It was just on 12 months ago that my wife Nadine and I were in the beautiful South West French country side and I penned this entry: https://vinonotebook.com/2012/10/14/bordeaux-the-left-bank-is-all-right/
Still so vivid, still so real, still so recent…I can feel the heat radiating off the white stoned driveway of Chateau La Tour Carnet. The Northerly warm wind making the air hot and uncomfortable. We were the only visitors there, but as we were a tad early, we still had to wait our 10 minutes until the scheduled appointment time. Ahh, the French! Our Bordeaux trip ended with a dramatic and almost monsoonal thunderstorm right at the wrong time for vendage. We rushed to a quintessential brasserie to take shelter from the downpour and enjoyed a thoroughly decent modern-styled label: “No 2” from Chateau Maucaillou, a Cru bourgeois. The 2012 Bordeaux vintage is certainly memorable for us as tourists, but won’t quite live on in the same manner bottled in those heavy, serious, adamant high shouldered vessels.
So with good grace and recalling such fond memories, the wonderful importers of French wine, DiscoverVin, sent deux Bordeaux from their portfolio, deliberately held back slightly selfishly to coincide with the anniversary of our trip
2008 Marc Darroze Chateau Haut-Peyrous “Retour De Palombieres” , Graves
Yep. French wine. Long name. But not quite so complex when you break them down. Marc Darroze the wine maker and owner of Chateau Haut-Peyrous. Retour De Palomberies the name of the label, translated to English: “Return of the Pigeons.” Not quite quite as catchy as “Return Of The Mac.” Named for the “Palombieres (wild pigeons) that return to the region each autumn in massive flocks which at times cover the skies, then roost in pine forests adjacent to the vineyard.” A blend of predominantly Merlot, with large portions of Cabernet Sauvignon (20%) and Cabernet Franc (15%), then small amounts of Petit Verdot and Malbec.
Smells like Bordeaux. Tobacco and sweet ripe black and red fruits. Chary pencil ash, more tobacco and a slight meaty pong. Love the dusty, savoury tannins that give textural grip. Palate Bordeaux class, savoury black olive and blackcurrants and plums. Beautifully weighted on the palate and finishing medium to long that suggests it could handle a little more time in the cellar. Good value Bordeaux from Graves!
2004 Chateau La Tour Carnet Cuvee Legende , Haut-Medoc
The personal connection is strong to this Chateau as it is the only Grand Cru Bordeaux Chateau that I’ve visited. Okay, sentiment may cloud the memory and I’ve given a run down of the visit in the link above. It should be worth pointing out that whilst this is Grand Cru Classe, it is marked as a 4th Growth. But in my mind, that means extraordinary value rather than a crass imitation of quality Bordeaux.
Their dedication to quality was evident throughout the winery during our visit. Surgically clean and ready for the expectant intake of Cabernet, Cabernet Franc and Merlot grapes. Concrete fermenters side by side with expensive wood vessels. Even a little nod to history through innovation, a concrete egg, apparently destined to do great things to the Merlot.
Which brings us to this Cuvee Legende 2004. Not one of the cuvee we tasted in situ (in the blessed cool relief of the barrel room), but I’m quite chuffed that I can now get this label in Australia.
Almost 10 years old and just starting to hit peak drinking window. You’d be hard pressed to find an Australian top quality Cabernet at this price let alone a Grand Cru Bordeaux. Admittedly, this the “2nd” Label of one of many wineries owned by Bernard Magrez, (a good mate of Gerard Depardieu, who gets the Flying Frenchman, Michel Rolland to come in to consult to the winemaking) but one with a decent history that Magrez seems quite proud to restore.
Now the wine: Showing the petticoats under the frock, there’s complex secondary aromas of older leather and tobacco and meat shadowing the black fruits, violets, tomato leaf and tobacco. The palate still long and exquisite. Class. Olives and blackcurrants and savoury lift given from dried herbs. Those rocks..those hot hot rocks under the vines, they’re there too, with a earthy/mineral quality that assists in the palate length. This is a very smart wine that is smack bang at the height of its power. Fingers crossed all the corks are as good as the one in the bottle I had.
Both wines samples courtesy of DiscoverVin