Wine of the Week: 2010 Chateau Le Thil Comte Clary, Pessac Leognan

Is the flavor winegrapes is merely a collection of chemical compounds, or can we just manufacture these compounds and combine them in water to produce a "wine"? 

Well, when replicator technology does arrive in the 24th century as promised by popular science fiction, the human race will be ordering a finely aged vintage of something or the other, and a 3D printer like-device will potentially use the described chemical compounds to whip up a glass of wine.

Flavor compounds are sold today and typically employed to produce homogenized bags of chain store commodity wines attempting to masquerade as the real deal. That said, I'd argue that 'manufactured' wines via grape-derived chemical compounds in one way, or the other are already here, take Bronco Wines, for example, is, in my opinion, is the king of crass commodity plonk.

But of course, I don't believe 'taste' is simply a byproduct of chemical compounds, that's silly. But at the same time, inexpensive chain store wines made for the quick turn sale all seem to have a signature faux wine flavor, aroma, and color. It's much easier to recognize that faux characteristic in red wines than it is in white wines, in fact in white wines it can be nearly undetectable unless you count the heavy vanilla, added sugar and oak influences. But if you're looking for a giveaway clue, the generic statewide AVA on the bottle is generally a good indication.

While specific chemical compounds are part of every wine, not every wine can be produced by mixing those compounds into the water to create something, that only a particular clone, a place, weather conditions of the vintage, etc can singularly produce. It's my opinion the wines I know and love cannot be replicated by a simple combination of chemistry and water. Take, for example, the bottle featured in today's Wine of the Week article, which I will get to in a moment.

Terroir has much to do with what's in the bottle, how is that defined? From the Terroir France website: "A 'terroir ' is a group of vineyards (or even vines) from the same region, belonging to a specific appellation, and sharing the same type of soil, weather conditions, grapes, and winemaking savoir-faire, which contribute to give its distinct personality to the wine". But that being said, the French are also fond of saying, "Je ne sais quoi" to describe what is sometimes indescribable, where words simply fail to express the uniqueness of the experience.

It is with those thoughts in mind, that I give the Wine of the Week, while this vintage is likely no longer available, this producer still has plenty of the 2015 vintage ready to grabbed up and socked away for years, to enjoy much later as I did. I opened my last bottle of this wine, just last night. As I really needed a dependably good bottle to uncork after a tumultuous day off, spent agonizing over a certain undisclosed situation, uncovered while futzing around the Chez Cuvee. 

Here come the tasting notes, 2010 Chateau Le Thil, Comte Clary: this blend of 75% Merlot and 25% Cabernet Sauvignon was made by winemaking guru and well-known consultant Stephane Derenoncourt. This wine’s 14.5% alcohol tells you something about its amazing richness and intensity, which is atypical for most Bordeaux producers. Another very good 2010, but a bit more of a modern style Bordeaux. Still, it has a lovely vein of acid, which keeps the abundant red and dark fruit in check. Medium tannins and finish. 

Drinks like a mid to high priced Napa Valley Cab, which sells for half that price $29.99. With this kind of stellar QPR, you could easily buy 6 or [which I did] more and enjoy for many years to come. After finishing this bottle late in the evening, just last night, paired with grilled Tri-Tip, and prawns, I scored this wine, 94 points. It just kept getting better and better, bottle after bottle, year after year. This is the power of Bordeaux and more specifically the power of cellaring wine and doing it correctly. Until next folks, remember life is short, compromise is for relationships, not wine. Slurp long and prosper cheers!


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