Three From Bordeaux
A famous man once wrote that if you are tired of London, then you must be tired of life. No, I can't remember who said it either *, but to me if you're tired of the wines of Bordeaux then the same must apply, because the variation that comes from the area never fails to produce a range of emotions.
There's excitement, there's a sense of embracing history and there's the feeling of meeting an old friend and hearing how they've been growing up since you last met. Bordeaux never fails to do that to me, and I hope that it never will.
As I've stated earlier, I came a little late to the wines of France. I always knew they were about and I knew their reputation, but in my youth I was a little too perverse and steered clear of obvious recommendations in favour of other locations.
Nowadays, following a safari through producers, tastes of vintages and visits to the world of Bordeaux wines I can honestly say that when a bottle, or three, land on the Winefullness desk, then I'm your man! A little knowledge can be a very good thing.
Three recently arrived and I thought it might be fun to road test them as part of the 'Taste' section of Winefullness.
80% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc.
Château Bonneau is a property that the Berrouet family took over with the 2019 vintage in Montagne Saint-Emilion. The 9-hectare vineyard is located on hillsides with two exposures: North and South, on several plots. The vines are about 35 to 40 years old. They have a low yield for the moment but a restructuring plan for the vineyard is underway to optimise quality and quantity. With tannins that are carefully extracted without excess, Château Bonneau is an elegant and full body wine.
An interesting mixture of black fruit, cream and a touch of pungent green vegetation is what I'm smelling.
The taste is a dark, but friendly fruit without any harshness. There's wood, forest floor, box and a lot of interest.
5 out of 7
Bordeaux Rouge 2020
Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon.
In 1981, Mr and Mrs Jolivet took over the 27-hectares of Château Saint Florin. Over the years, they have modernised and extended it, while remaining true to their fundamental principle: working their craft with the greatest care. This dedication means taking personal control over all the different stages, from the vineyard tending to winemaking.
Fragrant, floral nose that is predoninantly lemon, lime, citrus notes. There's also a freshness and sugary backdrop.
Taste and you get constricted feelings, white pepper, grapefruit, floral (honeysuckle). Satisfying without being too challenging.
3.5 out of 7
Saint-Julien de Branaire-Ducru 2013
70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 22% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc, 3% Petit Verdot.
While the number of family-owned châteaux is becoming increasingly smaller in the Médoc, the Maroteaux family has owned Branaire-Ducru since 1988. Saint- Julien de Branaire-Ducru forms part of the Grandes Signatures Bordeaux range and takes advantage of the same treatment and care provided to its elder.
Nose: Violets, blackcurrant mousse, hint at pepper. There's a lightness for a red wine of this age that is enticing, interesting and evocative. Hints of dark cherry menthol sweets of youth mix with floral notes.
The taste is a little too cold to fully open up (my fault). Blackcurrant, brambles. Liquorice at the back, forest floor and muddy path, chocolate,
5.5 out of 7
It was short and it was mixed, but I do feel that Bordeaux is working hard to maintain its reputation as the name at the front of everybody's wine thoughts. These three might not be the Crus we all quest for like a viticultural Holy Grail, but there's an honesty that I enjoyed and an edge that means I will certainly be visiting one or two of them when I'm next in the area.
* Of course I know it was Samuel Johnson who said it, but for the opening of this article I thought ignorance was such a better pose