Making Room

By now, some of you may be aware that the Easter Season is upon us, actually when you read this, Easter will have past and that is all well and good, as I do like to get ahead with my writings whenever I can.  Some of you, may also be aware that basically Holidays and family gatherings were taboo, unless you have a private jet and then you can do whatever your heart desires.  For us peons, there was always the concern that the State was hiring an army of Gladys Kravitz’s to snoop and report on neighbors if you had God forbid family or friends visit. Everyone had visions of battering rams and SWAT teams descending on your home for trying to maintain some serenity and sense during this period of lockdown.

As you know, hopefully, I have been making some sense of the wine cellar.  It is amazing at the projects one can find during forced lockdowns.  I had put plenty of white wines in the auxiliary refrigerator in the garage of both wines that I knew were good for immediate consumption and bottles that I wasn’t sure if they were still with us, or among the honored dead. I went out and rearranged the refrigerator, to make better use of the space, and neither of us drink diet pop (or soda for you non-Michigan heathens) and hopefully we will eventually find out, if we have been using valuable real estate for flat-uncarbonated drinks.  I also found an almost empty half-gallon bottled of Margaritas, and for the science-minded, I can report that the Margaritas were still tasty and one less bottle taking up space. I grabbed two bottles that I was pretty sure that they had over-stayed their time in the cellar, just by looking at the color of the wine.  I may be wrong, and it is a bit fuzzy, but it seems to me that fifty years ago, most of the white wines were in colored glass bottles to diminish the effects of light and especially sunlight.

The first bottle that I opened was a Martin Codax Albarino Rias Baixas 2006 from Spain.  Martin Codax is a co-operative of growers in the Rias Baixas.  It was formed in 1986 and is named for a famous troubadour from the 13th Century of old romantic Spain.  The winemaker and one of the original founders of Martin Codax is Luciano Amoedo, who was also one of the most vocal in getting Denominacion de Origen (DO) appellation for Rias Baixas in 1988 and the main varietal for the co-operative is Albarino.  While the orange-amber shade may be an interesting draw for a lager, it was a pretty good visual that the wine had not aged well.  It had a solid synthetic cork that was a devil to remove, but I guess it wasn’t as air-tight as it appeared to be in the struggle to uncork the bottle.  I took one sip and it was enough to let me know that the drain in the sink would appreciate it more than I would. The other bottle was Haywood Estate Winery Vintner’s Select Sauvignon Blanc California 2003. Peter Haywood founded his Haywood Estates Los Chamizal Vineyards and had his first crush in 1980 and he began a history that started with Zinfandel.  The vineyard overlooks the historic town of Sonoma. This particular wine that I had was not an estate wine, it carried the California appellation which meant that the fruit could be sourced from wherever and blended to offer a good opening price wine. Once again, the color was very dark, but since I have had some history of having some older Sauvignon Blanc wines that held up, in spite of the color of the wine, I was willing to try again.  Unfortunately, even with the wine really chilled, I could not drink it, it was passed it time, and several people have written over the years that an over chilled white wine can mask flaws and make the wine palatable, but it didn’t work here.  Thankfully neither of the two wines were that dear in price, to make this a tragedy.      

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Chateau Musar 2013

The two Raconteurs thought we were done, but we had a lucky thirteenth unlisted wine to taste at the Fine Wine Source.  Neither one of us complained and this was a wine that both of us had heard of, but had never tried and no time like the present.  We had quite a whirl-wind geography lesson from Burgundy and the Medoc to Napa Valley, then off to the Loire and finally to Lebanon. The Bekkaa Valley (Beqaa Valley) is the center of the wine trade, as it accounts for ninety percent and it is also the center for Arak, the lovely, but potentially lethal anise flavored liquor that is the favored drink in the country.  The oldest winery there is Chateau Ksara, which was established by the Jesuits in 1857 with plants brought over from the French colony of Algeria.  The original vines were Cinsaut, and later other wineries followed with Carignan, Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and by whites of Ugni Blanc, Clairette and Chardonnay; and the indigenous varietals Obaideh and Merwah. While the valley is considered ideal for wine production, the country was originally under the rule of the Ottoman Empire and their Sharia Law, which basically condemned the use of wine except for religious purposes.  After the demise of the Ottoman Empire and the end of World War Two, the Middle East was carved up and the French were awarded a Mandate for Syria and Lebanon.  The French finally left the mandated areas and eventually there was a Lebanese Civil War which began around 1975, with over a one-hundred-thousand fatalities and about a million people that left the country, the Christians became a very small minority and the wine industry can only really rely on export markets, as the local market has basically dried up.

