Thursday, January 10, 2008

Chateau du Gaby 2005

Early January our son turned three years old. An exciting event, both for himself and for his inexperienced parents - the presents (mainly little cars), the young visitors running around, etc. And as I am always trying to find reasons for opening a good bottle of wine, I thought his birthday certainly was a valid excuse. Luckily the parents of the young visitors agreed.

Wijnkoperij De Gouden Ton AmsterdamTHE FEATURED WINE IN THIS POSTING AS IT WAS WRAPPED BY JOB VERHAAR, A FRIEND WHO RUNS THE AMSTERDAM-BASED WINE STORE "DE GOUDEN TON" (THIS IS INDEED A SORT OF FREE PUBLICITY). FOR THE UNWRAPPED BOTTLE: SCROLL DOWN.

But opening bottles is preceded by buying bottles. With buying it works more or less the same: finding excuses to do so. And I must say I am pretty good at finding these excuses. So when our first kid was born in 2005 it was crystal clear that enough Bordeaux from that year would have to be bought. (He was born in January and we had no idea about the incredible prices to come; but in the end, the money paid will be forgotten, and he/we should be glad that he was born in such an exceptional year. As if one is born in 1961 or so. Lucky people.)

Anyway, I bought enough 2005's to celebrate with him in style the big moments hopefully to come. But back to him turning three. I decided: I should already start this Celebrating by opening a 2005 at all his upcoming birthdays, and make a note about it. Sounds to me like a good tradition to start, for plenty of reasons actually (following the development of the vintage, those kind of things).

One problem: I didn't have any 2005 in my cellar. The wines I bought en primeur still have to be delivered. So I asked Job Verhaar, a friend who runs a great neighbouring wine store, if he could help me out. And he could. With a quite unknown but interesting wine from Canon-Fronsac: Château du Gaby.

Château du Gaby 2005, Canon-FronsacUNWRAPPED: THE CLASSIC BORDEAUX LABEL OF CHATEAU DU GABY, CANON-FRONSAC.

I keep finding it a fascinating fact that once the wines from Fronsac were more famous than the wines from St-Emilion and Pomerol. While first St-Emilion got famous (and expensive) and later Pomerol got famous (and even more expensive), in the Fronsac area they have - more or less - been messing around for quite a long time. That's sad, and the area lost its grandeur. But after hard times there are only chances for improvement, and these are clearly being seized now. As is actually being done in every self-respecting wine area these days. But looking at the history of Fronsac, its situation on an elevated plateau along the Dordogne, its terroir in general, it is quite clear that this appellation has a bright future ahead. At this moment most wines show an interesting price-quality ratio: the quality level has been raised - say - the last decade, but the prices are still acceptable.

The Château du Gaby 2005 exhibits masses of powerful fruit; perfect and healthy ripe fruit. This dark-red fruit is by far the dominating thing in this youthful wine, delighting the nose (and there is a pleasant depth in the scent). The mouth is treated to a broad carpet of ripe almost sweet (black)berries and (black)currants, fruit that can almost be chewed on (i.e. the ripe tannins). And yet there is plenty of freshness (acidity) in this wine. Harmonious and convincing, very good. Don't drink this wine now when you are looking for nuance and refinement (that might come later), but drink it for its irresistible fat-sappy fruit.

Then something off-topic: a few days ago I opened the 2004 Volnay 1er cru "Brouillards" from Domaine Georges Glantenay & Fils. I visited this domain a year ago (together with Jan van Roekel from Burgoholic) and brought home some bottles. I mention this wine because it gave so much pleasure. The note: very expressive nose. A wine like a ballerina, a sort of elevated seduction, feathery and tingling. Tension, pleasure, freshness, intensity. A faint hint of toast. Dangerous wine: it keeps calling for refills...

Volnay 1er cru 2004 Brouillards, Glantenay

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