Bordeaux Uncorked: Chateau Rollan de By, Medoc 2008

"Bordeaux isn't just "buttoned-down luxury" folks just need to look behind the label to discover the soul of @BordeauxWines."

It's time for a Throwback Thursday, seeing I recently uncorked another of these gems from Rollan de By. This Left Bank Merlot dominated gem from the Medoc comes to us via the folks at Chateau Rollan de By. A Chateau found in the beautiful vine-land known as Bordeaux, more specifically a Cru Bourgeois from the Medoc AOC. I was quite surprised and happy to see that I still had one bottle left in a dark corner of my cellar. I'm delighted to report that it's drinking better than ever, far better than it was in 2011 when I originally posted this review.

So once again, in today's wine review spotlight is the Chateau Rollan de By 2008 Bordeaux is Cru Bourgeois. For the folks who don't know or are not familiar with this "special" Medoc classification given to acknowledge some of top Chateaux who didn't make the Cru Classe cut. In short, what Crus Bourgeois means for the average vino-sapiens at large is that these two words seen on the label are a guarantee [of sorts] about the quality of the wine in the bottle.
"If Cru Bourgeois is on a wine label it means that the wine has been examined and certified as having the high enough quality and taste characteristics to qualify as a Cru Bourgeois." ~ The Kitchn
The Cru Bourgeois certification [a system which continues to evolve] and classification is done on a yearly basis. Therefore, having it one year is no guarantee that you will have it the following year. Now that said, from what I've observed while I was there last year, is that the Bordelais in the Medoc has created their own slice of wine paradise with this certification, one that doesn't come with the expensive price tag far too many associates with Bordeaux.

I grabbed this wine from the local Costco [Morena] in San Diego back in 2011. But seeing this is a repost, 2008 is most likely long gone, but you may be able to locate a more recent vintage online. If you're still not part of the "buying wine online crowd" then may I suggest highly that you give it swirl soon, it's really the best way to get many unobtainable bottles. All the wine buying trends suggest it and not the brick and mortar is the proverbial genie that's not going back in the bottle anytime soon. Besides, it's rather painless and so easy any cave-man can do it.

If I remember correctly, back then they were selling this wine for right around $24 if my memory serves me correctly. This wine is what I'd call a “drink now and drink often” classic Cru Bourgeois at its best. This wine had been featured on the inside cover of Wine Speculator, heralding its marvelous achievements of being picked for their magazines 2011 Top-100 wines of the year list. That, of course, is quite a high-honor, and I'd like to say congratulations, job well done.

On another congratulatory note; the Chateau Rollan de By 2009 Bordeaux "Cru Bourgeois" has received top honors from well-regarded wine writers Michel Bettane and Thierry Desseauve as one of the Organic Wines of the Year for 2013. Great news for wine enthusiasts looking for an excellent and yet relatively inexpensive wine which is also "organic." It represents quiter the opportunity to stock up on an outstanding wine from the amazing 2009 vintage. I want to repeat this, having recently tasted through a good amount of the 2015 vintage, may I suggest stocking up on their 2015 release as soon as it's available, I believe it's going to be fantastic juice.

Positioned at number ninety-six on the WS "best of the year" list [just made the cut]. The folks at WS scored this wine 90 points and labeled it as I have; a drink now and drink often with a solid buy recommendation.I took that to mean that this wine may not have the stuffing for long-term [10-15 years] cellaring, which I think is the point.

While Bordeaux has been seen by many as wines which often rewards only those among us who are patient enough to allow [time in the cellar] the wine to suitably mature. After uncorking this wine more than once, I think this wine was made in a style which I would label as "immediate appeal" a very approachable Medoc to the buy today, drink today then repeat.

Honestly, I don't think that is so bad and why would you want to lay this bottle down anyway as it's drinking pretty fab at the moment. I would have to say I pretty much agree with part of the WS opinion, there's not enough substance for the long-term future [10-15]. But it's my opinion that drinking pleasure in the here and now is at its peak. That said, stock up now on their 2015 it will be must-have fab juice for the price.

Swirl, Sniff and Slurp: In the glass a tantalizing blend of 70% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 10% Petit Verdot, a blend weighing in at a mere 13.0% on the ABV scale. The usual suspects are found here in my tasting note; a dark-colored ruby core, leaning toward purple, at first blush in the aromas department, a rich bouquet of dried plum and raspberries, fused together with some beautiful graphite and rich earthy elements, very compelling and appealing.

On the palate: A delicious northern Medoc blend that captivates in what I would call a far more finesse type approach. As it does not hit you over the head with a basket of ripe dark and red fruits but subtly endears itself to you, like a 'significant-other' feeding ya some fruit, while you're blindfolded. So you have ripe fruits laid over smooth tannins, like blackberry and blackcurrant and more earthy type suggestions of cocoa and cedar lead to the rich, yet complex medium length finish. A real foodie type wine sure to please a majority of palates.

What's the Score: I gave this wine a solid 89 points back then and still stand by that score. While I'm at it; I'd like to couple that scores with a hearty "buy" recommendation. Now if you can score this wine for under $20, it's quite the "good-buy" for the adventurous foodie and even the wandering-wino looking for their next thrill ride down tasty lane. 

Final thoughts:
This bottle represents in my mind the perfect entry-level Bordeaux that will ease any newbie into exploring this region a little more thoroughly via this excellent example of what the Medoc can offer even those on a budget. That's all I have for you today folks, until next time sip long and prosper, Salud!


Thank you for your comments!
I've just posted your blog on our Facebook page.
Hope to see you one day in the Medoc.

Lionel Tonnerieux
Chateau Rollan de By
Will Eyer said…
Hello Lionel,

It's great to hear from you and thanks ever so much for the link love on your FB page.

It's my dream to one day visit the Medoc area, I've come so close a few times, but not close enough. I'm still hoping to spend some time there and drink in all its splendor. Thanks for stopping by, I look forward to hearing from you again.


Will Eyer said…
I was very fortunate to have been invited by the CIVB to visit Bordeaux for myself, with other grape wine tweeps. I had a great visit to the Medoc region last year [2013] and of course I look forward to visiting again soon one day.

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