General tasting comment - they are 4th largest producer in Cognac at about 18million bottles produced each year, with all wine base coming from the Grande Champagne, Petite Champagne & Borderies premium sub-regions, containing the highly desirable chalky soils. So most of their released cognac is labelled "fine champagne".
This compares with the much smaller Frapin, which are all Grande Champagne.
As a broad comment, compared with Frapin, I found Courvoisier cognacs both broader and softer/rounder than Frapin's equivalents. Broader in sense of nose particularly giving less distinctive florals with more oak influence. From their comments it was clear they seek this as their house style. The side consequence I found was an often easier to drink, softer end than with Frapin. Alcohols are the same, so it is a stylistic difference. Many drinkers could prefer this, but personally I prefer the pristine floral angles of Frapin usually.
Courvoisier house style, exemplified by the Napoleon and XO labels, is to give off 3 key aromas and tastes-
- fruit cake in the vein of glacé dark chocolate over orange, and
- the perfume of the Iris flower (some may think of Violet, but their research preferred Iris).
Written by Michael Loth
Bordeaux (and some other French) Wines Tasted February 2013 in Bordeaux.
Chateau du Tertre 2006. Southern end of Medoc , with more clay in soil, usually means more roundness or fleshiness, less fine textures; which this wine demonstrates. Ripe, meaty. Full. Slight earth. Very drinkable now. E37 bot. Good value in Bordeaux
Les Hauts Du Tetre 2005. This is 2nd label of Chateau du Tetre. As 2005 was a great year apparently, the characters are different to the wet cooler 2006, and it is the 2nd wine. More merlot I suspect, still the fleshiness, but without the meaty aspect. Licorice, red fine fruits, good acidity, very fine silky tannins, and still a bit tight after 1 hour in decanter. Good 2nd wine but not intense/ long enough to be great. About E20 at cellar door makes it great value (in France).
Chateau Pibran 2008. Pauillac in north of Medoc. 3rd label of 2nd Growth Chateau Pichon-Longueville Baron. 50% each cab and merlot. Lifted florals. Fineness of texture but more powerful than Tertre wines. Fine but present chalky tannins.
Chateau Pibran 2005. Just like the 2008, just more age and a top year means fantastic intensity for the€35 approx retail. Spicy blueberry fruits and oak adding complexity. Good acidity for a long life ahead. Fine chalky tannin. Excellent.
Les Tourelles de Longueville 2008. Pauillac. 2nd label of Chateau Pichon-Longueville Baron. 60% merlot. High merlot is usual for 2nd wine. More round nose. Has good earth on n and p but strength and richness. E 35 approx retail.
Chateau Pichon-Longueville Baron 2008. Pauillac Cru Classe 2nd growth. 79% cab. Nose bit more hidden and subtle at tasting. More subtle in all respects with big but fine mouth coating chalky tannins. Needs another 5 yrs min. Case to buy! AC buys currently for about $135. Can buy retail in Bordeaux for about $90 before 20% tax rebate and added 10% discount.
Chateau Pichon-Longueville Baron 2004. A wine that can be drunk now with decanting for hour or so or kept. An elegant but ripe wine with clean typical cabernet characters, including lifted florals from blue fruits and touch of oak complexity. Soooo drinkable. Excellent. Retail in Bordeaux about €110, but saw at silly price for 2000 at Dinner Restaurant in London for £750. So i would think Aust retail of <$200AUD is looking good value.
Sarget de Gruaud-Larose 2001. St Julien. 2nd wine of Gruaud-Larose. Bit of undergrowth, even possible light green edge. Chalky aspect of northern Medoc, distinctive earth characters on n & p, but probably short of Bret. Tannins at end are drying chalky but clearly has life left with red fruits and colour. Very good, but below outstanding. Sells about E40.
Chateau Gruaud-Larose St Julien 2007. Rain and coldish means fruit hidden by coffee mocca oak on n and p. 71% cab, merlot rest except some p Verdot. Not balanced at tasting. Sells around E85, but is not in class of Pichon-Longeville.
P.S. 1997 version of this wine - showed the same style, but apparently 1997 was a good year - the earth and sense of oak was still there plus fineness of aged characters. That tells me the earth is unlikely to be Bret; just earth is part of their style. Nice drink, with typical fine texture aged characters.
