Let me start by saying that I have always been a skeptic of Bordeaux.
I mean, I get it. Bordeaux is one of (if not the) greatest growing areas in the world for Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc. The classification system established in 1855 set the standard for quality designation based on terroir, introducing the modern era of wine. Wines from classified sites are among the most sought after wines in the world and may sell out on the futures market years prior to release.
But I have always been a value guy, or to use a term that is gaining traction in the beverage industry, a QPR (Quality Price Ratio) guy. For my money, several regions in the world provide a luxurious drinking experience that is not going to be nearly as expensive as Bordeaux.
My cellar, as humble as it is, testifies to my preferences. Chateauneuf du Pape, Rioja, Tuscany, Ribera del Duero and even Bandol outnumber Bordeaux in my old world selections. Those wines aren’t cheap either but I’ve always found them to be less expensive than Bordeaux while still offering an elegant drinking experience.
Chateau Giscour may have changed my mind.
Like a velvet massage for the tongue
I received a bottle of the 2005 Margaux last year as a gift. On Sunday, I opened it up and drank it with a humble but tasty pasta carbonara.
The color of the wine was dark and deep. It looked almost black at points in the glass, more of an intense dark purple than of any spectrum of red. It opened quickly despite the fact that I lazily chose not to decant it, showing an impressive complexity of scents: cassis and pepper were present but so were honeysuckle, tar and vanilla, all working in concert. My mouth started watering. Bordeaux prejudice or not, this was shaping up to be something special.
“Mmmm,” my wife pronounced when she stuck her nose in the glass. Wine being a social thing, we both grew more excited about the juice in front of us when our opinions corroborated each other.
By far, the most impressive aspect of the wine was the mouthfeel, the velvety, soft expansive presence that the wine exhibited as it spread across the tongue. It gently coaxed the tastebuds to open, infusing them with a rich combination of dark berry, cassis, tar and tobacco that lingered pleasantly.
The tannins still maintained a firm grip but the meaty carbonara sauce adhered to the tannic structure, enhancing both the flavor of the wine and the intensity of the sauce. All in all, a great way to end the weekend and start the week.
Perhaps I need to rethink my perception of Bordeaux. After all, value can be present at any price.