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The Immense Merits of 2007 Bordeaux

I not only hate standing in line for things, I’m immediately suspect of those who don’t mind standing in line...

I not only hate standing in line for things, I’m immediately suspect of those who don’t mind standing in line for things. Which is why you’ll never find me at Vancouver’s 39th & Cambie liquor store when the yearly Bordeaux release comes out each fall. Standing in line to buy wines, on allocation, at probably the most expensive price in North America—geez what’s not to like? So I’m left with two options—forsake Bordeaux or fly home to Alberta—and I do a little from each frankly.

All of this was on my mind this week when I tucked into an absolutely gorgeous bottle of 2007 Chateau Malescot St Exupery, a 3rd growth from Margaux. My hopes weren’t exactly sky high—2007 was a so-so vintage at best (considered far inferior to 2009 and 2010), and Malescot has traditionally an under-performing chateau growth (it’s third growth stablemate Chateau Palmer, also from Margaux routinely sells for triple what Malescot does). But it had a few things going for it too—it was still a third growth Bordeaux and my friend Paul, whose wine it was, has a great knack for finding great bottles that are underlooked. Holy man, the wine was good—still dark, but carrying it’s power like a middleweight all beautifully conditioned sinew and muscle.It had the great black tea and black currants combo that screams Left Bank and while it was a tad tight, it was drinking exceptionally well.

I queried Paul on how he found the wine and some of his advice was useless—he lived in France for a year, which undoubtedly helped his wine cellar but is not super practical for most people. The one trick he did use was to review the European reviews in helping him select his wines. The Wine Spectator gave the bottle a respectable 90 points, Robert Parker 89—both solid but nothing to go running to the store for. But Paul reviewed Decanter and the French wine Bible, Le Guide Hachette, both of which were nicer in their praise. I’m tempted to draw the conclusion that the Europeans still favour the more classic restrained Bordeaux profile, whereas our American friends like the blockbuster that are all power and glory right out of the gate. (I’m tempted, but I won’t.)

The bad news is, good luck getting your paws on a bottle of 2007 Malescot. But I did notice the liquor board has a few bottles of Chateau de Ferrand 2007 kicking around at the bargain price of $45. Now Ferrand is no Malescot—it’s from St. Emilion, it’s Merlot based—but it is also an under-performing from 2007. I haven’t tried it, so no promises, but seems like it’s worth a flyer.

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