Notes from a recent Commanderie de Bordeaux event where the focus was on the wines of Pessac-Leognan...
With Gruyere Gougères; Cripy Pork Terrine; Tuna Tartar...
With Alderwood Smoked Sockeye Salmon, grilled lemon crème fraîche spring herb salad, radishes...
- 2000 Paul Bara Champagne Grand Cru Brut (Millésime) - France, Champagne, Bouzy, Champagne
On the nose nice lemon, yeast and toasty aromas with hints of minerality. A good dose of acidity on the palate with mainly citrus and green apple flavours. The entry starts out crisp and fresh and becomes generous and almost creamy towards the finish until the minerality kicks in. Good length. This is quite young and needs 3-5 years. Excellent. 90+ (90 pts.)
With Fraser Valley Duck Leg Confit, white beans, collard greens with lardons, mushroom fricassée...
- 2002 Château Pape Clément Blanc - France, Bordeaux, Graves, Pessac-Léognan
Medium yellow colour. Notes of diesel, lemon citrus, vanilla oak and orange zest at first on the nose but as it sat in the glass it developed toasty aromas as well. On the palate it’s medium bodied with a slight oily mouthfeel and citrus and stony flavours. There’s bright acidity and the finish offers a faintly austere and citrusy note. Overall well-balanced and a really enjoyable wine. Drink or hold. Very good. (89 pts.)
- 2005 Château de Fieuzal Blanc - France, Bordeaux, Graves, Pessac-Léognan
The nose here was quite shy and never really opened up over the 30minutes this was in the glass. On the palate there were muted and slightly musty citrus fruits flavours. The only element really noticeable on this wine was the bright and energetic acidity. Not sure what to make of this. Judgement reserved.
- 2005 Château Haut-Bergey Blanc - France, Bordeaux, Graves, Pessac-Léognan
Light yellow in colour. Notes of bright citrus, minerality, stones, hints of green and cat’s pee jumped from the nose indicating there was probably a higher percentage of sauv blanc in this wine. This was light in the mouth but offered intense flavours with great acidity and a fresh citrusy finish that seemed to go on and on. There are traces of oak treatment on the palate but it’s well-integrated and you almost have to look for it. A really pleasant and classic white Bordeaux. Excellent. (90 pts.)
With Daube of Pemberton Meadows Beef smoked yukon gold pomme purée, sauce bordelaise, carrots vichy...
- 1996 Domaine de Chevalier - France, Bordeaux, Graves, Pessac-Léognan
Medium ruby colour. Modern nose with heavy oak treatment, red fruits and hints of green/pine/herbaceous. This was soft and round in the mouth with resolved structure and a lean but enjoyable finish. Sour cherries flavours along with traces of tobacco round out the dry palate. The nose presented the wine as quite youthful yet the palate shows the wines age. Drinking well now and I don’t see this getting any better. Very good. (88 pts.)
- 1995 Château de Fieuzal - France, Bordeaux, Graves, Pessac-Léognan
Just the ’05 white from Fieuzal, the nose here was also muted and very restrained. Moving onto the palate where the wine was thin, green and drying out. Something isn’t right with this bottle. NR (flawed)
- 1996 Château Smith Haut Lafitte - France, Bordeaux, Graves, Pessac-Léognan
Medium ruby colour. Pretty and elegant nose of sweet red fruits, tobacco and cedar. Classic Bordeaux nose and by far the best of the reds so far. On to the palate with flavours of red fruits, pencil shavings and hints of bell pepper with well-balanced acidity and fairly resolved tannins. This has nice weight in the mouth along with elegance and complexity. In a really nice spot right now. Excellent. (90 pts.)
With Warm D’Anjou Pear Cake, sea salt and roasted almond ice cream, candied pear, vanilla pear syrup...
- 1998 Château Pape Clément - France, Bordeaux, Graves, Pessac-Léognan
Medium ruby with hints of bricking near the rim. Rich nose is someone what restrained (especially when compared to the ’03) but offers notes of plums, leather and traces of well integrated of toasty oak. Soft on the entry with more dark fruits but then spice and tobacco round out the balanced yet powerful finish. Overall this falls closer to the classic style of the ’01 over the modern style of the ’03. This is drinking very well but absolutely no rush. Excellent. (91 pts.)
- 2001 Château Pape Clément - France, Bordeaux, Graves, Pessac-Léognan
Medium ruby. While not being as pronounced as the ’03, the nose on this ’01 was utterly classic and beautiful with dark cherry and plum fruit, tobacco and smoky notes. Balanced, soft and surprisingly rich in the mouth with round tannins and perfect acidity. The finish is long and commanding with just a hint of bell pepper adding to the complexities. Very nice now but there is more to come. Excellent. 92+ (92 pts.)
- 2003 Château Pape Clément - France, Bordeaux, Graves, Pessac-Léognan
Darker red in colour. Ripe and sweet nose of dark red and blue fruits and vanilla oak that made me think more of Napa than Bordeaux. Juicy and somewhat jammy on the palate with decent acidity and fairly firm yet chewy tannins. The finish is long but the alcohol is a tad noticeable. This is very different in style than the ’98 and ’01. It’s definitely not a bad wine, in fact, it’s a very well made wine that most people will love, it’s just not my style, and not what I expect from Bordeaux, let alone Graves. Oh how my palate has changed. I loved this wine back in 2007 when I first got interested in wine and now I really could careless to drink it. I’ll be selling my remaining bottles. Good. (85 pts.)
- 1998 Château d'Yquem - France, Bordeaux, Sauternais, Sauternes
Medium gold in colour. Intense aromas of sweet apricot, mango, dried pineapples and honey jumped from the glass along with notes of rich botrytis and creme brulee. The level of intensity on the nose isn’t matched on the palate but there’s still plenty of concentration for my liking. Layers of mango, honey and apricot flavours on the entry with a soft, supple and almost creamy texture. There’s a good dose of botrytis on both the nose and palate and the finish is incredibly and sweet. If I was to knit-pick I would like more acidity and a little more fullness in the mid-palate—it’s not hollow, but it lacks the intensity of the entry and finish. Not a blockbuster Yquem in my mind but still a wonderful way to end the night. Great now but obviously this wine has decades of development ahead of it. Excellent. 92+ (92 pts.)
Perfect notes Devin! We agree 100% on all the wines but one. I do like 2003 Pape Clement. I do not love it. But I like it. It's been a few years since I last tasted it. I just started bringing home some 2003 St. Emilion wines to try. Next time I'm in my storage cellar, I'll try and grab a 2003 Pape Clement to see how it's doing.
I think I'm probably the outlier on the 03 Pape Clement as many people liked it at the event too (and I'm probably the lowest score on cellartracker too lol). Perhaps if it hadn't followed the 01 it would have been performed better for me.