When we think of Bordeaux wines, we often think about the big names, the first growths and such. As with every other major wine region on the planet, there are so many affordable options out there available to the wine consumer that really fit the bill as everyday wines. One of those regions is the Côtes de Bordeaux, which is nestled in the hillsides (côtes) of the right banks of the Garonne and Dordogne rivers. There are four appellations included within the CDB including Blaye, Cadillac, Castillon, and Francs. This region contains many beautiful wines that are produced at a high quality, and compete strongly in the wine market. These bottles are priced as daily wines in my opinion, giving French wine fans something they can splurge on for weekday indulgence. We received samples of some of these wines and chose one for review. Let’s jump right in, shall we?
The wine chosen is the Château Le Grand Moulin, which is located within the Blaye appellation of the Côtes de Bordeaux. Here, the soils are composed of gravel and sand, which offers the grapevines good water drainage and the wine a dusty and gritty mouthfeel. This particular wine is comprised of grapes that were mechanically harvested and aged in steel tanks and barrels for 12 months. Once the cork is evicted from its tomb, the wine pours into the glass a deep garnet, with a slight brickish rim. The aromas are potent offering teases of blackberries, tart raspberries, pomegranate, and leather. The palate confirms the nose with additional nuances of cocoa powder, and milk chocolate. The tannins are gritty and youthful, making this wine very fatty-food friendly. The finish is long and supple.
- Château Le Grand Moulin, 2012 vintage
- Appellation: Blaye Côtes de Bordeaux, Appellation Côtes de Bordeaux Controlee
- Grape Varieties: 70% Merlot, 25% Cabernet Franc, 5% Malbec
- Barrels: 12 months in French oak barrels, and stainless steel tanks
- Clarity/brightness: Clear/bright with no detectable flaws, and no evidence of gas or sediment
- Tannins: Medium plus
- Acidity: Medium plus
- Alcohol: Medium
- Finish: Long
- Alcohol by volume: 13%
- Retail price: $12.00 per bottle at the time of review
Overall, this wine is quite pleasant. A smooth mouthfeel and playful aromas are sure to please the palate of even the most sophisticated wine drinker. It lacks the bravado of the powerful left bank producers, but let’s be honest, this wine is not built to be big and powerful or to compete with said producers. This wine is constructed for everyday wine consumption, a daily driver for sure. Although the tannins are quite present, the wine itself is mellow and full on the palate. It is drinking beautifully right now, but I would honestly let it sit another year or more to allow those tannins to integrate, and mellow out a bit more. For those of you, like me, that lack patience, you can toss this baby in a decanter for an hour or so and reap the benefits of tannin-softening oxygen. I would hesitate to call this wine overly complex and intriguing, but it does offer solid structure and moderate complexity, which is the important part. For $12.00, you get a well-made, clean bottle of wine that pairs just as well with good friends, as it would a grilled duck breast and foie gras.
Sip, savor, and enjoy my fellow aficionados.