Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Rosé All Day - A Friendly Rosé Challenge - France vs BC!

Some tasty Rosés from the cellar.

Every week, my friend Keith and I try to get out in the great outdoors and paint.

Neither of us is an expert - in fact, we both have so much to learn - but we enjoy getting out and trying to paint. The idea is not to make a great painting; the idea is to do some aspect of the painting well - or at least improve. Sometimes that happens, and sometimes it doesn't.

Today's plein air attempt at Mission Heritage Park.

Today was not a bad day for painting. I was happy with my tree - especially the leaves - and with the grass in front. The background wasn't so bad, either. A good couple of hours spent.

So then, it was time to have some Rosé.

A much younger version of me and wife with Rosé and Pastis.

Rosé is so popular now but it wasn't always that way. I discovered Rosé (not the sugary stuff like Mateus) in 2005 when my family was on a house exchange in Nimes, France. It was August and it was hot. Really hot.

At that time, my wife and I were red wine drinkers exclusively. But it was not red wine weather. Too hot! We looked around and people in Nimes tended to drink Kir (wine and cassis), Pastis (Pernod or Richard and water), beer, or Rosé. So we adapted.

After that, it became (and still is) our summer wine drink.

Two weeks ago, I was in Kelowna at the Salt and Brick restaurant for lunch with family. I had their Rosé flight which I really enjoyed. For today's tasting, I thought we'd do a mini flight of Rosé - one from France and one from BC.

The French wine was our first wine of the tasting. It was a 2017 Domaine De L'Ostal Rosé ($16)  from Pays D'Oc which is basically country wine from the Roussilon-Languedoc Region of France - just west of Nimes. This pale salmon wine made of 50% Grenache and 50% Syrah had a medium intensity aroma and smelled of cherry, strawberry, red liquorice, cinnamon and red jujubes. You can see that I struggled to use the usual descriptors!

On the palate there were some tastes of the same as the aroma as well as a bit of cotton candy and a slight syrupy flavour. Interestingly, the fruitiness of the aromas were not nearly that strong on the palate. It actually tasted just a hint off dry but on second tasting, that went away. This had medium acidity, a medium minus finish, medium alcohol and medium intensity. I would say this is between Acceptable and Good.

The BC wine in this friendly battle was a 2018 Mt. Boucherie Rosé ($22)  from West Kelowna.  I'm not sure what grape is in it but the 2017 was made with Zweigelt (an Austrian crossing of St. Laurent and Blaufrankisch)  so it's likely the 2018 was made with the same grape.

On the nose, which was pronounced in intensity, there were aromas of grapefruit, lemon, blood orange, strawberry and a minerality. On the palate, there were these same flavours as well as watermelon. This high acidity wine was dry,. intense, had a short finish, and medium alcohol. It was a great patio sipping wine and was very refreshing. I would give it a Very Good rating,.

Both wines had their pluses but the BC wine was overall a better wine, in our humble opinion. The French wine would make a nice pairing to different summer foods, especially grilled food. The BC wine was great on its own and would probably stand up to most light summer meals. The only problem with the BC wine is that it is only available online or at the winery. Road trip...

Rosé all day!

Saturday, May 18, 2019

From Sea to Sand to Sipping - Wine from Pessac Léognan - Chateau Pape Clement

Which wine to accompany this bounty of shellfish in Arcachon?

During our recent trip to Bordeaux, we ended up renting a car for a couple of days. I showed up at the rental desk (Hertz, pronounced 'Ertz, of course) expecting a snazzy little Citrioën with a manual transmission. The guy behind the desk took one look at me and my terrible French accent and upgraded our car to a French version of a CUV with an automatic transmission. C'est la vie!

The Opel Crossland was a pretty zippy car and was not too big. It was, however, parked on the seventh floor of a parking garage with just a chicken wire fence between the passenger door and the precipice that led to certain death. Très excitant!

The first place we went to was on the sea - Arcachon. It was a lovely place where we could walk along a boardwalk in the sunshine, explore a bustling marked where we could purchase all sorts of interesting canned fish, and then have a delicious seafood lunch at Café de la Plage where I had rather large but tasty oysters and rather small (and less tasty) sea snails, ordered by accident due to my limited French shellfish vocabulary.

After, we climbed up the giant Dune of Pyla, a short drive away. There is a lot of sand there and the only way up the hill is to take off your shoes and stagger up the hill, taking one step back for every two steps forward. But what a view!

