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Horse and Mustard


Display at Chateau du Tertre

The weather's done a complete volte face today, deciding morning time is overcast time, threatening precipitation, then finally clearing into blue skies and bright sunshine.

A busy day: lots to taste and a fair amount of travelling. I headed north to catch the Union des Grands Crus St Julien tasting, held at Gruaud Larose, but managed to sample only three wines before I felt the urge to set off for Chateau Latour, so keen on exactitude the organizers of that chateau's diary that tardiness is rather severely frowned upon. Hence I was 15 minutes early and my mistiming merely mildly frowned upon.

Ah, Latour. King of all you survey; Cabernet's finest moment; black-grape-aristocracy. A horse was busy ploughing in the vineyard and my cynical mind wondered whether its activity was just one part of a choreographed performance that was to last the week of the primeurs tastings.

2010 Pauillac - they admitted that it had been a toss-up between 2010 and 2012 for its latest release. On this evidence, they called it wrong. The 2010 needs longer, as it's waist-deep in a coffin of new wood. The '09 Forts de Latour is another matter. Hedonistic calls it about right. 2000 Chateau Latour. Well. You can imagine. It costs that for good reason.

Pichons Lalande and Baron followed. Both are utterly lovely, as ever the former rather more willing to please, a part of its vineyard being in St Julien and it having something of the plushness of that commune.

N.B. A first view of the '15 vintage's sweet wines: Suduiraut shown at Pichon Baron. Ooh. Utterly beguiling. I will taste more tomorrow.

On to Lafon Rochet, that chateau that now looks like an advertisement for a brand of mustard, there to taste all St Estephes and Pauillacs. Then back to Gruaud to finish up the St Juliens, followed by du Tertre for the Margaux wines.

Much has been said about the heights of the Margaux appellation this vintage and, indeed, the wines are richer than those of the northern Medoc and otherwise offer that same stunning combo of purity, focus, transparency and minerals.

Which is what made Palmer, Issan and Margaux such an exquisite trio of visits. Palmer is big and rich and mouthfilling; Issan is very Margaux in that mind-bogglingly harmonious  and beautiful way.

But Margaux itself. Mortgage any relative that might be worth sufficient funds to get some of this into the cellar.

It's as if the vintage has come together specifically to give the charms of Chateau Margaux a showroom in which to disport itself for the pleasure of the taster and, in the years to come, the drinker. It's a gorgeous, gorgeous thing. I want...
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