Chateau Musar was founded in 1930 by Gaston Hochar and may be the most famous Lebanese winery on the international scene.  Gaston Hochar developed his winery after traveling in Bordeaux.  In 1959, Hochar’s son Serge took control of the vineyards, having returned from Bordeaux where he was studying enology.  The vineyard suffered during the Lebanese Civil War (two vintages were lost or damaged), and Hochar began to look beyond the domestic market.  The wine began to gain recognition after Michael Broadbent MW wrote about them in Decanter magazine in 1979 and by the time the war ended in 1990, just a tiny fraction of Chateau Musar was sold locally.  The winery produces several collectable wines that are long-lived.  Chateau Musar Red is their flagship wine and is regarded as the most important wine in their portfolio, and it is also regarded as the most important wine of Lebanon.  

Chateau Musar Red Bekkaa Valley 2013 continues to be made in their traditional manner, which requires seven years before it sees the light of day in a retail environment. The wine is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Carignan and Cinsault (and this particular vintage the blend was equal for all three varietals) from vines planted from 1930 and later, on gravel soil over limestone, with the average age of the vines around forty years.  The different juices undergo a long fermentation in cement vats for about six months after the harvest. The individual juices are then transferred to French Oak for one year of aging.  After about two years from harvest, the individual juices are then blended and placed in cement tanks for another twelve months.  The wine is then bottled and stored in their deep, dark stone cellars on their sides for four years.  The wine is bottled unfiltered and unfined for maximum flavor.  The winery recommends standing the wine up, the night before serving, to allow the wine to settle.  They also recommend the use of prongs for opening bottles older than fifteen years of age and have even created a YouTube page for their instructions. This was a beautiful drinking wine and the Cinsault was the prominent wine of note with red fruit and dark fruit, and plenty of spices with cloves, cinnamon, vanilla and licorice.  The wine had a very nice long count in the finish.  Totally drinkable now, or wait another ten or more years and I think the flavors will be totally layered and complex.  Wonderful with a nice Armenian lamb dinner, if I can make a hint to my Bride.

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Domaine Huet Cuvée Constance

As we looked at our printed personalized wine tasting list, it appeared that the Wine Raconteur, Jr. and I had come to the end of our visit; and everyone knows that all good things eventually come to an end. It was quite eventful and I know that both of us really enjoyed the tasting, because time really went quickly.  We were approaching our twelfth wine for tasting and after all of these fine red wines, we were going to have a dessert wine to finish the day.

Domaine Huet L’Echansonne or just Domaine Huet is the leading producer in the Vouvray region of the Loire Valley.  They are known for their assorted Chenin Blanc wines, both for their richness and concentration of flavor, but also for their ability to age for a long time.  The thirty-five-hectare estate has three main south-facing vineyards on a plateau above the river and smaller plots as well.  Le Haut-Lieu is around the original house and is on a heavy clay and limestone soil, which produce the most approachable of their wines.  Clos du Bourg is on shallow clay and limestone soils which produce their longest-lived and most structured wines. Le Mont is on pebbly clay and silica and always is the last vineyard to be harvested.  Grapes are harvested manually and usually three passes which may end up in November to take advantage of the levels of sweetness.  The Vouvray appellation was awarded in 1936 and includes all versions of wines produced there from sweet, dry, still and sparkling.  The majority of the wines now from Vouvray are sparkling.  I have had the good fortune to have had and written about Domaine Huet Clos du Bourg Moelleux Vouvray Chenin Blanc 2016.  Vouvray Moelleux are sweet wines made from Chenin Blanc, and similar to the wines of Sauternes, the fruit is harvested three times to get the richest and sweetest grapes. I have also done the same for the Domaine Huet Le Haut-Lieu Sec 2017.

