Château Guiraud-Cheval-Blanc Bordeaux 2008

Moving ahead with my leisurely, affordable Bordeaux exploration, I picked up Château Guiraud-Cheval-Blanc Bordeaux 2008.  The estate has been handed down from father to son since 1852, the current owner; Laurent Deliaune is also the winemaker. As with many other French [especially Bordeaux] wines, this Estate has also had its share of controversy, although of the much more benign trademark infringement kind [rather than the chemical additive or grape fraud kind]. In December 2011 following 5 years of court proceedings, the legendary and prestigious Château Cheval Blanc [of Saint-Emilion fame] won its case against Château Guiraud-Cheval-Blanc,  forbidding it to use its name on its bottles. The court found the similarity of the names could cause consumer brand confusion, resulting in Château Guiraud possibly profiting on the more established vineyard’s name by making their label more recognisable. So be on the lookout for a new name on the upcoming vintages!

Dark cranberry garnet with brick around the edges in colour, after aerating aromas of summer berries and damp forest floor swirled about in my glass. Aged in stainless steel and concrete for over 18 months, an undertone of clean, minerally slate melded seamlessly with the tart cherry and subtle raspberry flavors in the light to medium body. Spicy white pepper and meaty leather notes mingled with supple black tea tannins in the moderate finish.  Quite easy on the wallet, this is a pleasant and easy drinking everyday table wine.

60% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Cabernet Franc, 5% Petit Verdot, 5% Malbec

Côtes de Bourg
France
Mis en Bouteillle au Château [Estate Bottled]
13% Alcohol
$9
Enjoy now

Red Bicyclette Pinot Noir 2009

 

“I have discovered with advancing years that few things are entirely black or white, but more often different shades of grey.” Jeffrey Archer
 

Following our discussion of all the goodness found in the Pinot Project Pinot Noir, my fabulous cousin-in-law Laurie suggested I give Red Bicyclette Pinot Noir a pour. I picked up a bottle, and enjoyed each glass as I ate dinner, watched a Rangers game, and wrote my review. Then as is my usual fashion, I went online to examine the winery/producer in order to include some facts on production, and in this case, to confirm what the varietal composition of the bottle is. [Many times there are small percentages of more than one varietal of grape that has been included in the bottling, even though it may not be stated on the label, as was the case here.] I discovered some interesting facts, varietal composition, and controversy. 

The controversy materialized as a result of Red Bicyclette sourcing their grapes from the Languedoc-Roussillion region in France. Between January 2006 and March 2008, 8 French vintners and wine cooperatives sold what Red Bicyclette [E. & J. Gallo are the actual importers] believed to be Pinot Noir, but in fact was intentionally mislabeled and was a blend of Merlot and Syrah. The French were charged and convicted with deception and forgery. And herein lies the controversy, Red Bicyclette did not recall the mislabeled wine. They did issue a statement saying that they felt the only wine affected that they sold would have been the 2006 vintage and previous. They stated that it is impossible to chemically test wine for its varietal composition. This statement is pretty shaky, and apparently only holds any truth when the wine has been blended with more than 10% of other varietals. However, even with a couple of incident-free years under their belt now, some people still contend that their French grape derived Pinot Noir doesn’t taste like Pinot Noir. I found it to be consistent with a Pinot Noir blended with 2 other varietals, as was stated on the website, but missing on the bottle.

 

Translucent garnet with brilliant ruby highlights, after aerating a bright raspberry aroma arose from my glass. Clean fruity flavours of strawberry and raspberry with mingling notes of warm vanilla filled out the medium body. Well-composed, soft tannins introduced the lengthy, smooth finish of spicy pink peppercorns entwined with hints of cherry. Easy drinking and pleasant, and with or without the controversy, it makes for an enjoyable glass with a meal or on its own.

 

86% Pinot Noir, 7% Syrah, 7% Merlot
California
Vinted and Bottled by Red Bicyclette USA, Modesto CA
13.1% Alcohol
$8
Enjoy now