Deep ruby color; red berries, cherry, plum on the nose; cherry, plum, hint of chocolate, some blackcurrant, pencil-shavings on the palate.
Dry; full body; silky tannins tamed by six years in bottle, balanced by nice acidity. Fruit-forward, lacks some depth, but provides clean fruit from blend of 50% merlot, 45% cabernet sauvignon, 5% cabernet franc, which makes it a very slight outlier from Left Bank Bordeaux where, typically, the cab takes the lead. Fermented in stainless steel, finished for 12 months in 50% new French barriques, half new and half one season, thus the oak is reserved.
This wine consistently scores well among major experts who give number ratings—the 2010 vintage received 90 points from both Robert Parker and Robin Brooks (Decanter Magazine). One reason is patience. The château’s website explains: “Our philosophy is somewhat different to many in Bordeaux. In 1990 we built the largest underground cellar in the region, locally known as ‘The Cathedral’, where we have the ability to stock over 10 separate vintages, releasing the wines as they become ready to drink.”
The winery website also notes: “At Chateau La Cardonne we have long embraced a policy of sustainable agriculture, not only to preserve our natural environment, but more importantly to allow mother nature’s influence to be fully expressed in every vintage we produce.”
Château la Cardonne, Médoc 2012 is an affordable Médoc offering that touches all the Bordeaux basics. Fruit forward, clean, delicious from a conscientious maker that has the patience and commitment to make excellent wine at a surprisingly comfortable price point. Pair with cold roast beef; shepherd’s pie; beef stew; grilled meat; sausage with chips; braised lamb; pot-roasted lamb chanks; bacon-and-leek quiche; sautéed sea bass; smoked salmon panini; red chile-chicken enchiladas; goat and sheep cheeses; mild brie and camembert. $25