2001 Chateau Lanessan (Pre-Arrival)

Here at TWH, we’re always looking out for the best quality wines to stock for you. If that takes us to far away places, so be it. David’s annual trip to Burgundy in January uncovered some great new wines which have recently arrived. Anya’s NYC Italian tasting brought us some stellar wines that push the envelope when it comes to quality for price. It’s a huge bonus when we fall in love with a wine with such a reasonable price that we have to scream about it. It’s a bigger bonus when that wine happens to be a Red Bordeaux!But that’s just what happened during my April visit.I had a 3:00pm appointment for which I arrived a little early. (Last year, I had a 2:00pm, and the negociants’ offices were tumbleweed. They like their long lunches.) I sat and relaxed, remembering the 50 or so wines I tasted at another negoc’s office before lunch. Now I was deep in thought about the 2010 barrel samples that awaited me. The first room I entered was this one here; plenty of wine to taste, but not too overwhelming. Come to find out it was the room of “other vintages”. There were some petits chateaux from 2008 and 2009, some recognizable names from such vintages as 1996, 2001, and 2005, and for some reason a really famous chateau’s 1999. We just started tasting … and talking. Spitting of course. The vibe is pretty casual here. All of the wines are for sale and the unopened bottles can surely be opened if anyone was interested in them. I must have only gone through a handful or so, and then poured the 2001 Chateau Lanessan, Haut-Medoc.
Moments like these are why we make the trips! What a great discovery! I don’t need to look at my notebook; even after tasting all the wines I tasted over a 10 day period, I remember this one. Well. Its aromatics were of honest, old-school Bordeaux. There was a distinct herbal, earthy character wrapping the medium Cabernet fruit that was the core. On the palate it showed great complexity, weight, and balance. It was revealing secondary complexity due to time in bottle, but what put me over the top was that it finished fresh and vibrant. A peek back at my notes reveals similar descriptors, but what’s with all the stars, asterisks, and squiggly lines? And the words “Oh Yeah!” after the note? That must have been when he told me the price.After that lengthy day of tasting, I did a little research on Chateau Lanessan. It was then that my interest piqued. The property lies just south of St. Julien about a kilometer west of the D2 in the Haut-Medoc. The story is interesting; according to David Peppercorn, “Lanessan is surely one of the best growths of the Medoc not to be classified in 1855. And the strange thing is its excellence is no recent feature.” He goes on to say, “It was listed as a quatrieme cru by Lawton in 1815, when under the name Duboscq. But unfortunately, Louis Delbos, the proprietor in 1855, refused to send samples of his wines for consideration for the famous classification, which he regarded as bureaucratic nonsense, a piece of high-handedness that has cost Lanessan dearly.” Very interesting, indeed! And therein lies a good reason why we are able to offer you this great wine for $24 per bottle! Or $22 per bottle, by the case. Please note: This is a pre-arrival offer. The wine is in Bordeaux, we expect it to arrive early fall through the end of 2011.Peter Zavialoff
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Filed under Bordeaux, French Wine, Peter Zavialoff

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