Saturday, 23 March 2013

Château Talbot, St Julien, 2001

As I tend to focus on New World wines, I felt it was time to go back to a classic Bordeaux.  Squashed between Pauillac and Margaux on the Left Bank, St Julien is known for producing consistently good and interesting wines. Château Talbot is a 5th Cru Classé and is produced in a very classic style. Some might say that it was designed for the Englishman as it ticks all the boxes for classic claret - the most important being that it is balanced and smooth.

A brief disclaimer is that I tasted this wine some time ago and so my notes are less complete and my memory less distinct. It was also tasted with food and not tasted blind, so I would suggest that this is probably a less objective tasting note than I normally give.

Colour: A fairly deep purple/red, but there was a slight tendency towards tawny on the edges.

Nose: Cedar is the dominant note, backed by tobacco and a dollop of blackberry. Rather less fruit than I had expected, but by no means absent.

Palate: The reverse of the above! The blackberries came first and in a decent enough level of intensity. These were followed by the tobacco with the cedar coming in at the end to clear the palate. This isn't hugely complex - it's simple and light - but it is very nicely balanced and extremely smooth. Very much an easy-drinker.

Body: Extremely soft and gentle. Very light on the body, but with a decent level of taste. It isn't insipid or dreary. Very balanced, with a hint of astringency to firm it up a bit.

Finish: A medium length which fades nicely but without great complexity. Could have done with a bit more of a finish, I feel.

Conclusion: This is exactly the sort of wine that is really difficult to grade. Its soft and subtle flavours mean that many will find it inaccessible or boring, especially if they were to drink it next to a fruit bomb. This strikes me as the sort of wine that is absolutely ideal for a relaxing evening with a book in front of a fire. It was excellent with food, but can it really become a talking point? Its very merits lie in the fact that it is balanced, light and smooth - not exactly 'Eureka' features. That being said, those who prefer a milder wine will adore this as the one thing it does have in spades is class.

Points: 88

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