Wednesday, September 30, 2009

TN: Bernard Baudry 2007 Les Granges

I love bell pepper as a secondary aroma in wine. In fact, if I open a Cab S or Cab F and smell no pepper, I'm usually a little disappointed if not depressed. The Bernard Baudry 2007 Les Granges certainly has bell pepper as a secondary aroma. But it is secondary to a virtual medley of all things green: geranium, asparagus, freshly cut grass and medicinal herbs. The bouquet was unfortunately reminiscent of a mass-produced, over-cropped Chilean wine. There was a brief period during decanting where black cherries and raspberries were really evident, but the green medley rapidly eclipsed the fruit.

The flavors, however, are significantly less herbaceous and show no medicinal qualities. While it's a lighter bodied wine, there's a nice balance of fruit and earth with fresh acidity and grippy tannins. The flavors are quite "homey," sort of comfortable like sitting on a couch in the living room. There's even a decent lingering finish provided by the tart acidity.

I should leave open the possibility of an "off" bottle since most of the cellar tracker notes suggest much more fruit. Maybe this bottle was slightly corked or already had shed all of its youthful fruit aromas for some reason. Still, I'm doubtful there was a TCA flaw simply because the wine evolved while open, and corked wines, aside from smelling like a damp, moldy basement, only seem to become more obvious over time.

Bernard Baudry is considered a star in Chinon. This is the first 2007 I've tried from Chinon or Bourgueil. It's not a good sign when a top producer (apparently) struggles with ripeness in what has been characterized as a problematic vintage. Though the 2006 vintage is unheralded, I haven't come across any wine with such under-ripe aromatics. I purchased a few other 2007s to test, but this looks like a year to approach with caution. Given how quickly the 2007s followed the 2006s, which probably suggests producers saw little point in barrel aging their basic cuvees, it'll be a while before the more promising 2008s show up. With the 2005s mostly sold through, 2006 looks like the safer option in Chinon and Bourgueil at the moment.

Pros: Lively Acidity, Approachable Tannins, Light Body
Cons: Overly Herbaceous Bouquet, Evolved Poorly w/ Aeration
Decant: Yes, but only briefly
Price: $15 from K&L Wines
QPR: Mediocre (out of Poor, Mediocre, Fair, Good or Excellent with Fair denoting expectations were met for the price point)


Jeff said...

That sucks man. The 06 was great.

CabFrancoPhile said...

I'm hoping it's just a bad bottle or cuvee, or maybe lost its fruit very quickly. Supposedly wine usually loses a lot of its fruit character in its first 6 months, which could be the case here. According to the Wine Doctor's page on Baudry, Les Granges is supposed to be a light, fresh, fruit-filled young vine cuvee. So I was kind of hoping for something like a rose, but with a bit more stuffing. I'll see how some of the other '07s turn out. Hopefully this will be an outlier.

Jeff said...

I was looking at what I drank and I had the Chinon, not the Les Granges...

The Wine Doctor site is pretty cool huh?

CabFrancoPhile said...

Yeah, I've been there a bunch reading about Loire producers. I've used it as guide to find producers worth trying. In the next few years, I'll try Tauluau, Alliet, Amirault and Breton. Already tried Joguet, Mabileau, Domaine de la Butte and Baudry.

By the way, K&L only has a few bottles of Clos Rougeard left. Extremely expensive for Saumur Champigny. But their reputation makes them something like the DRC of the Loire Valley. Can't speak from first-hand experience, though.

Jeff said...

Taluau is awesome, and so is Breton...never had the Clos Rougeard, but you're right. It is fairly expensive...but if it was DRC, it would be what, $2500 a bottle? 48$ is cheap!

CabFrancoPhile said...

They have 3 cuvees, K&L is down to the 'basic' one. Le Poyeaux and Le Bourg are more expensive. Bourg has tons of new oak, so it's less desirable, especially when $80-$100. Poyeaux might still be around somewhere if you hunt. In a decade, it should look like a steal at $50 or so!