TN: Chateau La Conseillante Dinner with Marielle Cazaux

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TN: Chateau La Conseillante Dinner with Marielle Cazaux

#1 Post by k s h i n » November 16th, 2018, 4:59 pm

CHATEAU LA CONSEILLANTE DINNER WITH MARIELLE CAZAUX - Le Cafe Descartes at the French Embassy (11/13/2018)

Panos organized another top Borddeaux chateau dinner. This time, it was La Conseillante with the GM/Wine maker Marielle Cazaux. For my palate, La Conseillante is one of the most polished Pomerols. Unfortunately it is the earliest maturing top Pomerol, lacking staying power. I have been a big fan of the 89 and the 90 but the fruit started to fade almost a decade ago. Fortunately, the top wines like '05, '09, '10 and '15 showed concentrated fruit and I am certain that they will age well for a few decades.

The dinner was held at Le Café Descartes at the French Embassy. The chef prepared an excellent five course meal. Although the stems were generic, the wine service was very good.

The event took place only two days after returning from the tenth edition of Villa D’Este World Wine Symposium. I was under the weather for almost three weeks and I skipped the champagnes and sauternes. Luckily, my nose was working fine.
Flight 1 - Chestnut Soup
The 01 showed beautifully.
  • 2001 Château La Conseillante - France, Bordeaux, Libournais, Pomerol
    Classic Pomerol nose displaying silky black fruit with a hint of red, blackberry, black cherry, a hint of plum, rose, black truffle, cappuccino, light caramel, cedar and limestone dust. Perfectly integrated yet youthful palate, very finely layered black fruit, exceptional finesse and purity, silky and polished, bright acidity, strong mineral and a seamless long silky black fruit driven finish with caramel and black truffle at the end. Although there is generous fruit, it has reached the youthful peak and the overall expression is starting to be dominated by secondary notes. It reminds me the 89 vintage at the similar stage but perhaps with a bit more fruit. It is a beautifully balanced classic Pomerol that is drinking beautifully. (94 pts.)
  • 2003 Château La Conseillante - France, Bordeaux, Libournais, Pomerol
    The nose seems to shed most of the 03 overripe fruit. Nevertheless, the fruit expression is dull, lacking purity and freshness of the other vintages. Medium expressive nose displaying cherry liqueur, plum, blackberry jam. caramel, cedar, licorice, cinnamon and erath. There is a hint of vegetal note which I associate with the 03 vintage. Very good concentration, packed ripe red and black fruit, medium acidity and earthly mineral, a hint of slightly coarse tannins and a medium finish. There is the 03 bitterness that clips the finish. Both the nose and the palate are a bit straightforward and boring. Hopefully, this will develop like the top 76 Bordeauxs in due time. (91 pts.)
  • 2007 Château La Conseillante - France, Bordeaux, Libournais, Pomerol
    Very fresh and pure nose displaying blackberry, black currant, cherry, truffle, lavender, milk chocolate and limestone dust. There is a hint of green pepper which nicely adds freshness. Medium concentration, subtle finely layered pure black fruit, silky, soft and polished, bright acidity and mineral, very fine tannins and a medium to long sweet black fruit driven finish with limestone dust and caramel at the end. I find it similar to the 01, 04 and 14. Really nice food friendly wine. If you are a traditional Bordeaux lover, this will drink wonderfully for a couple more decades until the fruit is gone. (93 pts.)
Flight 2 - Boudin Blanc
The 05 was incredible.
  • 2004 Château La Conseillante - France, Bordeaux, Libournais, Pomerol
