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Tertre Roteboeuf 1993, 1994, 1995, 1998 & 2005 Roc de Cambes

August 28, 2019

This tasting was inspired by our recent visit to Tertre Roteboeuf in June this year where we had spent a most captivating afternoon with its founder and proprietor Francois Mitjavile. It so happened that my half-case of 2005 Roc de Cambes had just arrived from Bordeaux Index London (bought for only £30 per bottle about six years ago…can you believe that?!) and, with that masterclass of masterclasses still vividly fresh in our minds, it was only logical that we organised a dinner based on the wines of Francois Mitjavile. Mr Ho had us set up nicely in a private room at Jade Palace on 23 August 2019 with the restaurant’s signature cold Alaskan crab to match some excellent whites as a preamble. The actual line-up for the Tertre Roteboeuf turned out to be most enticing, a consecutive trio of 1993-95 topped by a stunning 1998. Best of all, they all hailed from the last century, meaning we’d be catching the wines at their peak. Many thanks, everyone, for your generous contributions.

2007 Valandraud Blanc. Aired in bottle for an hour prior. Straw coloured. Waxy aromas with overtones of green melons and toasty notes, quite intense and effusive. Took on a well-developed deeper chromatic tone supported by subtle chalkiness, imbued with very fine concentration of white citrus amid traces of nutmeg and sweet incense that imparted a relaxed open feel before tapering to a spicy glowing finish. Quite excellent.

1999 Louis Roederer Cristal, courtesy of Russ. Superb on the nose, boasting of toast, complex citrus, honeysuckle and fig. Still imbued with wonderful freshness on the palate, displaying excellent dry intensity, definition and linearity with inner crystalline tones that conferred great brilliance, finishing with glowing persistence. Still very youthful. Superb!

2010 Domaine Leflaive Puligny-Montrachet Les Pucelles 1er, courtesy of Kieron. Closed at first with a bit of bottle stink that eventually blew off, revealing good concentration of delicate citrus with overtones of preserved tangerines on an open palate though still rather placid and reserved, not helped at all by the recessed chalkiness. Gained some subtle intensity but still not giving away much. One has to put up with considerable bottle variation often associated with this estate.

2005 Roc de Cambes, aired in bottle for two hours prior. Deep inky purple. Good lift of ripe black berries, blueberries and dark currants, highly delicious with a touch of snuff amid savoury traces. Beautifully layered on the palate with attractive intensity where that note of savoury sweet meat is more pronounced and unmistakable, in turn giving way to robust fruit, gloriously ripe with subtle structured tannins that exude fabulous intensity and acidity, superbly integrated with lively balance. Quite outstanding but still youthful.

1993 Ch Tertre Roteboeuf, courtesy of D. Deep purple. Highly lifted, again with that signature savoury character of barbequed meat that continued with superb linearity onto the palate. Delicious, savoury and concentrated with very good fruit quality, very smooth and evenly layered, imbued with very fine acidity and intensity. Almost delicate, finishing well, hanging on for about three hours before it began to fade a little. Unbelievable for a 1993. Excellent.

1994 Tertre Roteboeuf, courtesy of Tim. This wine opened with a whiff of bottle stink that persisted although it wasn’t enough to obscure the abundance of dark fruit and plummy characters beneath, displaying excellent presence with open supple intensity but somewhat opaque, missing inner detail and complexity. Quite emphatically upstaged by the 1993. Interestingly, the word “Château” has been omitted from the label from this vintage onwards.

1995 Tertre Roteboeuf, courtesy of Kieron. Some vermillion at rim, proffering a gentle lift of heated gravel amidst heaps of dark fruit and currants. Still rather tightly coiled with a deep core of ripe berries, exuding seamless intensity as it finished with fine linearity and persistence. At its best and will hold for many more years.

1998 Tertre Roteboeuf, courtesy of Russ. Saving the best for last, the 1998 exceeded all expectations. Displaying an evolved purple with open lifted tones of dark currants, roast, tea leaves and soy, this wine has developed some early tertiary complexity, exuding fabulous intensity from its glorious depth of fruit, fleshy and beautifully rounded with svelte tannins and graphite minerals that added immeasurable excitement. Brilliant!

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