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With Marielle Cazaux: La Conseillante 2005, 2006, 2010 & 2015

March 18, 2023

20230304_192534.jpgThe great Dr Ngoi hosted Mme. Marielle Cazaux, winemaker of Château La Conseillante since 2015, to dinner at Imperial Treasure Great World, Singapore, on 04 March 2023 in an all-Pomerol line-up that included a mini-vertical of La Conseillante (a 2004 was unfortunately corked). It was very good to meet Marielle again who still recalled our visit to her château in 2016, as well as our lunch at Shinzo in 2019. The 12 hectares of vines at La Conseillante, average age about 40 years, are split into 18 sub-plots, planted with 80% merlot and 20% cabernet franc on soil that is 60% grey clay and 40% sandy gravel. Interestingly, Marielle told us that 30% of vines actually sit within the Saint-Émilion soils of neighbouring Château Cheval Blanc. Planting density is cropped at 7000 vines per ha. The juice from each sub-plot is individually fermented in concrete vats and subsequently aged in 70% new oak for up to 18 months. Fining with egg white is utilized, as is racking every quarterly. About 10% of pressed wine is added to the final blend for additional flavouring, colour and intensity. The line-up that evening showed La Conseillante to be drinking beautifully according to the characteristics of each vintage, while Marielle’s maiden effort of 2015 tastes exactly as I’d remembered it to be when she’d served us barrel samples at the château. Merci beaucoup Dr Ngoi and Marielle!

2020 Samuel Billaud Chablis Blanchot Grand Cru, courtesy of Dr Ngoi. Pale golden. Fresh morning dew and clear citrus on the nose with a warm floral fragrance. Good density and intensity of fruit with a hint of longans, imbued with good energy, becoming a little minerally over time. Delicious.

2000 Pensées de Lafleur, courtesy of Dr Ngoi. Cool ripe darkish tones on the nose, leading to a medium-full density of raspberries and black berries that display delicate refined depth, structured with finely grained tannins and superb acidity that linger wit glowing intensity.

2009 Château Clinet, courtesy of Dr Ngoi. Deep garnet. Warm distant fragrance of dark roses and currants, delivering an intense palate of dark plums and ripe berries. Big, tight and densely structured with masculine power. Still largely primal, loosening up a little to reveal characters of soy laced with an understated sweetness, becoming more seamless and velvety over time. Excellent.

2004 Vieux Château Certan, courtesy of Dr Ngoi. Deep crimson. Shy on the nose though the fleshy medium-bodied palate is layered with silky smooth tannins imbued with some vegetal elements, displaying high-toned acidity and lithe intensity that taper to a fine glowing finish with a splash of spice.

2005 Château La Conseillante, courtesy of Dr Ngoi. Aired in bottle. Deep crimson. Dark fruits, plums and red currants dominate with cool ripeness and sleek velvety power on the darkish palate, boasting great balance and seamless integration with great supple intensity and sublime acidity, tinged with a dash of capsicum. On par with the very best of 2005.

20230304_203939.jpg2006 Château La Conseillante, courtesy of Dr Ngoi. Aired in bottle. Dark tones of raspberries and wild berries, packed with medium fruit that traverse the palate with relaxed charm and good transparency. Gelled together with warm ripeness and sleek acidity. One is really drinking the vintage.

2010 Château La Conseillante, courtesy of Marielle Cazaux. Decanted on-site. Deep purple. Beautifully defined bouquet of dark rose petals, currants, black cherries, earth and cedar, just beginning to exude early complexity while the ultra-silky palate boasts lovely sophistication and finesse underscored by sexy sublime acidity. Utterly seamless and impeccably proportioned with unobtrusive tannins. Not showy at all, simply brimming with quiet energy and regal elegance in the glass. It has that indescribable elusive presence and certain correctness that defines a complete wine. Truly outstanding.

2015 Château La Conseillante. The maiden vintage of Marielle Cazaux. Aired in bottle for two hours prior followed by further decanting on-site. Purplish crimson. A little shy at first before blossoming with an effusive floral presence of rose petals, dark cherries, raspberries and currants that exude a delicious darkish fragrance. Seamlessly integrated with lovely tensile presence and great balance on the palate, its fruit gloriously ripe and vibrant (perhaps a little too ripe), structured with sweet, sophisticated tannins that pack velvety power. Highly successful, in my opinion. Certainly neither jammy nor over-extracted although it doesn’t quite possess that silky sexy elegance of the outstanding 2010, perhaps confirming Marielle’s view that she ought to have followed her instinct and harvested earlier rather than allowing the fruit to hang for too long.

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