Bordeaux at last...but Spain first?!

by Chuck Hayward

We tasted about 50 wines in all ranging from barrel samples from the ’08 vintage in Bordeaux, some new releases from the ’07 vintage, current releases from the ’06 vintage and we re-tasted some gems from the prized 2005 vintage. We also tasted some gems from Chateau de la Negly in the Languedoc, although we did not get a chance to taste the 07 Clos des Truffiers and Porte du Ciel - the two top wines. Hopefully we’ll sample them before we leave, as the 07s are supposed to be out of this world. (Sine Qua Non’s Manfred Krankl’s said recently the ‘01 Clos des Truffiers is one of the best Syrah‘s he ever had!).

Anyhow, back to the ‘08s. All of the wines we tasted from this particular supplier were from the small producers, who are passionate about making wines that are exquisite examples showing full expression of their unique and distinct terroir and are terrific values!

I’ve posted some of my notes from the tasting below.

After the tasting we had a choice of going to our hotel to check in, shower, go for a casual bite to eat, etc OR make a run for the border…the Spanish Border that is and the beautiful sea-side city of San Sebastian. Sure, what the heck, we were only 2 hrs away and this night really was our only free night. So, we all agreed to hop in our car and go for it.

With purple stained teeth, an empty stomach, and some ‘travel’ adrenaline, we headed south. A quick stop at the local Boulangerie for 5 baguettes was enough to hold us over.  Then, we got on the auto-route and headed straight for San Sebastian, Spain.

After a two plus hour drive and getting our bearings, we parked the car and hit the town around 9pm looking for a  place to eat Tapas. The Spanish eat dinner really late, so we were right on schedule. The central district was hopping as the crowds assembled for a typical busy Saturday night of partying - San Sebastian Style!

My colleague, Alex Lallos, had received a tip to eat at Gandarias Restaurant! So, off we went in search of this Holy Grail of Spanish cuisine. Being die-hard food and winos, this is what we live for! As fate would have it, like a homing beacon, we found ourselves right in-front of this restaurant without realizing it. We stopped right in front of the place, took some pictures before running off aimlessly trying to find it! After an hour of walking around the beautiful harbor entrance to San Sebastian at dusk and watching the sets of waves enter the harbor, we re-grouped and Googled our way back to the very place we took those pictures earlier. Ironically, another colleague, at the time, had remarked this would be a good place to eat. We all laughed.uncooked-steak-shot

Once inside,  we all looked at each other and had the same happy expressions on our faces that we had found our Holy Grain and were ready to experience the best Spanish wines and Tapas that San Sebastian had to offer us hungry travelers!

Here are the wines we tried and some of the Tapas we enjoyed.

Gandarias Jatetxea
C/31 de Agasto, 23

2006 Bodegas Casa Castillo Monastrell from Jumilla, Spain - This was a medium to full bodied very lush wine made from 100% Mouvedre that was thick and had a creamy richness that was different than the two other wines.

2001 Bodegas Fernando Remirez de Ganuza Reserva - One of Spain’s highly rated wines from the Rioja, this wine with its dark purple core (even for a wine already 8 years old) shows it has not lost any intensity. It was tasting great with the incredible bisteca. Brooding blackberry, cassis and kirsch liquor highlighted the purity of fruit and mineral gravelly undercurrent of supple and balanced structure in this delicious wine.

2005 Emilio Moro from the Ribero del Duero - The wine was the highlight for me.  An incredibly lively dense wine with purity and focus in the black fruits and piercing minerality and fine grained tannins that also did a great job cleansing my palate after the second bisteca came out to eat.

Small Jamon and cheese sandwiches toasted on tiny individual baguettes.

Fresh Sardines marinated in vinegar and olive oil and chopped herbs.

Fresh octopus served in olive oil and herbs.

Home-made country-style blood sausage served on half a baguette.
Bisteca with crispy fries.

