I love a good blend. Lately, I’ve been obsessed with blends from France. Mostly Rhône varietals, like Grenache/Syrah/Mourvedre (GSM) for reds and Marsanne/Roussanne and Viognier for whites. This is undoubtedly due to my fab trip to the Ardèche last year. Still, I’ve always steered clear of the more famous blends from the Bordeaux region– assuming that they’re out of my price range. You hear a lot about the Chinese and other collectors driving up the price of Bordeaux’s Grand Cru Classé wines into the three figures and beyond. Well, there’s a big (price) difference between a Grand Cru and a Cru Bourgeois.
Chateau Rollan de By Cru Bourgeois Médoc
But that doesn’t necessarily mean that there’s as big of a difference in quality. Take the 2011 Chateau Rollan de By Cru Bourgeois Médoc that I was recently sent to sample. The wine is a blend of 70% Merlot, and 10% each of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. Which is surprising, considering that red blends from the Left Bank of Bordeaux are usually mostly Cabernet Sauvignon. In 1989 new owner Jean Guyon replanted the Cab vines he found there with Merlot due to the preponderance of clay in the soil– because Merlot loves gravelly clay. Good move.
The nose of this sustainably farmed blend is a pleasing, rich bouquet typical of Bordeaux and the Médoc. I get aromas of cedar, ripe black fruit, plum, licorice and a good dash of spice. Judging by the deep ruby color and viscosity I suspect the palate will provide a decent body and nice lush sensation in the mouth. I’m not disappointed by the play of noticeable acidity and smooth tannins – velvety and satisfying. Classic cassis and blackberry crumble flavors (there is a touch of sweetness on the finish from the time spent in new oak barrels) play well together. This is a well balanced, totally integrated blend: no angularity here, no one element dominates.
I suppose the lesson in all of this is don’t be put off by joining the “crew bourgeois.” You can find both value and nuance there. KEN
We were sent a sample of Chateau Rollan de By Cru Bourgeois Médoc for the purpose of this review. All opinions are our own.
Pairs With Which Came First? Bacon Egg Burger
Also pairs well with all meats, hamburgers, wild mushrooms, strong cheeses, bacon and eggs (for dinner)
- Category Red Wine
- Varietal Blend
- Region Bordeaux France Medoc