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Dinner with Christian Moueix

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Last night, dinner with Christian Moueix facilitated by Michael Fridjhon, commentator and owner of wine import business Reciprocal. Moueix is one of the leading figures in the world of wine.  His father was instrumental in bringing the wines of Pomerol and St Emilion to the same stature as those of the Medoc, on the way acquiring Chateaux Petrus, Trotanoy and  La Fleur Petrus amongst others). While his brother’s primary focus is Petrus, he owns and manages the other St Emilion and Pomerol chateaux, the negociant business in Libourne out of which the family built its property interests, as well as the estates he acquired and developed in the Napa Valley, most notably Dominus. He was Decanter’s Man of the Year in 2008.

The venue was Aubergine restaurant and the wines of the evening were Chateau Belair-Monange St-Emilion 2010 paired with duck breast, Chateau Trotanoy Pomerol 2010 with veal rack and Dominus Napa Valey 2010 with a selection of cheeses.

What does Moueix desire in wine? “Equilibrium, pleasure and loveliness.” How does he feel about the various 100-point scores Robert Parker has given Dominus in particular? “Don’t give me 100 points as it provides no margin for progression.”

Tasting notes and scores for the three wines as follows:

Chateau Belair-Monange 2010
85% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Franc. More red than black fruit, flowers, dried herbs and oak spice. The palate is rich and smooth textured – succulent fruit, coated acidity and soft tannins. Polished in the best sense.

Editor’s rating: 92/100.

Chateau Trotanoy 2010
Genuine article

Chateau Trotanoy 2010
95% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc. Dark fruit, tapenade, earth and some leafiness on the nose.  Full bodied yet wonderfully composed – concentrated fruit, fresh acidity and grippy tannins before a long and savoury finish. Still very young.

Editor’s rating: 94/100.

Dominus 2010
95% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Petit Verdot. Notes of red and black berries but also orange and passion fruit (suggesting grapes picked extra late) plus mint and other herbs, floral fragrance and earth. The palate meanwhile is exceptionally big and plush, not entirely without freshness, the tannins quite gentle. Well crafted in a particular style but little tension or intrigue.

Editor’s rating: 91/100.

In discussion with a fellow guest who admitted to being a wine novice, we settled on motor cars in order that he might better express his experience of the wines. The Belair-Monange was akin to a top-end Mercedes Benz, the Trotanoy a Lamborghini on account of being a difficult drive and only having niche appeal while the Dominus was a Maserati, all the noise of a Ferrari but a most pleasurable drive. The Dominus was more Hummer for me…

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