Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Spirit of Wine Review & Rating: *** $ Chateau La Rose Tour Blanche, 2007, Bordeaux, France - Wine Review and Rating - Zagat Wine Club Selection

Find prices and availability for Zagat Wine introductory mixed case.

By way of background: CAUTION: This is NOT a rose wine (despite the word "Rose" in its name); and it is NOT a white wine (despite the word "Blanche" in its name). In fact, it is a red Bordeaux blend of 65% merlot and 35% cabernet sauvignon, made available as part of the Zagat Wine Club introductory selection. It is also a staple in a number of other wine clubs, include the Sunday Times Wine Club (UK) and the International Wine of the Month Club.

"ZagatWine" is part of the broad Laithwaites Wine group from the UK, and is promoted by the well known Zagat Survey group, offered by founders Nina and Tim Zagat. This collection included a case of 12 wines, with four reds and four whites each. The initial shipment arrives with a promotional pitch to have your friends join the club, along with one-pagers on each of the delivered wines.

For the Chateau La Rose Tour Blanche, 2007, the glossy four-color description sheet tells you about the fact that the wines are grown biodynamically, and tells you a bit about the Bordeaux region of France. It mentioned the wine grape blend, and the fact that it is 13% alcohol. It also describes the flavors... but frankly, those are for us to determine, not the four-color glossy sheet!

As seems to be the case with several of these wines, the label discounts the "facts" provided on the glossy brochure sheets, reporting a 12.5% alcohol level - actually fairly tame by modern tastes.

Original review, November, 2009: 

In the glass: Medium dusty red/purple in glass. Medium tones throughout without reaching opacity anywhere.

On the nose: Shy rubber balloon and red bramble fruit.

On the palate: Smooth, dry, even middle hits first, mineral with no strong notes of fruit, sugar, acids or tannins. As the flavor spreads, it holds a taut focus on the slate core, offering just little hints of blackberry fruit along your cheeks. With a bit of aeration in your mouth, soft notes of plum appear. May soften in glass or decanter.

And the finish: Twiggy character holds to your cheeks for a long, long time.

In summary: Interesting vibes of its local terroir. Not extracted or bold, but exotic and distinctive in its own way. Three stars on the five-star Spirit of Wine scale, because I'm intrigued, and I'm also intrigued for the future of this wine. Note to self: try again in 18 months. Outstanding value at the introductory Zagat Wine Club price.

Updated review, a year and a half later, May, 2011:  Medium dusty red color has remained steadfast.  Even more brambly fruit now, including hints of charcoal.  The "young" helium balloon aroma is vanished (as it typically does with age or air).  The slate and bramble now shares palate space with dark red berry fruit.  Little to no sweetness, but round and mineral elements.  Improving, and holding solid at three stars and a best value.

Following long decant, three days kept cool in partially filled bottle:  Clear, clear and slightly old world aroma.  Very dry, dark red palate.  Held solid with dryness and pepper, but little fruit showing through.  A surprising but distinct after-aroma of Bazooka bubblegum (the kind you used to get in the packages of baseball cards).

Find prices and availability for Zagat Wine introductory mixed case.

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