Bougie Wougie baby! Or not, as the case may be…

About four years ago, my crack dealer… er Wine Merchant, emailed me with an offer for an aged Bordeaux nearing thirty years, but re-corked recently. Having had more than my share of cork-struggles with aged French & Spanish wines I figured this was worth having a go. This offer was a 1990 Chateaux Bel-Tire Lagrave, Moulis-en-Medoc “Cru Bourgeois” for just under $30 a bottle. What could possibly go wrong?

I bought four, and as per my modus operand tasted the first one about five months after it arrived. It was quite nice. Nutty and forest floor nose, and medium-bodied, at least as Bordeaux wines go. Testa Rossa guessed it was a Burgundy at first, and I can’t blame her as it has a distinctly French nose and a pale ruby color in the glass… but no, this is an old world Left Bank Bordeaux. A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, and Merlot – but age and it’s origin had changed it beyond what she has experienced from those grapes here in the USA. Tonight, we polished off the second bottle with a nice strip steak and some salad.

Truly a delightful experience, at a very reasonable price!

I studied French in primary and high school, and frankly (pardon the pun) didn’t learn very much. I have a toddler’s grasp of the language, but have met and befriended several French folks in my adulthood, and even spent some time there.The more I learn about the French, the less I comprehend about them. I imagine they prefer it that way as well. Being the sort of guy who is comfortable with uncertainty, I’m okay with that situation as well.

For example, I’ll never fully comprehend the French classifications of terroir. This wine is labeled “Cru Bourgeois”… Go ahead and read that linked article. You’ll be as baffled as I am. To me there is great terroir, great vintages, and great winemakers. All of these elements are in flux, and like a biorhythm wheel, will occasionally align to make an amazing wine. Sometimes only two of the three will hit, while another will miss. These things change year to year, decade to decade, and generation to generation. Fighting over them in court seems a waste of everyone’s time. Just make good wine!

I’ve tasted “1er Cru” and “Grand Cru” wines that have not been anywhere as good as this Bougie-Crew bottle. How? Well those slot machine wheels didn’t land on Sevens that year… one of those three elements didn’t deliver on its promise. That just is what it is.

Perhaps the French know this deep down inside, and just fight over nomenclature and details for the sake of their own particular Frenchness, or… je ne sais quoi.

I’ll just sign off with a Gallic shrug and a good buzz.

Bon Soir!

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