Real Wine for the 99

Couple cheap Bordeauxs on the table tonight… under 30 bucks US. And not from stellar vintages: I think the Left Bank was rated hi-80’s in 2012 and 2013 mid-80’s on the right side of the river. Both pretty deep ruby with a touch of brick at the rim–the Graves a bit lighter in color density. The Cab is clean and solidy-fruited in the nose, dusty cherry somewhat low-key, crammed alongside steel wool, rusty filings, wet match and touches of floral and beautiful barnyard. The Merlot smells thick and rich, candied and pruney, all dense ripe fruit running chocolate and caramel and actually a little one-dimensional in that regard. It smells tired and soggy: clumsy density not performing well at only 7. The Graves is pretty much exactly where you want a BDX to be, restrained and un-assuming, giving up layers of texture with each swirl. The St. Em just gets chubbier.

Tasting the Maillard first, it is classically thin and achingly dry, the fruit a rasp of deep raspberry and peach pit, no high- or low-points, just an even keel of elegant light density across the palate. Again, I’m going to say EXACTLY where you want a BDX to be–at least for me. There’s no mistaking it. It’s not trying to be anything else. It’s not attempting to woo California or smear 90+ scores on anyone. The old world nuances are unmistakable, neutral barrel and cellar floor perfectly accenting the smoky intake and rounding the abrasion in the finish. Cherry is calm and spicy, blood orange minerality grinds in from below, bitter asphalt solidifying the still-tannic forever mouth-feel. I like this wine a lot.

The Candale (this is a second label to Chateau Candale please note the “Roc”) tastes better than it smells. It STILL is churning out fat, raisiny mediocrity in the nose, but on intake redeems a bit. Rich, very concentrated and coffee-stained, with heady briar and copious tannin, none of this is *quite* enough to rid itself of an over-all oxidized, fatigued spectre. It feels hi-pH/low acid and perhaps *adjusted* to compensate. I don’t particularly enjoy this wine, as it totters along clumsily, wavering between opposing ends of an unbalanced spectrum.

Neither of these wines are particularly mind-boggling, but DO ALL WINES NEED TO BE? Don’t tell Instagram #winebro this, but NO: these are *normal* wines: interesting and fun to drink, great with food, designed for the table and conversation, each bringing rational deliciousness to open minds not hung up on scores and blingly labels. These are the wines people DRINK. Sorry, California: NOBODY in the world drinks wines like you do every day. Get over yourself and drink some real wine. Like these two.

2012 CHATEAU MAILLARD Graves AOC Bordeaux 12.0
2013 CHATEAU ROC de CANDALE St. Emilion Grand Cru Bordeaux 13.0

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