Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Union des Grands Crus de Bordeaux (UGCB) on the 2014 North America Tour in Washington DC - Schiller’s Favorites

Pictcure:Christian G.E. Schiller and Olivier Bernard,Owner of Domaine de Chevalier and President of the UGCB in Washington DC

The UGCB toured North America with stops in several American and Canadian cities. I had the pleasure to join the UGCB at the tasting in Washington DC on January 17. Here are the dates of all the 2014 tastings: Toronto: 16/01; St John's:17/01; Washington DC: 17/01; Montréal: 18/01; New York: 20/01; Chicago: 22/01; Las Vegas: 23/01; Denver: 23/01; Los Angeles: 24/01 and San Francisco: 25/01.

The 2014 UGCB tastings awarded guests the opportunity to taste the recent releases of (in Washington DC: 53) Bordeaux chateaux, as well as meet and talk with the owners/senior managers of the chateaux that produce the wine.

UGCB Tasting in Washington DC

The UGCB had been absent from Washington DC for a decade, but returned last year. Pearson's Wine and Spirits hosted the UGCB at the Willard Intercontinental Hotel's Grand Ballroom in 2013. This year, Calvert and Woodley organized the event, at the Park Hyatt.

Pictures: Christian G.E. Schiller with Ed and Michael Sands of Calvert and Woodley at a Domaine Lucien Albrecht Winemaker Dinner at La Chaumiere in Washington DC

See also:
Fête du Bordeaux of Calvert and Woodley in Washington DC, 2012, USA

2011 Vintage

Will Lyons, Wall Street Journal: 2011 is a year of sporadic quality without a "one size fits all" thematic narrative. It is a year to buy judiciously, as quality levels are up and down. Those producers who have handled the conditions, particularly the high level of tannin this year, have made great wines in a restrained, classic style. Pomerol has produced some sensational wines, but again, quality isn't uniform. White wines and sweet wines have performed well in 2011 with fresh acidity and good concentration. Above all, this is a year to pick your producer wisely.

Pictures: At the UGCB Tasting in Washington DC


Founded in 1973 by a group of Bordeaux winegrowers, the purpose of the UGCB is to join forces in order to promote and defend the interests of its members. The UGCB consists of 135 member estates located exclusively in the most prestigious Bordeaux appellations. The UGCB has a permanent staff of 5 assisted by a public relations agency in each major market. The Union organized 50 events in 15 countries last year.

Picture: Annette Schiller, Ombiasy PR and WineTours, and Christian Schiller at the UGCB Tasting in Washington DC

Bordeaux Wine Tour 2013 by ombiasy

Schiller’s Favorites

I have included the comments of Panos Kakaviatos, which he published on wineberserkers and on his Blog Connections to Wine and the comments of Mike Grammer, who also published his comments on wineberserkers (he did not attend the Washington DC but another tasting). I have also added in brackets the per bottle prices (if you buy a case) of Calvert and Woodley at the Washington DC.

Domaine de Chevalier

Represented by: Olivier Bernard, Owner. He poured the red Grand Vin (48$) and the white Grand Vin (87$).

Domaine de Chevalier is Cru Classé de Graves in the AOC Pessac-Léognan. In 1983, Domaine de Chevalier was acquired by the Bernard family, leading French producers of industrial alcohol and major Bordeaux wine merchants. Domaine de Chevalier has been managed since then by Olivier Bernard, who took over the presidency of the UGCB last year. Stéphane Derenoncourt is retained as consultant oenologist.

From a property of 80 hectares, the vineyard area consists of 35 hectares of red grape varieties: 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 2.5% Cabernet Franc, and 2.5% Petit Verdot; and 4.5 hectares of white grape varieties: 70% Sauvignon Blanc and 30% Sémillon.

The Grand Vin, Domaine de Chevalier, is annually produced in 7,000 cases of the red wine and 1,200 cases of the dry white. The red and white second wines, L'Espirit de Chevalier, has a production of 5,800 and 800 cases, respectively.

