Blason d'Issan 2009 vs Belle-Vue (H-Médoc) 2010

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Julian Marshall
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Blason d'Issan 2009 vs Belle-Vue (H-Médoc) 2010

#1 Post by Julian Marshall » January 15th, 2020, 12:57 am

Blason d'Issan - Margaux - 2009

If you don't know it, this is the second wine of Château d'Issan. The label is almost identical to that of Issan itself, hence the reason I bought it by accident along with a couple of "real" Issans. The nose wasn't very expressive, a touch of flowers, leather and blackcurrant. The attack was bright-ish, raspberry liqueur and blackcurrant, with a little more complexity the second night in the middle section, hits of blueberry coming through and an elegant if unremarkable finish. It does taste a little like Issan, but in a muted, downbeat way. But it's seamless and streamlined.

Belle-Vue - Haut Médoc - 2010

Much more interesting aromas of spicy, smoky plums, blueberries, dark and smoky raspberries, just a little vanilla. In the mouth it leaps out and grabs the top of the palate, with again spicy, smoky plums dominating the blueberries and raspberries, before settling down slightly with a more mellow follow-through into more familiar flavours of blackberry and blackcurrant, before quite a crisp finish which saves it from going over the top. Not at all traditional, but post-modern as opposed to modern - no mocha or chocolate, the fruit tastes like that of organic wines, very upfront and bright and I wonder if the sulphur dose is lower than other wines. The flavour profile is very arresting and original - you don't normally get smoky plums in a Cru Bourgeois and I wonder if the 20% of Petit Verdot isn't the cause. The only other Belle-Vue I've tried is the 2011, which I found pretty unpleasant - this one is high octane but saved by the acidity of the finish.

Tasting them together was interesting - at first, there was no contest: the Blason was in black and white compared to the Belle-Vue's colour. The Blason is a well-made, decent restaurant wine, but one-dimensional and dull. So compared to the fireworks in the other glass, it didn't stand a chance. But after a while, I was drawn back to the Blason simply because although it must be a great wine in a line-up of 50 Crus Bourgeois, the primary fruit of the Belle-Vue was a little tiring. The blandness of the Blason was a quite a relief.

In terms of style, the Blason is obviously more traditional. In terms of character, the Belle-Vue is much more interesting and will certainly taste better in another five years. In terms of price, the Belle-Vue is better value: 14€ as opposed to 20€ for the Blason. I wouldn't put the Belle-Vue in my top five CBs from 2010, but it's well worth a try.

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Robert.A.Jr.
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Re: Blason d'Issan 2009 vs Belle-Vue (H-Médoc) 2010

#2 Post by Robert.A.Jr. » January 15th, 2020, 5:17 am

Love the detail in these notes, thanks Julian!

Have you tried Bolaire? You will probably find it post-modern as well, but the significant PV cut makes it an interesting, if not quirky, Bordeaux. I think the PV is pretty old vine as well. Same owner for both estates.

Belle-Vue just started making a 100% PV cuvée, but I have not tried it yet.

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Re: Blason d'Issan 2009 vs Belle-Vue (H-Médoc) 2010

#3 Post by Julian Marshall » January 15th, 2020, 6:33 am

Thanks Robert - I did buy a couple of Bolaire 2016 following your recommendation last year. I've got other Belle-Vues from 09, 15 and 16, so it will be fun to see how they pan out with more age. It'll be interesting to see how the smoky plums taste in the future - I'm quite optimistic about the 2010. The Petit Verdot cuvée sounds like a good idea - the only one I've tried was called "Voilà - 2014" which I really enjoyed two years ago.

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Re: Blason d'Issan 2009 vs Belle-Vue (H-Médoc) 2010

#4 Post by Mark Golodetz » January 15th, 2020, 7:03 am

I know Issan pretty well, having stayed there and done a number of verticals of both Blason and Issan. One of the better values of Bordeaux, and definitely made in a fairly traditional style. Since Emmanuel Cruse took over in the mid to late nineties, there have been very few missteps and many many gems. The great vintages are maturing beautifully but if you like the style, among the less celebrated vintages, 2006 is amazing, although as an insider wine, the price on it is rising.
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Re: Blason d'Issan 2009 vs Belle-Vue (H-Médoc) 2010

#5 Post by Julian Marshall » January 15th, 2020, 7:52 am

Thanks Mark - yes, I like Issan a lot - I did try the 2006 last year, which I found very promising but still a little tannic. I think my favourite recent vintage was actually the 2001, but sadly it never comes up at auction over here. I haven't tried any vintages since he took over at Pedesclaux but they should be interesting too.

