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Horizontal: Chateauneuf 2003

2017 Chateauneuf 2003

I strongly believe that 2003 is a legendary vintage like 1990 or 1985 in Chateauneuf-du-Pape… Not all wines made it, but the ones who are there are truly out of this world… the stand-out wines tonight are the Mon Aieul 2003 for it’s finesse… the PĂ©gau 2003 for it’s animal character… and the Deus Ex Machina 2003 for it’s concentration, this is almost “essence of Chateauneuf” and is flying way above it’s pairs … To me deserves a note of 101/100 if that would exist!! 🙂

2003 Les Cailloux (Lucien et André Brunel) Châteauneuf-du-Pape
Nice nose of red berries, bacon fat, nice but not very complex… Super concentrated sappy red cherries, loads of sappy tannins, very good lenght, great wine! (93 points)

2003 Domaine Charvin Châteauneuf-du-Pape
WOW, very fresh and mineral nose, you would never guess this is 2003, but rather a 2005, delicious nose of sandalwood, ripe red berries, roasted bacon… Taste is high mineral, fresh acidity, loads of silky tannins, loads of bacon and ripe cerise du Nord, very good lenght of 30 seconds! (95 points)

2003 Clos Saint Jean Châteauneuf-du-Pape
WoW wow wow… I can’t believe I give such a high score to a traditonal Chateauneuf, super concentrated nose of bacon fat, hint of licorice, herbes de Provence, BBQ meat…. Super delicious taste and concentration, ripe red cherries, bacon sauce, fresh acidity with silky tannins… Amazing concentration for a “Tradition” Chateauneuf!! (96 points)

2003 Domaine Pierre Usseglio & Fils Châteauneuf-du-Pape Cuvée de mon Aïeul
Wow delicious sandalwood, loads of leather, ripe strawberries, hint of caramel and brown sugar but in a nice way… Super fine silky tannins, starting light with sappy red cherries, building up with time with a lenght of 45 sec. (98 points)

2003 Domaine du Pégaü Châteauneuf-du-Pape Cuvée Réservée
Whaouw… Magic PĂ©gau! Provencal spices, strong farmyard (If you like that…) loads of sappy strawberries, sandalwood, bacon, leather… taste of spice, sappy red strawberries, leather, super silky tannins, lenght of 45 seconds…. great great wine!! (99 points)

2003 Clos Saint Jean Châteauneuf-du-Pape Deus-Ex Machina
You just can’t believe that this wine is real… It is way above all other Chateauneufs 2003!! Super concentrated nose of bacon, roasted red cherries, Herbes de Provence, hint of licorice… Very dark cherries, still very primary and young compared to it’s pairs, loads of ripe and silky tannins… amazingly young and not yet at peak… if one wine would deserve 101/100, it would be this wine!!! Bravo to the Maurel brothers!! (100 points)


2015 Chateauneuf: Le Clos du caillou


The domaine Le Clos du Caillou is on a roll, the wines tasted superbly in the 2015 vintage… It was also the 1st time that Marilou Vacheron (Sylvie’s daughter) hosted the tasting… at 23 years Marilou knows what she is talking about and is very precise, I asked her when was the 1st time she tasted wine… She answered me it was when she was 4 years old!! That explains…  🙂   Their top wines “La Reserve” in CĂ´tes du Rhone and Chateauneuf are out of this world and absolut MUST HAVE  for serious collectors!!

2016 Le Clos du Caillou CĂ´tes du RhĂ´ne
Nose of licorice, ripe black cherries, very mineral, characoal, superb!!… Delicious crisp tannins, a superb balance! (91 pts.)

2015 Le Clos du Caillou CĂ´tes du RhĂ´ne Les Quartz
WOW, mine de crayon, very black cherries, super concentrated nose, licorice, meaty with superb minerality… WOW super fresh black cherries, characoal, cerise griotte, very delicious!! (94 pts.)

