Thursday, December 31, 2009

2005 Chateau Bel Air (Haut-Medoc, Bordeaux)

This was -- surprise! -- a good value in a Bordeaux. Lots of character, very good balance.

Mellow, dark ruby with a plasma-like sultriness. Nose was initially closed at first, with a strong forest underbrush scent, but after I poured the second glass through a "Vinturi" aeration device (which I will post about next), it displayed loads of blackberry and cassis fruit, with a dry, baker's chocolate component, along with steely minerals and scorched gravel. Medium-full body, with mouthfilling flavors that initially show lots of briar-laced cassis, but display a growing liquid minerality as it lingers into a long finish. There is still a bit of tannin to resolve, but overall there is lovely balance. Hard to find Bordeaux of this quality under $20 -- this one was $14 and change at Spec's on Westheimer and Commonwealth. 88. Imported by Fruit of the Vine.


archon41 said...

I've got a couple of bottles of this one, in the 90 vintage. I've set one upright, prepatory to decanting. I envy your intestinal fortitude, particularly with those red Loires.

Since you frequent Central Market, I'll mention a bargain I recently found at the one in San Antonio, a 2008 Quinta do Alqueve, DOC Ribatejo, made from Fernao Pires. It's rather like an Albarino, but "tighter," and more intense. It would substitute well for a good Muscadet, and is priced at $11.95.

archon41 said...

Ou sont les fruits d'antan? Here in my glass, in the form of the 90 Bel Air. Blackberries, mainly, wild blackberries, nicely counterpointed by residual bitter and tart. Fine, deep color. Quite luscious with boeuf a la Flint (slow-simmered beef, tomatoes, mild peppers, onions, mushrooms, pine nuts and a little basil). Does Bordeaux "open up" more fully when it senses the presence of beef?

In comparison to the 88 Rutherford Hill downed a few nights ago, the Bel Air was more "refined," and its oak, lost in backgound nuances, more difficult to identify. It had thrown considerably less sediment. The cork was fragile, and removal was a delicate business.

Feeling, near the end of the bottle, some sense of communion with the proprietor, Henri Martin, I checked to see if he is still extant. He "passed" in 91, well-matured at 88 years.