Chateau Vignot Saint-Ã‰milion Grand Cru Bordeaux 2004
One of my great weaknesses when it comes to wine is Bordeaux (when was the last time you heard a wine geek like me admit he didn’t know something about wine?). There seem to be so many producers of Bordeaux, with prices starting around $6.99 and going well past $699. And forget the whole Bordeaux “futures” market — I just sit back and listen to people talk about the cases they’ve “reserved”. Me, when I spend money on wine, I want it NOW.
Anyway, I know a “little bit” about Bordeaux, which I’ll share with you. I know the wine comes from France, from the region of Bordeaux, and that the wines are often, but don’t have to be, blends (the primary grapes are Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Cabernet Franc). Generally speaking, you get what you pay for, which is where things get cloudy. If you have big bucks, then Bordeaux is easy — you go after a “First Growth”, “Second Growth”, and so on, through “Fifth Growth”. These are the Chateaus, or wine estates, that were named in something called the “1855 Classification” — so named because all these estates were “classified” as producing superior red wine way back in the year 1855.
However, if you’re like me and not the beneficiary of a wealthy trust fund, then finding an affordable Bordeaux can be sketchy. Luckily there are “lesser” classifications within the region to help steer you to a nice bottle: Cru Bourgeois, Premier Grand Cru, and Grand Cru. If you see these words on a label, chances are good that the wine inside will be of good quality. Whether you like it or not, however, is another story.
But wait, it’s actually not that simple. There’s an area in Bordeaux called Saint-Emilion which subscribes to a completely different set of rules. And unfortunately, it gets more complicated — partially because the process by which wines are classified in Saint-Emilion is under controversy. You can, however, count on a label that says “Grand Cru Classe” (and you’ll pay for it). If you find you like Bordeaux wines, though, it’s worth doing research on — and tasting through — the wines of Saint-Emilion.
There are very fat books dedicated to Bordeaux, and we can’t even scratch the surface of the region and its wines here. That said, very generally speaking, the wines from the Medoc, Haut-Medoc, and Graves (pronounced “graav”) will be dominated by Cabernet Sauvignon. If you see Saint-Emilion or Pomerol on the label, the wine most likely will be based on Merlot and or Cabernet Franc. Armed with this information, it may be a bit easier for you to start exploring wines from the Bordeaux region.
Today we review a Bordeaux from Saint-Emilion, and it’s “only” a Grand Cru, as opposed to a Grand Cru Classe. But you wouldn’t need me to tell you how great a Grand Cru Classe is, so I’ve picked one of the diamonds out of the haystack of Grand Crus in Saint-Emilion — one with the potential to add “Classe” to its label in the near future, in fact.
This wine is made at Chateau Lassegue by superstar winemaker / vigneron Pierre Seillan (who is also the genius behind Verite, Tenuta di Arceno, and other boutique wineries under the Jackson Estates umbrella).
Tasting Notes: Chateau Vignot Saint-Ã‰milion
Deep, dense, purplish and magenta color suggests that it is still young. Forward nose of rich, ripe, complex, yummy smelling red and black berry fruits: mulberry, boysenberry, raspberry, and currant, along with mild tobacco, earth, and a hint of tar. Palate is equally complex, with flavors of dry blackberry, black raspberry, tobacco, an earthy herbal component, and a touch of chocolate licorice. Silky smooth texture â€“ almost creamy. Tannins are firm but not overwhelming. Acidity is medium and in good supply for food matching. A bit too dry to drink alone, enjoy this with a piece of cheese to take the edge off, or grill a good steak. Itâ€™s in its youth, and will improve with some time in the cellar. Polished.
At about $35, it’s pricier than most wines reviewed here. However, I can tell you that you don’t have to be worried about spending that much for Chateau Vignot — in this case, you get what you pay for, and what you get is a high quality wine.
a-10 t-8 b-9 fc-8 v-7 ~ 92 Points
Winery: Chateau Lassegue