Awards and citations:

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, 14 September 2016

1928 tasting @Lamé Delisle Boucard

 The 1976 cork

Yesterday we were again privileged to be given another extraordinary tasting of Bourgueils at Lamé Delisle Boucard conducted by Philippe Boucard. We were at the domaine with a group of keen wine amateurs who drive classic cars – two Facel Vegas and a Lagonda from before the time that the brand was bought by Aston Martin.

Serendipitously our visit coincided with one led by Ben Hawkins of Morris Field & Verdin (part of Berry Bros & Rudd), which was made up of four staff from the Balthazar restaurant in London's Covent Garden so we tagged onto Ben's group for the visit.   

We started with three 2014 single vineyard Bourgueils taken from their foudres. I found the Mont Sigou, where LDB have their picnic site along with a view towards Ussé on the other side of the Loire, to be the most seductive. 

Then it down into the magical cellar where in 2012 Les 5 du Vin had been treated to an amazing tasting of LDB Bourgueils plus some from Gambier family (Domaine des Ouches) back to 1893.

This time it wasn't as extensive or as far reaching but still an amazing experience, especially as most of the group had never tasted old Bourgueil. 

The line-up from 2014 Brunetières back to 1928
The fruit of four generations of wine-making 

We tasted 2014, 2009, 2005, 1989, 1976, 1964, 1961, 1959, 1947 and 1928 – notes to follow shortly. 

2014: Brunetières  
A single vineyard on the coteaux with a clay limestone soil, this shows the potential of the 2014 vintage with its attractively textured black fruits and good length. For the moment it is a little angular in the finish. Although this would be smoothed out with food, it would be best to give the Brunetières at least another three, four or more years in bottle to soften as well as developing further complexity.  

Still very youthful colour, attractive texture, rich black fruits, structure and length. Certainly drinkable now but will benefit from more time in bottle. 

Probably the best vintage of the decade for Loire reds. The tannins that were initially quite marked in these wines have now softened as this 2005 showed and with all the concentration and supple texture of this vintage. Drinking now but can be safely kept.

By Philippe's admission this is not a good example of a 1989 – one of the finest vintages of the 20th century. It was Philippe's first vintage as the winemaker. As he was in the army at the time he had to apply for special leave to be at the domaine during the vintage. This was made very complicated because it was just at the time the Berlin Wall came down and all leave from the French Army was cancelled for three days with tanks moved up to the French border.

The LDB 1989 doesn't have the weight and sweet rich fruit, more reminiscent of the Rhône than the Loire that characterises this vintage. Instead it has a green pepper character that suggests that the grapes may not have been picked fully ripe.  

One of the great classic Cabernet Franc vintages in this area. 1976 was a very hot, dry summer. It is becoming a little bricky in colour but has rich spicy concentration clearly made from wonderfully ripe fruit, well balanced and lovely length. A wonderful treat!

Another excellent vintage for Touraine Cabernet Franc. We were so lucky that Philippe opened this 1964 as well as a 1961. The quality of the two vintages here is the reverse of Bordeaux as it is 1961, which is a legendary vintage in Bordeaux with the 1964 good if picked before the rain. Here in the Loire 1961 is good but not at the same level as the very fine 1964.

This was one of the stars of this fabulous tasting – still has considerable depth of colour, herbal with some lightly peppery notes, lovely mouthfeel and very long. Very impressive at 52 years young! No rush to finish any remaining bottles!

1961:More evolved than the 1964, quite bricky and has become like a Pinot Noir, a well known characteristic of old Loire Cabernet Francs, light soft tannins. Still has charm but is on the decline. 

The delicate pale coloured 1961 Bourgueil 
Scenes from Paradis....
(above and below) 

Philippe opening the 1947

Balthazar staff strike gold!



Bob Rossi said...

Once again, I'm envious of all those who participated in this. I've been fortunate enough to shop at a wine store that has been carrying L-D-B wines for a number of years, and have a modest supply of their 2005, 2009, 2010, and 2012. It's good to know that these wines will continue to age well.

Peter van den Besselaar said...

That damned Berlin Wall. Strange to see it devastated a 1989 vintage, but great to realise how accurately winegrowers have to work. It reminded me of tasting a well aclaimed Bordeaux Cru Bourgeois, that did not perform in one year, that happened to be the year the winegrower was quarreling with his wife and finaly came in a divorce.
Thanks a lot, Jim