Posted on May 11th, 2010
If the Bordeaux en primeur campaign was a dance it would undoubtedly be the pasa doble. Power, seduction, flirtation and a touch of arrogance and probably a lot more fun doing it, than just watching it.
Bordeaux en primeur doesn’t need me and I don’t need it. The point is this, though, the production and taste have no correlation with the final prices – it’s all debt servicing on large mortgages, supply and demand economics, and what Russian oil oligarchs or wealthy Chinese industrialists want to drink is their own business.
‘Nuff said on Bordeaux for the moment. Here are three reds, born in “Bordeaux”, but raised in the brave new world, Australia, South African and Chile. All great examples of what the New World can do with a focus on terroir.
1. Grosset “Gaia”, Clare Valley, South Australia 2006 (around €33)
A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot. If anyone remains unconvinced of Australia’s ability to produce fine wines of elegance, finesse and structure, then they need to try this stunning red.
It’s made in the Clare Valley in South Australia where there’s a real focus on terroir – aspect, soils etc. and which is arguably better known for its Riesling.
Great restraint, purity and focus, balanced fruit, mineral backbone and the graphite/pencil shavings characteristic of a good claret.
While price may look a little steep it’s far less expensive than a Bordeuax of similar quality. I tried this in Ely last week and was really impressed, though perhaps a couple of more years rest will see it drinking even better.
2. Meerlust “Rubicon” 2005, Stellenbosch, South Africa (around €35)
Meerlust has been producing world class wines for quite a while now and has been in the hands of the Myburgh family since 1756. Hannes Myburgh was in Dublin a few weeks ago to present some the wines from his family’s estate.
Another blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot with each batch grown on soils most suited. Read into this a real focus and commitment to terroir – knowing their soils and geography and matching them to the optimal growing conditions for the different grapes in their blend.
When Caesar crossed the Rubicon, the Roman empire changed for ever, there was no going back. In many ways this was the same for Meerlust Estate and South African wine. They can and do produce wines to rival the best from anywhere.
Dark fruits and minerality on the nose leading to a full rich body. There’s still some youthfulness in this wine which suggests ageing potential. Bottom of the wardrobe for 2-3 years.
Available from: The Corkscrew, Dublin 2, O’Brien’s, Gibney’s Malahide, Terroirs, Dublin 4, On the Grapevine, Dalkey and other independents nationwide.
3. Escudo Rojo 2004, Maipo Chile 2004 (around €20)
I picked this out as a low cost accompaniment for dinner for 20 in a restaurant back in December and everyone was impressed with the wine, if not my good taste, ahem.
The link to Bordeaux is not just in the grapes (there’s some Syrah in there too), but in Baron Philippe de Rothschild who is behind this project. You could well be drinking a classed growth. Like the wines above, it shares the following characteristics: elegance, structure, restraint, purity and austerity – everything classic claret lovers look for in their wine.
Available from: Clada Wines, Galway; The Corkscrew, Chatham St, D2; Fahy’s, Ballina; Food Room, Clontarf; Gibney’s, Malahide; Jus de Vine, Portmarnock; O’Birds, Navan; Shevlin’s, Rathfarnham