Bordeaux Uncorked: Château du Retout's 2009 Haut-Médoc

It's the little details that are vital. Little things make big things happen. ~ John Wooden

Whether we are talking about sports, relationships, business or viticulture, taking care to make the right moves in the vineyard, it's the little details, which often go unseen, but can make big things happen. Like the 'moves' Château du Retout did with this excellent wine in 2009. I've reviewed this same wine before, but it was discussed for a post I did for the French Wine Explorers a few years ago, and yes, I'm name dropping here.

But after having uncorked a second bottle recently, I thought this would be the perfect time to discuss this little gem. An outstanding wine [not a sample] that sells most places for just under $20. Would I say it's a great wine? No, it's not 'great' by the exacting definition of the word. But that said it would be great to have this tasty gem swirling about in your glass, just waiting to be slurped with reckless abandon, okay, that's the way I do it. Please don't try this at home, I just play a swashbuckling wine con·nois·seur on TV.

If I had to guess, I'd bet that the average wine enthusiast is not familiar with the term Cru Bourgeois? If not, well you should be, and this article is the perfect opportunity to dive into what may appear to be a relatively new classification. However, the truth is that it has been around since the middle ages, which I'm pretty sure was a long time ago. The Bourgeois had a sweet deal going on back in the day, freedom from having to pay taxes [bestowed on them by the English] and they had their pick of the prime vineyards, but then French Revolution came along, everything changed and not all of it for the better.

Fast forward to the present day, after years of wrangling, wrestling, bickering, and quibbling about the term; finally, Cru Bourgeois was allowed back on the label, and the classification was in effect reborn. Of course, the folks who didn't make the 'cut' claimed the "process" was not fair and decided to take their 'toys' and go home. If you want all the juicy details, I'd like to invite you to check out the blow-by-blow action right here.

You have to put in many, many tiny efforts that nobody sees or appreciates before you achieve anything worthwhile. - Brian Tracy

Now if you're wondering okay, so what is the big deal? Good question, the 'big deal' is that designation supposedly means you're getting a higher quality wine than you would otherwise if that designation was not on the label. It's a great step up from basic entry level Bordeaux and a few steps below Grand Cru Bordeaux. To assure this process is taking place, independent panels of wine-tasters have been established to make sure everyone is playing by the rules and tasting the wines to make sure those on the list, deserve to be there. Again if you'd like the exacting details and you'd like to read all of the steps, then please feel free to click this link here.

Now here comes the part of the article some have dubbed as "tyrannical?" I know, I know that is what I thought, "say what?" It's time for the tasting note, please take your children and hide. Oy-vey, it's just a simple tasting note, my own experience with the wine, so you can take it or leave it. But as someone in the wine blogging world had formerly used as his tagline, "I spit so you don't have to" meaning the wines being reviewed is most likely one of the better gems that has been come across the desk in the course of tasting many toads [those not worthy of mention or drinking].

With all that bruhaha left behind, here without any further ado are my tasting notes enjoy. A very tasty Cru Bourgeois from Chateau Du Retout in the Haut-Medoc of France. A delightful blend consisting of  53 % cabernet sauvignon, 28 % Merlot, and 19 % Petit Verdot. Aging in one hundred percent French oak barrels with only 25% being new. Selling for just under $20, this wine is a QPR champ, if you can still find some available, grab all you can handle.

I found this wine boasting of abundant dark plum, blackberry, cassis, and licorice dominate this youthful wine, but there are enough minerality and stiff but forgiving tannins driving through the middle to remind you this is Bordeaux with attitude. I scored this wine 90 points, an award it the drink now and cellar more seal of approval.

An excellent combination of Old world charm and New world flair, that’s bottled unfiltered and unfined this gem from Chateau Du Retout could age for another 10 years effortlessly. Until next time folks remember life is short, you never know when you may be uncorking that last bottle. That said, for crying out loud, please drink like you mean it and please don't settle for plonk wines. Until next time, continue to slurp long and prosper cheers!


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