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stirring the lees with james molesworth archive

Photo by: David Yellen
James Molesworth

April 2012

A Visit to Vignobles Gonet-Médeville
From Margaux to Sauternes, a young couple produces a string of off-the-radar wines
Posted: Apr 18, 2012 2:15pm ET

During my two-week run through Bordeaux to taste the newly released 2011 Bordeaux barrel samples, I had the opportunity to stop in at Vignobles Gonet-Médeville, the multi-property winery owned and run by the husband-and-wife team of Xavier Gonet and Julie Gonet-Médeville. The highlights here included a vertical of Château Gilette Sauternes Crème de Tête dessert wines going back to 1949, including the 99-point 1967. Here are my notes.

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Reflecting on 2011 Bordeaux, and Speculating on Prices
The Bordelais have a great chance to cut prices and win back American consumers. Will they take it?
Posted: Apr 10, 2012 11:15am ET

It's been a busy two weeks, covering a lot of ground while visiting more than two dozen estates and then tasting over 400 barrel samples of Bordeaux's newest vintage. The 2011 vintage is shaping up as one of freshness and purity for the region's reds, with brighter acidity and markedly lower alcohol than 2009 and 2010, two highly touted vintages. 2011 won't be a classic vin de garde year by any stretch.

For now, the question everyone is asking is, "What about prices?" The 2011 vintage is good, but not great.

But what a golden opportunity the 2011 vintage presents for Bordeaux. The opportunity isn't for consumers to snap up values. Rather, it's for Bordeaux to reposition itself. To win some hearts and minds back.

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Finishing Up on the Right Bank
Cheval-Blanc tries out its new cellar and Troplong-Mondot has a contender with 2011, plus visits with Angélus and Pavie Macquin
Posted: Apr 5, 2012 11:15am ET

The last of my Right Bank visits were spent at Château Cheval-Blanc (where I checked out the state-of-the-art new cellar as well as reviewed the stunning 2011 barrel sample from d'Yquem), Château Troplong-Mondot, Angélus and Pavie Macquin. Here are my reviews for Cheval-Blanc and Yquem, and notes on all the others.

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The Right Stuff: Crossing the River into Pomerol
Today's itinerary includes Right Bank favorites Pétrus, Trotanoy, Le Pin, Vieux Château Certan and L'Église Clinet
Posted: Apr 4, 2012 11:15am ET
Today I left the Médoc and headed across the river to Bordeaux's Right Bank, starting off in Pomerol to taste the 2011 vintage at Château Pétrus. The it was Alexandre Thienpont's wines at Vieux Château Certan, including Le Pin, followed by Christian Moueix's Trotanoy and much more. Finally, I previewed the 2011 lineup at L'Église-Clinet.
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Rounding Out the Médoc
Some last stops on the Left Bank included St.-Estèphe's Montrose and Cos-d'Estournel, but first a visit to St.-Julien's Branaire-Ducru
Posted: Apr 3, 2012 11:15am ET
Today I finished my Médoc visits to taste the 2011 Bordeaux barrel samples. Some last stops on the Left Bank included St.-Estèphe's Montrose and Cos-d'Estournel, but first a visit to St.-Julien's Branaire-Ducru. Here are my tasting notes for all three visits, with scores for Cos-d'Estournel.
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Mouton Worth Its Wait
Delaying the 2011 harvest to compensate for drought in Bordeaux paid off with a potentially classic Pauillac; d'Armailhac and Clerc Milon previews
Posted: Apr 2, 2012 11:15am ET

The cellar renovation continues at Château Mouton-Rothschild, though under the Baroness Philippine de Rothschild's order, no one is allowed to see it until it is finished. The plan is to have it complete in time for VinExpo 2013.

In the meantime, director Philippe Dhalluin continues to put Mouton and its sister properties on a path to a distinctly pure profile. The 2009 here was distilled Cabernet essence, the 2010 a step ahead of that, and the 2011 an unqualified success for the vintage.

Here are my scores and tasting notes for the 2011 barrel samples at Mouton, plus a preview of Clerc Milon and d'Armailhac.

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