A waystation on the hunt for the elusive cheap Bordeaux gem. This blend of 63% Merlot, 32% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Cabernet Franc is not quite gemlike but it presents its virtues and vices forcefully—no hints or feints here.
The nose is darkly fruited and vehement. Black current and mushroom mingle with toasty oak and chocolate, a visceral yet tuneful chorale of integrated aromas.
The rustic palate is full of flavor. The juicy but stocky opening shows its unyielding personality early with firm, chiseled tannins and spirited acidity providing a forceful mid-palate kick. The fruit seam persists through the early stages of the finish although it starts to dry out and show more gravel-like minerality as the finish launches.
The wine is extraordinarily dynamic even though the changes are not always pleasing. The wine expands rapidly then dips and compresses and then expands again this time with more breadth—it has a restless, hyper, intensity but it’s hard as an anvil and cold and clinical in its disquietude.
The balance is better up front than on the finish, which is puckering with bitter tannins showing up at terminus. This needs to lay down for a few years but if you want raw, gritty intensity drink it up with some hard blues like Jeff Beck’s Train Kept a Rollin.’ Excellent value.
Technical Notes: This Chateau is located near Graves on Bordeaux’s left bank. The “Superieur” designation means a wine of slightly higher quality than generic Bordeaux. Appellation rules require higher planting density, lower yields, riper fruit, and mandated 12 months in oak.
Score: 90 (with some ageing potential)