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Saint-Émilion Premier Grand Cru Classé B

August 14, 2020

The Jürade de Saint-Émilion du Singapour met again within the space of a month on 04 August 2020 at Wah Lok (with proper safe-distancing) on a broader theme of Saint-Émilion Premier Grand Cru Classé B. Unlike the Left Bank which underwent classification in 1855, Saint-Émilion had to wait a century later till 1955 for its wines to be classified. And whereas the former has become permanently fixed, the wines of Saint-Émilion are re-classified roughly every ten years where some are promoted in status while a few others are demoted. Inevitably, this sort of thing succeeds only in stirring up plenty of controversy such that, at the last classification in 2012, the adjudication was outsourced to a non-Bordeaux-related seven-person commission. As it turned out, Pavie and Angélus joined Ausone and Cheval Blanc at the top tier of Premier Grand Cru Classé A. Fourteen of the “best of the rest” formed Premier Grand Cru Classé B while sixty-three others formed Grand Cru Classé. However, with more than 1000 growers in the wider Saint-Émilion appellation, it is clear that the vast majority of estates are not classified which, itself, does not imply any kind of inadequacy, an instance probably best exemplified by Tertre Rotebouef which declined to be classified.

2006 Taittinger Comtes de Champagne Blanc de Blancs, courtesy of Russ. Pervasive cool vanillin is evident, exuding an icy coolness that imparted excellent freshness and fine concentration as it opened up to reveal detailed layers of white fruits and citrus that soothed the palate with creamy smoothness. Superb.

2006 Champagne Dom Perignon, courtesy of KC. Greenish hue. This wine opens with a wonderful complexity of fruit with an irresistibly rich creamy depth, displaying superb concentration and intensity on the palate  with some early complexity as well within a sheen of very fine bubbles, superbly layered with great presence. This is one of the finest efforts of Dom. Outstanding.

2017 Domaine Jean Chartron Saint-Aubin Murgers des Dents de Chien 1er. Poured from magnum. Gentle notes of crème matched by excellent clarity on the palate, suitably crisp with very fine agility, developing greater fullness and presence underscored by a lovely floral intensity that only came on much later. Excellent value.

2007 Château Valandraud Blanc, courtesy of Stephen. Pale. Powerful racy bouquet of glue and resinous hues while pebbly tones, white fruits and jackfruit dominate on the busy palate, somewhat accentuated with a bright minerally shine. It gained further intensity over time, turning slightly austere at the finish though that same brightness remained.

2013 Château Valandraud Blanc, courtesy of Marc. Has that same exuberance as the 2007, exuding powerful hues of resin, glue and jackfruit that teased the palate with great detail and precision without being overwhelming, developing some creamy bright minerally tones as it finished with fine linearity.

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2008 Château Pavie Macquin, courtesy of Marc. Intense bouquet of wild berries and dark currants that exudes a surprising calming effect. Rather full, deeply flavoured with broad swathes of warm ripe fruit tinged with traces of green, almost velvety, though yet to develop inner detail. Plenty of promise.

2009 Château Beauséjour Duffau-Lagarrosse, courtesy of Russ. Beautifully open, flooding the palate with an expanse of juicy fruit amid overtones of rose petals. Highly succulent and fleshy with poised refinement in spite of its underlying fine intensity, finishing with a tinge of sweetness.

2008 Château Larcis Ducasse, poured from magnum. Dark deep purple. Quite open, imbued with black fruits and dark currants that revealed fine detail with a bit of tarry quality. Very well-proportioned with fine acidity, betraying just a hint of burliness towards its finish that’s probably a characteristic of that vintage.

2006 Château La Gaffelière, courtesy of KP. Deep garnet red. Dark plummy tones and red currants dominate, fleshy and highly supple with a lovely fullness. Poised with quiet controlled elegance and intensity with a deeper vein of fruit, not showy at all, opening up well to reveal further velvety detail. Excellent.

2000 Château Beau-Séjour Bécot, courtesy of KP. Deep garnet red. Open with superb suppleness, displaying tremendous harmony with a smooth quiet intensity as it exuded overtones of soy and Chinese tea leaves tinged with capsicum. Distinctly feminine with an understated regal intensity, yielding further detail and red fruits to the fore as it grew in further intensity through the evening. Outstanding.

2002 Château La Mondotte, courtesy of Melvin. Deep garnet red. Essentially shut on the nose though there is a subtle glow of black and red plums amid overtones of varnish and enamel. Surprisingly open on the medium-full palate with very good concentration of fruit without being overwhelming.

2000 Château Troplong Mondot, courtesy of KC. Deep purple. Was there a trace of cork taint on the nose? Undoubtedly beautiful, though, on the open palate, wonderfully supple with excellent verve and intensity, finishing with great persistence that lingered with an effusive glow. Distinctly 2000.

2001 Château Troplong Mondot, courtesy of Kieron. Poured from magnum. Gentle glow of complex red fruits tinged with incense. Medium-full. Open with a certain relaxed feel. Doesn’t quite possess the opulence of the 2000 though its distinct menthol lift eventually developed with superb intensity into a glowing finish.

2003 Château Troplong Mondot, courtesy of Choon Lai. Crimson. Open with a smooth expanse of red fruits. Fleshy and well-endowed though there is a hint of unresolved alcohol that betrayed the excessive heat of the vintage.

1989 Château Canon La-Gaffelière, courtesy of Stephen. Dark. Still rather full even as it has reached full maturity with tertiary characters of cedar, mahogany and ember. Beautifully balanced with good refinement and resolution on the palate, finishing with an attractive sweetness.

1989 Château Tertre Roteboeuf, courtesy of Russ. Outside of theme but who can refuse anything from this estate? Wonderful depth of tangerines on the nose that led to mature fleshy savoury characters on the palate, showing a bit of its age though the great open intensity that came through more than made up for it, finishing with a dash of roasted sweet meat.

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