Wine of the Week: 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 the Wine of the Week via Throw-back Thursday. 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 wonderful vine-land known as Bordeaux, more specifically a Cru Bourgeois from the Medoc AOC. I was quite surprised and happy to find that I still had one bottle left in a dark corner of my cellar. I'm happy 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. In short, what Crus Bourgeois means for the average vino-sapien 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 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 have created their own slice of wine paradise with this certification, one that doesn't come with the expensive price tag far too many associate with Bordeaux.
I grabbed this wine from my local Costco [Morena] here in San Diego back in 2011, fortunately you can still find this wine available for purchase at various places online. If you're still not part of the "buying wine online crowd" then may I suggest that you give it swirl soon. All the wine buying trends suggest it's a genie that's not going back in the bottle any time soon. Besides, it's rather painless and so easy any cave-man can do it.
Back then they were selling it for right around $24 if my memory serves me correctly. I've seen other places online selling this same wine for under $20, if you can score it for this price, I'd buy it by the case. This wine is what I'd call a “drink now and drink often” classic Cru Bourgeois at its best.
A wine which 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 heavy-hitters Michel Bettane and Thierry Desseauve as one of the Organic Wines of the Year for 2013. Some very good news for all you folks who get weak in the knees over hearing an excellent and yet relatively inexpensive wine is also "organic". That said, here's your opportunity to stock up on a very good wine from a great vintage.
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 properly 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 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 this fab juice for the price.
Swirl, Sniff and Slurp: In the glass a wonderful 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 nice 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 score 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 fine 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!