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Monday, February 3, 2014

UGC 2014

I had the pleasure of attending the tasting of the 2011 vintage of Bordeaux at the Union des Grands Crus event at the Waldorf-Astoria a couple of weeks ago.  I already knew in advance that it was a challenging vintage for the reds (and in my opinion most of the whites I tasted as well), but the Sauternes were in a league of their own - they were amazing.

I had few favorites but I will mention them and explain why I liked them - they were pleasing.  The others just weren’t all that pleasurable, considering how many wines I tasted through.  I started with mostly whites, and some were quite delicious with plenty of fruit and mineral, but others showed what felt like strange degrees of acidity and excessive mineral with not much fruit except for some very tart lemon.  Regarding the reds, the usual suspects didn’t disappoint, as they’re nicely put together and enjoyable with plenty of fruit and mineral, clean and full and lovely.

Favorite whites:
Chateau de Chantegrive (Graves)
Chateau Bouscaut

Favorite reds:
Chateau Larrivet Haut-Brion (Pessac-Leognan)
Chateau Latour-Martillac (Pessac-Leognan)
Chateau Smith Haut Lafite (Pessac-Leognan)
Chateau Canon (Saint-Emilion)
Chateau-Figeac (Saint-Emilion) - this was a standout for me
Chateau Troplong Mondot (Saint-Emilion)
Chateau Chasse-Spleen (Moulis-en-Medoc)
Chateau Cantemerle (Haut-Medoc)
Chateau Brane-Cantenac (Margaux) - another standout, although it is one of my favorite chateaux
Chateau Cantenac Brown (Margaux) - I loved this one, particularly lovely and pleasurable
Chateau Prieure-Lichine (Margaux) - another excellent example, very satisfying
Chateau Rauzan-Segla (Margaux) - very full and dark, delicious (slightly modern?)
Chateau Beychevelle (Saint-Julien)
Chateau Branaire-Ducru (Saint-Julien) - also a wonderful wine, most satisfying to my palate
Chateau Gloria (Saint-Julien) - always dependable and did not disappoint
Chateau Gruaud Larose (Saint-Julien) - another favorite (and through the years as well)
Chateau Talbot (Saint-Julien)
Chateau Pichon-Longueville (Pauillac)

So as you can see, for me at least, the best wines at the tasting were the “usual suspects,” so to speak, and I expected them to be very good, even in a challenging vintage.  The others, for me, were somewhat hit or miss.

Sauternes, as I mentioned, was otherworldly and I loved finishing the tasting at the Sauternes/Barsac section of the room.  Golden nectar of the wine gods, it’s lovely, with tropical fruit, candied orange, and wonderful structure in that they are luscious yet clean at the finish and the texture is to die for.

My favorites:
Chateau Coutet (probably my favorite wine of the entire event)
Chateau Guiraud
Chateau Lafaurie-Peyraguey
Chateau Suduiraut

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