The UGC de Bordeaux Comes To California – 2007 Vintage

As I stated in a previous email, it was around this time last year that the Union des Grands Crus de Bordeaux came to San Francisco to pour the newly bottled 2006 vintage. They were scheduled to do it again at the end of January, but decided to cut their junket short and skip us altogether. On relative short notice, I scrambled my way down to LA to attend the UGC tasting in Hollywood. Remembering how the wines tasted out of barrel back in March/April 2008, I was ready to taste them now that they’ve been bottled. All in all, it was a pleasant surprise.

 
Flash back to the en primeur tastings in Bordeaux in 2008. As we headed north through the Medoc on morning one, we had no idea how the wines would show. Rumors were swirling (sorry, I can’t help it) in regard to the Indian Summer that supposedly saved what would have been a lackluster vintage whose growing season was marked by murky weather at best. What I found very interesting was the fact that because the summer weather was not hot and sunny, the hang time of the grapes was much longer than usual allowing them to fully ripen physiologically. Just hearing this made me think classic in regard to the vintage; meaning wines that were not necessarily “showy” in their youth, but wines that would gain in complexity each year stored in my cellar. The barrel tastings were highly educational. The top chateaux presented some outstanding samples (go figure, right?). Of course, they were able to afford to severely limit yields sending scores of workers into the vineyards all season. Well, it paid off. There were some other fine samples presented by lesser growth chateaux, but it was hit or miss at those levels. On the right bank, it was hit or miss again. As far as the red wines went, it is the type of vintage where one would need some guidance. The white wines, both dry and sweet, were another story. More on that later.

Back to the present. After a lengthy flight delay, I made it to the tasting … a little late … well, it was right when I snapped this photo. As you can see, it was in full swing. The beauty of it was that the mob was in the larger room on the right, so Pessac, St. Emilion, and Pomerol were easy access straight away. As I tasted through the Pessac-Leognan reds, it was not a surprise that I thought highly of the Haut-Bailly, Pape Clement, and Smith Haut-Lafitte. But with many of the others, I picked up more than a hint of what I like to call “Old School Bordeaux Funk”.

Switching gears completely, I was in St. Emilion and was taken by the Chateau Canon quickly. It was “delicate” and “elegant” (if I can read my own handwriting). All in all, the St. Emilions showed very well. The Pomerols showed great power and intensity … these will age well. Then it was the Margaux appellation, which was a little spotty. That left bank “funkiness” was back. St. Julien was similar; Pauillac had a few standouts. Lynch Bages and Pontet Canet showed very well, but leave it to Pichon Lalande to win the honor of best red!

I finally caught up to the mob. Where were they? Sauternes and Barsac. These wines are an absolute treat! It was another stellar vintage for the Noble Rot; the wines that were harmonious and well balanced out of barrel have taken on an extra dimension now that they are in bottle. I’m not going back on my claim that 2005 was the best Sauternes vintage of the decade, but in one case a 2007 trumps its 2005 counterpart. When I got to Chateau Climens, I had to fight my way through what I considered to be a Hollywood “see and be seen” party, complete with film crew. Well, the wine was stellar! So good, mind you, that we sold out of the tag ends we had left the very next day. One guess as to the general geographic area of all of the buyers … southern Cal, of course. There was much praise on ERobertParker.com’s bulletin board as well, and I will go on the record here … now … time stamp it. This will be one of those wines. You know what I’m on about here. It seems very likely to me that it will get 100 points from Robert Parker and/or The Wine Spectator. I was so impressed with the 2007 Climens that it would not surprise me at all if one day the phones started lighting up and the whole country needed to own this wine! So in preparation, we were able to secure an additional allocation of this soon to be trophy wine!

I took a victory lap back to Pessac-Leognan to taste whichever dry whites remained, no surprise, it was Pape Clement and Smith Haut-Lafitte again! I landed at SHL and decided to stop spitting as I was finished. Always one captivated by all things musical, I spyed the Capitol Records building in the distance and snapped this here parting shot before the sun set. 

My conclusion is unfortunately similar to the consensus (that’s not usually how I roll); it was a trying vintage for the red wines on the left bank (save the few mentioned here and the atavistic “Old School Funky” ones, and I’m sure the top growth who don’t pour at these events … sadly). The right bank reds showed panache and verve without being overdone, and I applaud the efforts there. The dry whites were very well balanced with zippy acidity. And finally, the Sauternes … Ah, the Sauternes. Oh yeah, the de Fargues was sensational also; but there can only be one winner, and that would be the Climens … hands down!Peter Zavialoff

Please contact me with any questions, comments, or if you need any recommendations on 2007 Bordeaux: peter.winehouse@sbcglobal.net

