Wine: Chateau Dubois Claverie
Grapes: Merlot (80 percent), cabernet sauvignon (20 percent)
Region: Bordeaux, France
Availability: Lee’s Discount Liquor
In the glass: Chateau Dubois Claverie is a deep, dense ruby-red color with an opaque core going out into a dark crimson-red rim definition and medium-high viscosity.
On the nose: There is a nice warm melange of crushed red and blackberry fruit with dominance by brambleberries, cherries and black currants. Underlying this medley of fruit are hints of oak, violet pastilles, phenolic compounds and touches of fruit-driven minerality.
On the palate: The wine is round and generous with crushed red cherries, cranberry fruit, cassis, good mouth-feel and density, and bright red acidity going into the midpalate. The finish is a decently balanced and fairly well-rounded red fruit blend and the tannins are completely silky and unobtrusive through the lingering unsweetened cran-cherry juice effect.
Odds and ends: Although Bordeaux has had a bit of a tough run with vintages in the period 2011-14, the general highlight is believed to be 2012, especially for wines from the so-called Right Bank, which is the area to the east of Bordeaux itself and where merlot is more predominant than cabernet sauvignon. This wine is maybe not your first choice for the middle of the summer, but it is a typical representation of this area and it reflects the success of merlot as a grape variety in a year such as 2012. It is made under the generic Bordeaux appellation but it has all the hallmarks of a classic wine that at this young age is just beginning to show the promise it will reveal during the next decade in the bottle. There’s no denying the fact that Bordeaux wines need time, but we can remedy that by simply opening the bottle about one hour before consumption and simply letting it sit and “breathe.” This has a very positive effect on the taste once poured into the glass, or better yet, decant it into another glass vessel or decanter using the same time frame. This wine really begs for some steak to go along with it and the classic French steak frites might be just the trick. Drink it now through 2022.
Gil Lempert-Schwarz’s wine column appears on Wednesdays. Write him at P.O. Box 50749, Henderson, NV 89106-0749, or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.