Thursday, June 30, 2011

Chateau Bel Air 2009

I don't drink very much Bordeaux any more because the prices have gone beyond high and into the realm of being ridiculous.  That doesn't mean that if a bargain shows up I won't drink it.  That was the case when an out of state wine buying trip produced a 2009 Chateau Bel Air Haut Medoc  from Domaines Joel Irigaray for a reasonable $15.

It rested for a week and then I pulled the cork to go with some pan seared and oven roasted lamb chops.  This is definitely on the savory side of Bordeaux.  There was clean earth and black cherries in the nose.  The taste was much the same with good fruit, lots of tannin and correct acid.  The fruit was secondary here and even after forty minutes breathing it was still somewhat reserved.  Medium length to the finish and it ended totally dry.  Very good with the lamb.

The vacuum stopper went in the bottle and it went back in the cellar for a day.  On the second day there was a small strip steak on the grill and some pan fried zucchini.  The fruit came on much stronger on the second day, though the backbone of earthiness and tannin was still strong.  The finish was still a little short but this was still a drinkable wine.  Good with the steak.

Going back a number of years I remember reading notes from Hugh Johnson or Michael Broadbent where they were discussing lighter Bordeaux as being 'luncheon clarets.'  I think that's a fair description for this wine.  It's not big enough for a serious meal or pairing, but it's a good wine for a light supper or a lunch.  With it being full summer here it also made for an acceptable summer red.

$15 and 13% alcohol.

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