Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Chateau Meyney Mini-Vertical

Although I have not fully recovered from the head cold that has afflicted me this week, I thought it would be a good idea to begin to get back in shape for our exciting weekend of gastronomic joy with our friends. To that end, I braised a beef pot roast for four hours and served it with new potatoes. Stephanie produced another enjoyable green salad for a side.

We had consumed all of the wine we purchased last week, so I dropped by one of the local wine shops on my way to pick up Stephanie from work. They had a variety of solid Bordeaux wines from the mid-nineties at nice prices (especially considering what many of those wineries' new releases go for these days). I chose a bottle of Chateau Meyney St. Estephe 1995 and a half bottle of the same winery's 1996. These two vintages are both highly regarded among Bordeaux drinkers and highly debated. While to most tasters they don't have the style or concentration of 1990 or 2000, they are generally well liked. Often tasters do not agree on which vintage produced the better wines.

Chateau Meyney is a "cru bourgeois" estate on the left bank of the Gironde River. The "cru bourgeois" appelation means that in 1855, its wines were not highly enough regarded to merit classification among the best wines of the region. Nonetheless, it regularly produces wines of excellent quality and value. Like its neighbors in the Medoc, it is made from mostly Cabernet Sauvignon, with smaller amounts of Merlot and Cabernet Franc.

The 1995 was very nice. It was still dark plum colored, with a medium-full body and lots of nice fruits remaining on the nose. While some signs of maturity were setting in, they made for a pleasantly balanced wine ready for current consumption. It was a delicious, classic Bordeaux for a great value (~$26).

The 1996 was not holding up as well. Because half bottles allow in the same amount of oxygen as whole bottles but distribute it over only half as much wine, they tend to mature much more rapidly. This seemed to be the case for our bottle. Its color was tinged with more rust than was the 95, but it still appeared to be healthy. The aroma and flavor, however, indicated otherwise. The wine smelled and tasted of truffles, earth, and malted barley syrup. Stephanie described it as molasses. While I wouldn't normally find these characteristics objectionable, they completely masked whatever fruit the wine may still have had to offer. Although the 96 Meyney might still be delicious in whole bottles (or better yet, magnums), this half bottle was not doing well.

1 comment:

Matthew J. Harris said...

Mr. Buccafusco, I believe this site is in serious need of an update. You haven't written since late October. Please tell me you haven't abstained so long from the fruit of the vine.

In vino veritas