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FICOFI in Hong Kong: 12 de coeur

September 29, 2018

The 12 de coeur (Twelve Hearts) is an initiative by FICOFI and some 60 wine-producing estates in France, led by Pierre-Henry Gagey of Louis Jadot, to support worthy causes throughout the world for the deserving and the less fortunate. For the inaugural event, 12 producers have gathered at the Ritz-Carlton Hong Kong on 25 May 2018 to kick-start the project, with a view to hold a similar event annually with another group of 12 different estates. As you can see below, some of the biggest names were gathered there and it was good to catch up again with Pierre-Henry himself, along with Grigory Gouges, Etienne Montille and Herve Berland. As usual for such FICOFI events for charity, the evening began with a generous promenade to loosen everyone up, followed by dinner during which some enticing lots of wines would be auctioned off to raise funds. As one would expect in Hong Kong, the bidding was fiercely enthusiastic and I think everyone came off winners.

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2010 Domaine Louis Jadot Corton-Charlemagne Grand Cru. Poured from jeroboam. Highly effusive bouquet of floral characters, white fruits and chalk, medium-bodied, smooth with understated acidity and intensity, producing delicate mouthfeel. Excellent.

2001 Domaine Trimbach Cuvee Frederic Emile. Lovely golden hue. Explosive complex of gun smoke, flint and oily diesel fumes on the nose. Full presence with a forward balance, structured with seamless integration between its chiselled chalky tones and concentrated white fruits. Excellent.

2012 Domaine Etienne Sauzet Bienvenues-Batard-Montrachet Grand Cru. Poured from magnum. This wine exudes delicate tones of petroleum fumes and earthy minerals, slightly flinty, displaying good precision and concentration of sophisticated complex citrus with highly transparent textures. Will be outstanding in time.

2010 Domaine Etienne Sauzet Bienvenues-Batard-Montrachet Grand Cru. Poured from magnum. This wine has shut on the nose though the medium-bodied palate displays good definition of delicate chalky tones with seamless acidity on a full bed of complex minerals, finishing with fine linearity throughout its length. Excellent, but best to lay down to allow full development of its potential.

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2009 Domaine Etienne Sauzet Puligny-Montrachet Les Combettes 1er, poured from jeroboam. There is a great lift of wild flowers and oily diesel fumes, slightly forward, displaying excellent presence and freshness of fruit amidst soft saline minerals with understated chalkiness, finishing with great persistence. Excellent.

2006 Ch Petrus. There is quite an exuberant tone of fresh raspberries, dark fruits and dark currants on the nose with a subdued earthiness, quite fleshy on the palate, softly focused with understated acidity, distinctly feminine in its highly supple gentle tannins.

20180526_185131.jpg1979 Ch Petrus. Still dark in colour. Very earthy on the nose with a mild bottle stink. Fleshy, open and seamlessly structured with highly supple tannins amidst gentle understated tones of raspberries and dark cherries. Excellent but, to be honest, I wouldn’t have known these two wines were Petrus if blinded.

2007 Domaine de la Romanee-Conti Montrachet Grand Cru. Barely enough pour to wet the beak, but its pedigree still shone through. Luminous glow of malt and rye, displaying gentle depth of white fruits with a mild intensity shrouded with traces mint and white flowers, almost ethereal, very well-integrated and proportioned. Very lovely throughout its superb length.

2003 Domaine de la Romanee-Conti Montrachet Grand Cru. Just a tiny pour, revealing a generous bloom of white flowers with lighter tonal textures on the nose though the palate is well layered with nutmeg, white fruits and delicate light citrus, displaying great definition and transparency, perhaps just a tad short which is commonly noted in the wines of this searingly hot vintage.

2009 Domaine de la Romanee-Conti Romanee-Saint-Vivant Grand Cru. Lovely tint, yielding a beautifully defined bouquet distilled red fruits, rose petals and camphor, highly perfumed and generous in proportion, structured with excellent depth, detail and understated acidity, displaying excellent linearity though not much of tangerines at the core. Excellent.

2000 Domaine de Chevalier rouge, poured from magnum. Superb classic earthy pungency of Pessac-Leognan on the nose. Open, supple and full, filled with succulent dark plums and dark redcurrants, gloriously ripe with early secondary nuances amidst a cedary floor, seamlessly integrated with its lithe sexy tannins. One can go on sipping this forever. I’m glad I still have a case of this. Outstanding.

2009 Domaine de Chevalier rouge. This wine exudes a lifted earthiness amidst deep concentration of opulent red fruits and dark currants with traces of undergrowth, medium-full, very lovely in its freshness and seamless integration, opening up well. Similar in character to the 2000. Excellent.

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 Some precious drops of D.R.C. Montrachet Grand Cru is all you get

2003 Ch Montrose, poured from magnum. This wine boasts an abundance of dense red fruits and blackcurrants amidst generous oily textures with a hint of ember, very full and rather unique in character, exuding lovely depth and intensity of fruit, very well layered and rounded, structured with masculine tones with a finish that lasts and lasts. Superb.