Domaine Huet Cuvée Constance Vouvray 2016 is a tribute to Madame Constance Huet and only uses the late and concentrated grapes from the three main vineyards. This wine is only produced in small quantity and only in years when the high standards for this wine are met.  “Constance” was the result of an accident. In 1989, during the final harvesting of the berries, the grape juice was so exceptional, that the fermentation lasted for months. After consultations, it was decided to blend only these long-fermented juices together and Cuvée Constance was born. Grapes are pressed and fermentation using only natural yeasts with half in demi-muids (600-liter capacity oak barrels typically used in the Rhone Valley) and half in traditional vats for six months and a production of five-hundred cases.  My first thoughts were that this pinkish-gold wine was honey, but then it revealed ripe pears and sweet spices with a delicious and long finish, and yes, I nursed this tasting for all it was worth.

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Martin Estate Collector’s Reserve

Alas, fear not as The Wine Raconteur and The Wine Raconteur, Jr. were doing a yeoman’s job with all of the tastings at the Fine Wine Source in Livonia, Michigan. We were amassing our own personal shopping lists of wines to take with us, but there was still more work to be done.  Wine tasting can be a solitary task, but it is much more interesting with a friend. The geography lessons continued as we left the Alexander Valley to go southward to Rutherford, one of the finest sub-appellation AVAs in Napa Valley.

Rutherford AVA is in the heart of Napa winemaking, as it is located between St. Helena and Oakville. It is named after Thomas Lewis Rutherford, who married Elizabeth Yount, the granddaughter of Napa’s pioneering winemaker and vigneron George C. Yount (as in Yountville). Cabernet Sauvignon is the variety that is planted the most in Rutherford and then followed by the other four grapes when wanting a rich Bordeaux blend; Merlot, Malbec, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot.  While reds dominate there is some interest in Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc as well. Rutherford’s vineyards are on the flatlands of the valley and they receive excellent sunshine, but is also blessed with a cool, damp morning fog that keeps the grapes from overheating and lets them acquire the complexity and balance acidity necessary for great winemaking. Deep, well-drained sandy loam soils is the signature for most of Rutherford, except for clay soil found closer to the banks of the Napa River and Conn Creek.

The history of Martin Estate goes back to 1836 when the Mexican Government deeds twelve-thousand acres of Napa Valley land to Captain George C. Yount, this was known as the Caymus Grant.  Henry Harrison Harris arrives with his family from Missouri and in 1870 purchases over one-hundred acres from the estate of the late Captain. In 1887 he breaks ground for his wine cellar in Block B of the original Caymus Grant, which is the heart of Rutherford. The winery began yielding two-hundred-thousand gallons of wine, and Harris retires around 1909 and leases the vineyards to his French neighbor Georges de Latour.  Prohibition ended the production of most of the wineries and in 1941, Douglas Pringle purchases the estate and then deeds it to his wife, who renames the estate Puerta Dorada and turns the estate into an elegant country chateau. In 1996, Greg and Petra Martin discovered the forgotten estate and purchase it for their daughter and the untouched land around the chateau becomes Puerta Dorada.  In 2002, a small artisanal limited production winery is completed, and after 115 years of dormancy, the H.H. Harris Wine Cellar became Martin Estate and they had their first vintage of Estate grown, produced and bottled Cabernet Sauvignon.

Martin Estate Cabernet Sauvignon Collector’s Reserve Rutherford 2015 is one of the oldest historic estates in Napa Valley, hidden by ancient valley oaks and a mystery to most, including its location. Privately owned, the property has twelve acres planted in 1996 with seventeen-thousand tightly spaced vines of Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot and Cabernet Franc, utilizing the expertise of their neighbor Chuck Wagner of Caymus Vineyards for selection of the vines and the oversee the development.  It was the first time the land around the chateau was ever planted, and they maintain their own in-house team for the now mature twenty-year-old vines.  Each grape cluster is handpicked and then hand sorted berry by berry. This is a state-of-the-art winery with French cement Nomblot tanks, Le Jeune fermenters, Radoux oak fermentation tanks, an Italian made basket press for gentle extraction of grape juice, and an assortment of French Oak barrels from assorted cooperages.  This wine was aged for nineteen months. Opulence is the word that comes to mind, as this wine surpassed most California Cabernet Sauvignon wines that I have had in fifty years. At five years of age this wine, even poured using a Coravin system was offering complex layers for the three sensory perceptions needing to really enjoy wines. It was the perfect way to end the red wines from our private tasting.  I noticed that Martin Estate wines are available by allocation, but the Fine Wine Source had plenty of wooden six packs tucked away, as well as individual bottles on the shelves.    

