Thursday, April 27, 2006

The Tale of the Tasting

Thienpont towered with authority and charisma; Tesseron pushed a well-manicured hand through his silver fox mane; Barton oozed leonine charm as he prowled with intent and Berrouet positively fizzled at the wines on show amongst other things. Bibendum Bordeaux 2005 kicked off with a bang. A really really big bang that will be resounding around the Medoc for some time to come. More like cannon thunder really. Keen tasters put life on hold and came along to anticipate, cogitate and expectorate. One man said it was the best 4 hours of his life...but does that say more about us or him? The Chateaux owners were blown away by the response, especially by the knowledge of the visitors and their broad age range. The other linchpin was the enthusiasm and passion of the Chateaux owners themselves who came along, trusted Bibendum, and put on a stellar show.

And the wines? The wines were very good and it would be impossible to go through and comment on them all here. Perhaps the best thing would be to visit Jamie Goode’s blog and check out his notes. The Juice did manage to get the scoop on those Chateaux we mentioned yesterday who decided not to show the wines to Robert Parker. And it made surprisingly good sense. Not a hint of malice there after all. Gruaud Larose, Chasse Spleen et al know their market – it’s that simple. They produce enough wine to supply their loyal customer bases; they want to remain true to their principles and they want to ensure that the wine stands up on its own. Far more appropriate to bring several great vintages along to a tasting like this than to exist on scores alone. As far as they see it, big points can lead to big heads (and even bigger bouffants) and if you’re not very careful this can lead to lose sight of what you were doing in the first place and who you were doing it for. So is this the future? Well maybe not just yet but it could be a trend for the future. What made this conversation even more thrilling was the mixture of wines (in different glasses mind) that were being enjoyed at the lively Lords Tavern dinner tables. Stonier Pinot next to Feytet Clinet 2001 en magnum…Catena Malbec alongside Chasse Spleen 2003…Laurenz V Gruner Veltliner to start and Suduiraut 2002 to finish…

All in all a very happy day for Bibendum. The sight of dozens of smiling people with black teeth and blue lips walking back up the Wellington Road was worth the admission money on its own.

The final highlight? One exuberant winemaker smiling and declaring his wine was "beautiful…just like you" to a certain member of staff. Amen to that…


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