2008 Le Cigare Volant - en foudre
$54.00 per bottle / $583.20 per case
$45.90 per bottle / $518.40 per case (Members)
Let’s take a brief trip in the way-back machine and recall the millésime. 2008 was a warmer, riper vintage, one that yielded grapes of superb concentration and great fruit. As had been our practice for many years, we typically age the Cigare in a combination of 500 liter puncheons (demi-muids) and 10,000 liter upright wood-tanks (foudres), equipped, of course, with “lees-hotels.” Depending on the characteristics of the vintage, we will favor a greater or lesser ratio of puncheon to upright tank, but normally the relative percentages hover around 50/50. In vintages that give us wines that are
richer in tannin, and more structured (ideally tannins that are not too ripe), we will incline to placing a larger percentage of the cuvée in puncheon, to allow for slightly greater exposure to oxygen, thus helping in the polymerization (softening) process. In more delicate vintages or vintages where (God forbid) tannins are slightly over-ripe, we might favor a higher percentage of élevage in the wood uprights.
I have always been struck by how differently the same wine will develop in one vessel as compared to another. In the ’08 vintage, in tasting the wine on a monthly basis, what was particularly bizarre was that it truly was a horserace in so far as how the wines developed in their respective vessels. One month, it was absolutely evident that the foudre was the superior vessel for this particular wine, and the following month, we would slap ourselves on the forehead. “What were we thinking?” Obviously, the demi-muid is the more appropriate vessel. It went on like this for eighteen months, back and forth, again and again. While the final, large- scale commercial release of Cigare was (as always) a blend of the wines from the respective vessels, we decided to bottle up a few hundred cases of each, to allow us and some truly geeky customers the ability to follow the respective development of the wines over the years. I am happy to report that the wines from both cellar treatments are alive and well, with the “en foudre” version getting the slight nod (at least at this point) as far as the more favorable evolution. (It seems to have retained a bit more fruit.)