Starter wines prior to a blind Cahors tasting: 02` Philipponnat CdG, Lenoble MAG 14, Billecart Brut, Vranken Diamant++

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Blake Brown
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Starter wines prior to a blind Cahors tasting: 02` Philipponnat CdG, Lenoble MAG 14, Billecart Brut, Vranken Diamant++

#1 Post by Blake Brown » August 22nd, 2019, 5:26 pm

Two friends recently did an event that featured wines from Cahors that they had accumulated during a trip to the area. They managed to assemble 16 different bottles of Cahors Malbec wines and served them in several flights of a ‘“reverse” blind tasting, matching the wines to published tasting notes.

It was a fun time and certainly challenging for most of us to delineate one wine from another and especially to match them up with notes that in many cases didn’t really give so much detail and didn’t always relate to the wines we had which is understandable with so many variable factors including time, temperature, shipping and storage exposures.

Prior to doing the sit down tasting, many of the attendees brought “starter” wines to share. Here’s a few that merit notes:

NV BILLECART-SALMON BRUT RESERVE in magnum- delightful and refreshing, this creamy mousse and citrus laden bubbly provide a good entree into the evening.

NV CA `del BOSCO CUVEE PRESTIGE FRANCIACORTA SPARKLING WINE- 75% Chardonnay, 15% Pinot Nero, 10% Pinot Bianco; dosage 4 gpl; straw, dried grass accents to the pear, apple and kiwi fruit prevail in this pleasant, easy quaffer.

I posted a separate tasting note for this superb and rare treat:

NV AR LENOBLE BLANC de BLANC GRAND CRU CHOUILLY MAG 14- this is one of a pair of wines, the NV AR Lenoble Intense “mag14” is the other, in which this producer started aging a significant amount of reserve wine in magnums under natural cork and staple starting in 2010 before blending and aging for 3 yers on the lees prior to its release as a non-vintage; it resulted in a wine that could be appropriately named “Intense” as it is full boded and extremely concentrated; the nose had creme brûlée and citrus notes which continued on to form the matrix of the taste profile aided by a huge dose of mineralality; the feel may be its hallmark as it has a creamy and rich mousse that carries all of the goodies to the back end with vim and vigor.

The producer, who is one of the last 100% family-owned, 100% independent houses in Champagne, states that this particular bottle has the ideal “liquid – oxygen” ratio, and as the wines age under CO2, and are therefore protected from oxygen, the cork allows only very little air to enter the bottle. Due to the process of autolysis which results in the destruction of the yeasts by the enzymes of the wine, a subtle and exceptional aromatic palate is able to develop. Confirmed.

The “14” is a reminder that 60% of the base wines are from 2014. Next year they’ll release Intense “mag 15” then Intense “mag 16” the following year, etc.

NV VRANKEN DIAMANT BRUT- seemingly mature, this was toasty on the nose and smooth on the feel with bright acidity with its lemon dominated citrus notes.

2017 DOMAINE de la DENATE SAINT-VERAN- 100% Chardonnay; refreshing and crisp, this had loads of tropical and citrus fruit with apple, pear and kiwi most evident.

2017 PALACIO de FEFINANES ALBARINO- the contents of this fine Albarino was as good as the presentation in this elongated, super tall bottle; spicy, herbal accented lemon, lime and melon make for a nice taste treat with underlying acidity suggesting some longevity besides the bottle shape.

2002 PHILIPPONNAT CLOS des GOISSES BRUT- obviously this had some age on it with a slightly browning gold color and somewhat advanced fruit aromatics; by no means was it undrinkable, in fact, it had lots of redeeming qualities including great mouthfeel which carried the toasty citrus and stone fruit, as in apricot, notes to the back end and then held on for a nice long finish; it was very complex and had lots of layered depth which kept unfolding.


We had a pretty good start before moving on for the Cahors tasting which featured all good bottles with varying degrees of expressions. Notes on that later on.

"In victory you deserve Champagne. In defeat, you need it".
Napolean Bonaparte

“Remember gentlemen, it’s not just France we are fighting for, it’s Champagne!” – Winston Churchill

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