Diggin into the 18’s again–and you should be buying as many of these as you can afford and store. And I LOVE the Blaye. And oh boy is this a beauty–especially for something well under 40 bucks. First of all: it SMELLS like Bordeaux. Which is an important distinction for a couple reasons: A) cheap BDX’s aimed for the west coast Umerican market often tone these things down–for obvious reasons–and B) I don’t have to tell you, in a vintage rated in the hi-90’s, there is usually–more like typically–nyet: basically ALWAYS a far more *California* aspect to the wine, and not just ripeness. In our Parker-addled world, this is just a fact. “Vintages of the Decade” are GOING to be riper, higher alc, and “clean, fruit-driven wine”, a statement that sends shivers down my spine. This thing SMELLS like Bordeaux. Is it bretty? You can make that argument. Cellar-funk, Old-World nuances? Sure. But I’m not angry about any of it. And never WILL be. If you don’t like wines like that: read this with an asterisk. KNOW YOUR CRITIC.
Dark, staining black-red–right out to the rim. Which scared me at first–for obvious reasons. But then you jam your nose into it and the heavens open with the kind of barnyard- and briar-infused sweet blackberry dreams are made of. A stupidly-beautiful bouquet, redolent of elegant flower-garden walks, maybe some rain on the gravel paths, mossy fountains gurgling, mist dripping from cedar and cypress–an area nearby under tilling for new planting. Smoky and dank, the cherry a lavish thin bright line, but the depth and complexity outshines the plushness.
Tasting it wipes out my claim last week of *Best cheap 2018 to date*, but this is double the price of that little Medoc. Here the Blaye satellite pulls out all the stops, with a wine so ridiculously delicious–while never grabbing its ankles for the Cali-Cab gods or the Umerican sweet-tooth. Sharp and invigorating on the tongue, a sensory-numbing attack of acidic and mineral rasp raising the thick fruit to a high-note almost approaching carbonated. Steely and rigid–graphite and rust and carborundum heading the metallic charge. The fruit is bright, so bitter, so pithy and angry while dancing a smooth frilly waltz. Catastrophically young–it drinks like a barrel-sample, and ‘barrel-samples’ only come along like this occasionally: so perfectly integrated; so harshly and yet delicately structured; so: I NEED A CASE.
2018 CHATEAU ROLAND LA GARDE ME/Cab 80/20 Blaye Cotes de Bordeaux France 14.0