2015 Le Clos du Caillou CĂ´tes du RhĂ´ne La RĂ©serve
Huge nose of BBQ, meatyn roasted meat… Pure fruit, very very fruity, black cherries, super sappy, lenght of 30 seconds… a CĂ´tes du Rhone out of this world!! (95 pts.)

2015 Le Clos du Caillou Châteauneuf-du-Pape Tradition
Nose of black licorice, characoal, salty griotte… Super delicious taste of black and red cherries, very mineral, parfect balance, lenght of 20 sec!! (92 pts.)

2015 Le Clos du Caillou Châteauneuf-du-Pape Les Safres
Huge nose of salty black cherries, black licorice, very very nice nose!! Super nice balanced black cherries, super salty licorice, very very well balanced!! (94 pts.)

2015 Le Clos du Caillou Châteauneuf-du-Pape Domaine du Caillou Les Quartz
Nose of black ripe cherries, a bit closed at the moment… Delicious ripe tannins, red salty cherries, to be retasted in 3 years (95+ pts.)

2015 Le Clos du Caillou Châteauneuf-du-Pape La Réserve
Huge huge animal nose, licorice, super delicious, black cherries… Super ripe tannins, delicious concentration, black and red cherries, licorice, bacon fat, animal, really delicious, almost perfect wine!! (99 pts.)

2015 Chateauneuf: Clos Saint-Jean


2015 is a fabulous vintage for Clos Saint-Jean… Of course Clos Saint-Jean has this fabulous concentration and compexity from the “La Crau” terroir… But this year the vintage has brought incredible freshness and minerality that makes them really special and delicious!!

2015 Clos Saint Jean Châteauneuf-du-Pape
Nose of cold and ripe black cherries, licorice, spices cake… All “en finesse”, sappy tannins, ripe red cherries, nice acidity, cold vintage (93 pts.)

2015 Clos Saint Jean Châteauneuf-du-Pape La Combe des Fous
Nose of very black fruit, chocolate, licorice, mokka… Very concentrated, but very fresh, red fruit, acid red berries, very much finesse and mineral for a Clos Saint Jean!! (95 pts.)

2015 Clos Saint Jean Châteauneuf-du-Pape Deus-Ex Machina
Huge nose of spices, huge ripe black cherries, licorice, bacon fat… BBQ sauce, soy sauce, very black cherries, characoal, very long aftertaste 30 sec!! (97 pts.)

2015 Clos Saint Jean Châteauneuf-du-Pape Sanctus Sanctorum
Huge nose of black cherries, pain d’Ă©pices, very spicy, bacon fat… WOW delicious bacon fat, BBQ sauce, super ripe red and black cherries, one of the best sanctus tasted, 60 seconds finish. BRAVO!! (98 pts.)

2015 Chimère Châteauneuf-du-Pape
Barrel sample: Huge salty, mineral, roasted bacon, licorice, ripe red cherries… Very delicious sappy ripe red cherries, super silky tannins, BBQ steak, I repeat myself but this wine is very delicious!! [i][b](99 pts.)[/b][/i]

2016 Chimère Châteauneuf-du-Pape
Very early barrel sample of Mourvèdre… Very very black nose, cold black cherries, very cold and dark impenetrable wine, loads of integrated tannins… to be retasted next year 🙂

Italy: Barolo vs. Tuscany

Barolo 2017

Nice Italy educational evening focusing on the two main regions, Barolo (Piemonte) and Tuscany… The main learning is: “Barolo needs food!.. ” and “Barolo needs time!..”. The wines of the night were the Barolo Cordero 1997, which at age 20 was shining and still a baby with huge potential ahead… Same for Flacciannello 2010, which is still very very young at age 7 and I would recommend not touching it for the next 10 years 🙂

2006 Parusso Barolo
Very nice nose of truffles, iodine, red berries, cèpes de Bordeaux… Grippy tannins that completely smooth out with food, high acidity… still young, not yet at peak and absolutely needs food!! (91 points)

