WINE REVIEW: 2016 Château Malescasse, Haut-Medoc AOP, Cru Bourgeois, France ($22)
by Andrew Chalk
UPDATE: Château Malescasse was just awarded the level of Cru Bourgeois Exceptionnel, the highest level of Cru Bourgeois possible. The estate will be able to apply this classification to its labels from the 2018 vintage for the next five years with the next classification earmarked for 2022.
Appearance: Deep ruby color. Opaque at the core. Hints of purple at the meniscus;
Nose: Blackcurrant, sweet new French oak, forest floor, cedar;
Palate: Pronounced and chewy tannins give this wine a solid backbone. Medium plus acid makes it lively. Blackcurrant fruit and wood with a fair amount of new oak (I guessed a third, it turned out to be 35%) are the two most prominent flavors. They are meshing, but the incongruity of a young wine stands out. I would age this wine for five years to give this process time to complete. In the interim, a fatty steak such as ribeye or strip, or the ‘National Food’ of Texas, barbecued brisket, would be a great pairing.
Overall: Tremendous value. A bona fide left bank Bordeaux for just over twenty dollars. Note the designation Cru Bourgeois. That is not a vanity moniker. Rather, producers on the left bank have revived the ancient name as a classification system that could be argued to be the best in Bordeaux in terms of its value to consumers looking for quality outside growths in the 1855 classification. For good value quality left bank Bordeaux, look for wines achieving the designation Cru Bourgeois.