Bordeaux shines - French Wine Day 2019, Grand Hotel, Stockholm, (16-12-2019 by Robert Jonasson and Nenad Jelisic)
During the annual event French Wine Day, there was an opportunity to taste around 400 wines. The number of wines available to taste was about the same as at the corresponding tasting last year. However, there were only 14 exhibitors at place, which is the smallest number that has been at any French Wine Day where NJ Wines has participated. Despite that, it was impossible to taste all wines during the five hours that the tasting was open. Therefore, it was decided to taste primarily wines that were considered as the most interesting, as well as those that are represented at Systembolaget (a government owned chain of all liquor stores in Sweden). In total, 206 wines were tasted, of which 58 wines (28%) got more than 2,5 NJP in rating. This is a good rating and comparable to the corresponding tastings; in 2017 (29%) and 2018 (32%). Something that was fun to see was that a relatively large proportion of the wines got more than 3,0 NJP in rating. A contributing reason for this was that relatively many wines, which were tasted, had been aged for 5 to 10 years. These wines had come into their last stage of maturation and were, in many cases, very nice to taste. Unfortunately, no wine got more than 4,0 NJP in rating. The biggest positive surprise of this year's tasting was the wine region of Bordeaux. Many of the wines from Bordeaux came from great vintages (such as 2009 and 2015), which made it so that the wines had both good fruitiness and good tannin structure.
The following wines got more than 3,0 NJP (in alphabetical order): 1. Cave de Tain, Gambert de Loche, Hermitage, 2011, red dry wine, Rhône, 4,0 NJP, 2. Chassagne-Montrachet, Vieilles Vignes, Domaine Guy Amiot et Fils, 2016, white dry wine, Burgundy, 3,5 NJP, 3. Château d’Ampuis, E Guigal, 2015, red dry wine, Rhône, 4,0 NJP, 4. Château La Louvière, Blanc, 2010, white dry blend wine, Bordeaux, 3,5 NJP, 5. Château La Louvière, Rouge, 2009, red dry blend wine, Bordeaux, 3,5 NJP, 6. Château Laroque, 2014, red dry blend wine, Bordeaux, 3,5 NJP, 7. Château Tour Baladoz, 2015, red dry blend wine, Bordeaux, 3,5 NJP, 8. Cuvée Sir Winston Churchill, Pol Roger, 2006, white dry sparkling blend wine, Champagne, 4,0 NJP, 9. Domaine Christophe Semaska, Côte Rôtie, Château de Montlys, 2015, red dry wine, Rhône, 3,5 NJP, 10. Domaine de la Rectorie, Banyuls Cuvée Léon Parcé, 2015, red sweet wine, Languedoc-Roussillon, 3,5 NJP, 11. Domaine Garon, Côte-Rôtie, Les Triotes, 2015, red dry wine, Rhône, 3,5 NJP, 12. Ferraton Père et Fils, Ermitage les Dionneres, 2015, red dry wine, Rhône, 4,0 NJP, 13. Gérard Bertrand, Cigalus, Rouge, 2017, red dry blend wine, Languedoc-Roussillon, 3,5 NJP, 14. La Bergerie Du Camps de Nyils, Domaine du Mas Becha, 2015, red dry blend wine, Languedoc-Roussillon, 3,5 NJP, 15. Les Tourelles de Longueville, 2013, red dry blend wine, Bordeaux, 3,5 NJP, 16. Pol Roger, Brut Vintage, 2012, white dry blend sparkling wine, Champagne, 3,5 NJP, 17. Roc de Cambes, 2016, red dry blend wine, Bordeaux, 3,5 NJP, 18. Xavier Vignon, Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Cuvee Anonyme, 2015, red dry blend wine, Rhône, 3,5 NJP and 19. Xavier Vignon, La Réserve, X XI XII, NV, red dry blend wine, Rhône 3,5 NJP.