And the finale was the most incredible bisteca I have ever tasted and it was cooked to perfection!  A seared, 3 inch thick, bone-in New York steak that was aged for 3 weeks and finished with Maldon sel de mer flaky salt that was to die for! The meat was exquisitely prepared. Our waiter, who was the only one who spoke any English asked us how we wanted our bisteca prepared, and we asked how do you usually do it, and he replied - warm! The color was slightly translucent red, but not blue by any means. The knife cut through the meat like butter.spain-group-shot

We closed the place down at 4am and drove back to Bordeaux to arrive in time for our first appointment of Sunday at 9am. Yes, we did manage to check in to our hotel (finally) and take a shower. This trip is not going to be easy and sleep will be measured in naps…


Reviews and My Notes on Day 1 of J.J. Buckley’s 2009 Bordeaux Trip

Bergerac, Graves et Pessac-Leognan Blancs

1) 2007 Chateaufort de Roquetaillade (Graves Blanc - Mazeres) 50% Semillon and 50% Sauvignon Blanc. Commissioned by the Pope of Clement for his mistress in the 1400’s. This wine is made from 18 year old vines from clay and limestone soils. High density of 7000 vines/hectare. The color is light straw with a perfume of lemon citrus tree fruit and crushed flowers. The body is medium weight with a long ,intense powerful finish. 88 points

2) 2006 Chateau Fougeres “La Folie’ de Montesquieu (Graves Blanc Sec) 65% Sauvignon Blanc and 35% Semillon. Located in the town of Brede, home of the French philosopher and jurist Montesquieu, the vines are 25 years old and planted in a mix of gravelly silty soil. A light pale yellow color leads to a perfumed nose of exotic tropical star and passion fruits with bright acidity.  This is a gorgeous wine to drink with friends that is both flowery and delicate and then powerful with ‘fat’ and richness on the palate! There is a spiciness too that is reminiscent of red grapefruit. I also find a biscuit type of complexity from the stirring of the yeast lees that adds complexity. This is a really good value. 90 points - Andy Frieden JJ Buckley

3) 2006 Chateau Le Thil Comte Clary Blanc (Pessac-Leognan ) - Martillac 50% Semillon and 50% Sauvignon Blanc. Located between Carbonnieux and Smith-Haut-Lafitte in Pessac, planted to 15 year old vines. This is the second vintage in which Stephane Derenoncourt and his team consulted, brought on by new owner, Guillaume de Tastes; also, owner of Beauileu and Haut Gay. This is lovely wine with a light straw color that shows classic Bordeaux Blanc perfume of antique wood, fat, rich, and lees driven mid-palate, and bright lemon curd fruit. Really terrific wine! 91 points - Andy Frieden JJ Buckley

There is an Old Saying in Bordeaux…”Drink the first 5 years for the fruit of the Sauvignon Blanc Grape,  and wait 5 years,  then Semillon carries the wine for the next 30 years!”

Bordeaux Superieurs

4) 2005 Bord ‘Eaux “Merlot” 100% Merlot (Bordeaux)
High Density vines planted to 5,000 vines/hectare; 19 year old vines planted to years clay and limestone soils. Owner and enologist is Venezuelan born Oswaldo Hernandez (who nearly signed with the New York Yankees baseball team before going back to school and getting his diploma in Enology. Purple core good structure,  the wine employs a new technique of flash détente (instantaneous flash heating to 80 degrees Celsius.)
86 points - Andy Frieden JJ Buckley

5) 2006 Chateau Beaulieu “Comtes de Tastes” (Bordeaux Superieur)
50% Merlot, 30% Cabernet Franc, and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon. Oak aged 50% new and 50% one-wine old, French oak barrels. From a 15-hectare vineyard situated in Salignac, the average age is 20 years and the soil is made up of clay and limestone. Purple core and purple to the rim. The wine is medium to full bodied with black fruits of black cassis and blackberry.  A distinct nose of Bordeaux minerality and loamy clay soil. It is like drinking liquid rocks. A complex mineral driven wine with full intensity at a great entry-level price point for Bordeaux. 90 points - Andy Frieden JJ Buckley

6)  2006 Chateau Jean Faux (Bordeaux Superieur) 80% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc. Average vine age is 25 years. Owned by the sales manager of SAURY cooperage, the wine sees 50% new and 50% one-wine-old barrels….Saury of course! And, the labor intensive and expensive practice in Bordeaux of doing the secondary Malo-fermentation in barrels for the first 6 months aging on the lees. Then 12 months in barrel, and an additional 6 months in tank before bottling. Stephen Derenoncourt and his able team consult. New oak is prevalent here in the perfume a delightful wine. There are copious amounts of dark spick black fruits that are framed in a densely pack lush and expansive mid-palate.
89 points - Andy Frieden JJ Buckley

