Rethinking my views on Cabernet

About 6 months ago, I was fortunate enough to be part of a very indulgent lunch where we drank, amongst other things, Chandon de Brialles Clos de Roi 1993, Dominus Estate 1991 and Haut Brion 1996. This confirmed what I was beginning to suspect, namely that I was bored of Cabernet and that Burgundian Pinot Noir had usurped its place in my affections. There was something uniform and just a little straight laced about both the Cabernets, despite them objectively being excellent wines.

This afternoon I was contemplating what to drink with roast Pheasant and struggling to decide whether to open a bottle my sole bottle of Rene Engel’s Vosne Romanee 2001 or a Chateau Poujeaux 1997 I bought a few bottles of ages ago and had never tasted. Despite the Burgundy being a more obvious pairing, something made me plump for the latter….

On opening, the wine showed a classically Bordeaux nose – a touch of herbaceousness and cassis – and was pretty stern with a firm tannic grip. The remainder of the bottle was decanted for about half an hour.
Deep claret in colour with very little lightening at the rim. Intense nose – deep blackcurrant fruit pastilles with a touch of raspberry thrown in and some coffee bean and perhaps a little capsicum and farmyard. Far more complex than my meagre words can adequately describe. Given the vintage, this wine was surprisingly ripe and generous (and an all together more pleasant proposition than the last ’97 I drank, Calon Segur).

In the mouth the tannins were still evident but not in the least bit harsh and worked very well with the gamey meat. Incredible length and persistence here too – fantastic perfumed black fruit, and a touch of coffee. Really good wine and I now realise I shouldn’t give up on Cabernet entirely!


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