    Expressive youthful nose displaying cool black fruit with a hint of red, blackberry, a hint of cremes de cassis, plum, cherry, cedar, ash, lavender and limestone dust. Beautifully integrated youthful palate, finely layered cool black fruit, silky and polished, very fine tannins and a medium to long youthful black fruit driven finish. It is drinking nicely but needs another five years to reach the youthful peak. Another wine with very refined palate. (93 pts.)
  • 2005 Château La Conseillante - France, Bordeaux, Libournais, Pomerol
    Incredibly intense nose displaying concentrated pure black fruit, blackberry liqueur, cremes de cassis, crushed blackberry, black truffle, dark milk chocolate, sweet spices, liquid smoke, lavender, perfume and limestone dust. Exceptional concentration, layers upon layers of intense pure black fruit, unctuous yet silky and fluid, perfect amount of acidity and mineral, tannins are masked by opulent fruit and a seamless long intense black fruit driven finish with liquid smoke and lavender at the end. For my palate, easily surpass the 89 and the 90. My runner up for WOTN. (97 pts.)
  • 2006 Château La Conseillante - France, Bordeaux, Libournais, Pomerol
    Initially a bit tight, blackberry jam, plum, cherry, milk chocolate and limestone. With air, it opens up beautifully adding truffle, caramel, licorice, leather, tree bark and earth. Excellent concentration, packed sweet black fruit, dense and slightly rough, good acidity and mineral, very noticeable slightly coarse tannins and a medium to long concentrated black fruit driven finish. There are a hint of bitterness and coarse tannins that clips finish. It is a bit less charming version of the 05. Perhaps another decade of cellaring will help. (93 pts.)
Flight 3 - Arctic Char
The 10 was great, my WOTN.
  • 2008 Château La Conseillante - France, Bordeaux, Libournais, Pomerol
    Expressive nose displaying the 08 red fruit, cherry, cherry pie, plum, a hint of stem, truffle, cedar and earth. Medium concentration, bright sweet red fruit, bright acidity, strong stemmy mineral, slightly coarse tannins and a medium to long bright red fruit and cedar driven finish. A very unique expression, different from the others. It will need another decade to reach the peak. (93 pts.)
  • 2009 Château La Conseillante - France, Bordeaux, Libournais, Pomerol
    A big scale nose displaying blackberry, blackberry liqueur, roasted nuts, ink, licorice, espresso bean, dark milk chocolate, cedar, liquid smoke, incense and earth. Exceptional concentration and balance, layers upon layers of ripe yet pure black fruit, dense and oily yet pure and polished, bright acidity, strong limestone mineral, noticeable but very fine tannins and a long intense black fruit driven finish with dark milk chocolate at the end. This beautifully expresses the 09 vintage, i.e. intense opulent yet pure black fruit, impressive concentration and exceptional balance. It will reach the youthful peak in another ten years and will easily improve for another decade or two. As much as I love the 09, I slightly prefer the freshness of the 05 and the 10. (96 pts.)
  • 2010 Château La Conseillante - France, Bordeaux, Libournais, Pomerol
    Unbelievably massive scale nose displaying pure black and red fruit, blackberry, cremes de cassis, plum, cherry pie, ink, licorice, liquid smoke, lavender, exotic incense, tobacco and limestone dust. Exceptional concentration, incredibly layered intense pure black fruit, oily yet silky and weightless, perfect amount of acidity and mineral, very fine tannins and never ending finish. Despite being very primary, intense pure fruit and beautiful refined palate provide immense pleasure. In another three decades, this will become a monumental wine. Easily my WOTN. (98 pts.)
Flight 4 - Duck Breast
The 98 was a pleasant surprise.
  • 1990 Château La Conseillante - France, Bordeaux, Libournais, Pomerol
    Beautifully mature nose displaying subtle red fruit, cherry, strawberry jelly, caramel, cedar, black truffle, anise, mint and earth. Beautifully integrated palate, nicely layered subtle sweet red fruit, silky and polished, medium acidity and mineral, fully integrated tannins and a medium to long subtle red fruit and cedar driven finish. As much as I love the 89 and the 90 La Conseillante, the fruit seems to be fading, need to be drunk up! (95 pts.)
  • 1998 Château La Conseillante - France, Bordeaux, Libournais, Pomerol
    Expressive complex nose displaying decadent red and black fruit, red currant jam, red cherry, a hint of blackberry, caramel, rose, cedar, tobacco and earth. There is a hint of vegetal note that adds freshness. However, Marielle dislikes the green note. Beautifully integrated palate, nicely layered decadent yet pure red fruit, silky and refined, bright acidity, strong mineral presence and a seamless long sweet red fruit driven finish with tobacco and caramel at the end. This has reached the youthful peak but can easily improve for another decade. (95 pts.)
  • 1999 Château La Conseillante - France, Bordeaux, Libournais, Pomerol
    Medium expressive youthful nose displaying soft red fruit, caramel, truffle, dark spices and earth. Medium concentration, warm and round red fruit, medium acidity and mineral, and a medium long warm red fruit driven finish. The 99 is a fruit forward early drinking wine that is a bit simple, especially compare to the 98 and 00. (92 pts.)
  • 2000 Château La Conseillante - France, Bordeaux, Libournais, Pomerol
    Beautiful complex nose displaying subtle but sweet black and red fruit, blackberry jam, red cherry, plum tart, strong black truffle, roasted nuts, cedar, tobacco and earth. Excellent concentration, finely layered red and black fruit, silky and polished, perfect amount and mineral, and a seamless long blackberry and plum driven finish with tobacco and earth at the end. It has reach the youthful peak but can improve for another decade. (95 pts.)
Flight 5 - Cheese
The 14 was very pure. The 15 showed great promise.
  • 2012 Château La Conseillante - France, Bordeaux, Libournais, Pomerol
    Intense nose displaying ripe red and black fruit, plum and blackberry, licorice, caramel, sweet spices, rose, leather and earth. Excellent concentration, packed ripe red and black fruit, rich and warm, bright acidity, good earthy mineral, a hint of slightly coarse tannins and a medium to long sweet red and black fruit driven earthly finish. This seems a bit chunky, lacking finesse. It will need another two decades to reach the peak. (93 pts.)
  • 2014 Château La Conseillante - France, Bordeaux, Libournais, Pomerol
    Clean and energetic nose displaying pure red and black fruit, blackberry, raspberry, rose, sweet spices and limestone dust. Medium concentration, very finely layered pure red and black fruit, clean, precise, polished, and energetic, bright acidity and mineral, silky tannins and a medium to long pure red and black fruit driven finish. I suspect this will develop like the 01 or the 04. (94 pts.)
  • 2015 Château La Conseillante - France, Bordeaux, Libournais, Pomerol
    Expressive primary nose displaying crushed blackberry and raspberry, cranberry, lavender, perfume, a hint of truffle already and limestone dust. Clean and energetic palate, concentrated pure red and black fruit, silky and polished, detailed and precise, perfect amount of acidity and mineral, silky tannins and a seamless long primary fruit driven finish. Very impressive and promising. (96 pts.)
Panos outdid himself once again. My heartfelt gratitude!
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Re: TN: Chateau La Conseillante Dinner with Marielle Cazaux

