Sunday, 4 December 2011

Bordeaux inheritance

Before you wonder - no, I haven't come into the possession of a top château by way of blood line. However, two British friends who recently relocated from Basel to Houston (Texas) for professional reasons kindly left us numerous wines which they had accumulated during their time in Switzerland. I can assure you it was heart-wrenching for them, but we were very grateful (and humbled) recipients. Here's one of the wines in question:

Château Maypé Lagrave 2003, Graves AOC, Bordeaux, France
Dark ruby/brick red in appearance with a brownish hue at the edges. On the nose: meaty blood notes, rumtopf, lead pencil shavings. No particular fruit personality stands out - maybe more floral lilac hints if anything.

I was optimistic about this wine before opening due to the vintage. If you couldn't make a nice, generous red in 2003, then you never could. Yet this is no hothouse of a wine. There is a refreshing acidic backbone on the palate with a lovely juicy transparency, elegance, iron tones and finely grained, subtle tannins. Minerally yet understated on the finish.

My exposure to Bordeaux has been limited over the years, but this was as good a reintroduction as I could have got. After some research on the Internet, I found out that the producer releases wines under two names - Château Quincaron and Château Maypé Lagrave. This is slightly confusing, but basically this is a property situated in the heart of Graves not too far from Sauternes. The owner and vintner Carlos Asseretto makes sweet Sauternes, red Graves under the Quincaron label and then "Autre vins", one of which is this specimen. A relatively minor château and wine then, by the looks of it. But it's amazing what a few years of ageing does. (And I don't necessarily mean the dusty appearance of the bottle.)

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