We tasted: Chateau Blaignan Medoc 2012 £14.50-9.67 on save 1/3 now
Emma says: “This week Andy really held me back. I was ready to crack open a fine bottle of Bordeaux for our Cabernet experience. One of those really pricey bottles that I’ve saved for a “special” occasion. Since I never seem to find a grand enough moment to fit opening one, I thought 52 grapes might fit the bill. But no, Andy was my kill joy, he said we needed to find something similar to what other readers might be drinking. Do I sound bitter?
So I didn’t open this bottle with a lot of relish. However I’m really happy to say that opening it was a nice reminder that everyday Bordeaux can be a joy. A lot of wine trade people dismiss ordinary Bordeaux as being lean and green tasting. That is because the Cabernet grapes in the moderate climate of Bordeaux can struggle to ripen and if they don’t the flavours can become bitter and leafy, plus the tannin in the grapes can also be unripe and rough. Potentially I’m just a bit immune to those flavours because my lovely dad who is the ripe old age of 91 has been drinking at least a half a bottle of Berry Bros Extra Ordinary Claret since I was born; which was a while ago. Consequently I’ve had a lot of experience with this grape!
Onto this wine which I happen to know really well because I import it for the company I work at. I’m so pleased that it really shows that definitive Bordeaux character in a good way. The aromas are heady and perfumed, with typical cassis and sweet menthol leaf, combining with leather and tobacco. Then on the taste it showed through a sense of classic minerality (pencil lead if you have ever tasted it) and fresh crunchy brambles mixing with a hint of padron grilled green peppers that defines to me the greenness that is good in Bordeaux. The tannins are a feature as you would expect in a boldly structured grape like Cabernet, they feel grippy and leave a texture on your teeth, probably a colour if I’d drank the whole bottle. Cabernet is also the grape that really encapsulates what “tertiary” characters are in wine. This term refers to the aromas and flavours that happen with age and when a wine moves away from primary characters such as fresh fruit and flowers. Cabernet has a lot of structure and acidity that soften out nicely with age and then these “other” characters evolve which also bring complexity for example: leather, tobacco, tar or pot pourri. This wine only has six years of age but ones that are much older will be become dominated by these tertiary characters more than the fruit.
On food matches do try a lump of cheese with this wine. The heavy tannin in Cabernet reacts with protein and then they have this nice synergy where the wine softens the taste of the cheese and the protein then helps the tannins to soften so the wine is more approachable.
A final personal note is that I love Bordeaux because every time I have a sip I somehow feel closer to my Dad. I’m not sure he feels the same way or he’d be thinking about me a lot! But it is nice to have that personal connection with a wine.”
Andy says: “I was looking forward to this week as I’ve always thought I was a CabSav fan. I think I still am, but am coming to the annoying realisation that maybe not all wine is the same.
Cabernet Sauvignon is the world famous red grape that makes wines with great structure and ageability. We are going to seek one out from the classic region of Bordeaux. Look for a “left bank” Bordeaux wine which can be identified by names like Medoc, Margaux, St Julien or Pauillac, these have the most Cabernet in the blend.