#2 Post by crickey » November 17th, 2018, 6:45 am

Why "unfortunate"? I think it's fortunate that these great wines will mature in my lifetime and I will have a chance to drink them.

From your notes, it looks like it is a consistently-performing estate; not a lot of variation from vintage to vintage.
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Re: TN: Chateau La Conseillante Dinner with Marielle Cazaux

#3 Post by Robert.A.Jr. » November 17th, 2018, 7:06 am

Oh Lordy what a phenomenal night, thanks for sharing! Not surprisingly, I disagree 100% with your overall observation about the ageability of this glorious Chateau. I am actually more suspect of the now more consultant-driven new releases, but admittedly have not tried the 2015 or 16. Funny enough, I came so close to pulling the 2004 last night but went with a 2000 d’Issan.

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Re: TN: Chateau La Conseillante Dinner with Marielle Cazaux

#4 Post by k s h i n » November 17th, 2018, 7:15 am

crickey wrote:
November 17th, 2018, 6:45 am
Why "unfortunate"? I think it's fortunate that these great wines will mature in my lifetime and I will have a chance to drink them.

From your notes, it looks like it is a consistently-performing estate; not a lot of variation from vintage to vintage.
Most of the top 89 and 90 right bank wines still have not reach the youthful peak. The 89 and the 90 La Conseillante are slowly fading. It all depends on your perspective.
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Re: TN: Chateau La Conseillante Dinner with Marielle Cazaux

#5 Post by k s h i n » November 17th, 2018, 7:18 am

Robert.A.Jr. wrote:
November 17th, 2018, 7:06 am
Oh Lordy what a phenomenal night, thanks for sharing! Not surprisingly, I disagree 100% with your overall observation about the ageability of this glorious Chateau. I am actually more suspect of the now more consultant-driven new releases, but admittedly have not tried the 2015 or 16. Funny enough, I came so close to pulling the 2004 last night but went with a 2000 d’Issan.
As I posted above, the 89 and the 90 are slowing fading. Three bottles of the 90 were generously donated by one of the participants. Although it is drinking beautifully, it is fully mature without much updaside. This was the consensus.
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Re: TN: Chateau La Conseillante Dinner with Marielle Cazaux

#6 Post by David Glasser » November 17th, 2018, 7:59 am

Great lineup as usual Kevin.

I drank a 1989 Conseillante last year and found it wonderfully complex. Been following this one since release and would be hard pressed to say it's fading. Happy to have a few left.

Finished my 1990s years ago so can't comment on its recent progress. Your note from this tasting sounds like it's right in my wheelhouse.

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Re: TN: Chateau La Conseillante Dinner with Marielle Cazaux

#7 Post by Robert.A.Jr. » November 17th, 2018, 8:00 am

Craig G and I shared a 1981 a couple years ago that was gorgeous.

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

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Re: TN: Chateau La Conseillante Dinner with Marielle Cazaux

#8 Post by k s h i n » November 17th, 2018, 8:36 am

Robert.A.Jr. wrote:
November 17th, 2018, 8:00 am
Craig G and I shared a 1981 a couple years ago that was gorgeous.
Robert,
I completely understand your point and also your palate. I also had a few lovely 81s like Margaux and PLL. This is a really complicated issue. Most classified Bordeauxs can easily last fifty years or more, if cellared properly. They will reach the youthful peak at 20 to 30 years than some may further improve to reach the second/true peak at 40 to 50, like the top 59s, 61s, 82s and etc. As much as I love the 89 and the 90, the fruit started to fade a lot earlier than I anticipated compare to the other top right bank wines.
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Re: TN: Chateau La Conseillante Dinner with Marielle Cazaux

#9 Post by Jürgen Steinke » November 17th, 2018, 10:40 am

I had a 1982 from a perfect cellar not too long ago that was fine and fully alive. But I agree wit Kevin – especially the 1990 La Conseillante was and is on a fast evolutionary track. This wine was overwhelming at age 10 – 15, today it has lost body and intensity and is still fine but I would drink it up too. I owned a case of the 1988 and that wine was one of the best from that classic vintage but it was fully mature at age 10 as well which was very unusual for a wine of this structured year.

Both 2009 and 2010 will be future legends as so many wines from that fantastic vintages. Some here on this board dislike these wines but I bet acutely this two vintages with the 2005 will be stars at auctions in the future.

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Re: TN: Chateau La Conseillante Dinner with Marielle Cazaux

#10 Post by Herwig Janssen » November 17th, 2018, 12:09 pm

great notes Kevin , still going strong !!

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Re: TN: Chateau La Conseillante Dinner with Marielle Cazaux

#11 Post by k s h i n » November 17th, 2018, 12:16 pm

Jürgen Steinke wrote:
November 17th, 2018, 10:40 am
especially the 1990 La Conseillante was and is on a fast evolutionary track. This wine was overwhelming at age 10 – 15, today it has lost body and intensity and is still fine but I would drink it up too.
The 89 and the 90 have evolved much faster than I would have expected.
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Re: TN: Chateau La Conseillante Dinner with Marielle Cazaux

#12 Post by k s h i n » November 17th, 2018, 12:16 pm

Herwig Janssen wrote:
November 17th, 2018, 12:09 pm
great notes Kevin , still going strong !!
You are as well!
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Re: TN: Chateau La Conseillante Dinner with Marielle Cazaux

#13 Post by Sanjay Nandurkar » November 17th, 2018, 1:01 pm

I had the 2001 vintage 5 years ago. It was still a bit closed. Its more linear, as many 2001s are, but the finesse and balance was great.