Chateau de Ferrand St Emilion Grand Cru 2005. This is pristine, full of life and future freshness with good acidity. 14% alc, makes it higher than most we saw. N spicy red fruit still tight; not typical of normal fleshy merlot dominant reds. P same with dusty blackcurrent, big in mouth if fine in structure. Reputation for vintage variability but this one looks the goods. €32 approx retail.
Alter Ego de Palmer Margaux 2008. The 2nd wine of the3rd Growth Margaux red but with merlot the predominant grape, plus some Petit Verdot and Cab. Margaux in general produces a more rounded fuller style than the more northern Medoc's; perhaps due to the higher clay / less chalk content in southern Medoc soil . A mid-weight style in the plummy range coming from the merlot dominance with clean earthy nose and palate. Loved the chalky, almost fine grainy, tannins adding to the length. Very Good.
Chateau La Grave a Pomerol 2002 (Trigant Boisset). Colour mid-red with no sign of brown. Lifted red fruits and violet type florals on nose. Palate has elegant red fruits with beaut integrated very fine tannins. So clean and long and balanced. Such an elegant merlot (maybe there is a good wack of Cab Franc included) to give it this elegance?). At the pinnacle now. Retail in Bordeaux Cave about E46. Superb at that value.
La Grave Figeac St Emilion Grande Cru 2005. Lifted sweet florals of violets, blueberries, earth and touch of background oak. Palate is same with chalky tannins. Beautiful balanced mouthful of blue fruits and lighter earth. Fantastic wine of mid-weight. 2005 very good year and this is at cheaper cost end (about €30 retail), but not expect long term keeper. Drink in next 3-5 years.
La Serre Grande Cru Classe 2009. 14% alc does not show. A lovely softer red fruited, drink now/ keep for 5+years style merlot dominant wine. Showing great early balance and elegance. Red fruits with soft but present chalky tannins. Sell E49.
Duhart- Milon Pauillac Rouge 2008. 13% alc. 4th Growth. Yet to try but recommended by Retailer in Bordeaux as elegant Cabernet driven style. E59 retail in Bordeaux.
At the Chalky top end of Medoc.
Chateau Tronquoy-Lalande St Estephe 2006. This wine probably reflects the 2006 vintage weather. It's lighter in style from the outset. Red florals lead to fineness on palate but relatively short end. Nice wine but lacks real complexity and length. Restaurant E90, so about E55-60 retail.
Jean-Michel Guillon Chambolle-Musigny 2009. A great vintage, and guess what my 1st thought was - yes, how similar this is to our 2007 Segaut. It must be a Chambolle style thing. Nose has that same vanillan & almost backberry fruit start. Tight sense. Palate follows similar to Segaut with sense of dark cherry (bitter / sweet character) and even licorice/ old leather. And we know that this wine is going to open beautifully in 5-8 years. You have to think Segaut '07 will be same!
Just to complete this picture had 2007 Morey St Denis Lignier ; and it was very similar to Segaut MSD 2007, with more forward fruit than Chambolle-Musigny 2007 of Segaut, but otherwise similar tightness initially.
ERIC FOREST L'AME FOREST POUILLY-FUISSÉ 2010. (Source: 1001degustations.com. Translated from French. These words were written for 2009 Vintage, but equally applies to 2010).
"Bright yellow with shimmering golden reflects. The nose is a complex blend of white and yellow fruit notes with spices and a touch of anise. The palate is opulent and rich; a thrilling wine offering a gourmet tasting. Drink within 6 years. Score - 3 Stars (out of 4)."
Domaine du Vissoux Cuvée Traditionnelle Beaujolais Vieilles Vignes 2011. The new vintage of Vissoux base Gamay. Good included soft cherry like fruit, making it easy to drink, and $ price. Average included lack of complexity and a touch of light burnt oak at the end. Does not seem to be at level of recent vintages? OK.
Domaine Vacheron Sancerre 2011. A classic n and p after about an hour. Clean bright citrus on n and p with chalky acid end. Some may call it Chinese Gooseberry. Some would say it’s simple, but it is a mile from passionfruit. £22 approx. above average.
Clonakilla Canberra District Shiraz Viognier 2009.
(A Uk purchased wine for €30 on promo). At that price I enjoyed the red fruits and very fine tannins. At $110 AUD, my thoughts wondered to the honeycomb oak and the separated Viognier influence. Many love it at a high price!! What would I know?