Selections for September 2016

Properly Mellowed Bordeaux

2007 CHATEAU MARTET ‘Reserve de Famille’ – Sainte-Foy-Bordeaux, France

This rare look back happens courtesy of Louis de Coninck, proprietor / winemaker of southeast Napa’s Beaucanon Estate.  The family of this Frenchman / California Winegrower has been making wine in Bordeaux for nearly 300 years, which Louis imports to us.

Sainte-Foy is part of Bordeaux’s larger Entre-deux-Mers subregion, named for its position between the two significant rivers Dordogne and Garonne.  This is Merlot Country.  Cabernet Sauvignon, hero of the Left Bank, happens here only occasionally. 

I’m very happy with the development that’s happened here, an effect you normally have to achieve with your own patient cellaring.  The color of the wine has moved from youthful dark red to a more earthy crimson.  The nose declares spice and dried flowers and plum plus a more mysterious effect of aged beef.  The palate feel is supple; fully relaxed.  A fruit and earth duet confirm a “Phase II” wine.

Don’t save this “ready for primetime wine” overlong.  Drink it this Fall or Winter with braised meats, and savor the development afforded us by someone else’s patient cellaring!      

Grab those 2010’s!

2010 LA CHAPELLE de MEYNEY – Saint-Estèphe, Bordeaux, France

Unlike the Entre-deux-Mer wine described above, this hails from Bordeaux’s Left Bank where the soils are more gravelly, better-accommodating Cabernet.  Here is the second wine of Chateau Meyney which boasts as neighbors 2nd growth Chateau Montrose and 3rd growth Calon Segur.  It is made of 56% Cabernet Sauvignon and 44% Merlot and saw a sixteen-month sojourn in French oak. 

Most importantly, perhaps:  This is a 2010.  There is hardly a Bordeaux from this vintage that can’t be admired for its intense darkness of color, potent ripeness of fruit, and bracing tannic structure.  While Bordeaux’s 2009s impressed us with those first two qualities, ’10 trumps ’09 with that latter, more age-worthy aspect.   The high acclaim for 2010 Bordeaux was predictably matched by higher prices for its bottles, so finding a second wine from a very good estate with renowned neighbors is a savvy solution.

This 2010 boasts a deep fragrance of cassis, licorice, and black fruits.  It has great impact on the palate for its reasonable price; all of the anticipated blackberry, licorice, and creosote aspects are amply delivered.  This wine should age nicely for another ten years or more.