La Fleur-Pétrus and Hermitage La Chapelle
|My third tasting of the Hermitage '97 confirms it as an absolutely
stunning vintage, probably the best since 1990. Crammed with fruit, but with wonderful length and the structure to age. The
Pomerol only really started to show well after several hours of opening. |
Jaboulet (Rhône) Hermitage La Chapelle 1997
Opaque ruby/purple colour. Delicious nose. Big, dry with charcoal and sweet black fruit and a depth of dark chocolate and earthiness. On the palate there is succulent bitter plum-skin and blueberry fruit, plus ripe blackberry and a sheen of sweet vanilla. Syrah. There is a real peppery warmth to the finish, which is extraordinarily long. Very good indeed.
Mouton-Rothschild and Ridge Monte Bello
The second two wines made for a fascinating contrast: a top Bordeaux verses a top Californian "Bordeaux blend" of Cabernet and
Merlot. Both are marvellous wines, the Monte Bello more opulent and darker-hued, the Mouton-Rothschild more subtle, yet intriguingly fragrant.
Drunk with some noisettes of lamb, both worked beautifully well
Ridge Vineyards (California) Monte Bello Cabernet 1992
My first experience of this, regarded by many afficionados as California's greatest Bordeaux-style wine, 80% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot. It has a fabulously seductive, opulent nose of blue/black berry fruit, kirsch and sweet violet notes. The palate too is silky and rich, with a core of dense, dusty fruit, a nice cedar and herbal edge, and a wonderfully integrated underpinning structure of ripe tannins and moderate acidity. Drinking beautifully, but still very young.