WTN: Brane Cantenac, Bernadotte, Del Rio, Spring Valley

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WTN: Brane Cantenac, Bernadotte, Del Rio, Spring Valley

Postby Jenise » Wed Jul 12, 2006 1:09 pm

From our last four dinners:

2003 Spring Valley Cab Franc
Washington State

Blue-ish purple color. Vanilla and black currant nose, with similar oversized flavors and a little green bell pepper. Rather ballsy. For those who love nuanced Loire cab francs, this is the anti-Christ.

1997 Bernadotte
Haut-Medoc, Bordeaux
Now, no way is this producer the equal in stature to any of the other 97's I owned, but it is the only one about which I can say that every bottle has gotten better and better. It did not drink well in its youth, it was tight, hard and herbacious. But every single bottle has been less so and travelled a perfect time line, tasting just like the last bottle but with __ many more months of bottle age (I started with a case and a half because I got them for $5 ea) and the wine is actually showing quite well now and probably at or near peak, though it has the tannins to hold here for some time. It tastes now of black cherries, licorice and anise frond. A very persistent, earnest little wine that has exceeded expectations and continues to improve long after it's fancy brothers started fading.

1993 Brane Cantenac
Margaux, Bordeaux

Brane-Cantenac, specifically the 85 vintage, was the first Bordeaux that ever really had its way with me, and I remember that 'first time' (sigh) every time I open another bottle. It has, therefore, always surprised me that Brane Cantenac isn't held in anyone else's high esteem--Parker merely rates it as 'good' and says it should be downgraded from 2nd Growth to merely Medoc, apparently based on excessive mediocrity in the 60's and 70's and rumors that the wine's Growth status was given in 1855 only because the Baron de Branne (yes, with two n's) was such a formidable politician. Well, I could care. I only know from the 85 and a few vintages tasted since that I like this wine's mixture of red fruits and earthy, iron-rich flavors. The '93 doesn't have a future, but it's drinking nicely right now and was worth every penny of the $20 I paid for it a few months ago.

2001 Del Rio Vineyards Claret
Rogue Valley, Oregon

The owners of this winery saved my life one night and in gratitude I bought a bunch of their wines. I had not heard of them before that day, and I would have bought anyone's wines who had done me such a fine favor, but lucky me, my rescuers actually had superb vineyards and Ken Wright on board to make their wines. This bottle was from that stash, and chosen in hopes of picking up some Pacific NW green bell pepper character to pair with pasta in a beef and green pepper sauce. That worked. Made from equal parts Cab Sauv, Cab Franc, Malbec and Merlot, this is a very fine wine. When I served my husband his first glass, he took a sip then sat bolt upright and demanded to know, "WHAT is THIS?" Excellent complexity of blackberry and boysenberry fruit, herbs, a bit of cedar, tobacco leaf and that green pepper note I was looking for. Big but not forward (14% abv), concentrated but not extracted, with excellent acidity and sweet tannins. One of the best Pac NW big reds I've tasted. Drinks well now, decanting not required.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Re: WTN: Brane Cantenac, Bernadotte, Del Rio, Spring Valley

Postby David M. Bueker » Wed Jul 12, 2006 1:23 pm

Jenise wrote:
2001 Del Rio Vineyards Claret
Rogue Valley, Oregon

The owners of this winery saved my life one night and in gratitude I bought a bunch of their wines.


And fortunate for you, them and us!

Nice notes, but TMI on the '93 Brane. :wink:
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Re: WTN: Brane Cantenac, Bernadotte, Del Rio, Spring Valley

Postby Paul Savage » Wed Jul 12, 2006 1:29 pm

Hi Jenise!

Long time no talk! :!: But what a cheapskate you are! :D Buy a "good" vintage of Bernadotte, like the 2000, which is still under, or around, $20! I first tried the '96, which was when the property was bought by Pichon Lalande (and I think they made the wine that year too...). I was pleased at the quality for the price! I think they were going to include some of the Bernadotte grapes in Pichon Lalande, as part of Bernadotte is in Pauillac, and they could legally do that, but I haven't heard anything further.

As for Brane Cantenac, I was a little surprised at how good the '99 was, and the '00 as well. Even the '00 was around $35, I think, though the '05 will likely see a jump in price. Parker now says that Brane, since '95, is worthy of its 2nd growth status!

Another good buy in Bordeaux may be the Chateau Fonbel in St Emilion, owned by Ausone. The '95 and '98 were quite good, but I haven't tried anything more recent. ...Paul
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Re: WTN: Brane Cantenac, Bernadotte, Del Rio, Spring Valley

Postby Jenise » Wed Jul 12, 2006 6:10 pm

Paul, my old friend, good to see you posting here again.

