If you ever have a chance to taste more than one vintage of the same wine next to each other I highly recommend doing so. This type of tasting is known as a vertical tasting. You can taste two or more wines from the same producer, only from different years and it can give you a great personal feel for how wines change depending on weather or factors in the fermentation. I got a chance to do this last week with Chateau Hortevie from Saint-Julien.
Quick history: Chateau Hortevie was bought by Bruno Borie who owns Château Ducru Beaucaillou in time to produce the 2006 vintage by Ducru Beaucaillou, also from Saint- Julien and a second growth from the 1855 classification in Bordeaux. These wines are both left bank and Cabernet Sauvignon dominated.
Let’s speed up a few years and head into ABC to pick up Chateau Hortevie, both 2011 and 2012. Head home, open both bottles (you may want to ask a friend or two over to help with this), and pour a half glass from both bottles to compare. This is a good wine to juxtapose as the 2011 and 2012 vintages are very different. Let’s start with 2011. I almost hate to say what I think, because really it’s all up to you and your palate but it’s my job, so I’ll tell you my thought
The 2011 vintage was a wonderful wine, ruby/plum in color with dark berry fruit and cedar nuances. With a nice, slightly tannic finish it has great ability to age. The 2012 vintage was a bit different and I would recommend drinking this one now instead of aging. The flavor profile (to me) is much more fruit centered with red currant coming through the medium finish. As I always say, don’t take my word for it, coordinate a vertical tasting at home and see what you and your friends have to say!
Kathleen Anderson, ABC Fine Wine & Spirits wine supervisor
Follow me on Twitter @abcwinekat