I put the rest of the European (that is, non-French as I did them yesterday) wine terms to understand/remember into a spreadsheet though I had planned on doing the Americas and Rest of World as well. Alas, my time management skills are not especially focused at the moment, but they’re certainly better than they were last week. I’m hoping for that to continue to improve between now and the exam.
I did spend some small amount of time doing a few things for this blog with the notion that it’s almost work. Obviously, that’s not really true, and if at the end of six weeks I have a decent blog but fail my exam, it won’t be a reasonable outcome.
Tonight’s wine was the Connétable de Talbot Saint-Julien 2008. I’ve driven through Saint- Julien, I have no first hand experience with Château Talbot. While I have a great deal of respect for Bordeaux as a region and brand, I don’t pretend to know much about it. Even so, there are some things that I clearly need to demonstrate as far as knowledge.
First off, Château Talbot is in Bordeaux, which is in the southwest of France just in from the Atlantic coast. In particular, it is in the commune of Saint-Julien, an AOC in the Médoc on what is known as the Left Bank. The Chateau was rated as one of the ten Fourth Growth in the Classification of 1855. It produces its grand vin, this Connétable de Talbot, and a white called Caillou Blanc. As a Saint-Julien, Cabernet Sauvignon is the dominant grape, with Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot rounding out the blend. The difference between this and the main wine is almost certainly fruit selection and oak treatment, with this wine receiving only 20% new oak.
First, let me start with what I would expect from a relatively young Bordeaux, because I certainly can be expected to have a generic tasting note in mind. I would expect deep colour, concentrated, tart fruit, high acidity, a great deal of extraction, and tannins that need a few years to soften. That note would not fit particularly well with the wine in front of me. The colour is not overly deep, though you would not confuse it for a Pinot Noir. The fruit is concentrated, and there is a zest to the acidity that is very refreshing. However, it’s not overly extracted and is very approachable. It’s a very good wine, and well suited for someone who is more used to New World styles but looking to try Bordeaux. Here’s how it looks, smells and tasted in the glass.
Clear and bright, with a medium ruby colour. It leave thick, slow legs in the glass when swirled.
Clean and developing with a medium plus intensity. There are notes of cranberry, pomegranate, fresh herbs, and sweet spice, along with a little pencil lead.
Dry, with medium-plus acidity, medium alcohol, medium-plus body, medium-plus flavour intensity, and medium fine tannins. The flavours are of tart red fruit – cranberry, pomegranate, currant – along with some red meat and developing notes of blood and iodine along with a hint of tobacco. The finish is cranberry with a long length.
This is very good quality wine – the flavours and acidity were both medium-plus which gave them balanced intensity. Very crisp. The length was very long, with the medium-plus carrying the cranberry flavour well after the wine was swallowed.
This is clearly an Old World wine, with restrained but very tart fruit, which will work well with developed characteristics which can be expected to emerge over the next few years. Even so, it’s very approachable, with the acidity being zingy instead of piercing and the tannins being softer than I would have expected. The acid and Cabernet put it in Bordeaux on the Left Bank. This wine sells for roughly $25.00 and is good value at that price.
Readiness to drink – fine now though will improve over the next five years. There are only hints at secondary characters that I think will round out the drinking experience. The tannins are soft enough to enjoy now, but I think some patience will be rewarded.