Wine Talk

Snooth User: JonDerry

Union des Grand Crus de Bordeaux (UGC) 2012

Posted by JonDerry, Dec 27, 2011.

Anyone going this year?

If you were ever going to go, this should be the year since the famed 2009 vintage will be poured.

For the LA event on January 20th, Wally's is offering a pre-event tasting an hour before featuring back vintages of Chateau Giscours, Vieux Chateau Certan, Troplong Mondot, Haut Bailly, Pape Clement, Smith Haut Lafite, and a couple I haven't really heard of or tasted, Du Tetre, and Beau Sejour Becot.

Last year's UGC for the 2008 vintage, and especially the pre-event put on by Wally's was an eye opener for me, truly the best opportunity around for general access and of course to taste what some of the best Chateau in Bordeaux have to offer, even if you're drinking way ahead of their drinking window's, this is what the critics must do anyway.

Here's the lineup for all the stops in North America in January:

January 20th - Los Angeles

January 21st - San Francisco

January 23rd - Miami 

January 24th, 25th - New York

January 26th - Chicago

January 27th - Toronto

January 28th - Montreal

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Reply by Gregory Dal Piaz, Dec 28, 2011.

I'm going to be out of the country for this. Which is too bad since it is a great eent.

Reply by MReff, Jan 9, 2012.

Jon, in looking at my invite, it states the 25th as the event, although I am sure that there are ample events on the 24th, usually dinners and such.  I will post notes after the NYC event.

Reply by JonDerry, Jan 9, 2012.

Awesome, hopefully you can find some time to post your thoughts of the event and of course, some tasting notes!

Reply by JonDerry, Jan 20, 2012.

Well, the big day is finally here, I have my priority list attached...and I really have no idea what wines will be poured at the pre-event, but 2005 Troplong Mondot and back vintages of Vieux Chateau Certan have been hinted at.

2012 Union des Grand Cru Tasting – 2009 Bordeaux

Priority Château List

  1. Château Pape Clément - Pessac  Léognan
  2. Château Haut-Bailly - Pessac  Léognan
  3. Château Smith Haut Lafitte - Pessac  Léognan
  4. Château Giscours – Margaux
  5. Château Rauzan-Ségla – Margaux
  6. Château Leoville Barton – Saint Julien
  7. Château Lynch - Bages Pauillac
  8. Château Pichon - Longueville Pauillac
  9. Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande Pauillac
  10. Château Pavie Macquin - Saint-Émilion Grand Cru
  11. Château Troplong Mondot - Saint-Émilion Grand Cru
  12. Château Figeac Saint - Émilion Grand Cru
  13. Château Canon Saint - Emilion Grand Cru
  14. Château Canon La Gaffelière - Saint - Emilion Grand Cru
  15. Château Clinet – Pomerol
  16. Château Gazin – Pomerol

Other Reputable Château

  1. Château Poujeaux - Moulis en Médoc
  2. Château Cantemerle - Haut Médoc
  3. Château Talbot - Saint Julien
  4. Château Langoa Barton – Saint Julien
  5. Château Brane-Cantenac  - Margaux
  6. Château Phelan Segur – Saint Estephe


Best Dessert Wines of Sauternes & Barsac

  1. Château Guiraud -  Sauternes
  2. Château La Tour Blanche - Sauternes
  3. Château Suduiraut  - Sauternes
Reply by JonDerry, Jan 20, 2012.

Some notes from Wine Spectator on 2009 Bordeaux...

"The 2009 vintage produced dense red wines loaded with ripe fruit flavors and polished tannins, with ample structure for cellaring. Many of the prominent classified growths produced classic-quality wines in 2009, but there are new and emerging faces as well." James Molesworth, Wine Spectator
2009 Leoville Barton:
"This is powerful Cabernet, with gutsy weight, but polished feel to the fresh plum, warm blackberry sauce, bittersweet ganache and roasted apple wood notes. Long and tarry through the finish, but still invigorating despite its heft. Will need some time to round fully into form. Best from 2017 through 2035." 95 Points, Wine Spectator
2009 Lynch Bages:
"Tight and backward, this has dense, almost chewy layers of fig, currant and plum cake behind a very solid wall of cedar, roasted vanilla and charcoal notes. There’s serious grip on the finish, with an iron edge that won’t quit. Best from 2015 through 2035." 96 Points, Wine Spectator

Reply by MReff, Jan 20, 2012.

Jon, is this tonight in LA??  Check to see if Ch Coutet is present?  THanks  looking forward to your notes


Reply by JonDerry, Jan 20, 2012.