Panos Kakaviatos: (Red) Surprise? Not really. Owner Olivier Bernard has been fashioning some great reds from his estate that has been better known for its whites. As I had tasted in a blind vertical a couple of years ago at the estate, he can make lovely reds in difficult vintages and this one is no exception. If the price is right, which I hope it would be for most readers, this is a buy. Fine concentration, medium plus body, sap and energy if not super bright, which would come from a better vintage. Still, this was among the best reds I had among the 50 or so I tried in Washington D.C. on 17 January 2013. (92 points)

Picture: Panos Kakaviatos Taking Notes

Panos Kakaviatos: (White) My en primeur tastings confirmed here. Yet again Domaine de Chevalier proves itself as being among the top tier whites produced in all of Bordeaux. Medium to full bodied, with energy. Very focused, mineral, citrus and ripe yet not thick. Pristine comes to mind, with rounded richness around the linear line of flavor that results in a long and pleasing finish. Potential for a higher score, if you follow the numbers. These wines are built to last, as I had experienced in an all-white vertical reaching back to the 1970s in November 2013 in Merano Italy with owner Olivier Bernard. (95 points)

Mike Grammer on Wineberserkers: Musky, as theirs sometimes tend to be. Aromatics have some pear and lime juice. This has more presence than the SLH, but not the usual richness. Much more of a dry style--the semillon, maybe? Good though, with lemon and salinity.

Château Haut-Bailly

Represented by: Daina Paulin, Marketing (83$)

Picture: Diana Paulin at the UGCB Tasting in Washington DC

Just a stone’s throw away from the city of Bordeaux, Château Haut-Bailly sits majestically in a 30 hectare (74 acres) vineyard at the heart of the Graves region on the left bank of the river Garonne. Neighboring estates include Château Malartic-Lagravière, Château Smith Haut Lafitte and Château Carbonnieux. The estate's second wine is named Le Parde de Haut-Bailly.

Panos Kakaviatos: My tasting of this wine at Vinexpo is confirmed albeit a slightly better showing. http://www.connectionstowine.com/vinexpo-2013/haut-bailly-15-years/. Here in Washington D.C. I get more refinement and mid palate sap, plus a burgeoning richness reflected perhaps in the larger- than-usual proportion of Merlot (some 47%). A somewhat short finish however brings back memories of 2007. Give it time in bottle. (90 points)

Mike Grammer on Wineberserkers: perfume, plum and just a smidge of bright raisin in the sniffer. Sure isn't giving much right now, closed as anything, the tannins pucker your mouth. I suspect it will always be a closed-kimono kind of wine, but very solid structure here and in no way overoaked. Again, reflective of the house style, where these take a long, long time to come around...but they always do.

The final dinner of the 2013 Bordeaux Tour by ombiasy took place at Château Haut-Bailly, with Dianna Paulin. We all still have fond memories of this event.

Picture: At Château Haut-Bailly during the 2013 Bordeaux Tour by ombiasy

See also:
Bordeaux Wine Tour 2013 by ombiasy
Wine Dinner at Château Haut-Bailly, Cru Classé de Graves, France

Château Olivier

Represented by: Alexandre de Bethmann, Owner. He poured the red Grand Vin (29$) and the white Grand Vin (30$).

Picture: Alexandre de Bethmann and Annette Schiller

Château Olivier, Pessac-Léognan appellation, is a Premiers Crus for red (18,000 cases) and dry white wine (6,000 cases) in the Classification of Graves wine of 1953 and 1959. In addition to a red and dry white Grand Vin, the estate also produces the second wine La Seigneurie d'Olivier du Chateau Olivier.

The estate has a long history dating back to the 14th century when the property was occupied by the d'Olivey family. The estate's château is today classified as a monument historique.

The present owners, the de Bethmann family, took control of the estate by the marriage of Agnew Watcher with Jacques de Bethmann in the early 20th century. For many years, Château Olivier was managed by Jean-Jacques de Bethmann, until his death in July 2012 led to his son Alexandre de Bethmann, who poured the wine, assuming control.

