Tasting No. 196 – February 26, 2017- The Effect of Aging

Club del Vino


Capri Ristorante, McLean VA

 1. Presenters and Participants

Wines presenters: Alberto Gomez, Jorge Requena, Germán Zincke

Participants: Mario Aguilar¸ Jorge Claro, Clara Estrada, Alberto Gómez, Peter Lapera, Orlando Mason, Lucía Redwood, Jorge Requena, Alfonso Sanchez, Jairo Sanchez, Ricardo Santiago, Pedro Turina, Ricardo Zavaleta, German Zincke

Type of Tasting: Blind

2. Tasting Overview  

This tasting includes two reds Gran Cru Classé Chateau Giscours Margaux, Medoc  from different years elaborated following the same techniques and variety blends. The basic difference is their aging. There is a third red Appellation Margaux Controlee form the same Chateau but made from younger vines and subject to shorter aging time than the  other two.  The  main objectives of this tasting are to assess the differences among these wines and identify them individually.

These are the wines:

  1. 2016 Château Côte Montpezat Cuvee Compostelle Blanc
  2. 2014 Chateau Giscours, Gran Cru Classé
  3. 2010 Chateau Giscours, Gran Cru Classé
  4. 2012 La Sirene de Giscours, Appellation Margaux Controlee

3. The Menu

  1. Sea Food Salad
  2. Cheese Platter
  3. Pasta aglio e olio
  4. Grilled Tenderloin with Mushrooms and Brown Sauce
  5. Dessert/Coffee

4. Information on the Wines

(The information below has been compiled from varios internet sources) .

2016 Château Côte Montpezat Cuvee Compostelle Blanc

The Wine: Indicative Blend: 40% sauvignon blanc, 30% sauvignon gris, 30% sémillon.  Elegant and fleshy, fresh and fruity, mineral.
In the mouth, we discover citrus aromas accompanied by exotic or menthol.

The Winery: Fourty kms to the east of Bordeaux, in the extension of the Saint-Emilion appellation extend designations Puisseguin St Emilion and Côtes de Castillon appellation become since 2008 Castillon Côtes de Bordeaux.It is on these lands in clay and limestone which are born great wines that are planted the vines of Bessineau Vineyards:

– the  Castle Coast MONTPEZAT (30 hectares)  located Belves Castillon – AOC Castillon Cotes de Bordeaux

– the CASTLE HIGH BERNAT (5.5 Hectares) located in Puisseguin – AOC Puisseguin Saint-Emilion

Read more at: http://www.cote-montpezat.com/

2014 Chateau Giscours, Gran Cru Classé

The Wine: A complex nose of earth, tobacco, mint, black cherry and raspberries, this wine is soft and polished and there is a fresh, unadulterated plum and fresh, black raspberry sensation in the silky finish. The wine was produced from a blend of 70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot and 10% Petit Verdot.

Polished tannins, pure, ripe, fresh,  sweet, dark, red fruits, and a silky textured, fresh finish are really already showing well, with little effort. As this ages, it could score higher.

The Winery:  The 102 hectare vineyard of Chateau Giscours is planted to 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 32% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc and 3% Petit Verdot. The current plantings show a marked increase in Cabernet Sauvignon. Previously, more than 50% of their vineyards were planted to Merlot in the mid 1990’s.

The terroir is mostly gravel with sand and some limestone in the soil. The vineyard has 3 peaks, with the highest level of elevation reaching 32 meters. On average, the vines are close to 45 years of age. However, the estate has old vines that are up to 70 years of age, which are both Cabernet Sauvignon and some Merlot. The vine density is on average 10,000 vines per hectare. The higher levels of density represent the new plantings.

The vineyard of Chateau Giscours is divided into 43 separate plots. Today, 20% of their vineyards are farmed using biodynamic techniques. That is expected to continue increasing over the next few years. The best terroir is located directly in front of the chateau, which is also where you find their oldest vines.

To produce the wine of Chateau Giscours, vinification takes place in a combination of stainless steel vats and concrete tanks. There are 26 stainless steel tanks and 42 concrete vats that range in size from 20 hectoliters all the way up to 250 hectoliters. 80% of the Malolactic fermentation takes place in tank and 20% occurs in barrel. The wine of Chateau Giscours is aged in 50% new, French oak barrels for an average of 18 months.

While Chateau Giscours is a traditional Bordeaux estate, they were one of the first properties in the Medoc to embrace optical sorting technology. In fact, they were also one of the first estates to employ gravity to filling the vats in the late 1800’s as you read earlier. The production of Chateau Giscours is close to 25,000 cases per year. There is a second wine, La Sirene de Giscours.

Read more about this winery here: Chateau Giscours Margaux Bordeaux

2012 La Sirene de Giscours, Appellation Margaux Controlee

The Wine: Grape varieties: 60 % Cabernet Sauvignon – 32 % Merlot – 5 % Cabernet Franc – 3% Petit Verdot .

(WS) “A second wine is not created by taking the leftovers that you can’t use for your first wine and making something out of it. That’s not at all how it’s done. You have to see your wines as a family tree.”

