Over the past few years in Ontario there has been a steady steam of low-cost Bordeaux wines appearing in the market. These bargain basement prices remind one of the cost of many wines from Chile, South Africa, Spain and Portugal. Bordeaux has a lot of “goodwill” attached to its name like “Champagne” does but we are too smart to be sucked in by the hype….right? Bordeaux should not lead to an assumption of quality. If you are buying the lower cost Bordeaux ($20 and under) you may wish to be vigilant as to the producers you are buying from.
With these foreboding words we try a Cru Bourgeois from Chateau La Pirouette which is a blend of 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 45% Merlot and 5% of the quirky Petit Verdot.
On the nose a low-key nasal attack here with black cherry, blackberry with some lush dense Merlot waiting to burst out and take the lead but held back beautifully and harmoniously by Cabernet Sauvignon with just enough feisty Petit Verdot to tease you with the exotic. On the palate the tannins are bordering on moderate. Notes are understated and laid back with black cherry, high toned sweet cranberry concentrate with a bit of a creamy finish. A little more depth on the palate would make this an exceptional wine so we just must settle with a very good wine here.
While I do not think this will improve in the bottle I think it would happily endure until the end of 2023.
Wine drinker profile: Would suit those who like a low key as opposed to an assertive pack a punch red wine. Not a wine that demands to be accompanied by a meal. The aroma of the wine would be a good example of the simplicity yet elegance of a good Bordeaux.
(Château La Pirouette Cru Bourgeois 2016 AC Médoc, Earl Roux, Jau-Dignmac-Loirac, France, $18.95, Liquor Control Board of Ontario # 21087, 750 mL,13%, Robert K. Stephen A Little Birdie Told Me So Rating 91/100).
Our next Bordeaux is a 2018 Marquis de Bern rated by my most trustworthy critic Roger Voss of the Wine Enthusiast as a 91. It is a blend of 70% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon and 10% Cabernet Franc.
On the nose it has somewhat a similar nose to the wine above. I would describe the aroma as a creamy and lush mix of blackberry, blueberry, cherry and blueberry tarts. On the palate noticeable tannins but not big bruiser ones. Why not call them firm! There are some blueberries, chocolate and pomegranate. A short but satisfying finish. I think there are enough tannins and promise in this wine so that it will mature nicely through to 2027. Good to sip on its own and it has enough confidence to compliment roast lamb or a prime rib. Being a big fan of my fried rice, I would salute vegetarians with a glass of this wine with mushroom fried rice and stir-fried broccoli in oyster sauce on the side.
(Marquis De Bern 2018 Bordeaux, AC Bordeaux, Marquis de Bern, Rions, France, $13.95, Liquor Control Board of Ontario # 21091, 750 mL, 14%, Robert K. Stephen A Little Birdie Told Me So Rating 91/100).