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colombierTasting—real, genuine, deep tasting—should stimulate the mind as well as the palate; even something as mundane as a glass of vin ordinaire, if it has personality, can send the imagination soaring.

I taste the countryside in this wine—dusty roads, the sun warming fields of hay, bees buzzing about my head drawing attention from the skittering  birds riding the currents of a light breeze, which carries a slight  whiff of manure.

The nose is expressive—layers of dark plum and tobacco topped off with pencil shavings and baked earth. But an austere, medium -bodied palate limits its appeal. Soft , reticent fruit hides behind a powerful core of minerality and tart acidity, the tannins are fine-grained and disappear quickly. Unmistakably classic Bordeaux with characteristic Pauillac dust, I keep coming back for more olfactory stimulation.

If you enjoy rusticity you will find this a pleasant companion.

Located in the Haut-Medoc region on the Left Bank, Pauilliac is home to some of the world’s best wines. This is not one of them—just a very solid ordinary wine with personality. The property is adjacent to Mouton-Rothschild who purchased it in 2005. The blend is 45% Cabernet Sauvignon, 45% Merlot, and some Petit Verdot and Cab Franc. Aged for 14 months.


Score: 87/100

Price: $18 (at Trader Joes)

Alc: 13%