The Chateau Le Grand Moulin Bordeaux 2016 is a blend of 80% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 5% Malbec from the Estate vineyard in the Blaye Cotes de Bordeaux AOP. This is wine available at Costco for $7.99, I don’t think this is a Costco exclusive, on-line retailers seem to sell the same wine for almost twice as much.
Chateau Le Grand is a family-owned vineyard and winery founded over 100 years ago. Blaye AOP is the northern-most growing region in Bordeaux’s Right Bank (the big names like Pomerol are located further south). Merlot is the main grape, but Blaye also produces White wines and Sparkling wine. This is the region that produces everyday wines that is a step up from the value-priced wines.
50% of the wines from Bordeaux sell for under $20, which always surprised me since I equated Bordeaux with Napa Valley and not much is value-priced in Napa. The French have a tradition of drinking wine with their meals, so it makes sense that Bordeaux offers reasonably priced wines. Actually every growing region in France, other than Champagne, produces affordable wines. Sometimes the marketing makes it seem like they specialize in high-end wines, but that isn’t the case.
In Bordeaux, the simple (too simple) explanation is the Left Bank grows Cabernet Sauvignon and the Right Bank farms Merlot, but it is more complicated than that. The soil types change from area to area as do the growing conditions, but most of those details are not as important with value-priced wine. The collectors argue over which year is a good year and which Grand Cru excelled that year. With affordable Bordeaux, a good producer with a quality vineyard is what is important.
The Chateau Le Grand Moulin cold maceration before fermentation. Cold Maceration is where they refrigerate the grapes for a few days, this technique helps concentrate the flavors and the color of the wine. After fermentation, this Red blend was aged in cement vats. Cement vats (they are lined to keep the actual cement away from the wine) are thick enough that they insulate the wine from temperature and humidity changes. Wine loves stable aging conditions and cement offers protection that stainless steel tanks and wood barrels can’t.
Even though this is an 8 buck Red blend the Chateau Le Grand 2016 has received 89 and 90 points from James Suckling and Wine Enthusiast, respectively. While wine points do not mean you will actually like the wine they do indicate that acknowledge professions deemed this a quality- made Bordeaux Red wine. The alcohol content is 13.5%.
Bordeaux Tasting Notes
The color is a dark, barely see-thru black cherry red. The nose is blackberry, baking spice, black pepper, tea, dark chocolate, raspberry, and a blast of sweet blueberry. This is a well-balanced wine, it has tannins if you are used to California value-priced wines you might have forgotten how tannins used to be. It tastes of a mix of blackberry, pepper, soft plum, and spice. The mid-palate brings orange zest and dried strawberry pieces, a light hint of cream, and Nestlt Quick powder.
This is a French Red blend, it is a different style than California and Washington State Red blends, you would never call this a juicy wine. What it lacks in fruit flavor it makes up for with structure, though it does have good flavor. The tannins are there, they make their presence known, but they do not bite. The acidity gives this Red nice length. The finish is fairly full and of reasonable length.
- I like this wine, it resets my palate. With writing and talking about value-priced wine you drink a lot of fruit-forward New World style wine, it is the dominant style of winemaking today. And while I wouldn’t say the Chateau Le Grand is an Old School red it is very French with solid French style.
- At $7.99 this Bordeaux Blend is a bargain.
- I find that most Merlot wines are OK, they are fine but rarely memorable. There are scatter winemakers who do an exceptional job with Merlot, but rarely in the Value wine segment. You kind of wonder “what’s the big deal about Merlot”, until you try Bordeaux Merlot and then it all makes sense. Buy this wone for the Merlot, if nothing else.