Monday, April 10, 2006

Ch. Sociando Mallet 2003 & Ch. d'Aiguilhe 2003

Our 2003 Bordeaux tasting continued tonight alongside grilled Praire Grove Farm pork tenderloin, white rice, and delicious braised kale. To match, I chose the two wines with the highest percentages of merlot in their blends, the Sociando-Mallet from the Haut Medoc region on Bordeaux's left bank and the d'Aiguilhe from the promising Cotes de Castillon appelation on the right bank.

Sociando-Mallet has been a favorite of mine for a while. It's status as a "cru bourgeois" wine means that its price remains low, but the its quality is simply superb. This vintage is classically structured, with a deep, oaky aroma matched by complex earth and spice notes on the palate. The tannins are substantial, but they don't prohibit enjoying the wine even in its infancy. In fact, its mature profile would suggest that the wine is at least a decade old already. I consider this a benefit. Unmistakably bordeaux.

The d'Aiguilhe is owned by the impeccably dressed Count Stephan von Niepperg, who also owns Canon Gaffeliere and La Mondotte in the St. Emilion region of Bordeaux. The beverage sub judice is his version of "slumming it," as he ventures into the much less fashioable Cotes de Castillon region. Predominantly merlot, this wine is modern in style with soft curves and ripe fruit. Regular readers will assume that such a description amounts to a death sentence on this blog, but the d'Aiguilhe is an exception. Whatever it lacks in tannin and acidic structure it more than makes up for in complex fruit aroma and flavor. Rarely have I tasted a wine with such a deep and sophisticated fruit profile, such that a mere listing of the detected scents would only diminish the wine's appeal. Although perhaps not classic bordeaux, the world would be a better place if American and Australian merlot vintners would make wine like this.

Tomorrow we'll taste either a pair of Pauillacs or an 02 vs. 03 showdown of Smith Haut Lafitte. Tell your friends.

No comments: