Grand Cercle Bordeaux Tasting, Miami

20140410_132138The Grand Cercle brings together the wines of both the left and right banks of Bordeaux, naturally separated by the Gironde river.When I was invited to the tasting, I immediately called a friend and made plans to go. After all, nearly 40 Bordeaux producers in one room for an afternoon tasting – what could be better?

Each winery brought barrel samples of the 2013 vintage, as well as wines already in bottle, most of which were 2010 and 2011.

Wines from his family's estates get store in bottle, underground until they are ready to be released.
Wines from his family’s estates get store in bottle, underground until they are ready to be released.

On the whole, these are mostly wines that can be enjoyed young. Most of these are meant to be enjoyed within a few years of release. No need to wait forever. A perfect example is the La Vielle Cure. This Merlot based bottle of deliciousness was showing quite well right from the barrel (my notes say “going to be awesome“) and the 2011 had big tannins and a good amount of fruit showing. I knew I had this wine before and texted a photo to FKGuy for confirmation. He replied that we still have a few bottles of the 2003, and that I should find out when is a good time to drink them from the winery representative. Now seems to be the time. We’ll have it sometime in the next few weeks, and I’ll let you know how it is.

Steve enjoys some Sauternes.
Steve enjoys some Sauternes.

Because this was a small event, we were able to glean some fun facts from the winery representatives. As we tasted the Chateau Patche d’Aux, I learned that Patache means stagecoach in French. Hence the image on the front of the label. The winery got its name as the property was taken over by the French government during the revolution and used as a staging area for stagecoaches. (See? Good stuff!)

While sampling the well-balanced and elegant barrel samples of Chateau Brande Bergère, we were treated to an explanation of how so many winemakers get caught up in the wine making process

"Fruit before the oak, not the other way around."
“Fruit before the oak, not the other way around.”

they over oak their wines. Here, however, they always remember that the fruit needs to be evident before the oak, not the other way around.

Another one of my favorites was the Chateau La Cardonne. Apparently, one evening about 23 years ago, the person that now owns the winery went to a Chateau Lafite dinner. He came home

I love good Sauternes, too!
I love good Sauternes, too!

and announced that the family would now be making wine, as he purchased three vineyards from Lafite. I don’t know what they did before wine making, but it was a good career switch. Chateau Ramafort, another of their properties was already showing quite well from the barrel. It is going to need some time to come together, but the cherry and cherry liquor flavors are prominent.

It wasn’t all serious wine tasting. There was some good people watching, too. I’ll say this, at an event where people are describing wine (or really, anywhere), it is inappropriate for a woman over the age of 12 to be wearing the word JUICY across her butt in giant letters. And then there

Why, oh why, is this necessary? And so close to other people...
Why, oh why, is this necessary? And so close to other people…

was the spitting guy. I get that you don’t want to actually drink a lot, however, when you need to move your ponytail out of the way and come dangerously close to spitting on those nearby, you should probably just swallow the teeniest sip. Then go work on your aim.