I really am in a claret phase and it is very interesting tasting some affordable wines from Bordeaux. I have always liked the idea of claret, but have become concerned that most consumers would never get a chance to taste the sort of wine that comes into my mind when I think claret.
This is my third claret in this series and I think the consumer is pretty well served by them so far, but of course they are far more expensive than the average spend – even these relatively moderate prices make them more likely to be wines enjoyed at a special occasion than every day.
So far I have stuck to the left-bank Médoc wines, so I felt that a change was in order and I turned my attentions to the Libournais area. This of course includes the famous St Emilion, and its satellite villages, as well as Pomerol, Lalande-de-Pomerol and the rather more spread out Côtes de Castillon, Côtes des Francs as well as Bourg and Blaye. Today my eye fell on a wine from Canon-Fronsac.
I tried a Canon-Fronsac from Château du Gazin which is available in Waitrose @ £9.99 a bottle. Fronsac and its neighbour Canon-Fronsac were famous once, their reputation in the eighteenth century was said to equal that of the Médoc and to far outstrip other Libournais wines.
Generally, the smaller and pretty hilly Canon-Fronsac is thought to produce the finer wines, but there are exceptions. Château du Gazin has belonged to the Robert family since 1933 and its vines occupy a south facing hillside in the far western corner of the appellation, just a spit away from the relatively famous Château Richotey over the border in Fronsac.
The blend varies, but is always predominately Merlot with around 10% of the 2 Cabernets and a dash of Malbec and they do not age the wine in oak at all.
2007 Château du Gazin
The colour is good – a nice even ruby, not opaque, but good intensity.
The aromas are attractive – plum fruit with little touches of prune and cocoa and coffee spice.
The palate is supple and medium-bodied with smooth, but firm tannins that leave a chalky feel in the mouth. There is a freshness and balance from a point of acidity and a tasty melange of red cherry fruit and the deeper character of plums and blackberry. There is also a dry, leathery, spicy and smoky character running through the wine that balances the fruit. The finish is long and perhaps a little hard, but a meal should sort that out even better than my cheese roll.
It is almost soft enough to enjoy on its own – indeed my glass is emptying rather fast. All in all a very drinkable, very enjoyable well balanced claret that offers great value for money and is very accessible – 87/100 points.