One more thing … All wines are on pre-arrival. We expect them sometime late this year. Please know: this is our 33rd year in business. We’ve been doing this for a long time. Sometimes you will see the wines in our shop before others. Sometimes, vice versa. Please keep in mind, we use only temperature controlled containers for all our wine shipments at all times of the year. We have a litany of customers who purchase their Bordeaux exclusively from us year in and year out, and there is good reason for that. All the wines arrive, every time, in pristine condition! And we are still able to offer highly competitive pricing! Below, our complete 2007 Bordeaux inventory:

2007 Chateau Branaire Ducru Saint Julien (Pre-Arrival)
Red Wine; Bordeaux Blend; Bordeaux;
$49.00
Add to Cart
UGC LA 1/10: Rich fruit and earth on nose; spicy, intense fruit on palate; lasting finish showing sweet tannins with a savory, pleasant hint of youthful bitterness.
2007 Chateau Cos d’Estournel Saint Estephe (Pre-Arrival)
Red Wine; Bordeaux Blend; Bordeaux;
$110.00
Add to Cart
Barrel Tasting at Chateau 3/08: Complex nose – truffly, cinnamon spice and earth; palate: big bold fruit, leathery tannins; finish of stewed, dark fruit and spice
2007 Chateau Ducru Beaucaillou Saint Julien (Pre-Arrival)
Red Wine; Bordeaux Blend; Bordeaux;
$89.00
Add to Cart
Barrel tasting at Chateau 4/10: Deep, dark Cabernet fruit, well integrated oak on nose; thick, not sweet fruit on palate, vibrant acidity; gains intensity on finish
2007 Chateau Leoville Las Cases Saint Julien (Pre-Arrival)
Red Wine; Bordeaux Blend; Bordeaux;
$159.00
Add to Cart
Barrel Tasting at Chateau 4/08: Big fruity nose with hints of mocha; round mouthfeel fruit over tannins; finish of toasty purple fruit with tannins, very nice.
2007 Chateau Lynch Bages Pauillac (Pre-Arrival)
Red Wine; Bordeaux Blend; Bordeaux;
$69.50
Add to Cart
UGC LA 1/10: Rich, dark fruit on nose; round on palate, balanced; seems to gain in intensity- fruit first, then acidity, and velvety tannins.
2007 Chateau Margaux Pavillon Rouge (Pre-Arrival)
Red Wine; Bordeaux Blend; Bordeaux;
$64.00
Add to Cart
Barrel Tasting at Chateau 4/08: Savory, spicy, meaty, smoky, herbs, lots going on aromatically; palate – delicate and elegant, tannins and acid balanced; finishes elegant with layers of meatiness and herbs.
2007 Chateau Margaux Margaux (Pre-Arrival)
Red Wine; Bordeaux Blend; Bordeaux;
$419.00
Add to Cart
Barrel Tasting at Chateau 4/08: Expressive fruit and layers of earth and herbs on nose; powerful and gripping, unyielding on palate; finish of black cherry, spicy earth, leathery tannins … lingers on …
2007 Chateau Haut Brion Le Clarence de Haut-Brion (Pre-Arrival)
Red Wine; Bordeaux Blend; Bordeaux;
$75.00
Add to Cart
Barrel Tasting at Chateau 4/08: Earthy tones, expressive dark fruit on nose; excellent weight, acid/tannin structure holding the dark fruit and earth in check; hint of menthol on finish, perfect balance. In a word, lovely.
2007 Chateau Haut Brion Pessac-Leognan (Pre-Arrival)
Red Wine; Bordeaux Blend; Bordeaux;
$409.00
Add to Cart
Barrel Tasting at Chateau 4/08: Aromatics humming … plenty of earth and spice with dark fruit on top; luscious, chocolaty mouth feel, fruit, herbs, mineral, wow! Finish carries it all home, the acidity makes it seem like music from FM as opposed to AM.
2007 Chateau La Mission Haut Brion Pessac Leognan (Pre-Arrival)
Red Wine; Bordeaux Blend; Bordeaux;
$349.00
Add to Cart
Barrel Tasting at Chateau 4/08: Full throttle, concentrated fruit, well integrated oak; racy acidity, rich structure; vibrant on finish, fruit emerges slowly and lasts and lasts.
2007 Chateau Lafite-Rothschild Pauillac (Pre-Arrival)
Red Wine; Bordeaux Blend; Bordeaux;
$419.00
Add to Cart
Barrel Tasting at Chateau 4/08: Black cherry cola, black tea; soft mouthfeel, chocolaty, tobacco, lower acid; youthful fruit, dark.
