More steak...and of course more wine

by Chuck Hayward

Yes I know - we flew 12 hours to Bordeaux only to get in the car at 8pm and drive another two hours to Spain for a steak and some beers.

We started off lunch with a goat cheese pizza, arugula / prosciutto pizza, and some fois gras. Soon we moved on to the main course, which to our surprise was three huge platters of steak with French fries (of course). Throw some cigarette smoke in the mix and you have your self a nice ‘little’ lunch. Needless to say we only ate about one third of this meal since last night’s steak had yet to be fully digested.

more-steakAfter lunch it was off to Chateau Vieux Pourret where we were able to taste a whole bunch of wines from both Bordeaux and Argentina (I know… What are we doing tasting Argentine wines in Bordeaux?) We started off with a couple whites and rose wines before moving on the some reds. I found many of these wines to be a fantastic value.

After tasting at Vieux Pourret we headed to another brief tasting then off to dinner at Chateau Vieux Taillefer where not a single bottle of Bordeaux was consumed. Low and behold what did we have for dinner? You guessed it - another helping of Steak (I don’t think I’ve seen a vegetable on this trip yet). The third steak in less than 24 hours! Holy Cow (no pun intended). This dinner was replete with ‘entertainment’ and some of the top winemakers in the world (who for now will go unmentioned). Towards the end of dinner we got into some unbelievable wines and some serious fun around the winery

At Lunch:

2008 Sansonnet (St Emilion) - Shows deep purple color with a bright purple rim. Juicy nose of blueberry, forest blackberry, and black currants. The mid-palate is expansive and reveals more black fruits and subtle oak. Nice length on the finish. 88-90 Points, Alex Lallos, JJ Buckley Fine Wines

1998 Lynsolense (St Emilion) - Drinking beautifully this is really a testament to the great 1998 Vintage on the Right Bank. Beautiful perfumed nose of red cherry, cassis, and rose petals. Solid core of fruit on the mid-palate with a nice long finish. The tannins are smooth and well integrated. Although this wine is drinking beautifully now, I suspect it will last for another decade easily. 92 Points, Alex Lallos, JJ Buckley Fine Wines

2007 Leocaide (50% Syrah, 40% Grenache, 10% Caurgnane) - What an interesting blend for Bordeaux. This wine is showing less of the green character of most 07s and a bit for grapey/primary fruit flavors including red currant, grape juice, and tart boysenberry. A touch of savory herbs on the nose as well. It is tight on the palate with tannins, which have yet to resolve from bottle shock. This is a tough wine to judge at this point in its evolution. 86-88 Points, Alex Lallos, JJ Buckley Fine Wines



At Chateau Vieux Pouret

2008 Saintongey Blanc - 70% Semillon 30% Sauvignon Blanc. Bright citrus on the nose with grapefruit, lemongrass, and lime. Pure and clean with high acid. The finish was a bit tart and grassy with a hint of pine-tar as well. I gave this wine about an 86 not because I do not like it, but because it is rather simple and straightforward. 86 Points, Alex Lallos, JJ Buckley Fine Wines

2008 Leocaide Rose - 50% Syrah 25%Grenache 25% Cinsault. Super light salmon color with a great nose of freshly picked strawberry, watermelon, and forest raspberries. Soft upon entry with abundant floral notes. If rose wines had their own 100 Point scale I would put this at 95+. Simply outstanding... This rose will go nicely will salmon, light salads, or just by itself. 88 Points, Alex Lallos, JJ Buckley Fine Wines

2008 Paradis Rose - Again super light in color, but this time with nectarine on the nose complimened by some sour cherry and cut grass. This is a refreshing wine but I did not prefer it to the Leocaide.  86 points, Alex Lallos, JJ Buckley Fine Wines

2008 Festivo Rose (Mendoza Argentina) - This malbec rose is certainly darker than the first two but remains light and crisp. Red raspberry flavors with a nice punch towards the end. More of a food friendly rose than a patio sipper.  Alex Lallos, JJ Buckley Fine Wines

