July 12, 2009

Chateau des Charmes 1999 Estate Cabernet-Merlot

(Re-Tasted July 2009) ... It was once said to me that "wine tastes better in the presence of the winemaker" - I am sure that anybody who has experienced tasting with a winemaker can attest to that. Tonight I got a rare opportunity to taste a bottle of Chateau des Charmes 1999 Cabernet-Merlot Estate Bottle with the Bosc family - but this story has a little bit of a twist, it was a bottle that I had been storing for the last 4 or 5 years, and it had traveled 2000km to get to the table.

On July 2nd I found myself enroute to the Annual Pine Island tasting held on an island just south of North Bay ... knowing that I would not be returning to my abode until the 13 of July, I knew I had to take the bottle with me. So I packed it carfeully in bubble wrap and into a cooler bag, packed with bubble wrap around it to keep it safe - this is where the bottle resided for the next 10 days. I then stored the wine in our cabin on the island, thankfully the weather never hit a temperature above 20 (celsius). My next stop was in the US of A (Detroit), where I visited with my fiancee for a few days and kept the bottle in its bag in her cool basement. Then to Niagara I went - where the bottle had to rest in a trunk all day as the temperature outside rose. At this point I bought a couple bottles of cold water and stowed them in the bag with the bottle, as a gauge as to how well the bottle was being insulated. Thankfully when I returned to my B&B that evening the water was still cool. Finally, the bottle made its way, 10 days later, to the Bosc table where we pulled the cork and I held my breath. Had I ruined this carefully stored bottle that I had launched my website with (as the first red reviewed) back in April 2005? Had I taken enough care of this bottle through all this moving about? It was show time ...

Paul Bosc Jr. popped the cork and gave it a sniff - he then poured a little off and sampled it, so did I. I little smoky and dark fruitish. We let the wine breathe in the bottle for an hour. Now back in 1999, Junior was not the winemaker, Paul Bosc Sr. was, and he showed up to try the bottle (this is where the part about "in the presence of the winemaker" comes in). The wine proved to have a life all it's own - still with vibrant fruit, it actually tasted young, this 10 year old bottle that had been hauled from town to town tasted young. The nose was black fruited, on the dry side, with licorice and raspberry notes. The flavour was black fruit, vanilla with a hint of pine, sour raspberry and cassis. The tannins still had a grip yet smoothed through the mouth - and kept those flavours with barely a change over the next three hours. Outstanding wine, "a vintage on par with 2002," said Paul Jr. I have some bottles of the 2002 Estate Cabernet Merlot - I guess we'll see if that statement really is true in 2012.

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