TN: Covid Cassoulet - Les Cailloux, CalSegur, LeoPoyferre, LeoBarton, GrPuyLacoste

A good friend made a ton of cassoulet and had us bring over some terrific wines for a rare respite from sheltering in place. All wines were good or better. The company was fine and the cassoulet rich. A terrific night overlooking the Pacific.

COVID CASSOULET - Robin Stark’s, Cardiff-by-the-Sea (6/19/2020)

Robin broke out the cassoulet kit, taking the time and making the place for some much needed socializing. We brought mostly Bordeaux with some other tasty treats. We sat outside and the pouring was done for us. All in all a great break from the sheltering.

The wines across the board were good. Some definitely stood a bit taller but it was hard to find any serious faults. I think everyone was quite happy in terms of wines. And quite full of delish cassoulet.

  • 2017 Sophie Cinier Mâcon-Fuissé Les Perrières - France, Burgundy, Mâconnais, Mâcon-Fuissé
    Lots of fruit here. A lot more than I was expecting. Dense with medium expression. But there is a noticeable dearth of acidity. I’d want to lay this down in order to give the fruit time to unpack a bit. The acidity issue would give me pause on that.

  • 1990 Les Cailloux (Lucien et André Brunel) Châteauneuf-du-Pape - France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Châteauneuf-du-Pape
    This looked a lot more advanced than it drank. It’s definitely looking thin and brickish. The expression says otherwise. Subtle and complex nose showing iron and smoked meats. Great old school European. Herby palate that’s still bright. Expressive with more cured pork types of things. This was a delight. Maybe a bit lost in a night of wines that all showed well. I just didn’t expect it to be this good still. I would say this is probably not going to go a lot longer at this level. I’d drink em if I had em. Very good.
  • 2009 Château Calon-Ségur - France, Bordeaux, Médoc, St. Estèphe
    Very young and primary on the nose. Saucy with violets and notes of wood. Narrow on the palate and not quite as expressive as the nose. Lean feeling even though the fruit is still got plenty of fatness. Or maybe relatively lean feeling. Not as much tannin as I would have expected. This was the most painfully young wine on the night. It’s not quite closed but it hasn’t really started opening anything secondary.
    Partial bottle drinking a couple days later doesn’t reveal a lot of change. Still young Cab fruits. The wood is there on the palate still waiting to integrate. It’s not overt but hanging around. The most notable thing for me is that I’ve not been smacked by the structure of this one. It might not be for real long term drinking even if it’s still begging for more rest ten years on.
  • 2009 Château Bouscassé Madiran Argile Rouge - France, Southwest France, Madiran
    Nicely complex nose showing secondary characters now. Dense and young on the palate still. Darkly fruited. Evidently this is not just Tannat but that with three other grapes including Cab S. Almost tight. Light tannin. This clearly still has miles to go. Good now. Terrific balance with the acidity leaving a mark. Cool bonus bottle.

  • 2000 Château Léoville Poyferré - France, Bordeaux, Médoc, St. Julien
    I didn’t realize I’ve had this before until I looked in here. Almost ten years ago and this has come into it’s own big time. Slightly poopy, reduced nose. That fades with air. Classic graphite Cab noses. Hints of wood. Still juicy. Very young seeming still. Very balanced. This seems like it’s JUST getting there in terms of opening and giving up secondary notes. I was really digging it. Tied as a favorite on a night where all wines drank quite well. Terrific. And ya gotta know it’s probably only to get better over the next ten years plus. I neglected to note the decant time.
  • 2005 Château Léoville Poyferré - France, Bordeaux, Médoc, St. Julien
    Drank this next to the '00 and it was clearly still in a more closed place. Showed riper, pretty fruits. Violets on the nose. Thinner feeling with a clamping grip. Tight but not completely closed. This one is still about potential. If the '00 is any indication five more years should make for a better showing.

  • 1996 Château Léoville Barton - France, Bordeaux, Médoc, St. Julien
    This is in a great place. Complex nose showing those classic Left Bank Cab notes. Just keeps you sniffing. Quite a grip still. Maybe the strongest of the Bordeaux on the night even being the oldest. Still quite rich. Dark chocolate and graphite. In my happy place. Tied with the '00 Poyferre for favs on the night. In a great spot that I imagine it will reside in for some time to come.
  • 2000 Château Grand-Puy-Lacoste - France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Pauillac
    Decanted 6 hours prior to consumption. Riper, baked sort of fruits on the nose in comparison to the other Bordeaux. Lots of blackberry and cassis. And a touch of a sour brett like note. I checked later and it was still there. Big and juicy yet lean in feel. Plenty of tannin. This showed good complexity but like the others maybe just awakening. I liked this well enough but it was a notch below the best wines on the night.

  • 2001 Mönchhof Robert Eymael Erdener Prälat Riesling Auslese - Germany, Mosel Saar Ruwer
    Lots of apple on the nose. Touch of petrol. Strong, sappy and rich. The sugar seems about halfway broken down. This really came clean off the palate with the apparent acidity.

Posted from CellarTracker

very informative notes. Thanks for posting!

Madiran is a great pairing!