Thanks for the rec on Coutet, my list on sauternes and barsac was probably weakest of all regions so i'll try to taste as many as I can.

Here's the full list of expected ctx tonight:

Members of the UGC Scheduled:

1 Château de Chantegrive Graves
2 Château Carbonnieux Pessac - léognan
3 Domaine de Chevalier Pessac - léognan
4 Château de Fieuzal Pessac - léognan
5 Château Haut - Bailly Pessac - léognan
6 Château Haut - Bergey Pessac - léognan
7 Château La Louvière Pessac - léognan
8 Château Larrivet Haut - Brion Pessac - léognan
9 Château Latour - Martillac Pessac - léognan
10 Château Malartic - Lagravière Pessac - léognan
11 Château Olivier Pessac - léognan
12 Château Pape Clément Pessac - léognan
13 Château Smith Haut Lafitte Pessac - Léognan
14 Château Beau - Séjour Bécot Saint - Émilion Grand Cru
15 Château Berliquet Saint - Emilion Grand Cru
16 Château Canon Saint - Emilion Grand Cru
17 Château Canon La Gaffelière Saint - Emilion Grand cru
18 Château Dassault Saint - Émilion Grand Cru
19 Château - Figeac Saint - Émilion Grand cru
20 Clos Fourtet Saint - Émilion Grand Cru
21 Château Grand Mayne Saint - Émilion Grand cru
22 Château La Couspaude Saint - Emilion Grand Cru
23 Château La Dominique Saint - Emilion Grand cru
24 Château La Gaffelière Saint - Émilion Grand cru
25 Château Larcis Ducasse Saint - Émilion Grand cru
26 Château Larmande Saint - Émilion Grand cru
27 Château Pavie Macquin Saint - Émilion Grand cru
28 Château Soutard Saint - Émilion Grand cru
29 Château Troplong Mondot Saint - Émilion Grand Cru
30 Château Beauregard Pomerol
31 Château Clinet Pomerol
32 Château Gazin Pomerol
33 Château La Cabanne Pomerol
34 Château La Pointe Pomerol
35 Château Petit - Village Pomerol
36 Château Clarke Listrac - Médoc
37 Château Chasse - Spleen Moulis -en - Médoc
38 Château Maucaillou Moulis -en - Médoc
39 Château Poujeaux Moulis -en - Médoc
40 Château Beaumont Haut - Médoc
41 Château Belgrave Haut - Médoc
42 Château Cantemerle Haut - Médoc
43 Château Citran Haut - Médoc
44 Château Coufran Haut - Médoc
45 Château de Camensac Haut - Médoc
46 Château La Lagune Haut - Médoc
47 Château La Tour Carnet Haut - Médoc
48 Château Greysac Médoc
49 Château La Tour de By Médoc
50 Château Brane - Cantenac Margaux
51 Château Cantenac Brown Margaux
52 Château Desmirail Margaux
53 Château du Tertre Margaux
54 Château Ferrière Margaux
55 Château Giscours Margaux
56 Château Kirwan Margaux
57 Château Labégorce Margaux
58 Château Lascombes Margaux
59 Château Marquis de Terme Margaux
60 Château Prieuré - Lichine Margaux
61 Château Rauzan - Gassies Margaux
62 Château Rauzan - Ségla Margaux
63 Château Beychevelle Saint - Julien
64 Château Branaire - Ducru Saint - Julien
65 Château Gloria Saint - Julien
66 Château Gruaud Larose Saint - Julien
67 Château Lagrange Saint - Julien
68 Château Langoa Barton Saint - Julien
69 Château Léoville Barton Saint - Julien
70 Château Léoville Poyferré Saint - Julien
71 Château Saint - Pierre Saint - Julien
72 Château Talbot Saint - Julien
73 Château Clerc Milon Pauillac
74 Château Croizet - Bages Pauillac
75 Château d’ Armailhac Pauillac
76 Château Grand - Puy Ducasse Pauillac
77 Château Grand - Puy - Lacoste Pauillac
78 Château Haut - Bages Libéral Pauillac
79 Château Lynch - Bages Pauillac
80 Château Pichon - Longueville Pauillac
81 Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande Pauillac
82 Château Cos Labory Saint - Estèphe
83 Château de Pez Saint - Estèphe
84 Château Lafon - Rochet Saint - Estèphe
85 Château Ormes De Pez Saint - Estèphe
86 Château Phélan Ségur Saint - Estèphe
87 Château Bastor - Lamontagne Sauternes
88 Château Climens Barsac
89 Château Coutet Barsac
90 Château de Fargues Sauternes
91 Château de Rayne Vigneau Sauternes
92 Château Doisy Daëne Sauternes
93 Château Guiraud Sauternes
94 Château La Tour Blanche Sauternes
95 Château Lafaurie - Peyraguey Sauternes
96 Château Sigalas - Rabaud Sauternes
97 Château Suduiraut Sauternes

Reply by JonDerry, Jan 20, 2012.