Château Pape Clément

Represented by: Nicolas Contiero, Director d’Exploitation. He poured the red Grand Vin (71$) and the white Grand Vin (146$)

Picture: Christian G.E. Schiller and Nicolas Contiero

Château Pape Clément is part of the empire of Bernard Magrez, which comprises about 40 wineries around the world. Château Pape Clément is a Cru Classé de Graves. The winery and vineyards are located in the commune of Pessac, in the larger Bordeaux City area.

Pape-Clément has one of the longest and best documented histories of all Bordeaux châteaux. The vineyards were planted in 1300 by Bernard de Groth, who later became Pope Clément V and moved the papacy to Avignon.

Mike Grammer on Wineberserkers: (Red) Now we're talking. The first one with real excitement on the nose---mocha and hint of nutmeg around gorgeous plum and black cherry fruit. And this is real Bordeaux. The suavity is already speaking out. Yes, the redcurrant and pipe tobacco is primal at this stage, but it's wonderfully leashed, speaking with such a strong, promising voice. If you like Bordeaux, you can't help liking this. WOTN and 2 bottles bought.

Panos Kakaviatos: (Red) What’s going on here? The nose offers much promise of red and black fruit and you may think that this wine would have some freshness. The attack is decent and the mid palate of medium plus body. But it ends up being an over extracted mess, with far too much drying on the finish. I could be wrong here, but my experience tasting it in Washington D.C. was not too positive – certainly worse than the from barrel tasting in 2012… (88 points)

Panos Kakaviatos: (White) As you can read HERE this wine is better from bottle than from barrel. Cyrus Hazzard of Total Wine, also at the tasting, loved the opulence. I did, too. The wine seems to have “come together” becoming more cohesive, combining adequate acidity to balance the ripe apricot and somewhat exotic fruit richness. A special bottle, although I do not believe that it will last as long as the Domaine de Chevalier Blanc – another style altogether. Still, for lovers of opulent whites, this is your ticket to be sure! (93 points)

Mike Grammer on Wineberserkers: Nicolas Contiero (I love his title---Directeur d'Exploitation) was a fine host and took me through this and, later the red. Almost sexy lilacs and greens and yellow fruit in the sniffer. Almost soft dans la bouche, certainly has some misty mystery about it, with perfume, lemon, possibly some peach and herbs. But authoritativeness is lacking at this stage.

Pictures: At Château Pape Clément during the 2013 Bordeaux Tour by ombiasy

Bordeaux Wine Tour 2013 by ombiasy
An Afternoon at Château Pape-Clément (in 2013), Appellation Pessac-Léognan, Bordeaux

Château Beau-Séjour Bécot

Represented by: Julien Barthe, Directeur General (56$)

Picture: Annette Schiller and Julien Barthe

Château Beau-Séjour Bécot, formerly Château Beauséjour-Dr-Fagouet, is a Premier Grand Cru Classé B in the Classification of Saint-Émilion. The estate also produces the second wine Tournelle de Beau-Séjour Bécot, as well as the "Vin de garage" La Gomerie.

Once a vineyard cultivated by the monks of the Church of St-Martin during the Middle Ages, in the 17th century it was acquired by the Gerès family. The estate received its current name after it was acquired in 1969 by Michel Bécot who began extensive efforts to modernize. Michel Bécot retired in 1985, and the estate was then run by the sons Gérard and Dominique Bécot, until Julien Barthe was promoted to DG.

In 1985, Château Beau-Séjour Bécot was demoted from Premier Grand Cru Classé B to Grand Cru Classé, as Beau-Séjour Bécot had in 1979 incorporated two other vineyards into its estate, La Carte, owned by the Bécot family since 1929, and Trois Moulins, increasing the vineyard area by 85%. The demotion was followed by unprecedented controversy. The estate was promoted back to its previous classification at the following revision in 1996.

The vineyard area totals 16.5 hectares with the grape varieties of 70% Merlot, 24% Cabernet Franc and 6% Cabernet Sauvignon. Of the Grand vin, Château Beau-Séjour Bécot and the second wine, Tournelle de Beau-Séjour Bécot, there is a total production of 5,000 cases.

