Thursday, November 22, 2012


Today is Thanksgiving here and last night I found something to be thankful for in the wine world. I am very, very thankful for a bottle of 2005 Chateau Ferran from the Pessac-Leognan area of Graves.

I don't drink a lot of Bordeaux anymore, not because I don't like them, but only because they have become so pricey compared to other wines.  Bordeaux wines served as my training wheels   in wine.  Early on my cellar was 75% filled with those wines, and over the years they provided  a world of pleasure.  Since the late 80's and early 90's I doubt that I bought more than two cases of Bordeaux other than the very entry level wines just to remind myself of what used to be.

When the 2005 wines came out to such good reviews I bought six bottles, and two of them were the Chateau Ferran.  Graves has always been my favorite area of Bordeaux because of the intense minerality in a lot of the wines.  One of the best wines of my life was a 1982 Chateau Haut Brion, the very top of the hierarchy in that region. 

Last night I pulled this wine out and opened it.  Half went into a decanter while the charcoal did its thing in the grill. Two, thick lamb chops, free range from Colorado, went on the grill when the coals were ready.  That's when I stuck my nose into the glass.  Everything I remember loving about Bordeaux was there in a nutshell - sweet fruit, pencil lead, rocks and gravel, a touch of oak.   There were deep but dry fruit flavors of currants and dark fruit with none of the jammy sweetness of over ripe grapes.  Wonderful acid and tannin that supported all the fruit.  The finish was mineral driven with enough tannin to dry the mouth without puckering the back of the tongue.  Just perfect balance and wonderful flavors.  Add in the lamb and it was a long, pleasant dinner, long in the sense that there was no need to rush things.

Perhaps the most remarkable thing about this wine was the 12.5% alcohol by volume level. To achieve such a full wine without running the alcohol up to near 14% is just remarkable.

The Thanksgiving turkey dinner is early today and there will be no wine, but later today there will be another glass or two of this wine to end the day and I am already thankful for the second bottle that's in the cellar.

2005 Chateau Ferran, Pessac Leognan, Bordeaux.  12.5% alcohol and $31

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