This was my first good quality Bordeaux. I went into my local wine shop and asked for a good, fairly typical example of a Bordeaux wine that was ready to drink now rather than cellar. The vendor asked me what I'd previously been drinking - mainly Rioja - and he went and picked this out.
As soon as I opened the bottle I was assaulted by an almost indecently brazen smell of blackcurrant and vanilla which, unsurprisingly, lingered deliciously over the poured wine.
Nothing particularly interesting about the colour - a typical rich, mid-red.
Initial flavour is that big, deliciously intense blackcurrant and vanilla again with a hint of cherry that comes through more strongly as the early notes pass. The wine is medium-bodied and in the main well balanced - there's a slight excess of tannin which lends a pleasant clingy, chewy texture to the mouthful. The finish is very long and consists of that lingering cherry which is joined by a pencil-wood quality and a slight spiciness that tingles on the tongue.
Overall the wine is not overly complex but has such huge, overwhelming flavour that you hardly care!
So, my first good claret was a big hit. I'm a little nervous about raving about it so much with so little experience of the region but I can't recall ever having had such an intense wine before. Do my notes suggest that what I've had is roughly what I can expect from other Bordeaux reds?
Sadly and annoyingly we drank a couple of glasses of this and then left the rest overnight with the cork stuffed back in and the second helping had lost a lot of the big, distinctive flavour. I was also surprised to find sediment at the bottom of the bottle - I hadn't thought to decant such a relatively young wine. Was it likely the sediment or the overnight stay that spoiled the wine?
Finally, on doing a little reading around the subject I discovered that 2002 was supposedly quite a poor vintage on the left bank where this wine originates (Cotes de Castillion). Did I get lucky, or can I expect even more from future/earlier vintages from this Chateau?