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2000 Les Forts de Latour & 2000 Clos du Marquis

April 23, 2009

After the Leoville Poyferre vertical, we adjourned to Jade Palace for a simple but sumptuous dinner. You can’t go wrong with this place; its Cantonese cuisine can hold its ground against any competition, service is prompt and attentive, and most importantly, the stemware (Riedel) and wine service are impeccable. Wines are decanted and labeled, no questions asked. 2-heavyweight-deuxieme-vin

Although both are so-called second wines, they are actually derived from plots of vines, respectively, that are separate from those that go into the making of the Grand Vin. Comparing these 2 estates in the same outstanding vintage is fascinating, as although one is St Julien and the other Pauillac, they are located immediately adjacent to each other. I still can’t get over the excitement of driving north along the D2 highway and, having passed Leoville Las Cases on the right, one reaches the top of a hill and immediately sees the clos of Las Cases merging imperceptibly with Chateau Latour and, just yonder, Chateax Pichon Baron on the left facing Pichon Lalande on the right. from-st-julien-entering-pauillac

Both wines had a similar deep garnet red. Similarly both wines were quite shut, but one can catch a whiff of intense, rich dark fruits lurking beneath, with the 2000 Les Forts de Latour (courtesy Kieron) possessing a more powerful and luxurious bouquet. On the palate, the 2000 Clos du Marquis initially seemed to have the upper hand: full, powerful, intense, good grip, refined sophisticated tannins, with a touch of graphite that’s typical of St Julien. On the other hand, the Les Forts was less intense, but broader and more expansive, though similarly full-bodied. As it sat in the glass, the Les Forts took on more weight, becoming huge, dense and intense, whereas the Clos du Marquis appeared more willing to relax and soften.

This simple tasting had provided an absolutely fascinating insight into the importance of terroir: although both wines did share some common characteristics due to their close proximity with each other, they still retained the individual stamp of St Julien and Pauillac. Obviously, these wines should be left alone for at least another 10 years; pity I have none of the Clos du Marquis left. Most fitting end to a wonderful evening.

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