Saint Whatever

Ruddy and dense in the glass, a dark ruby core headed out to considerable brick at the rim with slight sediment. Decanted, but of course tasted pull-n-pour: not much bottle-funk, pretty much straight generous dank fruit from the get-go. The nose exudes wet glass marbles on sandpaper and wet sisal rug, vegetal running slight celeriac and wild lettuce cloaked in the velvet of dried peach fuzz. Fruit is not particularly effusive, though definitely ripe. It’s a black/brown sort of cherry, not burnt or roasted, but hinting that direction. Not perfect provenance, stored in a warehouse the past half-decade and on a shop-shelf as retail-stocking dictates. It looks and smells a little tired, but slowly, brighter definition of berry progresses, some of it sharpening to raspberry–most of it remaining dusky and shy blueberry.

An absolute bargain for a St. Em grand cru, and 2009 is no slouch. Definitely showing the ripeness RP would give a 96 vintage, I can’t help but wonder–as I have often done–if the lush, up-front beauty the critics love in years like this has not been partially to blame for its decidedly chunky feeling today. I don’t seek out VINTAGES OF THE DECADE (Napa OR Bordeaux) for precisely this reason. Pretty sure there were a fair number of 100-pt scores handed out in 2009.

In the mouth, more chubby flaccidness comes to light, although sharp pangs of acid and eventual tannin punctuate this veil. Teeth-wiping concentration relies heavily on structure, keeping the poor tired Merlot under foot and unable to shine. Peppery through middle, a green streak of gorgeous briar and blood-orange flair redeem almost everything–tied closely to a nose now glowing lush floral. Barnyard cellar-funk plays harder into the taste than the nose–an unusual twist, but a welcome one. Bitter, tobacco-juice finish curtly churls most fruit-fantasies, and a–usually welcome, but here awkward–euro-cellar-floor climbs into the equation casting even more doubt.

At peak and possibly declining, still I would not throw this thing outa bed for a SECOND, eagerly paying double off a resty list and enjoying it with a myriad of food. I know I’ve been REALLY hard on it, but all-in-all it’s a gorgeous wine–with a couple asterisks. A 1% wine for sure, detailed and thought-provoking, and with perfect storage could go another 5-10 years.

2009 CHATEAU SIMARD Vignobles Vauthier-Maziere MT/CF St. Emilion Grand Cru Bordeaux 14.0

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