The 2005 is more opulent and I guess the 2009 and 2010 are too. I have tried the 2005 soon after release at a 2005 horizontal and it was impressive .

I get the impression Kevin that you like more fruit driven style rather than wines expressing more overt tertiary characters which may explain your drinking windows.

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Re: TN: Chateau La Conseillante Dinner with Marielle Cazaux

#14 Post by Neal.Mollen » November 17th, 2018, 1:11 pm

Boy that sounds like a fun night. Thanks for the notes, Kevin
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Re: TN: Chateau La Conseillante Dinner with Marielle Cazaux

#15 Post by k s h i n » November 17th, 2018, 1:16 pm

Sanjay Nandurkar wrote:
November 17th, 2018, 1:01 pm
I get the impression Kevin that you like more fruit driven style rather than wines expressing more overt tertiary characters which may explain your drinking windows.
I love fully mature Bordeaux, i.e. almost none descriptive sweet fruit and mostly tertiary like the 59s and the 61s. I really adored the 89 and the 90 La Conseillante but they developed much quicker than I would have expected. To synopsize. the 01, 04, 07 and 14 are the classic harmonious wines. The 98 and 00 are more concentrated but not as concentrated the next three. The 05, 09 and 10 are the most concentrated I love G. Rinaldi Barolo, Burlotto and Chambolle, so I am really not a fruit guy. I do think that if you want the wine to pick at 50, you need to start with excellent fruit concentration.
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Re: TN: Chateau La Conseillante Dinner with Marielle Cazaux

#16 Post by Keith Levenberg » November 17th, 2018, 5:29 pm

I will back Kevin on the 1990, and since like 2 people independently called me a necrophiliac in the last week alone I don't think anyone will accuse me of "fruit driven" tastes. This was an epic wine a decade ago - the bottles at this dinner were lovely (I tasted from two) but a ways off from where it used to be. Caveats - 1. This was the only vintage not supplied by the chateau, and while there were no signs of subpar storage, at this age the differences between "well-stored" and absolute pristine provenance get more pronounced. / 2. 1990 was obviously an aberrational vintage and I don't think I'd be comfortable using it to draw conclusions about the longevity of the chateau in general. The 1998, for example, showed magnificently (my WOTN!) and not even close to fully mature, yet the 1990 was fully mature a decade ago, in fact 1990s have been mature for as long as I can remember. 3. I am a strong believer in second winds, maybe third and fourth winds. The improving/plateauing/declining curve is wrong. The closing/improving/plateauing/declining curve is also wrong. Sometimes there are some goto loops in there (not necessarily considered harmful).

Panos - I don't know how you do it but each one of these events manages to outdo the last! Chapeau to you and to Marielle, and to the French embassy for being such gracious hosts (and somehow letting me past the security clearance). The estate would appear to be in good hands as Marielle is both a tasting and scientific wizard - clearing up a pour-ordering confusion on nose alone and ID'ing a few technical issues the rest of us would have needed electron microscopes for. Also a delightful table companion and unnecessarily bashful about her French accent (as participants catcalled from the gallery, "Read the phone book!" "Recite known primes!"). I love verticals not so much to taste the individual wines but to wrap my head around the real essence of the chateau and this was a total success on that front. The deep blackberry fruit (unusually so for Pomerol IMO) and savory truffle element as they got older weren't just miscellaneous Right Bank, not even miscellaneous high-end Pomerol, but a unique personality recognizable from year to year.

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Re: TN: Chateau La Conseillante Dinner with Marielle Cazaux

#17 Post by Jayson Cohen » November 17th, 2018, 10:00 pm

The best Conseillante I know is the ‘64. No longevity issue there.