Actually, I've had good vintages of Bernadotte, the 00 was my first, and it's what got my interest in these 97's when they turned up. Initially I purchased only one (the price frightened more than it tempted, believe me), and found it tight and herbaceous but somehow promising. So into a decanter it went and I tasted it again the next day. And I found it improved only a smidge, so I left it to the next day and that went on for like nine days at which point it had become quite nice and I had run out of wine. So then I bought the remaining bottles. I might still be reporting on those ten years from now. :)

Re Brane, missed the 99 but I own some of the 2000 (paid $50, FWIW). I'm glad to hear that Parker has removed his death curse, that certainly explains the gap between the words in my old Parker book and the price, which I always thought a little high for a wine so panned by Mr. P.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Re: WTN: Brane Cantenac, Bernadotte, Del Rio, Spring Valley

Postby Paul Savage » Wed Jul 12, 2006 7:28 pm

I liked the '00 Brane when it was released, so I bought a few then, at something like $42, I think. But the prices on '00s have nowhere to go but up, especially when the '05s start arriving, at substantially higher prices. But I'm not in the market to really buy '05s - I just turned 59 in May, and since I like 20 years on my Bordeaux... :roll: :D

Another fairly reasonable '00 I found was the Fleur de Bouard, and I think it's still on a shelf here for something like $45. I haven't been "into" Pomerol, but decided to try this considering the price and vintage, and was really impressed with the lushness and balance. '00 was supposed to be an excellent vintage for Cab Franc. I also bought a few '00 Ch. Croix du Casse from Pomerol, but I can't remember exactly what it was like, though I must have thought it promising, as I bought a few more! :wink:

Hope to participate here on a more regular basis! Nice hearing from you again! ...Paul
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Re: WTN: Brane Cantenac, Bernadotte, Del Rio, Spring Valley

Postby David M. Bueker » Wed Jul 12, 2006 7:34 pm

The '00 Fleur de Bouard is a very well made wine, but here in non-eBob land it might be termed "spoofulated." I happen to like it for what it is (and the '01 version as well), but it's another of those guilty pleasure wines. At least it was cheap ($19) on futures.
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Re: WTN: Brane Cantenac, Bernadotte, Del Rio, Spring Valley

Postby Paul Savage » Wed Jul 12, 2006 7:54 pm

David,

That was a crazy-good price! Looking at Parker's Bordeaux book, I see that Fleur de Bouard is actually in Lalande-de-Pomerol, and only contains, on average, about 8% Cab Franc. Mostly Merlot, as is the norm anyway....

I was trying to remember - I think Hubert de Bouard who owns that property also owns, or makes, some more famous wine, but I don't see any in Pomerol with his name attached. ...Paul
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Re: WTN: Brane Cantenac, Bernadotte, Del Rio, Spring Valley

Postby David M. Bueker » Wed Jul 12, 2006 8:17 pm

Paul Savage wrote:David,

That was a crazy-good price! Looking at Parker's Bordeaux book, I see that Fleur de Bouard is actually in Lalande-de-Pomerol, and only contains, on average, about 8% Cab Franc. Mostly Merlot, as is the norm anyway....

I was trying to remember - I think Hubert de Bouard who owns that property also owns, or makes, some more famous wine, but I don't see any in Pomerol with his name attached. ...Paul


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Re: WTN: Brane Cantenac, Bernadotte, Del Rio, Spring Valley

Postby Paul Savage » Wed Jul 12, 2006 10:36 pm

Angelus, yes, that's it!
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Re: WTN: Brane Cantenac, Bernadotte, Del Rio, Spring Valley

Postby Covert » Thu Jul 13, 2006 1:57 pm

Good for you, Jenise, for drinking 97s, 93s and Brane Cantenac (bought my first BC bottles recently). More and more, I am appreciating all the Bordeaux for what they are. The more you learn and think about the struggles of respective growing seasons and individual properties, the more beautiful the efforts become. It is an honor to drink the fruits of the different labors. They all have something to say.

For me, wine comparisons are becoming more of an anathema. I deleted the rating columns from my inventory spreadsheet this morning. I don’t even like to drink two different bottles in the same day. When one is really put together, it diminishes the other, unfairly, when you consider the dedication of both properties. When you think back to when you were dating, unless a person was an insufferable bore, or didn’t floss, she or he would do fine for an evening. But if you met two potential dates at a bar, one alone would absorb your interest; you might completely miss out on the other one. If two wines have bragging rights, however, such as 1995 and 1996 Margaux, then it would be fun to experience them both in the same evening.
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Re: WTN: Brane Cantenac, Bernadotte, Del Rio, Spring Valley

Postby Sam Platt » Thu Jul 13, 2006 4:25 pm

Jenise wrote:The owners of this winery saved my life one night...


Jenise, Since no one else has stepped forward to ask, I will; what were the circumstances under which the owners of this winery saved your life?
Sam

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