Grinou Réserve Rouge Bergerac 2005 (about $16)
A common theme on this annual best of list is catching the 2005s before they are replaced by the 2006s. Since 2005 was such a remarkable vintage in so many places it's not surprising to see this. But most of the acclaim for the harvest of 2005 is usually not placed on wines that are this cheap, and this good-drinking this early in their lifespan.
Here we have a young wine that seems too good to be true -- with already a firm grip and a youthful embrace it seems to know no growing pains. It's outlook is positive. It promises to only improve, which is to go from great to even better.
That what's doubly incredible about the 2005 Grinou Réserve. This lusty Merlot varietal from Bergerac, a region just outside of Bordeaux, is a keeper. Winemakers Catherine and Guy Cuisset give this cuvée a full ten years of prime drinking time, so it's peak time may not yet have arrived. Buy up cases while you can.
If that sentiment sounds familiar it's because it was first uttered by Joe of Joe's Wine back in September. At that time, he gave this bargain an admirable score among heavier hitters. I'll be monitoring that score as it likely will go up when Joe revisits it in years to come. Thanks
Joe for sounding the alarm on this one.
Meanwhile, who will be the first to report back here on the 2006 Réserve? Michel Phaneuf gave it a similarly strong review in his 2008 guidebook but he leaves out any promise of future development that somehow the 2005 managed at under $16.
Eyes: The colour is a richly-hued purple.
Nose: Had a few problems with cork taint in opening about a half-dozen of these over the course of the year and the nose can be a bit funny -- is it sour cherry? -- it suggests something mineral but at first it's quite funky as well.
Mouth: Incredibly smooth on the palate, greeting you with intense, mouth-filling spicy oak and fruit of great depth. Mid-palate turns towards earthy tones and licorice. Finish is very long and lovely lengthy plummy note etched with a slight rasp of acidity that just leaves you wanting another taste. To me, this nears perfection. A well-crafted wine, with totally integrated wood. When I dissect it, it comes across like a textbook example. And it's $16! Why? Because the B is for Bergerac, not Bordeaux.
Stomach: With the rustic cuisine I tend to make, this wine is put somewhat into misuse. I had a heavy lamb pot pie full of butter and hot spice. The wine's body, which was medium, became even less present. Spicy food is not good for it. The black fruit came through less than the minerality, making it stricter than it needed to be.