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...


2010 Casa de Mouraz Red Blend - Yes, Yes, and Yes


2010 Casa de Mouraz Dão Red Blend
Touriga Nacional/Tinta-Roriz/Alfrocheiro/Jaen/Agua-Santa
Dão DOC, Portugal
13.5% Alcohol
Highly Recommended

If I had any doubt before drinking this bottle that Portugal is producing some of the best, if not the best, red wine values in the world today, that doubt is all but gone. I was introduced to dry red wines from Portugal during my first Wine and Spirits Education Trust course several years ago. I was blown away by several sub-$10 bottles I tasted blind alongside much more expensive bottles from Spain and the US. The Portuguese reds fared particularly well, beating out many other bottles four or five times their price. I'm still a huge fan to this day and this bottle from Casa de Mouraz is a perfect example of why dry Portuguese reds offer incredible value. 

Casa de Mouraz was founded in 2000 by Antonio Lopes Ribeiro and was the first Dão producer to work organically and biodynamically. Antonia moved back to his birthplace after living in Lisbon for many years and farms several parcels with different soils, ranging in altitude from 140 to 400 meters. The property was certified organic in 1996 and some biodynamic practices were incorporated in 2006. A wide variety of indigenous grapes are grown, including Touriga Nacional, Tinta Roriz, Alfrocheiro, Jaen, Baga, Agua-Santa for red wine and Malvasia-Fina, Bical, Cereal, Encruzado, and Alvarinho for the whites. 

This bottle is delicious on all fronts and as mentioned, is made with certified organic grapes. It also benefitted from 10-15 minutes in the glass. A deep ruby in color with a pretty light rim. My first thought on the nose: rich and lively. The nose is a hearty, well-integrated medley of soft blackberries and cherries (cassis too?), baking spices, black pepper, and a distinct smoky/bacon-y component as well. The cassis/violet component gives the nose a welcome lift and added brightness that reminds me of high-altitude Malbec from Argentina and some Grenache-based reds from Priorat in Spain. The nose was incredibly alluring; I couldn't stop shoving my nose back into the glass. 

On the palate, the wine is well-structured and full bodied with medium to medium plus acidity. The flavors are abundant but well-balanced. There is something distinct and incredibly delicious about the backbone of minerality and again harkens back to a recent bottle from Priorat I reviewed recently. A healthy does of tannins leads to a well-balanced and incredibly long finish. This is some immaculate juice. Damn, I love, love, love this wine. 

So, let's review. Independent producer, committed organic and biodynamic practices, delicious wine... What more do you want folks? There are too many shitty $14 bottles of wine in the world to not get your hands on this immediately.