2007 Chateau Mouton Rothschild Pauillac (Pre-Arrival)
Red Wine; Bordeaux Blend; Bordeaux;
$419.00
Add to Cart
Barrel Tasting at Chateau 4/08: Is it me, or do all the first growth have this chocolaty, luscious thing? Smoky incense on nose with dark cassis fruit; tight and dense, balanced but intense; mineral and cassis on lasting finish.
2007 Chateau Pichon Longueville Baron Pauillac (Pre-Arrival)
Red Wine; Bordeaux Blend; Bordeaux;
$89.00
Add to Cart
Barrel Tasting at Pauillac UGC 4/08: Spicy, dark RED fruit; gingerbread essence on palate, firm; cherry, ginger spice, lower acid, toasty finish.
2007 Chateau Pichon Lalande Pauillac (Pre-Arrival)
Red Wine; Bordeaux Blend; Bordeaux;
$99.00
Add to Cart
UGC LA 1/10: Perfectly balanced in every way; elegant and restrained, yet highly expressive with a fine array of complexity. Wine of the tasting!
2007 Chateau Pontet Canet Pauillac (half bottle) (Pre-Arrival)
Red Wine; Bordeaux Blend; Bordeaux;
$39.00
Add to Cart
2007 Chateau Pontet Canet Pauillac (Pre-Arrival)
Red Wine; Bordeaux Blend; Bordeaux;
$75.00
Add to Cart
Pressure’s on; this was the “wine of the UGC Pauillac barrel tasting” in 4/08. At UGC LA 1/10: Huge intense fruity aromatics, boysenberry, blackberry, I feel like I’m rolling around in the brambly bushes without getting stuck by thorns! Fully weighted, I feel like this is still in its “shy stage”, but that can’t be … finish is perfectly balanced and goes and goes … I buy!
2007 Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte Pessac-Leognan (Pre-Arrival)
Red Wine; Bordeaux Blend; Bordeaux;
$56.00
Add to Cart
At UGC LA 1/10: Gamey nose, forest floor, old school funk; medium/full weight, has complexity, earthy for sure; finish gamey and zippy, grreeeaat!
2007 Chateau Grand Puy Lacoste Pauillac (Pre-Arrival)
Red Wine; Bordeaux Blend; Bordeaux;
$55.00
Add to Cart
2007 Chateau Figeac Saint Emilion (Pre-Arrival)
Red Wine; Merlot; Bordeaux;
$86.00
Add to Cart
At UGC LA 1/10: Always a standout, herbal infused dark fruit nose; gamey Cabernet fruit detectable, yet struts its elegant self; fruit over acid over tannin on lovely, balanced finish.
2007 Chateau Troplong Mondot Saint Emilion (Pre-Arrival)
Red Wine; Merlot; Bordeaux;
$78.00
Add to Cart
At UGC LA 1/10: Dense, dark fruit and rich toasty mocha spice; fruit intense, hiding behind modern toasty oak, bet Parker likes this one … (Yes he did 90-93 points out of barrel)
2007 Chateau Canon Saint Emilion (Pre-Arrival)
Red Wine; Merlot; Bordeaux;
$64.00
Add to Cart
Wow! Delicate and elegant, with lovely perfumy aromatics; restrained and balanced, all kinds of stuff going on here; great, long finish, superb!
2007 Chateau Monbousquet Saint Emilion Blanc (Pre-Arrival)
White Wine; Sauvignon Blanc; Bordeaux;
$85.00
Add to Cart
After tasting through all of the Perse (Pavie et al.) reds, this was a very welcome relief!
2007 Chateau Haut Brion Pessac-Leognan Blanc (Pre-Arrival)
White Wine; Bordeaux Blend; Bordeaux;
$674.00
Add to Cart
2007 Chateau Laville Haut Brion Graves (Pre-Arrival)
White Wine; Semillon; Bordeaux;
$619.00
Add to Cart
2007 Chateau Margaux Pavillon Blanc (Pre-Arrival)
White Wine; Sauvignon Blanc; Bordeaux;
$155.00
Add to Cart
Barrel Tasting at Chateau 4/08: Lemons and minerals; herbal, stony and round on palate; lively and intense finish, all the bells ringing!
2007 Chateau Climens Barsac (half bottle) (Pre-Arrival)
Sweet Wine; Semillon; Bordeaux;
$92.00
Add to Cart
2007 Chateau Climens Barsac (Pre-Arrival)
Sweet Wine; Semillon; Bordeaux;
$179.00
Add to Cart
At UGC LA 1/10: Rich, complex aromas, botrytis profound, allows for a panopoly of aromas: candied pear, butter, yet has an amazing extra dimension; sublime on palate, sits softly with all of those nuances pinching every corner of your mouth; finishes with a flurry, lively, more candied white fruit and a hint of butter rum; no wonder there are cameras here! Better than the ’05!
