Wednesday, December 24, 2008

1980 Chateau Carbonnieux Rouge

Country: France
Region: Graves
Alcohol: 12%
Price: €50,00
Closure: Cork

Chateau Carbonnieux is an estate located in the Graves subregion of Bordeaux. The chateau was constructed in the late 14th century at a time when the Hundred Years' War was in full swing. For a long period of time it was under the ownership of the Benedictine monks from the nearby Sainte-Croix abbey.

For forty years, between 1910-1950, Carbonnieux was left abandoned and uninhabited. The vineyards and cellar equipment were in states of disrepair. The year 1956, however, saw the Perrin family take over the chateau. First run by Marc, who passed any in 1982, and later by son Anthony, who passed any in September of this year, the chateau was graudally restored to top condition. The estate is now in the hands of the next generation Perrins: Philibert and Eric.

The chateau has 90 hectares under vine is divided almost equally between white and red varieties. Red varieties dominate slightly with about 47 hectares, whereas the red vines average 32 years of age, these being 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 8% Cabernet Franc, 1% Malbec and 1% Petit Verdot. leaving 43 hectares for the white. Average vine age is 26 years for the whites, which are 65% Sauvignon Blanc, 34% Semillon and 1% Muscadelle, It would be fair to say, however, that this estate is better known for it's white cuvee than the red.

Typical of Bordeaux-style blends this wine has a cepage of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. I'm not sure what the exact percentages are but the more modern day red cuvees are made up something like this: 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 7% Cabernet Franc, and 3% Petit Verdot.

This wine is the red cuvee and has been resting in the cellar since the date of purchase back in the early 1980's. The 1980 vintage is considered an average vintage, one which should be drunk now. I guess there is a fair chance that this wine will be over the hill. At the very least wines from this vintage will be well and truly showing their age.

This is what I thought of it:

Brick red-brown in colour fading rapidly towards the edges of the glass. Lack of real colour depth reveals this wines age. The nose is not powerful but reveals tabacco and cigar box characters with some dried red fruit and mineral-like elements. On the palate it's the dried red fruit that dominates, almost sour cherry with hints of smooth cedar-like oak. The tannins are fully integrated - all components are nicely in balance. Sour cherry hangs in there desperately on a finish of reasonable length. Despite this wine being right at the end of it's life I still really enjoyed drinking it.

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