One in 450 million

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Being a wine-maker in Bordeaux must be daunting. There are: 7,400 different wineries/vineyards; over 10,000 different wines produced each year; 450m. bottles produced annually, the majority of which (71%) sell for between 3 and 15 euros, whilst 26% sell for less than 3 euros per bott. How do the growers/makers create a unique style?

With that in mind, how does Esprit de Parenchere 2009, a Bordeaux Superior, measure up?

Very well, we enjoyed it. A magenta rim and a black core proclaimed its intensity – as the legs heralded its 14% alcohol. The nose was rich, slightly minty with an obvious dark fruits aroma.

Our first impression of the palate was one of dryness and tannins rather than fruit – which suggested it had already peaked. However, the effect of its being exposed to air and slightly warmer started bringing out some agreeable fruitiness whilst mellowing the tannins. This was a well-made, rich wine which had both fruit and a structure (65% Cab Sauv, 35% Merlot) that invited another mouthful. Our decanting it for longer would have helped but, despite the relatively brief exposure, we thought it very drinkable.

[Richard: this was a present from an old friend who had bought a selection of bottles direct from the chateau. Esprit is the premium cuvee, only made in good years. 7,000 bottles produced in 2009. The chateau claims 90% of the wine is blended in new wood but there isn’t much oakiness on the nose now. As Geoff indicates the wine developed well in the glass – perhaps double decanting would be helpful. Despite cabernet predominating I thought this was more of a merlot taste, with characteristic smoothness. Lovely wine which makes one wonder how many other hidden gems there are in the 450m bottles produced even year.]

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