2008 Saintongey Rouge - 60% Merlot 30% Cabernet Sauvignon 10% Cabernet Franc. Very light in color (almost Pinot Noir light). Bright red fruits up front followed by savory herbs and toasted wood. Elegant wine that lacks concentration and length. With that said it is a nice wine for the money (under $10).  85-87 points, Alex Lallos, JJ Buckley Fine Wines

2005 Chateau D’As (Graves) - 40% Merlot 50% Cabernet Sauvignon 10% Cabernet Franc. Now this is interesting. Again, it is lighter in color (like the Saintongey) Under-ripe red fruits up front with some spice box, mushroom, and tobacco. Not too much concentration but shows a surprisingly long finish. Again this is different stuff that some people will really enjoy and others definitely will not.  85-87 points, Alex Lallos, JJ Buckley Fine Wines

2005 Arnaud Jouan Cuvee Prestige (1er Cotes de Bordeaux) - 50% Merlot 40% Cabernet Sauvignon 10% Cabernet Franc. Doesn’t show the complexity or concentration of the 2005 Vintage, but then again this is not Lafite. A bit more complex than the first two reds but lacks fruit up front. After walking around for a few minutes with the wine still in my glass, it begins to grow on me. I like the charred oak and the texture in the mid-palate. Nice overall wine.  86-88 points, Alex Lallos, JJ Buckley Fine Wines

2006 Chateau Monte Cristo (St Emilion) - 85% Merlot 10% Cabernet Franc 5% Cabernet Sauvignon. A couple of my colleagues liked this one, but not my kind of stuff. A bit fishy with smokey notes of wood, pine resin, and tobacco. Herbaceous up front with some underlying red currant. Overall a bit tannic and weedy. I did not like this wine too much but a couple of my colleagues did so do not be deterred by my score.  84-86 points, Alex Lallos, JJ Buckley Fine Wines

2004 Bellisle Mondotte (St Emilion) - 80% Merlot 20% Cabernet Franc This is more like it. Shows black cherry on the nose with tobacco and subtle oak. Medium bodied with good concentration throughout. This is a nice wine that is already starting to show well. Give it a couple years to fully express itself. 87-89 points, Alex Lallos, JJ Buckley Fine Wines

2003 Bellgrave (Pomerol) - Dark violet color with a medium violet red rim. Expressive nose of blackberry and darker skinned fruits (plum and blueberry) Nice texture on the mid-palate with fresh fruit notes and nicely integrated oak. Nice! 88-90 points, Alex Lallos, JJ Buckley Fine Wines

2005 Haut Brisson la Grave (St Emilion) - Blood red color with a ruby red rim. Excellent nose of bing cherry, pencil shavings, tar, and fresh picked boysenberries. The palate does not disappoint either. This is not showy stuff, but rather elegant with fine tannins and a long expressive finish.  90+ points, Alex Lallos, JJ Buckley Fine Wines

2006 Haut Brisson (St Emilion) - 70% Merlot 20% Cabernet Sauvignon 10% Cabernet Franc. This is a clean wine with lots of dark fruits on the nose with some cassis, mocha chocolate, and sweet notes of black cherry and loganberries. This is a big wine with great balance and purity of fruit.  89 points, Alex Lallos, JJ Buckley Fine Wines

2006 Paradis (Cotes Aix en Provence) - 50% Cabernet Sauvignon 50% Syrah. Excellent blend of equal parts Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah. This deep purple colored blend shows nice fruit up front with secondary aromas of powdered chocolate, and vanilla bean. This is a ripe and clean wine worthy of some serious attention. The finish is chalky and long. 90+ points, Alex Lallos, JJ Buckley Fine Wines

2006 Paradis Terre des Anges (Cotes Aix en Provence) - 50% Syrah 35% Grenache 25% Cabernet Sauvignon. As if the name of the Chateau does not already indicate there is something great in the bottle (Paradis = Paradise) I think the name of this cuvee says it all (Terre des Anges = Land of Angels) This is awesome stuff. A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, and Grenache. This beauty shows pure fruit flavors up front with some floral notes as well. I rarely find fruits such as nectarine, peaches, and apricot in red wine but this one has it all. Soft and supple in the mid-palate and full throttle towards the finish. Excellent wine!  93 points, Alex Lallos, JJ Buckley Fine Wines