2007 Chateau Nairac Barsac (half bottle) (Pre-Arrival)
Sweet Wine; Semillon; Bordeaux;
$33.50
Add to Cart
2007 Chateau Nairac Barsac (Pre-Arrival)
Sweet Wine; Semillon; Bordeaux;
$65.00
Add to Cart
Barrel Tasting at UGC Sauternes 4/08: Nose: Sauvignon present, sweet citrus and spice; youthful and vibrant, racy acidity; zippy and tangy finish, quite lovely.
2007 Chateau Rieussec Sauternes (half bottle) (Pre-Arrival)
Sweet Wine; Semillon; Bordeaux;
$45.00
Add to Cart
2007 Chateau Rieussec Sauternes (Pre-Arrival)
Sweet Wine; Semillon; Bordeaux;
$88.00
Add to Cart
Barrel Tasting at UGC Sauternes 4/08: Light and pleasant, nutty with botrytis, intensifies on palate; dried candy fruit; yeasty, toasty finish.
2007 Chateau Suduiraut Sauternes (half bottle) (Pre-Arrival)
Sweet Wine; Bordeaux Blend; Bordeaux;
$38.50
Add to Cart
2007 Chateau Suduiraut Sauternes (Pre-Arrival)
Sweet Wine; Bordeaux Blend; Bordeaux;
$75.00
Add to Cart
Barrel Tasting at UGC Sauternes 4/08: Hints of citrus and cut grass, mellow and nuanced Sauv Blanc dominated nose; intensifies, menthol, citrus, candied pear, and zippy acid on palate; mellow finish, very well balanced and nuanced.
2007 Chateau Coutet Barsac (half bottle) (Pre-Arrival)
Sweet Wine; Semillon; Bordeaux;
$30.50
Add to Cart
2007 Chateau Coutet Barsac (Pre-Arrival)
Sweet Wine; Semillon; Bordeaux;
$59.00
Add to Cart
Barrel Tasting at UGC Sauternes 4/08: Marshmallow and orchard fruit, hint of grassyness on nose; dense and intense, “what a fine wine” botrytis present; deep finish of botrytis and fades slowly.
2007 Chateau de Fargues Sauternes (half bottle) (Pre-Arrival)
Sweet Wine; Semillon; Bordeaux;
$65.50
Add to Cart
2007 Chateau de Fargues Sauternes (Pre-Arrival)
Sweet Wine; Semillon; Bordeaux;
$129.00
Add to Cart
At UGC LA 1/10: Rich botrytis, hints of butterscotch, candied tropical fruit; racy, hits the spot, all systems firing, intensifies; finishes all together, my, what complexity!
2007 Chateau Doisy Daene Barsac (Pre-Arrival)
Sweet Wine; Bordeaux Blend; Bordeaux;
$45.00
Add to Cart
At UGC LA 1/10: Rich botrytis on nose, seductive in a way; medium weight, it builds as it sits, delicate, yet rich; finishes with more intensity, nutty, candy like with fine acidity.
2007 Chateau de Myrat Barsac (half bottle) (Pre-Arrival)
Sweet Wine; Semillon; Bordeaux;
$20.00
Add to Cart
2007 Chateau de Myrat Barsac (Pre-Arrival)
Sweet Wine; Semillon; Bordeaux;
$38.00
Add to Cart
Barrel Tasting at UGC Sauternes 4/08: Hint of petrol intertwined with candied white friut; zippy and alive on palate with citrus; long finish, racy, hint of candied peaches and pineapple.
2007 Chateau Doisy Vedrines Barsac (half bottle) (Pre-Arrival)
Sweet Wine; Bordeaux Blend; Bordeaux;
$20.50
Add to Cart
2007 Chateau Doisy Vedrines Barsac (Pre-Arrival)
Sweet Wine; Bordeaux Blend; Bordeaux;
$39.50
Add to Cart
Barrel Tasting at UGC Sauternes 4/08: Fresh and alive, floral, yet has caramel like depth; hints of exotic fruit, lychees?; harmonious finish, nutty and balanced.
2007 Chateau d’Yquem Sauternes (half bottle) (Pre-Arrival)
Sweet Wine; Semillon; Bordeaux;
$339.00
Add to Cart
2007 Chateau d’Yquem Sauternes (Pre-Arrival)
Sweet Wine; Semillon; Bordeaux;
$669.00
Add to Cart
Barrel Tasting at Chateau 4/08: Softly … acid, massively expansive- hits all points; it’s all about balance here, candied white fruit, spice; all wrapped up in a long, long finish … do I have to spit this??!!
2007 Chateau d’Yquem Sauternes (in magnum) (Pre-Arrival)
Sweet Wine; Semillon; Bordeaux;
$1359.00
Add to Cart

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Filed under 2007 Bordeaux, Bordeaux, French Wine, Peter Zavialoff, Sauternes

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