Been hearing so much good about the 2016 Bordelais I grabbed a few cheapies. Haven’t had one yet. Allegedly a very full-and-balanced vintage, with more structure than 15. I’ve been hearing even in the very cheap wines, they are lush and ripe and structured–FAR more so than years with chubby round wines or those with ridiculously tight wines. So here we have the perfect vintage. An almost California-esque vintage bwahahahahaha. I’m gonna get in so much trouble for that. But these aren’t big–and plentiful–100-pointers from 16. Fuck that noise. These are all sub-30 bucks: and from three different classifications: a satellite, a straight Médoc, and a dumb little superieur.
The Bertin is all chubby ripe banana in the nose, very dark in the glass, a sort of hot-Saran-wrap/peat/barnyard/poopy flacidness with no fresh fruit. In the mouth, a bit better than it smells, but fruitless and sharp: one of those juxtapositions between harsh tannin and heat with dull, candied fruit preserves. Yeah fuck this wine. This is the most expensive too. NEXT
Lets swing all the way across to the cheapest. the Haut Favereau is a lowly superieur piece of plonk, not much lighter in color or ruby intensity in the glass. Chemically and off-putting in the nose, there’s a dark green peppery briar tucked way down deep that is wonderful, but it takes a lot to get to it. Late breathing it almost takes on a VA sensation: SOOOO much bell pepper and good chunks of barnyard. But let’s taste it. OK, so this kinda tastes like CA cab. Positive cherry bites right from the get-go, obliterated INSTANTLY by stupendous tannin. IF you can ignore the structure, there IS fruit in it, lovely deep fruit but I would be concerned it would get washed out eons before the tannin started building tertiary castles in the sand. I love the finish, but it is thin. Meager. Not balanced.
The Médoc smells like CA cab too. This one is roiled in dark richness, brown sugar and licorice and black pepper and a smoky sort of clean saline crust over a loamy bed of dankness. Plum and black walnut and raspberry stew together with nice accouterments of mint and eucalyptus bringing that red dust alive. Cake frosting with almond oil but with a celery-soup obliqueness. In the mouth, nothing jumps out at you. Still and calm and balanced and dare-I-say: quite normal? But this is a wineblog. THERE IS NO NORMAL. Fruit’s coming up a bit shy on this one too. A chalky, clammy structure with some off-flavors cover up whatever roasted-nut plum you might construe in your imagination.
None of these wines are good. None of these wines are horrid. They’re just…. not super good. For very individual reasons–none of which add up to a F. Solid C stuff… *possibly* creeping into B+ territory on the second day. Very fun to open and drink. Awesome wines in that regard. And CHEAP. Just not very good and not much promise. Still: a handful of these things in the week-day cellar for a few more years would work out fine for any serious–and curious–winedrinker.
2016 CHATEAU BERTIN Montagne St. Emilion 70/30 ME/CF 14.0
2016 CHATEAU HAUT FAVEREAU BDX Superieur 60/30/10 ME/cab/CF 13.5
2016 CHATEAU CAILLOUX DE BY Medoc 50/50 cab/ME 14.2