Visiting Ch. Lascombes and a sneak peek at ’09 and ’10

En primeur is coming up fast in Bordeaux. I don’t know a lot about en primeur, I must confess. I knew of en primeur but it’s only recently that I was able to actually visit Bordeaux and taste en primeur. You’re probably thinking, hang on a minute Denise, how did you taste en primeur 2010? It’s not 2010 en primeur week  yet. At least, I think that’s how it works, I’m still a bit hazy on all that en primeur stuff, really need to brush up (read: learn) French. Well, I was able to jump the gun a bit while visiting Chateau Lascombes, a Grand Cru Classe, 2nd growth in Margaux, a few weeks ago on my trip to Bordeaux with Richard Bampfield, MW. A quick primer on en primeur if your unfamiliar, or, if you know all about it, just skip this paragraph. Basically, en primeur is the practice of wine futures. The wine is sampled in barrel roughly 6 months after going in and based on the tasting, a price is set and sold for the wine before bottling. Bordeux is usually a blend although some Right Bank chateau do make 100% varietals, so the winemakers set out samples of what they believe will be the final blend but it can change depending on how the wine matures in barrel. Every year in March, the Bordelais invite the wine trade and press to taste the en primeur wines.     Prior to the tasting,we got a grand tour of the chateau, complete with their gravity flow fermentation tanks, their uber-cool cellar with neon blue lights and we even got a peek at the steam cleaning process used to clean out used barrels. The chateau was bought in 2001 by an investment fund, Colony Capital, which enabled the chateau to modernize, replant and generally improved the quality of the wine. Michel Rolland is their wine consultant and Delphine Barboux is the winemaker or officially titled, Quality Control Manager. It was she who tasted...

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