Last week we had the pleasure of drinking our way through 7 vintages of Chateau La Conseillante with the instantly charming, knowledgeable and passionate Marielle Cazaux. Marielle is in charge of both vine-growing and wine-making as well as the property’s promotional activities… she is one busy lady. Listening to Marielle’s encyclopaedic knowledge - and tasting their brilliant wines - made me look forward even further to the annual En Primeur week during which we will taste her 2018 offering. To say she is happy with this new wine… would be an understatement.
So onto the evening. Mark Hix’s Tramshed was the venue and as with all events we do at Mark’s establishments, this was another cracker. We made our way past the world famous Cock ‘n’ Bull installation (Damien Hirst), down a back passage, up one flight of stairs, through a door, turned right and then finally up another flight of stairs into what is known as ‘Mark’s Kitchen Library’. It houses Mark’s impressive personal cookbook collection, alongside multiple pieces of artwork and other curiosities. This is indeed a very cool private space which made our dinner feel that much more personal. After a couple of Gilpin’s Gin & Tonics (which slipped down with ease) we settled in for the main event.
We sat along the bar overlooking the kitchen work space and listened intently to all that Marielle had to share before we kicked off the evening’s wines with the effortless, silky and utterly brilliant 2016. This was super bright, fresh and (obviously) very youthful. Seductive but with great precision, minerality and purity. Very, very good, ripe and balanced. 98 Pts TC
Alongside the Cuttlefish ink risotto with seashore vegetables we had the 2005 and 2009 side by side. The aromas of the 2005 literally jumped out of the glass with saline minerality and gorgeous fruit. This is stunning and without a doubt ‘my kind of wine’. The development was already starting to show on the palate; with time this will unravel further but is absolutely delicious now. 96+ Pts TC
Interestingly, many of the guests initially voiced concerns about the sheer opulence of fruit on show in the 2009… However these concerns were dispelled after a mere few moments in the glass. The ’09 is voluptuous and fruit driven and displayed exactly why the vintage has received accolade after accolade. However it is also vibrant, fresh, youthful, silky and rich and narrowly became my favoured vintage over the ’05 – not least because it worked seamlessly with the risotto. 97 Pts TC
With our main course of Glenarm Estate sugar pit beef with salt baked celeriac we had the beautiful duo of 1998 and 1990.
I thought the 1998 was just singing; again, replete with the pure mineral freshness but this time combined with further richness. This is silky, classy, precise, elegant and downright lovely. If I could have taken a bottle home to finish off that night, this would have been it. 98 Pts TC
The 1990 is a different beast altogether; pronounced, evolved and really funky – minerality again integrated with wonderful purity of fruit. READY is my final word on this one. I’d love to try the 1989 alongside. 96 Pts TC
To finish off with we had the 1985, 1982 and 1975 alongside some Cashel Blue with celery and pickled walnut salad. The 1985 is a vintage I hold a lot of admiration for, mainly because its maturity makes it perfect, quintessential claret for Sunday luncheon. This 1985 was no different and showed much development, mushrooms and tertiary characteristics. Drink up and enjoy. 95 Pts TC
Sadly the 1982 was corked – Boo! But the gloriously rich and mature, coffee bean (?) and mocha 1975 was a fantastic wine to end on. 92 Pts TC
The previous ambassador at La Conseillante once said to us “If you mix Petrus with Cheval Blanc, you get Château La Conseillante.”
In maturity, La Conseillante is complex and perhaps more overtly powerful than its near neighbour VCC (although it’s not easy to find stock) and, from the wines we tasted, I was blown away but their regal and elegant nature. Across all the wines there is a wonderfully refreshing salinity and sea shell minerality which speaks so much to its terroir; I would encourage you to find more and drink more. The 2016 blew me away and I can’t wait to update youon what the 2018 La Conseillante has to offer in a few months’ time…
Thank you Marielle and Château La Conseillante for a fantastic tasting and insightful evening and as always to the team at Tramshed for outstanding food and service.