And yeah, LA is tonight!

Leaving in a few minutes...

Reply by GregT, Jan 20, 2012.

Mike - they're here 2 days but like always, they're doing various meetings, etc., on one day.  Do I see you there?  Been a while.

Reply by zufrieden, Jan 20, 2012.

Overrated vintage.  I have tried a fair sample (as a statistician) and I believe these wines will be early drinkers, heated and burned by a subtropical sun as they were (I was in la France that summer).  Tasty, heavy, but not particularly elegant - unless you are going to spend an inordinate amount of time going through an exhaustive list of chateaux from top to bottom to isolate the wheat from the chaff, so zu sagen.  I would love to do so, but have competing demands on my time (sadly).  

Reply by JonDerry, Jan 23, 2012.

It was definitely a lot of fun isolating the wheat from the chaff last night. The wines showed very well overall, but not amazing by any means, and unfortunately I missed quite a few that I regret. i.e. the Leoville Poyferre, which was supposed to be great, Haut Bailly, Rauzan-Segla, Pichon Longueville Baron, Figeac, and i'm afraid I also missed your Coutet Mike.

Overall impressions from what I did taste was how consistent and balanced the wines were. The hallmark of this vintage is supposed to be the intensity of fruit and acidity, making for very lively, but also balanced wine, and that's pretty much what I can confirm as well as overall quality from some of the better 2nd growths down to many of the also-rans.

Pre-event was somewhat of a disappointment, nothing like the professional panel tasting last year, and I paid over double for it, but supposedly the proceeds went to charity so that might help explain. First was the 2005 Haut Bailly - Totally closed, I got next to nothing out of this. 2006 Vieux Ct Certan - Sweet funk nose, elegant on the palate, but not very potent, though I was happy to finally taste one of these. 2000 Troplong Mondot - Pretty good showing, all the licorice and blue fruit characteristics you'd expect, medium plus finish, was probably 2nd favorite. 2005 Smith Haute Lafitte - Incredibly dark color, but didn't make much of an impression otherwise. 2005 Giscours - Earth, cherry, cedar, and cinnamon. Supple, ripe red fruits, nice fine grained tannins, med + finish, nice. 2006 Pape Clement - The surprise of the pre-event tasting really, i've really come to like this chateau after enjoying a bottle of the 2000 at the Snooth event last year, and both the 06' and 09' showed very well at the UGC. I'm tending to like the chateau that are blending the old and new world styles and think Pape Clement has been doing a good job of this.

Wow! Have to say I started this post Saturday morning and thought it was lost forever after my computer shut down to install an update...very pleasantly surprised here. Will continue with more thoughts/impressions later.


Reply by wwalker1013, Jan 23, 2012.

Hi JonDerry - any 'don't-miss' standouts from the night (other than the pre-event)?  I'll be at the Chicago tasting this Thursday.  Looking forward to it.  Thanks!

Reply by JonDerry, Jan 23, 2012.

Hey W, no problem.

Definitely don't miss standounts Lynch-Bages or Leoville Barton, both showing very good potential as promised by WS. For Margaux thought the du Tertre showed well, and better than the Giscours which is still worth trying. You can safely skip the St. Estephe's, no one great really showed up from there and those I tried were among the more muddled and hardest to appreciate. From Pessac-Leognan the Pape Clement showed well while the Smith Haut Lafitte was over-oaked at this stage. Try all the standard St. Julien's in addition to the Leoville Barton like Leoville Poyferre, Talbot (which will be refreshing after you've tasted a lot of wine), and Langoa Barton.

From St. Emilion nothing really jumped off the page other than how dangerously over-fruited the Pavie Macquin was by Bordeaux standards. Have seen a lot of high scores for this, so it's a bit of a controversy you might be interested in checking out. Tasted three times, and each different taste was a different experience, but I left being pretty firmly against it. I'm a Troplong Mondot fan, and Margaux Pariente is always a pleasure to talk to...the 09' is pretty well closed, but the stuffing is impressive, probably my favorite from the region, but I didn't get to try the Canon...the Canon La Gaffiere was ok to pretty good. From Pomerol, Clinet and Gazin are there, check them out too if you can.