In 1995, the Bécot family acquired the Gomerie vineyard, where it produces a highly rated “Garage Wine”, with low yields and new wood dominance. The wine consists of 100% Merlot, and production is limited to 1,000 cases per year. The family also owns Joanin Bécot in the Cotes de Castillon.

Panos Kakaviatos: This has chutzpah. And I like it better from bottle than from barrel. Certainly a plump and somewhat modern style, but a very good one. The Merlot driven succulence (about 70% Merlot) comes to the fore. A pleasing and supple attack leads to a rich and pleasing medium bodied palate. Just slightly drying on the finish, which is abbreviated, gives the vintage away. (91 points)

Château Canon La Gaffelière

Represented by: US Brand Ambassador Betsy Reynard (65$)

Picture: Christian G.E. Schiller and Betsy Reynard

Château Canon La Gaffelière is – along with La Mondotte – the flagship of the von Neipperg portfolio. Both chateaux were promoted to the extremely closed circle of Premiers Grand Crus Classés B in the new St. Emilion classification last year.

The von Neipperg family not only owns these two estates in France, but also owns/co-owns 6 other estates as well as a property in Bulgaria. Furthermore, in Germany, the brother of Count Stefan von Neipperg runs the family winery in Wuerttemberg.

Count Stefan von Neipperg hails from the German wine region of Württemberg where his family has maintained its existing vineyards since the 15th century and bottles its wine under the family label, Weingut des Grafen von Neipperg. In fact, the von Neipperg counts are descended from a noble line dating back to the Holy Roman Empire. The first record of the Count von Neipperg goes as far back as the 12th century.

Panos Kakaviatos: What can I say? I liked this en primeur – http://www.connectionstowine.com/bordeaux-2011/choose-carefully/#SaintEmilion – and loved in from bottle. This is rich and flavorful and succulent and one of my favorite reds of the tasting in Washington D.C. The wine may be modern in style but somehow it all came together nicely in 2011. Sure, the finish is not very long, but everything else is, well, quite delicious. If the price is right and you like Canon La Gaffeliere, purchase this one for shorter term drinking while your more age worthy vintages sleep in your cellar! (93 points)

Mike Grammer on Wineberserkers: It is always a pleasure to speak with Comte Stephan, he has such a winning personality. He is one of those who is minded of 2001 for these wines. This has some mint chocolate nuances on the nose, along with bits of tobacco, bits of meat and blackberry aplenty. As always, the fine velvety feel and an extra level of pleasure sets this wine above others. It's still a tiny bit sparky and lean for now, but should grow into its bones. #7 tonight.

Pictures: With Stephan Graf von Neipperg during the 2013 Bordeaux Tour by ombiasy

A Morning at Château Canon La Gaffeliere in Saint Emilion with Owner Count Stefan von Neipperg, Bordeaux
The Wine Empire of the von Neipperg Family in France, Bulgaria and Germany
Dinner at Château Canon La Gaffeliere, Appellation Saint-Emilion, Premier Grand Cru Classé, France

Château Figeac

Represented by: Frederic Faye, DG, (108$)

Picture: Christian G.E. Schiller and Frederic Faye

For the past 60 years, Chateau Figeac was been associated with Thierry Manoncourt, who took over the management of the property in 1946, and his wife Marie-France; Thierry Manacourt passed away in 2010. It was under his leadership that Chateau Figeac rose to the front ranks of Saint-Émilion estates. His son-in-law Comte Eric d'Aramon took over the daily running of the estate in 1988. In 1992, Thierry Manacourt divided the business between his 4 daughters, bestowing the larger share on his eldest daughter, Laure, the wife of Comte Eric d'Aramon. Since last year, Frederic Faye has taken over the position of Comte Eric d'Aramon, who has left the chateau. At the same time, Michel Rolland was hired as a consultant.

The following wines are produced: Château Figeac (Saint-Emilion - Premier Grand Cru Classé B), La Grange-Neuve de Figeac (second wine) and Chateau Petit-Figeac (bought in 2002 as most of the vineyard was in the middle of their Château Figeac vineyard. The wine is now made at Château Figeac). In total, the Figeac estate amounts to 54 hectares of which 40 are planted with vines. Annual production is 10 000 cases.

