On the International board, "moto" posted that he has a new found appreciation for Madiran. For his benefit and others who can take advantage of it, I wanted to mention that the Beaune location of wine mega-retailer, Perardel, had the 2000 Chateau Bouscassé Madiran on promotion when I was there last weekend, marked down to 5.90 euros. If you buy more than 180 euros at the store and take your purchase out of the country, you get 19+% TVA duty removed from your bill provided the French tax authorities stamp your tax invoice. On this particular wine, the final price was 4.93 euros, not quite the full tax mark-down, so this might be the wine's lowest cost basis. There were a few cases still in stock when we left, so perhaps it's still available.
My friends who are assignment in Switzerland, had met me for the weekend in Beaune. On Saturday we made a stop at Perardel to stock their cellar. We spent almost two hours there roaming up and down every aisle to pick out the bargains, and I spotted this one on promotion. They bought a six-pack of the Bouscassé, which comes in a nice wooden case. I picked up one singleton to open for dinner later at their house in Geneva in order to advise them on how long to let it age.
The etiquette of the bottle undersells the quality of the wine inside. The capsule was cheesey plastic film and I managed to push the cork in trying to extract it. I was alarmed that the nearly black, inky puddle of Madiran on the granite counter top and floor would permanently stain my friends' kitchen! Despite being nearly six years old, the color of this wine looked like it had just come out of the fermenter with a rich and fully saturated opaque black-purple solid to the rim. It had a thickness on the palate that almost reminded me of gravy rather than wine. A monument to tannin and color extraction, if you tried to imagine something that crosses Stags Leap Petite Syrah with Chateau Montrose, the Bouscassé is what you'd come up with. At 13.7% alcohol and chockfull of ripe dense tannins, this wine is a heavyweight, yet it also knows how to float like a butterfly to swirl through the mouth with rich plummy fruit, smoke and spice. It didn't change much during an hour of aeration in the glass, I'd give it two to four more years to develop.
Other bottles that I purchased (with prices in euros after tax refund) included:
NV Pol Roger Brut magnum, 34.28
NV Billecart-Salmon Rose Brut, 32.61
1999 Armand Rousseau Close de la Roche Grand Cru, 56.86
2002 Dujac Morey-St.-Denis 1er cru, 45.99
2002 Huet Vouvray Moelleux "Clos du Bourg", 25.92
2001 Baumard Quarts de Chaume, 24.08
2002 Louis Jadot Beaune Clos des Ursules 1er cru magnum, 56.94
My friends bought quite a bit, so much that their Swiss credit card company called to ask if they were in Beaune buying a whole bunch of wine! The picture below shows the loaded down car. We put one side of the back seat down to increase the cargo capacity in their station wagon and had boxes stacked on the floor too. I was in the back and while driving through the curvy mountain passes to get back to Geneva, had visions of my epitaph reading that I had been crushed to death by magnums of Grande Marque Champagne. (vbg)
Perardel is reviled by some American wine importers as the source of some gray market wines in the US. But for a consumer, it is a wine wonderland especially if you can take advantage of the tax refund in addition to the regular low prices. We took care of the paperwork driving into Switzerland through the Ferey border crossing. The French tax guy never cracked a smile, but he was kind enough to offer to mail our paperwork back to Perardel in the self-addressed, stamped envelopes the store provided. Other friends have their wines shipped to associates in France to be picked up within six months and hand-carried back to the States with the tax notarization provided at French consulates stateside.
Perardel Grands Vins de France
Avenue de Gaulle