Did You Know Bordeaux is its Own Planet?

Email – “Wanna drink some Bordeaux?”

Response – “Duh, winning!”

Email – “Okay, we’ll send ya some to drink online with other blawgers and the Frenchies.”

Response – “Killer!”

This is a rough synopsis of the interchange that happened between Balzac Communication and Marketing and Nectar Wine Blog (me) a few weeks back. I love Washington wine, but I’m always looking for opportunities to expand the travels of my palate. Being that the event was on a Friday night, I was running the risk of being called away by paying customers but anticipated a 4pm start time to be plenty doable.

Joining me for the tasting is one of the wine slingers at Nectar Tasting Room, Ben Hilzinger (affectionately known as Benny by all the adoring 21-24 year old lovelies that come in every Friday and Saturday). Ben is passionate about wine and has a voracious appetite for wine knowledge and experience. Alongside my tasting notes are some of Benny’s poetic ramblings.

A brief Bordeaux lesson;

  • Southwest corner of France
  • Wine history dating back 2000 years (thanks Caesar)
  • 700 million bottles of wine produced
  • Strictly controlled and regulated

Just like in America, wines in Bordeaux range in quality and price. Tonight’s tasting involved five wines from the Bordeaux Superieur AOC. Wines from this appellation come from mostly older vines and most be aged a minimum of 9 months. All five wines tasted range in price from $13-$16 (a bargain for most any region).

“If you want to earn the Bordeaux Supérieur appellation “stamp of approval,” you have to comply with particularly strict winemaking conditions that give an optimum expression of the terroir.”

The NectarView – A Trip to Planet Bordeaux

I had no idea that Bordeaux was its own planet, but I was really excited for the journey. Uncertain if we traveled by space ship or just virtually through enotravel, I figured I better strap in for the journey. My previous experiences in this price range of French wine left me thinking of trips to my grandma’s house and the smell in the 100 year old basement mixed with a little dirt and mushroom.

Wine #1 Chateau La Gatte La Butte 2006

This 100% Merlot really took me by surprise with its strength. A strong sense of place comes through in both the nose and the palate. The wine seemed a little uptight. @PalatePress said it best with “This will be better tomorrow. Too tight. The wine needs a Manhattan, a massage, and a good night’s sleep. Needs to relax.” The wine is reminiscent of dust covered cherries with a hint of pencil lead. Score this one 3/5.

Wine Slinger Ben – Wed dog nose, well structured, opens up in the back end…”I could sip this.”

Wow, he sure waxes poetic on that one…

Wine #2 Chateau de Lugagnac 2008

A 50/50 split of Cabernet and Merlot from 40+ year old vines, the vineyards sit on soils of iron bearing clay and chalk. While at first I didn’t think the Lugagnac was as well structured as the first wine (thanks @suburbanwino for calling me out), the wine opened up as it sat in the glass while I tended to a patron. Once back to the wine there was an overwhelming amount of plum on the nose. The wine had a nice fruity front but a very hollow mid-plate. The finish was a little tart. Not a favorite of mine 3-/5

Wine #3 Chateau de Terrefort-Quancard 2008

64% Merlot and 36% Cabernet. The Quancard was not a favorite among several of the tasters. For me I got a little busy during the tasting on this one and couldn’t give it my full attention. My buddy @winefoot says, ” 2008 Chateau Terrefort-Quancard – rather tart for me- rhubarb, cherries, white pepper, bubble-gum and chalk dust.” From @skovi “The 2008 Terrefort-Quancard is definitely earthy; I get forest floor, tobacco, dry fruit, but not a long finish.” No score.

Wine Slinger Ben – Subtle nose…not too fruity, lingering finish, approachable earthy finish…wee bit spicy.

Wine #4 Chateau de Parenchere Cuvee Raphael 2007

A blend of 60/40 Cab/Merlot, the Parenchere had a full nose of mint, coffee, dry fruit and tobacco. Great structure on the palate with a great deal of layers. The wine is complex and needs to lay down on the couch for an hour session while I uncover the layers. At this price point, this is by far the best wine of the night. Tweet from @cellarmistress “I still can’t get over the muddy, sexy barnyard nose on this thing! Makes me want to mudwrestle! (only kidding!)” 3+/5 (big score for the little price.

Wine Slinger Ben – Wholly shit dude, this is good. Wow!

…again, the boy has a way with words that will make your knees buckle.

Wine #5 Chateau Penin Tradition 2008

While there was a mix up in the tasting (some had 08, some had 09), I had to just drink what I had…bummer. 90% Merlot, 5% Cab and 5% Cab Franc; Ben and I disagreed slightly on the wine. For me there wasn’t a ton of depth and character. It smelled nice and nice a nice flavor but the complexities were missing. Seemed reminiscent of a new world wine with berry fruit and smooth vanilla flavors. 3/5

Wine Slinger Ben – Loving this wine, buttery morning toast, great dimensions and balance, warm & inviting, great wine to pair with food and/or stand alone.

To summarize, the overall impression of Planet Bordeaux tasting was excellent. The value to price ratio left me feeling more confident of my next French wine purchase. Now, if only we could get those Frenchies to Americanize the labels so they’re not so intimidating to the average consumer.

Other Post Recaps from Friends

The Wellesley Wine Press http://www.wellesleywinepress.com/2011/03/bordeaux-tasting-reveals-affordable.html

Wine Tonite http://www.winetonite.com/2011/03/21/blast-off-to-planet-bordeaux/

My Vine Spot http://vinespot.blogspot.com/2011/03/taste-live-with-planet-bordeaux.html


Owner of Nectar Tasting Room in Spokane, WA. (@nectarwine) Publisher of Spokane Wine Magazine (@spowinemag), author, speaker, consultant and internet marketer with Nectar Media (@nectarmedia)

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