On the way back, we decided to stop at a winery suggested to us by Bogdan. He had said that there were no reservations necessary so we just popped in. We found that there were only English tours every hour or so but one was starting in five minutes. Bonne chance!

We started out on the grounds of Chateau Pape Clement, beside the vineyard. The history of the winery is pretty amazing. It is the oldest Chateau in Bordeaux being 713 years old! It was given to an archbishop by his brother  in the 1300s - and the archbishop eventually became Pope Clement V. He's the pope that moved the papacy from Rome to Avignon. The chateau was passed from archbishop to archbishop of Bordeaux until the French Revolution.

After the revolution, the chateau was owned by a few different owners and, by the 1800s, became one of the best chateaux in Bordeaux. Unfortunately, in the 1900s, a neglectful owner as well as WWII almost brought the chateau to ruin. Happily, a new owner purchased the winery in 1939 and basically ripped up everything and started anew. The current owner has partnered with another wine magnate (Bernard Magrez) and together they own over 30 wineries.

We did the expected tour - and I have to admit that I never tire of seeing those old barrel fermenters.

Like the wineries in Haut Medoc, there were some experimental methods being tried, including this concrete fermenting egg. Incidentally, Chateau Pape Clement is biodynamic - this means that not only are they organic, but they also do some interesting farmer almanac-ky type things like using the zodiac to select harvesting times and burying a sheep's horn full of manure to promote better growth in the vineyard. It's definitely different but there are many wineries who feel this really makes a difference.

When red wine is fermenting, there is a big cap of grape skins that rises to the top. Winemakers want this in the wine as it gives flavours, colours, and tannins to the wine. One way of doing this is punching down - using a big metal thing to push the skins down to the bottom of the vat. This is what that looks like.

The bottled wines are stored in an underground cellar. We were really fortunate in that we were able to visit the cellar at Chateau Pape Clement. Unfortunately, as I later discovered, people in the 1300s were a lot shorter I am. Our Estonian guide (sorry, I forget his name), opened the door and let us in.

First stop was a small underground chapel. It was lovely to look around but not great to exit. I scraped the top of my head on the 700 year old roof and left bits of my scalp in the chapel entryway,. This caused a lot of alarm with our guide but, heck, I had a napkin in my pocket so dabbed my wound with it and encouraged him to continue the tour.

Next was the underground library. Again, we were able to schlep around the wines and take photos of these ancient bottles.

The oldest I found was from 1893.

These bottles were the owner's private stock. That's right - his private wine for when he wants to have some sort of party. How do I get an invite?

On the way back to the tasting room, we were shown a display of the different sizes of bottles that are made. We then tasted four different wine:

First up was Bernard Magrez 2017 Le Prelat Côtes du Rhône Villages Laudun. Obviously, this was one that is made in one of their wineries in the Rhône valley. Worth about 8 bucks a bottle, it was Acceptable. Made from Grenache and Syrah, and grown on limestone and clay, this wine had flavours of blackberry, plum and some pepper spiciness. There was also some oak on this. Although there were tannins on this, I didn't think there was enough in the bottle to age this one.

Next up was Bernard Magrez Le Prelat du Pape Clement which actually was made by this particular winery.  This wine was a wonderful blend of 49% Merlot, 46% Cab Sauv, 3% Cab Franc and 2% Petit Verdot and is hard to find - although wine-searcher.com found bottles between $60 and $120.  Flavours and aromas included black fruit like black currant, blueberries and plum, oak flavours like cedar and espresso coffee, and earthy flavours like leather and smoke. This could probably age for another five years but was delicious right now! It was fairly complex, mostly balanced, had a nice long finish and fairly intense flavours. A Very Good wine.

Another wine was the 2014 Bernard Magrez Chateau des Grands Chênes ($29).  This wine is from Medoc - so on the left bank but not in the named areas of Haut Medoc. It was also a Grand Vin which means it is the best wine in that chateau.  This is also a Cru Bourgeois, according to their website, which means that there is a selection  process to earn that qualification. This wine is 70% Merlot, 29% Cab Sauv, and 1% Cab Franc. There were flavours and aromas of blackberry, black currant and black berry as well as oak, coffee, and vanilla. There were also tertiary flavours of smoke and earth. It was quite tannic and a bit astringent on the palate with a fairly short finish. Overall, it was a pleasant wine that could age for a few years but was good to drink now with a big steak or maybe some spaghetti Bolognese. Good to Very Good.

