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...


WSET Diploma Chronicles #2: Sicily and Abruzzo Dazzle for Cheap

There is an amazing wine shop just down the street from my office in Denver called Corks. It's unassuming and a bit lackluster but it has a great selection of $15 and under wines, all of which are great quality and happen to be exactly what I need when studying for the WSET Diploma. I dropped $120 there the other day on 10 bottles. They have a good selection of inexpensive varietal bottles that are true to each bottle's regional or varietal typicity. While some of the wine is corporate, I respect their approach and couldn't be happier about them a couple doors down from my office.

I had Nicki pull out 2 bottles of red wine for me to taste "blind" tonight from what I purchased at Corks. I've been tasting whites as of late, mainly because I need more practice with them, but it's getting cold in Denver and it was time to cozy up to some reds. Here are my thoughts on both.


2014 Villa Pozzi Nero D'Avola
Terre Siciliane IGT
13% Alcohol

This bottle had a bit of funk out of the bottle but settled down nicely over 30-45 minutes. The nose is incredibly pure with a distinct note of blackberries and blackberry liqueur, vanilla, and spice. The palate mirrored the aroma with similar flavors of blackberry and vanilla. Somewhat one-dimensional but great QPR. I'm not a huge fan of what this wine has going on but it is undoubtedly well-made and high quality.

2014 La Quercia Montepulciano d'Abruzzo
Montepulciano d'Abruzzo DOC
13% Alcohol
$13/750 ml
Highly Recommended

Tasting this wine blind was a revelation. I would have guessed this was a much more expensive bottle, maybe double or triple it's measly price of $13. It was ripe and rich on the nose and the palate, with generous aromas of blackberry, black plum, and spices. It's relatively one dimensional, similar to the Villa Pozzi above, but overall, I think this wine is well-balanced and a crowd pleaser. The fact that it is made from organically-grown old vines and is an independent producer makes it even better.