After tasting the wines from the 2010 vintage from our estates and those of friends, Murielle cooked a meal for all 13 of us washed down with a few wines tasted blind. A good excuse for good old friendly banter with questions such as 'Are angels girls or boys?', good jokes and humility for all of us, such that the blind tasting didn't stop us from thinking about the goals of the person bringing the bottles to the table. That's how today, tasted blind, a modern, oaky wine is rejected because it is no longer in vogue and following the style of the 'leaders', the 'elite', whereas yesterday it would have been put forward (maybe too easily) as a pioneer.
We set ourselves an easy question to answer: 'Which wine do you like the most today?'
To start us off in the first series; on the left Cos d'Estournel 2009, a powerful wine and nobody guessed Left Bank, let alone Saint Estèphe. It seemed clear to everyone that this reserved wine was from Saint Emilion or Pomerol. A wine, a great wine, that was made to last. Valandraud was on the right and was prefered by 10 out of the 13 people present because of its softness, the fineness of its tannins and already expressive aroma. The vintage was easily found.
The second series was as follows; Valandraud 2003 on the left. Fresh, fruity but a little unbalanced for me. Chateau Margaux 2003 was on the right. Smoother and more charming. 2003 was a difficult vintage for me and the verdict was 50-50. It should be interesting to taste these wines again in 4 or 5 years!
Then on to the third series where nobody found the vintage, all thinking of much younger wines. On the left Harlan 1994, and nobody thought of the USA, let alone California, mistaking it for a great powerful, young Bordeaux. On the right Valandraud 1994 which seemed very young also. Seven people prefered Harlan, six Valandraud. These wines are capable of being very dominant and many famous crus did well in this difficult year.
Before and after, the bottles were opened with their labels on show. Unfortunately an American bottle from 1999 from the state of Virginia was badly corked and before that, to go with the salmon, was a Chevalier Montrachet 2006 from Bouchard Père Fils and our very own Valandraud blanc 2010, in harmony with the dish.
An ambiance of discovery, good humour, like greedy gourmet teenagers could be felt and our two new members must have been surprised by the freedom of speech. That's the magic of wine and good food.
We also enjoyed an excellent Fleur Cardinale 2005, a superbe wine and a very good vintage for Bordeaux.