Saturday, December 14, 2013

Two from Bordeaux

                                                  Looking east... way                      
  Many wine-drinkers used to our assertive, fruity, often overly-alcoholic cabernet sauvignon are shocked, shocked by the discovery that the more tightly-structured ones from Bordeaux tend to cohabit better with food, show a different complexity, and often prove more interesting than more expensive versions made here.
    The problem for New World devotees is that Bordeaux takes longer to get to that point, and it isn't ever suited, in my opinion, to the aperitif role imposed on this side of the Atlantic.
    In the early years in which most of it is drunk, Bordeaux can seem tart, the fruit unyielding and the tannins formidable. Learn a little patience, re-sharpen your laden taste buds and be reminded of the potential and relatively affordable glories of the land where cab got cranking.
    These two from 2010 are a good place to start. The Chateau Lestage Simon ($20), from the Haut-Medoc, is very tight at first  but shows a long, peppery through-line when it has a chance to breathe. (We left it in the glass for half an hour before trying it, then vaccumed out the air and found that it tasted even better the next day.) The Chateau Cantin (just under $50) from the other side of the Gironde, despite its 15.5 per cent alcohol evinces the classic St. Emilion verve, good black fruit and a strong finish.
    Leave both these wines in the basement for a couple of years before you pull the corks.

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