7)  2005 Chateau Jean Faux (Bordeaux Superieur) Merlot 80%,  Cabernet Sauvignon 20%. A bigger wine with opaque dark purple color and not as pretty sweet black fruits as the ’06, but showing more complexity with that loamy clay soil characteristic of Bordeaux.  A long lengthy mid-palate and finish.
90 points - Andy Frieden JJ Buckley

8) 2001 Chateau Gree-Laroque (Bordeaux Superieur) 75% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc, and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon. A tiny 1.6-ha vineyard planted with 40 year old vines. Complex wine with loamy soil to go with black fruits.
87 points - Andy Frieden JJ Buckley

“The 2001 is a vintage where the Right Bank thrived!”

Graves and Pessac-Leognan
9) 2008 Chateau Mejan (Graves) - Ayguemortes-les-Graves Merlot 84%,  Cabernet Sauvignon 16%. Extra effort in the winery helps to focus on preserving the fruit with a 12 hour cold soak before crush, a 7 day cold soak before fermentation is initiated, and a 34 day maceration during and after primary fermentation is completed all helps to preserve the plus concentration of black fruits. Dark Purple color with full intensity and opaque. A ripe wine offering a richness and spicy blackberry liquor that is so well developed and balanced, it may even be ready to release now! Superb precision.
89 points - Andy Frieden JJ Buckley

10) 2007 Chateau Mejan (Graves) - Ayguemortes-les-Graves Merlot 76%,  Cabernet Sauvignon 24%. Another great effort from this winery with such precision and balance and perfume of crush cherry blossoms in the nose, you cannot beat this over achiever of a wine! 88 points - Andy Frieden JJ Buckley

11) 2006 Chateau Mejan (Graves) - Ayguemortes-les-Graves Merlot 81%,  Cabernet Sauvignon 19%. Another great effort with super dark inky purple color and opaque.  Super-ripe and rich lush fruit with a long lengthy mid-palate and finish.
89 points - Andy Frieden JJ Buckley

12) 2007 Chateau Fougeres “La Folie“ (Graves) - La Brede Merlot 80%,  Cabernet Sauvignon 20%. Dark purple core and purple to the rim. This is a clean precise wine that shows a purity of fruit with a fat lengthy mid-palate with just the right amount of new oak to frame the fruit and capture the essence of blackberry (Mure) liquor. 91 points - Andy Frieden JJ Buckley

13) 2006 Chateau Le Thil Comte Clary  (Pessac-Leognan ) - Martillac Merlot 75%, Cabernet Sauvignon 25%. Located between Carbonnieux and Smith-Haut-Lafitte, in Martillac with the vines average age of 26 years. This is the second vintage in which Stephane Derenoncourt and his team consulted, brought on by new owner, Guillaume de Tastes; also, owner of Beauileu and Haut Gay. The wine is deep purple in color with full intensity.  A powerful wine that shows complexity in offering both red and black fruits to accompany the tarry phenols and minerality.  Stephan Derenoncourt’s signature is stamped on to this wine  with precision in both positioning the fruit to pop with a huge core in the expansive mid-palate and serious power and a touch of that loamy clay soil descriptor that I am pleased to note here. 87 points - Andy Frieden JJ Buckley

Haut Medoc

14) 2006 Chateau Gironville (Haut-Medoc Cru Bourgeois) Consistently a sleeper of the vintage. Merlot 46%,  Cabernet Sauvignon 45%, and 10% Petit Verdot. Planted in deep gravelly soils in the southern part of the appellation where Petit Verdot does well. The technique of delestage is employed - where during primary fermentation, the tank is actually drained of the fermenting juice, and a gentle pump-over of the fermenting juice is re-introduced, after a certain amount of time exposing the freshly fermenting skins (must) to oxygen.  This again is a method of focusing the fruit and intensity emphasizing a long rich fat luxurious core of fruit in the mid-palate! Super dark inky purple color with full intensity. Sweet perfumed wine showing black fruits of black cassis and black berry. Precision and length are key descriptors of this wine where the tannins are delineated and the purity of fruit is the reward. A delicious wine! 90 points - Andy Frieden JJ Buckley

