A tasting of "World Class Cabernet and Merlot" from Lay & Wheeler at Cambridge Hotel du Vin, this was a fascinating opportunity to compare a range of wines of similar styles, backgrounds and prices. I was invited by Marketing Manager, MW student Kat Wiggins who blogs as WineKat.
The Wines were shown in pairs, with prices generally just under £50 per bottle.
As a palate warm-up, we started with a 2010 Knoll Ried Loibenberg Grüner Veltliner Smaragd. I am a huge fan of this wine and thought it superb - ripe peachy fruit and poised mouthfilling acidity.Cabernet heavyweights, world-class quality
Pichon-Longueville 2006 (Pauillac)
Dark purple, first hints of paleness
Complex nose of red fruit, pencil shavings
Bramble fruit, leather, pencil shavings; mellow texture, full, soft, ripe tannins, mouthfilling and extremely long, savouriness and wonderful structure.
Pleasant firmness on the finish.
Very Good Indeed
Dominus Estate 2006 (Napa)
Ruby purple, some paleness and brick red hints
Red berry fruit, raspberry leaves, herbaceous mintiness, sweet soft red fruits, herbaceousness, mouthfiling and grippy on the palate with freshness.
Perfectly pleasant and well made; overpriced.
Merlot & Cabernet Franc from a limestone plateau
Tapanappa Whalebone Vineyard 2007 (Wrattonbully, Aus)
Pale translucent rubyVegetal, herbaceous and minty nose, touch of dark spice
Ripe bramble fruit; spice, liquorice, old leather
Long and savoury, good acidity, perfectly ripe tannins
Very classy and distinctly Old World style in elegance, restraint and style
Pavie-Macquin 2006 (St-Emilion)Dark purple
More primary fruit and youthful nose
Complex berry fruit, pencil shavings, touch of red bell pepper and leather
Ripe and mouthfilling, sweet vanilla, savoury, grippy tannins, bramble fruit and pencil shavings
Long with fresh acidity
Grippy finish - a touch overextracted
Chateau d'Issan 2009 (Margaux)
Dark purple and youthful
Pencil savings, pepperiness, bramble fruit, liquorice, hedonistic vegetal
Ripe bramble fruit, touch of peppery spice, liquorice and pencil shavings
Mouthfilling and grippy; long and savoury, minty good structure, firmness on the finish
Plenty of stuffing - lovely tannins
Approachable despite its youth, from good year
Le Serre Nuove 2010, Tenuta dell'Ornellaia (Tuscany)
Dark purple, brick red hintsCherry fruit, leaf tobacco, feral hints and pepper
Soft, velvety texture, sweet vanilla red and black cherry fruit, minty, firm, slightly grainy tannins, long and savoury with good acidity
Grippy, minty finish
Italian sense of purpose
Langoa-Barton 2009 (St-Julien)
Complex nose - bramble, blackurrant, pencil shavings, hint of spice
Ripe fruit, sweet vanilla, really lovely mouthfilling texture, mintiness, savouriness.
Feels vibrant and lively.
Very Good Indeed.
Seña, Chadwick 2010 (Aconcagua Valley, Chile)
Dark fruit and roasted sweet, dark spices
Sweet ripe bramble fruit - in a New World way
Lots going on; ripe fruit, bitter spices, savouriness, fresh acidity, ripe tannins, good structure
Firmness develops, grippy finish
Well-behaved New World, but Eliza Doolittle-esque
2005 La Petite Eglise 2005 (Pomerol)
Pale Ruby with a touch of brick red hints
Feral / vegetal, red fruits and dark spice
Sweet vanilla, mellow with perfectly ripe tannins. Firmness on the finish - good structural underpinnings
Feels somehow less substantial, not concentrated. What's there is fine - just not a lot of it.
Too much time in oak ?
2006 Craggy Range ‘Sophia’ (Gimblett Gravels, NZ)
Translucent purple, some paleness and brick red hints
Red berry fruits, raspberry leaves, liquorice and mintiness, roasted spice
Mintiness, red fruits, soft texture, mellow with perfectly ripe tannins, touch of grippy firmness develops
Elegant if not especially concentrated
If you happen to be in the market for a £50 bottle of wine, then it has to be the Langoa-Barton or the Pichon-Longueville.
Other related articles
Ch Belgrave 5eme Cru Classe 2007 Haut-Médoc
Three aged Bordeaux
Troplong Mondot 1998 Magnum
Lay & Wheeler - website
The WineKat - blog, twitter
Hotel du Vin - website