2004 Chateau Vieux Pourret (St Emilion) - This Chateau really has something special going on since this 04 vintage. The wines are farmed all biodynamic and made by Michel Tardieu. Although this particular vintage shows some green components it is by no way overshadowed by them. Lots of candied cherry followed by cola and blackberry liquor. The palate is much softer than the nose indicates. There are some tannins but they seem well integrated. The oak plays nicely with the core of bright black fruits.  88-90 points, Alex Lallos, JJ Buckley Fine Wines

2005 Chateau Vieux Pourret (St Emilion) - 80% Merlot 20% Cabernet Franc. This is the winner between the 04-07 vintage. Plush and fruit forward with some serious oak on the nose. Nice cherry, fresh blueberries, and bittersweet chocolate on the nose. Soft and approachable on the palate but this wine could definitely use a couple years to really fully express itself. Well made wine worthy of some consideration.  91 points, Alex Lallos, JJ Buckley Fine Wines

2006 Chateau Vieux Pourret (St Emilion) - This has a similar nose to the 2005 (black cherry, blueberries, and chocolate) with a nice hint of tobacco as well. Fresh and lively on the palate with mild tannin towards the finish. This again is a well made wine that will only get better with some age.  90 points, Alex Lallos, JJ Buckley Fine Wines

2007 Vieux Pourret (St Emilion) - This one is a bit harder to evaluate because it was recently bottles. As we are told these wines go through Malolactic Fermentation much slower than most wines because they are kept in a cold environment and allowed to go at their own pace (rather than the winemaker’s pace) Still I get some nice fruit and tobacco again but this one seems a bit thinner and a tad more herbaceous. Long / tart finish. It might be good to re-evaluate this wine in a year or two.  87-89 points, Alex Lallos, JJ Buckley Fine Wines

2008 Vieux Pouret (St Emilion) - We could not taste this wine yet because it had only recently begun Malolatic fermentation whereas most 08 Bordeaux is either almost or entirely finished with this secondary barrel fermentation.  No score, Alex Lallos, JJ Buckley Fine Wines

2007 La Fleur des Pin (Graves Superior) - 80% Semillon 20% Sauvignon Blanc. From the producers of Haut Bergeron this sweet white hails from the land of dry whites (Graves) and is one of the few dessert wines produced in Bordeaux (outside of Sauternes). This is a real treat (and a surprise) The wine has a light-medium golden color with a lovely nose of marshmallow, vanilla crème, apricot, peaches, and honeysuckle. The best part about this wine is the price (full bottles would likely retail around $25) Simply great stuff… This is the kind of wine you load up on and bring to Blind Tastings, dinners, or any other event where wine is involved!  92+ points, Alex Lallos, JJ Buckley Fine Wines

2003 Haut Bergeron (Sauternes) - 90% Semillon 10% Sauvignon Blanc. Great stuff here. This Sauternes is textured and elegant. It boasts enough acidity to keep it lively and fresh on the palate without being too heavy or cloying (something rare in the hot 2003 vintage) Loads of quince, marmalade, and apricot followed by some baking spices. Nice long finish.  90-92 points, Alex Lallos, JJ Buckley Fine Wines



At Chateau Vieux Taillefer

We started off tasting the wines of Vieux Taillefer, a small property comprised on 75+ year old Merlot vines. The 08's were fabulous - Showing lots of nice fruit and velvety tannins. It was a good exercise to re-taste the 07s that we had tried this time last year.  These wines have build in tannic structure but lost some of the suppleness that they had from barrel.

