Pretty Girls Make Graves

Excited to sample 18’s and the jump had to be made to Left Bank. Clearly, far less lush and round as the Pomerol satellites I hit last week (here and here), this one basically needs to be treated as a barrel-sample. Dirty baby diaper and vegetal jumps out of the glass on initial opening, a rather shocking but not horribly unpleasant blast. Generous air cleans it up, driving tight dark cherry on rails of steely minerality and sanded-wood spice. It’s still dark and musty at its core, the ripeness of the vintage rounding the fruit into nice black clumps of licorice and peat–again tinged with barnyard. Decanted HEAVILY.

Bright, beautiful fruit–ripe and lush–greets your tongue, but the kisses are momentary. It doesn’t waste any time reminding you this is 2YO cab from Bordeaux and sends a pithy rocky scream into all corners of your mouth. The cherry–thinner here than it smelled–does a fine job of beating off the indians, but ultimately the structure is too much and the whole thing collapses into a bed of tannin. Like all barrel samples, you ask yourself: Does it have fruit? Is it balanced? Can we see anything around the tannin? In this case, it does indeed have plentiful fruit. The balance is fairly impeccable–everything see-sawing together. The tannin–although robust at this age–is a powdery sort, fairly pillowy and forgiving. I guessed it at 12-5–defying the recent urge to pump these things up–and boy did my jaw drop when I checked the label.

This is a very inexpensive BDX–in the 30$ range–and would make a great candidate to *forget about* in the cellar for a decade.

2018 CHATEAU MAILLARD Graves AOC Bordeaux 12.0

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