1999 Bruno Giacosa Barbaresco
Nice nose of ripe strawberries, orange peel, already tertiary aroma’s of brown sugar, pruneau… integrated tannins, high acidity, freshness, hint of sweet fruit, starts it’s drinking window at age 18! (90 points)

1997 Cordero di Montezemolo Barolo
Nice nose of bacon, wild poultry, brown sugar… high acidity, loads of ripe black fruit, loads of bacon, good lenght… superb Barolo at this stage, again the best barolo of the night… almost at peak and already drinking very well at age 20!! (94 points)

1964 Giacomo Borgogno & Figli Barolo Riserva
Horribly corked! (NR/flawed)

2001 Ciacci Piccolomini d’Aragona Brunello di Montalcino Vigna di Pianrosso
Very nice nose of leather, cèpes de Bordeaux, super elegant, red berries, bacon fat… delicious, super silky tannins, ripe red fruit, bacon fat finish… great Brunello at peak! (93 points)

2003 Castello di Monsanto Nemo Mulino Toscana IGT
Very nice nose of ripe black berries, sandalwood, cedar, loads of iodine… loads of super ripe tannins, high acidity, cranberries, very high acid, typical Italian Cabernet! (93 points)

2003 Castello di Monsanto Chianti Classico il Poggio
Classic nose of iodine, fresh acidity, red strawberries, spicy with hints of bacon… taste is super high acidity typical to Chianti, red cranberries, very traditional well made Chianti… needs food!!! (90 points)

2010 Fontodi Flaccianello della Pieve Colli della Toscana Centrale IGT
Very dark black cherries, fresh menthol, cedar… super concentrated dark cherries, loads of silky tanins, good acidity… This wine is still very young and has a HUGE potential ahead (95+ points)

2015 Chateauneuf: Pierre Usseglio

2017-usseglio-1  2017-usseglio-3       2017-usseglio-2

Big thanks to Thierry Usseglio for this barrel tasting!!  The picture show the barrel # 27, which is the selection of 100% Syrah… and the barrel #B4 which is the 100% grenache blanc selection… Looking forward to taste these beauties in bottle next year!! 🙂

2016 Domaine Pierre Usseglio & Fils Châteauneuf-du-Pape Pure Grenache Blanc
WOW, super mineral nose, peper, yellow apples, hint of honey… Laser sharp acidity, citrus, nice fatness with nice refreshing minerality in the finish, lenght of 20 seconds… This is made in white Burgundy style, but with the fatness and lenght of a white Rhone… great wine!! (93 pts.)

2015 Domaine Pierre Usseglio & Fils Panorama
Very spicy nose, black licorice, black cherries… very sappy black cherries, nice fruit and freshness (89 pts.)

2015 Domaine Pierre Usseglio & Fils CĂ´tes du RhĂ´ne
Very salty black cherries, super fresh mineral and bacon, BBQ spices… Taste of super sappy red cherries, salty BBQ meat, super delicious… In the style of 1990 vintage with super ripe fruit combined with sappy acidity… I love it!! (94 pts.)

2015 Domaine Pierre Usseglio & Fils Lirac
Nice nose, a bit more closed of black fruit, characoal… Nice tannic structure, good ripeness, super silky tannins… This wine requires 3-5 years in bottle as it is quite closed and tannic at this point…  (92+ pts.)

2015 Domaine Pierre Usseglio & Fils Châteauneuf-du-Pape
WOW beautiful nose of salty black cherries, BBQ spices, meaty, animal… delicious, super sappy black salty cherries, wow wow wow 20 seconds finish, I just love it!! (94 pts.)

