Vintage Pairs Events

Vintage Pairs Round 19, 8th Aug 2018 - Experiment with a new format

In this session of Vintage Pairs, we served:

2012 Domaine de Chevalier Blanc, 2012 La Clarté de Haut-Brion
Same blend (+/-), same appellation, same vintage, different producer.


La Clarté de Haut-Brion is the second wine of Châteaux Haut-Brion and La Mission Haut-Brion. However, it is about the same retail price as the Domaine de Chevalier Blanc, so a direct comparison seems fair. I love white Graves for its touch of exotic fruit over good juicy citrus and stone fruit acidity, and that touch of creamy luxuriousness coming from the oak. In the 2012 vintage, the whites of Graves were the biggest winners. That said, did you like these two? Have a preference between them? The Domaine de Chevalier is 70% Sauvignon, 30% Semillon, while the Clarté is 42% Sauvignon, 58% Semillon.


2008 Gevrey-Chambertin Vieilles Vignes, Domaine Bachelet, 2008 Gevrey-Chambertin Vieilles Vignes, Domaine Fourrier
Same variety, same appellation and level, same vintage, different producer.


I consider both of these producers go-to for quality at all appellation levels. Denis Bachelet and Jean-Marie Fourrier are fastidious farmers, and here in Gevrey at the village level they have exceptionally old vines, naturally limiting yields. Winemaking is immaculate too. My hope is that these two wines will shine through as examples of the fact that village level can be a very happy hunting ground for bang for buck – old vines and ‘terroir’. Yes, but these two are examples of where the quality of the work of humans is as big a factor as any. My only fear is that the rather shy style of 2008 may still be holding one or both of these a bit tight.


2004 Gaja Barolo ‘Sperss’, 2004 Giacomo Conterno Barolo ‘Cascina Francia’
Same variety, same appellation and level, same vintage, different producer.


Ah yes, Barolo. We don’t get enough of this. While we think of Nebbiolo as distinct for its particular aroma, fruit and tannin profile, in practice it is hard to deduce blind. I suspect these two examples will throw us in different directions despite all they have in common. Of course, both are at or near the top of the quality pyramid. Angelo Gaja is more well known for his collection of ‘Barbarescos’ (I use the quote marks because he declassifies to Langhe to avoid following what he sees as restrictive DOCG rules) than his Barolo. Sperss – nostalgia – reflects the return to making Barolo in 1988 after a 27 year hiatus. It’s 100% Nebbiolo aged 12 months in barriques and then 12 months in traditional botti. Conterno’s is made in a more traditional style – 2 years in botti. The Cascina Francia vineyard, like Sperss, is in Serrualunga. The vintage 2004 is a great one in Barolo.


2006 Clarendon Hills ‘Astralis’ Shiraz, 2003 Clarendon Hills ‘Astralis’ Shiraz
Same producer, same wine, different vintage


Roman Bratasiuk’s McLaren Vale, South Australian estate is only 29 years old, but it rose to cult status by the mid-‘90s due to the high praise and scores given by Robert Parker. In 1996, he wrote of Astralis ‘This is the hottest wine in Australian wine circles, as it came out ahead of two great vintages of Henschke and Penfolds’ Grange in a recent tasting. If readers can believe it, it is a bigger, denser, more concentrated wine than the Grange.’ And bigger, denser = better, right?! It’s a long time since I’ve tasted an Astralis, and I was curious to see how they aged. I’m hoping they might just wow us. How can you not like a party wine?


1984 E. Guigal Côte-Rôtie ‘La Landonne’, 1984 E. Guigal Côte-Rôtie ‘La Mouline’ 
Same producer, same appellation, same principal grape, same vintage, different vineyard.


I’m bending the rules slightly here, I know – La Landonne (clay-limestone with rich iron oxides) is 100% Syrah, while La Mouline (gneiss terraces, siliceous soil mixed with limestone loess) is 89% Syrah and 11% Viognier. Typically these two wines show quite different character. But both are “La Las” – the cream of the crop from Rhône powerhouse family firm Guigal. Both are Côte-Rôtie at its best. They are aged 42 months in new oak barriques. The vintage 1984 was really weak in the Northern Rhône (like most of Europe), but the best of the best often shines through. Did they?

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View our past Vintage Pairs wine selection

Vintage Wine Bottle size Score
2012 Domaine de Chevalier Blanc 750ml WA93+
2012 Chateau Haut Brion - La Clarte de Haut Brion Blanc 750ml WA92-94
2008 Gevrey-Chambertin Vieilles Vignes, Domaine Bachelet 750ml BH89-91
2008 Gevrey-Chambertin Vieilles Vignes, Domaine Fourrier 750ml --
2004 Gaja Barolo ‘Sperss’ 750ml WA96
2004 Giacomo Conterno Barolo ‘Cascina Francia’ 750ml WA97
2003 Clarendon Hills - Astralis Shiraz 750ml WA99
2006 Clarendon Hills - Astralis Shiraz 750ml WA99
1984 E. Guigal Côte-Rôtie ‘La Landonne’ 750ml --
1984 E. Guigal Côte-Rôtie ‘La Mouline’ 750ml WA89

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