Friday, June 30, 2017

Washington BDX Style Blend vs. Right Bank Bordeaux

The Tour de France starts on Saturday.  This year's route covers 3,540 km over 21 stages with plenty of terrain that offers the opportunity for a variety of riders to achieve victory.  In the end, there is only one true winner - the rider that arrives in Paris wearing the Maillot Jaune, aka The Yellow Jersey.  This is the rider that completes all 21 stages in the fastest cumulative time.

There are other jerseys are on the line too, including:
  • The Green Jersey for the best all around rider.  This jersey has come to be known as the Sprinter's Jersey in recent history.
  • The Polka Dot Jersey for the best mountain climber.  This rider is also known as the King of the Mountains.
  • The White Jersey for the best young rider.  This is the highest placed racer under the age of 23.
All these opportunities add up to multiple races within the bigger race.  There are more than a handful of racers eyeing victory in this year's tour.  All the top riders finished off their preparation with the Criterium du Dauphine or the Tour de Suise.

Just like the pro racers, I've topped off my Tour preparation with a recent Bordeaux Right Bank Ruckus featuring St. Emilion vs. Washington.

2014 Auclair Right Blend vs. 2008 Chateau Barde-Haut Saint-Emilion Grand Cru

Tale of the Tape

2014 Auclair Right Blend

50% Merlot, 50% Cabernet Franc from Artz Vineyard in the Red Mountain AVA

Provided as a sample by the winery.  Available at retail for $39.00.

2008 Chateau Barde-Haut Saint-Emilion Grand Cru

90% Merlot
10% Cabernet Franc

Aged in a combination of Oak, Cement and Stainless steel with 80% new barrels.

Purchased for $45 at Esquin.

Round 1.  First opening

The Auclair Right Blend struts into the ring with a confident swagger.  The nose is showing dark dusty cherries, currants, candle wax and light herbal spices.  The palate is featuring cherries, currants and  tart herbal spice notes followed by cracked pepper on the finish with moderate tannins.

The St. Emilion Challenger steps up with a nose of funky forest floor, dark cherry and dusty wet herbal notes.  The palate follows up with notes of dried cherries and juicy plums that give way to dry cedar tannin tinged spices that carry on to a dry finish.

Auclair takes round one with a full frontal attack.

Round 2.  One hour after opening

The Auclair Luchador is really stepping up its game in round two.  The nose has evolved to show off multiple layers of complexity with creamy floral notes, baking spices, hints of green herbs and cherries.  The palate is strutting its stuff with flavors of cherries, cedar spices and white pepper rounded out with a light tannin spice finish.

Even though the French Challenger has many years of ring experience, it is getting off to a really slow start.  The nose is funky and dark with primary notes of cherry and currant.  The palate is tight featuring funky forest floor, dried cherries and rose petals with an extremely dry finish.

The Barde-Haut locked up in round 2 virtually giving away the points without a fight.  Auclair takes the round and a commanding 2-0 lead in the match.

Round 3.  One day after opening

The only hope for the Barde-Haut Right Bank Rabble-Rouser is a knock out.  Let's see if the French Challenger can bring the pain...

The French Luchador is still having a hard time mounting much of an attack.  The nose features currants, dried cherries and dry cracked leather.  The palate follows suit with dried cherries, floral herbal notes and a dry tight finish.

Auclair leaps into the ring with a flying elbow drop that delivers a knock out blow and brings the bout to rapid conclusion.  The nose continues to build power with dark cherries and a light dusting of herbal notes that are backed by cocoa powder.  The palate is bulking up as well with black cherries, currants, cloves and mole' spices followed by white pepper on the finish.

That's a wrap.  Auclair takes the match with a dominating performance that included a knock out in the final round!

Wrap up and overall observations.

The Auclair Right Blend features a 50/50 blend of Merlot and Cabernet Franc.  Seeking out an equivalent French challenger was difficult.  Most Right Bank blends featured upwards of 70% Merlot with the remainder Cabernet Franc.

The Auclair is already showing nicely at a pretty young age. 

Alternatively, the Chateau Barde-Haut could stand a few more years of age.  Even though it was a 2008, the French Right Bank blend was still wound up pretty tight.

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