2001 Bordeaux, Chateau Mongravey

Out for family dinner at J & K Steakhouse and we’re celebrating the occasion with a special bottle–a 2001 Bordeaux from Chateau Mongravey. I met my brother-from-another-mother, his wife, and their amazingly well-behaved son (who’s about nine months old but looks twice that). His father brought out this Bordeaux as a treat for us all, and his great call was our collective benefit.

2001 Bordeaux, Chateau Mongravey, Margaux, France

2001 Bordeaux, Chateau Mongravey, Margaux, France

I’m not sure how long the bottle was stored but was glad to enjoy it with dear friends tonight. The waiter almost struggled with the cork and I wondered how many 15-year-old bottles he wrestles in a given week. He didn’t react to the vintage or region but I promise you my eyebrow was raised and I was excited to sample it for sure. The baby looked on as we partook of the grapes, and from this evening I’ll always remember Patrick rotating in his highchair like some toddler’s version of Linda Blair.

And the eats? I started with blue iceberg salad and snickered at the balls of the restaurant to charge $9 for lettuce. Granted, it was cut in some interesting way and covered with red onion, bacon, and blue cheese–all favorites–but it’s still just kicked-up lettuce. I also forked up some of the delicious Brussel sprouts and my entrée, a 14-ounce New York strip steak that was cooked just as ordered. It was good, but honestly the highlight was the company and the 2001 Chateau Mongravey.

I haven’t had a Bordeaux since April, and that bottle was a far cry from this Haut-Medoc gem. The Mongravey was fragrant, and had far less of a Cabernet Franc or Sauvignon bite to it, even without any time to breathe. The 2001 Chateau Mongravey had far more blueberry notes than strawberry or cherry, and it had just a whiff of leather to it. Not quite an earth tone but slightly fragrant in that way? It was gone too soon, but left us all with great memories.

Thanks pal for sharing your evening and your great bottle.

 

2010 Chateau Hanteillan, Haut Medoc

A celebratory Saturday night started–and finished–courtesy of the 2010 Chateau Hanteillan Bordeaux from the Haut Medoc region.  This is the second of four in our collection, and like our first tasting of this red, it too accompanied a great pair of steaks and blue cheese salads, though on this occasion we worked a perfectly baked potato into the mix as well.

2010 Chateau Hanteillan Bordeaux, Haut Medoc, France.

2010 Chateau Hanteillan Bordeaux, Haut Medoc, France.

Somehow I failed to recall the initial experience we had with the Hanteillan, and again my first sip showed the heavy tannin finish that I hadn’t cared for previously.  Rather than play a bad hand, this time I opted to decant the entire bottle–to a much better outcome.  A re-deal, if you will.  Allowing the 2010 to breathe really helped and would be my clear recommendation for anyone sampling this vintage.

Getting some air into this Bordeaux allowed its fruity background to play a bigger role and really diminished the tannin’s acidity.  I think the balance was restored through the decanter, and I know that’s how we’ll proceed with the remaining inventory we have in our possession.

2010 Chateau Hanteillan, Haut Medoc

2010 Chateau Hanteillan, Haut Medoc, Bordeaux, France.

2010 Chateau Hanteillan, Haut Medoc, Bordeaux, France.

Scouting possible reds for the Thanksgiving holiday, we opened this Bordeaux to accompany a lovely dinner of steaks and blue cheese salad–a classic pairing in our home as frequent site visitors can undoubtedly attest.  We ordered four of these red blends, and the first leaves an interesting impression.

This 2010 probably could have been shelved for a longer period, and I think we erred in not properly aerating after opening.  It’s got the usual Bordeaux coloring, a shimmering pool of goodness, and nose too.  In my excitement to sample a new vino, however, I failed to detect the underpinnings that might have better informed me on its need to breathe.  Thus, this first exposure to the 2010 Chateau Hanteillan leaves me with notes that include “long finish” and “heavy tannin feel”.

I’m not sure we have in this bottle the right red for our dinner later this week, but we do have a few more so perhaps it’ll make the cut after all.  To be continued…

Chateau Citran Haut-Medoc Cru Bourgeois 2000, Bordeaux

This special Bordeaux was a 2012 Christmas gift, a promising red deluge of grape goodness that lasted unopened until tonight, when we decided to open it in celebration of our new (rental) home.  In face of great change, one constant in our lives should be excellent wine and an effort to savor some of the finer things in life–and that’s the Chateau Citran Haut-Medoc Cru Bourgeois 2000, for sure.

Chateau Citran Haut-Medoc Cru Bourgeois 2000, Bordeaux, France.

Chateau Citran Haut-Medoc Cru Bourgeois 2000, Bordeaux, France.