Great notes, Cris. Thanks! It was a great chance to see how the 2000’s and 2005’s are coming along without having to drink an entire horizontal of them, which can be fatiguing. I very much enjoyed the 2000 Leoville Poyf as well, and happy to see that it showed lots of secondary. I keep purchasing the '96 Left Banks as they are well priced and hardly ever disappoint. Ironically, I tasted the 1995 Gruaud Larose earlier that day, so was reminded how 95’s tend to finish a little too soft in comparison to their “little sister” next year vintage .

Did you party peeps go cycling the next day? Todd talks a big game! That’s how you sweat out all the poison!


Killer line-up, by the way. And nice notes.

It was nice to have a social wine event, safely outside, with extra secure measures from our host (gloves, only 2 people pouring, masks when walking through the inside, etc). Not a bad wine in the bunch, which is always a treat.

We talked quite a bit about the disappointment with 2005 Bordeaux, such a hugely hyped vintage across the board, and other than right at release, scarcely approachable, at least in terms of enjoyment. They aren’t necessarily in a ‘hard closed’ phase, but just don’t have much to offer, in my experience. The 2000’s on this lineup, particularly the Leoville Poyferre (even though it’s a gasp! Rolland wine, sorry, Alfert!) showed what may happen, or gives us hope, as the 2000’s seem to have emerged from their slumber, and I’m finding so many 2000’s to be rewarding in many ways right now. They’ve entered the drinking window with a bang, as I’d guess only 1-2 years ago they still seemed awkward, but now many are singing. Quite a transformation in a short time, yet still the framework and structure to go long term.

Prior to this evening, I hadn’t even heard of Madiran, and it was a treat. A great pairing with the delicious cassoulet, and an interesting wine - a bargain around $20.00, in my opinion.

I was in the minority when it came to the 1990 Les Cailloux (Lucien et André Brunel) Châteauneuf-du-Pape, as I felt it was a bit past its prime. It was quite cloudy, so I’m sure the fine sediment in the wine slowed its performance a bit, but I felt it became astringent and was dominated mostly by the iron component. I was probably the only one who wasn’t that impressed with it.

The 2009 Calon Segur, as Cris mentioned, was incredibly primary - shockingly so, for an 11 year old wine. The nose smelled like a whiff of a fresh release at UGC, and the color equally fresh and vibrant. Nowhere near ready but should be great in time.

My WsOTN were the 2000 Leoville Poyferre, with is interesting and complex nose, beautifully weighted mouthfeel, fresh and grippy fruit, just spectacular, as well as the '96 Leoville Barton, as while it bears more subtlety and grace than the '00 L-P, highlights the long term ageability of the wine, as the tannins really grip your palate, and haven’t yet started to soften. 1996 continues to outperform expectation as a vintage in Bordeaux, to me.

Leaving aside your Rollandesque flirtation with the dark side, I’m pleased someone brought the Madiran! When I think of cassoulet, I think of Madiran. Or maybe even Cahors. Interesting you’ve not tried one. A classic, but super hearty, tannic, long-lived country wine. Made from “Tannat” - yes, tannic. Cahors is generally Malbec with a cut of Tannat. Chateau Montus makes a killer one, if you ever see the 1995 Cuvee Prestige, grab it and run like ya stole it. It’s such a fun, unique grape. It’s been years since I tried one, but when I drank some Tablas Creek way back when, I always enjoyed the Tannat SVD bottling the most.

Think I still have a single 1995 Montus Cuvee Prestige around somewhere, even the entry level Montus offers great value and little guilt opening them.

As to 2000 vs. 2005, the big difference for me is fruit in 2000 vs. tannin/acid in 2005. 2005 has more structure that will just take time, likely a decade more than 2000 to unfurl.

Nice notes, Cris! Thank you for posting. And Thanks, also, to Robin and Todd for their follow-up, too.

It’s awfully nice to see the good showing from Leoville Poyferre, which is frequently shat-on by fellow Berserkers. I’m not a fan, per se, but it’s great to see some of these “big” “modern” Bdxs ageing well.

+1 to everything Alfert said about Tannat, although I don’t believe I’ve had that '95 from Montus. The “regular” bottling from Montus has been in Costco in recent years ---- less than $25, iirc, and wellllll worth it. A little extra juice behind that +1 as it pertains to the Tannat from Tablas Creek; I’ve always thought it to be in a group with their Esprit and Panoplie bottlings as the best red wines they make.

Cahors and Northern Rhone are my go to wines for cassoulet.

I can confirm the ‘95 Montus’ are terrific. I recently opened one of two I got from one of Robin’s sales, just to keep this thread incestuous. I was really impressed with it being in sort of perfect maturity with fantastic structure.

  • 1995 Château Montus Madiran - France, Southwest France, Madiran (4/15/2020)
    What this lacked in complexity it made up for in build. The structure here is tremendous. Big spine of acidity and still ample tannin. That core acidity really is impressive. The fruit is still dark and expressive. Yet mature. Just not complex. Overall though I really loved this. It’s really in a great spot and seems to be keeping it’s horizon out of sight. Not rush. Excellent.

Posted from CellarTracker

Nice lineup of wines! I agree, Madiran and Cahors are great matches with cassoulet. Earlier this month I made one and opened a 1989 Jouffreau Cahors Clos de Gamot. Great pairing. I’ve got 2010s of the Tablas Creek and Boucassé waiting for a future cassoulet with friends…