Vintage Pairs Events

Vinatge Pairs Round 11, 21 Feb 2017

In this round of Vintage Pairs Blind Tasting, we served:


Pavillon Blanc de Chateau Margaux

This is pure Sauvignon Blanc, and has been part of the Chateau Margaux estate since the 17th century. While Pavillon Rouge is the 2nd label red of the estate, Pavillon Blanc is the 1st. In the 19th century is was sold as ‘Chateau Margaux vin de sauvignon’. I suppose they might wonder today why they changed the name in 1920 to its present one.

2010 – The modern, bolder (yet still pure) more concentrated, more ambitious PB period began here. Great weather conditions. (13.5% abv).
2002 – Not a memorable Bordeaux year. Cool humid summer giving (I expect) a more elegant, less showy sort of PB. (14.5% abv might suggest not).


Domaine Chevillon Nuits-Saint-Georges 1er Cru ‘Les Saint-Georges’

Nineteenth century marketing saw many Burgundy villages append the name of their most prestigious vineyard to the village name. Gevrey became Gevrey-Chambertin, Chambolle to Chambolle-Musigny, Puligny to Puligny-Montrachet, and so on. For the village of Nuits this was the vineyard Les Saint-Georges. I mention this because the others are what we today AOC laws have as grands crus. Les Saint-Georges is the exception (though there is a current battle in Burugndy to see Saint-Georges upgraded to grand cru). For the Chevillons ‘It’s rich and complex structure combines power and elegance. A very good candidate for ageing 8/15 years. From its youth this vintage can seduce with its harmony.’

2011 – known for fruity forward drinking well balanced medium weight reds. 13.5% abv.
2001 – fine, classic vintage, sophisticated wines now drinking well. 13.5% abv.


Chateau Magdeleine, St.-Emilion 1er grand cru classé

A really beautiful property on St.-Emilion’s limestone ridge. The Moeix family decided to combine it with Chateau Belair to create Chateau Belair-Monange from the 2012 vintage. I’ve always found Magdeleine to be a St.-Emilion of finesse and fragrance and a graceful sort of strength (bottles from the ‘40s, and ‘50s can still be wonderful). It was 90% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc.

1985 – medium weight, classically ripe elegant vintage. 12.6% abv
1982 – warmer vintage with more candied fruit character and more tannic structure.


Stonyridge ‘Larose’

Stephen White set out in the early 1980s to make a New Zealand answer to the cru classes of the Medoc. Indeed, all five red grape varieties are planted here, though the proprtions vary year on year. The climate on Waiheke Island – as you’d imagine – is maritime, not that far off Bordeaux. A ‘cult’ wine in New Zealand, almost entirely distributed through a closed mailing list. These are from my allocation bought in the mid 2000s, but left at the winery’s cellar until last year.

2005 – hot dry year, and no rain at harvest. Small yield year.44% Cabernet Sauvignon, 21% Malbec, 15% Petit Verdot, 15% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc. 505 cases produced. 13.5% abv.

2003 – cool summer, long hang time, year regarded as offering good complexity.
44% Cabernet Sauvignon, 22% Malbec, 21% Petit Verdot, 11% Merlot, 2% Cabernet Franc. 760 cases produced. 13% abv.


1994 Vega Sicilia

A very grand and important wine in Spain. The estate sits on a very special clay-limestone terroir, on a gentle slope between woodland and the Ribera del Duero, at Valbuena, about a 45 minute drive from Valladolid Airport in Castile and Leon.

The continental climate is low in rainfall, bountiful in sunshine, but also – critically, a good diurnal range providing cool nights (this is a plateau high above sea level), allows for a gradual, long growing season, delivering fruit with good ripeness, intensity, complexity and freshness potential. The traditional local variety of Tempranillo – Tinto Fino, constitutes around 85% (today) of the blend, and the balance is Cabernet Sauvignon, brought to Spain’s aristocratic estates in the 19th century. 1994 was one of the great classic vintages at Vega Sicilia.

Valbuena #5 – 5 years total ageing from fermentation (some in bottle) before release. More Merlot and less Cabernet Sauvignon in the blend than Unico, and for earlier drinking, much like the 2nd wines of the top tier Medocs. 13.5% abv.
Unico – the top wine of the estate. More intensity, structure and later released (10 years) than Valbuena. The 1994 is 80% Tinto Fino, 13% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Merlot, 2%... oops, we’ll get back to you. 13.5% abv.

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View our past Vintage Pairs wine selection

Vintage Wine Bottle size Score
2010 Pavillon Blanc de Chateau Margaux 750ml WA 92
2002 Pavillon Blanc de Chateau Margaux 750ml WA 91
2011 Domaine Chevillon Nuits-Saint-Georges 1er Cru ‘Les Saint-Georges’ 750ml BH 92-95
2001 Domaine Chevillon Nuits-Saint-Georges 1er Cru ‘Les Saint-Georges’ 750ml --
1985 Chateau Magdelaine 750ml WA 87
1982 Chateau Magdelaine 750ml WA 87
2005 Stonyridge ‘Larose’ 750ml --
2003 Stonyridge ‘Larose’ 750ml --
1994 Vega Sicilia Valbuena #5 750ml --
1994 Vega Sicilia Unico 750ml WA 96

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