Saturday, July 14, 2007

Bordeaux Catch Up: Chateaux Corbin and Hanteillan

Occasionally my fellow bloggers guide me to a wine. For some strange reason, these always seem to be Bordeaux .... Regardless, I love to try a wine suggested by my fellow bloggers, and with Steak on the grill tonight a fine Bordeaux seemed very appropriate.

Back in April Tyler (Dr. Vino) asked me to pass on my thoughts of the 2001 Chateau Corbin (you can see his post for more detail on the property and notes on other vintages). I was intrigued by his post, as I find right bank wines , especially those wines from Pomerol and St-Emilion, to be very expensive, and the local pricing on this wine was much more reasonable than most St-Emilion wines carrying the Grand Cru classification. This ruby red wine is mainly Merlot (80%), with the balance Cab Franc. On the nose it showed lovely scents of caramel, violet and rose, leather, coffee, and some ripe cherry fruit. On the palate this was an extremely elegant wine - dry, medium bodied, with nice blackerry fruit and velvety tannins. With a rather long finish, this wine needs some more time in the cellar, but is very drinkable now and an excellent pairing with a steak. My wife even commented that, unlike many Bordeaux wines this was a great wine for sipping before dinner (she loved this wine). Definitely.
13.5% alcohol
Score: 17.5/20
Price: C$41 (SAQ)

Alongside the Corbin I served a left bank Bordeaux suggested by Dok Weingolb, the 2003 Chateau Hanteillan. (I think I am Dok's guinea pig, as he has not yet tried this one but made some vague reference to Michel Phaneuf, a local wine critic.) Ruby red in colour, this Haut Medoc has a very high percentage of Merlot (50%) blended with Cab Sauv (45%) and Petit Verdot. The nose started very spicy, with strong scents of liquorice and pepper, followed by some violet, oak, cherry and smoke. Very nice, but slightly less complex and interesting than the Corbin. On the palate this was a big, tannic wine - dry, minerally, with nice dark cherry fruit and a long finish. Not as polished as the Corbin, but this was in good part related to age. An excellent match for steak, and a very good value - buy a few bottles for the cellar.
13.5% alcohol
Score: 16.5/20
Price: C$20 (SAQ)

On the Corbin, my wife commented that the wine had a scent of garlic on the nose, which neither I nor Cam could detect. We later found that, indeed, a chunk of garlic had fallen in her glass. A terrific nose, but terrible eyesight...

To correctly put the Hanteillan discussion with the Dok in context, Dok asked me to compare the Hanteillan to a Croix des Sablons in response to my post from France. This is not a fair comparison, given the Paris setting of the Sablons. Fair to say that the Sablons is more drinkable today.


Marcus said...

Very funny about the garlic...

Sorry I never got back to responding to you on your Sablons post. I am glad you tackled the Hanteillan. I was tipped on it by a coworker who frequently translates for the wine industry. I saw that Phaneuf praised it too. Glad you think it has merit.

Sounds like a fine investment for cellaring for only $20. I will buy and wait... because unlike most I don't barbecue steak in the summer (or in the winter -- I don't have a barbecue!) But when I do get around to slapping a rib-eye on my cast iron grill pan, I will reach for a tannic bottle like this one.

Anonymous said...

Speaking of great Bordeaux wine, I just tasted a fabulous Bordeaux rose for under $20. It was amazing and much better than most other B'x wines in that price range.

Of course, in the process of enjoying it so much, I misplaced my notes. I'll pass on the name to you once I find it again. I think it might have ended up here via the SAQ.

Anonymous said...

Glad you tried it, Joe!

I have since tried the 01 and decided it is my favorite Corbin vintage now--though the excellent 05 could give it a run for its money in a couple of years.



Joe said...

Marcus: No problem. Glad I found this inexpensive Bordeaux gem - definitely worth buying to put away. Steak in a cast iron pan - how very he-man of you. I bought the 2003 futures rather heavily, so I already have a few $20-something wines for cellaring - I think I have to clear some space if I want to buy this.
A: would love to hear it - I don't think I have any Rose posts on my blog (yet)
Tyler: Once again, thanks for the recommendation. I will look for future vintages when it is released, or buy 'en primeur' next time.
Cheers to all. I have a BIG BORDEAUX tasting coming up...stay tuned