Bordeaux under $40 you say? Yes, it’s true, they do exist…
If you get some of the stellar vintages, these wines can be magnificent. Today’s instalment is no different. Chateau Brande-Bergere (a Bordeaux Superier) is located north of St. Emelion, on Bordeaux right bank. This usually means that Merlot is king, with Big Daddy Franc never far behind, and this wine is no exception. The blend is 40% Merlot, 35% Cabernet Franc and 25% Cabernet Sauvignon. This wine is referred to as the “Cuvee O’Byrne”, named after the Irish priest who founded the winery in the 18th century. Only the best grapes go into this cuvee, and it’s matured for 24 months, 1 year of that in French barriques…the odd sized 228l oak barrels that when new, impart great flavours of vanilla, and sometimes smokey meats.
Besides this cuvee, they only make the signature Brande-Bergere, along with a Cabernet Franc rose. When there’s not a lot of product made, what IS made, is usually given its due care and attention.
I know you didn’t ask for this, but any diploma student reading this post will understand and appreciate the notes. For your reading pleasure, a complete tasting note as specified in the WSET Diploma program:
Appearance: The wine is deep ruby with high viscosity and slow moving legs.
Nose: The wine is clean, with medium+ intensity aromas of blackfruits (cooked blackberries and plums), oak (cedar and smoke), spice (cloves and hints of white pepper), and a slight earthiness of mushrooms and beetroot. The wine is developing.
Palate: The wine is dry with medium + acidity, medium + chalky tannins, full body and medium + alcohol. The wine has medium + intensity flavours of black fruits (plums, blackberries and cassis), oak (vanilla, smokey bacon and hints of cloves)and hints of mushrooms. The wine has a long finish.
Conclusion: This wine is very good with strong structural components and balance in the acidity and tannins. It offers good expression of the Merlot grape with a nice roundness on the palate, with the structure of the Cabernet Sauvignon in the tannins and black fruits. The flavours are intense, there is complexity with primary, secondary and tertiary aromas and flavours, and it has a long, lasting finish. The alcohol is slightly out of balance with a heat in the upper end of the palate that hangs on just a little too long.
If you like French wines, specifically Bordeaux, this wine can seriously be a winner amongst your guests. Good fruit to please your fruity bombers, along with the earthiness to please your aficionados looking for good structure and complexity. All of this without breaking the bank! Coming in at $34.95, it’s the perfect price! Cin-Cin!