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Re: TN: Chateau La Conseillante Dinner with Marielle Cazaux

#18 Post by Laurent Gibet » November 18th, 2018, 2:41 am

Very interesting as always, Kevin ...

I am about to open my La Conseillante 1999 (and still waiting for the 2009).
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Re: TN: Chateau La Conseillante Dinner with Marielle Cazaux

#19 Post by Marcu$ Stanley » November 18th, 2018, 8:22 am

Before I even get to the wines, as Keith and Kevin said, this was another brilliant showing from Panos Kakaviatos. He somehow makes it look easy to put together these incredible verticals and serve them perfectly over a great dinner. This dinner stood out even by Panos standards, both due to the terrific level of quality at Conseillante, the great setting at the French Embassy, and also Marielle Cazaux who besides being knowledgeable is a really warm, engaging, and down to earth person.

Someone above said that Conseillante is a consistent producer with "not much variation" from vintage to vintage. I wouldn't say that's true; it's more that Conseillante has no bad vintages. This vertical included plenty of less celebrated and even "off" vintages like 1999, 2003 (on the right bank), 2004, 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2012. But not a single one was anything less than a good wine. The quality standard was clearly very high (and unfortunately prices are rising to match). At the same time, there was I thought quite a lot of vintage variation. The 2005 (my WOTN) was a towering, great wine that IMO stood far above vintages like 2003 or 2008, and even some of the very good vintages in the lineup like 2004/2006/2012 or even 2000. Kevin's notes above are very good but I think his scores may not vary quite enough to express the quality range at least as I experienced it. The heights in this lineup were so high that very good wines, like e.g. the 1999 and 2004, were hard to pay attention to given some of the tremendous wines that surrounded them.

In terms of general impressions of Conseillante, what really stood out to me was a certain lightness and delicate touch to these wines, even in years where they were expressing considerable power. Years like 2005, 2009, 2010 had tremendous depth but still felt light on the palate. One thing I appreciated about this was that in "warm" vintages like 1990, 2009, 2015 the wines had a beautiful caramel/brown sugar sweetness without being in any way cloying or syrupy in the slightest. However, one downside to me was that in some of the more "tannic" years there was a bit of a sharp metallic edge to the finish for me, as if the wine did not have enough weight to buffer the tannins. That is probably just a matter of my palate as opposed to others, but for me it made e.g. the 2010 not as enjoyable right now as the 2009 or even the 2015. It led me to downgrade the 2000, 2008, and 2010 somewhat compared to some of the other vintages. They were just a little edgy and harsh for me in the finish, especially the 2008. But for me, 2005 was the vintage that really brought it all together -- that perfectly ripe sweetness but also a deep, profound bottom note of black olive and dark coffee. Just fantastic intensity without the slightest harshness or edginess, especially after some time to warm up. Unfortunately, this wine is out of my price range, but I was very glad to have tasted it. It will age for decades but is very profound already and it would not be a waste to open now with proper decanting.

Some other vintages -- 2007 really stood out, and in a good way, for a certain green / vegetal quality that other wines did not have. But that quality really worked when combined with the typical Conseillante sweetness, it became more of a really nice tobacco-y impression. Major success for Conseillante in one of the toughest vintages of the last two decades. I really loved 2009, more than 2010, for its sweetness and great texture. 2010 may surpass 2009 in the long run but for now, at least for my tastes, the finish is too tannic and the midpalate has not "relaxed" to show all its depth. I also enjoyed 2015, which I think is going to end up being rather like 2009.

As far as 1990 goes, I had never tasted this wine before so have nothing to compare it to, and it is certainly showing tertiary notes and browning a bit. But I thought it was fantastic, perhaps my third favorite of the night after the 2005 and 2009. It had a wonderful complexity with lots of truffles and incense but the fruit was still evident. If "aging rapidly" means drink it up within the next five years, then I guess I might agree as it's hard to see it getting any better. But if it means that it is no longer a top quality wine then I would disagree as it was one of the highlights of the night for me.

