Thursday Night Wine Tasting 2007 Bordeaux Part Deux

As advertised, we continued tasting Bordeaux this week, this time concentrating on the Margaux region. Discussion before the tasting centered around the characteristics of Margaux, which most agreed is the floral nose of these wines and the early drinkability. In general, these wines are easier to drink young as they tend to have smoother tannins. That’s not to say they should be drunk young, because a bit of time aging can do very interesting things to the flavors of the wines.

George selected a collection of third growths, a fourth growth, a Cru Bourgeois and a second label of Chateau Palmer made in the California style. Our assignment for the evening was to see if we could identify the California style wine and to see how the the Cru Bourgois stands up to the classified growths. Cru Bourgeois falling just below the classified growths in the overall ranking.

2007 Chateau Marquis de Terme – The color was dark ruby. The nose had obvious scents of dark fruit and coffee with dark fruit, tobacco and smoke in the flavors. This wine was very flavorful in an understated way. The tannins were very significant with good acid. The finish was long with flavor and tannins. The tannins became a bit bitter over time. Most felt this wine would benefit from some more time in the bottle to mellow the tannins and perhaps decrease the bitterness. This is a fourth growth.

2007 Chateau Beaumont – The color was a dark garnet. The nose was cheesy smelling initially, but blew off to smoke and licorice. The flavors tasted of dark fruit and coffee with moderate tannins and good acid. The finish was moderate in length with both flavor and tannins. This wine was very well balanced and is drinking very nicely now. Some time in the bottle will almost certainly make the flavors more interesting. Although this wine is the Cru Bourgeois, it actually from the Haut-Medoc region – not Margaux. Oh well, just another curve ball! We also have the 2006 vintage of this wine that we need to review and add to our blog for comparison.

2007 Chateau Marquis d’Alesme Becker – This wines color was very dark ruby with brown sugar and then tobacco on the nose. Flavors were less fruity with pencil lead and tobacco. Tannins were significant and grippy but not at all bitter with good acid. The finish was moderate with tannins predominating and the slight fruit dropping out. Most tasters agreed this wine is drinking well now, but should get excellent with some time in the bottle. This is a third growth.

2007 Chateau Ferriere – The color was light ruby. The nose was stinky initially, then blew off with little nose remaining. The flavors tasted like a burst of cedar and spice with tobacco and sweet fruit. Flavors were complex with moderate tannins and good acid. The length was moderate in length with flavor and tannins. This wine was a brighter fruit wine to my taste, and I thought it was the wine made in the California style.

2007 Alter Ego (Chateau Palmer second label) – The Alter Ego’s color was very dark ruby (darkest of the group). Once again, the nose was stinky initially, then with little scent remaining. The flavors tasted of fruit, but was not overly fruity with lots of flavor. Tannins were moderate with good acid. Most felt this wine needs some time in the bottle to develop more flavor. The majority of the group thought (correctly so) that this was the wine made in the California style.

2007 Chateau Coutet Sauternes – The color was very nice dark yellow. The nose smelled of apricots and pineapple. It had a round mouth feel and was viscous in the glass. The flavors tasted of apricot with complex flavors and good acidity. The great acidity in this wine gives the sweet flavors a clean finish. The style of this Sauternes was clearly different than the Ch. Doisy Daene from last week. Both wines have excellent acidity and provide a clean finish, but the weight and body of the wines was very different. The contrast was very interesting.

So, as you can see, we tasted quite a potpourri of Bordeaux! I have to say, to my nose, I didn’t notice the floral or perfumed nose so many feel is typical of Margaux. In fact, a couple of these wines had very closed noses to me once the initial stinky quality blew off. Most were very flavorful and drinkable now and most will get better with some time in the bottle. Another really great thing about these wines is the relatively low alcohol content. Most were 12.5% – 13%. The lower alcohol makes them very food friendly and easy to drink by themselves. Plus, you can enjoy the wines without having the affect of all that alcohol, always a good thing the next morning.

Next week we will be tasting wines from Pauillac. Stay tuned!