2014 Chateau de Cranne Cotes de Bordeaux Rouge


2014 Chateau de Cranne Red Blend
Cotes de Bordeaux, France
Merlot (85%), Cabernet Sauvignon (15%)
12.8% Alcohol
Highly Recommended

It's been too long!! Turns out getting a puppy is a wonderful thing that happens to take over your life for the first few months. I was missing the blog and was so pleased with this bottle of Bordeaux that I had to write a spontaneous post about it. 

As with so many good value wines I review, I found this bottle of Chateau de Cranne for sale on the Garagiste email list for a paltry $12.98. This evening I took a gander at the wines I've ordered over the last two years and there is a consistent trend of older Bordeaux, Oregon and the occasional California pinot noir, Beaujolais, and a spattering of old, old riesling and random Italian bottles. I can't help myself in being a stubborn stalwart for Bordeaux reds (though dry whites are almost as interesting!). Aged old-world style Bordeaux is one of the greatest material and existential pleasures in life. I may sound like a wine douchebag but... yea, don't care. Given their proclivity to claret, maybe I need to do a search on ancestry.com and see if there is a familial connection to a bunch of old British grandpas...

Anyways, to the wine. I opened this yesterday and it was good but nothing remarkable. A night in the refrigerator and a few hours on the counter saw this transform into something well beyond it's monetary value. Chateau de Cranne is certified organic and places a strong emphasis on sustainable agriculture.

A beautiful and vibrant ruby in the glass with well-integrated aromas of blackberry, black cherry, cedar, tobacco, earth, and just a hint of bell pepper on the nose. This took hours to open up but it was well worth the wait. The palate is equally satisfying, with medium body, healthy acidity, and flavors that mimic the nose. A hint of tannins and a medium+ finish round this out in the end. 

This is the whole package, everything you want in an old-world red that is 12.8% alcohol and begs for an evening-long meal. In keeping with Garagiste's emphasis on neglected sub-90 point wines, this was awarded 89 points by Wine Enthusiast. I kept a half glass in the bottle for tomorrow, just in case there are more mysteries to be revealed...


All Praise Bacchus! - 2014 Division Wine Co. Villages Béton


2014 Division Wine Co. Villages Béton
Applegate and Willamette Valleys, Oregon
Cabernet Franc (65%), Gamay (30%), Pinot Noir (5%)
12.8% Alcohol
Highly Recommended

This wine delivered in every way I wanted it to. 

I picked it up on a recent trip to Portland, Oregon, and it’s a good reason why I think Oregon is the best source of intriguing, old world-style wines in the US today. Outside of France, it’s hard to imagine a cool-climate wine of this quality coming from anywhere else in the states, or in the world for that matter. Even more, it comes from an urban winery housed in the SE Wine Collective, a winery coop of sorts on Division Street in Portland that is home to a number of winemakers and labels.

This is an outstanding bottle of wine, with a lovely balance of complex fruit, lively acidity, and minerality. The grapes come from several vineyards, with the Cabernet Franc coming from Quady Vineyard in southern Oregon’s Applegate Valley AVA and the Gamay and Pinot Noir coming from the Methven Family Vineyards in the Eola Amity Hills AVA in Willamette Valley. The wine was aged in concrete (Béton is French for concrete) and underwent partial carbonic maceration, which adds a pleasant fruitiness to the blend. Only 300 cases were produced and it’s tough (or impossible) to get outside of Oregon unless you order it direct.

Fresh and lively, reminiscent of some of the Loire Valley’s best Cabernet Franc and pinot noir, this blend of Cabernet Franc, Gamay, and Pinot Noir from Oregon’s Division Wine Company is one of the most exciting American wines I’ve tasted in the last year. 2014 was a decidedly warm vintage throughout all of Oregon, but DWC did well to slow ripening and contain vigor in the vineyard with the goal of retaining natural acidity and inhibiting excessive sugar levels.

The result is a balanced, medium bodied red wine with a well-integrated nose and a liveliness that made me nearly polish off the entire bottle myself. The nose is bright but characterized by darker fruits: plum and black/red currant, as well as a lightly smoky, green bell pepper (pyrazine) component. The minerality carries through to the palate and reminds me a bit of the Cru Beaujolais. If I hadn’t known otherwise, the hefty fruit profile and finesse of the wine would have made me think the wine was far more expensive. Can’t say it enough, this was outstanding. Incredibly drinkable, but not without intrigue and complexity, exactly what I look for in a $20 wine.

Eric Asimov of the New York Times praised the Division Wine Company’s Gamay last year, and if this red blend is any indication, there are only more exciting things to come from them. Don’t forget to check out their website!