The Cru Bourgeois collection – 1. Chateau Picard 2010

I’ll get straight to the point , I’m a huge fan of Bordeaux! Although a ‘Gevrey Chambertin’ currently sits proudly at the top of my most rated list ( to be published on this blog ) the wines from this region are comfortably my favourite.
Given the regions huge size, huge production ( 850m bottles pa ) and variable climate , you do have to be somewhat careful though. Many a time I have been attracted by a nice looking traditional Bordelaise label to find the wine inside decidedly underwhelming. So this is a region where doing a bit of homework ( or reading of this blog! ) will pay vinous dividends.

The best wines in Bordeaux were classified in 1855 at the request of Napoleon the third. These beauties get labelled ‘Cru Classe’. Napoleon the first ( you know , short , temperamental, conquered Europe but messed up in Russia etc preferred Gevrey Chambertin ) Having had the pleasure of trying a few of these wines they are undoubtedly some of the best in the world but they come with a problem. With few exceptions they are ruinously expensive!

So allow me to introduce ‘Cru Bourgeois’. This classification lists over 200 wines from the Medoc that did not make the 1855 list. Notionally it represents the level below ‘Cru Classe’ but the wines are still of high quality. To achieve ‘Cru Bourgeois’ status wines must pass an independent assessment of production methods and the quality of the finished product.

My experience thus far has led me to believe that if , like me, you like Bordeaux but cannot stretch to first growths this classification is well worth exploring. So to help out , as I taste my way through ‘Cru Bourgeois’ I’ll post my reviews here.

So first up we have ‘Chateau Picard’ St Estephe 2010. Bought from the wine society for £16.50. This is 85% Cabernet Sauvignon and 15% Merlot. Aged for 14 months in oak with 30% of it new. The wine has a lovely dark colour and deep and enticing aromas of black currant, cherry and spice along with subtle oak and leather. On the palate the wine felt medium in body and a little thinner than expected. Given the high proportion of Cabernet ( higher than normal for St Estephe ) the wine has good acidity and high tannin. I found the tannin to be a bit ‘rustic’ and drying but not disastrously. Finally I found the finish to be a little disappointing.

Conclusion, 6/10. Body and finish did not live up to a promising Bordeaux aroma. Have tasted better for the price and would not buy again.

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