Drinking a wine prize, Château Fombrauge Saint Émilion Grand Cru 2012
As I’m sure someone has said, “You can’t spell ‘wine’ without ‘win'” and if someone hasn’t said it before, I’m saying it now because earlier this year, this site was a Finalist for the Millésime Awards. The first prize was a trip to Bordeaux. The second was a magnum of a Grand Cru from Bordeaux. I ended up with the magnum… eventually.
There were some weird hold-ups with getting it out initially and then it was apparently “lost” in the shipping. I’m not really sure what happened but there were many emails back and forth until one day, a wooden box showed up on my doorstep with this magnum inside of Saint Émilion Grand Cru. Oddly enough, I know the owner of the winery more than the wine because it’s Bernard Magrez whose Priorat cellar is my neighbor.
Living in Spain with “warm” summers, I don’t really like to keep wines around all that long as I don’t have a sufficiently large bottle fridge and even if I did, storing magnums is a bit of an onerous problem given their double-sized nature. So, we invited some friends over and opened it up, although with a Left Bank rival of a similar price range which was the Château Le Clare Médoc 2010.
Bordeaux is tough for the same reason that Burgundy is tough, maybe even more so as at the top-end of both regions, there are stunning wines with prices to match but then there’s a hollow middle and a whole lot at the bottom. I feel however that Burgundy does a much better job of covering all price ranges despite the fact people seem to ignore anything that isn’t Grand of Premier Cru. Bordeaux on the other hand is awash in low-end that really doesn’t get anywhere near the the Classified Growths as outdated as that classification may be.
The Le Clare was actually decent which isn’t a surprise as 2010 was just a very solid year in Médoc. Maybe a bit thin but I attribute that more to it being primarily Merlot than Cabernet Sauvignon which the latter is more dominant in Left Bank. But this Fombrauge was well, wanting. It just felt overworked in the cellar with big blocky oak treatment and a severe lack of balanced fruit. Indeed, it was full and round in the mouth but there was little nuance to it and this is despite the year being good for Merlot which is what the Right Bank grows so well.
Overall, an interesting wine to taste but not one I would seek out.
Saint Émilion Grand Cru 2012
Dark, dark ruby in the glass with aromas of raspberry, cranberry, dried fruit, cedar, black olives. In the mouth the cranberry is prevalent with toasted notes from the aging regimen as well as a good hit of prune that pulls in to a long finish.
90% Merlot, 9% Cab Franc, 1% Cab Sauvignon 14% 25€
Ancestral Wine Cellar - Khikhvi 2014 95
First harvest of Khikhvi. Light apricot notes, peach skin, lemon peel. Citric in the mouth, fresh, lively acidity, vibrant. Very holistic, full and deliciously good.
100% Khikhvi · 12% · 30GEL
Petriaant Marani - Khikhvi 2015 94
Bruised red apple, touch of lemon peel, limestone minerality, and some white pepper notes at the back of it. High acidity and full in the mouth. Luscious, involving, elegant wine.
100% Khikhvi · 14% · 25GEL
Domaine Augustin - Adéodat Blanc 2016 93
Lemon and white peach, strong kick of salinity, and toasted notes. Very fleshy and full on the palate, peach notes more prominent as well as Meyer lemon, medium plus acidity and a lengthy finish.
100% Grenache Gris · 14.5% · 20EUR
AA Badenhorst - Secateurs Red Blend 2012 93
Forest bramble with ripe red fruit, touches of cherry, ripe red plum, tiny bit of prune, cumin, anise, black licorice, wet cement mineral note, underlying fig jam. Crisp medium plus acidity, medium tannins, medium plus length, medium alcohol, overall medium plus body that’s ripe and lively but super fresh and balanced at the same time. Bit of rugged wildness to it but doesn’t get out of hand. Easy to drink but with just enough underlying complexity so that it stays interesting.
56% Syrah 27% Cinsaut 6% Grenache 4% Cabernet Sauvignon 7% "Others" · 13.5% · 12EUR
Domaine Treloar - Motus 2015 93
Dark ruby, minor rim. Big, mighty bouquet of red cherry and other brambly forest fruit, vanilla, almond blossom, orange peel, and cocoa. Rich and full on the palate with a wealth of tannins still integrating, leading into a crunchy, lingering finish.
80% Mourvèdre 10% Syrah 10% Grenache · 14% · 14EUR
Domaine of the Bee - Cuvée 2015 93
Ruby with minor garnet rim. Rich red fruits with an underpinning of ripe plum, orange peel, licorice, cocoa. Broad, round tannins with a touch of toast and sweet cocoa in a long finish. Manages to stay very light on the palate despite the higher alcohol.
50% Grenache 50% Carignan · 15% · 25EUR
Tchotiashvili - Khikhvi 2014 93
Apricot, yellow peach, orange peel, and a touch of honey. Quite complex aromatically. Orchard fruit much more prevalent in the mouth with young apricot notes. Rich and elegant, touch of astringency in the finish.
100% Khikhvi · 13.1% · 28GEL
Domaine Augustin - Adéodat Rouge 2015 92
Medium ruby. Fresh red cherry, raspberry, and young strawberry, lifted and breathy, saline tinge along with light stoniness and rosemary and garrigue. Fresh red fruit on the palate, medium acidity but still light on the palate, fresh, and while the alcohol sticks out a little, holds and excellent, long finish.
Grenache Carignan Mourvèdre · 14.5% · 20EUR
Domaine Fontanel - Prieuré 2014 92
Dense ruby with brick flecks. Crisp red fruits, lifted by a waft of volatility making for a light nose with a spicy licorice and leather component. Crisp and lively with red cherry fruit in the mouth and a nudge over medium acidity. Nice, lingering finish.
50% Syrah 25% Grenache 25% Mourvèdre · 14.5%
Cave Abbé Rous - Cornet & Cie Blanc 2016 92
Peach, orange peel & blossom, honey, dried apricot, and a hint of green apple. Very nicely balance in the mouth, green apple notes more prevalent, medium plus acidity and a lengthy finish. Fresh, lively, very pleasing wine to drink.
60% Grenache Gris 25% Grenache Blanc 5% Marsanne 5% Roussanne 5% Vermentino · 14.5%