15) 2003 Chateau Belle-Vue (Haut-Medoc) Macau, just south of Labarde and Chateau Giscours Cabernet Sauvignon  39%, Merlot 34%, and 27% Petit Verdot
Average age of vines is 28 years old. Encepagment is 40% Merlot, 40% Cabernet Sauvignon,  and 20% Petit Verdot planted on deep gravelly soils separated from Chateau Giscours only by a narrow jalle. From the ‘Hot-California’ vintage the color is almost black and opaque with full intensity. There is a sweet perfume of red and black fruits with crushed flowers and a peak of black raspberry fruit that pops!  This high-toned wine is drinking extremely well now.
90 points - Andy Frieden JJ Buckley

16) 2008 Close Manou (Medoc) - Saint Christoly-du-Medoc
The quintessential ‘garagista’ hand-made wine! Cabernet Sauvignon 54%,  Merlot 42%, Cabernet Franc 8%, and 7% Petit Verdot. The wine comes from an average age of 35 year old vines, but with some 2% pre-phyloxxera).  Complex soils include clay and limestone (50%), deep gravel (30%), and sandy gravel (20%), mostly planted on rolling hills. The vinification process is so meticulous and hand made at every turn in the winemaking process - the berries were poured by hand into 10 oak vast of just 10 hl each (tiny); block-by-block; 30-day cuvasion; then pressed by hand in a miniature basket press; malo and aging for 17 months in 100% new oak barrels from no less than 6 coopers. This wine is so dark black inky purple, one might think of liquid rocks! The nose is very perfumed lifting black fruits and crème de cassis and mure liquor! This is such a precise focused wine showing off tiny grained tannis with persistence and a spicy bramble to match the dense plus concentration of fruit, this wine literally ROCKS! 90 points - Andy Frieden JJ Buckley

17) 2005 Chateau Richelieu “La Tentation de Richelieu” (Fronsac) Merlot 75%,  Cabernet Franc 25%. The wine comes form a unique soil mix of sandy-clay, seashell sediment, and fossils. Derenoncourt consults. Dark purple core opaquish; Perfumed nose of black fruits with underlying minerality. On the palate,  the wine show a dens core of fruit in the mid-palate. The wine is very precise with full intensity throughout the attach to the lengthy finish.90 points - Andy Frieden JJ Buckley

18) 2006 Chateau Arnauton “Grand Sol” (Fronsac) Merlot 80%, Cabernet Franc 15%, and Malbec 5%. The technique of microbullage was used both during the fermentation (under the cap) and during aging in the barrel. Dark purple core opaque almost black in color. Clean purity of fruit emphasizing black cassis and black berry with kirsch-like intensity plus concentration. Well delineated tannis helps with the precision in creating a sinuous balance and good form. 89 points - Andy Frieden JJ Buckley

19) 2006 Chateau Richelieu “La Favorite” (Fronsac) Another tiny production ‘garagista’ wine with only 750 cases. Merlot 69%, Cabernet Franc 31%
30 year old vines from clay and limestone with some fossilized sedimentary formation; 35 day maceration; aged on the lees for six months in 50% new. 25% one-wine old, and 25% two-wine old, French oak barrels mostly from Taransaud, Berthomieu, and Ermitage. The wine comes form a unique soil mix of sandy-clay, seashell sediment, and fossils. Derenoncourt consults. Another winner from the signature style of precision from Stephen Derenoncourt and his team!  The color is a dense super dark core of almost black fruit - full intensity and opaque.  This is the quintessential Right Bank wine show both complexity in the super cassis liquor from Dijon with plus concentration of fruit,  and an underlying rocky, tarry, fresh pavement and gravel mineral precision all with persistence! 92 points - Andy Frieden JJ Buckley

Cotes de Castillon

20) 2006 Chateau d’Aiguihe Querre (Cotes de Castillon) - plateau of Saint-Philippe-d’Aiguilhe Merlot 80%,  Cabernet Franc 20%. Dark garnet color with red and black fruits the wine is an easy drinker with a delicious sweet core of cherry fruit. This wine showskbk what a value this new appellation in Bordeaux has brought to the table. 89 points - Andy Frieden JJ Buckley

21) 2006 Chateau Joanin Becot (Cotes de Castillon) - Cotes de Castillon Merlot 75%,  Cabernet Franc 25%. A beautiful wine with a dense core of purple color with full intensity. A complex array of layers of flavor with a perfumed nose of sweet bing cherries and an underlying clay soil earthiness. Big-time length in the lush rich mid-palate. A delicious fruit forward wine with plus concentration!  An overall crowd pleaser to drink with friends! 91 points - Andy Frieden JJ Buckley

