The Big 4: Blended Cabernet from Medoc
Continuing with the search for good values in French wine, the not-so-pricey Medoc region has worked to expand the export of a variety of labels into the American market. But experience has shown that, as always, these are not all created equal. Often, the same blends from the same Left Bank neighborhood in the Bordeaux will yield very different wines.
To make things even more of a challenge, the weather in Bordeaux can vary quite a bit from year to year. These differences between vintages can be a lot more extreme than the California consistency that many of us are used to. So, when you find one you like, buy a few extra, next year’s wine, even from the same estate, may be drastically different.
We have recently noticed this when comparing some of the 2013 and 2014 Medoc wines. The 2014 seems to be less complex, more acidic, but with an increased earthy character. This is just a generalization, of course, but something to keep in mind when buying these wines.
One of these that’s worth noting is a 2013 vintage from the “Chateau Patache d’ Aux” estate. It is (and has been since 1932) classified as a “Cru Bourgeois” which means it has been favored in blind tasting tests as “worthy” of this distinction by a quality testing group. It is plainly printed on the label.
On tasting this 2013 value, one of things you may note is that it has a bouquet (cherry & forest floor), weight, and flavor combination that is very similar to a California Pinot Noir. But it is actually a combination of 4 grapes, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and Petit Verdot. This quartet works together to produce a very “dry” wine with fine elegant tannins, spice, and a lightly fruity finish.
All of this makes it an excellent pairing compliment for a wide variety of cuisines. This includes just about any preparation of poultry, a wide assortment of cheeses, and even beef brisket. These very dry wines also work perfectly with pork, even when prepared with barbeque sauce.
Although Total Wine does list Chateau Patache d’ Aux wine as a “Winery Direct” selection, the years are not consistently available and the stock is scattered among their stores. One of the most reliable sources for this wine is the Craft Estate with pricing in the $15-$35 range.
Serve slightly chilled at “European Room Temperature”, just about 60 degrees.