For Sauternes the Guiraud was something, and the La Tour was also very nice in a fresher style.

If the Chicago was anything like LA, many of the popular wines will stop pouring not much longer than an hour after the start of the event. Try to have a game plan of what you want to hit first, probably the Pauillac's if you can get to them early would be ideal, but it's all pretty well diversified.

Hopefully in return you can try the higher profile wines I somehow missed (Leoville Poyferre, Haut Bailly, Rauzan-Segla, Pichon Longueville Baron, Figeac), but either way let me know how you did!


Reply by wwalker1013, Jan 23, 2012.

Wow.  More than helpful.  I'm not hugely proficient on Bordeaux, but I planned at the very least to hit most that St. Julien poured.  I'll do my best to get my glass in front of the big guns you mentioned, but I'm guessing thats the strategy for most attendees.

I appreciate your "plan ahead" mentality.  I'm preparing my crib notes, of sorts, today - Wednesday to attack this event methodically, and your comments are certainly in the mix.

Not sure about the attendance in LA, but I've been told there are only 350 tickets to the pouring in Chicago - I like that math.

Reply by JonDerry, Jan 23, 2012.

No problem, hope you have a great time. Even though it was a bit chaotic, I had a blast and enjoyed with some good friends (thought that may have played a part in me missing out on some wines).

I'll private message you so we can exchange e-mail addresses, would be happy to send you my Priority Chateau worksheet that I already have formatted on word.

Reply by dmcker, Jan 23, 2012.

Were the Pessac-Leognan houses pouring their whites, too? Some of them really great stuff. You should also make an effort to try that Figeac, though I like it better after some bottle age.

Also, this type of an event is a great (and rare) opportunity to do a horizontal across some of the best Sauternes and Barsac. That's something else I'd focus on, rather than drying my palate out on the too-young St. Juliens or Estephes....

Jon, since you seem to like Right Bank Bordeaux blends, looking a little closer to home, have you ever had any Blackbird bottles?


Reply by JonDerry, Jan 23, 2012.

That's a good point about the Sauternes/Barsac D - Much better impressions on the wines are possible...the only thing is I haven't dived in to Sauternes/Barsac nearly as much as I have for the dry reds, so they wound up being lower priority for me.

The only dry white I tried was the famous Smith Haute Lafitte, and it was excellent as you would expect.

Definitely regret tasting some of those St. Estephe's multiple times, found myself almost willing to get something out of them, but it wasn't to be. It was a good thing I reached for the spit bucket as much as I did.

The Blackbird Contrarian looks interesting - Might have to pit that against the Larkmead Firebelle which has been a favorite Merlot based blend of mine, though the bird goes for a slightly higher tariff.

Reply by dmcker, Jan 23, 2012.

My likes for Blackbird are the Illustration, Arise and Contrarian, pretty much in that order though they're all good. Age benefits them, though the winery is so young don't know yet how much. Haven't had the Paramour or Arriviste, tbut it's hard to imagine they're crap, based on the level of the others.

Yeah, I would hunt for the Graves whites and the stickies at that event, and only really cherry pick the reds. You can't make an immature red mature in your mouth, no matter how hard you try.... ;-)

Reply by JonDerry, Jan 24, 2012.

The immature reds are still a something I can enjoy, along with the challenge in projecting their futures.  It interests me how so many critics and wine merchants taste these wines so young and manage to get all of these impressions from them...of course, they're probably accomodated with better conditions as with decanting and the like.

Dry whites are another place I haven't derived much pleasure from, though they can have their moments.

Reply by GregT, Jan 25, 2012.

Just got back from the tasting this afternoon and of course I tried all of the Sauternes.  You do those early in the day because towards the end, everyone will go to them and there won't be any left. Then after some blue cheese and some conversation, you go back to the reds.

I liked a lot of the wines - far more than in past years. Some people disparaged them as being other than "classic", which means they weren't green, harsh, or unpleasant.  It being Bordeaux of course, some were all of those things, but by and large I enjoyed a good number of the wines.

I liked Rauzan - Gassies a lot, as well as Phélan Ségur and DuTertre, but overall most of the wines except for a few were quite nice. More drying and tannic than a lot of CA wines but not harshly so. They weren't "lush" and "fruity" unless the only comparison is other vintages of the same wines, but by the same token they weren't as fruitless and unpalatable as a few recent vintages have been.

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