The label image was one of Francis Bacon's last pieces of work before his death in 1992.
The wine has a brooding spicy note to the aromas of sweet black fruit with jammy plums and xmas spices in there too. Each sniff brings different smells and characters - oaky spicy notes mingle with the fruit and suggest a full flavoured, rich wine. On the palate it is deceivingly soft and feminine with fine tannins supporting rich black fruit flavours, with oaky toasted characters weaving through the flavours. If possible I would say this tastes expensive. It would be interesting to see if I could distinguish it from a cheaper Pauillac tasted blind. An exercise perhaps for when I win the lottery!! I was pleasantly surprised when I opened a bottle of 1995 Gevrey-Chambertin Lavaux-St-Jacques 1er Cru by Denis Mortet and found similarities in the nose.
Just over a hectare in size, the Lavaux St Jacques vineyard is a premier cru vineyard just next to the Clos St Jacques. Using old vines and a meticulous vineyard management which includes ruthless de-stemming, debudding and pruning to reduce the yields down to the bare minimum. The fields are all deep ploughed in order to force the vines to dig deep to find nourishment. The end result from this is a very small quantity of super premium fruit, rich concentrated flavours with intensity. This is reduced even further with a severe triage in the vineyard then a further triage at the winery. Only the very best and ripest fruit is used. It is de-stemmed before vinification in concrete cuves of various sizes. With the pigeage being done as many as four times a day at the peak of the cuvaison, that is as much intervention as the wine will recieve. A period of maturation in predominantly new oak, the wines are allowed to undergo malo-lactic fermentation to soften out the acids and then bottles unfiltered and often unfined. That means these are not clear wines, there is often a fine sediment suspended in there, and personally I feel that adds to the character of the wine.
At first the wine presented similarly spicy notes on the nose with plummy fruits in the background and a hint of ripened raspberries. There was a deep aroma of dark chocolate with raw beetroot flavours in there too. Bloody marvelous wine from a dedicated and passionate producer. Tragically he took his own life earlier this year for reasons that are unclear. The legacy of his wines continues.