The big daddy - or big 'Pape' - was left for last when we had the 2015 Bernard Magrez Chateau Pape Clement ($220). This Grand Cru Classé wine (top rating) had all of the big black fruits (blackberry, blueberry, plum, cassis) as well as oaky notes such as tobacco, cedar, and vanilla. It also had those nice tertiary flavours such as smoke, leather, mushroom and barnyard. This wine was a powerhouse Bordeaux wine and would easily age for another 10 years. The mix of 55% Cab Sauv and 45% Merlot made a concentrated wine that was balanced, intense,. complex and had a beautiful long finish. Although I don't think I could afford this one, I still give it an Outstanding Rating.

After another successful wine tour, we bought a tasty bottle of Rosé from their wine shop and left Chateau Pape Clement, walking in the sunshine to our rental car. After such a wonderful day out, we were pretty exhausted and spent the evening sipping Rosé on the balcony, enjoying our repast of baguette, cheese, and meat, and chatting about our day on the sea, the sand and the sip!


Friday, May 3, 2019

Travels with Bogdan - Our Final Left Bank Winery in St. Julien - Bordeaux Wine Tour Part 4

Ah, Bogdan, you're a good man!

Way back while I was doing my WSET 3 last year, I mentioned to some of my classmates that I was going to Bordeaux. Verity's sister had been to Bordeaux and had gone on an excellent wine tour. Bordeaux Vertigo was the name of the tour company and Bogdan was the name of the guide.

I had already booked another tour company at this point - the number one guy in Trip Advisor - but I hadn't actually paid yet. Neither company was cheap but this was a once in a lifetime opportunity so I wanted to make sure that I made the right choice. I started emailing Bogdan and, really, had a very nice impression of the man so I decided to go with him.

That was not a mistake.

Bogdan is from the area and has a very good  knowledge of, not only the wine, but also of the history of the area. We spent time discussing terroir, wine growing, French schools, culture, the Yellow Vests, cuisine, and wine making. He had many interesting stories and anecdotes that he shared with us during the tour. And he selected four excellent wineries that were somewhat different but all made great wine.

The final winery that we went to was with the quiet brother - Julien - or St. Julien. The winery is called Chateau Gruaud Larose and was a great way to finish off our tour.

We met our very sparkly and entertaining guide, Sarah, and our first experience was to go up the elevator of a tower, next to the winery, so we could get a great view of the surrounding land. It was a beautiful day and we had quite the lovely view from the top.

She also snapped a photo of the two of us standing at the top of the tower.

Like the other wineries, we spent time with their fermenting tanks at the beginning of the tour. It wasn't repetitive, though, as we heard something different from each tour that we did. 

We first went to this barrel room. Do you know why the middles of the barrels are red? That's so when the winemaker is tasting or topping up and there is a bit of wine spilled, you won't have this unsightly streak running down the barrel. 

Wineries in Bordeaux, since they are so sought after, are often bought and sold by wealthy families or big companies. In 1993, a big industrial group bought Gruaud Larose. They poured a whack of money into the winery, including building this show barrel room. With its gothic arches and careful lighting, it looks more like a cathedral of wine than a barrel room. It was a wonderful place to hang around for, even for just a few minutes! Unfortunately, the industrial company had financial difficulties and sold to the current owner in 1997 - leaving this wonderful barrel room.

I have to say that I love going into all of these libraries of amazingly old wine. Chateau Gruaud Larose has a pretty large library with the oldest being a bottle from (gulp) 1815. Oh, for an hour with me, the library room, a corkscrew and a glass....

Our guide, as I mentioned before, was Sarah. I'm glad she wasn't trying to sell us something because I would have bought five of whatever. She was very personable and had a great sense of humour. When you meet somebody in French, you sometimes say 'enchanté' which mean enchanted. I was a bit enchanted with Sarah!

Sarah poured us two different wines, their second label and their first label.

The first was a 1996 Sarget de Chateau Gruaud Larose ($36). On the nose there were dark fruits like blackberry, blueberry and cassis. On the palate there were additional flavours of oak and cedar as well as a bit of leather. There was also a hint of red fruit. The wine was 57% Cab Sauv, 31% Merlot, 8% Cab Franc, 3% Petit Verdot, and 2% Malbec.This was not a terribly complicated wine but was very enjoyable. It was really smooth and round and, with its beautiful garnet colour, was ready to drink. I would rate this as Good to Very Good. 

