From across the U.S. you can almost hear the collective exhale of relief by wine retailers. Having adjusted inventories to accommodate the tighter purse strings of wine drinkers, retailers found that while the byword for 2010 was “value,” customers began, once again, to feel more comfortable making the extra trip to visit their local wine shop.
This Bordeaux Supérior seems to be hitting its stride, reaching a peak drinking window after five years. Blackberries, black cherry, and some cured meat lead the attack, followed by surprising and light spearmint. Tannins are firm, but not overpowering, ready to pair with a steak. Acids are in balance. It is slightly simple, lacking secondary and tertiary waves of flavor, but still offers far more than anybody could expect at the price point, and does it as a true balanced Bordeaux blend, rather than a blast of fruit and wood. At this price point, this is a great wine to drink, not with the finest prime meat a great steak house can offer, but with a choice New York strip steak from the local butcher.
On Planet Bordeaux, you can find Bordeaux and Bordeaux Soup. Planet Bordeaux is an alliance of two wine appellations, Bordeaux and Bordeaux Supérieur. The second appellation is “Bordeaux Soup” for short (actually it’s Bordeaux Sup., but to English-speakers it sounds like “soup.”)
One of the younger 2003 Bordeaux tried in the last few months, this Graves neighbor of first-growth Chateau Haut-Brion, under the same ownership since 1983, might be one of the few 03s to keep the promise of long life expected when they were barrel-sampled and upon initial release. Tannins are still quite firm and drying. Acidity is present, too, enough to counter-balance the tannins; more time in the cellar will let everything settle down and knit together. The flavors open with blackcurrant and violets, moving next to licorice and eucalyptus, with bare hints of chocolate on the finish. The mix might have a bit of Cabernet Franc, as there is also an undercurrent of tobacco leaf in the initial attack. Finish lingers for well over thirty seconds. Drink with Black Truffle Tenderloin Steak Tartare at Bern's Steak House. Ask for Owen as a server, and tell him we sent you.
Just beginning to turn brick-red at the edges, but still tasting young. Secondary floral flavors, violets and dried roses are just starting to come out to play with the pencil lead, blackcurrant, and plums, all with a light background of genuine licorice. After a few hours of air it shows greater depth, with some unsweetened chocolate replacing the licorice. Tannins are soft, balanced with acids, and the finish is mid-length. This is drinking very well right now.