The best wine producer at the tasting: Xavier Vignon. The producer Xavier Vignon was the producer who impressed most during the tasting. 7 wines were tasted, of which 2 wines got 3,5 NJP (Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Cuvee Anonyme, 2015 and La Réserve, X XI XII NV). The average rating of the wines from Xavier was 2,9 NJP of 5,0 NJP, which is a high average. The producer Xavier Vignon is situated in Châteauneuf-du-Pape. He has been active in the Rhône Valley since 1995. Before that he had been active in other French wine regions, including Champagne, and also in Australia. The company was founded as late as 1999. Something that distinguishes Xavier Vignon from many other producers from Châteauneuf-du-Pape is that several of his wines are made of only one grape. Examples of this are the wines Arcane V Le Pape (100% Grenache) and Arcane XV Le Diable (100% Mourverde). Since 2011, Xavier also produces a small amount of wine from the northern part of Rhône. In addition to produce his own wines, Xavier works as a consultant for almost 300 producers. The large contact network he has created himself through the consulting role gives him the opportunity to buy good wines from many growers and then make his own unique cuvées. Xavier's aim is that all wines should reflect terroir where the grapes were grown and the local grape varieties, but in a modern way.
The best wine in all categories at the tasting: Cuvée Sir Winston Churchill, Pol Roger, 2006, white dry blend sparkling wine, 4,0 NJP of 5,0 NJP (90 points of 100 points) Pol Roger's prestige champagne Cuvée Sir Winston Churchill is only produced during the best vintage and is always a wine of even and high quality. The vintage of 2006 is undoubtedly one of the best vintages of the wine that NJ Wines have tasted so far. The wine has a deep golden color. The aroma is initially a little bit shy but grows, with a little time in the glass, into a complex and very elegant. At first, it is primarily mineral tones and citrus that dominate the aroma. After a while, the aroma grows in complexity and becomes a little smoky with tones of nougat, hazelnuts and toasted bread. The long delicious taste is dry, fresh and elegant with a creamy mousse. In the taste one will find mineral, yellow apples, citrus, hazelnuts and toasted bread. The well-balanced wine has a high acidity and a very long aftertaste. Serve Cuvée Sir Winston Churchill with a delicious snack such as homemade small bagels (other types of bread can be used as well) filled with smoked salmon and cream cheese e.g. Philadelphia-cream cheese. Another perfect combination is butter fried cod fillets topped with small pieces of oven-dried Prosciutto di Parma that is served with almond potatoes purée and white wine sauce. Serve the wine at 8°C and let the temperature rise a couple of degrees while the wine is aired in the glass. The wine should, if possible, be served in wide, tulip-shaped glasses from Riedel Sommelier, Orrefors Difference or similar. This wine should not be served in narrow champagne glasses, so-called champagne flute, because the wine’s aromas appears much better in a wider glass. The wine can be aged for at least 5 years to round off the acidity and get a little more complexity in flavour and aroma. The main part of the grapes in the wine is Pinot Noir which is balanced with Chardonnay. The exact grape blend for Cuvée Sir Winston Churchill is a well-preserved family secret. The wine is fermented in temperature-controlled steel tanks. Grapes from the different villages are fermented separately. The wine undergoes malolactic fermentation before the final blending. Then the wine is fermented in bottle and aged in the deepest of Pol Roger's cellars (33 m below ground) in Épenay. For Cuvée Sir Winston Churchill, remauge (gradual tilting of the bottle neck down, meanwhile the bottle is rotated clockwise and anti-clockwise) is done by hand. To do remauge by hand is something that is very rare in Champagne today.
The best wine region at the tasting: Bordeaux. Bordeaux is a French wine region, which is divided into three wine areas. The first wine area is located on the Garonne and Gironde river's left bank and it is called the Left Bank. The second wine area lies between two rivers, the Garonne and Dordogne, and it is called Entre-Deux-Mers, the area "between two seas". The third wine area is located on the Dordogne river's right bank and it is called the Right Bank (also called Libournais). The first wine area (Left Bank) is divided into two wine districts: Medoc and Graves, there also Sauternes and Barsac are embedded. The second wine area (Entre-Duex-Mers) is divided into nine appellations. The third wine area (Right Bank) is divided into whole series of individual appellations, the most famous between them are Pomerol and Saint-Emilion, which together form the Libournais.
Bordeaux the best vintages, 1900, 1904, 1906, 1914, 1918, 1924, 1926, 1929, 1945, 1947, 1949, 1953, 1959, 1961, 1962, 1982, 1986, 1989, 1990, 1996, 2000, 2005, 2009, 2010, 2015, 2016 and 2018.