The other wine was a 2003 Chateau Gruaud Larose Grand Cru Classé ($325). This ruby wine had black fruit flavours such as plum, blackberry, cassis, and blackcurrant. It also had a bit of jamminess (but in a good way) with interesting flavours such as caramel and vanilla. There were also those wonderfully complex tertiary flavours such as leather, mushroom, earth and forest floor. This velvety smooth wine - smoother than the first wine - really struck me as a food friendly wine. The grapes that went into this wine was exactly the same proportion as the '96 Sarget - 57% Cab Sauv, 31% Merlot, 8% Cab Franc, 3% Petit Verdot, and 2% Malbec. It;'s a testament to the terroir that two wines with the same composition could taste quite different.  This wine was complex, balanced, intense in its interesting flavours, and had a wonderful long finish. Although I don't think I could quite afford a bottle of this (although I am so glad that I got to try this) I would definitely rate this as Outstanding.

And that was the end of our wine tour. Bogdan drove us back to town and we had several spirited conversations about a variety of topics. He finally arrived back at our apartment and, after everyone thanked each other for such a great tour, we said goodbye.

Yes, this tour was a splurge. But for me, it made sense. We had the benefit of someone who knew the area really well and could get us into the wineries for private tours - something that we could not do on our own. We did do some touring on our own in Graves and St. Emilion which I will blog about later and they were fine to do on our own. But visiting the three big brothers (Estephe, Julien, Paulliac) and the soft, velvety sister (Margaux) was a once in a lifetime experience with Bogdan.


Monday, April 22, 2019

Best Wine in Bordeaux! Bordeaux Wine Tour Part 3 - Pichon Baron

When we arrived in Bordeaux, we were thrilled that our AirBnB was roomy, clean and well situated. But what really impressed us was our balcony. The building had many apartments and had previously been a seminary. The only balcony in the entire place, however, was the one outside our front window!

The weather was warm enough to enjoy lunch and some rosé the first couple of days we were in Bordeaux. Our view down the street was oh, so French, and gave us a true appreciation of what it might be like to live there.

Bordeaux is a fantastic city and we really enjoyed our visit.

So... why is Bordeaux even there? Originally a Celtic settlement, then came the Romans (who introduced wine to the region), Vandals, Visgoths, Franks, Aquitaines, Charlemagne, Basques, and Vikings until the 12th Century when Eleanor of Aquitaine and King Henry II of England married and wine became the main industry in Bordeaux.

Although there were blips, Bordeaux continued to feature wine and, in 1855, Napoleon III was responsible for the famous Classification where Left Bank wineries were classified as first, second, third, fourth or fifth growths.

We didn't go to Chateau Margaux but did get this nice photo...
Chateau Margaux, for example, is a first growth - sadly, we only stopped by for a photo - it is incredibly difficult to get into a first growth.

We did however, go to another excellent second growth - Pichon Longueville Baron - or just Pichon Baron.  This winery was in Paulliac - think the solid brother Paul - not super strong like Stephen (Estephe) nor overly relaxed like Julien.

This chateau is absolutely stunning from the outside. The black roofs on the towers contrasting with the stone used to build the chateau are gorgeous. The pool in front actually has a partial glass bottom - below which is one of the barrel rooms where you can look up and see the water. Very cool.

Like so many other chateaux in Bordeaux, this winery is owned by a big company - this one is an insurance company - so no one actually lives in the chateau - I wonder if they'd rent me a room?  The winery has 73 hectares with the average age of the vines being 30 years. 

Our guide, Lucas, gave an interesting tour and was actually from Australia. It was weird to listen to him speak French to his colleagues as he sounded fluent but had a definite Aussie accent when speaking! He took us to the giant oak fermenters and I was impressed by how clean and bright everything was!

Some of the wine was aged in oak barrels. Again, the winery sourced several different barrels form different barrel makers because each variety of French oak and each level of toasting inside the barrel imparts a different taste to the finished wine.

Many of these wineries have a library of different vintages. Pichon Baron had this as well but I don't recall being able to schlep around the bottles - I think the wines were all locked up in the glass enclosure. Looking carefully around the photo, I found a date of 1937 - pretty old - and according to wine-searcher worth between $749 and $2268!