2007 Chateau Vieux Taillefer "Pavillon" (St Emilion) - We tried this from barrel last year where is showed some beautiful texture and silky tannins. From bottle it is not too much different except less silky than I had remembered. Lots of sour cherry, pencil lead, and tar on the nose. Excellent structure and a long finish. Although this is meant for early consumption, I suspect a year or two will do it wonders. 89-91 points, Alex Lallos, JJ Buckley Fine Wines

2008 Chateau Vieux Taillefer "Pavillon" (St Emilion) - Fresh and lively with excellent structure this Merlot heavy blend exhibits bright fuchsia color, a great nose of red fruits, and silky texture. It is tight and tannic towards the finish, but it is a barrel sample of course. By the time this makes it to bottle I think we will already have a wine that is ready to drink. 89-91 points, Alex Lallos, JJ Buckley Fine Wines

2007 Chateau Vieux Taillefer (St Emilion) - 100 % Merlot from 75 year old vines. Last year we tried this wine from barrel (actually we tasted about 5 or 6 barrels to see what each different barrel brings does to the wine) It was similar then to how it tastes now. A bit green to start but with greatunderlying fruit structure. This wine is a baby and needs to shed some of its baby fat before drinking. Tart on the mid-palate but finishes with notes of coffee and chocolate.  91 points, Alex Lallos, JJ Buckley Fine Wines

2008 Chateau Vieux Taillefer (St Emilion) - Again 100 % Merlot from 75 year old vines. Deep purple core with a bright purple rim. A little bubble gum on the nose complimented by sour cherry, coffee, and charcoal. Rough tannins at this point, but again this is a barrel sample and I suspect by the time it hits bottle we will have a real winner on our hands. 90-92 points, Alex Lallos, JJ Buckley Fine Wines

After tasting the Vieux Taillefer wines we had a chance to taste some wines from a tasting earlier that afternoon, which happened to be held at Vieux Taillefer

2007 Ferraton Pere et Fils Ermitage Blanc - Excellent nose of honeysuckle, beeswax, and peach. A complimentary touch of rose petals. Tight and restrained at the moment, but I think I have a good idea of what lies ahead for this elegant white blend. Excellent length and superb finish.  90 points, Alex Lallos, JJ Buckley Fine Wines

2006 Ferraton Pere et Fils St Joseph Rouge - Dark ruby color with an euqlly dark rim. This is such a youngster. It is skunky yet elegant on the nose with aromas of fresh cracked pepper, tar, and red licorice. Young but accessible.  89-91 points, Alex Lallos, JJ Buckley Fine Wines

2006 Ferraton Pere et Fils Crozes Hermitage - This it totally Syrah! Ground pepper on the nose with treachery aromas of saddle leather, black currant, and bittwersweet cocoa chocolate. Lots of spices on the palate with great purity and persistence.   90-92 points, Alex Lallos, JJ Buckley Fine Wines

2006 Maison Chapoutier Les Granits Blanc - This was the wine of the tasting in my opinion. It is barely and enfant, but so hard to resist (I went back for a glass when the tasting was done) Beeswax, honey, and vanilla on the nose with sweet oak up front. Notes of honey dominate the palate while minerality keeps it fresh and exciting. What a wine!!! If you like white wine there is no chance you will not like this. Drink now or give it 10 years + (easily).  94+ points, Alex Lallos, JJ Buckley Fine Wines


2006 Maison Chapoutier De L’Oree Blanc - A little too tight right now to tell what it is going to be like in the future, but I can predict this will be a long lived wine for sure. Again honeysuckle with some peach quince and apricot marmalade. Wow what a finish – It goes on forever.  92-95 points, Alex Lallos, JJ Buckley Fine Wines

2006 Maison Chapoutier Les Grantis Rouge - Deep ruby color with a distinctly ‘Syrah’ nose of cracked pepper, sea salt, and herbs de Provence. A little vanilla and cherry surround aromas of animale (dried meats) and wild game. Try this in a few years with wild boar.  94+ points, Alex Lallos, JJ Buckley Fine Wines

2006 Maison Chapoutier La Mordoree Rouge - Forget about this wine for at least 2 decades… In fact buy it now for your grandkids because they will get more out of it than we will. But if you are going to consume it young you will find aromas of crushed earth, small red currants, and spicy raspberry. The finish goes on for a few minutes after you take a sip… In fact when you think its gone you get another taste.  94-96 points, Alex Lallos, JJ Buckley Fine Wines

