June 4: WWCS 50th Anniversary Series: Vertical Tasting of Classified Growth Bordeaux

Kevin Maskornick


Next week, Tuesday, June 4th, we will present an extremely special class, the first in a series to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Washington Wine and Cheese Seminar! In what is both a first for our organization, and also something befitting of such a grand event, the main attraction will be a vertical tasting of classified growth Bordeaux. By classified growth (‘Grands Crus Classés’ in French), we mean the wines recognized by the great 1855 ranking of the best estates in Bordeaux---a classification that has stood the test of time and remains synonymous with both high prices and high quality. These estates are legendary in both reputation and stature, and their wines would typically be priced out of reach for our organization. However, as this is our 50th anniversary, we’ve extended our budget in order to deliver a uniquely exceptional event.

We will taste wines from three excellent vintages stretching back to 2005, all from Chateau Cantemerle, a 5th growth estate located in the Haut-Medoc. Vertical tastings are unique and rare events, as they allow for the comparison of the same wine from the same producer, but at different stages of evolution. In this case, we will be able to evaluate the wine of Ch. Cantemerle at 5, 10, and 14 years of age. Organizing a vertical tasting is a logistical feat that requires substantial effort, but as an educational experience, the reward is almost unparalleled. The vertical lineup will be bookended by a crisp, refreshing Bordeaux blanc, and to finish, a delicious, classically-styled Sauternes.

To present these wines, we will be joined by guest lecturer Paul Chaconas, professional wine consultant and educator, with whom we worked to make this class possible. He brings to the table decades of industry experience and intimate knowledge of the Bordeaux region, and if you’ve been fortunate enough to attend previous tastings he’s organized with us, you know they’re more than worth the price of admission.

These excellent wines will be accompanied by two carefully selected French cheeses and crusty baguettes. Best of all, the tasting fee will be $35---only slightly more than a standard class, as we want these special events to remain accessible to our membership. We look forward to seeing you there!