The way this trip to France worked out, David and I visited a single producer each of the three days I was there and left the rest of the time for tasting in the hotel. On this last day, our trip outside the hotel was to IDS, which I consider a mandatory stop. There is always something interesting to taste. The only issue for me is that because David comes twice a year and stops at IDS each time, he has already tasted a number of wines that I have yet to taste and therefore I sort of miss out. For me, May was an impossibility this year as my daughter got married. So for instance this year, sadly I have not yet tasted the 2019 SHL and a few others. I will need to rectify that somehow and in the future figure something out. In any event, as David had been in May, and the 2021 Aegerter wines were not yet ready, we had a relatively small tasting at IDS – but what we had was very nice indeed. As always, Ben Uzan does an excellent job of setting this up and hosting this at the IDS offices in the center of Paris. During the tasting, we were joined by Ben Sitruk of Wine Symphony. Usually we would taste the new Domaine Roses Camille as Wine Symphony handles thier distribution, but those were not ready yet, and so we tasted two other wines that he handles in France, which I will include after the IDS wines. As it happens, as I was proofreading this post David posted his notes on this visit which can be found here.
2021 Tokaj-Hetszolo, Sarga Muskotaly, Domaine Imperial Premier Cru Classé since 1772, Tokaji – 12.5% abv – On the nose, crazy tropics, guava, pineapple, and gooseberry. In the mouth, at first there are some slight secondary fermentation bubbles that blow off rather quickly. Nice acidity, same tropics in the mouth, but only slightly off-dry . Very nice, especially for a muscat-based wine! 90.5
2021 Château Tour du Barail, Bordeaux Superieur – 13.5% abv – 90% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon – Vanilla, red fruit, cloves, violet, and mint. Very nice acidity, good tannin. Very closed – missing a little on the fruit end but nice saline, good mineral, and tar. The finish was more red fruit and a bit of earth with some baking spice. Overall a relatively nice small wine that bucks the general 2021 vintage trends. 90
2020 Château Tour du Bosquay, Cuvée Réserve, Bordeaux Superieur – 14% abv – 100% Merlot – Weird that both Royal and IDS each served a wine that they served on my last trip. In this case, there is zero change from last year’s notes. Bright nose of red tart fruit and bramble. In the mouth, raspberry, and juicy red plum. The acid here is the focus, as it tames the fruit and almost cleans the palate for the finish – which is impressive, with some nice earthiness, more red fruit, and some crunchy green notes. The wine is not overly complex, but it is really nice. 91
2020 Château Labegorce, Margaux – 14% abv – 55% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Merlot, 5% Petit Verdot – Now we are getting serious. On the nose, dark red and black fruit, sweet cedar, roasted meat. Intoxicating. You can smell the depth. In the mouth, incredible concentration and extraction – waves of ripe raspberry, incredible mineral, threads of graphite, black pepper, and earth. Nice structure here, with nice balancing acidity and good tannin. Really complex and intense. 93+
2020 Château Lafon Rochet, Saint Estephe – 13% abv – 55% Cabernet Sauvignon, 45% Merlot – The Lafon Rochet in general starts off very closed – and this bottle was relatively closed for the 2020 vintage. But with a little coaxing and decanting, even the Lafon Rochet gave it up. Focused red and green fruit on the nose with scraping mineral. Beautifully savory in the mouth – with red fruit, umami, moist earth, pencil shavings, and baker’s chocolate. Just incredible elegance. Medium plus acidity with mouth-coating tannin. Excellent long finish with toasted rosemary, tobacco, red fruit, and earth. This one will needs time – but it’s well worth it. 94
Wine Symphony Wines:
2014 Château Moutinot, Saint Estephe – 13.5% abv – 52% Cabernet Sauvignon, 39% Merlot, 9% Cabernet Franc – On the nose, ripe red fruit, mineral, and wet earth. In the mouth, crazy acid, nice tannin. Bright red fruit – mostly raspberry, cranberry, plum, dark cherry – my problem is on the finish, which is a touch shorter than I’d like. But still a nice bottle that still has some pep left in its step. 91+
2018 Terra di Seta, Chianti Classico, Riserva – 15% abv – 100% Sangiovese – On the nose – crazy mushroom, seared meat, red fruit – really stunning. In the mouth, VERY ripe red and black fruit, blackberry and raspberry, but totally balanced out by the stunning acidity, followed by a mouthful of mushrooms and earth, with nice herbs and a bit of tobacco and a little smoke on the finish. Another great entry from TdS. 93
My thanks to Ben Sitruk for the last two wines and of course my thanks to IDS and Ben Uzan for hosting and letting us taste through their current releases. It is always a pleasure.
Next Up: 2021 JP Marchand Lineup