Isn’t it great when you find a moderately priced wine of which you have modest expectations—and then it rocks you back on your heels with unexpected force and vigor?
Everybody loves a good value wine, with the prospect you might get something better than the price would indicate. The Chateau Au Grand Paris 2007 is that kind of wine. In the parlance, it overdelivers.
Chateau Au Grand Paris 2007 might be a modestly priced wine from the humble AOC of Bordeaux Superieur, but it delivers all the value you could wish…and more.
It’s packed full to overflowing with rich, succulent red, blue and black fruits, a mingling of raspberries, blueberries and blackberries, with just the slightest whiff of herbal nuances to make it interesting, all lavished with just the right amount of spice. The tannins are obviously there, but they are tender, restrained, underplayed, there to support the fruit and give it sufficient structure, not to cover it in a hard, impenetrable shell.
It is a balanced blend of 70% Merlot, smooth and round and sweet, and 30% a more resonant and tightly bound Cabernet Sauvignon. They work beautifully together and are—-thankfully—not overwhelmed by profuse oak.
As a matter of fact, there’s no oak at all. That characteristic vanillin simply isn’t there, because the wine is macerated, then fermented and stored in stainless steel. The focus here is on fruit, without a doubt. But to add complexity and round out this relatively young wine, it is aged for a time sur lie—on the lees—to give it a silky viscosity and greater body.
One has to wonder why a Bordeaux Superieur wine has the name of “Chateau Au Grand Paris.” What does Paris have to do with Bordeaux? Some aristocratic owner who resides in Paris and indulges in the wine as a folly? Au contraire.
The name has nothing whatsoever to do with Paris, the city (as the back label carefully explains). The name has to do with “pari”, a bet, and dates back to Medieval times when the property was on the pilgrim road to Santiago de Compostela. Don’t you know there must be a fascinating backstory behind that!
But questions of the name aside, this is a remarkably good wine for the price. Not quite to the level of being an overstatement of fruit (it falls short of being one of those egregious ‘fruit bombs’, being neither sluggish or raisiny), it is nonetheless more lavish with flavor than the price or origin would suggest, with just enough fresh berry acidity and tannin to keep it from becoming dull or cloying.
This is a Bordeaux Superieur that undercores what the entire region is capable of…not just those more expensive and rarefied classified growths. And it’s at the price that would qualify it as a good, sturdy house red.
As the Brits would say: It’s worth a punt.