Who knew that two wines from the same vintage, appellation, and classification could be so opposite? That’s the magic of French wine.
I’ll be the first to admit that the Bordeaux wine region has long eluded me.
Contrary to most, I’ve just never been able to get into big bold reds and have for years said that Cabernet Sauvignon, moderate to hot climates, Merlot, and I simply can’t be friends. But as time passes, I find myself constantly being sent wines from the region, interacting with Bordelais who would drink their region’s wines over any other, and invited to events where Bordeaux winemakers are out to prove that they can make a wine for anyone and everyone.
In tasting the two wines below, I found that this philosophy was spot on. For the WTSO Premium Bordeaux Event [last month], I compared and contrasted two lovely Bordeaux wines from the same appellation, vintage, and classification and was shocked by the dichotomy. Who knew that the same terroir could produce a duo of wines that are 180 degrees from one another? Ok – the French have probably known that all along.
Let’s get to the reviews.
Château Carbonnieux, Pessac-Léognan Grand Cru Classé 2015
So many of my friends and [social media] followers have raved about this estate for years and I can finally understand why. Château Carbonnieux’s 2015 Pessac is a delight in 2021 but could certainly stay in your cellar for another decade. This blend is a Bordeaux classic: mostly Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot but with 5% Petit Verdot as well. The mouthfeel really caught me by surprise – like crushed velvet. It still had quite a lot of grip but was soft and sophisticated, like a couch in a traditional bourgeois home. As for the palate, this wine was full of blackberry, dark cherry, and a bit of barbecue smoke. At the end I also detected a hint of pepper, too. This is a great pairing for all kinds of heavy holiday dishes – ones that can stand up to the weight of a delicious Pessac. (Details)
Château Olivier, Pessac-Léognan Grand Cru Classé 2015
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