Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Typicity of Bordeaux: Guild of Sommeliers Blind Tasting

Yesterday The Guild of Sommeliers Foundation staged a well-conceived and well-executed Bordeaux blind tasting at the 500 E. Broward Blvd (Ft. Lauderdale) location of Morton's Steakhouse.  The tasting, titled Typicity of Bordeaux, was designed to explore and highlight the uniqueness of Bordeaux commune terroirs through tasting two flights of four wines each.  The tasted wines had been opened and double-decanted on the previous afternoon in order to increase approachability.

The tasting was led by five Master Sommeliers: Andrew McNamara (Premier Beverage), Virginia Philips (Breakers), Eric Hemer (Southern Wines and Spirits), Brian Posey (Treasury Wines), and Juan Gomez (Breakers).  Attendees were seated at five circular tables, each of which was equipped with a full complement of wine and water glasses, water pitcher, and individual spittoons.  A Master Sommelier sat at each table to assist the tasters in their evaluations.

The tasting protocol was described by Andrew McNamara and then each of the Masters gave a brief overview of the terroir characteristics of a major Bordeaux sub-region.  The wines were to be tasted and assessed as a table and then discussed room-wide.  At the conclusion of each flight, the wines for that flight would be revealed.

Flight 1

Wine 1:  This wine exhibited black fruit, violets, chocolate, mint, eucalyptus, a herbaceousness, cedar, and tobacco.  It had medium concentration, good acidity, and medium+ tannins.  This wine was later revealed to be a 2006 Chateau LaFleur Gazin, Pomerol; 80% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc.
Wine 2:  Black fruit, baking spices, tobacco, cocoa, gripping dusky tannins.  Balanced wine but austere. Later revealed to be a 2004 Chateau Malmaison, Medoc; 80% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon.
Wine 3:  Earthy. Bell peppers. Ripe, unctuous fruit. Concentrated.  Huge tannins but balanced by acidity.  Later revealed to be a 2006 Chateau Fonplégade St. Emilion Grand Cru Classé; 80% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon.
Wine 4:  Earthy. Smokiness, Coffee beans, mocha, pepper spice, black tea, raisinated fruit, and a gravelly note.  Huge tannins but balanced with acidity.  Later revealed to be a 2005 Chateau La Louvière, Pessac-Léognan; 64% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 3% Cabernet Franc, 3% Petit Verdot.

According to Andrew, the latter two wines were representative of the ripe, new oak style while the former were more traditional.

Flight 2

Attendes vacated the room at the end of Flight 1 so that the wines for the second flight could be poured.  Before the tasting began we were told that all four wines were from the Medoc and we had to deduce the commune and the vintage.

Wine 1:  Floral qualities, violets, roses, juicy black fruits, leather, and mint.  Great weight on the palate.  A layered wine.  Later revealed to be a 2004 Chateau Giscours, Margaux; 53% Cabernet Sauvignon, 42% Merlot.
Wine 2:  Perfume, black plum, smoky, dry tobacco.  Feminine.  Later revealed to be a 2004 Chateau Ducru-Beaucaillou, St. Julien; 70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot.
Wine 3:  Some volatile acidity? Balsamic quality. Austere. Gripping, drying tannins. Power. Pencil lead. Later revealed to be a 2004 Chateau Grand-Puy-Lacoste, Pauillac; 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Merlot.
Wine 4:  Oak dominant. Coffee, espresso, mocha, forward fruit, rust, gravel.  Muscular tannins.  Later revealed to be a 2004 Chateau Cos d'Estournel, St. Estephe; 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Merlot.

All in all this was a very informative and intriguing approach to continuing education for Sommeliers from the Guild.  Alas, we could have utilized an additional two hours and it still would not have been enough.  The time went by way too quickly.


  1. Which were your top wine from the tasting. We recently tasted the '04 cos. A decent wine, but nowhere near the '01.

  2. I liked the Margaux, the LaFleur Gazin and the Malmaison but all of the wines showed well. Both The Cos and the Grand-Puy-Lacoste showed as tannic monsters even after double decanting.