2016 Domaine Pierre Usseglio & Fils Châteauneuf-du-Pape Cuvée Syrah
Very pepery nose, very spicy, soy sauce, black salt cherries… Super delicious, salty black cherries, very spicy, super super silky tannins, huge freshness and minerality… Great wine, I’m looking forward to see this evolving on 20 years or more 🙂 (95 pts.)

2015 Domaine Pierre Usseglio & Fils Châteauneuf-du-Pape Cuvée de mon Aïeul
Nice nose of ripe red salty cherries, roasted meat… WOW super long aftertaste of 45 second, super concentrated ripe salty red cherries, super mineral, incredible balance, 1990 style!! (97 pts.)

2015 Domaine Pierre Usseglio & Fils Châteauneuf-du-Pape Réserve des Deux Frères
Wow, huge nose, loads of super ripe black cherries, super meaty BBQ, the vanilla from the wood is present and still needs to integrate a little bit… Very very concentrated taste of fresh and ripe, super sappy cerise griotte… BRAVO!! (98 pts.)

2016 Domaine Pierre Usseglio & Fils Châteauneuf-du-Pape Not For You
100% grenache from Les Serres. WOW WOW WOW, MĂ©ga beautiful nose, super complex, salty black cherries, roasted BBQ meat, a nose to die for… Very rich, sappy, sweet griottes cherries, long long long very elegant with huge minerality (100 pts.)

Visit to Chateau Rayas


Rayas is a mythical Chateau that you learn little by little every visit… How does Rayas keep such a freshness in it’s wines, while he is always one of the last to harvest?  Emmanuel Reynaud explained that his objective is to slow down the maturity as much as he can: with very Northern exposed vineyard, lots of trees giving shade to the vines, unique sandy soils with very little clay and leaving lots of leave on top of the grapes to avoid direct contact with the sun… We also learned that his Syrah clones of the Fonsalette where bought directly from Chave… That explains a lot!! 🙂

2016 Château Rayas Côtes du Rhône Blanc Château de Fonsalette Reserve
Barrel sample: 8% clairette, Marsanne and majority of grenache blanc… Nose of white peach, apricot… taste is very spicy, apricot, powerful, 20 seconds finish… I love grenache blanc!! (93 pts.)

2016 Château Rayas Châteauneuf-du-Pape Blanc Réserve
Barrel sample: Light nose of yellow apple, white flowers… Quite light, ripe, yellow apple, a bit light compared to the Fonsalette… Needs probably some age to develop… (90 pts.)

2015 Château Rayas Côtes du Rhône Château de Fonsalette Cuvée Syrah
Huge nose of black salty cherries, huge peper, the syrah clones are from Chave!! Taste is very pepery, loads of ripe tannins, fresh black cherries. (95 pts.)

2015 Château Rayas Châteauneuf-du-Pape Reserve
Barrel sample coeur: 100% grenache, nose of animal, civette, huge nose of salty griotte cherries… Very fresh, salty cherries, very spicy, acidulated fruit, red berries, finishing very fresh and nice acidity
Barrel sample couchant: Pure ripe griotte cherries, more fruity… very nice fruity concentration, high acid red berries and ripe red cherries
Barrel sample levant: Very ripe black cherries, super salty… very salty black cherries, very long aftertaste!! (95 pts.)

2015 Château Rayas Côtes du Rhône Château de Fonsalette Reserve
Cinsault barrel sample: Wow huge nose of saltiness, ripe strawberries, very spicy sandalwood, ripe red griotte cherries, killer nose!!… Very fresh, salty, mineral, cerise rouge griotte.
Grenache barrel sample: Nice nose of ripe red cherries, nice salinity… Very fresh, nice acidity, mineral, groseille rouge. (94 pts.)

Priorat visit: Clos Erasmus & Nit de Nin

To me the Clos Ersamus 2013 is simply the best wine of Spain in the magic 2013 vintage, tasted 2 times and rated 99/100 and 100/100… also we tasted the 2014 and barrel samples of 2015 and 2016… that leaves you speechless!!

