Who’s Paul?

After last night’s ridiculously Bordeaux-like Sonoma Cab, I though it would be interesting to open a CA-like BDX. So, the new heralded, easily-approachable 2018 vintage instantly sprung to mind, and I found one with the same ABV: 14-5, a bit high on my comfort-level for Bordeaux, but ripeness marches North, and there it is. The similarities are instant. Big bottle-funk on opening, off-putting for a few minutes before still-water roundness and restraint meekly protrudes. Nothing particularly spicy or mineral-driven shows for some time–until heavy decanting and plenty of air start massaging the nose. Dull and ripe, teensy bits of herb and green oak-leaf pop around in the corners, and while this one shows–not pink, but–slight amber at the rim, the unmistakable essence of ripe cherry and cola run wild, hand-in-hand with still-vibrant old-world cellar funk of moldy oranges and wet concrete.

Tasting it produces more similarities. Fruit is thin and shy, though careful consideration indeed shows gloriously-ripe berry–but not seedless. Clean and mouth-filling, the roundness is cut short by a blast of structure, turning the middle rashly dry and perfectly bitter. Licorice and creme de cassis stare from the sidelines, and nowhere are bell pepper notes observed, although savory celery polishes the chalky mineral before mind-numbing tannin–and a bit of heat–somewhat overcome the fruit in the finish. Last night’s cab opted out of the *heat* category, thankfully. Full and round, peppery and dry, with a gorgeous core of ruby fruit, here’s another inexpensive 2018 vin de Bordeaux lovely to drink and entirely worthy of the cellar. There’s more tannin than fruit, but would you want BDX any other way? I’m putting a few in the cellar.

2018 CHATEAU HAUT CHEVALIER ‘Cuvee Paul’ AOP Bordeaux France 14.5


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