We have an early appointment with Clos de Lambrays this morning so I’ll type fast. It was an (almost) embarrassingly star-studded lineup yesterday, with far too many wines to go into great detail on each. So a word on the vintage itself, which is coming more and more into focus.
It’s a beautiful, crisp autumn day as we land in Lyon. After negotiating passport control (the sizeable queue was an ominous portent for life after Brexit), we headed through the fog to the ‘calcaire’ time-capsule that is the village of Rully. Our first appointment was at Domaine Jacqueson.
[caption id="attachment_29768" width="600" align="alignright"] L'Aumônerie, Gevrey Chambertin[/caption] During the 11th century, Abbot Halinard instructed for cellars to be built in Gevrey Chambertin as a store for the Abbey of Saint Benigné in Dijon. Nine hundred or so vintages on, the very same vaults shelter the latest batch of exulted offerings from Domaine Dugat-Py.
We have just spent a week careering around the Tuscan countryside like crazed cinghiale, sniffing out truffle and guzzling Chianti Classico. Everywhere we went, friendly black roosters tempted us in like slightly tipsy Sirens. The problem is, all roosters are not created equal. That's unsurprising given that Chianti Classico's rippling landscape covers nearly 72,000 hectares.
Eating perfectly cooked grouse with a judiciously selected bottle or two is one of the great gastronomic delights. But what to pair with (arguably) Britain's most delicious game bird? Good, old red Burgundy 'The traditional answer to the question of what to drink with grouse is 'a bottle of good, old red burgundy.
As we mentioned in our initial post on the vintage, it was the frost that hit Bordeaux for several nights at the end of April which dominated the early headlines on the 2017 vintage. The frost was undoubtedly catastrophic for some but the more we chatted to winemakers across every appellation, we realised there was a subtler story to tell.
(Staircase at Lafite Rothschild) Flicking through my diary over breakfast revealed another jam-packed day including two first growths and the lion’s share of ‘super-seconds’. Not bad for a cold, grey Wednesday! The fun began at Léoville-Poyferré where we tasted the superb Le Crock as well as a very impressive grand vin.
I’d love to go into more detail on all of yesterday’s fascinating tastings but sadly there were just too many and our first appointment today is at 08:30 so I’ll have to be brief. Troplong Mondot was interesting because of the change in tack this property is taking under the stewardship of Aymeric de Gironde (formerly Cos d’Estournel).
Yesterday began with a 9am tasting at Cheval Blanc (you have to start somewhere!). Sadly, it didn’t begin well. First came the news that there would be no Yquem tasting in the Orangery this year (quel désastre!), next came the unwelcome revelation that the Château was quite badly hit by frost in 2017.
Bright eyed and bushy tailed, we hot-footed it from Bordeaux airport to our first appointment of primeurs week - a big negociant tasting on the left bank. It’s a useful way to appraise a new vintage as all the major villages are represented under one roof.
Next week is primeurs week in Bordeaux and our tasting squad will be scurrying up and down the Gironde assessing the new vintage. Follow us on instagram and twitter if that's your thing, or check back here on the blog for our latest reports.
Bollinger R.D 2004 - Global Launch On Tuesday last week we had a visit from the charming and engaging Karl Reuter, export director at Champagne Bollinger. Karl was introducing us to the latest release of this noble Grande Marque's legendary 'R.D', or Recently Disgorged, vintage Champagne.