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Washington Post Tasting...


Pool Boy
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I noticed that in the April 5th wine column, they asked people to email in if they'd like to participate in a wine tasting with WP Wine guy Ben Giliberti. So my wife encouraged me to email in and I did and they picked me.

Anyone else going to be attending this? It's on April 19 at 6. I think they said it'd be 8 people. Just wanted to know if any folks here'd be there, too.

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It's interesting that Chateau Fombrauge wowed everyone. I was in Bordeaux in January and tasted 160 wines from the 2003 vintage. St. Emilion and Pomerol were by far the tastiest wines. The wines from the Medoc and its satellites were hard, opaque and unyielding almost across the board. The fact that the French agriculture ministry allowed the Bordelais to acidify the wines for the first time in history is curious. Instead of luscious, forward wines, they made backward tannic monsters. Only the Right Bank wines showed immediate charm. BTW, 2002 Ch. Fombrauge is still on the market and is also quite delicious.

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It's interesting that Chateau Fombrauge wowed everyone. I was in Bordeaux in January and tasted 160 wines from the 2003 vintage. St. Emilion and Pomerol were by far the tastiest wines. The wines from the Medoc and its satellites were hard, opaque and unyielding almost across the board. The fact that the French agriculture ministry allowed the Bordelais to acidify the wines for the first time in history is curious. Instead of luscious, forward wines, they made backward tannic monsters. Only the Right Bank wines showed immediate charm. BTW, 2002 Ch. Fombrauge is still on the market and is also quite delicious.

Mark, I'll have to post my full tasting notes then. Maybe you can make sense out of it for me. I think I only rated three wines at 90 or above.

What was interesting to me about this tasting was the wide range of scores. I hate score inflation myself, so I try to keep it real. I think I rated the Fombrauge a 91 or 92 and thus it was the highest rating I gave the wine. Many of the other wines were middling in the mid 80s with a few in the mid to upper 80s and a few duds that I think I was too generous with my scoring (I think the lowest I scored any of them was an 80). But, TN decripttors I shall add soon.

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I bought a case of the Fombrauge from Paul's yesterday-they are almost out of it and MacArthur is the only other store that I am aware of that has it. Four of us tasted it. All four agreed that it needed at least an hour or more before it "softened." Initially we were all very disappointed with strong notes of leather (for lack of a better description) and found it tannic and rough. But after an hour it smoothed out quite a bit and we enjoyed it. I also opened a bottle of 2000 Gruard Larose (yes, I know a totally different wine) and it was. Even the Fombrauge after an hour was night and day from the former. In retrospect I am probably inclined to agree with the WS and WA ratings of 90 and 91 for the Fombrauge and the WS was 95 for the Gruard Larose which is really drinking beautifully now. Having said all this I'll put the case I bought away for three or four years and will probably find this was an exceptional wine for the price. But for me, not now. Frankly, I was quite disappointed in it.

I should also note that I am probably alone in this since virtually every internet site that said they had it for under $35 was sold out. Obviously someone likes this wine-a lot!

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