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First and second tasting

July 1 and 3, 2012

Blind tasting Bordeaux 1986

I had two separate events this week, and both events lead to one conclusion. Before we jump to conclusion, let’s look at the processes.

Pauillac Blind Tasting

An overseas friend came over during the weekend, so I threw a theme before they fly over — let’s do a blind tasting of Pauillac wines regardless of the vintage. So they picked up a bottle of wine in HK before heading to Singapore.

5 bottles and 6 persons attended the dinner cum tasting. The event is served double blind, no labels, no vintage ideas. We had a pour each and started guessing which are the top 3 consensus wines, and we had an answer within an hour.At this point, we revealed what wines we have brought, these are the wines:

Lynch Bages 89
Lynch Bages 2000
Mouton Rothschild 83
Pichon Baron 96
Latour 83

Now all 6 of us voted and we had the following results from our first tasting:

Latour 83 — 6/6 votes
Lynch Bages 89 —5/6 votes
Lynch Bages 2000 tied Pichon Baron 96 —3/6 votes
Mouton 83 — 1/6 votes

Shocked with the results that Lynch Bages was so close to snatching the 1st position in this blind tasting! A note, I find that the Mouton 83 wasn’t in its best condition and probably bottle shock coz my friend arrived at 3 pm and we had this event at 7 pm onwards. Basically there’s no time for the bottle to rest.

Bordeaux 86 Blind Tasting

This is the 2nd event of the week.We again decided to do a 86 blind tasting, again its full blind (everyone brings a bottle, labels not revealed). Originally we planned for 7 persons’ participation, but someone fell sick, so I had to scramble to find some replacements, ended up we had 9 participants.

We had some pizza, cheese, baguette, duck rillettes over the tasting. We spent 1.5 hours blind tasting to reach consensus (the wines were not double decanted but everyone opened their bottles almost 2 hours before the event, we decanted all 7 bottles into 7 different decanters).

As usual, we reach consensus of the top 3 wines before we reveal the labels. Let’s see what the labels are first:

1.       Montrose, St Estephe, 2nd growth
2.       Figeac, St Emilion, Premier Grand Cru Class B
3.       Palmer, Margaux, 3rd growth
4.       Gruaud Larose, St Julien, 2nd growth
5.       Clerc Milon, Pauillac, 5th growth
6.       Cheval Blanc, St Emilion, Premier Grand Cru Class A
7.       Ausone, St Emilion, Premier Grand Cru Class A
Result:

Clerc Milon,9/9 votes! (Unanimous consensus)
Montrose6/9 votes
Palmer6/9 votes

 

Surprise, surprise! A 5th growth Clerc Milon 86 smashed through 1st growth equivalent wines! According to my friend, the provenance of this bottle is ex-chateau, hard to believe that the chateau wanted to keep wines for so many years before releasing it for sale but I guess the result is undeniable.

On pouring, typical Pauillac nose, slight smoke, woody and cedarwood are the promiment characters. On the palette, the first few sips showed that this wine is exceptionally tight and rough (I actually used the word “Harsh” in my notes). Tannins are moderate. At this point, I was about to give up and write off this wine as my top 3 choices. As clock ticks away after an hour, I realized the wine has changed completely, the harshness has morphed into sweet & pleasant wine, fruits began to surface. Just before we voted (90mins), the wine has blossomed into full blown, voluptuous fruits! What a change that I can normally only find such changes in only 1st growth wines!

We also voted for the onion wine of the night, and the following wine has got:
Ausone 0/9 votes

The one who brought this bottle will probably have to host the next event as well as coming up with a theme 🙂 Really poor thing, bringing a first growth equivalent turned out to be total disaster for my friend.

After the consensus, the rest are personal glory for being able to arrange the wines in sequence. I managed to get 2 out of 7 labels and 3 appellations correct. Nothing to shout about, that’s my level which is decent but can never be the top student in these blind tastings.

Hey readers, this is a consensus vote, so the result is very powerful and the persuasion is very strong that a Clerc Milon has fended off so many good wines tonight to be the champion! She has truly humbled the premier wines like Cheval Blanc which is at least 5x more expensive but has only garnered3/9 votes. Lessons learned, you think fifth growth wines are inferior? Don’t let classifications fool you. Drink up some and let me know how you feel about my tasting events!

