Saturday, January 12, 2008

I am learning to love Bordeaux

You may have noticed that my posting has slowed down just a little bit lately. After the over excesses of the holidays I've had to cut down on my calories and alcohol. So, I've been saving the wine for the weekends. Earlier this week a case of 2005 Bordeaux arrived from Wine Library. I have been dying to taste this all week. I am beginning to really appreciate the old world style wines from Bordeaux and am learning a lot as I taste more and more.

The 2005 Chateau Clos du Moulin comes from the St. Estèphe commune at the northernmost part of Médoc. Wines from this region are typically tannic and slower maturing than other areas of Bordeaux. According to Robert Joseph (French Wines The essential guide to the wines and wine-growing regions of France, DK Publishing) when the classification of vineyards in Bordeaux was happening in 1855 the wines from this region were considered to be of lesser quality than other areas of Médoc. Thus, it was only awarded 5 crus classés. Forty vineyards were deemed to be crus bourgeois. I never realized that the classes were designated more than 150 years ago. See, I'm learning! I think a lot can change in 150 years and now I wonder how much stake to put in the vineyard classifications of France. I would welcome comments and discussion about this point. Anyway, I digress. St. Estèphe has a soil that is a mix of gravel and clay. This is a combination that can make Cabernet Sauvignon rather rough. Thus more merlot was planted in this area in the late 1980's and the wines have become softer and more supple than before.

The 2005 Chateau Clos du Moulin is comprised of 40% merlot, 40% cabernet sauvignon and 20% cabernet franc and petit verdot. I found it to be a super interesting wine and one that a novice like I could guarantee will age nicely for at least the next 10 years. When I first opened the bottle the nose was a bit closed. After a few minutes and warming the glass with my hands I began to notice aromas of cherries and some spice, maybe anise. Interestingly I noted the tiniest hint of caramel on the nose. Drinking this was an experience, I tell you. At first I was attacked by alcohol. My first tasting of this right after opening made me think this was out of balance. The alcohol level is 13%, by the way. But the more I tasted it and the more it aired out and opened up, the more excited I got about this wine. It had quite firm tannins that probably exaggerated the alcohol at first. But I also tasted lots of long lingering fruits. They were a mix of black currant, blueberry and cherry. There was a distinct minerality on the palate as well mixing with an earthy moss flavor. Some spice perked up the flavor and just on the very back sides of my tongue I could detect what to me tasted like rollo candy. You know those candies with creamy caramel in the center covered in chocolate. It was definitely the caramel chocolate combination, not one or the other alone. It had a long finish and pleasant aftertaste. All in all this was a solid bottle of Bordeaux for under $20. If I were to drink it now I'd definitely decant it for at least a couple of hours. Better yet, leave this one in the cellar for a few years and I think you will be rewarded with a beautiful, balanced, and supple wine.

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