31 January 2012

Grape Observer Reviews

Sean Mitchell writes an independent wine review blog The Grape Observer

Throughout January,  Sean has posted four reviews for Bordeaux wines imported by DiscoverVin.   DiscoverVin aims to share good value, unique and quality wines with Australian wine consumers.  In his the reviews Sean is excited to see wines from the great 2009 vintage making their way to Australia.  He also makes the point that each of the wines reviewed offer good value for money.  The wines reviewed were

1. Les Tourelles de Longueville 2007

2. Chateau Haut-Vigneau Pessac Leognan 2009

3. Amiral de Beycheville St Julien 2008

4. Chateau Lagarde Saint Emillion

The reviews are shared below.

Les Tourelles de Longueville 2007

Les Tourelles de Longueville is a long-standing favourite of mine, being more keenly priced than its illustrious sibling, the routinely outstanding Chateau Baron-Pichon-Longueville.  This second label can also be frustratingly hard to find in Australia.  Nonetheless, it is still not cheap at $78 (its pedigree seeing to that), and is also from a lesser Bordeaux year in 2007, a vintage that I have been frequently critical of, with few exceptions.  Happily for my afternoon, however, the wine delivered and joined my short list of good Bordeaux from 2007.  As they say, in bad years, follow good producers.  This is a good producer.  One of the best perhaps.

A quick smell of the cork, and I knew the wine would be good.  Blackcurrants mainly.  Then mixed herbs and bouquet garnis emerged by way of aroma, immediately speaking of the cooler season.  With time in the glass, the aroma resolved to ripe red currants, and then, finally, the blackcurrants emerged again from their slumber and stayed.  The palate proved more forthcoming, with some trademark "Baron" length (around 10-15 seconds), blackcurrants and medium tannins.  What I do recommend with this wine is to decant it.  After 30 minutes or so, it really opened up, and is an excellent example of the 2007 vintage.  89-90 points.

Abv: 13%
Price: $78
Source: sample
Website: http://www.pichonlongueville.com/ (importer's website: http://www.discovervin.com.au)
Tasted: January 2012


Chateau Haut-Vigneau Pessac-Leognan 2009

Much has been written on the 2009 Bordeaux vintage, it being largely universally regarded as among the great Bordeaux vintages.  This too from a decade in Bordeaux that has already seen a number of already outstanding vintages (2000, 2001, 2003 (for some producers) and 2005).  I am therefore somewhat excited to see some 2009s starting to find their way to Australian shores.  This wine did not disappoint.

The 2009 vintage of Chateau Haut-Vigneau presents itself as a typical Graves wine in many respects, and is a blend of 60% cabernet sauvignon and 40% merlot.  Ruby in colour, the wine opens to a medium-pronounced intensity expression of blackcurrant, cigar box, black cherry and a sprinkling of popcorn kernels.  On the palate, the depth of the vintage becomes apparent - a mouth filling full bodied wine with medium length, forward black fruits, tobacco, and medium tannins and acidity.  It immediately drank well, yet with time, I liked it even more.  This is a very good wine, happily also at a very fair price.  89-90 points

Abv: 13.5%
Price: $38
Source: sample
Website: http://www.hautvigneau.com/ (importer: http://www.discovervin.com.au/)
Tasted: January 2012


Amiral de Beychevelle 2008

Amiral de Beychevelle is the second wine of the distinctively labelled and well known Saint-Julien estate, Chateau Beychevelle.  In 2008, in the Amiral de Beychevelle, this estate has fashioned a very good and classic Bordeaux left-bank wine, a blend of 62% cabernet sauvignon, 31% merlot, 5% cabernet franc and 2% petit verdot.  My long held view has been that the second wines of the great Bordeaux estates produce good value wines that often closely resemble their more expensive siblings.  They are, however, not always easy to find in Australia.

The specifics?  The 2008 vintage is ruby in colour with a medium to pronounced level of colour saturation.  It opens to a classic medium intensity aroma of blackcurrant and cigar box.  On the palate, this is a classicly proportioned wine, with evident tannins, enjoyable length, medium acidity and blackcurrant flavours.  In a word, "classy".  Drink over the next 10 years.  89 points

Abv: 14%
Price: $78
Source: sample
Tasted: January 2012

Chateau Lagarde Saint-Emilion 2009

The 2009 vintage of Chateau Lagarde is a lovely Saint-Emilion wine that is particularly good value.  It is a blend of 73% merlot, 25% cabernet franc, and 2% malbec, the classic right-bank Bordeaux blend that few Australian producers have managed as yet to do well.  The grapes are harvested by hand.

Ruby in colour, the wine has a medium intensity aroma of bright red plums, spices, tobacco and herbs, and a youthful jube fruit like note.  On the palate, the wine rises above its price point, revealing medium length, medium-high acidity, spices, medium tannins, brightly flavoured red currants, and a touch of Christmas cake that I often taste in Saint-Emilion wines.  In short, this is a keenly priced and lovely wine that is drinking well now, and I see no reason why it will not continue to do so over the next 5 years or so.  87-88 points

Abv: 13%
Price: $29.90
Source: sample
Website: http://www.discovervin.com.au/ (importer)
Tasted: January 2012 

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