Thursday, March 4, 2010

Wines I'm Drinking: 2001 Château de la Rivière Fronsac

Deep medium red, tending toward brown, suggestive of a little age. Very nice bouquet. Cocoa. Leather. Violets. Something decidedly musky as well. Not long on fruit. Rather astringent and tannic at first. Quite restrained. Austere even, but cleanly made. Not at all unpleasant, but at first seems to have no especially endearing qualities either. Initially seems rather drab. I had my doubts that this wine would open up at all, but with a little time I began to notice that the scent of candy apples had joined the fray and some of the initial astringency began to fall away. The initial suggestions of cocoa and violets became more assertive on the nose. On the palate, I began to enjoy a lingering sweetness offset by persistent, spicy, fine-grained tannins suggestive of nutmeg and with a hint of bitter chocolate on the finish. This is a subtle, delicate wine. It's almost certain to baffle wine drinkers that need a knock on the head with a bowl of spiked fruit punch to enjoy their wine, but it's worth a try. Just don't crowd it. Serve it with foods that are equally delicate and in a setting that allows you to pay attention to the wine. It may be at its best just sipped, alone. Not a self-promoting crowd pleaser by any means, but interesting nevertheless. I liked this more the more time I spent with it. $14.99 at Trader Joe's, which seems a fair price. Recommended--with the above caveats.

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