Planet Bordeaux strikes again! In my ongoing exploration of some not-so-incredibly-expensive wines made in the appellations of Bordeaux and Bordeaux-Superieur, tonight's choice is a 2006 Costes Du Chateau Feret-Lambert. This is a reasonably priced merlot/cabernet sauvignon blend from Chateau Costes.
For this and for most "Old World" wines, I deviate from my usual routine of opening a bottle about an hour before tasting, opting instead to open the wine about two hours prior to tasting. In my opinion, that extra hour can help immensely in letting the wine unfold, allowing me to perhaps sense some more subtle nuances that might be present.
So with this ritual complete, I was left sitting at my kitchen table with a glass of wine in hand and my laptop staring me in the face. Why not take a few sniffs, I reasoned. Oh wait the color! I wanted to mention that the color is very dark for a Bordeaux, it reminded me of young California merlot or even some of those classy Mendocino County zinfandels. Not the overbearing fruit bomb types, but the ones which express a sense of place, you know, terroir! Gotta love the fancy wine lingo..
Aromas can be tricky, as anyone who has smelled anything then tried to write about it will tell you. Right. My first few whiffs showed raspberries, red earth, hints of cedar, baking spices and a tickle of white pepper. The way the bouquet seemed to rush up out of the glass was impressive, and a testament to the complexity of the wine, relatively speaking. During the sniffy-sniff session (alliteration!) my mind was telling me the 2006 Feret-Lambert was probably about $20 a bottle, maybe a touch more. It wasn't until later that I found the "real" price by checking up on wine-searcher.com and the always-handy tech sheets that Balzac sent along with the samples.
Finally I get to taste the wine, as if the seemingly infinite swirls and sniffs were to suffice! Not so, a wine must be tasted to be fully explored. Grippy tannin, sour cherry, bittersweet chocolate and a kick of pepper right as the last traces of flavor leave your palate. While the flavors join together in a somewhat rustic manner, I did enjoy the complexity. That or perhaps I've been drinking some utter plonk from Bordeaux lately. No, this is more complex than the price would indicate, bringing a smile to my face.
The vintage is 2006, which seems to be heralded as a good year but is overshadowed by the critically-loved 2005 vintage. Five years is still a young wine for a Bordeaux, I'd love to taste this wine after five more years have passed, to see if it has improved at all. Right now though, this is a very food-friendly example of merlot-based Bordeaux. That finish, oh so French! It seems to gently fade away, like the last strains of music after the old vacuum tube radio is turned off.
My critics hat back on, I can easily recommend the 2006 Costes du Chateau Feret-Lambert with a BUY recommendation and a B-. Given that the wine can be found for about $15 at Bevmo.com, I think that's a steal. The folks at Planet Bordeaux have done well to feature this wine as an expression of something fun and accessible from the region. If you're a big fan of French wines, I recommend picking up a bottle or two to share at a dinner party, help your fellow wine loving friends learn a bit about Bordeaux Superieur.
This wine was provided as a media sample by Balzac Communications for Planet Bordeaux.