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MattThr

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[WTN] Chateau La Roche Beaulieu 2002 Amavinum

by MattThr » Thu Aug 30, 2007 7:29 am

This was my first good quality Bordeaux. I went into my local wine shop and asked for a good, fairly typical example of a Bordeaux wine that was ready to drink now rather than cellar. The vendor asked me what I'd previously been drinking - mainly Rioja - and he went and picked this out.

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As soon as I opened the bottle I was assaulted by an almost indecently brazen smell of blackcurrant and vanilla which, unsurprisingly, lingered deliciously over the poured wine.

Nothing particularly interesting about the colour - a typical rich, mid-red.

Initial flavour is that big, deliciously intense blackcurrant and vanilla again with a hint of cherry that comes through more strongly as the early notes pass. The wine is medium-bodied and in the main well balanced - there's a slight excess of tannin which lends a pleasant clingy, chewy texture to the mouthful. The finish is very long and consists of that lingering cherry which is joined by a pencil-wood quality and a slight spiciness that tingles on the tongue.

Overall the wine is not overly complex but has such huge, overwhelming flavour that you hardly care!

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So, my first good claret was a big hit. I'm a little nervous about raving about it so much with so little experience of the region but I can't recall ever having had such an intense wine before. Do my notes suggest that what I've had is roughly what I can expect from other Bordeaux reds?

Sadly and annoyingly we drank a couple of glasses of this and then left the rest overnight with the cork stuffed back in and the second helping had lost a lot of the big, distinctive flavour. I was also surprised to find sediment at the bottom of the bottle - I hadn't thought to decant such a relatively young wine. Was it likely the sediment or the overnight stay that spoiled the wine?

Finally, on doing a little reading around the subject I discovered that 2002 was supposedly quite a poor vintage on the left bank where this wine originates (Cotes de Castillion). Did I get lucky, or can I expect even more from future/earlier vintages from this Chateau?
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Re: [WTN] Chateau La Roche Beaulieu 2002 Amavinum

by Otto » Thu Aug 30, 2007 4:28 pm

Hello Matt,

I've never heard of this wine before. 2002 may not be considered a great vintage by all the big-named commentators, but from what I've tasted it is a good vintage that shows typicty (i.e. it tastes like Bordeaux rather than California - to oversimplify).

To answer some of your questions: judging by your emphasis of the vanilla aroma, this seems to be a more new-wave wine with lots of oak aromas. Also you seem to say that it has lots of body - 2002s IME have been charming but tannic, certainly not wines that have gobs of fruit.

The sediment should not spoil a wine - unless it is yeast and causes secondary fermentation (bubbles). I can't think of any other way that sediment might cause a flaw - maybe the other's here know if its possible?

Usually I find that young Bordeaux (and 2002 would be such) does stand up well overnight and sometimes even improves. Often I have found the oak notes to integrate better overnight and the fruit become less primary - perhaps you just enjoyed these notes more than I do? Thought this is just a guess of course based on what experience I have had with young Bordeaux.
I don't drink wine because of religious reasons ... only for other reasons.

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