2006 Maison Chapoutier le Pavillon Rouge - Anyone born before the year 1990 should not even think about this wine unless it is in trust for you children. This is so tight it is ridiculous. Gamey aromas of fine leather, wild boar, and white pepper. Everything is so well integrated it is absolutely everything Syrah should be. It hurts to know that this is the benchmark upon which Syrah should be judged. Although the finish may be shorter than La Mordoree, I think this wine is out of this world and should be stashed away for the right occasion with the right people. Additionally, this is one of the only wines (ever) that I did not use one fruit flavor in describing and was yet stunning and utterly complex. This is Syrah!!!  96+ points, Alex Lallos, JJ Buckley Fine Wines

2006 Domaine de Cristia Vieilles Vignes (Chateauneuf du Pape) - I’ve been looking forward to trying this wine for a year now and I finally got a chance to do so. Wow this is so clean and so pure it almost hurts. Notes of pepper followed by leather and mushrooms. Red currants, ripe Bing cherry, and boysenberry preserve. Shows chocolate mocha and oak on the palate with a long defined finish.  95+ points, Alex Lallos, JJ Buckley Fine Wines

2007 Clos St Vincent (Provence) Blanc - 100% Vermentino from outside Nice, France. This is the most complex Vermentino I’ve ever tried. Aromas of peach, pear, and new oak (lots of new oak). This is lip smacking stuff. Super powerful with a full throttle finish.  92 points, Alex Lallos, JJ Buckley Fine Wines

2006 Chateau de Fosse-Seche (Samur) - Cabernet Franc - No vegetal Cab Franc aromas here. The nose is not giving too much at this point but it does show some nice raspberry notes with wild berry jam and sweet oak. The palate is richer that I expected and the finish is sublime. Nice wine!  90-92 points, Alex Lallos, JJ Buckley Fine Wines


2005 Chateau de Fosse-Seche "du Pigoneres" (Reserve) - A blend of 90% Cabernet Franc and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon. This is giving more on the nose than the 2006 but still very restrained. The wine is clean and persistent with aromas of sarsaparilla, red currants, and cedar. Before going into oak for one year this wine spends two years in tank… Yes two years in tank BEFORE going to barrel.  92 points, Alex Lallos, JJ Buckley Fine Wines

2007 Chateau de Fosse Seche "Arcane" - Chinon Blanc- Light golden color. Racy and high in acid this beauty shows nice minerality with notes of peach, nectarine, pineapple, and lemon zest. It is both tropical and flinty. Lean and focused throughout, the finish is crisp and demanding of another sip.  90-92 points, Alex Lallos, JJ Buckley Fine Wines

Note: Fosse Seche wines are all organically grown and shown a lot of care throughout the entire process. The soil is composed of mostly silex and bears very little nutrients. Yields are limited to a mere 15-25 Hectolitres per hectare, which is less than half of normal potential. I personally suspect it costs more to produce these wines that what the sell them for…

At Dinner (Vieux Taillefer)

Shortly after the tasting ended, the cellar of Vieux Taillefer was transformed into a dining room replete with music, a long dinenr table, and some of the best wines I had seen to this point on our trip.  Needless to say we had a steak feast, but this time followed up by a home made ratatouille and St Tropez cake for dessert.


