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Nobody is more disappointed than myself, when I say I don't remember what I drank that night at a St Aubin White Blind Tasting last week. Super pumped for this event, I was ready to record meticulous tasting notes for you readers here, from top producers such as Bachelet, Ramonet, Lamy and more.
In end, I committed a huge mistake – that is I got shit faced. That is quite obvious in hindsight, however I had too much hubris and forgot many valuable lessons from US undergraduate collegiate life: eat before you drink and pace yourself. This tasting was done with friends so no professional faux pas was made.
To help you, my dear readers, in hosting your own blind tastings, do make a note of the following lessons I learnt the hard way:
- Stay Organised (a.k.a. the hardest part).
- Ideally you have someone not involved in the blind tasting to help you organise the bottles so that you only know what you brought.
- Bring numbered bottle socks to keep the order straight.
- Record which number bottle is brought by whom before you start.
- Slow down. For some reason, many people like to breeze through the wines to get a quick "feel" for them before tasting begins. However you can honestly go at your own pace, if you stay organised and know which bottle is which. Then you can really go at without worrying about mixups, hence why staying relatively organised makes it so important!
- Bring spittoons. Sounds unnecessary when the tastings themselves are not professional and purely for fun but quickly after going through a few faulty bottles or an overly generous pour, you don't have to commit to drinking the whole thing or find the nearest sink to pour. This also is relevant to points 1-3.
- Optional: Additional glasses. This is optional because it's understandable not everybody has enough glassware around to do this. However it really helps to discern between two very similar wines and allows you to revisit.
Organising a blind tasting isn't as hard as it sounds. To be honest, it's the best kind of tasting in terms of pushing your experience, biases and palette, in a structured way. However when you have a lot of bottles and a lot eager drinkers, you can easily overwhelm yourself and get in over your head.
Any other tips? Let me know!
I didn't expect to take such a long break! Christmas and CNY happened and our major company events are coming up ahead later this week...hopefully I can get into a new routine for 2017 :)
For who don't follow me on IG, I was in Copenhagen for Noma just before they closed end of Feb for 3 days only and had to fly immediately back to HK for this event with Gilbert Felettig of Domaine Gilbert et Christine Felettig. This is a domaine that only dates back to the 70s when Gilbert's dad Henri married a local Chambolle girl. However they expanded quickly in Chambolle Musigny and now hold many fantastic different parcels all over the commune, making them an estate to watch out for if you are looking at up and coming Chambolle Musigny estates.
“Felettig" is a name to watch over the next few years.” — Neal Martin
Gilbert kindly made stopover at our office to host tasting of his 2014s. Info on each cuvee and a sort of tasting note on the wines below. Not included was the Echezeaux, which unfortunately did not open as well as others, as the vines are a baby at 20 years old but under Felettig's care and winemaking skills, it should be also something to look out for in the near future as well.
Chambolle Musigny 1er Crus Les Charmes
One of the famous 1er crus after Les Amoureuses for all the right reasons, Gilbert’s version is a fruit driven, slightly richer and more extravagant take. A more opulent style of Chambolle for those who like a little more from their wines.
Chambolle Musigny 1er Crus Les Combottes
Just a stone’s throw away from its more famous neighbour Les Charmes, Felettig’s parcel here in this underrated 1er cru is composed of 60 year old vines that is vinified in 50-60% new oak. “Give this several years in the bottle and savour over the next dozen” -Neal Martin.
Chambolle Musigny 1er Crus Les Carrieres
Fomerly a quarry, the soil type here is mostly limestone. This is an ‘almost monople’ in that Felettig is the only producer to bottle this 1er cru, which is matured in 50% new oak that balances the fine minerality. “Terrific” - Allen Meadows.
Chambolle Musigny 1er Crus Les Feusselottes
Sitting not too far from Les Charmes in this plot are 50 year old vines that show complexity. The soils here are the richest and deepest of all the 1er crus so this is hardly surprising. A crowd pleaser at our tasting.
Chambolle Musigny 1er Crus Les Fuees
Gilbert has two parcels here, one that is next to Les Cras and one next to Bonnes Mares, creating wines that taste of the finesse so classic of Chambolle. One of the most popular cuvées of the night.
Chambolle Musigny 1er Crus Les Lavrottes
Lavrotte is a lieux-dits that is exceptionally close to Dujac and Vogue’s Bonnes Mares parcels. Fermented 40% whole bunch and 60% destemmed, on the palate it is “chewy” but posseses good weight and depth, with added freshness from the acidity. A smart buy.