2010 Chateau Pedesclaux Le Haut-Medoc de Pedeclaux
What do you do when you are born among big Big BIG Brothers? Brothers who not only graduate at the top of their class, but also nail the technical AND dancing routine, achieving fortuitous lifetime accomplishments at nonage, leaving you not quite the black sheep, but certainly feeling that your cart has been pulled away by someone else’s horse?
I’m speaking of the big, Big, BIG brothers Mouton and Lafite Rothschild in Bordeaux, France. They’re both First Growths and make pretty darn sensational wine. Some would say (me among them) the best in the world.
These two great chateaux’s vineyards all sit within the village of Pauillac, Bordeaux. The French theory is that it’s not necessarily the people making the wine that makes these First Growths great, but rather the combination of soil, aspect, climate, and vine that qualifies Lafite and Mouton’s wines as so much better than anyone else’s.
Sooo… given some time, a little too much wine, and a map, the imbibing, inquiring mind wants to know: What about that stretch of land in Pauillac between Mouton and Lafite? According to ye old Hugh Johnson Atlas, that strip of land looks a bit like a ditch, but there are Cabernet vines there.
Further, those Cabernet vines belong to someone – Chateau Pedesclaux.
Pedesclaux’s history is really that of the third (or fourth, or fifth) brother among giants. Always between Lafite and Mouton, the Cabernet has been here for centuries but truly without fanfare. The “chateau” was built in 1810 by a wine merchant. Eventually a lodger, Lucien Jugla, moved in and after 20 years renting, he bought the property. A landed yet house poor gentry, Jugla hardly noticed the vines, selling the fruit off to his neighbors. In recent times, however, Pedesclaux was purchased by more tending owners. And that is where I found them.
Again, if you believe that there is something about particular vineyards in the world that cause them to make better wine then anyplace else, than Pedesclaux has been waiting to step into the rarefied circle of its brothers for centuries. And with the 2010 vintage, I believe it does that:
The nose just explodes off the cork pull – floral, violets, dark black cherry, savory fruits mixed in with graphite, stones and lead pencil. A buddy came over for lunch recently, just trying to escape his four young children (as well as mooch some of my jambon sandwich with caramelized onions, blistered honey and mustard) and upon the bottle crack said, “Darn, that is all right there, ready to go, basically a crazy good pop and pour.”
Yes it is – the palate is silky smooth, delivering the entire promise of the nose right up front in the glass – rich black cherry fruit, blueberries, totally integrated tannins, smooth and supple but not sloppy; harmoniously complete, and exactly what you want Bordeaux to be – awesome, elegant, and approachable. It’s 2010 vintage, the vintage of the century, and its ready to go tonight.
Ultimately, does Pedesclaux taste like big brothers Mouton and Lafite? Unfortunately…naw. But it comes close, it gives you a glimpse, and it’s at a price where you can still respect yourself in the morning (even if you do pop that second cork). I believe in loving the wine I’m with, and any night’s the right night for Pedesclaux. Whether you’re a Bordeaux connoisseur or just beginning to explore, you’ll love it, too.