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19 April 2010 News

The Moueix wines stood out for their incredible elegance and balance.   On the right bank, as some have commented, there were some real monsters (in St. Emilion especially) and there were some Pomerols that seemed a bit disjointed, but the whole range of Moueix wines were absolutely some of the very best 2009s we tasted, really extraordinary.  Christian Moueix has been saying for some time that he feels 2009 is an exceptional vintage, and characterized it to us as somewhere between 1982 and 1990.  His 2009s are magnificent.  The following are a few of the wines we tasted either produced by Christian Moueix or exclusively represented by his firm, Jean-Pierre Moueix.

Château La Fleur-Petrus 2009 (VINTUS US Exclusive)

Three days into the tasting, and after tasting a lot of wines on the right bank, we finally got to taste our right-bank babies.  Wow.  Château La Fleur-Pétrus 2009 is truly something special.  There is so much going on in the nose, beautiful red fruits and spices, totally complete throughout the palate but a sense that the wine creeps up and starts building and building, and stays so long through the palate.  Every year we fall in love with this wine all over again becaussine of its character – so elegant, almost Burgundian in some years; not about power but about nuance, beautiful structure and length. This 2009 is getting universally great press and for good reason.

Ch La Fleur-Pétrus as viewed from its famous neighbor, Pétrus

Château Providence 2009 (VINTUS US Exclusive)

Terroir has real meaning in Christian Moueix’ Bordeaux.  The restoration of Château Providence (acquired in 2005) and construction of its cellar was painstakingly carried out for just a 10 acre vineyard, and a minute production of 1,250 cases a year.   Starting with the inaugural 2005 vintage, the first after Christian Moueix purchased the property, Providence has become one of the most exciting properties in all of Bordeaux.  The vineyard is picture-perfect, and had always been well-managed even before Christian Moueix purchased it.  The changes Christian made were, as in all his vineyards, the elimination of herbicides and chemicals, and a specific system of single guyot pruning that best allows easy circulation of sap within the vine.  There is no formula for pruning, each vine is pruned differently, treated as an individual.  At harvest time, there are an extraordinary 300 pickers covering the Moueix vineyard patches that ultimately total only around 200 acres.  That is the definition of making wine in the vineyard, and not in the winery.

As since its first release, Providence has a darker fruit profile and is more powerful than La Fleur-Pétrus.  It’s a power that is apparent right away and stays right on through the long, long finish.  An extremely impressive wine, and utterly fascinating in how different it is from La Fleur-Pétrus, just down the road; come to think of it, Providence is perhaps more like Pétrus in character than La Fleur-Pétrus.

A perfect gem, the restored Château Providence

Providence is a tiny vineyard. The barrel room you see actually contains the entire 2009 production of both Providence and Hosanna.

Château La Serre 2009, Saint-Emilion (VINTUS US Exclusive)

This property is an absolute joy for us to represent.  Just below you can see Luc d’Arfeuille, whose family has owned the property for 100 years.  He and his wife are just wonderful people, with huge hearts, and their wine is one of the undiscovered treasures of the right bank.   Their 17 acre vineyard is at the very top of St. Emilion, just outside the village, running onto southern slopes; “La Serre” means greenhouse, and references the fact that the vineyards see sun all day long.  The vines sit on shallow clay soils above limestone – the road dividing two major vineyard parcels on Château La Serre is in fact blocked off, since there is an old limestone quarry below the vineyard and it’s dangerous for cars to drive over it.

La Serre’s neighbors include Pavie Macquin, Ausone, Trottevielle, and some vineyards used for Valandraud.  La Serre is in other words in an incredible location, and is noteworthy for several reasons: the grapes achieve fantastic ripeness and as a result they see no need to green harvest and increase concentration; consequently the style is one of elegance over weight.  Secondly, the wine offers tremendous quality for the money, it is one of the absolute little gems of Saint-Emilion.

The 2009 is just so pretty.  Lovely red fruit and freshness, powerful and persistent.  I also had a bottle of 2004 over the weekend in honor of this wonderful couple, and it was spot-on.  La Serre is among the most serious QPR we’ve found on the right bank.  It is getting very strong initial press for the 2009 vintage, as well.

Monsieur et Madame d'Arfeuille

La Serre Vineyard Plot right in front of the house

l’Hospitalet de Gazin 2009, Pomerol (VINTUS US Exclusive)

This is the second wine of Château Gazin, which as a property has been reclaiming its position as one of the top sites in Pomerol.   Beautifully fresh, balanced – a pleasure to drink.  Many of the 2009s across Bordeaux had tannins that, because they achieved such high levels of ripeness, were another universe from the barrel samples we are used to; as a number of people have pointed out, you could drink the wines.  With Pomerol, however, we found that our favorite wines, including the entire range Christian Moueix represents, had tannins that gave the wine structure, and was not just part of mass of “a lot of everything” – i.e. fruit and alcohol.  This style of wine we found had more freshness, balance and complexity.  Certainly the case here, and none the less drinkable.