Château Chatard Cadillac Côtes de Bordeaux 2012

Dark crimson-purple color; ripe red fruits and spice on somewhat tight nose; red fruits, touch of red currant tang, raspberry on the palate.

Dry, rich, spicy, warm tannin, good acidity, balanced, certain dustiness overall in the mouth, no over-blown flavors or rampant fruitiness. Interestingly, wine reviews for this are all over the map—Wine Enthusiast and Wine Library rave about it in general and especially as a value-for-price play from Bordeaux. Others, not so much, not finding anything off or wrong, but nothing dynamic or outstanding either, probably because of the reserved fruitiness. Different strokes for different folks.

I fall into the nice effort for the price parade; with some air, Château Chatard Cadillac Côtes de Bordeaux’s calmness and firm control becomes more ingratiating and charming. There may be some merlot prejudice involved in the naysayers. Merlot is going, usually, to be mellow with softness, and this is. The world would be a shallower, sadder place if all red wine displayed cab’s savage, flamboyant aggression.

Château Chatard is relatively new winery, founded in 2008. The winemaking in the small estate is a family affair, with most of the work done by family and extended family members. Larrat Jean-Remi is the winemaker; his background is in the Loire Valley, but he fell for the gravel and chert soils of this château. The 2012 effort is just the second vintage. Jean-Remi says his wine making emphasis is on fruit not technical aspects in the winery: “I spend a few hours or days making the wine; eighty percent or more of my time is about growing the grapes.” Many people have come to appreciate this approach.

Côtes de Bordeaux is the appellation for wines made around the Cadillac area at the southern end of the Entre-deux-Mers district of Bordeaux. All Côtes de Bordeaux red wines are primarily made with merlot (it is right bank, after all), with some cabernet sauvignon and cabernet franc in the blend; small amounts of malbec, petit verdot, and carmenère also are permitted. Château Chatard used 90% merlot and 10% cabernet sauvignon to make this vintage.

Château Chatard Cadillac Côtes de Bordeaux 2012 is solid, perhaps a bit stolid; enjoyable without being flagrantly delicious; it is good value and worth a taste to see if this reserved style suits your sensibilities. $15

Château Chatard with Google translation

Other photos: Château Chatard winery and vineyard.