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...


2012 Domaine de la Pepiere 'Cuvee Granit'

2012 Domaine de la Pepiere 'Cuvee Granit'
Cab Franc, Malbec, Merlot, Cab Sauvignon
Loire Valley, France

Found this intriguing bottle at Reno in Chicago’s Logan Square neighborhood for a cool $34. A blend of Bordeaux varietals from the Loire Valley? Yes, please, an exploration was in order. Coming in at only 12% alcohol, this is decidedly a cool climate red blend. I was not familiar with the producer beforehand but the bottle is imported by Dressner Selections, a near-guarantee that the juice in the bottle is going to be interesting stuff. Domaine de la Pepiere focuses on a variety of muscadet bottlings but the ‘Cuvee Granit’ is a blend of predominantly cabernet franc with the balance being cot (malbec), merlot, and cabernet sauvignon sourced from a small 4-hectare vineyard dedicated to red varietals.

I think a lot of people will find this a bit too lean for their tastes, but I found it perfect on a warm summer evening. It was incredibly bright and focused, both on the nose and the palate, and paired nicely with a few simple wood-fired pizzas. Fresh notes of red fruit (raspberry, red currants, and cranberry?) carried through to a medium length finish. Lots of minerality with a touch of smokiness and a hint of bell pepper. This comes from a certified organic estate.

You should be able to find this for $15 or less at retail shops. Similar to Domaine Landron, Wine Terroirs has a great inside look at Domaine de la Pepiere.