Wine of the Week: 2005 Château Labégorce-Zédé, Margaux

“If the world were merely seductive, that would be easy. If it were merely challenging, that would be no problem. But I arise in the morning torn between a desire to improve the world and a desire to enjoy the world. This makes it hard to plan the day.” ― E.B. White

Okay, here we are once again, it's Friday, the last day of the work week and perhaps you're wondering what wine to uncork this weekend? Perhaps you're considering another bottle of domestic commodity bliss, the one you always purchase from the same shelf in the grocery store. Maybe in the back of your wine-loving mind, you wonder, "hmm, I wonder what else is out there?" 

Well if that's you, especially for fans of Cabernet Sauvignon, then read on. I know, I know, you've had all the big guns from Napa, and Washington, but hmm, have you considered Bordeaux lately? As much as you may consider yourself a wine connoisseur, you may not know that Bordeaux is mostly known for two things, mind-blowing Merlot (yes, you heard me right) and life-altering Cabernet Sauvignon that will change everything you thought you knew about that wine bearing grape. 

A colleague of the Mrs. recently asked for a wine recommendation, something less domestic, and a bit more seductive, in the same way, a James Bond female villain is, beautiful and dangerous. I gave him two recommendations, one from the left and the other from the right. In today's review, we will uncork a fantastic wine from the left bank of Bordeaux, one known for great power and finesse. 

I'm genuinely torn, each time I’m considering a wine[s] for purchase, a decision viewed through the lens of desire. I’m torn between two choices, whether to enjoy the world for a day, in the form of a bottle of wine from the old world or the new world; more often than not that desire-vacuum is filled with a bottle of Bordeaux. I spent two weeks exploring the region in 2013, and ever since then, I've been quite taken with its flavors, textures, and aromas.

I've become especially intrigued by Appellation Margaux Controlee, a brilliant region which offers impressive depth and complexity, it has become quite compelling for me personally. Many critics and wine enthusiasts alike say this region is so compelling because of its uber high gravel content, excellent drainage and the poor nutrients in the soil, all factors which make the vines struggle to thrive and survive.

Sadly, many of the wines produced in this region are also very popular with many other vino-sapiens, commanding and getting some very high prices. But if you're a bargain hunter like me, then with some carefully chosen choices, you can drink like you live a more affluent lifestyle. Less like the average Pauper, tho you be one, and more like the Prince you imagine yourself to be.

Have you've seen the movie, what movie you ask? It's called "Depth and Complexity" a film based on my autobiography, okay, I kid. But if you've not seen it yet, it's an absolute thrill ride, well worth the price of admission. Spoiler alert, high toned tannins take center stage while the fine-ground minerality jams on the vocals, and opulent red and black fruit plays bass in the background. In the glass, dark and brooding, nearly opaque dark ruby; I decanted this gem for an hour, and once it warmed up a bit, from cellar temperature the curtains lifted and the show was on.

Putting my nose in the glass, a potpourri of delicate dark floral notes, intriguing underbrush, ripe blackberry, freshly wrapped tobacco leaves and a pinch of cedar to tickle the senses. I was taken back after the first sip, a primer on classic Bordeaux unfolding, and again reminding me of the unforgettable experiences I had in the region just a few years ago and continue to have vicariously through each bottle I uncork.

Another sip, slurp or what have you, wow, riper burnish dark plums flavors popping in and out, warm licorice notes and floral components float about its rich body. But unless I am remiss to report, this wine does get a bit ‘grippy’ right away, sporting muscular tannins, (which smooths out a bit with decanting) ample structure and well-balanced acidity.

2005 Château Labégorce-Zédé:  Although enjoyable now, it’s still quite youthful and just starting its evolutionary path. Sometimes, I don’t like reporting on gems like this, because I’d like to keep this wine’s great potential all to myself, but my better nature takes over, and I spill the beans. Honestly, though, this wine will need another 5 years or more to fully realize its full potential, it will be for those patient enough to wait that long. My score for this wine is 93 points; it sells most places for $59 and again, in my opinion, is well worth the price of admission. It's unlikely you'll find this vintage available today in any significant quantity, so may I suggest you take a look at some of their other vintages, their 2015 for example which are still in pre-arrival prices until the end of September.

If you've ever wondered why I review one wine and not another or why this bottle of Bordeaux, and not a bottle which may have caught my fancy while I was abroad, it all comes down to personal preferences, opinion, availability, price, and the right timing.

It has been said;

"Wine writers and critics of all kinds are in the business of opinion, nothing more and nothing less" ~ Unknown.

I’m in total agreement with that point of fact or what some would merely call an observation. That said I know I’m highly opinionated about wines I encounter, the events I attend and the places I travel to and eventually choose to write about and share with the kind souls who I affectionately call my readers.

I have finally found a morsel of agreement with Mr. Asimov regarding his statement where he said,

"Personal preferences are not only unavoidable, but they are also, in fact, the very thing that must govern what a critic has to say."

Yes, you, of course, are correct, while it governs what I mean; it’s just one factor of many, which guide my words and recommendations.

Accurately stated, personal preferences guide me through each and every article I pen, and I've done so without one bit of regret or remorse. Further, my team and I are always honest with our readers, not every wine, whether sample or not, will be featured on this blog. Hopefully that 'frankness' is appreciated and I think it is because readers seem to always come back for more. Until then folks, remember life is too short to drink questionable commodity wines, keep on exploring, thinking, tasting and drinking. As always remember to sip long and prosper cheers!


Sean Mitchell said…
The Labegorce-Zede is a favourite of mine. The 2005 vintage took some finding (it is sight unseen in Australia), but I found a few in France years ago to put away in the cellar. The great pity is that, as I understand it, it has been merged now into Chateau Labegorce.
@winegurl4u said…
Wow! Beautiful photos. Enjoyed your post.

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