Cheers, mate! Our winery guide, Lucas.
After our tour, Lucas took us to the very chic tasting room. I forget his exact story but he had returned to Pichon Baron in the past few days after a hiatus where he was either travelling or working at an Australian winery. 

We tasted their two second label wines and then, their glorious first label. 

Our first wine was the 2016 Les Tourelles de Longueville ($75). This wine struck me as fruity with aromas and tastes of black fruit like black currant, blackberry, and plum. This had medium acidity, medium plus tannins, and a medium finish. This wine was made form 52% merlot, 30% cab sauv and the rest petit verdot and cab franc. 30% of the wine was aged in barrels that were new while the rest of the wine was aged in year old barrels. The barrels gave the wine tastes of tobacco, vanilla and cedar. This wine should be aged at least 10 years as it was definitely young. This was fairly complex, was a bit too tannic to be balanced, was intense in its black fruit flavours, and had a medium finish. I would rate this as somewhere between Good and Very Good.

Wine number two was another second label wine, the 2016 Les Griffons de Pichon Baron ($95). This wine was 52% Cab Sauv and 48% Merlot. Les Griffons was grippier than the first one - having strong tannins and probably requiring 10 to 15 years in the cellar. There were aromas and tastes of black fruit like plum and cassis (although not as fruity as the first one) with oak notes of cedar and chocolate. There was also a wonderful vegetal-earthy-smoky taste to this wine.

Les Griffons had medium plus acidity, intense flavours, complex taste, a medium plus finish, and was fairly balanced. I would rate this wine as Very Good.

Saving the best for last, we had the 2016 Chateau Pichon Baron ($240). This wine was 85% Cab Sauv and 15% Merlot - now we're talking! The wine was aged in 80% new oak. There were aromas and tastes of black fruit like cassis, blackberry, and black currant as well as tobacco and cedar from the oak. The tannins were strong but not overpowering. This wine could keep for 20 years but I certainly couldn't wait that long! There were tertiary flavours of leather, mushroom, earth and smoke.

Just listing the taste profile, however, does not do this wine justice. It was an amazing wine which tasted so good. In a day of tasting so many great wines, it was easily the best of the day. This wine was so very complex, beautifully balanced, definitely intense and had a great, long finish. It was simply one of the best wines I have ever tasted.

I ended up buying one - but it wasn't the 2016 - it was the 2015 which is rated even higher (and has a price of $280 - although we spent a bit less than that).  I'm not sure if I can leave it in the cellar for 10 months, let alone 10 years! Definitely rated Outstanding.

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Amazing Wines from St. Estephe - Bordeaux Wine Tour Part 2

Chateau Lafon-Rochet

While in Bordeaux, we visited an interesting museum that has only been open since 2016. The Cité du Vin is part museum, part propaganda for the wine industry, part science world, and part wine bar.

For €20, we had access to the main exhibit which was the story of wine. There was a lot here - history, geography, different countries that make wine, different wine makers, advertising in wine, the aromas in wine - it was a very comprehensive exhibit that was interactive.

Enjoying a glass atop the Cité du Vin

The best part, however, was reminiscent of the Guinness Brewery in Dublin, We were given a special ticket at the beginning of our visit. At the top of the building, that ticket was good for one wine from a selection of many around the world. After we made our choice, we enjoyed our glass while we looked out over Bordeaux. Of course, I had picked a wine from Bordeaux...

Our second stop on our wine tour was Chateau Lafon-Rochet. I was looking quite forward to this as I bought a bottle of their 2015 wine at the Bordeaux release last year (and it currently resides in my cellar).

Chateau Lafon Rochet is in St. Estephe (Big brother Steven, when studying for my WSET). The wines here characteristically have a higher percentage of Cab Sauv and are higher in tannins that most other Bordeaux wines. I really enjoy them, even when they are young.

Our excellent guide, Bogdan, drove up to the chateau and we got out and met our winery guide, Mathilde. She spoke English well but had a wonderful French accent that was a pleasure to listen to.

After introductions, we talked about the grapes in the vineyard (just 45 hectares - not huge for Bordeaux) and about the different owners. The current owners, the Tesseron family, apparently did not think that it was that easy to see the winery from the road so they painted the chateau yellow - it is very easy to see from the road now! In fact, the labels on the wines are all bright yellow as well.

While stomping through the grounds, we were fortunate enough to meet the owner, Basile Tesseron. He was a very approachable man and took time to chat with us for a couple of minutes.

