Fresh Prince

Dark amber-ruddy; perfect cork–no sediment. An acidically-fruited nose, pungent with white pepper and compost, but lofty and quite clean on the berry-scale. Although the fruit is a generous mushy plum, apricot and blood-orange, no pruniness exists, with cassis and uric-tanned leather leading the charge. Brooding and insolent, the sharp briar grabs at all surfaces, fighting off tertiary remarkably. I opened this thinking at 8, a wine of this pedigree would possibly be on the down-hill, but now am glad I have several more in the cellar. Cheap as it is, Bergerac fulfills many goals for Bordeaux lovers, and this one is a testament to its potential–even in a year rated low-80’s next door in the expensive seats.

Tasting it offers more calm, clean direction. A first glimpse of faded fruit is visible on the entry, where the acidity overwhelms ripeness with aplomb. But there’s plenty of fruit IN there: thin cherry and pomegranate; dusty floral hinting at jasmine and climbing roses. The middle is characteristically meager, monopolized by invading tannin again emphasizing fruit-fade. But where an American would be raisin-y and faded, this is still-fresh and faded: the powerful background of berry doing its best to keep up with ridiculous tannin which I am sad to say will probably FAR out-live any luscious, modifying components.

I’m being really hard on this wine, but it’s actually quite beautiful. Concentrated and powerful: the bitter heat in the finish it’s only un-doing. Wines like this are a cheerful blessing in the cellar: always surprising; rarely predictable; never boring, and if you don’t own or familiarize yourself with bottles like this: I feel sorry for you. And you really have no business talking about wine.

2013 CHATEAU BEL-AIR Cab/ME/CF 50/42/8 Bergerac France 13.0

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