Bordeaux Tasting Notes – TopVino Festival Ljubljana

Let’s just cut to the chase. For now, Chateau Pontet-Canet is definitely my go-to wine in the €125-140 bottle range. You’re with me, right?

As I mentioned in my Chateau Lassegue 2011 notepad a few days ago, wines of this caliber hardly need another review. I’m including this rundown from from wines I crossed paths with at the TopVino International Wine Festival here in Ljubljana, which amounts to a list of some of the finest Bordeaux properties, to mark and commemorate my first experience with them. For most it’ll likely be my last as well.

Already known as a consistent high quality Pauillac producer in the early 1990s, it’s star rose with the 2009 vintage when both Robert Parker and Wine Enthusiast blessed it with perfect 100-point scores. Parker followed up with another tally of perfection the following year. Undeniably, the star producer of the day.

Chateau Pontet-Canet 2012

Jammy, lush, complex layered texture. Ripe plum, licorice and blackcurrant notes. I was expecting harsher tannins at this youthful age but they were profoundly subtle, silky even. If I was forced to choose, I think I preferred this one of the two; it struck me as more laid back and subdued. Ethereal even. Retail €133

Chateau Pontet-Canet 2011

Like its younger brother, this was rich, smooth and complex with a full yet youthful balance unlike any I’ve ever tried before. The balance and texture sublime. Retail €133

I’ve never experienced wines like these before but know more than enough to say it was almost a shame to drink them this young.

Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte 2012 – Pessac-Leognan

A sublime earthiness, coffee, blackberry, plum and cherry pie. There was a lingering fruit that just doesn’t quit; I had to take a break and sit down after sipping this one. The gentleman pouring it said it’ll live and improve for another two decades; I couldn’t imagine myself — or anyone– holding out that long. Especially after a few unforgettable sips and swirls. Retail. €120

My favorite wine. Quite possibly ever. I’m still looking for my socks.

Chateau Grand Puy Lacoste 2011

I was lucky that the gentleman pouring suggested I wait a bit; the pour I tried came from a bottle that had been open for just under an hour. It probably needed five times that for any sort of real taste, but what I did experience was grand.

Fruity, supple, its tannins were much softer than what I expected. Pleasant floral notes, plum on the palate. It’s exquisite now. I’d love the opportunity to find out what it’ll taste like in ten or even 20 years. Retail €82

Chateau Grand Puy Lacoste 2012

Much like the 2011, but it had a lot more backbone, more firm and bold. I’m guessing that goes beyond the one-year age difference.

My only notes? “Blackcurrant” with the capital B underlined, “Concentrated” with the capital C underlined twice, and a big smiley face underlined three times. Yes, this one made me happy that being alive coincided with being at this festival. Retail €82

Moving on into the realm of the affordable.

Chateau Cote de Baleau 2011, Saint-Emilion Grand Cru

80% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc; earthy, some upfront berry, with light tannins, probably best to drink over the next two to three years, but enough backbone to hold on to it for at least another five. Retail €25

Chateau Cote de Baleau 2012, Saint-Emilion Grand Cru

80% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Franc and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon; body-wise I found it quite similar to the 2011, but with a little more upfront fruit and a little more firmness. Very berry. It’ll get better over the next three years; drink it over the next seven to eight. Retail €32


Tasted 17 Oct 2016 at the TopVino International Wine Festival, Ljubljana, Slovenia.
Price listed is local (Ljubljana) on day of tasting.
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