Smoky Pinots and spicy Cabernets

Yesterday will be one of the more memorable days among the many tasting occasions taking place this January.

First, the BIVB event. I went to hear how the BIVB presented itself, the diversity of offerings from Burgundy (at Village level) and maybe try a few of the seemingly popular 2009 Burgundies. The presentation was simultaneously familiar, yet surprising, but more on that soon. The 2007 & 2008 wines they showed were really good, but I can’t help feeling that if they lost that chip off their shoulder about their superiority, consumers might be more forthcoming.

However, the most memorable aspect (above and beyond the very few 2009’s that I tasted, which to be honest were not as impressive as I had expected) was the fact that a light in the Old Billingsgate gantry decided to overheat and burst into flame. Not sure if people were more concerned for their safety and that of the building, or the impact it was having on their ability to smell the wines. However, I left as we were being (temporarily) evacuated. Here are a few snaps I took of the offending light.

I moved on to the Oregon & Washington tasting instead, and arriving earlier than planned, was lucky to take part in a comparative tasting of some TOP Washington Cabernet Sauvignon wines from 2007 and 1997. Here are my tweets:

  • Ch. St. Michelle Cold Creek 07: chalky, soft tannins but a big sweet, dark ripe fruit body. Slightly reductive nose. Years to go
  • Ch. St. Michelle Cold Creek 97: lots of tertiary character on nose, tannins nicely integrated. Sweet spice. Elegant, almost floral, wine
  • Seven Hills, Klipsun Vineyard, 07: v. Young, plum & White pepper nose, sweet, dark fruit and liquorice root
  • Seven Hills, Klipsun Vinyrd, 97: smells of Campari (bitter edge, spirity), sweet fruit masked by acidity & tannin, maybe falling away? [I decided later it was actually Averna it smelled of – a herbal digestive drink]
  • L’Ecole No41 Pepper Bridge 07: Pepper (yes), blackcurrant nose and christmas spice, chalky, rounded taste. V. Nice
  • L’Ecole No41 Pepper Bridge 97: very nicely integrated, juicy, tasty wine. Well developed. My fave I think
  • Woodward Canyon Old Vines 07: mocha, vanilla nose. V soft, opulent tannins. BIG! needs age
  • Woodward Canyon Old Vines 97: herbal, all spice nose and hint of damp. Real herbal edge to taste. A little overpowering
  • Overall impression of Washington Cabs: REALLY benefit from age, they’re full flavoured, not full bodied, wines. Know your AVAs

As you might expect really, the extra time has been very positive for these wines. The shame is that as you drink the 1997s you really notice how young and un-ready even the 2007’s are, but that is how they are being experienced by the consumer. Wineries … hold on to your stocks a little longer! Your importers and retailers cannot do it, and it is your wines and your eventual customer that will benefit.

A memorable day in lots of ways.

Enhanced by Zemanta
This entry was posted in wine culture on by .

About Robert

Robert McIntosh is a wine blogger and online communicator on and, a prolific twitterer (@thirstforwine) as well as speaking at wine events. Robert is co-organiser of the annual Digital Wine Communications Conference, promotes international online wine communication, and advises companies about how to engage through social media. Robert also has some trouble communicating in the third person.