Lavinia was a mob scene last Thursday for its mega-humungous 2004 Bordeaux tasting. Not only did they have door people checking you were on the list, but there was a line running up the rue des Capucines toward the Opera of people on the list. It was cold and windy out.
But finally we came in from the cold, were amiably greeted by the hostess, and given two straight-sided wine glasses, ill-shaped for the tasting. But oh well...
On the store's ground-floor level, a quick run-through of the program showed, were less big-name wines. We perused the level for a few minutes to break in our palates; nothing really begged our attention, though.
Segur de Cabanac, St-Estèphe Cru Bourgeois - somewhat green and tannic but good material.
Downstairs was where the action was. And it was all over the place, in every nook of the broad room. So we descended the curving staircase into the delicious madness. The joint was jumpin'.
Here are my notes, reclassified in alphabetical order, because after the first four, I stopped writing: Wine #1, #2, #3 etc. (I should note that by the end of the evening, with spit buckets being few and far between, my notes had dipped somewhat in detail and precision. Next to Château Haut-Batailley it says just: "Bon." Damn lousy reporting... But before that, I was pretty aware.) All are 2004's.
Beychevelle - This was so-so; standard structure but a kind of metallic taste at the end that was offputting.
Branaire Ducru - An elegant expression; easily approachable, gourmand.
Les Carmes Haut-Brion - Agreeable, but dries out at the end.
Chasse Spleen - My first experience with this cru, and a letdown; racy, but somewhat green and tannic.
La Conseillante - One of my two favorites of the night. Lots of material and lots going on. Delicious; rich fruits and elegance.
Coutet - Nicely done; elegant.
Figeac - Harmonious, gourmand. Yum.
Giscours - Markedly tanic but solidy structured. Austere.
Haut Bailly - Rustic, tannic, but also with good fruit.
Haut Batailley - Good. (Erm... see above.)
Léoville Poyferré - Racy but tannic and bitter on the finish.
Lynch Bages - Tasty, easy-drinking, but somewhat watery on the finish.
Les Ormes de Pez - Appealing upfront, but not very long on the palate.
Palmer - The picture of stately elegance. La classe...
Pontet Canet - OK; somewhat conventional, typical taste.
Pichon Comtesse de Lalande - Super smooth and classy wine; my drinking companion's favorite. Definite "race" along with finesse.
Tertre - Generous, approachable.
Smith Haut Laffite - Tasted only the white. Solid, well-structured; the oak is somewhat prominent, but the wine's material has a commanding presence on the palate.
Wines I missed that I'd planned to hit included Brane Cantenac, Grand Puy Lacoste, Lafon Rochet, and Montrose, which I simply couldn't find. Oh well... it'll have to be another time.
A few days later, I got an automatic e-mail from Lavinia with a link to their video of the night. Eagerly watched it looking for myself. I am not to be found. But Arnaud makes a sneak appearance near the end...