The Blizzard of 2015 wreaked havoc with many a Bordeaux winemakers plans this week.
Each year, the Union des Grands Crus de Bordeaux brings a number of the leading lights from the major Chateaux to the US for a series of tastings highlighting the newly released vintage of their wines. Among them is Kinou Cazes-Hachemian, the daughter of Jean-Michel Cazes and co-owner of Chateau Lynch-Bages. This year, Kinou was supposed to fly from NY to Chicago a day early in order to moderate a Hart Davis Hart dinner at RPM Steakhouse featuring the wines of the estate, however her flight was cancelled (along with everyone else’s) in anticipation of the storm. Though she was missed by all, Nick Pagoria, Richard Hanauer (the wine Director for RPM Steak), and I did our best to stand in for her.
Luckily the wines performed marvelously and, combined with a great meal from RPM Steak, they were all that was necessary to make the night a huge success.
Lynch Bages, a fifth growth which has been referred to as “poor-man’s Mouton,” has been making some of the best wines in the Medoc for decades. If the 1855 classification were ever to be reconsidered, Lynch would no doubt be promoted; but the wines have developed a following on their own based on merit – a merit that was very much on display Tuesday night.
We started the evening with the 2013 Lynch Blanc which was paired with an amazing seafood tray of oysters, caviar, crab and sea urchin. Lynch Bages has been making one of the best white wines in Bordeaux for nearly 25 years and the 2013 definitely showed it pedigree with a grassy, citrus complexity what was a prefect entrée to what followed.
Next, we were poured the 2000 and 2009 Ormes de Pez – a St Estephe property which is also owned by the Cazes family and crafted by the same wine-making team. Both were very well made and perfectly representative of their respective vintages. The 2000 had a refined elegance to it and is just now entering into its best drinking years. The 2009 showed the clean, rich and ripe flavors that are the hallmark of this extraordinary vintage. The wines possessed just enough acidity to pair perfectly with the indulgent second course: thick cut bacon glazed with maple and served with a farm fresh fried egg and a blanket of black truffle shavings.
The next flight featured Lynch Bages from the 2009 and 2010 vintages – without a doubt, the best back-to-back Bordeuax vintages since 1995 and 1996. The group had a lot of fun discussing the virtues of each of these excellent wines. In my opinion the 2010 had the edge because of its impressive, dense, core of pure fruit, beautifully integrated tannins and its long, persistent, finish; however, the 2009 was definitely better with the meal because of its voluptuous, velvet character and polish. Others disagreed, but we concluded that it was a wonderful problem to wrestle with.
The final round of wines featured the 1995 and 1982 Lynch Bages which were both removed from HDH retail stock. The 1995 had everything that you could want from a top Bordeaux just coming into its prime, but the 1982 truly stole the show. It is always eye-opening to taste a wine like the 1982 Lynch because it puts in stark relief the reason why we lay wines like this down. This wine had all of the characteristics that you look for in a mature Paulliac – a spicy, lead pencil and cassis nose, a silky attack balanced out by subtle tannins and a classy and long finish – what else could you ask for? Paired with a 28-day dry-aged and perfectly cooked Porterhouse, it was a great end to a memorable evening.