Panos Kakaviatos: Pouring me the first vintage of Figeac under the supervision of Michel Rolland, technical director Frédéric Faye reiterated his invitation to come over and see the team. I have always loved Figeac and am not sure how the wine will change over time (see this article: http://www.decanter.com/news/wine-news/583758/rolland-vows-to-take-figeac-into-st-emilion-premier-league) but with Faye pouring, I must say that this 2011 was darn good. A break from the past was that the percentages changed: 40 per cent Merlot and 40 percent Cabernet Sauvignon, with less Cabernet Franc than usual… Good structure, mid palate concentration, pleasing tobacco leaf hints, a touch drying on the finish, but that may well be just the vintage character. (92 points)

Mike Grammer on Wineberserkers: Saucy violets and cherries bouquet, overlaid with baking spices. This is built for the long haul, quite lean right now, but has the building blocks for an elegant wine with dark plum and blackcurrant fruit replays lurking underneath.

Pictures: At Château Figeac during the 2013 Bordeaux Tour by ombiasy

Bordeaux Wine Tour 2013 by ombiasy

Château Le Bon Pasteur

Represented by: Dany Rolland, Managing Director (58$)

Picture: Annette Schiller and Dany Rolland

The Bon Pasteur estate grew from the determination of Hermine and Joseph Dupuy who bought it around 1920. Its area was originally quite small, with several plots of land being added as the children, Geneviève and Serge Rolland, took over the management. It reached its current size of 6.62 hectare in 1955. In 1978, the two grandsons of the estate’s founders – Jean-Daniel and Michel Rolland – became the owners. This gave birth to the modern era for Le Bon Pasteur and the start of the career for Michel Rolland. In 2013, Le Bon Pasteur was bought by a Chinese Investor; management has however remained unchanged so far.

Panos Kakaviatos: A far better performance from bottle when compared to my experience tasting it from barrel in 2012, this was succulent and ripe and, well, delicious from the attack to the mid palate. Too bad that there was a bit of heady alcohol on the finish with some drying, but – this is splitting some hairs. We are talking about a wine that has that style in mind and for the vintage, I say it merits a success. (91 points)

Mike Grammer on Wineberserkers: Aromatics are of candied meats and plums-a-lot, decently put together. Palate finds it rough-and-ready right now, with black bitter fruit and salted black licorice, if that makes any sense, at the back. Structure is decent, but not sure if the fruit will emerge over time.

Pictures: Lunch at Le Bon Pasteuer with Dany Rolland during the 2013 Bordeaux Tour by ombiasy

Bordeaux Wine Tour 2013 by ombiasy
Lunch at Château Le Bon Pasteur with Winemaker/Owner Dany Rolland, Pomerol, France

Château Siran

Represented by: Edouard Miailhe (27$)

Picture: Christian G.E. Schiller and Edouard Miailhe

Château Siran is a winery in the Margaux appellation that was classified as one of 9 Cru Bourgeois Exceptionnels as of the 2003 listing. It was once owned by the painter Toulouse-Lautrec`s great-grandmother. Since 1848 Siran has been owned by the Miailhe family and today run by Edouard Miailhe. Since 1793, the Miaihle family - one of Bordeaux’s best known wine dynasties - has been involved in wine, back then as well-known brokers and more recently as wine producers.

Since the sale of Pichon Comtesse by May Eliane de Lencquesaing (Edouard's daughter), the last grower in that family branch is her brother Alain’s son, Edouard Miailhe, at Château Siran.

As for the descendants of Louis, only his son, Jean, remained in wine-growing at Château Coufran and subsequently also at Château Verdignan. In the 1980s, his two children, Marie-Cécile Miailhe-Vicaire, the mother of Frédéric Vicaire, who hosted us during the 2013 Bordeaux Tour by ombiasy, and Eric Miailhe, took up the reins.