1998 Domaine Henri Giraud 100% Grand Cru from Ay, France - This wine was brought in 3.0L by Claude Guiraud himself. 70% Pinot Noir, 30% Chardonnay Dark golden color with few bubbles. So round and rich it was just crazy. Yeasty and bready just the way I like Champagne… Out of this world.  94+ points, Alex Lallos, JJ Buckley Fine Wines

2007 Robert Weil Riseling Trocken (Germany) - Most of the dry Riesling made in Germany stays in Europe. This dry Riesling was superb. Fresh, lively, and crisp with acidity that I could not believe. Lots of citrus flavors to start followed by stone fruits (under-ripe peach and nectarine stood out) This is a wine that I could drink a whole bottle of (by myself) and still want another. The finish was so long and mineral driven. The Champagne tasted like a dessert wine compared to this.  Alex Lallos, JJ Buckley Fine WInes

2006 Pousse d’Or Les Jarollieres (Pommard Burgundy) - Light ruby red color but vibrant. Minty with loads of pinot flavors (raspberry, bright, cherry, and forest floor) No harsh tannin to speak of. This wine was drinking so well and really stands as a testament to the 2006 vintage in Burgundy. The wine is approachable to fabulous with the steak.  92-94 points, Alex Lallos, JJ Buckley Fine Wines

2004 Coche Dury Montheile Beaune (Burgundy) - Vibrant red color with a light ruby red rim. Candied red fruits stood out among the array or forest notes (underbrush, freshly picked berries, and broken wood) Some subtle oak as well. This was a bit thin on the palate but builds nicely towards the finish. This is a wine that screams Burgundy and demands another sip.  93 points, Alex Lallos, JJ Buckley Fine Wines

2005 Coche Dury Meursault Rouge (Burgundy) - Similar to the Montheile but with more grip and more tannic structure. Such a pretty wine, it is elegant and refined but has some serious traction towards the finish. The fruit on the nose plays nicely with some earthy aromas of mushroom and wild game. 92+ points, Alex Lallos, JJ Buckley Fine Wines

1988 Domaine Trevallon (Cotes Aix en Provence) - 50% Syrah 50% Cabernet Sauvignon. I know what you are thinking- A 21 year old Cotes de Provence? Well guess what- This stuff rocks. Great pure flavors (lots of fruit left) and doesn’t taste too old. Still has some tannic structure and lots to offer. If I had to guess on this one I would think it was a early 90s Bordeaux. Shocker but what a nice surprise.  90-92 points, Alex Lallos, JJ Buckley Fine Wines

2001 Le Macchiole (Tuscany Italy) - Well here was a wine that I thought certainly was Bordeaux from the late 90s. Turns out it was one of the best Italian wines I’ve had recently. Excellent nose of dried cherry, fresh black plums, and charred oak. The mid palate is refined and elegant with the tannins well integrated. The flavors go on and on. What a wine! Bravisimo!  94 points, Alex Lallos, JJ Buckley Fine Wines

After Dinner Treats

After dinner it was off to Phillipe Cohen's cellar to find some fun wines for after dinner. The guys charged with this task came up with some great stuff. The night finished up with music, dancing, and all around fun times with great wines, and terrific company!


1999 Meo Camuzet Vosne Romanee Burgundy - Well needless to say I guessed it was Burgundy I had no idea we were getting into wines of this caliber. This wine was so pretty on the nose with everything you want out of Burgundy. Bright red fruit, subtle earthy components, and a long lasting finish. So elegant and refined it was hard to believe this was a mere ‘village’ level wine. We flew through this bottle faster than you can say Voila!  95 points, Alex Lallos, JJ Buckley Fine Wines

1996 Meo Camuzet Richebourg Burgundy – Ok here we go… This actually tasted younger than the 99’ Vosne, but then again we’re talking Grand Cru from one of the world’s best producers. This wine was still and infant, yet with so much to offer at present. It’s like the kid who is in all the accelerated programs in school – you know what you have and what you’re going to get. Simply stunning to the point of perfection. This stuff was blessed by angels and made by a genius.  96-98 points, Alex Lallos, JJ Buckley Fine Wines

1996 Meo Camuzet Aux Brulees Burgundy - This is the wine upon which all others should be judged. It has every positive aspect you hope to find in a wine with absolutely nothing to the downside. Amazing juice from the first smell to the last sip. Again, we polished this bottle off so fast it hurts. I am not even compelled to write a tasting note on this wine because I doubt my words would even come close to doing it any justice. So here it is – Superb (read in your best French accent).  97 points, Alex Lallos, JJ Buckley Fine Wines