Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Bordeaux Notes- Tasting the Right Bank

Moving to the right bank of the Gironde Estuary and moving down to where the vineyards lie along the Dordogne River, the emphasis shifts to Merlot-based wines in the area known as the Libournais. This shift occurs because the predominantly clay and limestone based soil is too cool to ripen Cabernet Sauvignon consistently. Blending grapes for Merlot are more likely to be Cabernet Franc (aka Bouchet) or Malbec (aka Pressac) although there are some Cabernet Sauvignon plantings in small areas where there is some gravel in the soil such as on the plateau to the north and northwest of Saint-Emilion.

Starting with Fronsac AC commune which lies on the limestone based soils on the rolling hills above the Dordogne. This and Canon-Fronsac AC can be a good source for less expensive but good quality Merlot-based wine.
Chateau Arnauton Fronsac 2009  ($15)
Clear, deep ruby color. Clean, medium intense youthful aromas of ripe red fruit with a bit of earthiness. Dry, medium body and alcohol with medium+ acidity and soft tannins with a refreshing medium length red fruit finish. Good/Drink now.

The Pomerol AC and the Lalande-de-Pomerol AC are next. The cool clay soils of the commune of Pomerol tends to create rich, more tannic wines that are slower to mature. 
Chateau De Sales Pomerol 2006 ($30)
Clear, deep ruby color going garnet at rim. Clean, medium intense developing aromas of red cherries and plum with a bit of pencil shavings. Dry, medium body, acidity and alcohol with medium+ dusty tannins and a medium length finish. Good+/Drink now.
Chateau Siaurac Lalande de Pomerol 2006 ($30) flawed/corked.

Saint-Emilion AC is the largest. It and the Saint-Emilion Grand Cru AC cover the same area of production with the latter having higher production standards. It has three distinct vineyard areas: the gravel and limestone plateau in the north, the escarpment to the south and east where most of the Grand Cru AC and classed wines come from and the sandy soils at the escarpment base where they produce slightly less expensive and lighter style wines.
Chateau Fourney St Emilion Grand Cru 2003 ($30)
Clear deep garnet color going brickish at the rim. Clean, medium intense developed aromas of fresh red and blackberries with black currant leaf and cigar box. Dry, medium everything: length, acidity, body, alcohol and soft tannins. Very good/Drink now.

Something to note: The wine above is in the Grand Cru AC while the wine below is in the classified ranks of  the Grand Cru AC.

Clos St Martin Grand Cru Classe St-Emilion Grand Cru 1998  ($45)
Clear, medium garnet color with a bit of sediment. Clean, medium intense developed aromas of leather, tobacco, black plums and a bit of cinnamon. Dry, medium+ everything with flavors of black cherries and berries, smoke and a bit of a savory note. Outstanding/drink now.

Related Posts:
Entre-deux-Mers - Bordeaux Notes
Tasting the Left Bank- Bordeaux Notes
Regional Appellations- Bordeaux Notes
Notes from a Bordeaux Tasting