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Re: Blason d'Issan 2009 vs Belle-Vue (H-Médoc) 2010

#6 Post by Robert.A.Jr. » January 15th, 2020, 8:47 am

Hmmm. A Chateau that I have not really focused on, but I do have some 2005. Will need to remedy that given both of your comments, looking for 06 and 01.....

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Re: Blason d'Issan 2009 vs Belle-Vue (H-Médoc) 2010

#7 Post by Julian Marshall » January 15th, 2020, 9:04 am

I would think it's your sort of château. Traditional, unspoofy, a good example of a modern Margaux. Prices have risen though - it used to be about 10% less than Giscours, now it's about the same, sometimes slightly more. I've never tried them side-by-side, but I've always had the impression that Giscours is slightly better. I've got more Giscours simply because it's easier to find.

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Re: Blason d'Issan 2009 vs Belle-Vue (H-Médoc) 2010

#8 Post by Robert.A.Jr. » January 15th, 2020, 9:33 am

Last Giscours I had, 2009, showed some gloss and modern fruit but was quite nice, I stuck several away for the 15-year thing.

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Re: Blason d'Issan 2009 vs Belle-Vue (H-Médoc) 2010

#9 Post by Rudi Finkler » January 15th, 2020, 10:56 am

The 2006 D’Issan is indeed splendid. The finest D’Issan I’ve ever had! Even more compelling than the lovely 2001.
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Re: Blason d'Issan 2009 vs Belle-Vue (H-Médoc) 2010

#10 Post by Alex Rychlewski » January 15th, 2020, 11:25 am

Hi Julian,

Thanks for the interesting comparison.

For information, Belle-Vue also make a 100% Petit Verdot.
Come on down to Bordeaux and i'll be glad to share a bottle with you :-).

Belle-Vue is owned by a member of one of France's wealthiest families, the Mulliez (Auchan supermarkets).
This cru bourgeois has long represented excellent value for money.

All the best,
Alex R.

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Re: Blason d'Issan 2009 vs Belle-Vue (H-Médoc) 2010

#11 Post by Steen T Olsen » January 15th, 2020, 11:59 am

As usual, thoroughly comprehensive tasting notes, the likes of which are rarely seen elsewhere. [worship.gif] Thank you for these incredibly detailed notes, Julian. You make some very interesting observations that makes the reader reflect about his/her own preferences in wine styles.
Happy New Year Julian champagne.gif
Visit my instagram page @steenthaulow [cheers.gif]

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Re: Blason d'Issan 2009 vs Belle-Vue (H-Médoc) 2010

#12 Post by Julian Marshall » January 16th, 2020, 12:16 am

Robert - Giscours 2004 was one of the most enjoyable wines I had last year, plump rather than plush and worth seeking out.

Rudi - thanks, that's very encouraging - I bought the 06 as an outlier for one of my daughter's birth year cases, I think following Mark's kind recommendation.

Alex - thanks, I didn't know who the Mulliez family was - that explains why it's always on offer in Auchan!

Steen- Happy New Year to you too and thanks for those very kind (and unjustified!) words, I'm glad someone enjoys my drivel! It's fun comparing two wines like that, I think I'll do it again soon. I hope you're going to be posting more of your own inimitable notes more in 2020!

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Re: Blason d'Issan 2009 vs Belle-Vue (H-Médoc) 2010

#13 Post by Mike Grammer » January 16th, 2020, 2:05 pm

Yes, thanks for these Julian, and everyone for the conversation. A 100% PV! Would be fun to try that for sure.

I haven't ever had the Blason, but have long enjoyed D'Issan for its toned-down elegance. They seem to age as well as more celebrated Bordeaux as well. I had the Belle-vue 09 not that long ago. Well-made, but didn't move my meter in terms of the interest level, so I had a different experience there. Wish I'd bothered to take a formal note, grr.

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Re: Blason d'Issan 2009 vs Belle-Vue (H-Médoc) 2010

#14 Post by Robert.A.Jr. » January 16th, 2020, 2:23 pm

Julian Marshall wrote:
January 16th, 2020, 12:16 am
Robert - Giscours 2004 was one of the most enjoyable wines I had last year, plump rather than plush and worth seeking out.
My recent note on the 2004 Giscours:
2004 Chateau Giscours
Perfumed, flowers, wet earth and rich dark fruit. Probably needs a couple more years to flesh out more but quite enjoyable now. Mid-weight palate, mostly dark fruits and a hint of leather. (90 pts.)
A really nice wine.

"@lf3rt was clearly raised in an outhouse in the Loire. . . ."

Kenny H (circa 2015)

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