Wednesday May 11, 2016 from 6:30 PM to 8:30 PM EDT
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North York Memorial Community Hall 
5110 Yonge St. (under library)
Toronto, ON

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Peter Wood
Winetasters of Toronto  

The Best of White Bordeaux


Old Port and Stilton


 (Wednesday, May 11, 2016) — Burgundy is not the only region of France to produce outstanding white wine. The best white Bordeaux from Graves and  Pessac-Léognan, while stylistically quite different, are recognized by those in the know for achieving similar lofty heights (and prices!). Our tasting includes superstars such as the iconic Domaine de Chevalier and Ch Laville Haut-Brion, which are certainly vaut le detour. Since the latter was renamed in 2009 to Ch La Mission Haut-Brion Blanc, it has commanded prices well north of $500. The region also offers a number of excellent wines, both crus bourgeois and crus classés that are nonetheless affordable and may even offer better value (come on down, Ch Brown!).

The wines are generally made from blends of Sauvignon Blanc (SB) and Semillon (Sem), see some oak ageing and can achieve significant complexity.   One point of interest in the tasting will be contrasting those wines with a majority of Sauvignon Blanc vs those with Semillon in the majority – the region swings both ways. These wines benefit from some cellar age, and the wines we are pouring for this are all at a good stage of maturity.   Most of our wines are from the excellent 2009 vintage, with 2007 and 2004 also both very good.

Our ascent starts in the foothills of crus bourgeois with Ch de Cruzeau (100% SB) and Clos Marsalette (50/50).  The first Grand Cru is Ch Bouscaut (55% SB / 45% Sem). We then take a slight detour over to St Emilion for a real rarity, Ch Fombrauge Blanc. This includes 20% Sauvignon Gris in the blend, along with 40% each Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon.

Returning to the main ascent, in Pessac-Léognan Grands Crus, we hit what may be the optimum value zone with Ch Haut-Bergey (80% SB, 20% Sem) & Ch Brown (60% SB, 40% Sem) both rated 17 pts (superior) by Jancis Robinson and both costing under $50 Canadian.

We approach the peak with Domaine de Chevalier 2007, (80% SB, 20% Sem - 17.5 pts by JR, This seemed to be at the perfect stage of evolution to drink in 2016… Rich yet full of life and with a most seductive hint of sweetness on the finish - though overall a very dry wine.”).  Finally we hit the peak with Ch Laville Haut-Brion 2004 (17% SB, 83% Sem; 18 pts – “a cut above superior” - by JR “Off dry with a strong Sauvignon freshness even though Semillon is the dominant grape …. Good weight and very dry finish. Rapier-like in its impact. Mid fruit. Quite flashy and dramatic. 2009-2020”).

Of course, being Toronto Winetasters, we’ll be tasting semi-blind, so your path to the ascent may not be quite so straightforward. In addition to trying to spot the different chateaux, with their different blends, you can also see if you can taste the difference between a $25 wine (Ch Cruzeau) and a $275 wine (Laville Haut-Brion).

We are very pleased to have Marlize Beyers, wine-maker at Hidden Bench to lead us through this exciting tasting.

As always with our tastings, this event will be strictly non-smoking, and we request your cooperation in not wearing any scented after-shave or perfume.  Please don’t drink & drive.

Date:  Wednesday, May 11, 2016
Time:  6:30 p.m.
Limit:  88 people
Place: North York Memorial Community Hall,  5110 Yonge St. (under library) - North York Centre Subway
Members: $78
Guests:     $88

Cancellations accepted up to May 9, 2016 — Dave Hutchison (416-690-0281). No reservations by phone, please. No confirmations will be issued for mail-in reservations — you will be contacted only if we are sold out.  First come basis. Non-members may attend at guest rates, but preference will be given to members.

GST/HST account: 844742619RT0001;  Business name: Winetasters Society of Toronto

[Register now by mail.]