Last night a blind tasting of Bordeaux 2001 vs. Stellenbosch 2001 at Wine Cellar, providers of a fine wine brokerage service and cellaring facilities.
Wine of the night for me was Sociando-Mallet. Situated in the commune of St-Seurin north of St-Estèphe, it is not ranked in the official classification of 1855 (not existing at the time), nor is listed among Médoc’s Cru Bourgeois due to a decision on the part of its independently minded owner not to put it forward for inclusion but is widely considered to be of classed-growth quality.
Two big names at the bottom of the rankings last night: Paul Sauer and Pichon-Longueville. I’ve now had the Kanonkop Paul Sauer 2001 twice and the property’s CWG auction bottling of that year once in blind tastings over the last couple of months and on each occasion the wine has come towards the bottom of the pile. My conclusion? Simply not the best vintage of this usually outstanding wine. As for the Pichon-Longueville, the tasting note says all there has to be said.
1. Château Sociando-Mallet (Haut-Médoc) 18/20
Pure and youthful. Pencil shavings and some “oystershell” on the nose. Dark fruit, bright acidity, firm tannins.
2.= Grangehurst Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot 17/20
Refined and understated. Cassis, violets and attractive herbal note on nose. Great concentration and freshness.
2.= Château Larrivet-Haut-Brion (Pessac-Léognan) 17/20
Appealing funkiness. Ripe dark fruit, broad in structure, smooth in texture. Long, savoury finish.
4. Warwick Trilogy 16.5/20
Typically Stellenbosch. Cassis, some leafiness, toasty oak. Medium bodied with fresh acidity with firm but fine tannins.
5.= Thelema Merlot Reserve 16/20
Trademark mint on nose and palate. Ripe dark fruit, bright acidity, fine tannins. Remarkably youthful and fresh although green note pronounced.
5.= Château Troplong-Mondot (St-Emilion) 16/20
Huge intensity, concentration. Full bodied with ripe dark fruit and densely packed tannins. Long, dry finish.
7.= Château Fombrauge (St-Emilion) 15.5/20
Modern style. Sweet, rich and ripe. Concentrated and lacking freshness.
7.= Morgenster 15.5/20
Marked development on nose and palate. Medium bodied with red fruit, savoury finish.
9.= De Toren Fusion V 15/20
Confected. Red fruit, chocolate and spice. Sweet and broad in structure, soft tannins. Starting to fade.
9. = Château La Tour Haut-Brion (Pessac-Léognan) 15/20
Oak dominated. Some dark fruit but plenty of nutty, earthy notes. Aggressively tannic on finish.
11. Kanonkop Paul Sauer 14/20
Extremely reductive on nose and palate. Dark fruit, very smooth textured.
12. Château Pichon-Longueville Comtesse de Lalande (Pauillac) 12/20