The 18’s are coming

My first 18 BDX, and it goes without saying with a vintage such as 2018–like 2016, or even 2015 to a certain extent–expectations are high. Rated in the hi-90’s (if you’re into that sort of thing) in barrel and promising pleasing and age-worthy wines far down into even the supérieur range of affordability and availability, and here–at the 30-40 dollar satellite level–should be almost a no-brainer. I picked up both a Lalande and a Lussac the other day, and grabbed the straight Merlot for the first pop.

Dark ruby with a pink edge, but showing a hair of garnet mid-rim and at its core. Big concentrated nose of ripe fruit, almost to the point of burnt, the dark asphalty nuance see-sawing with a bright Jolly Rancher at the opposite end. Barnyard peat makes an appearance, but throughout, deep livid black cherry and blackberry make a wine Californians will definitely love. It pains me to initially guess this thing north of 14, and would not be surprised at a “14-5” stamp. Decanted heavily.

Dark and gritty on the tongue, initial bright fruit a fleeting glimmer before the crush of absolute age begins its staccato dance. Shrieking acid combines with the decadence of the fruit, lifting and lightening visions of stand-a-fork-up-in-it New World-esque delivery. Almost cab-like on the palate, but the sexy curves of Merlot are visible–even as they strain under sheer structure stretched tight. Graceful chalk and stemmy briar introduce the blistering tannin and I think this is going to be a beautiful wine–maybe not a 20-year candidate, but should be stunning in ten.

2018 VIEUX DOMAINE BERTINEAU ME/cab/CF 80/10/10 Lalande-de-Pomerol 14.5

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