By the way, Kevin gave a very good and accurate note on the 2003 above in saying that although there was good concentration, the wine left a "dull" impression and the fruit was flat. That to me is the 2003 vintage character, not excessive ripeness, but a failure to ripen properly in many cases and you could feel that here. At the same time it was a pretty good wine given the difficulties of the vintage on the right bank. For my taste the 2003 and 2008 were the worst wines in the lineup and I would still have been glad to have a bottle of either over dinner.
Last edited by Marcu$ Stanley on November 18th, 2018, 9:02 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: TN: Chateau La Conseillante Dinner with Marielle Cazaux

#20 Post by Steve Brickley » November 18th, 2018, 8:40 am

I enjoyed reading each note. Having one bottle of the 10’ I added the three decades maturity suggested and wondered if my “my nose will be working fine” at age 92. I feel like I am in a monumentally slow relay “race” where I hold the baton for a decade or two and hand the bottle off to the next one. Clearly wasn’t informed or thinking when this one hit the card.
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Re: TN: Chateau La Conseillante Dinner with Marielle Cazaux

#21 Post by crickey » November 18th, 2018, 9:00 am

Marcus Stanley wrote:
November 18th, 2018, 8:22 am
Someone above said that Conseillante is a consistent producer with "not much variation" from vintage to vintage. I wouldn't say that's true; it's more that Conseillante has no bad vintages. This vertical included plenty of less celebrated and even "off" vintages like 1999, 2003 (on the right bank), 2004, 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2012. But not a single one was anything less than a good wine. The quality standard was clearly very high (and unfortunately prices are rising to match).
I said that, and I meant little variation in quality - everything seemed good, even the "off" vintages -, more or less what you said in the quoted text. It struck me as being an impressively consistent producer.
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Re: TN: Chateau La Conseillante Dinner with Marielle Cazaux

#22 Post by Robert.A.Jr. » November 18th, 2018, 9:40 am

Marcus Stanley wrote:
November 18th, 2018, 8:22 am
Before I even get to the wines, as Keith and Kevin said, this was another brilliant showing from Panos Kakaviatos. He somehow makes it look easy to put together these incredible verticals and serve them perfectly over a great dinner. This dinner stood out even by Panos standards, both due to the terrific level of quality at Conseillante, the great setting at the French Embassy, and also Marielle Cazaux who besides being knowledgeable is a really warm, engaging, and down to earth person.

Someone above said that Conseillante is a consistent producer with "not much variation" from vintage to vintage. I wouldn't say that's true; it's more that Conseillante has no bad vintages. This vertical included plenty of less celebrated and even "off" vintages like 1999, 2003 (on the right bank), 2004, 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2012. But not a single one was anything less than a good wine. The quality standard was clearly very high (and unfortunately prices are rising to match). At the same time, there was I thought quite a lot of vintage variation. The 2005 (my WOTN) was a towering, great wine that IMO stood far above vintages like 2003 or 2008, and even some of the very good vintages in the lineup like 2004/2006/2012 or even 2000. Kevin's notes above are very good but I think his scores may not vary quite enough to express the quality range at least as I experienced it. The heights in this lineup were so high that very good wines, like e.g. the 1999 and 2004, were hard to pay attention to given some of the tremendous wines that surrounded them.

In terms of general impressions of Conseillante, what really stood out to me was a certain lightness and delicate touch to these wines, even in years where they were expressing considerable power. Years like 2005, 2009, 2010 had tremendous depth but still felt light on the palate. One thing I appreciated about this was that in "warm" vintages like 1990, 2009, 2015 the wines had a beautiful caramel/brown sugar sweetness without being in any way cloying or syrupy in the slightest. However, one downside to me was that in some of the more "tannic" years there was a bit of a sharp metallic edge to the finish for me, as if the wine did not have enough weight to buffer the tannins. That is probably just a matter of my palate as opposed to others, but for me it made e.g. the 2010 not as enjoyable right now as the 2009 or even the 2015. It led me to downgrade the 2000, 2008, and 2010 somewhat compared to some of the other vintages. They were just a little edgy and harsh for me in the finish, especially the 2008. But for me, 2005 was the vintage that really brought it all together -- that perfectly ripe sweetness but also a deep, profound bottom note of black olive and dark coffee. Just fantastic intensity without the slightest harshness or edginess, especially after some time to warm up. Unfortunately, this wine is out of my price range, but I was very glad to have tasted it. It will age for decades but is very profound already and it would not be a waste to open now with proper decanting.

