Saturday, December 29, 2012

Chateau La Tour Saint Bonnet Medoc Crus Bourgeois, 1990

This is one of my favorite budget Bordeaux wines. I bought a case of the 1990 soon after it was released for a little more than $100, and recent vintages are not much more expensive. I saw the 2009 offered as futures for $139/case. The wine is reliable, good in nearly every vintage and pretty special in top vintages such as 1990 and 1995. But it needs to be kept for at least a decade or two before it really starts to show its best.

The 1990 is a deep ruby color, and it has a well-formed, rather powerful bouquet. Only 12% alcohol so the power comes from the fruit rather than the alcohol. Dark cherries, purple flowers, herbs and pencil shavings. Same on the palate. Medium bodied, still a bit firm even. Will still be giving pleasure for another decade or more.

The blend for Tour Saint Bonnet is 45% Cabernet Sauvignon, 45% Merlot, 5% Malbec and 5% Petit Verdot. A couple of years ago, the Malbec cherry traits were showing the strongest, but the Cabernet is now emerging. The wine is fermented in cement tanks and matured in old oak foudres rather than small barriques. It's an old fashioned approach that still works well, and let's hope that the estate doesn't decide to change things.

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