Sunday June 22
I had a blast at the Libourne open air market this morning. I love it! It is so French. Cheese, meat, fruit, fish, bread, everything you need for the kitchen. But being an American, and not in Pairs, it is odd seeing fish displayed outdoors, oysters placed on tables and live chickens. I was not born on a farm. However, I am fairly certain those chickens are not being as pets. Especialy the pair in the corner named lunch and dinner.
Regarding American buying habits… I own no 97 Bordeaux. I have only 4 or 5 wines from 99, about 12 from 01 & 04. I have over 60 different wines from 00 & 05. I could be wrong, but to me that is typical buying habits for most Americans. Some board members might purchase as many winesin 04 as they did in 05, but that is not typical of most Americans. The truth is, I find it difficult to believe many Bordeaux buyers purchased the same amount of wines in 04 as they did in 05. Older buyers used to paying lower prices might have picked up more 04, because they had problems adjusting to the new price levels, but I doubt many, active Americans bought the same or more wine in 04 as they did in 05.
As a country, we did not buy the same amount of wines in 01 as we did in 05. Americans bought more 05 Bordeaux than any other country. What we did not buy direct, we purchased from England, Switzerland and a host of other countries.
Bordeaux is well aware of that and while they wish it was different, they understand that is how it is.
07, regardless of price is not going to sell in America. The wines I have tasted remind me of 99. Some are very nice and will be fun to drink. But, due to high prices, caused in part by the value of the dollar, the vintage is going to be a hard sell.
Lunch with Jay Selman, Mark & Eric from Grape Radio at a local St. Emilon Bistro. Following lunch, I spent time in the only Internet bar in the village. Sadly it’s no longer there. If you want to know why I love being here… I am killing a few moments in one of my favorite haunts and Alain Vauthier of Ausone strolls in by himself, casually says hi, reaches out grabbing a chair pulling it next to me and asks about what I have been up to. Over a few beers, we discuss the wines we tasted together at the Clos St. Martin lunch on a sweltering, stunningly, beautiful afternoon in St. Emilion. Life is good…
Clos de Sarpe is not a wine many of us has had the opportunity to taste. Production is small, not much ships to America and Parker’s comments about the wine being better suited for 19th century tastes have probably put a few people off the wine. It is an interesting expression of St. Emilion and Bordeaux lovers should grab a bottle and see for themselves. Current vintages are worth checking out.
The, mostly Merlot with 15% Cabernet Franc takes a lot of its character from the plots of old vines ranging from over 55 years old to close to 90! Along with natural yeast’s, organic farming and very old vines, yields are kept low. The wine is powerful. This is no cookie cutter Bordeaux. Clos de Sarpe is probably one of the longer lived wines in all of Bordeaux. But, don’t look for older vintages to see how the wine ages because today’s Clos de Sarpe ain’t your grandmothers wine. Things changed in 1986 when they decided to use at least a percentage of new wood. Prior to 86, the wines were raised entirely in vat. 1997 was the first year wines were aged in barrel, they used 50% new oak that year. 52 weeks later in 1998 they stepped it up employing 100% new oak and they have never looked back.
06 Clos de Sarpe, talk about hot off the press… This was just bottled yesterday! Deep ruby color, black jammy raspberry nose with a powerful mouth presence. Large scaled, very dense and concentrated. Tannic with a long, mineral, earthy, licorice, black fruit finish. This wine demands aging.
01 Clos de Sarpe is a monster of a St. Emilion! Very concentrated, but with all the right stuff! This powerful, mineral, infused wine is packed and stacked with gobs of ripe fruit. Almost dense, this wine packs a lot of flavor and character into the bottle. I’d love to watch a bottle evolve over a day and chart its progress. 94 Pts
98 Clos de Sarpe was a weak sister to the more potent, modern vintages. Still, it was a very stylish wine with chocolate, covered licorice and blackberry flavor scents accompanied by a large mouthful of young Merlot. Ripe and tannic. 92 Pts
89 Clos de Sarpe did not offer a lot of pleasure. The wine tasted dried out and was produced in a rustic style. The nose was better than the palate.