An interesting experiment was had recently. As someone who is constantly praising the virtues of Western Australian Cabernet, most specifically those from Margaret River, it is always fascinating for me to experience Cabernets from outside the region – it keeps me honest. Three weeks ago, I opened a bottle of Bordeaux, a second wine from a great house and from the great 2009 vintage. Perhaps too early in its life to drink it, however I’m delighted I did. It wouldn’t have lasted any length of time, it was corked. Better to know now. So disappointing. As I had purchased this bottle from a distributor in Perth, and had stored it in my wine fridge since purchase, I felt I had a case to return the bottle. I called them, and they kindly replaced it with another Bordeaux from 2009 (unfortunately none on my original wine left in stock) and collected what was left of the faulty bottle. I was very grateful. The replacement wine was:
2009 Chateau Sociando-Mallet, Haut-Medoc
“Big, extracted, dropping tannins in the glass and turning our teeth red almost immediately. This certainly delivered herbal spice, blackcurrants, mulberry and a stormy broodiness that any teenager could relate to. Classic young Bordeaux. The structure was firm and consistent, allowing the dense fruit to hang from its rafters. Perhaps this would have lived in my fridge for another decade or two, however I made the mistake of taking it from my office to dinner, in my bag. We drank it. Chateau Sociando-Mallet has expanded its vineyards from 7ha to 57ha in 50 years, and the consistency in quality has increased over time. This was hailed as one of the great vintages in Bordeaux in recent memory, and one of the great wines from this estate. 94 points, and approximately $115.”
The moral of the story: while Bordeaux is exotic to our weekday palates, and a potentially exciting choice if you have friends with Bordeaux in their cellars, I would recommend Margaret River, both for value for money (exceptional wines available for under $50), and all sealed under screw cap. The rest is a lottery.