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Vertical Chablis and St Emilion

Vertical tastings compare the differences in vintage and the age of the wines.  So in addition to wine critic ratings it is also useful to have vintage ratings.  In theory, the older the wine the more complex and the more easy it is to drink now; and the better the vintage the better the wine.

Domaine Christian Moreau Pere et Fils Chablis Les Clos

Moreau

Founded in 1814 as J Moreau et fils then from 1997 Christian Moreau Pere et Fils with Fabien Moreau the 6th generation winemaker. All their grapes from are manually harvested.  Then they are taken back to the winery in small trailers and hand sorted to eliminate unripe or damaged grapes.  65% is aged in stainless steel tanks and 35% in mixed age oak barrels for 6 months.

Notes with ratings by Stephen Tanzer, (Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar) wine critic, vintage ratings by the Wine Society and prices from Christopher Keiller a wine merchant in Dorset.

2006 Rated 94; vintage rating 7

Pale yellow.  Underripe pineapple, wet stone and violet on the discreet, very pure nose. Wonderfully sweet yet penetrating with a strong, almost metallic minerality and a repeating violet element leavening the impression of sucrosite.  Very pure, subtle, gripping wine, finishing long and aromatic.  This should display its inherent complexity as it evolves over the next decade.  Superb. £41.60

2007 Rated 90-92; vintage rating 8

Reticent, cool nose offers lemon, crushed stone, spearmint, spices and menthol; slightly reductive today.  Then broad and surprisingly open-knit in the mouth, with a wonderfully fine-grained texture and an enticing sweetness that carries through to the end.  Very elegantly styled wine. £38.46

2008 Rated 93/96; vintage rating 7

Bright yellow.  Knockout nose offers lime, flowers, iodiney minerality and medicinal herbs.  Large-scaled, layered and sweet; a wonderfully generous bit boy that conveys an uncanny impression of solidity for such a fine-grained wine.  With its remarkably tactile, long finish, one chews this wine rather than drinks it.  But this is a moderate 12.8% alcohol, with no chaptalization.  I look forward to tasting this wine blind against the vintage's other superstars. £38.80

We liked them all and thought the 2006 was almost ready to drink and the others would get even more delicious with time.

Chateau Larmande, a St. Emilion Grand Cru Classe

Chateau Larmande

Larmande is north of the town of St. Emilion.  25 hectares of vineyards planted with Merlot 65% Cabernet Franc 25% and Cabernet Sauvignon 10%.  The grapes are hand-harvested then fermented in steel tanks.  The wine is matured in oak barriques (50% new) for 16-18 months.  It is bottled unfiltered.  9000 cases are typically produced each year.  From 1991 is has been owned by French insurance conglomerate, La Mondiale. Guru oenologist Micheal Rolland is now a consultant.

Notes with ratings by Wine Spectator, vintage ratings by the Wine Society and prices from Christopher Keiller

2005 Rated 92 points; vintage rating 10

Red-ruby.  Slightly medicinal dark berries and chocolatey oak on the nose.  Then supple and ripe but with a minty quality to the sweet cherry fruit.  This has a good solid middle and finishes with substantial dusty tannis. £38.80

1998 Rated 88 points; vintage rating 9

The wine is initially tight, but with airing, aromas of liquorice, spice box, berries, herbs and leather emerge.  It is  a medium to full-bodied, well-made, attractive, well-structured effort.  Anticipated maturity:  2003 – 2015 £27.40

1995 Rated 93; vintage rating 8

This wine sneaks up on you to deliver loads of fruit and tannins. Intense aromas of berries and minerals with hints of tobacco. Full-bodied, very velvety, with lovely fruit and tannins. Long, minty-fruity aftertaste. £28.84

These were not as immediately liked by the group.  Although they had been opened at 10 am they opened up more as time went on and came into their own with food. We thought the 1995 had matured well with bigger fruit.   The host wished she had decanted them as we might have enjoyed them more, earlier.