Another Wine for Our Cellar

Most wine consumers purchase wines to drink now. The joke being, the average wine drinker ages their wine on the way home from the wine shop.

We do that much of the time as well. During the summer months we look for drink now white wines. Those crisp white wines with good acidity that taste great chilled on a hot afternoon. This summer we went on a quest for good Rosés and found several. These rosé wines with lots of flavor are best consumed in the year they are bottled.

As the weather begins to cool, we are looking more for everyday drinking reds. These are affordable, good quality wines to drink this year or next. A mix of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cab Franc, Merlot, Syrah, Spanish or Italian varietals and various blends are necessary to get us through the fall and winter. It is nice to have a selection of wines to pull from in order to pair with menus for the colder months.

If we find something we think is particularly interesting, we purchase several bottles and cellar them. We make notes on how the wine tasted on that first tasting so we can compare the flavors over time. When we pull the next bottle out of our cellar, we often make notes at that time. It is a fun exercise.

Both Pete and I are particularly fond of Bordeaux wines. Every year at our local wine shop, we participate in the series of Bordeaux tastings presented by George and Gail. Over the past two months we have been tasting the 2009 vintage. In general, at this point these wines have lots of everything. Lots of flavor and lots of tannins. While many of these wines taste very good now, many have the potential to taste even better over time. To us, that is the allure of tasting Bordeaux. Finding wines that have the potential to become something really special in five, ten, or fifteen years is really exciting.

So, during these tastings, we try and always choose several we want to hold over the next 10-15 years. We purchase multiple bottles of each of these wines, put them in our cellar and wait! We have been doing this for several vintages. So, every once and a while we pull one from the cellar and give it a taste. Bordeaux can evolve into the most special flavors over time. Elegant flavors of cedar and spice, leather and tobacco with smooth well integrated tannins can be so seductive. This potential is what keeps us collecting wines in this fashion.

Recently we pulled a 2004 Blason de L’Evangile out of the cellar. We were not disappointed. The flavors had evolved to those elegant older spicy flavors I love so much.

So, in our quest for the next Bordeaux to place in the cellar, we tasted a 2009 Chateau Bernadotte, a Cru Bourgeois from Haut-Medoc, over this past weekend. This very dark ruby wine has an earthy nose with hints of coffee. Fruit flavors are very full and complex along with tobacco. The weight of this wine in the mouth is very light. The tannins at this point are significant, grippy and a bit bitter on the finish. The finish is long with tobacco flavors and tannins. After tasting this wine by it self, we drank it with blue cheese, crackers and apples. It stood up well to the strong flavors of the blue cheese.

The questions with this wine are whether the flavors will hold up over time, will the tannins fall away significantly and what will happen with the slightly bitter taste of the tannins? The price of this wine is reasonable so we hope it will be a worthy addition to our cellar.

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