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Lancaster Estate Cabernet Sauvignon

It was a great wine tasting at the Fine Wine Source and it was still going strong for both The Wine Raconteur, Jr. and myself.  We had already had nine different wines from Burgundy, Bordeaux and St. Helena.  It was a great learning experience and we both knew that we were going to be leaving with some wonderful wines and there was still more awaiting for us.

Our next destination that our tasting was taking us to was Alexander Valley in California’s Sonoma County. Alexander Valley is considered one of the warmest parts of the County as it goes from the Russian River to the foothills of the Mayacamas mountains, which separate Sonoma from Napa.  The twenty mile stretch basically covers the benchlands and the gravel soil is the perfect area for Cabernet Sauvignon.  The region is known for the warm days and fog cover which helps the grapes retain acidity, a basic quality for fine wines.  The gravely soil, makes the vines work harder to achieve hydration, the plant is stressed and grows less energy-sapping leaves and creates thick-skinned berries with concentrated flavor. If you have ever had the chance to taste wine grapes at harvest time, you will fully appreciate the concentration of taste and sugar.  Alexander Valley has attracted some of the giants of the wine industry, as well as small artisanal winemakers as well.  Along with Cabernet Sauvignon, the Alexander Valley is known for Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Zinfandel.

Lancaster Estate Cabernet Sauvignon Alexander Valley 2016 is from a winery that was founded in 1995. The estate has fifty-three acres of vineyards on grounds that are very similar to terroir of the Medoc and hence the winery only grows Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Merlot, Petit Verdot and Cabernet Franc; and eighty-three percent is planted with Cabernet Sauvignon. They even use satellite tracking for all of the plots throughout the growing season. The grapes are hand sorted and de-stemmed to be prepared for the crush and since the winery is located in the center of the vineyards, there is usually less than one hour from harvest to fermentation tanks; and each block or plot is done separately.  The grapes are cold soaked with skins for several days in Stainless Steel, and through maceration they only use native wild yeasts to ferment the wines and to maintain the terroir of the wine.  Then each separate lot is pumped to its own French Oak barrels to begin the aging process in their wine caves.  The wines are aged from eighteen to twenty-six months sur lie, in a mix of varied coopered barrels, seventy-eighty percent of the barrels are new each year, and they add one or two new cooperages each year as well.  The wine is hand stirred in the barrels once a week to lift the lees, for the first year, then after the racking is done without raising the lees.  The wines are bottled unfiltered to maintain the purity of expression.  Dark fruits and some floral notes enticed the nose, while flavors of dark fruits, leather and spice lead the taste with firm tannins and complexity, even at such a young age and the finish of terroir was long with some heat that I also enjoyed.  This was a beautiful bottle of wine and one that I am glad that I had the chance to try.    

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Roberts + Rogers Louer Family Vineyard

With two Raconteurs just finishing off a couple of Classified Growth wines at the Fine Wine Source, one would think that the private tasting was over.  I mean it is pretty hard to surpass some lauded wines of the Medoc and we were both just enjoying the moment.  Even the owner came over to chat about some of the wines, and kibbitzing about wines is the perfect way to spend an hour or two, especially with good friends. I was surprised to look at our printed sheet that we were going to the New World after Saint-Julien we were going to St. Helena.

St. Helena s subregion of Napa Valley that received its AVA in 1995, is historic for its red wines, mostly Cabernet Sauvignon, but also some excellent Merlot.  The town and the district are named after Mount Saint Helena and there are nine-thousand acres of densely packed vineyards including Berringer (one of the oldest continuously operating California winery) and Charles Krug (who is often credited as the “father of Napa Valley.” It is one of the warmest appellations in Napa and it has also produced some excellent Zinfandel and some very interesting Sauvignon Blanc.  Longtime friends Roger Louer and Robert Young decided in 1999 to create a “first-class” Cabernet Sauvignon wine brand with fruit from Howell Mountain from a vineyard jointly developed by the two men.  The first vintage was in 2004, and released in 2007 was for three-hundred cases.  The original and still current winemaker Barry Gnekow described the first vintage as “this wine is so big it will be coming into its own in about thirty years, but is drinkable now.” In 2009, Roger Louer produced the Louer Family Reserve Cabernet from his personal estate and sourced from the areas of his thirty-four-acre estate.  It was released for the first vintage under the Roberts + Rogers Winery label in 2012.

