Saint Emilion and Pomerol Tasting - Clash of the Titans of Merlot

Saturday, September 14, 2019 - 07:30 PM

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If all be true that I do think,
There are five reasons we should drink:
Good wine - a friend - or being dry -
Or lest we should be by and by -
Or any other reason why.
Henry Aldrich 1647 - 1710

 

When we hit a subject, we hit it hard and this month is dedicated to Bordeaux with six tastings on the calendar featuring some of Bordeaux’s finest.  I just added this one to the line-up a week or so ago because the world needs more GREAT Merlot like you find in Saint Emilion and Pomerol! 

 

In addition to having some great every-day Bordeaux wines on the table this evening we have a few top-level wines comparing vintages like 2015, 2014, 2005, 2001 going back to the 1995 vintage.  There are 12 wines on the table this evening one example of each St. Emilion and Pomerol from every vintage, of course we will be starting the evening out with Champagne and finishing with Sauternes.  We have some of the top names like Chateau Lafleur and Chateau Angelus along with some top vintages on the table this evening.  We only have room for 14 tasters at this event and the fee for this tasting which includes dinner is $195 + tax, for reservations call 954-523-9463 or e-mail andy@winewatch.com.

 

Saint Emilion VS Pomerol Tasting - Clash of the Titans of Merlot
Saturday, September 14, 2019
7:30 PM

Reception:
NV Voirin Jumel Cuvée 555 Cramant Champagne
Price: $65.00       Sale $57.20

Tasting Wines:
2015 Chateau Pavillon Daugay Saint Emilion
Price: $26.75    Your Price: $23.54    Quantity in Stock: 23

2015 Chateau Marzy Pomerol
Price: $35.75    Your Price: $31.46

2014 Chateau Lecuyer Pomerol
Price: $54.00    Your Price: $47.52    Quantity in Stock: 12

2014 Relais de la Dominique St. Emilion
Price: $33.75    Your Price: $29.70    Quantity in Stock: 11

2005 Chateau Gazin Pomerol
Price: $175.00    Sale Price: $130.00    Quantity in Stock: 5

2005 Chateau Peby Faugeres St Emilion
Price: $450.00    Your Price: $396.00    Quantity in Stock: 6

2001 Chateau Angelus St Emilion Grand Cru
Price: $495.00    Sale Price: $399.00    Quantity in Stock: 10

2001 Chateau La Conseillante Pomerol
Price: $269.00    Sale Price: $239.00    Quantity in Stock: 1

1995 Chateau L'Arrosee Saint Emilion
Price: $106.00    Your Price: $93.28    Quantity in Stock: 9

1995 Chateau Lafleur Pomerol
Price: $815.00    Sale Price: $595.00    Quantity in Stock: 2

Extra:
2009 Chateau La Tour Blanche Sauternes (375ml)
Price: $39.00    Your Price: $34.32               Quantity in Stock: 4

Menu
Cheese and Charcuterie Selection
Traditional Beef Tartar with quail egg
Duck confit Lasagna with wild Mushrooms and Bordeaux Natural Sauce
Canelés de Bordeaux with Pineapple Rum Carmel Sauce

 The fee for this tasting which includes dinner is $195 + tax, for reservations call 954-523-9463.  There are only 14 spaces available for this event.   Please let us know if you don’t eat raw meat when you make your reservation and chef Toni will be happy to make a hamburger for you instead of Tartar. 

 

A bit about the Right Bank of Bordeaux:

The Right Bank
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The Bordeaux region is one of the most important wine-producing regions in the world, it produces a third of the good quality wine French production. Bordeaux is 57 appellations, more than 9,000 wine-producing châteaux, and 13,000 wine growers.  Bordeaux is near the Atlantic coast, in the south west of France.  Wine has been grown in Bordeaux for two thousand years. Most probably vines grew there before the arrival of the Roman in 56 before J.C.  The poet Ausonius wrote about it, a château still bare his name, the "Château Ausone". 

At the beginning of the second millennium the region was under English domination. Hundred of boats loaded with barrels of "Claret" left for England.  The "Claret" was a light red wine Englishmen loved, the word is still used to refer to Red Bordeaux.  The large diversity of Bordeaux suggests an equal diversity of soil. The climate is generally temperate with a short winter and a high degree of humidity generated by the proximity of the Atlantic Ocean. 

The celebrated regions of the right bank, Pomerol and St Emilion, have very little to do with the rest of Bordeaux. They lie well to the east of Bordeaux itself. Where the Médoc and Graves are characterized by gravelly soils, on the right bank the soil has more clay and limestone. Cabernet Sauvignon does not usually perform well here, and Merlot and Cabernet Franc are much more widely planted. A warmer drier climate than the maritime Médoc also benefits the region.

