jamie goode's wine blog: More Bordeaux 2005. High alcohol? From Bordeaux?

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

More Bordeaux 2005. High alcohol? From Bordeaux?

What do you come to Bordeaux for? I'd suggest that the primary draw for most people is full-flavoured-yet-elegant, ageworthy, structured red wines offering impeccable balance and moderate alcohol - which you'd hope would develop with age into something complex and compelling.

I know a lot is made of alcohol levels these days. It's a bit of a stick to beat winemakers in new world regions with, and sometimes I encounter wines with high alcohol that seem perfectly balanced and at ease with themselves. But I did a double take with this next pair of wines in my round-up of affordable 2005 Bordeaux, because they weighed in at 14 and 14.5% alcohol, respectively.

Chateau Grand Barrail Lamarzelle Figeac 2005 Saint-Emilion Grand Cru, Bordeaux
14% alcohol. Sweet, open blackcurrant fruit with a bit of herbiness and some attractive minerality on the nose. The palate has classic dark fruits with a gravelly edge. This is ripe, balanced and quite elegant, with nice tannins, but it's not unapproachable. 90/100

Chateau La Clariere Laithwaite 2005 Cotes de Castillon, Bordeaux
14.5% alcohol. Rich blackcurranty fruit on the nose with some chocolatey richness and spice, but to an extent this is closed. The palate is rich and spicy with sweet fruit and some alcoholic heat. A rich, ripe, modern-styled Claret that's a little closed now - needs time to open out. 88/100 (14.99 Laithwaites)

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