This is a wine where I wish my palate was more sophisticated; it would make for a better description here for you.  At first pour, I could smell the rich, deep–but not earthy or minerally–cherry scent of this Bordeaux.  It poured clean, a treat for the eyes too.  Note in the accompanying visual that the Citran is so deep in chroma that you can’t see through the glass to the watermelon (harvested from our new garden…inedible…but still a great visual!) behind it.  It’s dark but not peppery or spicy, and has more tannins that I generally think of for a Bordeaux.  Part of me wanted to decant to see what impact that would have on the wine, but I skipped that step here.

Since we are still unpacking kitchen boxes, the Citran accompanied two simple meals; one a macaroni-beef mashup and one consisting of a perfectly seasoned pork loin, “Golden Jewel” blend, and cooked broccoli.  My favorite effect was the combination of the pork’s spices with the Citran–really fun.

Thanks, Ma, I really enjoyed the Chateau Citran Haut-Medoc Cru Bourgeois 2000 Bordeaux.  Great wine; even better celebration.

Haut-Medoc 2010 Chateau Dasvin-Bel-Air Cru Bourgeois

Having tonight another go at the Haut Medoc Bordeaux (a 56% Cabernet Sauvignon, 35% Merlot, and 9% Petit Verdot blend), this time with pasta and fresh fruit.  Again the Bordeaux held up well, meeting expectations and providing a nice escort into the weekend.  We served this red blend with meat-filled ravioli and fresh wedges of red tomatoes, and there was certainly an interesting mix between the grapes, the sweetness of the wedges, and the spices of the pasta.

Haut-Medoc 2010 Chateau Dasvin-Bel-Air Cru Bourgeois, France.

Haut-Medoc 2010 Chateau Dasvin-Bel-Air Cru Bourgeois, France.

In previous posts regarding the Chateau Dasvin Bel Air 2010 Haut-Medoc Cru Bourgeois we conveyed some details on the vineyard; this time let’s talk about their vibe for the wine itself:

“The wine is aged in French oak barrels for 16 months (70%), with the rest aging in vats. Twenty percent of the barrels are replaced by new ones at the start of the vintage.  This combination of a unique diverse terroir and careful attention during winemaking and aging reveals itself in the final wine.  The nose is fresh, redolent of dark berries, with hints of cherry and spice.  A palate of blackberries and generously portioned raspberry puree offers a full-bodied, well-rounded feel.  A fresh and lively jaunt through delicious tannins and structured elegance leads into the long finish.”

An apt description, to be sure.  This wine is rich with dark berry flavor and so easy on the way down.  It borders on crude to say it’s smooth, but all the berries combine in a fantastic finish that you’ll enjoy for sure.

Haut-Medoc 2010 Chateau Dasvin-Bel-Air Cru Bourgeois

A week of scorching temperatures had us doing cold drinks rather than reds, and this was the first time all week vino was the right move.  We opened this Haut Medoc Bordeaux–a blend of 56% Cabernet Sauvignon, 35% Merlot, and 9% Petit Verdot–to accompany a great meal of grilled steaks and blue cheese salads (shrimp cocktail kicked things off).  This Bordeaux hit high marks for us and will be great to revisit again soon.

It has all the marks that resonate for me: beautiful color, a deep and rich red that’s fuller than a Pinot Noir; a blackberry and dark berry (rather than a strawberry) underpinning; a smooth taste that resonated for me even though we probably drank it “too soon” and didn’t allow it to breathe or age in any appreciable way.  It complemented the pepper-seasoned steaks perfectly.

Chateau Dasvin Bel Air 2010, Haut-Medoc Cru Bourgeois, France.

Chateau Dasvin Bel Air 2010, Haut-Medoc Cru Bourgeois, France.

Luckily we have several bottles of the Chateau Dasvin Bel Air 2010 Haut-Medoc Cru Bourgeois so we’ll have plenty of chances to share tasting notes from the “experts” with you.  This time out we’ll share a little information on the vineyard itself.

“The Chateau’s 30-acre vineyard lies at the southern end of the Haut Medoc appellation, on a large, narrow gravel soil resting on a thin coat of sand and a bank of yellow arenite on the one hand, and Garonne gravel on clay subsoil on the other.  In this environment, 25-year-old Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Petit Verdot vines are planted at a high density (in order to naturally restrict yields and develop the wine’s fruit profile) and cared for sustainably to allow their healthy development.  A first selection in the field is followed by another at the sorting table to select only the best chosen grapes that will be de-stemmed and used.  The must ferments in stainless steel tanks and temperature-controlled cement vats and pumped over three times a day.  Depending on the tasting session, there are 1 to 3 rackings, to help with clarification and final aroma profile of the wine.”

That’s a lot of information.  Some of it works for me; some of it is superfluous.  I can tell you with confidence that whatever the process is, it works great.  Ready for the next glass now!