation on the wines of the Cos of Sicily a few years ago and more recently, together with Yoko, a tasting of Sake. This time he had invaded his new cellar for a collection of classic Bordeaux, mainly from the two excellent vintages of 2000 and 2005.
       He started by showing that his wines had all been well kept in his recently built circular cellar. While watching his slides showing the construction methods for the cellar, we sipped a Calvet Brut Rose. Made by traditional methods, this relatively widely available and inexpensive bubble proved to be popular as a pleasant appetizer for the evening. This was followed the 3ème cru Chateau Giscours and 2ème Cru Chateau Gruard Larose. Both showed the maroon colour of their age, had excellent stone fruit nose. In both the tannin was comfortable and could be considered perfect drinking now, despite the suggestion that they could last for several years. The 2000 Chateau Sociando had a surprisingly 'young' colour, rather light nose but good fruit. Definitely drink now. The 5ème cru 2000 Chateau Haut Batailley we had been advised was at its peak - probably true but there was a good level of tannin, which combined with fruit suggested it might go on for a while. By contrast the 2005 Haut Batailley, while having plenty of fruit, only had a medium level of tannin . That members didn't quite know what to make of it is showed in a very wide range of scores.
       The 2005 4ème Chateau Marquis de Terme Margaux was quite tannic with clear vanilla on the nose. Recommended to be drunk now but would clearly go on for a while. The 2005 Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte was definitely a stayer and had the excellent cherry fruit and smooth but plentiful tannin to give this wine many years left. The 2005 Chateau Lagrange had a very deep maroon colour, an almost nettles and spicy nose combined with plenty of tannin inviting Chris to put it well to the back of his cellar for a while. The top wine of the evening.
       Probably to oddest feature of the evening was the great range of scores which members gave the wines. Particularly the last 4. All of which got high average scores but typically ranged from 6 to 9 points.
       Mark provided two patés to go with the wines - one smooth and one chunky. His main course was based on ox cheek stew prepared by long slow cooking. For once despite the mountain of meat provided to each table, on ours, nothing went to waste. Superb.

The Wines

   Aperitif. Calvet Cremant Bordeaux Brut Rose 2016 Methode traditionelle 90% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc - (from Amazon and Ocado)
8.50 7+
(1)2000 Chateau Giscours 3ème cru classé Margaux (2009-2022) 55% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc 2hr decant 18.00 8
(2) 2000 Chateau Gruaud Larose 2ème cru classé Saint-Julien (2013-2029) 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 29% Merlot, 3% Cabernet Franc, 2% Petit Verdot, 1% Malbec 4hr decant 114.00 8*
(3) 2000 Chateau Sociando-Mallet, Appellation Haut-Medoc Contrôlée (2010-2024) 55% Cabernet, 40% Marlot, 5% Cabernet Franc 3hr decant 60.00 7+
(4) 2000 Chateau Haut-Batailley 5ème cru classé Pauillac (2008-2018) 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Merlot 10% Cabernet Franc 1hr decant 67.00 8
(5) 2005 Chateau Haut-Batailley 5ème cru classé Pauillac (2014-2025) 76% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot, 4% Cabernet Franc 1hr decant 50.00 8*
(6) 2005 Chateau Marquis de Terme 4ème cru classé Margaux (2014-2020) 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot and 5% Petit Verdot 4hr decant 55.00 8*
(7) 2005 Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte Grand cru classé de Graves Appellation Pessac-Leognan Contrôlée (2015-2045) 60% Cabernet Sauv.,30% Merlot 9% Cabernet Franc 1% Petit Verdot 4hr 120.00 8+*
(8) 2005 Chateau Lagrange 3ème cru classé Saint Julien (2019-2045) 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 10% Petit Verdot 5hr decant 65.00 8+*
The supper wine :    Supper: 2009 Sarget de Gruaud Larose, Appellation Saint-Julien Contrôlée (2015-2024) 54% Cabernet Sauvignon, 26% Merlot, 13% Cabernet Franc, 7% Petit Verdot 2hr decant

** Some approximnate current prices
* Average of a wide range of scores!!

Les Chateaux