jamie goode's wine blog: Les Tourelles 2003

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Les Tourelles 2003

Another wine from the current Bibendum sale, this is the second wine of Pichon Longueville Baron, from the hot 2003 vintage. I do wonder about the Bordeaux model of having the grand vin and then second and perhaps third wines, which by their very relationship to the top wine have their work cut out persuading consumers they are fine wines in their own right.

On one level, if I was a Bordeaux producer, I'd be curious enough to make several wines from my various patches of vineyard. But then, if the vineyard is a coherent, single terroir, I guess making just one top wine is logical. These days there's such a pressure to make an utterly perfect grand vin, not least because those who can get the points also get the financial rewards, I imagine a lot of very respectable wine is going into second labels. This is an example of that, I suspect.

Les Tourelles de Longueville 2003 Pauillac, Bordeaux
Quite deep coloured. Sweet but slightly muted nose showing ripe dark fruits and a hint of gravelly minerality. It's quite refined without being terribly vocal. The palate is smooth and ripe with a good weight of red and black fruits, together with some smooth structure. Quite modern in style and lacking real depth and intensity, but still nicely balanced and very polished. It's a BMW 3-series rather than a Porsche Carrera. I reckon this will provide satisfying rather than thrilling drinking over the next few years. I guess my note is beginning to sound a little ambiguous: this is a stylish, ripe Claret, but it just lacks a bit of excitement for me. Very good+ 89/100 (17.99 in the Bibendum sale)



At 6:03 PM, Anonymous Doug said...

Bordeaux is one of the few regions still unaffected by the Napoleonic carve-up of land a few hundred years ago. Unlike Burgundy, the Rhone and the Languedoc wherein one property can be made of many, many discrete parcels, the Bordeaux estates are largely unified slabs of land.

The Bordeaux estates work upside down to expectation. The first wines are between 70-80% of the production. A good estate will declassify a certain amount of the yield and make a really good second wine. Contrast that to the rest of France where the basic wine is the bread-and-butter and the cru/single vineyard/reserve wine is the one made in small quantities.

Having been to Bordeaux I don't see the point of making several wines as the terroir is just not diverse enough, nor are there the dramatic microclimatic differentials that you can encounter in Burgundy or Alsace, for example. Cabernet Sauv and Merlot, bless them, prefer their gravel and clay soils respectively, and act as part of the synergistic whole rather than as separate expressions.

Having said that the second wines of the top estates are generally affordable and give more than a glimpse of the what the Chateau is capable of.

At 12:27 AM, Blogger billn said...

Hi Jamie,
Apparently the Tourelles is in stelvin-lux+ for the 2004 - saw a mock-up (or maybe it had just been drunk!) at JC Boisset last week while chatting about their closure choice.

At 9:10 AM, Anonymous Mark said...

Funnily enough, I too tried a Bordeaux "super second" this weekend...Reserve de la Comtesse, from Chateau Pichon-Longueville Lalande. Same vintage (2003) and a penny apart in price - 17.98 from Tesco in Haverfordwest, West Wales.

I was very impressed. I thought it might be a bit young but was full and smooth with great potential. It certainly went well with some fantastic Welsh beef!

At 1:22 PM, Anonymous Shon said...

I've always found the second wines of classed growths to be a minefield, and have been disappointed in them more often than not. The price of the second wines of first classed growths can sometimes even be more than a decent 3rd growth, while not necessarily being of the same standard. Reality check needed- second wines equate to second best. I've found it preferable to save up for the real thing, that is, the premium bottling, and in the meantime look to the New World, particularly Margaret River, for Cabernets in the same price bracket as second wines.

At 1:29 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

the Tourelles 04 is available in (very sexy looking) screwcap. For purists / others seeking an alternative, it will also still be sold in cork. In fact we showed the two side by side at our Annual Tasting back in January.

Ben Smith

At 11:26 PM, Blogger Jamie said...

I tried the Tourelles 2004 yesterday. The cork-sealed version was the one shown to journalists at the AXA tasting.


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