An exploration of wine

172. Abbée de Chimay, Chimay Bleu, 1993, 1997, 2004

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Book 1 Wine 172

5 FRF-£1.50; 9%

An unusual vertical tasting this: of 3 vintages of Chimay Bleu 33cl Trappist ales! This was made possible by a visit to the Chimay abbey on the Belgian side of the France:Belgium border… or more accurately, the bar up the road where you can actually buy the beer (Trappists don’t speak, so I guess they can’t sell…?). When I mentioned to the barman that I knew their Blue Label (9% ABV and strongest, and bottle conditioned with live yeast, for bottle ageing) was vintaged, brought a bottle of the ’93 out from behind the bar, alongside the then “current” 97! This showed the evolution profile of this beer, since vintage doesn’t count. The ’97 was best, indicating that c. 3-4 years would probably be ideal from vintage date: less head than the ’04, yet the ’93 was nearly dead; only slightly paler brown than the ’04 vs. mid-brown ’93; distinct treacle tart aromas vs. over-yeasty ’04 and “thin” ’93. ’93 palate “hollow” with ’04 full. ’97 OK.

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