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The purpose of my visit to Capital City: a tasting. A Bordeaux tasting, to be more specific, and one that I really thought demanded my attention. The list of wines to be included contained a number that I feel I should be able to talk about with a reasonable degree of familiarity...or I could just wing it. The former remains the preferable option, however, which is why I braved the rain and subjected my tasting buds to something of a London marathon.
Four vintages were to be shown: 2007 and its three immediate antecedents. The châteaux to present their wines: Pontet-Canet, Le Crock, Léoville-Poyferré and its second wine, Moulin Riche, Branaire-Ducru and its second wine, Duluc, Rauzan-Ségla, Smith-Haut-Lafitte, the wines of Count Stefan von Niepperg (comprising Aiguilhe, Clos de l'Oratoire, Canon La Gaffelière and the very expensive La Mondotte), Angélus and Gazin. Do the math, as they say. It's a lot of wine.
So what did I find out? Well, 2006 looks pretty good, but partly that is down to it being tasted after 2007. 2005 is a monument of a vintage; a year that produced vinous menhirs that could be stood up on Salisbury plain for millenia with a view to confounding our ancestors as to their exact purpose. 2004; ah 2004! I loved it when I first tasted it and I love it now. The word "classic" is overused but thoroughly aposite here.
Extrapolating a bit, some of the '07s are and will be very pleasant drinks. They have a purity and gentle nature that will make them friendly in the future. 2006 was patchy. The best wines are on a par with the '04s, but you have to ignore more, be more choosy. The '05s? If you open any of your '05s and are disappointed, you should take them to the château concerned and demand not only a refund but that the owner is sectioned and marched off the property forthwith. And the '04s? Buy more. Buy them to drink. Buy them for the sheer pleasure of drinking smart, cool, and very proper claret.
N.B. I will endeavour to get my tasting notes up on the website before I head off to the Far East on Tuesday.