Château Siran has 25 hectares of vineyards which are very well-sited on a high gravel ridge. They are planted with Cabernet Sauvignon (41%), Merlot (46%), Petit Verdot (12%) and Cabernet Franc (1%). The grapes are fermented in temperature-controlled, stainless steel tanks and the wine is then aged in small oak barrels (35% new) for 12-15 months. The Grand Vin averages 75,000 to 90,000 bottles per annum.

Panos Kakaviatos: There is a silkiness to this Siran that is endearing. OK, a bit of drying detracts on the finish, but it is not over extracted. Just a vintage nature and probably good for earlier drinking! (88 points)

Château Léoville Poyferré

Represented by: Didier Cuvelier (81$)

Picture: Annette Schiller and Didier Cuvelier

The story begins in 1804 when Henri Cuvelier set out to share his great passion for fine wine with his friends of the grand bourgeoisie residing in the rich and dynamic towns of the North of France, including Lille, Boulogne Sur Mer, Arras, and Valenciennes. To this aim, he created Maison de Négoce de Vins Henri Cuvelier in Haubourdin, a wine merchant company whose success continued to develop throughout the 19th century.

100 years later, at the beginning of the 20th century, Paul Cuvelier and his young brother Albert, decided to purchase top quality estates in the Bordeaux area. They bought Château Le Crock in 1903, then Château Camensac in 1912 and finally the prestigious Château Léoville Poyferré as well as Chateau Moulin Riche in 1920.

Two of Max Cuvelier’s children have taken over the family’s activities in Bordeaux: Didier Cuvelier has been running Chateau Leoville Poyferre, Chateau Moulin-Riche and Chateau Le Crock since 1979 and Olivier Cuvelier has been managing the Wine Merchant company H. Cuvelier and Fils in Bordeaux since 1985.

In the beginning, the Cuveliers did not operate their chateaux themselves. Roger Delon, one of the owners of Chateau Leoville Las Cases was the first to manage Chateau Léoville-Poyferré. This changed in 1979 with the accession of Didier Cuvelier, who at 26 became the first member of his family to take charge of Leoville Poyferre, along with Moulin Riche and Le Crock. Didier Cuvelier put Leoville Poyferre on the map of wine lovers all over the world. Didier Cuvelier trained as a chartered accountant before passing the DUAD (a university diploma in wine tasting) in 1976.

The Grand Vin is Château Léoville-Poyferré (20000 cases). Typically the oak is 75% new each year. Wines produced from the plots once belonging to Château Moulin Riche (17000 cases) are vinified completely in cuve, before transfer into a mix of new and one-year-old barrels. The second wine is Pavillon de Poyferré.

Panos Kakaviatos: 2011 Château Léoville Poyferré - France, Bordeaux, Médoc, St. JulienLeoville Poyferre can really kick ass in off vintages. Take the 1999 for example. Well, 2011 is like that: dark fruit succulence, mid palate juice, and a delicious finish. If one want to be picky picky (2011, boys, come on!), then the finish does dry out a bit. But overall, I bet this will provide marvelous short term pleasure as your 09s, 10s, 05s, 03s, and 00s age. (93 points)

Pictures: At Château Léoville Poyferré with Didier and Anne Cuvelier during the 2013 Bordeaux Tour by ombiasy

Château Léoville-Poyferré, Chateau Le Crock, Didier Cuvelier in Bordeaux and the Cuvelier Los Andes Wines in Argentina
Lunch with Didier Cuvelier at Château Léoville-Poyferré in Saint-Julien, Bordeaux
Bordeaux Meets Virginia: Touring Virginia with Anne Cuvelier, Chateau Leoville-Poyferre in St. Julien, Bordeaux
Château Léoville-Poyferré Winemaker Dinner with Anne Cuvelier at Eola in Washington DC, USA

Château Lynch Bages

Represented by: Kinou Cazes Hachemian (104$)

Picture: Christian G.E. Schiller and Kinou Cazes Hachemian

Chateau Lynch Bages is a Fifth Growth in the village of Bages, just southwest of Pauillac. Jean-Charles Cazes was able to purchase Lynch Bages in 1939.

