WINE OF THE WEEK #075
I am sort of in a Bordeaux vibe lately and I am starting to get familiar with the grapes, the differences in the soil, the vintages and even the different AOC’s.
The wine I am going to taste today holds the AOC “Médoc”. This is the AOC closest to the sea at the north-west top area of the left bank. What is particular for me is the classification “Cru Bourgeois” on the label.
Château Poitevin - AOC Médoc 2008
As you know or may not know, the best Médoc wineries became classified in 1855 with the famous system of ‘growths’ or ‘crus’. You have the famous first growths like Chateau Margaux or Chateau Latour, and a lot of other wineries that are classified as a first, second, third, fourth or fifth growth. The classification was simply based on the QPR of the wines, and it still is a more or less honest representation of the situation today.
However, the list of growths is quite fixed, but 160 years along the road, other wineries were established and started to grow wine. Some of them deserve a special mention and that is why they invented a secondary or parallel system : the Cru Bourgeois. In 2003, the last list was published, and there are 3 categories from high to low : Cru Bourgeois Exceptionnel, followed by Cru Bourgeois Supérieur and straight Cru Bourgeois.
So as a little recap, in 1855 they made a fixed list of big players. But next to it, there is a more active classification system called the “Cru Bourgeois” system. What I am going to taste thus is a normal Cru Bourgeois. So I guess it should be worth a taste :)
Be sure to check the comment of Nick below if you want to know why it is so difficult to understand french wine. :)
Some other wine facts before we start:
- 55% Merlot , 40% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Petit Verdot
- Aged 14 months in oak barrels (30% new oak)
- Soil : mainly gravel & clay
It’s always hard to tell something useful about the colour of a wine.
This one is just very dark ruby red. I notice nothing exceptional or wrong, and maybe that’s a good sign.
I am very happy again to have a merlot based wine in my glass that was not aged in new oak. This gives the fruit so much more expression in the nose, but it’s clear the oak adds complexity. Actually, the nose reminds me of an overtoasted piece of bread, some fresh butter on top of it, and a nice thick layer of a fresh fruit jam of blackberries and blueberries.
From time to time, I also got a little hint of clove, but it’s very subtle.
I really like the nose, and I guess the wine will be very drinkable.
My description of the nose is actually pretty spot on.
Imagine you had a bite of this toast with jam.
- first of all you notice the dry bread that crumbles and dries out your mouth a bit
- before you can start complaining, the butter is there to smoothen things out again
- now you start chewing, and because you picked a nice jam from the shelves in the supermarket, you bite in small pieces of fruit and you get some nice fresh fruit juice flowing in your mouth.
- you bite again to start over.
This wine is in balance just because of this experience. The different components make the wine interesting, and they all work together very well.
And now, it even gets better.
On the finish I get the same fruits as in the mouth, but at the same time a lot of almonds, even going towards marzipan.
This is another wine that keeps me busy and makes me fill my glass over and over again. Now that I look at the bottle, I notice it’s almost empty. Woops.
What I like about this wine is that everyone will enjoy it, from the untrained wine lover to the wine professional. At every stage something interesting is happening and the wines does not become boring or heavy.
WINE OF THE WEEK #073
Excited, I am.
Curious, are you?
The 1st bordeaux wine is here, and I have no clue at all what to expect. I just have no experience whatsoever with the typical grapes or Bordeaux in general. So, all my hope goes into this bottle for my first Bordeaux impression. And a wise man once said to me : “you never get a second chance to make a first impression”
So I wish the next bottle the best of luck : CHATEAU BEAUSEJOUR-HOSTENS - AOC Haut-médoc 2009
The wine is made by Roland and Pascal Hostens, who took over Chateau Beauséjour a while ago. The Chateau is located in the Haut-Médoc AOC. To simplify : in the upper part of the left bank in Bordeaux but outside the more specific and prestigious AOC’s like Saint-Estèphe , Saint-Julien or Margeaux.
Or the middle-purple area on the map below.
- 55% Merlot & 45% Cabernet Sauvignon (very typical for the region)
- soil : gravel, clay and sandstone
- vinification in inox vats
- aged for 12 months in French oak
- bronze medal in Decanter, within the selection of 300 best wines under €10, and part of the “coup de coeur” selection in 2009.
Now I can’t wait anymore to start.
A price winner at €9,80. That should be fun… let’s go!
What a dark glass of wine. I’m not so used to that anymore and it’s a surprise for me. When I say dark, I mean a very deep red (still able to see some finger through the wine though). Some hints of purple are still present.
Wow, this is actually very unique.
What is very present for me is the oak. It reminds me a lot of fresh cut and still warm pine wood with resin pouring out of it. It even comes across a bit smoked. Although it is superpresent, it does not have a fake smell and I am really drawn towards this comforting nose.
It actually feels more like walking into an antique atelier where they still use old methods and materials.
Along with the woody notes comes a more creamy / hot / burnt sugar note.
The rest of the nose is dominated by dark fruit, especially a sweet blackberry jam. Strangely enough, I keep thinking about something green as well, but that might just be the age of the wine.
A nose that I’ve never had before, but very interesting!
Because this is still a young wine, I was scared to have very strong tannins and a dry mouthfeel so I decided to aereate the wine in my decanter.
The first attack is a lot softer then expected, and very soon the wine softens out even more and becomes quite smooth. The only thing that bothers me is the spike of alcohol in the end. It even makes me a bit uncomfortable.
So feelingwise I would say it is “ok”, but tastewise this is a really good wine. All the aspects we found in the nose are present and the wine shows great complexity and potential. The first level of fruit is easy to understand and delicious. The next levels (oak, resin, sugar, smoke) are not developing like they could be but you know something is there…
I get a very nice finish, and that makes me convinced that I like this wine.
The finish reminds me very much of a cookie : Café noir. (If you don’t know it, you should google it / buy it). It’s a mokka biscuit with a caramel layer on top.
It has been a long time since I gave a wine the silver medal: meaning that I like the wine, but I want to find something better. This time, it’s that spike of alcohol and the overall muscle this wine brings. I really don’t feel at ease with this amount of punch, and I would never be able drink a lot of it. Drinkability is an issue. But on the other hand, the flavour profile and the experience is very nice. And that makes me curious for more!