Alright, who toasted the barrel? This Vieux Chateau Champs de Mars Bordeaux has nose and taste features that are without any doubt Bordeaux blend – with a slight but noticeable uptick on the oaky scale. Still relatively young, this ’09 vintage took a while to open up. Initially it smelled like berries on slightly toasted bread with some Nutella. When I first drank it, about 45 minutes after removing the cork, the wine seemed quite stiff. Less than generous fruit, lots of tannin, and that more than typical French oak. My reaction was that it wasn’t bad, and with the dryness, it might have been somebody’s cup of tea.
A few hours later, I came back to it. The descriptors in the scent stayed true to the the original sniff, perhaps evolving towards being more inviting. The gulp though benefited significantly from the additional airing out. In that dryness some caramel notes developed, the nuttiness grew and the fruit came to life. Given the dry structure of the wine, the evolved version certainly comes across as more balanced.
Perhaps not made in my preferred style of Bordeaux, this is a decent quality product – if you are looking for a dry, structured BDX with a bit of wood and not much fruit, you might find value in this bottle.
Musical Match: I like Maurice Ravel’s music. Bo Derek aside, his Bolero is grand and moving. In contrast, I have always been disturbed by his haunting Pavane pour une infante defunte. Just as emotionally relevant as Bolero, this solo piano piece is an ode to a dead child. Certainly a dryer subject matter. And if the toasting of the barrel was a little bit “New World,” the pianist Angela Hewitt’s Canadian passport brings some “New World” to the musical side of the pairing as well. The composition style doesn’t draw me in, but I certainly recognize the quality.