We also had the pleasure to visit Carles and Ester, who are experimenting with Amphoras for part of the wine that seems very interesting, planting new cepages like Carignan blanc with is not officially authorized yet, but seems very promising… and their Nit de Nin just gets better and better every year in this incredible terroir of Mas Del Encarcador which is probably in the top 3 best terroirs of Priorat!!

2014 Clos Erasmus Priorat Laurel
Huge nose of mineral, salty licorice, cold black cherries, loads of iodine, very expressive for such a young Laurel!! Very fresh taste, cold red cherries, lot of salt, amazing freshness!! (95 points)

2014 Clos Erasmus Priorat
Very cold, incense, black characoal, salty, red berries, cedar wood… Mineral, cold, chalky, high acidity, red berries, very fresh and feminine 95/100 today as the wine was very closed, but potentially (97-98/100)

2015 Clos Erasmus Priorat
Grenache barrel sample: Very nice nose of ripe red cherries, earth, sandalwood… Amazing minerality, sappy red fruit, red berries, very long aftertaste, very delicate and feminine tannins, great fresh wine in the making!!

Syrah barrel sample: Nice nose of griotte cherries, salinity, amazing minerality, nice acidity… Sappy fruit, croquant, all the magic of the licorella!! (95-97/100)

2016 Clos Erasmus Priorat
Very early grenache barrel sample, difficult to judge the nose at this stage… seems very promising, with probably a bit more concentration than 2015 and even more minerality & freshness… Looking forward to retaste this in a few years!! (96-98/100)

2015 Familia Nin-Ortiz Priorat Planetes de Nin – Carignan blanc
Nose of white peach, white pears, coing.. light taste , pears, coing, nice freshness, a bit short at this stage, probably needs a little bit more bottle age to develop (88 points)

2014 Familia Nin-Ortiz Priorat Planetes de Nin – Blanc
Nose of pears, very fresh, hint of vanilla, grilled hazelnuts… High acidity and mineral, very dry finish, seems even a bit tannic, a hint of greenness in the finish (89 points)

2013 Familia Nin-Ortiz Priorat Selma de Nin
Roussanne, Marsanne, Chenin<br />Very mineral, yellow and green apple, roasted hazelnut… Combination of minerality and concentration… WOW (93 points)

2015 Familia Nin-Ortiz Priorat Planetes de Nin – Amfora
Very black nose, ripe black cherries, characoal.. High acidity, red berries, nice starter wine (88 points)

2014 Familia Nin-Ortiz Priorat Planetes de Nin
Nice ripe black fruit, hint of vanilla, hint of characoal… tasted with food, has very delicate tannins, very nice ripe red cherries, good length, beautiful finish… One of the best Planetes so far with beautiful Carignena!! (93 points)

2015 Familia Nin-Ortiz Priorat Planetes de Nin
Grenache barrel sample: Nose of ripe black cherries, very spicy, freshly cutted grass… nice roundnesshint of green, tannins integrated (90/100)

Carignan barrel sample: Nse of red berries, herbe coupée… Huge structure, beautiful tannin grain, a bit more austere, needs food (90/100)<br />Grenache Peluda barrel sample: Beautiful nose of ripe red cherries, very ripe pepers, black peper… Delicious sappy red berries, nice ripe tannins, good length, very nice!! (94/100)

2014 Familia Nin-Ortiz Priorat Nit de Nin
Huge nose of black cherries, huge minerality, very black, roasted meat, bacon… Magnific salinity, loads of ripe black cherries, followed by huge minerality and salinity, bacon, roasted meat, finish of 45 seconds!!! (98 points)

2015 Familia Nin-Ortiz Priorat Nit de Nin
Black black fruit, characoal, incense… wow very very refined, light red fruit, ripe tannins, building up with beautiful length, 30 sec length, tannins are hypra refined, the tannins feel like powder falling on the tongue, super feminine!! (97 points)