2010 Ch Montrose. Dark in tone with a great glow of ripe dark fruits, blackcurrants and cashews amidst vegetal traces, still tight on the palate where gorgeous acidity and superb concentration of fruit indicate a long long life ahead for this outstanding release.

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Herve Berland, CEO of Ch Montrose

1990 Ch Beaucastel CdP. There is a sharp lifted earthy pungency on the nose with overtones of hot gravel, layered with abundant red fruits and wild berries that conferred amazing freshness and definition, finishing with great linearity. Superb.

1983 Ch Beaucastel CdP. Gentle bouquet red and dark fruits amidst earthy tones with a tinge of green, displaying good lift with a well-defined leaner profile, very clean and precise with striking depth and open intensity of fruit, finishing well. Excellent, proving that CdP truly is one that rewards the patience of cellaring.

2008 Domaine Louis Jadot Clos Vougeot Grand Cru. Distinct red fruits shrouded in tones of varnish and enamel, excellent in concentration, highly supple and rounded with a dash of earth, seamlessly integrated with a forward balance but somewhat nondescript.

2003 Domaine Louis Jadot Clos Vougeot Grand Cru. Lifted in red fruits, displaying superb presence and depth with plenty of succulence amidst traces of paraffin, very lovely in its intensity and subtle structure without any hint of heat stress. Perhaps Clos Vougeot is best in hot vintages.

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Yours truly with Pierre-Henry Gagey and Dr Victor Lim

2009 Alain Graillot Crozes Hermitage Les Guiraude, poured from jeroboam. Very dark in colour, replete with smoky dark currants, black cherries and traces of tangerines at its core. Fleshy and rounded with a slim defined profile, layered with subtle intensity and nuances that finished with a long glowing persistence. Excellent.

2014 Domaine des Perdrix Nuits-Saint-Georges Aux Perdrix 1er. Coming from old vines planted as far back as 1922, this full-bodied wine proffers a very lovely glow of red fruits and dark berries within a well-defined profile, very correct in tone and style albeit in a more modern manner, very well proportioned and balanced. Excellent.

2003 Domaine des Perdrix Nuits-Saint-Georges Aux Perdrix 1er. Notes of dry heated gravel, rather earthy, displaying good lift of rounded soft red fruits on the palate but still unable to shake off its leaden tone. Uninspiring.

1999 Domaine des Perdrix Nuits-Saint-Georges Aux Perdrix 1er. Still dark, displaying lifted tones of dark berries and red fruits within very well-defined profiles not unlike the 2014 (above), seamlessly integrated with understated acidity in a very clean style. Not the opulent sort but very fine indeed.

2003 Ch Haut Bailly, poured from double magnum. Very deep and dark in colour and tone, exuding a great dryish earthy pungency that delivered a superb tonal richness of ripe blackberries and dark currants amidst vegetal traces on a dry minerally bed, rounded and full without any trace of burnt. Excellent.

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For dinner…

2014 Domaine de la Romanee-Conti Hauts de Nuits Bourgogne. Gentle white flowers proliferate with overtones of wild berries and nutmeg, displaying excellent depth, freshness and detail, its delicate balance of white fruits and stony minerals belie the tremendous zest and energy on the palate that build up to lovely climax towards the finish. Superb.

2002 Louis Roederer Cristal. Gentle yeasty tones, slightly forward with dry intensity of dense yellow citrus and lime, structured with razor-sharp acidity and focus, developing increasing depth and earthy pungency over time. Still remarkably youthful. Best to cellar further unless this style of champagne suits your preference.

2009 Domaine Etienne Sauzet Batard-Montrachet Grand Cru. This is truly an elegant beauty – cool, sophisticated and poised. Layered with a deep vein of glorious white fruits, melons and chalky elements, superb in concentration but never overwhelming thanks to textures that are amazingly transparent, finishing with traces of spice and green chilli that persisted long after the wine had left the palate. Wonderful!

1999 Domaine de la Vougeraine Clos de Vougeot Grand Cru. Richly layered with a glorious depth of dark cherries, raspberries and redcurrants, utterly rounded and seamless, displaying a superb lift and concentration of fruit on a bed of saline minerals though just lacking in inner detail.

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2009 Domaine de la Romanee-Conti Corton Grand Cru. Glorious ruby, exuding rosy characters with a tinge of deeper red and dark currants. Full, fleshy and crisp, structured with masculine intensity, finishing on a long minty note. Excellent.

2008 Ch Haut Bailly. Deep garnet red, exuding great earthiness with an abundance of dark fruit and wild berries on a bed of dry tannins, quite excellent in ripeness and roundedness without the exuberance of the best years, entering some early development. A classic claret. Very fine. I liked it.

2009 Ch Rieussec. Smoke, icing, apricot and cider dominate with attractive fullness, developing some early complexity, displaying lovely intensity of fruit and linearity across the palate towards its lasting finish, all achieved in a highly understated manner. Excellent.

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