Bergerac and Cahors are two of my favorite little also-rans in France. Always a bargain on any list, often ignored–or misunderstood–and the beauty for the buck can be outstanding. You go into a resty in France and there’s always a bunch of Bordeauxs… and then a bunch of South France… and in the middle there’s often a Bergerac or Cahors–priced wonderfully and incredible food-wines. This one is no exception. A beautiful clear garnet–I’d be hesitant to call it bricking, but the amber is impossible to ignore. Some not-pleasant pent-up bottle-funk on opening, and decanting was in order. Even after blowing off, no delirious aromas develop: a nice, calm middle-of-the-road BDX red wine, dank woodsy lightness, cinder block and newsprint, musty grass clippings with a tincture of porty cherry riding strong on the tiredness.
In the mouth, a rather fruitless affair, I’m going to have to look up 2013 Bordeaux on a vintage-chart because I honestly do not know–or keep track–of good-or-bad musings in the region. Nor am I a huge vintage-wonk, but unlike new world wines, I pay a considerably-more-attentive respect to their inclinations. It feels like a Merlot which should have been dranken several years ago: vapid and uninteresting, a solid wine–don’t get me wrong–but washed out and structure over-taking everything. Crazy pepper inundates the mouthfeel, a spicy-hot situation embracing the shrill tannin drying out the finish, black cherry and sage–which were full in the middle–gasping for a life-raft against the relentless pounding of structure.
NOT a great wine to sit and contemplate–California-style–on its own. But sitting down with Margherita pizza and a cheese plate, it takes on its destined command. This is the beauty of user-friendly Euro wines. There’s a gorgeousness to the patina which tells a story. Not the bullshit *story* wine-writer tells about shallow-hallowed winemakers and their fluffy winery dogs and supporting wives and relationships with terroir over and over ad nauseum to sell mediocre wine to stupid people, but rather a connect-the-dots glassful the 1% can deduce TONS from. Faded and slightly past-prime, fruit dangerously thin, STILL a wine to gain enjoyment from and with tons to teach.
2013 CHATEAU BEL-AIR Cab/ME/CF 50/42/8 Bergerac France 13.0