The history of the estate reflects the interesting history of English and French rule in Aquitaine. The original owners, the Lynch family from Ireland, could trace back their roots to an ancestor who was a companion of William the Conqueror. Without an heir, in 1824 the estate was sold and was in the hands of two other families before the Cazes family took over the property in 1933. Since then, the Cazes family has developed the estate with passion and tenacity and started an in-depth modernisation in the 1980s. They are committed to making the most of the terroir, and are devoted to attain the ultimate in quality and prestige of a classified growth.

The vineyards total 90 hectares, with 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 17% Merlot, 6% Cabernet Franc and 2% Petit Verdot. The white wine vineyard, planted on 6 hectares, is located to the west, with vines 20 years old on average, it’s composed of 53% Sauvignon Blanc, 32% Semillon and 15% Muscadelle.

Panos Kakaviatos: Top flight Lynch Bages. I liked Pauillac in general in 2011, and this wine does not disappoint. OK, a touch drying on the finish but that is splitting some hairs. Veritably full bodied, this wine displays succulence and power, what one can expect from a quality estate like Lynch Bages. In recent vintages, I have decried a certain later picking and oak extraction, but 2011 seems to be marked by balance. (93 points)

Mike Grammer on Wineberserkers: This year, 70% Cab Sauv, 23% merlot and rest Cab Franc and Petit Verdot. Raspberry and meat with tobacco in the bouquet. For me, their style doesn't work, this is unprepossessing and has, to my taste, too much oak at this stage for the raspberry replays.

Pictures: With Jean-Charles Cazes, Owner of Lynch-Bages, during the 2013 Bordeaux Tour by ombiasy

Bordeaux Wine Tour 2013 by ombiasy

Château Ormez de Pez

Represented by: Kinou Cazes Hachemian (30$)

Château Les Ormes-de-Pez is in the Saint-Estèphe appellation. In the 2003 listing that was later annulled, Château Les Ormes-de-Pez was classified as one of 9 Cru Bourgeois Exceptionnels. It belongs to the group of six former Cru Bourgeois Exceptionnel (Château Chasse Spleen, Château Les Ormes de Pez, Château de Pez, Château Potensac, Château Poujeaux and Château Siran) that have decided to remain outside the Cru Bourgeois Classification.

The vineyard area, divided into two blocks north and south of the village of Saint-Estèphe, extends over 33 hectares, with 70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Cabernet Franc and 20% Merlot. The annual production is 15,000 cases.

Ormes de Pez was purchased by Jean Charles Cazes in 1927.

Panos Kakaviatos: Starts out rich and flavorful and thus not bad at all. But like other reds in 2011, ends drying and attenuated on the finish. 2007 redux. (89 points)

Château Phélan Ségur

Represented by: Veronique Dausse (37$)

Picture: Didier Cuvellier, Leoville Poyferre, Veronique Dausse and Christian G.E. Schiller

Panos Kakaviatos: This one is a better Saint Estephe as it displays more sap and energy. Just barely 90, if you will, because the finish is no great shakes, but this has medium plus flavor intensity and a robust palate. Fits the bill. Get me a steak. (90 points)

Mike Grammer on Wineberserkers: I love how they say "avec plaisir" when pouring and when you're done---it's so fine! This is 55% CS, 45% merlot. Really gets at you in the schnozz with old wood and cigar/pipe smoke, red cherry underneath. To taste, not bad, but not exceptional. Fruits poke out, but not in a harmonious way right now. I do like the nose.

Château Coutet

Represented by: Aline Baly (67$)

Château Coutet is a classified estate from the Sauternes-Barsac appellation located in Barsac, owned and managed by Philippe and Dominique Baly. The vineyard area extends 38 hectares with grape varieties of 75% Sémillon, 23% Sauvignon blanc and 2% Muscadelle.

On average 4,500 cases are produced each year of the Grand vin Château Coutet. Additionally there is produced the second wine Chartreuse de Coutet from the estate's younger vines, and a dry white wine named Vin Sec de Château Coutet.

