Late June every other year sees VinExpo in Bordeaux…oddly I’ve never actually been to the main halls. This year we, a few of the team at C&B, got the invite to celebrate the 80th anniversary of Ets J.P.Moueix with whom we work very closely. We decided to do an “out and back” in a day…not a particularly comfortable way to do it (up at 2.45am back at 1.30am) but so worth it for a celebration like this. Wine is after all about relationships more than anything else.
There was a pre-lunch tasting of Belair-Monange 2012-2016 and also the 2015 & 2016 from their top Pomerols – Hosanna, La Fleur-Petrus and Trotanoy.
The creation, though that is not really the right word, of Belair-Monange is a well told tale. Essentially the Moueix family bought Belair, a very historic St.Emilion nextdoor to Ausone, and amalgamated it with what was Magdelaine to create Belair-Monange.
Belair-Monange 2012 – This was a great start, lovely berry fruit, richness but classily lifted richness. The acidity balances perfectly. Nice weight, another instance of an very good Merlot predominant 2012. Terrific wine.
Belair-Monange 2013 – Good nose, refined, very much red fruits, quite delicate. No way I’d think this was a 2013 from the nose. The palate is a little drier and a shade hollow but all in all this is good. Will be best drunk soon I think, the primary fruit is lovely.
Belair-Monange 2014 – Expressive and balanced, quite red fruits but with more depth on the palate, just a shade muted. Gives the impression of being nicely proper and rather complete. I like the feel of this.
Belair-Monange 2015 – A richer deeper colour and texture, the fruit is bold but well balanced with a good but not over powering structure. There is a ripe power to this. Exciting.
Belair-Monange 2016 – I tasted this only two months ago during En Primeur and really liked it, this can add to your expectation which is a danger. It is clearly so primary, juicily so, lovely elegant fruit and good lift and freshness, rich but lightly so! Pretty special.
Hosanna 2015 – Creamily rich, quite decadent, a touch of herbal vermouth, some mint, quite high-toned but kept in check – good.
Hosanna 2016 – The best Hosanna yet in my opinion. The cooler vintage seems to balance the sometimes more extreme nature of Hosanna. Vibrant fruit here and great freshness, serious wine.
La Fleur-Petrus 2015 – Juicy with a dash of rich compote fruit, nicely rich but balanced, quite dense, a wine where the texture tells you more right now, good structure, fruit weight and overall balance.
La Fleur-Petrus 2016 – Slightly more edgy than the 2015, a little more focus, a little redder and maybe a touch less richness, good drive and energy. Classy. These two vintages of LFP encapsulate the differences between 2015 and 2016.
Trotanoy 2015 – Depth, brooding richness, iron and a little savoury character. Sappy and moreish this is very complete and very classy. Splendid and for the patient. Serious.
Trotanoy 2016 – A lovely richly fruited nose, fine and serious, a little dash of saline and very complete. There is a sort of persistent elegance here. I can’t split the 2015 and 2016 of Trotanoy.
With the days “work” now done we gathered on the grass, fighting for some shade as the mercury hit 40degrees, to enjoy a glass of Bollinger Grande Annee 2002 – a decadent wine with good sweet fruit to match a fairly definite weight, quite gourmand.
There were two wines to accompany a lovely menu from Michel Guerard, below, these we both served from magnum – La Fleur-Petrus 1998 and Trotanoy 2005.
Le Pate de Pigeonneau en croute au Fois Gras Camaieu de Gelee et salde d’Herbes
La Pintade Fermiere Grilles sur les Sarments, Legumes do Potager
Les Tartelettes – d’une bouchee – a l’Abricot
The La Fleur-Petrus 1998 was, in a very positive sense, just so incredibly drinkable, I could have drunk a magnum myself I felt. A lovely balance of melded tannin and sweet fruit. It will age very well but is so lovely now that I don’t know what you’d be waiting for. The Trotanoy 2005 was a slight contrast on a theme, drinking well but with so many more layers to come over the next couple of decades. It’s a very proper wine with a lovely richness but not heavy.
And with that it was time for us to brave the heat again. A day well spent…A lovely way to celebrate a family company that has been, and remains more so that ever, crucial to the amazing development of the right bank in Bordeaux. J.P Moueix was, in many senses, well ahead of his time…