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1997: Le Prix du Champagne Lanson Noble Cuvée Award for investigations into Champagne for the Millennium investment scams

2001: Le Prix Champagne Lanson Ivory Award for

2011: Vindic d'Or MMXI – 'Meilleur blog anti-1855'

2011: Robert M. Parker, Jnr: ‘This blogger...’:

2012: Born Digital Wine Awards: No Pay No Jay – best investigative wine story

2012: International Wine Challenge – Personality of the Year Award

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

Duo of Saumur-Champignys: 1990 Denis Duveau and 1995 Thierry Germain

1990 Terres Chaudes, Saumur-Champigny, Denis Duveau
On Monday night we had a very interesting comparison between two Saumur-Champignys from the same property but with different owners. I bought half a dozen or so of the 1990 Terres Chaudes at Majestic Wine Warehouses in the UK sometime in the early 1990s I guess. I can't remember what I paid for them – not very much I suspect.

1990 was the last vintage made by Denis Duveau before he sold the estate to Thierry Germain in 1991 – the year of the severe April frost and not the best time to start a new venture. Still Thierry has survived and prospered.

The second bottle was 1995 Le Marginale. This was a new cuvée that Thierry introduced with malo en barrique and I think the 1995 would have see a fair proportion of new wood. 1995 may well have been the first vintage of Marginale. I must check up on my notes of a vertical of Marginale from late january 2009.    

We drank the two bottles with a very good joint of beef from the CocciMarket in Francueil – this well stocked shop includes a very good butcher's section. I decided to serve the 1990 first. It was delicious with lovely, soft ripe evolved fruit and very silky tannins – overall beautifully balanced. Not a heavyweight but with lots of finesse and typical of the seductive 1990 vintage. Still quite youthful in colour, I don't think this will get any better but also should continue to be enjoyable over the next few years.

1995 Marginale was a much bigger, more structured, butch wine. Also showing well but without the seductive charm of the 1990 Terres Chaudes. Equally representative of its vintage that had high levels of tannin and acidity. 1995 Loire reds have taken a considerable time to come round. I suspect that this Marginale is now around its peak


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