Location: Calgary (Lakeview / Glendale / Killarney / Glamorgan), AB
France: Bordeaux 2009
Over the course of the last few months, the Bordeaux 2009′s have started hitting the shelves. With hot, dry weather throughout the growing season, this vintage has been receiving great reviews. Willow Park Wines here in Calgary, AB brought the 09′s out last Friday night and offered customers a chance to taste a nice line up of them at their annual Bordeaux launch and sale. It was a great opportunity to taste these much anticipated wines and get an overall impression of the vintage.
Before getting into that, first a bit of background: as mentioned in last week’s blog post on 1855consulting.com, red Bordeaux is a blend of several grape varieties with either Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot forming the majority of the blend. The tricky part is that the label won’t tell you what grape variety makes up the majority of the blend. You can generally tell though by the part of Bordeaux that the wine is from: if the label indicates that the wine is from St. Emilion or Pomerol, Merlot will generally make up most of the blend. Cabernet Sauvignon dominates in a larger list of areas, including Margaux, Pauillac, St. Estephe, St. Julien, Pessac-Leognan, and Graves, so look for those names on the label if you’re looking for wines where Cabernet Sauvignon makes up most of the blend.
Why go into this detail? While tasting last night, there was a pronounced difference between the wines in which Merlot vs. Cabernet Sauvignon dominates. Starting with St. Emilion and Pomerol, opinions are going to be divided on these wines. Due to the predominance of Merlot, combined with the hot weather, these wines are soft, fruit forward, with lots of black cherry and plum flavours, and almost a sense of sweetness to them. For those who prefer this ripe, upfront style of wine, 2009 St. Emillion and Pomerol will be a delight. Others though, will find that these wines lack a certain degree of vibrancy and structure. For them, wines in which Cabernet Sauvignon dominates will be what they’re looking for. These offer typical blackcurrant and red cherry flavours with more acidity and tannins to provide that sense of vibrancy and balance.
If you wanted to pick up a few bottles, the 2009 Chateau La Garde stood out for me. It offers blackcurrant and black cherry fruit, combined with cedar, tobacco, and mint. It showed good acidity and ripe tannins to balance it out, so overall provides everything I would look for in a good Bordeaux.