Monday, July 10, 2006

Roc de Cambes 1998

Life can't be too bad when you have two vintages of Roc de Cambes within a couple of weeks of each other. This 1998 is 60% Merlot, 30% Cabernet Sauvignon and 10% Cabernet Franc which have been fermented in cement tanks and then aged in 50% new French oak for a period of between 15 and 18 months until just ready (we are not told exactly how long they've given it - my guess would be closer to 18.) Cote de Bourg doesn't have the same prestige as many of the other appelations in Bordeaux, yet it produces some excellent wines - and the lowly appelation name means that the price is kept down. Roc is the finest wine from the region - yet it is still around £25 a bottle in the UK - for a good vintage - a fraction of what you might pay for a St. Emilion or a Pomerol. This was lovely and fruity with red berries and a touch a spice - warmed wonderfully with added complexity of cigar box and pencil shavings (sounds odd I know - but not only did I get that - it worked really well in a wine!) I'm not sure it goes onto my must have list - but then that is a pretty exclusive list right now (Tour Figeac & Hollick are the only ones to make it in a long while - for two different reasons) and I would buy a bottle Ch. Tour Figeac over a bottle of this - but then if I only ever drank the same thing life would be very dull indeed and this is rather good - and I am judging it against some serious competition - compare it for instance with a '97 Pichon Baron at a similar price and the Roc wins hands down - is it because I'm a Merlot man - no - the '98 Roc (and indeed the '96) are better wines. Double decant 4 hours before opening the really open it up and release the redcurrant and spice notes.

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