In the winery, we saw something that was not uncommon in some of the places we visited - concrete fermenters.

At home, in the Okanagan, most wineries use stainless steel to ferment their wines. In Bordeaux, we saw stainless steel but also those giant oak fermenters and, in Chateau Lafon Rochet, big concrete fermenters. They were popular many years ago and then fell out of favour but are becoming popular once again as a choice for fermenting at least part of the juice.

As you can see, stainless steel is also used in this chateau. This vat is 68 hectolitres which is 6800 litres and the wine, Les Pelerins, is the name of their second label.

They had quite the nifty computer terminal which showed all of the temperatures for all of the fermenters. There are alarms and other safeguards if there is a problem with the temperature at any point.

Mathilde was also able to use the screen to show us the different grapes planted in the different parts of the vineyard. Mostly Cabernet Sauvignon, followed by Merlot, with some Petit Verdot and just a soupçon of Cab Franc.

The barrel rooms may all look pretty similar, but I love them all. The smell and the feel of these areas are so distinct and enjoyable.

As with most of the wineries, they choose several different barrel makers from different regions of France to make slightly different barrels of wine which are carefully blended before bottling.

Ageing in this big barrel imparts less spicy oak flavour and tannins. The wineries are always trying out new things. We had the added benefit of being able to do a barrel tasting at Lafon Rochet! I find this fascinating as the wine is still very young and, while not ready to drink, you get an indication of where it is going. This wine will likely be an excellent vintage as there was definite fruit flavours as well as strong tannins.

If you ever get a chance to do a barrel tasting, I would strongly suggest that you go ahead. It really helps give you an understanding of the whole wine making process.

This clay amphora is another experiment that the winery is working on. I'm not sure why I was so surprised that even the most successful wineries of the world were busy trying to make their wines better.

After another excellent tour, Mathilde took us into the tasting room where we had three tastings - one of their second label, Les Pelerins, and a vertical of two of their first label, a 1997 and a 2008.

The first wine we had was their second label, Les Pelerins de Lafon-Rochet ($35). This was a 2015, the same year as the first label I bought last year. My first impression was - this is just their second label? Ooh la la!

There was a lot of fresh, black fruit on the nose and on the palate including black currant, plum, blackberry and blueberry. There were some oak flavours like tobacco, coffee and other spices. There were also wonderful ageing flavours like mushroom and leather. This wine had high alcohol, medium tannins, and a medium finish. It is suggested that you decant this wine an hour before serving.

This wine had definite fruit flavours that were quite tasty. It was not an overly complex wine or a wine that had astringent tannins. This was definitely the second label but that was fine - I enjoyed it and feel that it was one to drink now. Overall, I would rate this as Very Good.

I enjoyed this one so much that I decided to purchase one, considering I already have a first label at home.

The second wine was a bit of a treat - a wine from all the way back to 1997! The 1997 Chateau Lafon-Rochet ($164) is probably a drink now kind of wine although it could possibly spend a couple more years in the cellar. Mathilde said that this wine was a difficult vintage - it was a big challenge to get the grapes successfully off the vines - but they did it.

This wine had aromas and tastes of  cassis, black cherries,. plum, blueberry, and just a hint of jam.  There were oaky notes of cedar and tobacco and tertiary flavours of mushroom, forest floor, leather, and smoke. This was a complex and rich wine and was settling down nicely in terms of tannins thanks to 22 years in the bottle. A nice long finish helps give this wine a rating of Outstanding.

The final wine was a 2008 Chateau Lafon-Rochet ($60). This year was good in Bordeaux and this wine is a classic vintage that could be cellared for a while longer.

This was a good wine - not quite as tasty as the 1997, but still good. This wine was spicy  - along with black fruits like black currant and blackberry, there were tastes of cedar and pepper that really made themselves known. This highly tannic wine also had a bit of salinity which was a bit unusual. I would rate this wine as Very Good.

As I noted in my last entry about my guided trip, when I studied the four areas of Bordeaux (St. Estephe, Paulliac, St. Julien, and Margaux) I used the analogy of the three brothers (big, tough Steven, strong Paul, relaxed Julien) and their sister (soft and velvety Marg). While Lafon-Rochet wines did have some definite tannins, they were not overly extracted or too strong.

Maybe I don't have to wait until 2030 to have that first label from 2015?