Every bottle has a story

I am not a wine expert, but with each bottle I try and share with friends, I learn more. Wine is an exceptional social drink; it is the marijuana of alcoholic beverages because it must be shared. I seek to share with you my thoughts and experiences as I drink the wine in my closet, as well as my enthusiasm for the finds that come my way and the excellent values that I find. I'd love to hear your thoughts and experiences too, so please share!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Bordeaux meets Provence

I admit I am not very familiar with the wines of Bordeaux. I’m much more comfortable with the Rhône region; even with Burgundy I have had more experience than with Bordeaux. Many times when I’ve tasted inexpensive Bordeaux, they just haven’t been that impressive. And when it comes to the highly-rated vintages and houses, it’s just too expensive for me.

But I continue to dabble and a little more than a year ago I picked up two bottles of the 2005 Château la Bessane Margaux. It was highly rated (a 91 from Wine Spectator) and the price was great, just $22 a bottle.

Over Presidents Day weekend I planned a dinner around the wine. I used a recipe from the Woman’s Day “Famous French Cookery” 1969 edition for pot roast Provençal. I had tried this recipe out one time before using a pork tenderloin and it came out quite well. This was my first try with beef, however. I used a bottom round roast that I’m afraid I overcooked. Still, it was a hardy meal and the wine worked well, although I wasn’t sure at first.

Because when we first opened the bottle, the nose was nothing. Absolute zilch. And the taste? Again, nothing. You could sense there was something there, but it was definitely faint. I had heard about Bordeaux being delicate, but this was unnerving. Adding an aerator to the bottle helped bring out some of the character, and thankfully, as the wine breathed, the flavors began to come forward.

However, the fruit – some blackberry and there was a hint of licorice or anise – remained quite delicate against a light mineral backing. It was very smooth drinking, and went well with the beef despite the meat being overdone. I will definitely pay more attention to cooking times next time I prepare this.

Have any of you had a similar experience with Bordeaux? Particularly a young one? It certainly was a new experience for me.

Overall, it was a very nice experience. I will definitely hold on to the second bottle for a while to see how it matures. I rate this with a 9 using my 10-point scale at the left.

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