In Bordeaux, the Union des Grands Crus is a bit of an insider’s club. Made up of 132 Grands Crus Estates, the Union participates in high-end events and private dinners around the world. Once a year however the Union organizes a special weekend of tastings that allows the curious outsider to get a taste from the inside – here are some of my highlights.
The main event of the Weekend is the Grand Tasting. Now I have heard that if you were to view each work of art at the Louvre for 30 seconds it would take you over 24 days to make the full round – this is how I felt at this tasting. The quantity of legendary wines all in one room was overwhelming to say the least; it was hard to know where to start. I did finally calm down though and here are some of my favorites.
Château Carbonnieux 2008/09 – Pessac Léognan Both their 2008 and 2009 vintages are excellent. Both vintages offer a crisp attack with fresh fruit and a balanced finish. The reason I love these wines is that the oak doesn’t dominate; rather it gives the wines an enjoyable toasted finish.
Château Larrivet Haut-Brion 2004/09 – Pessac Léognan My favorite whites of the day. Again the wood is very well integrated with both vintages. 2004 is a bit better balanced than the 2009 with a slight toasted coconut nose. The two vintages are quite different as the blend of Sauvignon Blanc to Semillon varies largely between the two. Emilie Gervoson from the Château explained that the 2009 – known more as a red wine vintage- required more Sauvignon Blanc to create the best balance.
Château Léoville Poyferré 2009 – Saint Julien
This wine was the favorite for many tasting on Saturday, agreeing with Parker’s 100 points. The nose offers forest fruit with a nutty, toasted character. Although the tannins are still very present the complex pallet is made up of with rich fruit and a dark chocolate touch on the end. I hope to have the privilege of tasting it again in a few years.
Château Angélus 2007/09– Saint Emilion
These wines live up to the legend. The 2007 vintage offers a rich nose of black fruit with earthy and smoky aromas. The black fruit returns on the pallet and the finish goes on and on. The 2009 vintage is well balanced with a sharp attack. Its easy to see the promise with both wines, I was tempted to put my wine in a vile and see what happens in 15 years.
Château La Tour Figeac 2001 – Saint Emilion
This was a treat as we were offered wine from a Magnum of their 2001 vintage. The nose was extremely rich and oaky with notes of cassis and blackberry. The mouth offered a mix of black fruit with an interesting touch of grilled red pepper.
Château Clinet 2009 – Pomerol
This wine still needs to lie in a cellar for some time, but its rich black cherry and spice character will make it worth the wait.
Château Batailley 2009 – Pauillac
This delicious Pauillac stood out for its amazing value; the 2009 is currently sold between 35-40 Euros.
The weekend didn’t stop there. We had to wake up early on Sunday morning to get ready to start tasting again. After pouring their wines at the Grand Tasting the members of the Union open their Châteaus to allow visitors to peek behind cellar doors and to see where all the magic is made. Here are some pictures from our visits.
A big MERCI to the whole team at Union des Grand Cru and all of the members who were generous to share their wines, I know I will be back again next year to continue my tour of the Louvre.
Next year’s Weekend des Grand Crus will be held on the 18th and the 19th of May. To start planning your itinerary visit their website.