AW Direct Bordeaux: A Trio Taste-Off

Silverdale, WA    (Purchased on 1/10/14)

A little over a week ago, three somewhat similar looking Bordeaux showed up at my local GO.  They were all from the 2012 vintage, all had the same gold capsules, all had similarly colored labels with similar print and after opening, all had the same corks with a grape cluster and leaf printed on them as well as the number 58330.  They all had the same generic information on the back label, all were “Bottled and Cellared by Philippe Borlais” and all were imported by AW Direct.  Sorry…but I had to wonder if they were all the same wine in different labels with different prices.  So I decided to try them side-by-side.  I’m here to tell you that they’re all very different from one another…which is a good thing by my standards.  Here’s my report…

IMG_1383First is the 2012 Chateau Naudin  12.5% alc.  $4.99: Pours a clear pale garnet, but also shows some brick tone, which seems odd for such a young wine.  Has a peppery and slightly alcoholly nose.  Shows considerable fresh ground black pepper on the palate and the tannins are chewy and heavy…a bit out of balance with the fruit and acid components and on first sip it seemed slightly thin and watery.  Tastes more like a Rhone red than a Bordeaux.  Somewhat clunky and plodding due to the lengthy tannins.

IMG_1380Next is the 2012 Chateau La Carbonniere  13% alc.  $6.99  Clear medium garnet; nose of light cassis, leather and cocoa.  In the mouth it’s lush and smooth, but with decent tannins and balanced acidity; the flavors show more cocoa and leather with lots of grapey fruit, tobacco and a bit of smokiness.  Fairly big tannins in the finish.  Not a bad Bordeaux for seven bucks.

IMG_1384And last is the 2012 Chateau Marceau Launay  13% alc.  $7.99 Mostly clear medium garnet, but having some brick coloring as well.  Nose shows some dark cherry (Merlot, Right Bank?), earth and tobacco.  Fair amount of sweet oak, leather and tannin in the mouth with some green peppercorn.  The tannins really grab you in the finish.

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They’re all very drinkable…not outstanding, but tasty…especially considering that I’ve had some real questionable Bordeaux from GO of late.  And they all went quite well with our rigatoni pasta with homemade pesto and smoked mozzerella sausage.  My favorite was the La Carbonniere with the Marceau Launay close behind and the Naudin last in line.  If you see these wines in your GO, give them a try and determine your favorite.  It would be a great time to have a few folks over for dinner.  That way you’re not drinking three bottles at once all by yourselves (wouldn’t that be horrible?)!  And you can have your own tasting.

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14 thoughts on “AW Direct Bordeaux: A Trio Taste-Off

  1. lim13 Post author

    Two days later these Bordeaux were heading down the tube fast. My suggestion: if you can, finish any of them the day they’re opened. I would not recommend any cellaring.

    Reply
  2. lim13 Post author

    Not sure I concur with this “analysis”, Michael. Over the last 40 years I’ve had a number of dark, inky Petite Sirahs (and other reds) that have aged terribly. Nothing left in the end except tannins. But this seems a good spot to link the following: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aging_of_wine

    I generally agree with what Jancis Robinson has to say: “One authority believes that only a few wines have the ability to significantly improve with age: Master of Wine Jancis Robinson notes that only around the top 10% of all red wine and top 5% of all white wines can improve significantly enough with age to make drinking more enjoyable at 5 years of age than at 1 year of age. Additionally, Robinson estimates, only the top 1% of all wine has the ability to improve significantly after more than a decade. It is her belief that more wine is consumed too old, rather than too young, and that the great majority of wines start to lose appeal and fruitiness after 6 months in the bottle.”

    And I believe my experiences with wines from my own cellar support her comments. Check back with me in June…I’ll be having a tasting for friends of some of the oldest wines in my cellar.

    Reply
    1. GOWineLover

      Had the first and last and didn’t like either, even given the 20% off sale pricing. Both were dull, particularly the Launay. Not impressed even given appropriate expectations.

      Reply
      1. lim13 Post author

        Did you have any of them with food, GOWL? While I’d agree they didn’t drastically change my opinion of GO Bordeaux…food made a big difference…as they all had fairly high acidity. And for what it’s worth, I won’t be buying more of any of them (though I’m currently not buying seconds of any GO wines).

        Reply
        1. GOWineLover

          Yup, both of them. Cheap Bordeaux just may not be my thing. I have little to no experience with french wines of any type, but I still thought they just fell flat overall. Much, much better with food but I thought the food helped the wine, not the other way around.

          Reply
          1. lim13 Post author

            Actually, cheap Bordeaux is not my thing. If I wasn’t a reviewer for this blog, I’d likely never have bought them. But we’ve had decent luck with the wines from AW Direct and I just had to find out if they were all the same wine…or not. And BTW…”I thought the food helped the wine, not the other way around” is right on the mark.

            Reply
          2. Darrell

            GOWL, I think you have enough experience with wine to know there isn’t value with most of GO’s Bordeaux. I have wasted plenty of bucks on the stuff just hoping to find a nice Bordeaux. Somebody did recommend a 2010 a couple of months ago as an everyday wine and I did like it enough to buy some to age. It’s the only BX. I have bought more than one bottle at GO. I will try to review it under Guest Contributions later.

            Reply
  3. lim13 Post author

    Hi PW! Thanks for sharing your experience. I’m inclined to think that because the tannins outweigh the acidity and because of the color of this Bordeaux, age likely won’t help much. If you decide to try it, I wouldn’t hold it for more than a couple of years max. I don’t generally recommend cellaring $10 Bordeaux…and that’s likely normal retail for this wine. At least it would be a “cheap” experiment.

    Reply
    1. PW

      That’s a good point. TBH, unless a wine descriptions says “Now through 2020 (or whatever)” I don’t cellar anything (meaning I don’t buy anything that can’t be consumed in 1+ years). Mostly because I don’t have enough knowledge to know what to safely cellar yet. And frankly, I’m not sure I’d cellar anything I’ve seen from GO, mostly because they are either at their end consumption dates or not really cellar-able. That’s why I asked. We’re still in the discovery period with wine. Trying to understand the tastes, aromas etc. Trying to decide why something is the way it is…i.e. bad lot? Great location etc. So, my question was more about learning if this wine was the best it could be or if age (because it’s a 2012, I wondered) could help it.

      Thank you for your reply. I learn a lot from reading the posts in here and I appreciate the lack of wine-snobishness, that fills this blog.

      Reply
      1. BargainWhine

        Hi PW. Pardon my intrusion. I suspect that, to find out whether you will prefer a wine more aged, you just have to start aging some wines you’re curious about, to build up experience (by trial and some error, I’m afraid) with (1) which characteristics in a wine make it ageworthy in your opinion and (2) how aged you actually prefer a wine to be. To do that, you should store them in an environment that is cool (around 60F as I recall) and has only small fluctuations in temperature. I rent a locker in a climate-controlled facility, and keep my wines at home in a hard foam shipping container in a room in the north side of the house to minimize temperature fluctuations. (It never gets all that hot or cold here in Berkeley.) I’m sure others have their own methods. Thank you for reading and sharing.

        Reply
    1. Michael Patterson

      I haven’t tried this wine yet, but here’s a way to “tell” if a wine will age. Look at it in the glass. A big “tell” is if the wine color looks “saturated”, inky or opaque. Other than Burgundy’s that can look “thin”, if it looks like it doesn’t have much body, it’s probably a “drink now”.

      Reply

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