The right bank was mostly excluded from the 1855 classification (the exceptions being the St Emilion first growths of Cheval Blanc and Ausone) and as a whole was not taken that seriously until the early 20th century.  Today, due to the garagist movement- the recent development on the Right Bank has been the production of wines from newly created but tiny estates.  A policy of very low yields, ageing in new oak barrels, and the rarity value of the wines, has created a somewhat absurd demand for such exceedingly expensive wines as Le Pin (Pomerol) and Valandraud (St Emilion).  Their quality is excellent, but they offer poor value, except for wine drinkers who must have 'cult' wines in their cellars at all costs.  This is a reflection of the quality of the best wines and of the sensuous properties of the Merlot grape, which gives rounder, more opulent wines than the austere Cabernet Sauvignon.  The St Emilion wines have been classified, but Pomerol still has no classification, although the best wines are internationally recognized.

Because the wine business has been so entrenched in their history and the entire economy of this region of France is based on what the English have coined the term “Claret”, they have a system of doing business like other wine producing region on the face of the earth.  The best of the Bordeaulaise get paid for their product up to two years before it gets to the market.  The top wines are sought out by collectors the world over years before they will come to rest in their cellars; and in some cases many years before they will actually be consumed.  It is like the stock market, for wine junkies.  Bordeaux Futures are a bet that the wine will be more valuable when it arrives than it was when it was actually purchased. 

Pomerol

The Pomerol vineyards are located on a plateau that rises and falls slightly as it slopes gently down through a series of terraces toward the valley of the Isle River, which flows into the Dordogne River.  The appellation is bordered on the north by the Barbanne, a tributary of the Isle, on the east by Saint Emilion (the Cheval Blanc and Figeac wine estates), and on the south and west by the city of Libourne.  Pomerol is an area only two and a half miles long and two miles wide with exceptionally favorable geology and unique wine-producing potential.  It is one of the smallest of the Bordeaux wine areas and produces a yearly average of about 350,000 cases of wine.  Most of the region's properties, with a few exceptions, are small; the 185 wine estates in Pomerol have an average of eight acres of grapes each.  The area is mainly characterized by a unique set of geological conditions.  The surface soil is gravel, more or less compact or sandy; and its subsoil contains ferrous oxide, locally known as "crasse de fer", which, together with its specific microclimate, gives Pomerol wines their distinctive personality.

It is speculated that wine grapes have been grown there ever since the Romans inhabited Gaul.  The development of the vineyards began in the 12th Century and continued throughout the Middle Ages.  Pomerol was an important stopping place along the road of the pilgrims journeying from all over Europe to the Spanish pilgrimage of Saint Jacques de Compostelle.  The Knights of Malta built a manor and a Roman church - since destroyed - as well as a hospital.  The ancient hospital is the present Château Gazin building; it may be one of the last vestiges of the middle ages in Pomerol.  Unfortunately, the troubles of the Hundred Years' War led to the abandonment of most of the vineyards.  Subsequently restored, they again suffered greatly during the Religious Wars.  Minutes in the archives of Libourne date the beginning of Pomerol's evolution toward its modern form to the middle of the 18th Century.  It began in 1753 when Louis Leonard Fontemoing, a grape-grower in a locality called "Trop Chaud" ("Too Hot"), transformed his vineyard by taking out the white grapes and putting in red grapes.  Besides the Pressac red, bouchet (or cabernet franc) and merlot made their first historically recorded appearance.  They are the dominant varieties in Pomerol today.

Some historians claim that the real ascendancy of Pomerol began in the second half of the 19th Century.  However, modern tasters have reported on many great Pomerol vintages (dating back to the 1920's) from the region's pre-eminent estate, Château Pétrus.  Nevertheless, pre-war vintages of Pomerol were not much in demand; and most winelovers of that era did not seek out Château Pétrus or any other of the notable Pomerol properties.  It was not until the legendary 1947 vintage that Pétrus gained notoriety in wine circles.  Although we have not tasted that particular vintage, those experienced tasters who have had the privilege of sampling the 1947 Pétrus at its zenith (it may still be at that level today) claim that the 1947 Pétrus is one of the greatest wines produced in the 20th Century.  Despite the fame of the 1947 vintage, another generation of wine drinkers generally ignored the wines of Pomerol.  We recall drinking exceptional Pomerols from vintages in the 1960's that commanded prices well below their counterparts in the Médoc (the area of Bordeaux where fabled estates such as Mouton, Lafite, Latour, and Margaux are located).  However, beginning in the 1980's - specifically the 1982 vintage - Pomerol began to command average prices that exceeded those of most other Bordeaux wines.  Today older vintages of Pétrus from the 1960's go for as much as $1000 to $10,000 a bottle!  We drank the 2015, 1995, 1990, 1982, 1978, 1975 and the 1961 vintages of Petrus in March of this year and my favorite was the 1990!  Unfortunately, the 1961 was not a great bottle neither was the 1975 but all the others showed up including the best showing ever for me of the 1982- a legendary “Once in a Lifetime” wine tasting on my 50th B-Day weekend.

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