 2010 Chateau Giscours, Gran Cru Classé

The Wine: A complex nose of earth, tobacco, mint, black cherry and raspberries, this wine is soft and polished and there is a fresh, unadulterated plum and fresh, black raspberry sensation in the silky finish.

The wine was produced from a blend of 70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot and 10% Petit Verdot.Polished tannins, pure, ripe, fresh,  sweet,  dark,  red fruits, and a silky textured, fresh finish are really already showing well, with little effort. As this ages,  it could score higher.  – Tasted Feb 4, 2017

 4.  CV Members Rating

View full evaluation here: Summary of Tasting Scores 196

The participants chose the 2010 Chateau Guscours as the best wine by a large majority. The identified the wine as being more elegant, integrated, less fruity  and having more complex earthly, coffee, wood and chocolate flavors than the other two reds.

Best Rated Wine: 2010 Chateau Guiscours, Margaux

Best Buy: 2012 La Sirene de Giscours, Margaux

5. Technical Notes 

Jairo Sanchez compiled the following technical notes mosstly from Wkipedia.

Margaux AOC.  

Margaux is a wine growing commune and Appellation d’origine contrôlée (AOC) within Haut-Médoc in Bordeaux, centred on the village of Margaux. Its leading (premier cru) château is also called Margaux. It contains 21 cru classé châteaux, more than any other commune in Bordeaux. It is on the left bank of the Gironde. It is the southernmost appellation in the Médoc. The soil is the thinnest in the Médoc, with the highest proportion of gravel. The gravel provides good drainage. The forest to the west shelters the vines from Atlantic breezes. Margaux contains 1413 hectares of vineyards, making it the second largest appellation in the Haut-Médoc (after Saint-Estèphe).

Cabernet Sauvignon is the predominant grape, but it is invariably blended with other grapes. As with all red Bordeaux, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and Malbec may also be included in the blend.   The wine is known for its perfumed fragrance. The dominant fruit flavour is blackcurrant. The wine from the southern part of the appellation (i.e. Cantenac, Arsac and Labarde) tends to be more powerful but less fragrant and leans more towards plum. Wine from Margaux may be labelled as Haut-Médoc (usually wine which the château considers inferior to its main offering and wishes to market under a different label). It would also be possible (though unusual) for the wine to be labelled using the Médoc AOC or one of the Regional Bordeaux AOCs.

The Aging of Wine ( Source: Wkipedia)

As red wine ages, the harsh tannins of its youth gradually give way to a softer mouthfeel. An inky dark color will eventually lose its depth of color and begin to appear orange at the edges, and then later eventually turning brown. These changes occur due to the complex chemical reactions of the phenolic compounds of the wine. In processes that begin during fermentation and continue after bottling, these compounds bind together and aggregate. Eventually these particles reach a certain size where they are too large to stay suspended in the solution and precipitate out. The presence of visible sediment in a bottle will usually indicate a mature wine. The resulting wine, with this loss of tannins and pigment, will have a paler color and taste softer, less astringent. The sediment, while harmless, can have an unpleasant taste and is often separated from the wine by decanting.

During the aging process, the perception of a wine’s acidity may change even though the total measurable amount of acidity is more or less constant throughout a wine’s life. This is due to the esterification of the acids, combining with alcohols in complex array to form esters. In addition to making a wine taste less acidic, these esters introduce a range of possible aromas. Eventually the wine may age to a point where other components of the wine (such as a tannins and fruit) are less noticeable themselves, which will then bring back a heightened perception of wine acidity. Other chemical processes that occur during aging include the hydrolysis of flavor precursors which detach themselves from glucose molecules and introduce new flavor notes in the older wine and aldehydes become oxidized. The interaction of certain phenolics develops what is known as tertiary aromas which are different from the primary aromas that are derived from the grape and during fermentation.

As a wine starts to mature, its bouquet will become more developed and multi-layered. While a taster may be able to pick out a few fruit notes in a young wine, a more complex wine will have several distinct fruit, floral, earthy, mineral and oak derived notes. The lingering finish of a wine will lengthen. Eventually the wine will reach a point of maturity, when it is said to be at its “peak”. This is the point when the wine has the maximum amount of complexity, most pleasing mouthfeel and softening of tannins and has not yet started to decay. When this point will occur is not yet predictable and can vary from bottle to bottle. If a wine is aged for too long, it will start to descend into decrepitude where the fruit tastes hollow and weak while the wine’s acidity becomes dominant.

The natural esterification that takes place in wines and other alcoholic beverages during the aging process is an example of acid-catalysed esterification. Over time, the acidity of the acetic acid and tannins in an aging wine will catalytically protranate other organic acids (including acetic acid itself), encouraging ethanol to react as a nucleophile. As a result, ethyl acetate – the ester of ethanol and acetic acid—is the most abundant ester in wines. Other combinations of organic alcohols (such as phenol-containing compounds) and organic acids lead to a variety of different esters in wines, contributing to their different flavours, smells and tastes. Of course, when compared to sulfuric acid conditions, the acid conditions in a wine are mild, so yield is low (often in tenths or hundredths of a percentage point by volume) and take years for ester to accumulate.

Read more about the aging of wine here: The aging of wine

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