Saint Emilion

22) 2007 Chateau la Fleur Morange “Mathilde” (Saint-Emilion Grand Cru Classe) - Saint Etienne -de-Lisse, lieu dit Thibaud. From the east end of Saint Emilion where a small patch of iron-slag similar to the terroir in Pomerol is where these 50 year old vines are planted.  This is the fourth vintage of this cuvee. Dark purple core. With full intensity, this wine is another monster with intense precise liquid gravel and minerality. There is a pretty finesse and purity I like in this wine. 90 points - Andy Frieden JJ Buckley

23) 2006 Chateau Fleur Cardinale (Saint-Emilion Grand Cru Classe) - (Saint-Emilion Grand Cru Classe) - Saint-Pey d’Armens. East of Saint Emilion Merlot 75%,  Cabernet Franc 15%, and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon. The sixth vintage for Dominique Decoster of Havilland porcelain fame, but his first as an on again, off again grand cru classe wine.  Rich clay atop limestone mother load in St. Etienne de Lisse  (between Valandraud and a portion of Rol Valentin’s vineyards).  No expense spared in this fine effort with Jean-Philippe Fort (Laboratoir Rolland) consults as does neighbor, Jean-Luc Thunevin. In addition to this expertise,  the wine see 100% new oak barrels from Saury (43%), Tonnellerie du Monde (19%), Bossuet (13%), Marsannay (13%),  Nadalie (6%), and Vicard (6%). Dark purple core almost black in color.  Perfume of liquid rocks and black fruits  - Super Cassis from Dijon and Mure liquors.  The wine has power and precision to go along with plus concentration  of fruit.  The wine offers complexity with the addition of soil and clay earthiness.  With all the layers of fruit, minerals and earth and all framed nicely in expensive French oak, what more does one need to make this an stand by addition to ones cellar! Simply a glorious wine that over performs on every pour.
92 points - Andy Frieden JJ Buckley


24) 2008 Chateau de la Negly “La Brise Marine” Blanc - Fleury d’Aude/La Clape Bourboublanc 60%,  Roussanne 20%, and  Marsanne 20%. From 30 year old vines situated at the rim of the Mediterranean Sea south of Narbonne. Soils are alluvial mixed with ancient Miocene sands and some clay. After being cold settles, the juice is casemented in stainless for 30 days; aged six months on the lees which were regularly stirred; a portion of the Roussanne and Marsanne was barrel-fermented and aged in baroques from Remond and Chassin.  This is a serious Blanc. 89 points - Andy Frieden JJ Buckley

25) 2007 Domaine du Boubiac “Roussanne/Viognier (Coteaux du Languedoc) - Quissac 50% Roussanne and 50% Viognier. Light straw color perfume of crushed flowers white peach in a medium body medium to relatively high acid style. A terrific quaffer to drink with your buddies with shell-fish. 89 points - Andy Frieden JJ Buckley

26) 2008 Chateau de la Negly “Les Embrums” Rose - Fleury d;Aude/La Clape Salmon Color; 8 months on the lees. Dry and juicy with full intensity. Delicious.
88 points Andy Frieden JJ Buckley

27)  2007 Domaine du Baubiac Merlot (Vin de Pays d’Oc) 100% Merlot
Just north of the Pic-Saint-Loup sub-appellation; 18 years average vine age; colluvial soils at the base of dolomite limestone slopes. More than just a simple wine with fruit, this wine has very good intensity and concentration.
87 points -  Andy Frieden JJ Buckley

28) 2007 Domainde de Boede “Le Pavillon  (Vin de Pays d’Oc) -  Fleury d;Aude/La Clape 100% Cinsault. 25 day cuvasion; Microbullage, pigeages (gentle cap punch-downs); lees stirring for seven months. Great effort for the price. 88 points - Andy Frieden JJ Buckley

29) 2007 Domaine Bertrand-Berge “Origines” (Fitou) - Paziols 60% Carignan, 40% Grenache Noir. Dark opaque wine with purple color. Beautiful perfumed nose of cherry cassis. A winner at this price. 89 points - Andy Frieden JJ Buckley

