I don’t do this very often, but what about a bit of blind Bordeaux tasting? 🙂
We have twelve wines; multiple vintages of the Pomerol Château Hosanna before us, arranged into four flights of three – but each flight containing a ringer, or as they say in Switzerland, ‘a Pirate’! We know the identities of each wine in the flight but don’t know which is which, scoring is mandatory and out of 20. Let’s see…
Flight 1: Containing 1999 and 2007 Hosanna plus 2002 L’Eglise Clinet
Wine 1. Medium-plus colour. Oldest colour of the three wines. The nose is top-to-bottom interesting, with a hint of cream though also a powdery fruit that borders on ‘musty’. Time in the glass clears the must and adds dark plum fruit. In the mouth this starts a little soft but builds a wiry muscle – plenty of bitter-chocolate in the finish. 18/20
Wine 2. Middle-aged colour of the three. The nose is more floral and higher toned – no bass notes to start. Slowly the aromas fill out adding a little leather. In the mouth this wine is much younger / less resolved – lots of structure – super acidity and grippy tannin. Long oak-tannin notes in the finish. 17/20
Wine 3. Youngest colour. The nose is very round and creamy – if anything too much vanilla-cream, it is almost tending to lactic. This wine mirrors the nose with a very round impression in the mouth, but, is there something behind this curtain of oak(?) I’m not sure that there is real depth here. The finish is understated but lingers well. Overall not as charming as the nose would have you expect. 15.5/20
From colour alone it is clear that the wines are easy to place: my order 1999, 2002, 2007. Result 3 correct. This ‘blind’ tasting is pretty easy 😉 Running total 3 from 3.
Flight 2: Containing 2000 and 2001 Hosanna plus 2001 Valandraud
Wine 4. Youngest looking colour. A deep but not so full nose, edged with hints of green. Full and round in the mouth with a little grain to understated tannins. Dark flavours, and very long too with a saline finish. Super wine. 19/20
Wine 5. Same colour as wine 6. Young fruit and tobacco on the nose and also like the last wine a twist of something green. Velvet texture and a little more acidity than wine 4. Fresher, peppery flavours and though the flavours grow more in the mid-palate I’m not sure the finish is as long as the first wine. 18/20
Wine 6. A silky, plummy nose though not as demonstrative as the others in the flight. Clean, fresh entry with soft fine tannins. Again I’m not so sure about the length but this is clearly the most elegantly proportioned wine of the three. 17.5/20
The colours were the best clues in the last flight so I’ll use that again – two are the same so they must be the 01s, but that’s inconvenient because the oldest wine would have the youngest colour! Still there’s only 1 year difference and 2000 is supposed to be a great vintage. Okay I’m decided 4=2000 H. 5=2001 V. 6=2001 H. Result (ouch) 4=01 V. 5=00 H. 6=01 H. Only 1 correct – maybe blind tasting is not so easy! Running total 4 from 6.
Flight 3: Containing 2003 and 2004 Hosanna plus 2002 Le Plus de Lafleur Bouard
Wine 7. A little darker than wine 9, lighter than wine 8. High toned and a little estery with some leather. Plenty of dimension in the mouth, high-toned fruit and the intensity fighting to make you swallow. The finish is subtle and undemonstrative but really long. 18/20
Wine 8. Saturated colour – must be 2003! Really good width to the aromas though with limited depth and a subtle hint of green herb. Lots of grainy tannin here – it’s like sucking a little flavour through sand – but good flavour despite the sand! 16.5/20
Wine 9. Has the most interesting aromas – to start with there’s not quite the width of the other two wines but it fills out a little in the glass – perhaps even a hint of tar. Lovely balance and a clear hint of mocha to the flavour. 16.5/20
The colour mandates that number 8 must be the 2003. A co-taster asks what mocha means as he’s seen it a note for one of the wines – which one I ask, ‘2003’ he says. Shame, I had mocha for wine 9 but that’s not the 2003! In the end I choose 7=2004 H. 8=2003 H. 9=2002 Le Plus. Result (ouch) 7=04 8=02(!!!) 9=03(!!!) Oh-dear, I should have stuck with my palate not the colours, that 02 was remarkably extracted for the vintage then. Running total 5 from 9.
Flight 4: Containing 2005 and 2006 Hosanna plus 2005 Gazin
Wine 10. Saturated colour. High-toned aromas and a little alcohol burn in your nose, there’s also dried meat and a spicy plum compote. Super-full in the mouth, concentrated and intense. Plenty of grainy tannin but it’s not too forward. Very long and a little heat here too. Very long, though a little less exciting than the wine that follows and perhaps just a hint less ripe fruit. 18.5/20
Wine 11. Almost saturated. The nose is deeper and more fruit-driven than the last wine – there’s also a hint of alcohol burning the nose but a lower level than wine 10. Almost silky to start and super-intense. The wine’s flavour grows and grows with lovely acidity – there’s an extra dimension of flavour here which is mirrored in the finish too. The best yet! 19.5/20
Wine 12. Almost saturated colour. The nose is round, but a little tight – no burn though. Concentrated and incredibly elegant in the mouth, the tannin is a little sticky rather than grainy – the only wine (of the whole tasting) like this. Clearly different to the other two I love the style of this. It is more understated than wine number 11 today – but might be better one day – it’s a beauty. 19/20
So the colour worked for me once but failed me twice – I’m ignoring that then! Wine 12 is quite different in style to the other two but is that a vintage or a producer difference(….?) Given the lack of burn on the nose I will guess that wine 12 is from a less ripe vintage, which would imply (possibly…) 2006. But which of the others is Gazin? I find wine 11 stands apart from all the others in the tasting because of the extra dimension of flavour in the mid-palate and finish, and despite the flavour fireworks it also seems a hint rustic when compared to the other two wines. Okay I’m ready, 10 and 12 same producer, 12 a different vintage so end I choose 10=2005 H. 11=2005 G. 12=2006 H. Result 10=05 Gazin(!) 11=06 H.(!) 12=05 H.
Final total 5 from 12 – oh well…
Great fun, thanks to Vinifera-Mundi!