TN: Mas de Boislauzon and Egly Ouriet

Disclaimer: I generally do not find Grenache exciting, most of it being too sweet, macerated on the back palate, and plain frooty for my taste
Egly-Ouriet Brut Tradition Grand Cru
This is a rich, clean champagne. In fact, from the get go, I was impressed by the finish across the Eglys because – unlike so many other champagnes – there was never a hint of anything odd on the back palate. There’s all the usual descriptors of richer champagne I could throw about but how about you just use your own checklist, crossing off the marmite one. Really nice balance for this style. 89

Egly-Ouriet ‘V.P.’ Brut Grand Cru
Prolonged viellisementising or something, which I’m assuming means longer on the lees, because that’s what comes through. It turns everything up a notch from the previous wine, but, crucially, starts to add a nice salty minerality that comes through particularly on the finish. Without that, this wine could easily be too heavy, but for me it’s got the balance right and is just beautifully rich. 91

Egly-Ouriet 2002 Vintage Grand Cru
Whereas the previous two wines are ‘ready to go’ there is far more restraint here and a strong sense that bottle aging is required. The flavour profile is broader but more like a blueprint than a finished product – the oyster shells go here in the top right, just by the warm sandy notes, and that new lime smell you’re getting will marry up with the cream over there (once we’ve whipped it) to go on the baked meringue. 91+

Egly-Ouriet Blanc de Noir ‘V.V.’ Grand Cru
Distinctive and big. So you immediately want to compare it to other big ones or BdNs such as Selosse or Bollinger. And it doesn’t really measure up to those, so it’s really not fair (quite a different pricepoint!) and I should go back to looking at it on its own merits. I like the differences from ‘normal’ champagne and this feels like it could go with quite a range of food including red meat. There’s red fruit coming through as well as the biscuit, earth and butter flavours. Again, I feel time to integrate will not go amiss. 91+

Mas de Boislauzon Chateauneuf du Pape 2010
If someone opens a bottle of this in the next room, you will probably notice. The nose is big, angry and angular at this point. Fortunately, the aromas include a big whack of wild and savoury notes – forest fire for example. The palate is also an ungainly snarling beast, taking a lot of swirling and cajoling to calm down a bit. There’s a strong astringency in mid-palate that ruins everything on first contact. As the wine opens (and we’re using ‘open’ rather loosely and purely as a relative term) that settles but never resolves itself – remaining as a medicinal note that is reminiscent of the off-flavour you get in Pinotage. Some people enjoy it no doubt. For me it’s a flaw at this stage which prevents enjoyment of what else the wine has to offer, which in fairness seems to include quite a bit. Perhaps it will integrate or go away – I lack the reference points and experience to guess. 84(+?)

Mas de Boislauzon CdP ‘Cuvee Quet’ 2009, served with Mas de Boislauzon CdP ‘Cuvee Quet’ 2007
As far as Grenache goes, this duet is actually quite enjoyable. Yes, it has that annoying fruit sweetness, but it also has depth and savoury flavours. Colours are very similar, at the dark end of the spectrum. The ’07 comes across as simpler – playing a tune that is more dominated by fruit which, while dense without being too over-ripe, leaves you wanting more of the other flavours that lurk but ultimately succumb to it. Perhaps another 7+ years will help tone that fruit down and provide more room on the stage for tar and brambles. 2007: 90+. The ’09 is also big but has a broader flavour profile which keeps my interest. Savoury and earthy flavours mix well with good fruit and despite its size neither the alcohol nor palate weight distract from enjoyment. I understand that these wines come from the far North of CNdP (near Orange) so perhaps that explains how they seem more like ‘cool-climate’ grenache than, say, Clos Saint Jean. 2009: 92+

Mas de Boislauzon CdP ‘Cuvee Tintot’ 2009
And we have a winner! Knowing that this was mostly Mourvedre, I admit I was always going to approach it in a highly positive frame of mind… but it did deliver. This still had a lot of fruit sweetness though with strong waves of earth, scorched and cured meats and enough herbs and spices to do a range of lamb racks. Like the other two top cuvees, the texture here is terrific, retaining tightness and balance that doesn’t wear the palate out from first contact. 94+

I haven’t tried the 10 Mas de Boilauzon yet, but I agree on your notes on the other other three wines. Despite the hype for the 07 ‘Quet’, I enjoyed the 09 more. The Tintot is a remarkable expression of Mourvedre as well. Tasting that wine from barrel was a revelation.

That’s quite a lineup of Egly-Ouriet. It’s too bad you didn’t have the Vignes de Vrigny in there; that’s my favorite wine of theirs that I’ve had. Some others can be too big for my taste.

@ Jim: Our table of of 10 was unanimous in preferring the '09 Quet I think. Maybe if we all ruined our tastebuds by drinking vast quantities of young, oaky and tannic wine we would learn to appreciate the fact that '07 was the better vintage :wink:

@ Doug: It was my first chance to try these Eglys and I was particularly impressed that they had balance and minerals to go with their size. Will look out for the Vignes de Vrigny! I also hear that they do a Pinot Noir (i.e. plain still wine) - ever had that?