The wine is composed of 75% Semillon, 23% Sauvignon Blanc and 2% Muscadelle. The Baly family have owned the 95 acre Chateau since 1977 when Marcel Baly acquired the 95 acre property. Marcel’s sons Dominic and Phillipe took over running the operation in the 1980′s.

Aline Baly is the third generation proprietor of Bordeaux’s first classified growth Château Coutet (AOC Barsac) and currently responsible for the estate’s strategic marketing and communications. Aline received in 2008 her Masters in Business Administration from the Kellogg School of Management (Evanston, IL, USA) with a degree focused on marketing and entrepreneurship. After 20 years of life as an ex-patriot, Aline moved back to Barsac recently.

Mike Grammer on Wineberserkers: Aline Baly's face lit up like a Christmas tree when I told her that I knew Angelo Manioudakis. We spent some time discussing the house style here too. This year, 75% semillon, 23% Sauv Blanc and 2% muscadelle, and I think she said the vines are about 30 years old. Lovely, expressive lime fruit and toasted coconut. I like this in the mouth too, the typical early Coutet coiled and bracing texture with coconut and lime notes and a distinct minerality. Very enjoyable #8

Château de Fargues

Represented by: Prince Eudes de Orléans, General Manager (113$)

Picture: Annette Schiller and Prince Eudes de Orléans

Château de Fargues has been owned by the Lur-Saluces family since 1472. The family owned d`Yquem until 1999 and de Fargues is known by some critics as d`Yquem junior. The same winemaking techniques are use at both properties.

De Fargues's 15 hectare vineyard is situated 4 kilometres southeast of d`Yquem and is planted with 80% Sémillon, and 15% Sauvignon Blanc. Yields are minute (lower even than d`Yquem) and the grapes are harvested in as many as 12 separate "tries". The grapes are fermented and the wine is subsequently aged for 3 years in one-year-old oak bariques that were previously used at d`Yquem. De Fargues's production is small with sometimes only 500 cases a year being produced.

Prince Eudes de Orléans is the youngest son of Henri, Count of Paris, Duke of France and of Duchess Marie Therese of Württemberg. Eudes is third in line to the Orleanist succession to the French throne after his brother Prince Jean, Duc de Vendôme, and his nephew, Prince Gaston.

Panos Kakaviatos: I liked this more than I did from barrel. A somewhat lower note perhaps than one would expect because I did find it somewhat over sweet. Let’s put it this way: the opulence on the nose and on the attack – with apricots and pineapples and spice – could have used more zing on the palate… Still, I could see this wine’s appeal. (91 points)

Mike Grammer on Wineberserkers: 80% Sem from 35 yr vines, and 20% SB, they leave it in 10-15% new oak for 3 years. Musky and herbal, lots of green herbs mixed with yellow fruit on nose. Palate is awfully expressive---the botrytis is just right and complements orange and a real peach flavour. A very different de Fargues for me, the first one I've ever truly liked.

Château Guiraud

Represented by: Laure Planty (Daughter of Co-owner) (48$)

This gem of an estate in Sauternes dates back to the 15th century. The vineyard currently covers 100 hectares. Château Guiraud is known for its organic approach to viticulture.

11,000 cases made. The blend of 65 percent Sémillon and 35 percent Sauvignon Blanc comes from 35- to 40-year-old vines.

Four partners - Robert Peugeot (of Peugeot automobiles), Olivier Bernard (Domaine de Chevalier), Stephan von Neipperg (Canon-La Gaffelière and others) and Xavier Planty, the estate’s longtime general manager - acquired Château Guiraud in 2006.

Mike Grammer on Wineberserkers: I actually didn't know this was under Comte Stephan's aegis as well. I spoke with Laure Planty and we talked about what is, for me, the unique and sometimes unpredictable style of Guiraud. This one is a bit wilder than the Rayne-Vigneau, some muskiness permeates the aromas of citrus and pineapple. In this one, the botrytis is quite prevalent, but I think it will integrate. Rich pear and pineapple, with maybe a tinge of pomegranate too. It's pretty good.

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