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Lady Sprinters, Front to Back


Substituting a roof for a snowy slope: a St Bernard at Lamarque


My third day in Bordeaux has dawned bright: a pleasant change from the dank clouds that have overhung the region since my arrival. There will be better opportunities for photography today, I feel.
Yesterday saw continued frenetic activity. The day started at the most northerly of the Union des Grands Crus tasting: that relating to the wines of Pauillac and St Estephe, hosted by Chateau Lynch-Moussas. I confess I hadn't ever seen the property before. Like so many others, it's a pretty edifice with a fairytale air, sitting in its own parkland.

The wines here were sensational. Female sprinters come to mind: spare; athletic; subtly powerful. A great many are also distinctly beautiful. And there were a great many stand-outs. Grand Puy Lacoste was luminously lovely. The St Estephes were uniformly classy.

I
 went to Pichon Baron. Then I went to Pichon Lalande and then to Latour, lying between Lalande and the river/estuary. The Baron so dark and masculine; the countess so lithe and feminine. And then Latour. Should Latour be elegant? The '14 is. Very. Intense and mineral and lovely. And after the '14, I got to taste the chateau's new releases: the '11 Pauillac, the '08 Forts and the '03 Grand Vin.
Ooh la la, the latter is just extraordinary: full resolved; uber-complex; cold tea and walnuts; dense and riveting. And as I pulled up at Leoville Poyferre - my next appointment - the walnuts all of a sudden became lapsang suchong. Amazing wine.

At Poyferre I tasted the St Juliens - a room full of stunners, I must add - before heading off to Chateau de Lamarque to sample all the outlying classed growths: Medocs, Haut-Medocs, Moulis and Listrac. Too many lovely wines to list, but the usual suspects - Lagune, Tour de By, Cantemerle, Chasse Spleen and Poujeaux - all fabulous.

Next, Dauzac and the Margaux tasting that is usually among the most taxing exercise of one's Bordeaux trip. Less, this year. I am glad to report. Many lovely wines. Rauzan Segla top dog, perhaps.

The working day drew to a close with a leash of chateau visits: Issan, Palmer and Margaux itself. Oddly, the young man hosting my group's tasting at Margaux was quick to give his opinion as to why '14 is not a great vintage. And I would have to disagree. It is certainly great in parts. And I might even have to disagree about Chateau Margaux, about which he was speaking. It is hiding its light, the sweetness all tucked up at the moment. Yet there is breathtaking control and loveliness to its form and a pronounced minerality running right through from front to back. 

Palmer majestic; Issan simply gorgeous. This latter tasting was conducted inside the chateau itself - one of the oldest in the Medoc - for the first time.

And then my return to my hotel was short-lived. A taxi soon arrived to take my into Bordeaux for dinner: a dinner that ended late and wine-ily, neatly explaining my lack of blogging last evening.

So I close. In five minutes I will be in my car heading to La Mission Haut Brion and then on to Smith Haut Lafitte to taste all Pessacs and Leognans and Graves, red and white, before racing back to the Medoc. The hours oif yesterday were insufficient for me to get to La Lagune, where are being tasted all the Sauternes of the vintage. And we wouldn't want to miss out on that now would we??

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