30) 2007 Chateau Rigaud (Faugeres) Fitou is the oldest appellation in the entire Languedoc - it was decreed in 1948. The 30 year old vines are planted in clay and limestone soils. The vineyards are manages using the lutte raisonnee techniques.  They are mechanically tilled as opposed to chemically sprayed. Claude Gros consults. Dark purple core.  Black fruits with crushed flowers and spicy brambly fruit. 90 points - Andy Frieden JJ Buckley

31) 2007 Chateau de la Negly “la Cote” 2008 Chateau de la Negly - Fleury d;Aude/La Clape (Parker new find) 40% Carignan and 40% Grenache,  and 20% Syrah. This entry-level cuvee produced from a 9 hectare, 25 year old portion of Negly’s 40 hectare vineyard; planted in siliceous clay and limestone soils; lutte raisonnee, green harvesting; net yields were just 30 hls/ha; 100 % hand harvested and table sorted three times; Carignan alone is fermented using the carbonic maceration method microbullage during aging process. Dark purple core opaquish color with full intensity.  Crushed flowers in the perfumed nose with lengthy cherry cassis and spicy black berry fruit.
91 points - Andy Frieden JJ Buckley

32) 2006 Domaine du Baubiac “Syrah/Mouvedre” (Coteaux du Languedoc) - Quissac 50% Syrah, 40% Mouvedre, and 10% Grenache. Black fruit with full intensity, ripe and juice wine. 89 points - Andy Frieden JJ Buckley

33) 2007 Domaine Bertrand-Berge “Cuvee Ancestrale” (Fitou) - Paziols
There are roughly equal amounts of old-vine Carignan, Grenache Noir, and Syrah.  Fermented in cement tanks with a 20-day maceration, microbullage was use during fermentation to facilitate extraction and soften tannins. Average age of vines is 40 years. Talented enologist, Claude Gros is the hands-on consultant at this estate since 1996. 91 points, Andy Frieden, JJ Buckley

34) 2005 Mas d’ Auzieres “Le Bois de Perie” (Coteaux du Languedoc) - Guzargues, adjacent to Pic Saint Loup 90% Syrah, 7% Grenache Noir,  and 3% Mouvedre.

35) 2007 Domainde de Boede “Le Pavillon  (Vin de Pays d’Oc-La Clape) -  Fleury d;Aude/La Clape “Les Gres” 60% Grenache noir, 40% Syrah
Average age of vines is 20 years; Microbullage and gentle pieage during fermentation; malo in barrel and aged on its lees for 12 months in 70% new,  and 30% one-wine old French oak barrels from Seguin-Moreau, Darnajou, and Chassin. Dark purple core. Super dry and super ripe at 15.8%.  Claude Gros consults. 87 points - Andy Frieden JJ Buckley

36) 2007 Chateau de la Negly “La Falaise” (Coteaux du Languedoc)  - Fleury d;Aude/La Clape Dark purple core almost black in color with full intensity. Plus concentration of blackberry and black cassis fruit.
92 points - Andy Frieden JJ Buckley


37) 2006 Domaine Wardy “Private Selection” (Zahle. Bekka Valley, Lebanon)
Probable blend is one-third each of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah.
This exceptional wine is produced from a select portion of Salim Wardy’s 110-hectsare vineyard located outside the enclave of Zahle, high up in the Bekaa Valley at over 1,000 meters(nearly 4,000 feet) in altitude. The age of the vines are 20 years old.  The soils are rocky with dark red clay mixed with limestone. Yields for the ‘06 vintage were a meager 25 hls/ha; 100% new French oak was used. Jean-<Michael Ferrandez is the consultant. A stunning wines that is very clean and precise with full intensity. What a treat from this war-torn area of the world! Delicious ripe black fruits with an underlying minerality that balances the plus concentration of fruit.
90 points - Andy Frieden JJ Buckley

Champagne R. & L Legras (Chouilly, Cotes des Blancs)

38) N V Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru Brut
This is a delicious serious Champagne made from 40 year old Chardonnay vines in the town of Chouilly and planted in pure Chalk soils. Pale Straw color.  The nose is distinctly Champagne with the requisite toasted baguette apple/pear tree fruit with a hint of tropical mango.  The wine sings in the palate glorifying the hands on approach of the R & L Legras family from vineyard to harvest to vinification honoring the Grand Cru fruit,  and it show on the palate with plus concentration and full intensity! 92 points - Andy Frieden JJ Buckley