Some other vintages -- 2007 really stood out, and in a good way, for a certain green / vegetal quality that other wines did not have. But that quality really worked when combined with the typical Conseillante sweetness, it became more of a really nice tobacco-y impression. Major success for Conseillante in one of the toughest vintages of the last two decades. I really loved 2009, more than 2010, for its sweetness and great texture. 2010 may surpass 2009 in the long run but for now, at least for my tastes, the finish is too tannic and the midpalate has not "relaxed" to show all its depth. I also enjoyed 2015, which I think is going to end up being rather like 2009.

As far as 1990 goes, I had never tasted this wine before so have nothing to compare it to, and it is certainly showing tertiary notes and browning a bit. But I thought it was fantastic, perhaps my third favorite of the night after the 2005 and 2009. It had a wonderful complexity with lots of truffles and incense but the fruit was still evident. If "aging rapidly" means drink it up within the next five years, then I guess I might agree as it's hard to see it getting any better. But if it means that it is no longer a top quality wine then I would disagree as it was one of the highlights of the night for me.

By the way, Kevin gave a very good and accurate note on the 2003 above in saying that although there was good concentration, the wine left a "dull" impression and the fruit was flat. That to me is the 2003 vintage character, not excessive ripeness, but a failure to ripen properly in many cases and you could feel that here. At the same time it was a pretty good wine given the difficulties of the vintage on the right bank. For my taste the 2003 and 2008 were the worst wines in the lineup and I would still have been glad to have a bottle of either over dinner.
A really fantastic post, and cool thread all around. Love this Chateau (through 2014). I need to backfill some 2005.

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

Kenny H (circa 2015)

Panos Kakaviatos
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Re: TN: Chateau La Conseillante Dinner with Marielle Cazaux

#23 Post by Panos Kakaviatos » December 1st, 2018, 3:05 am

This was a great evening and the wines showed very well.

Great notes from Kevin, as usual. And thanks for follow up comments from Keith and Marcus, who attended as well.

This was the first time for me to organize something at the French Embassy in Washington D.C. so there were strict entrance rules, and I sent emails reminding everyone to "bring your ID". So when I arrived, in an Uber, I found myself ... without my ID. LOL!

Kudos not only to the château for having the wines shipped ex-château but also to MacArthur Beverages' Phil Bernstein for helping with the shipment and picking them up!

The chef was great, so we enjoyed some excellent foods to go with the wines. I am going to be a bit brief here, as I had been in Burgundy for the Hospices de Beaune and then to a conference in Norway for my day job at the Council of Europe (media relations), and now planning a return to Bordeaux to finish up my notes from 2016 in bottle (please subscribe to wine-chronicles :-)

As for the wines at this dinner, I really loved 2005 and especially 2010 as super stars. The 2015 was excellent, too but the 2014 offers super value. Wines that showed better than some may have expected included indeed the 2004 and 2007. The 2001 was excellent, but not as good as the 1998, and the 2000 also superb but just a bit closed even today. I mean, we had it from magnum. I would easily drink the 2001s before the 2000s (an interesting comparison given the fact that 2001 was excellent especially on the Right Bank). I had done a similar vertical at the château in January last year, and my feelings were more or less confirmed on this evening.

These events really bring out wine generosity. One participant brought three bottles of the much talked about 1990 for example, and many of us brought Champagne to set the right tone. Keith brought a delicious Rieussec 2001. I cannot recall now who brought the Suduiraut 2001 (yikes!) but that showed particularly well.

Here some notes that dinner participant Isaac James Baker just posted on his blog: http://isaacjamesbaker.blogspot.com/201 ... es-of.html

In Vino Veritas.
I am mainly based in Europe, and thanks for reading wine-chronicles(.)com

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