We had the chance to try back-to-back Roberts+ Rogers Winery Cabernet Sauvignon Louer Family Vineyard St. Helena 2015 and 2016.  Then even though it was not one of the listed wines for the tasting, we then also did the 2017 Vintage.  While these wines are considered to be bargain priced for pure Cabernet Sauvignon wines from St. Helena, they really held their own, even after following the Medoc wines. While there is a dearth of actual production notes, just by following the trend from the first wine’s history, I would venture to say that there is at least twelve months if not more aging in oak. The 2016 and 2017 were big, just like one would expect from a Napa Cab, hitting all the right notes.  It was the 2015, which had the toughest position as it followed the wines of the Medoc that totally captured the two Raconteur’s attention, not to mention the shopkeeper who decided to have a little indulgence of it himself.  This black cherry laden wine was not only big, it commanded attention, but it also was so mellow with layers of complexity that I had stars drawn next to this wine, as I knew that I wasn’t going to let it slip away.  My associate in crime, also had the same realization and if I didn’t try the 2015, the other two wines would have caught my attention, but in reality, they came in second neck and neck.

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Happy Easter

Wishing everyone a very Happy Easter this year from our family to you.

Tales of Easter will be forthcoming.

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Chateau Branaire-Ducru

The Fine Wine Source did something to The Wine Raconteur and The Wine Raconteur, Jr. that I have never encountered before.  We had tastings from two classified growths from the Commune of Saint-Julien, and to me this is rare, because seldom have I even encountered two different wines from this commune on a wine carte, unless the restaurant has a spectacular cellar (and I have been fortunate to have been in some restaurants like that, but I don’t possess a wallet that would allow me to be that grand).  I say this, only because in my world this is a very rare situation and I was going to make the most of the tasting.

The Commune of Saint-Julien is situated between two other communes that are considered powerhouses of the Medoc, namely Pauillac and Margaux (both of which have First Growth wines).  In the old days, the northern part of Saint-Julien which part of abuts with Chateau Latour were referred to as the masculine half of the commune, because Cabernet Sauvignon was so dominant, while the southern part of the commune was referred to as the feminine half, because the wines were more mellow and Merlot seemed to shine more as the vineyards got closer to Margaux.  There are a few plots that have been delineated as part of Saint-Julien, even though they are found in Cussac-Fort-Medoc and Saint-Laurent-Medoc. Until recently, I only had the fortune to have had five classified growth wines and a few other wines from Saint-Julien.

Chateau Branaire-Ducru Saint-Julien 2010 is a Fourth Growth from the 1855 Classification of the Medoc. The estate was founded by Jean-Baptiste Braneyre in 1680 and realized that Cabernet Sauvignon was the variety for the land, over the years his name on the estate changed in spelling to Branaire.  Patrick Maroteaux, and ex-banker became the current owner of the estate in 1988 and he even increase the vineyard to fifty hectares.  The property at one time was part of Chateau Beychevelle, but was split off in the 17th Century to cover debts of the owners. Under the new ownership the winery underwent a complete renovation and modernization. The wine is Cabernet Sauvignon (usually the highest percentage found in the wines of Saint-Julien) with Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot in the mix and the wine spends eighteen months in oak, and then rests in the bottle after that, before it is released.  On the average, the wines from this chateau are traditionally felt that they needed ten years of cellaring, before they really show their charms. We had a chance to enjoy this wine at its considered prime and even being poured using the Coravin system, this wine was excellent.  The fruit and the tannins had combined into a complex treat that just made me smile and made me reflect on how fortunate I was to enjoy wines like this so early in my life and to let my tastebuds and memory revel in the moment.   

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Chateau Langoa Barton 2009

It was indeed a pleasure doing a tasting with The Wine Raconteur, Jr. with me at the Fine Wine Source in Livonia, Michigan.  My Bride and I have been members of the wine club there, and now so have our dear friends.  I get a different perspective watching him do a wine tasting, but he seems much more focused than I, but then again, maybe I just think that I am more cavalier, as I don’t get a chance to observe myself.  He has also had the experience to absorb the world of wine tasting, since everyone is a sommelier or has interest in being a sommelier or they just want to sound like a sommelier.  Actually, I think that it is very cool, it is just that this old dog really doesn’t want to learn any new tricks and I am quite content speaking from the knowledge that I have acquired over fifty years of tasting and drinking. I think that I can speak for the two of us, that I do think we were having a grand old time.