Followed up: 3rd Bordeaux 1986 Semi-Blind Tasting!

6 August 2014
Olivia Cassivelaun Fancourt (OCF)

I arranged a blind tasting for my customers to experience a taste of wines without the influence of labels. As we have written enough about blind tasting events, I will skip the details here as the topic is about whether “are fifth growth inferior wines?”

Quickly, the line ups are well represented with some left and right banks and as many appellations as I can get hold of:
Clerc Milon (ex-chateau), Pauillac
Figeac, St Emilion
Haut Brion, Pessac Leognana
Lynch Bages, Pauillac
Cos d’Estournel, St Estephe
Pavillon Rouge du Chateau Margaux, Margaux

As you can see, I will always have a first growth (Haut Brion) to act as benchmark, a 2nd growth (Cos d’Estornel) and other 5th growth (Lynch Bages, Clerc Milon), and non classified wines (Pavillon Rouge du Chateau Margaux and Figeac).
9 persons attended the blind tasting, and we have the following consensus vote:
#1: Clerc Milon, 20 points
#2: Lynch Bages, 10 points
#3: Haut Brion, 8 points
#4: Pavillon Rogue du Chateau Margaux: 4 points
#5: Cos d’Estournel: 3 points (tied)
#6: Figeac: 3 points (tied)

The Clerc Milon has shown fabulous stamina, started off with very muted nose, faint oak, damn. Color is excellent crimson red. Palette is very structured, balanced yet elegant. The wine outlasted all other labels with superb stamina, holding it steady in the glass for as long as it can get without giving up. Even though my 2nd choice was Haut Brion which grows onto me given some time, it was not enough to beat Clerc Milon from an excellent provenance.

OK i safely concluded…

With 3 separate occasions I have attended, Clerc Milon 86 (ex-chateau) has outshined twice in a blind tasting and Latour 83 done it once, both times beating some first growths big name without blinking an eyelid!

If you go for a blind tasting, don’t forget to lug along this Clerc Milon 86 ex-chateau provenance bottle, you can almost be rest assured you won’t need to pay for dinner!

Some of you might wonder what exactly ex-chateau means? Ex-chateau means “direct from chateau”.If you are an experienced wine drinker, you will know ex-chateau is a rare gem since you are drinking from a bottle that comes directly from the Chateau that have never been out of professional storage in Bordeaux. There is no better way to ensure that a wine has been lying undisturbed in a temperature controlled cellar since its birth. The reason why we highly value ex-chateau wine is because provenance is of the utmost important to you and this ensures our wines are in the best possible condition from winery to your dining table

Very frankly, it’s really not easy for us to get hold of ex-chateau stocks but thanks to our excellent connection with our chateaus manager, we have been getting top notch service from them and that means he is happy to grant us many ex-chateau to benefit wine lover like you. In wine business, relationship meant so much more than just buying wine alone.

Since the wine market increasingly recognize that provenance of ex-chateau is the key, factor such as temperature, handling and storage can also greatly affect the wine outcome. Many wines are very sensitive to heat and have vibrations as a result of constant movements. If the importer lacks attention to these important handling details, it can significantly increase the chance of spoilage. This is a serious matter since it will drastically affect the provenance of your wine and ultimately its condition.

I am delighted to announce we do not face such problem as we handle the process very well, wines that arrive in our cellars is as good as drinking in Bordeaux itself! Clearly, this include Clerc Milon 86 ex-chateau which I give loads of praises!

Keen to experience Clerc Milon 1986 (ex-chateau) now?

We are pleased to offer:
Clerc Milon 1986 (ex-chateau) at a special price of $235!
Very few wine merchants get hold of ex-chateau but you are in for a treat, this is a terrific Bordeaux Buy.

Call us now at 6222-1521 or email us at sales@finewines.com.sg to order. Stocks run out fast, hurry!

If you buy properties, the 3 magic word you can ever get from a good advisor is: location, location and location. To buy good wines, your advisor Lo Bok Nan will also advice you 3 magic words: Provenance, provenance and provenance.

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