Monday, May 2, 2011

Domaine de Cantemerle Bordeaux Superieur, Buy It.

At long last, I come to the end of the Planet Bordeaux series of wines. I've chronicled the wines in the following posts:
2008 Chateau Pey La Tour
2006 Chateau Lestrille
2006 Costes Du Chateau Feret-Lambert
2009 Chateau La Freynelle Bordeaux Rosé

This, the final post, covers perhaps the best of the bunch, a 2005 Domaine de Cantemerle Bordeaux Superieur. 2005 was considered a superb year, much like 2003, 2009, 2010..Get the picture? Usually when I hear that the vintage has been declared "vintage of the century" by the critics, I roll my eyes. After all, isn't there supposedly only one, not five or more in the span of 15 years? I know and am comfortable with the fact that I'll most likely never taste or own any of the First Growths from these years, so these proclamations have no real effect on me. What does matter to my palate is that Bordeaux taste like Bordeaux, not some trumped up, high alcohol, bastardized attempt at making wines that taste like they're grown off of Highway 29. Let Bordeaux wines be expressive of Bordeaux, call me a minimalist!

Anyways, ranting aside, I was happy to "discover" this bottle of Bordeaux in my stash, seemingly forgotten during the inevitable movement of bottles between the wine fridge and my mouth. I then decided to open it up and see if this 2005 lived up to the momentous declarations of Suckling and Parker.

Well, it sure comes close. This is not a 98 point Pomerol, and nor should it be. Rather, it's classified a Bordeaux Superier, which often means exceptional quality at unexceptional prices. If I had to make a guess at the price, I'd say around $20 or so. At the end of this blog I'll find out the real price then we can compare.

Let's take a look at what I have in my glass then. The Cantemerle is dark in my glass, darker than a lot of Bordeaux I've had before.  I'm reminded of a Cabernet from Napa Valley because the color veers towards purple instead of dark garnet. The wine is a blend of the five varietals allowed in Bordeaux. Merlot, cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc, malbec and petit verdot all in one bottle.

Right away I can smell the Bordeaux here, it comes across as a dusty, herbaceous note with a bit of funk. Glorious! Beautiful notes of tobacco, spice, cocoa, and cassis too. One of those wines that you want to keep smelling because each whiff is a discovery. The aromas are subtle, nothing screams up out of the glass to beat  at your nostrils with a rubber hose. In essence, the Cantemerle has class.

After suitable ooohing and aaahing, I'm ready to take some sips. The aromas match up well with the flavors I'm getting. Great drying tannins, some acidity on the finish and a very nice depth to the mid palate. I think the wine is hitting its stride right now and with a few hours in a decanter, will reward you with wonderful complexity and pleasing mouthfeel. In addition to the earth and herbs, there's a great vein of bittersweet chocolate and dried berry thing going on. This is why I love wine, the way flavors jump out and capture ones imagination!

What a great way to cap off the Planet Bordeaux series of wines, each one was wonderful and exceeded my expectations. They were all well made, very nicely priced, and a good foundation for someone looking to explore the Bordeaux region. After poking around a bit, I found the importer here in the United States, it's Lion Wines, so check them out and if you want this 2005, send them an email. I gave the 2005 Domaine de Cantemerle a B+ and a STRONG BUY recommendation. If you happen to see it online or at your favorite local wine shop, buy a couple of bottles. Oh and as far as the price goes, I found it on wine-searcher for about $19. So my prediction of $20 a bottle was almost dead on. I hope you're able to find this wine, it should be part of your collection.

This wine was sent as a sample for Planet Bordeaux via Balzac Communications.

Beau Carufel

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