Chateau Langoa Barton is located in the Medoc and is a famed appellation on its own right, though it is sometimes overlooked, because it is sandwiched between Pauillac and Margaux.  Saint-Julien may not have a First Growth from the 1855 Classification, but it is home to eleven classed growths.  Almost every hectare in the Commune of Saint-Julien is covered with vines except for one strip of land that borders the Gironde. The commune is rather small and there are only two villages located there and they are only two kilometers apart from each other.  Saint-Julien is also bordered at parts by the Commune of Saint-Laurent which carries the appellation of Haut-Medoc, except for a few plots that are allowed Saint-Julien status.  The appellation laws require that the wines carrying Saint-Julien must only be made from Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Carmenere, Petit Verdot and Malbec.  It is the grounds that differentiate Saint-Julien from Pauillac and Margaux, even though vineyards may back up to each other, the taste is enough to entitle the commune to be its own entity.  The wines are historically considered long-lived and very elegant.

Chateau Langoa Barton Saint-Julien 2009 is a Third Growth of the Medoc, and the last time that I had some wine from this estate was from their 1966 vintage.  Hugh Barton was an Anglo-Irish wine merchant who in 1821, purchased Chateau Langoa and a portion of the Leoville estate, which became Chateau Leoville Barton.  The estates have been in the Barton family ever since. While the soils of the two estates are almost identical of gravel over clay soil, and they are managed the same way, with traditional plowing, hand harvesting and fermented plot-by-plot.  The make up is different.  Chateau Langoa Barton is fifty-seven percent Cabernet Sauvignon, thirty-four percent Merlot and nine percent Cabernet Franc on their seventeen hectares.  This vintage was a blend of fifty-four percent Cabernet Sauvignon, thirty-four percent Merlot and twelve percent Cabernet Franc.  I could not find how long the wine was aged, but I did find that they used sixty percent new French Oak for this vintage.  I am sure that I may have had a goofy look on my face as I was admiring this wine, it was just sublime, a classic Saint-Julien with its mellow tannins and dark fruit.  I kind of nursed this glass, a little longer than usual, because the finish was nice and with a very long count.  What a wonderful avocation in my senior years.

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Chateau Maucaillou

There we were two Raconteurs of different eras, enjoying a private tasting at the Fine Wine Source in Livonia, Michigan.  I have to admit, that learning about wines, is much easier today, even in the Detroit area, compared to when I was starting out.  There were few and far between wine shops that had the caliber of wine selection that I now found at my local shop.  I like to still refer to those days as the Dark Days, when if you wanted to learn, you had your job cut out for you.  Back then Detroit was a cocktail or a beer town and only a few restaurants did more than give lip service to wine, but one could persevere, if there was a desire.  The wine I am going to talk about, the last time I had it, was from a vintage forty years earlier.

The wine is from Moulis-en-Medoc, which is a small village in the Haut-Medoc and is definitely overshadowed by its neighbor Margaux, which is how I first encounter wines from this village. The AOC laws are quite strict, especially governing crop density and other agricultural concerns, as well as the grapes must come from six specific parishes.  There are no classified growths, but offer values that will remind one of a nice Margaux wine, as the wines here are usually a mix of Cabernet Sauvignon with Cabernet Franc, Malbec, Carmenere and Petit Verdot.

Chateau Maucaillou Moulis 2010 is claimed to have the oldest vineyard in the Medoc with recordings of ownership going back to the 15th Century. Commercially, the history goes back to 1871 when the negocient family Petit-Larouch built cellars there and four years later a chateau. In 1929 the Dourthe family purchased the estate and took the winery from two hectares to eventually thirty-two hectares. The estate is basically ninety percent planted with Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot and the balance is Petit Verdot and Cabernet Franc. Malolactic fermentation takes place immediately after the initial fermentation while the juice is still in Stainless Steel.  The wines are then aged for eighteen to twenty months in French Oak, of which more than half are new.  The winery also produces several secondary labels to their flagship Chateau Maucaillou.  This was a beautiful and classic glass of Medoc wine, and I am sorry, but that to me, is a great way to describe a wine; that was how I was taught and I will continue to use that as a wonderful descriptor, after all, I am a Street Somm.

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